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The art of concealment

This week has been a little epic, hasn’t it?  In the final week of January I’ve gone from breastfeeding to periods to a grumpy moan to dizzy spells. To round it off then, I’m finally bringing you a post that I’ve been working on for some time about cosmetics that hide the late nights of wine or worry and can make the difference between feeling world-worn and feeling wonderful. Am I overstating that? Well, perhaps a little. But you know how I feel about best foot forward.


The ones that suit me best.

The ones that suit me best.


I am blessed with rather young-looking skin. Perhaps it’s having such a balloon-shaped face that tends to keep me looking younger than I am or perhaps it’s the oily skin that I saw as such a curse until well into my twenties that has lubricated my skin so well that it hasn’t really wrinkled so far. With the help of my beloved L’ Occitane Divine range generally, I’d say I look younger than nearly fifty.

With the exception of the area beneath my eyes. I have shadowy patches under my eyes that are exacerbated by my faded grey skin at this time of year. A little bit of sun often takes about 10 years off me and that’s why I find the undereye area so enraging.

Everyone looks better with concealer,” says make-up guru Sali Hughes.

I find this not strictly true. Maybe it’s the way I apply my make-up but I often look WORSE with concealer, which is why I’ve had to buy and try so many over the years. I might finally have found my holy grail of concealers though and I’m really excited about it.

Waste not want not, though. Here’s what I think of all of the concealers I’ve tried.

First off Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer. I find this settles into the lines under my eyes. It isn’t creamy enough and fades during the day. It IS years since I’ve used it though, and I can’t help wondering what it would look like if I used it properly, as I always do under make-up these days.

Bobbi Brown assistants like to sell their Corrector as well as their concealer. The colour they recommended for me was Bisque – in the summer, anyway –  and they also recommend using pale yellow powder to set the concealer. Whilst this is probably what make-up artists do, It’s probably a bit of a faff for us mere mortals first thing in the morning and another reason not to buy the product.

Chanel Corrector Perfection: Generally I like this one. I like all Chanel products which, though expensive work well in terms of staying power. My beef with this concealer is that it doesn’t last long on the skin and, being packaged in a tube with a sponge applicator, the screw top bit becomes messily clogged with product very quickly and then starts to come off all over the make up drawer. I use Shade 40, in case you’re interested.

Chanel Lift Lumière concealer: utter disappointment. The too-sheer liquid texture did not cover at all and was very expensive.

Chanel Eclat Lumière Highlighter: I have this in my gym bag and it’s better than nothing. It’s apparently Chanel’s answer to the YSL Touche Eclat and does brighten the undereye area but it doesn’t really conceal.

Benefit Boing: No. I don’t like this. It settles into my lines and cakes and doesn’t last. And you have to set it with that white setting power that looks disconcertingly like some sort of A class controlled substance, which might raise some questions if you’re travelling.

Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer: very expensive and too creamy for the undereye area. Maybe it was the colour I chose but it settled into my fine lines and made me look older and greyer. HOWEVER, this is probably my concealer of choice for hyperpigmentation spots on the rest of the face. I’ve grown to love this used in this way and probably wouldn’t want to be without it now. I use shade Tan but I bought it online so I’m not sure if there might be an better shade for me.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage: Maybe they gave me the wrong colourway for this as I find it both too orange and too grey – each compact has two shades. It’s fairly stiff to apply with a brush and I found that it didn’t deal well with my hyper-pigmentation patches. Nope.

Dr N Perricone: No Concealer Concealer. Well, if this is the version for darker skins, I can only speculate on the shade of the paler-toned version. It clogs, it cakes, and it’s far too light. Not for me.

Mac Pro Longwear Concealer: Now, I do like this but I think the counter assistants thought I needed some extra help with brightening around my eyes as I had a nasty cold that day and I’d been waiting outside the Indian High Commission since 6am to apply for my Overseas Citizenship of India. This is generally good and lasts a long time but I’m not convinced I’ve got exactly the right shade for me. Certainly one of the better ones, though, I’d say.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. I think this is THE ONE. Certainly until a better one comes along. In a stick bottle with a sponge hoof applicator, it blends incredibly easily into my skin with a concealer brush. I guess Ginger must be my colour as it seems to eliminate any under eye greyness and lasts….

So there you are. My favourites are the Nars and the Hourglass, with the Chanel and the Mac (in the correct shade) in the running there too. Just because they suit me, they might not suit your skin tone or the texture of your complexion. For this reason, buying concealers and foundations online unless you know your exact colour, is a silly idea. Even if you do, it’s always worth dropping by the counter to check, especially if, like mine, your face has a tendency to go through a range of colours with the changes of the seasons.

It’s always worth trying lots of different ones to see what’t the best for you and keeping an eye out for new cosmetics developments. It’s expensive though, so it’s worth asking the sales assistants for tester pots but not all brands will oblige. Herewith concludes my concealer odyssey. An opportunity for decluttering now presents itself.


***post not at all sponsored***

Dizzy Lizzie


Almost three years ago, MsDD came down with a cold virus. She’s no stranger to these things: I’ve always thought that she was more than averagely vulnerable to the colds and sniffles that come with early childhood.

She went into school the following day but I was called away from my first Breast Screening examination by the school nurse. Eliza had fainted at school, fallen and hit the back of her head. She had been feeling light-headed ever since, and was in the nurse’s station, dizzy. Could I please pick her up and take her home?

And so began a condition that continues until today.

I managed to make an appointment with the GP who, seeing a 12 year old girl in his office, immediately deduced that Eliza was anorexic and gave her a lecture on eating properly. She eats properly. She is not anorexic. I was outraged and asked for a second opinion with a different GP, who referred her to a paediatrician, whom we saw privately. When it’s your child, and you have health insurance, you jump the queue.

The paediatrician arranged for test after test to eliminate a heart condition; low blood sugar; epilepsy; blood pressure problems; tumours. We were referred to King’s College Hospital, where she was connected up to electrodes to measure for any irregular brain activity. She was required to go to sleep but I don’t know anyone (apart from, perhaps OH,) who can sleep to order. Just as she finally dropped off, a loud ambulance passed by in the street below. It didn’t matter anyway, because there were no irregularities found.

We were referred during the holidays to a paediatric cardiologist at the Evelina Children’s Hospital who was pleased to report that nothing irregular had been found.

During all of this, I could see the look on these doctors’ faces: the look of recognition that they were being faced with one of those awful hysterical mothers. There was obviously nothing wrong with the child but the mother was still there spinning this story about light-headedness and dizziness. At times I was made to feel I was imagining things but I knew that my daughter was obviously not right. Her face was grey, she could often not stand up or walk in a straight line and her dizzy spells could come on at a moment’s notice and last for hours.

She was told that she was overtired and doing too much so I let her do nothing during the summer holidays. She slept and slept but still had the dizzy spells and her world was constantly spinning. By this time I got the impression that the paediatrician was simply not listening to me. I’d talk to him and he would write things down and yet his report to our GP or to the specialist consultants contained so many inaccuracies that I had to correct. No wonder they must have thought I was hysterical.

In the end I took the OH to one of our appointments in the hope that he would take a man more seriously. I don’t want to make sweeping generalisations here but I do wonder if the fact that the paediatrician was a middle aged Asian man had anything to so with his high-handed attitude towards me.

All this took months and still nothing was found so we were referred to the Audiology Department at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Eliza’s world had been spinning for almost 9 months by the time we saw the Consultant there, who carefully took Eliza’s story and conducted some tests on her ears and balance system. She finally postulated this: Eliza’s vestibular system had been knocked out by the original virus and her brain had been struggling to make sense of the world ever since.

The GOSH consultant suggested that we see a physiotherapist, who would teach Eliza the Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises for rehabilitation of people with vestibular problems. Eliza would have to retrain her brain to rebalance itself.

Our GP referred us to a local physiotherapist and Eliza started a daily programme of exercises to retrain her brain and balance system. The constant light headedness disappeared, which was a huge relief.

During this time Eliza was making up all the work she had missed, and achieved distinctions in Grade 7 clarinet and Grade 4 piano. She even danced in her school play and kept up with all of her BYMT musical commitments. She was exhausted and had huge bags under her eyes, but her complexion was becoming less grey and she now had some colour back in her cheeks.

Nevertheless, her dizzy spells would still come on without any notice and did so every three or four days. We continued to see the GOSH consultant, who was pleased with Eliza’s progress but still concerned at the debilitating dizzy spells. Just before Christmas 2012, she started drug treatment which only seemed to make the dizziness worse.

This time last year Eliza was spending three or four hours every day lying down in the nurse’s station at school, unable to move or open her eyes. She would wake up dizzy in the middle of the night and be unable to sleep for hours. The poor child was still going to school and making up the work that she’d missed but her music and the quality of her homework suffered and her grades were going downhill.

At last year’s parents’ evening her teachers were so helpful and sympathetic but I burst into tears several times at the thought of this bright future going down the toilet. I think you must be able to imagine how awfully stressful it all was.

We decided, with the doctors, to terminate Eliza’s drug treatment and she continued with the physiotherapy. And then, at the beginning of this school year, the dizzy spells suddenly became less frequent. She started having them every three weeks or so and, at one point there was five week gap between them. A glint of sunshine was appearing over the horizon. She was much more like her old self with a glaze of 15 year old teenager complicating things.

Now, Eliza has a busy life. Currently in the first year of her GCSEs, she’s having to do all the extra required for her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, which she’d doing as this year’s compulsory community service. She has ballet and all of her Bromley Youth Music activities. Last term she simply bit off far more than she could chew, what with being in the house band for the sixth form play and also taking part in the school drama company. Predictably for this essentially scatter-brained child, homeworks were late, music practices weren’t done and her marks in her Grade 6 piano and Grade 8 clarinet exams were deeply disappointing.

This term she has been asked to be music director for the lower school play and spent the Christmas holidays composing songs and incidental music. She spends lunchtimes and some after-school time teaching and coaching the young actors. She’s tired and the pressure is on with her homework. She has had two dizzy spells in the last week and I can’t help thinking that they must somehow be connected to stress and tiredness. I’m worried.

Fingers crossed the dizziness will abate in time as her brain completes its retraining, and she IS better than she was last year but these two dizzies in the last week have made me worry that her condition is worsening again as we start a crucial time in her school life.

All I can do is keep my fingers crossed and hope that she can somehow get herself through it all and that it will somehow just go. No-one knows what it is. No-one knows how to cure it. It’s just one of those things.


A new garden habitat


This is my back garden.

I realise that, to non-townies, it’s not terribly impressive. Even for where we live it’s quite small, and disproportionately small to the size of our house.

And yet here are the garden design people, doing a survey so that when we replace some of it with a glass box extension of our living space we can look forward to a beautifully designed cottage garden. That bit at the end backs on to some communal gardens but all sorts of wildlife live here: we have woodpeckers and parakeets and I swear some very vocal owls have moved in the the last couple of years. There are foxes and even some badgers. It’s brilliant for somewhere only 10 miles from the very centre of London.

The back is currently derelict and dried out by the constant thirst of our next door neighbour’s 50 year old willow tree, planted by his son, that will forever be suspected in subsidence claims. We’re hoping that we can reclaim that from the desert it has become and build a home for the visiting wildlife. We have seen stag beetles in our garden that waft around dreamily in early June like flirtatious fairies.

In the preceding months frogs and toads hop and crawl up our steep drive and somehow find their way to the pond you can see to mate. When Oscar was a tiny puppy and had just arrived at our house, hundreds of tiny, perfectly formed froglets hopped tiny hops all around the pond and he watched them intently.

Our pond, that once had a score of goldfish in it, has fallen into disrepair but we want to create a new home for the newts and mayflies and dragonflies that congregate here. There will be a wood pile for larvae, that need several years nestling undisturbed in order to mature into beautiful conker-shiny stag beetles. I’m hoping that the wood pile will encourage hedgehogs too, as a natural control for our resident snail and slug population.

I know people who stamp on stag beetles – “Kill it, kill it!” – and hate having to share their space with disorderly wildlife but who was here first, I wonder? One should not judge people, I guess, but I am always deeply suspicious of those who don’t appreciate animals. I love having the wildlife around.

We want to plant lots of flowers to encourage the bees and the butterflies to breed so they will fly off and pollinate our crops. I was considering some bee hives but was advised that they probably wouldn’t co-habit well with our resident canines.

I’m hoping for an apple tree impregnated with mistletoe that I can bring into the house every Yuletide. I’m not a gardener except in the armchair sense but I’m so enthusiastic about this new project. I really can’t wait.



Environmental impact



It’s exciting, right? I spent a couple of hours today with our architect. Apparently because our proposed kitchen and sitting room extension is more than 25% glass – what? I love glass – we have to have a SAP calculation done to assess the energy consumption and environmental impact of the proposed new building. Glass means more heat loss, you see, and the Building Control process has to take account of our energy efficiency.

The architect went around looking at the insulation in our walls; our windows and doors: how old they were, the thickness of glazing and frames; he looked at the composition of the floor and the efficiency of the current radiator and underfloor heating. He even went around counting all the lights in the house and what type they were. We have many, many halogens, a reflection of the ten year old disastrous building work on our first floor and loft conversion.

Some people might view this as intrusive red tape but I think it’s quite a valuable audit of our impact on the environment. I am not among those people who deny the opinions of 99% of the world’s climate scientists and I do not think that climate change is not my problem, Guv. I am keen to reduce my carbon footprint as I worry about the impact of my choices on any grandchildren with whom I might be presented in due course.

I’m pleased that houses for sale have to have this energy efficiency calculation done but I’m concerned that my house, built in 1928 with many draughts, would come out as very inefficient. So now is a chance to remedy that.

Apparently, the London Borough of Bromley has the second highest rate of recycling among the London boroughs. I think this is almost entirely due to me and the extra washing up of all our bottles and plastic cartons to put in our recycling every week. In fact, our new kitchen layout is being built around the recycling and composting bins, which will take discreet pride of place under our new long worktop. Not that we ever actually USE the compost, being only armchair gardeners, but that’s beside the point.

It turns out that OH’s proposed system for using grey (washing machine etc.) water to feed our loo cisterns is not going to be practical, and neither is the proposed grass roof of the new building, but we’re hoping to install a system to collect rainwater to use in the garden. I’d like to install solar panels but I’m put off by the initial outlay, Maybe one day.

How will we make our house more efficient? Well, we’ll probably have to include loads of insulation in the flooring and take the opportunity to reinsulate the old brick walls. The glass bifolds will probably have to be triple-glazed. And we’ll replace all our lights with leds once, that is, we have worked through our bulk-bought box of expensive halogen bulbs. Maybe we can have a new, non-draughty door. I do see this as a chance to correct the silliness of the past though, and I feel enthused about it.


In other news, the Boywonder called me as I was with the architect this afternoon, wanting me to

and go and pick him up from work. He always walks home but it was sleeting. Maybe snowing:

Me: No. I’ve got someone with me at the moment and I’m waiting for Ocado to arrive. Can’t you get the bus?

BW: Well, I don’t have any money on my Oystercard…

Me: What? What’s the point of an Oystercard with no money on it?

BW: What’s the point of me calling if all you’re going to do is criticise?


Hm. I know one should not wish harm on one’s offspring but an epithet beginning with a T came to mind. Grr.

Say what?


It’s so late to be starting a blog post and I have little idea of what I’m going to say tonight. I’m quite busy at the moment, you see. “Busy?” some might ask, “Busy doing what? What on earth do you do all day?

Well, today was a typical Wednesday. I rose at 6.24, came downstairs, sorted out the washing into different loads, put on the first load. Had a quick chat with MsDD before she left for school. Reminded MsDD about documents she needed to take in about her forthcoming school trip to Normandy. Reminded her to take her music books so she could practise during the day.

Put out breakfast things for the OH. Made my breakfast. I’m fasting today as I can’t tomorrow for various reasons. Let the dogs out. Fed the dogs. Cleared away the breakfast things. Wrote the Boywonder a note to do the washing up that he had lazily left in the sink last night. Put on another load of washing. Hung up the first load. Sorted out some sheets that had been dried from the tumble drier. Vacuumed the living room floor. Ordered some coffee capsules and descaler. Ordered groceries on Ocado.

Went upstairs to shower. Dressed and put the third load of washing on. Went over to my mother’s flat to check the work of the decorator. Met the decorator, had a quick chat and agreed to pay him. Returned, took the dogs out. Went to a farm shop to buy milk and stuff for supper and had a chat with the manager there, whom, I discovered, I knew. Went over to Jack Frost and bought dry Orijen dog food and rawhide chewy treats. Drove the dogs to High Elms and walked them for an hour and a bit.

Returned home. Put the fourth load of washing on. Ate a satsuma for lunch. Booked my car in for a service and MOT. Saw to some emails about our extension and other family matters. Cleaned up the garden and let the gardening people in to come and mulch. Put on a fifth load of washing.

Sat and looked at some of the songs I’m preparing for my Diploma. Ordered revision guide and a book about chocolate patisserie as I have to use up the passionfruit in our fruit box and I think I’ll make chocolate passionfruit tart; made goulash for everyone else’s supper. Ate a one pot low calorie supper from Cook for myself. Checked MsDD’s room. Went off to choir. Returned. Admonished the Boywonder at length for his laziness. Arranged to go around to the parents in law’s to chat about Powers of Attorney. Blogged.

That’s fairly normal day. Fine, if a little tiring, so far and I’m sure I’ve missed out a few things.

Now, the Boywonder is off to Australia next week and the OH has said a few times “We must get some Australian Dollars.”

“Fair enough,” I think. “He’ll need them.

What the OH actually means is “Gita, please will you go and get the Australian Dollars?” But he won’t say this directly and clearly. I’m supposed to impute the meaning somehow. What he does say is, “You can pop into Bromley. What are you doing tomorrow?” And he makes that face. That, “Well, you don’t do much,” face.

Tomorrow, as it happens, I’m going to the gym first thing. Luckily, I have my dog walker coming to walk Oscar and Raffles as I have to have my hair cut. I have it done every 2 to 3 months. When it gets all snaggy and needs it.

Then an architect is coming to talk about the existing house insulation in advance of our extension project and my Ocado order will arrive at the same time. There will be more washing and tidying and floor cleaning and blogging and singing practice. I also have to chase up some sheet music that came last week but could not be delivered as it was too big for our letterbox. I have all the ironing to do and supper to cook before I try and have a sleep because I’m going to be up all night tomorrow night. I probably won’t sleep.

So it makes me wonder when, exactly, I’m supposed to “pop into Bromley.” If OH had made himself clear and even ASKED me, I’d have done it before. But I’m busy and can’t fit it in when he’s assuming I’ll do it. And that, “Sorry I even dared to speak,” face just makes me feel stabby.  Grr.

Bleeding women


The down to earth and practical item on periods on today’s BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour is the inspiration for today’s post. If you are squeamish maybe this one’s not for you. Click here for a link to the item on their website.

I’m guessing I’ve now alienated about half of the readership of this blog and I apologise. The programme struck a chord, however, for your blogger fully recognises fully the taboo and shame that surrounds a normal bodily function with which half of humanity deals for around a quarter of their lives during their reproductively able years. Contrary to what many men, and Woman’s Hour, seemed to think, the women I don’t know hardly ever talk about their periods and the programme has unleashed a flow. Of thoughts. Sorry.

I was given a predictably scant amount of information about puberty by my mother. I suppose that I had any was a miracle and, to be fair to her, it’s much more than most mothers of her time and culture imparted to their children. Even now, according to a fairly recent survey, 62% of girls in India know nothing about periods before they have their first. Sanitary towels were never bought by my mother, who seemd to have at best a haphazard attitude to parenting.

I’ve only told a few people this and now I share it with the Internet: I had no pocket money – my parents did not believe in it – and I routinely stole pennies from her purse to save up for one big packet of sanitary towels. I was so embarrassed to buy them that I planned the trip weeks in advance. I’d walk home from school and visit a chemist further from home, where they didn’t know me, and I’d pick a huge bag of the cheapest kind off the shelves and take it straight to the counter and pay with the loose change without making eye contact with anyone, least of all the person on the till.

Disposal of the used towels was problematic. you couldn’t flush them – though once, on my German Language exchange to Frankfurt I did and completely blocked my host family’s loo – and I couldn’t, simply couldn’t, use a bin at home. – I must explain here: these were the days before we even had a supermarket in Chislehurst and there were certainly no reusable plastic carrier bags – so I’d riffle through my mother’s few department store carrier bags, or wrap them in loo paper and then throw away the used towels in a bin in a more secluded place away from home. You can imagine that having to go through this palaver every time meant I used as few towels as possible. Very few towels. Later, very few tampons. ICK, ICK, ICK.

I have no idea what my mum thought was happening. Perhaps she thought I had ripped up the cotton saris that I didn’t wear to soak up the blood and washed them in the dead of night so she didn’t see. I imagine, she didn’t think of it at all. It was probably easier that way. She never said a thing, about periods, about sanitary towels, about the money going missing from her purse. It’s much easier than facing difficult issues, isn’t it? I have based my own approach to parenting issues on my own experiences: in most cases I have done the opposite to how I was brought up!

This whole, huge, part of women’s daily life is cloaked in so much shame though, isn’t it? The adverts for sanitary products always use thin blue liquid to illustrate the absorbency of towels or tampons and they soothe us into the false premise that everything will be OK if you just use insert brand and product here. Helpfully, they’re wrapped in discreet purple to disguise the contents.

I was once particularly moved by an ad in France that asked what proportion of women and ever been let down by their sanitary protection. It is a trust issue of course. Some of us devote inordinate amounts of worry to how we look from the back and I don’t mean about whether our pert tushie has suddenly expanded. I thought that sort of stuff only ever happened to clumsy, ignorant me. Goodness, I’ve had such poor self-esteem in my life.

Part of the Woman’s Hour item addressed leakages too and it’s clear that it’s not just me. There are so many horror stories out there. Particularly since MsDD was born, I don’t mind telling you, there is one day a month where I MUST be within sprinting distance of my own ensuite bathroom. I have had serious leakages over church pew cushions at choir practice; in St. Mark’s Square in Venice; in several hotel beds; during Romeo and Juliet at Covent Garden, all over the place. No amount of protection will help against a sudden gush and you can forget about wearing tight white jeans. Oh yes.

And here is a story that I have NEVER shared with anyone until now: when I went to visit my late cousin in Singapore, the night spent on the plane was, inevitably, the heaviest day of my period. I use a Mooncup these days, but still need extra towels and I had placed one of these, that had soaked up a huge amount of blood, demurely in its own little discreet purple plastic baggie. But how to dispose of it? Being post-menopausal, and not wearing make-up, my cousin had no bins in her bathrooms. Fine, I thought, I’ll ask her discreetly tomorrow, and I tucked the bag away in my dirty laundry, freshened up and went downstairs for dinner with my family.

I discovered that there had been a diplomatic incident. Raffles the Beagle, who was then not even a year old, had crept in through our open spare room door and taken a shine to OH’s straw panama hat. He’d taken it downstairs and chewed it up while we were out at dinner. Nisha’s husband Mark had just finished clearing up the debris but I noticed a telltale smear of red on the floor. Chilled, I went upstairs to check, and my carefully-wrapped bloody sanitary towel had disappeared. I spent the night thinking that I’d poisoned their puppy with my alien menstrual blood and noxious absorbent gel. To this day I don’t know whether he ate it or not but it’s just another intimate tie I have with him, I guess.

Now I realise that if you’ve read this far you must be feeling quite queasy. Here’s another heartwarming story as told by my friend Jeannie and always remembered by me.

Jeannie once shared a train carriage with some male and female soldiers in uniform who were obviously coming off duty on leave. When they all disembarked from the train in London, one of the male soldiers quietly whipped off his camo jacket and gently tied it around his female colleague’s waist. She smiled at his kindness. This is how to treat people, don’t you think?

I’ve nearly finished now. I have a joyful (!) parents’ evening ahead of me and I must be #mumtaxi for a while first. But here’s a link to a Vice article that gave me pause for thought yesterday. If you ever donate stuff to a food bank, and our local Waitrose has a collection box, maybe think about putting in some sanitary towels or tampons?

The last word to my GP’s lovely practice nurse who, at my last MOT remarked, “You’re still having your periods? Good. Think of all that lovely oestrogen keeping you young and healthy.” Another way of looking at it then.





Summit fuel


This evening we have invited people to come and talk to us and each other about our proposed kitchen extension. Our architect, a kitchen designer, a builder and a garden designer will be giving us and each other the benefit of their experience.

As some might not have eaten, I have prepared some savoury muffins to a recipe loosely based on several I have found upon the Internet:

275g Self Raising Flour

1 tbs Baking Powder

1 tsp sea salt

Sift and mix these together.

Then mix 2 eggs (beaten) with 225ml creme fraiche – 1 pot of soured cream and a little milk – into the dry ingredients.

Add 100g goats’ cheese (cubed) and some chopped up olives and sun blush tomatoes. Mix swiftly and not too thoroughly.

Divide the mixture between 12 mini muffin cases. There might well be enough for ordinary-sized muffins too. Then bake at 200C for 20 minutes until golden and risen. I used my Intensive Bake programme for this, @HouseholdGenius

You probably won’t want to do what I did and forget to add the finely chopped red onion, that I sweated gently in 1 tbs butter and cooled.



On NOT breastfeeding

Breast IS best, of course, but it's not always as easy as all that

Read more

Twiddling my thumbs

Hm. Well I find myself at a bit of a loose end tonight. Odd how benign this makes me feel. I remember when Saturday nights were endless Val Doonican or The Two Ronnies  followed by Dallas and Starsky and Hutch or a film where my mum would always screen the rude bits (kissing) with her hand and squawk “Break!” to protect my innocence and her blushes.

I had intended to go to concert of a local music group that I’m hoping to join. It’s a higher level than the solo singing group that I normally attend  – they specified minimum Grade 8 level – so I’ve always been rather intimidated about showing my humble little face there. It’s not just singers – in fact there are very few singers left in the group – but soloists of all sorts, including some acquaintances from the local music teaching network. It could be a tad embarrassing to crash and burn during the usual 10 minute recital with them as an audience. My teacher is really pushing me to join and I thought their concert was tonight but it turns out that it’s tomorrow afternoon. Never mind.

So the OH is out playing in a concert and the Boywonder is at the cinema with his GF, in an early showing timed on purpose, I’ll bet, so that he can come home in time for Match of the Day. It will be an interesting one tonight with Man City, Spurs and Chelsea all losing to far less illustrious opponents. Oh yes, we watch the footie on Saturday nights. With ice cream.

Do you want to see a video I took of the dogs’ reaction when I went and picked them up from kennels yesterday? It’s almost worth the trauma of putting them in kennels to witness their irrepressible joy and seeing me again.

Here it is:



I’m annoyed by that blurriness in the centre of the screen. I’m guessing that’s because I moved the camera from a relatively warm car to the cold air. I hope I haven’t damaged it. I’ll make sure I don’t scoff the next lot of Desiccant Silica Gel I come across and put that in with the camera to dry it out.

Or there’s this ad that I came across in the Times of India last week:


I wonder if this sadly misguided lady always wears her underwear in the shower. Clutching at straws? Me? Never!

What to do this evening? MsDD was planning to watch Ocean’s Eleven and I could knit. And have pizza. Or I could just sit and enjoy the rare luxury of having nothing to do for once.




It’s very nice to go trav’ling
To Paris, London and Rome
It’s oh, so nice to go trav’ling
But it’s so much nicer
Yes, it’s so much nicer to come home



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