29/06/2012

how to make key lime pie



You need to make this pie. 

Oh, you really do, I'm not kidding either.

Not only is it easy to make but you don't even have to cook this bad boy to get a fabulous "oh my gosh I'm a domestic goddess" dessert to wow all your friends and family with.  Please note that I didn't wow anyone with mine but me and Mr P had a wonderful time demolishing it over the course of a few days!
I stumbled across the recipe for it when pondering what to do with eight leftover limes.  I know, EIGHT leftover limes, what were we thinking...a mass mojito session perhaps, a long sea journey?

Anyway, this is easy peasy and all you need is:

8 fresh limes
1 pint of double cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk, the 379g size
375g of digestive biscuits
150g butter
Mmmmmm ingredients to make your heart go boom!
And this is all you have to do to make dessert heaven.

Melt the butter in a pan whilst you smash the biscuits up - I do this in a food bag with the aid of a rolling pin and some imagined victims!
Mix the butter and the biscuits together and press the yummy mix it firmly into a large pie dish whilst trying not to eat any.  Pop it into the fridge to chill whilst you get squeezing.

Zest and juice all the limes - you'll be amazed at how long this takes with a hand zester and chuffed to bits when you see how much juice you get.
Then mix the double cream, the condensed milk and the lime juice together in a big bowl.  Give it a little whisk for a few minutes (no need to tire yourself out here),  and finally add the lovely green zesty bits.
Stir it all together and pour the topping onto your crushed biscuit base.  I had quite a lot left over so also filled a few big dessert glasses with the mixture and they went into the fridge too (no they didn't last long either)!

Leave it to set in the fridge for an hour or two, if you can stand it.
If you like your desserts to look pretty then add some decoration, you can get crystallized lime zest apparently but I couldn't find any (didn't look terribly hard to be honest), but we are happy at Blooming Towers to eat our puddings straight up.

Decorated or not, cut yourself a slice, put your feet up and enjoy.



Ta da!!!

You need to know that this dessert tastes absolutely amazing, the tarty old limes takes away the overwhelming sweetness of the cream and condensed milk, almost (just almost) taking away the guilty feeling that you get when you eat a pudding that is entirely made up of butter, cream and condensed milk.



Article first published in a different form and style as Discover a Great Use for Limes on Technorati.

27/06/2012

how much does a horse fly bite hurt?

It hurts like hell, that's how much.  So now you know.

I suggest you avoid horse flies (and horses for that matter) like the plague because they are in league with the devil and they are OUT TO GET YOU!!

And how do I know this? What gives me the right to tell you to avoid something/somebody/someinsect.  Well I am a victim, I got bitten yesterday morning whilst walking Tilly, TWICE!!...and through my leggings! This means that horse flies are hard core bitches and you better believe it.

They don't just pierce your skin and suck your blood like a mosquito does. No, no, no, these monsters tear open your flesh with their mandibles, rip your flesh open! and then they gorge on your blood so that they can go off to reproduce and give birth to even more horsey monsters.  No wonder it hurts so damn much.

Here is how the action went down...those of you who are squeamish should not be reading this!!

I must have felt the ripping open of my flesh as I was ambling along, I looked down and saw the beast on my leggings and didn't think that much of it, just brushed it away.  Down the road a bit my leg started really stinging, a bit like a wasp sting, and I pulled my leggings up to look but couldn't see much.

Got home, had a proper look and sure enough there are two big bites on my leg sort of near my knee and looking a bit angry so I just bung some Sudocream on them and go about my business.  BTW do you use Sudocream?  It is like wonder stuff and I'm addicted but I'll save that for another post, lest I get distracted from my mega complaint.

Evening comes around and my leg has started throbbing, the two bites look a bit red and angry and so I slather on some antihistamine cream not even thinking about the fact that being pregnant I probably shouldn't use it.  Sure enough the antihistamine works a treat and my leg is soothed and the swelling sort of goes down.

Overnight the pain in my leg is so bad that it wakes me up when I move about - starting to realise the extent of the horse fly powers by this point.

Get up in the morning and the whole side of my leg is swollen and rock hard and hot.  This is not good.  I'm still slathering on bite cream and decide to ask my Dad for some advice, it is at this point that I realise I shouldn't be using it...gulp..and decide to ring NHS Direct for their advice.

They are brilliant.  What a fantastic service, they were so lovely and helpful but basically said (in a really kind way) I shouldn't use the antihistamine cream anymore and that I had to go and see a doctor today!

Erm now I'm feeling really stupid (and more than a bit panicky) but I phone the doctors and they see me straight away.  They confirm that horse flies are evil (I knew it!) and also that I shouldn't be using antihistamine anything, also that I can't use insect repellent when I walk Tilly (so what am I going to do?) and also that I can use some steroid cream (which they prescribed) but if I didn't want to then I didn't have to.

I have decided not to use the steroid cream if I don't have to and instead will be sitting this evening (good job Wimbledon's on), with an ice pack on my elevated leg whilst I try and decide how I can walk Tilly tomorrow (she didn't get a walk today and consequently she hates me), without looking like I'm off to the mountains - for once I hope it'll be cold.

Here ends the massive horse fly complaint but let it be known that you should avoid these beasts at all costs, especially if you are pregnant as you can't use anything on them.  Also covering up with leggings doesn't detract them from their mission (I'm going out in a full-on snow suit tomorrow) but walking near horses does increase your chance of a bite so avoid them too.  Mr P said that if they bite you on your face it can be much worse than a leg or arm bite (something about mega facial swelling) so I'm considering getting a bee-keepers net for my head..because you can never be too safe can you?!

I do apologise for this detour away from my usual happy, picture heavy posts and can reliably inform you that I will be back to my usual blog form tomorrow (that is if my enormous, swollen, painful leg has gone down by then)!!

ps. this is what them bitches look like so you can keep your eyes peeled.

Source








23/06/2012

June


It makes me ever so slightly mad that it's almost the end of June and we have had hardly any sunshine.  Is it wrong to be mad with the weather??  Being British it does seem to be a waste of energy.

Well it is actually the first month of British summertime and it should be (in my fantasy world) full of sunshine and flowers, maxi dresses, suncream, strawberries, Pimms, super-high wedges, sunglasses and happy Ascot racegoers. 


Instead we've had gale force winds and floods, jumpers and socks, builders not turning up because of torrential rain and a kagoul requirement to walk the dog. Hmph! 

To be honest I'm convinced worried that I secretly love our outrageous weather, gives me something to moan talk about and if it gets too hot I can't handle it anyway!

The really good news is that most of the June flowers are out and I'm currently in love with the beautiful pink peonies in my Dad's garden (see top pic) and all these other pretties that I've seen this month whilst walking Tilster in the forest and the park.


The forest is preferably for walking because it's quiet but it gets really boggy when it's wet so I have to take her to the park which has become a bit of a battleground because we think Till Bill has entered her teenager stage!  In fact we're convinced she has as she keeps running off and scaring small children and dogs by going all stalky and wolfy with her hackles up....it's not very nice, I hope we're not scarring small children for life!

She's not quite so scary when she's up to this.


You just know that as she's rolling around in the grass, inside she is going "YAY!!!"




I like the fact that blue and yellow wildflowers so often grow together.


And these pink bells are lovely and dangly and properly scrumptious.

Hope you've had a nice Saturday and it's been full of flowers and sunny where you are.

20/06/2012

Royal Ascot Day 2 - Hat of the Day



I loved her Union Flag hat yesterday but oh my, today Jackie St Clair is wearing a lovely, lovely, blue and giant hat and I am in love with it.

I also think that this lady looks just wonderful and her hat is a blooming joy of peony-like goodness.



She would not look out of place gracing the pages of Ari Seth Cohen's super blog ADVANCED STYLE.  Congratulations on looking fabulous in pink lovely lady.

Source for both images.

19/06/2012

Royal Ascot starts in sunshine



The glamour, the style, the Queen, the glamour, champagne, strawberries, glamour and of course the hats...oh and not forgetting the horses, it must be Royal Ascot.

Now Blooming Towers has more of a claim on Royal Ascot than most given that we are located smack bang in the middle of the furore and furore is exactly the right word for it too.  Chaos reigns (as opposed to Queenie) for one full week in this sleepy royal corner of the country.

Source

Oh heavens this is the week when those who can....leave!  I'm not kidding either, traffic all around comes to a standstill, coaches and Bentleys everywhere and you do see some astonishing sights.  In the evenings there are all manner of happenings on Ascot High Street....yep, the stories we could tell you, the things we have seen.

But my favourite bit, and the thing that makes it all worthwhile, is the fashion.  Especially this year because Ascot have clamped down on the dress code in an attempt to clean up the rowdy (and somewhat cheap) behaviour that has plagued Royal Ascot for the past few years and quite right too in my opinion.



No short skirts, no bare shoulders, straps no less then an inch wide, hats must be worn and famously no more fascinators in the Royal Enclosure, hurrah, hurrah for snooty old Ascot Racecourse.  This surely means that I'll be seeing much less orange and dimply flesh trotting past my window this year...phew.

So I've been watching all the outfits from the comfort of my sofa (you know, on the telly), and they really do look proper lovely this year.  Here is a selection of my favourite from today.

Lovely hat. Source

A dresscode assistant (in the blue) AKA The Fashion Police! Source
Lovely hats and ladies in red, white and blue. Source
I love her hat :o) Source
Soaking up the atmosphere...and the Bolly! These ladies have the right idea. Source

It's been such a nice day sunshine wise, lovely to see everyone out in their posh frocks, hope it lasts for the rest of the week.

15/06/2012

Friday..fabulous or flunky


This made me smile.  Could Tilly be any more fabulous.

I can still see my feet but only just, this is fabulous too!




Could these paws be any bigger?

Visited the folks today for an early Fathers' Day visit to Dad and Delta looked fabulous.  Her and Tilly were very sweet together, that is after Tilly got over the fact that another puppy was MORE annoying than her!



I have a new blog friend who makes fabulous prints and she is having a giveaway this week, go and check out Tracey English now for a chance to be in the draw to win either a London print like the one above (there is another to choose from) or a cute set of five cards.  Ooooh lovely!



This is what I came home to at lunchtime!!!  Lovely stuff to advertise to the world. Flunky Friday for sure.

To explain, the builders had removed our waste pipe from the bathroom to underpin the house (as apparently there hasn't been anything there holding our house up for the last 100 or so years!!!), so any flush would just drop straight down on to their unfortunate heads..hence big sign in big letters outside front door.

What do you think the first thing I do is??  Yep, you guessed it, flushed the loo!  I didn't mean to, spent the whole time on the loo telling myself "I must not flush, I must not flush" and then it just happened, like, automatically...and whilst the building inspector was here.

So they were all stood around the removed pipe discussing the underpinning in very serious tones and then whoosh, loads of wee falls out of the sky onto their heads....THE HORROR!!!

Oh well, as I said to Mr P, it could have been MUCH worse!

14/06/2012

how to crochet a loveheart



First things first.  I have never attempted a crochet tutorial before..gulp! I feel it is only fair to make you aware of this right from this start as it may be a bit rubbish and I apologise in advance if it is or if it doesn't quite make sense!  Disclaimer out of the way, some background information...

Having taught myself to crochet last year, I completely fell in love with it, so much so that I now have a huge number of projects on the go, am constantly being told off for leaving stashes of wool lying around the house and basically have become a bit of a crochet geek (I have even been known to do it in bed)!

Recently I found myself changing designs and doing things differently so that I can crochet in a way that I personally feel is more aesthetically pleasing and this led me to modify the small loveheart design from Little Birdie Secrets that I blogged about here, in order that it be slightly neater and could incorporate a way to hang them immediately (given that I am currently obsessed with hanging heart trees in my house as mentioned here).  You can of course use the original design, which is lovely, especially if you are making them for applique purposes.

But I digress.



For those of you who are brand new to crochet, this little loveheart is an easy peasy project to start you off.  I found the following basics video and follow up video that I think best explains the basics and the stitches that you will need to complete this project. Give them a watch, have a little practice and off you go - feel free to email me if you need any tips or advice.

Lets get started then.  I have used US crochet terms throughout which I know is damning to the British crochet sisterhood but lets face it, the American terms make much more sense..don't they?

You will need:

Some wool or yarn - I'm using an acrylic aran weight yarn from Sirdar - which I think is called worsted weight in the US.
A crochet hook - I'm using a Clover hook in size 4mm
Some scissors
A yarn needle

Step 1.  make a knot on your crochet hook and then chain 4.


Step 2.  slip stitch into the first stitch you made to form a loop.




Step 3.  once you have your loop, chain 3.



Step 4.  do three treble crochets into the loop you have made (now the centre of your heart).



Step 5.  followed by three double crochets into the centre loop - halfway there.


Step 6. do one treble crochet, three double crochets and finally three treble crochets to make the other side of your heart (so it is mirrored to the other side).  This is what it should look like and you are nearly finished.


Step 7.  chain three and then slip stitch into the centre of your heart.



Step 8.  pull through enough yarn to create a loop to hang your heart up.


Step 9.  snip off your yarn and you will be left with two ends, tie these in a knot to secure them.



Step 10.  sew in your two ends through the back of the heart to stop them coming loose.


Step 11.  sit back and admire your handiwork.



There you have it.  Now you can make lots of lovely crochet hearts with which to decorate your home (note: Tilly is so impressed she has passed out in the background!!).

Good luck and remember to email me for help and/or advice and also send me links to pics/posts featuring your finished lovehearts.

ps. no I did not colour coordinate my nails and my wool deliberately, honest ;o)

13/06/2012

I love this, it made me smile a whole lot




Just the prettiest version I've ever heard of this brilliant song.

Go on, watch it, you will fall in love.  I did.

Found over at the Girl's Gone Child blog, thank you for cheering up my Wednesday!

06/06/2012

crochet birdie mobile


I've been wanting to share the gorgeous Birdie Mobile I made from Linda Permann's Little Crochet book for ages.

I mentioned it here, actually made it for my brother and sister-in-law's new baby ages ago and then it sat (hung..or is it hanged?!?) in our upstairs hall for ages waiting to be delivered.

But delivered it was and now their new baby girl has some pretty birds to sit and float about above her cot.




The hoop is crocheted too!!

I really, really love this pattern.  The birds are so easy to make and stuff and then the construction of the mobile is genius as it is all crocheted and linked together to form one piece, very simple and not at all as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

I decided to use the same primary colour scheme as Linda and I like how it has turned out, very bright and vivid.  I am about to start my second one and this time I'm going to make it in pastel colours so it will be cool to compare the two.

Linda's version from her book Little Crochet.
This is the wool I used, it's Sirdar Supersoft Aran.


I got it from Purplelinda Crafts after searching around for ages for a worsted weight yarn - this type of wool doesn't seem to be so common in the UK and you do need the thickness of the yarn to hide the white colour of the stuffing inside the birds.

I didn't use the pink in the end but I'm thinking it's going to look lovely with the bright yellow. Oh yeah!

So May is over - the month of essay writing is behind me (thank goodness) and I have now already got my crochet groove back on.  I spent the weekend puzzling over my Springtime Throw, trying to figure out how many more square I'm going to need to make.


I've made 210 so far and I think I need to make 90 more (am suitably glum too!) so that my blanket can be 15 x 20 squares in size.

This is a big reduction on the size in the Nicki Trench pattern but I've decided that this blanket will be perfect for a new baby and come September time me and Mr P are going to need it :o)

I hope you all had a lovely Jubilee weekend and had some time to get your crochet groove on too.

01/06/2012

happy jubilee weekend

It's finally arrived. Our lovely Queen is celebrating 60 fabulous years on the throne...I can't believe it. I can remember the Silver Jubilee of 1977 so that makes me, like, OLD. Hurrah for Queenie, we love you Ma'am!

Queen's Diamond Jubilee ...
Diamond Jubilee Pincushion t...
Queens Diamond Jubilee Embro...
Union Jack British earrings ...
Red White and Blue Mini Bunt...
Jubilee flower ring rose ros...
Diamond Jubilee hand-printed...
Jubilee Party Cake Candle Se...
Jubilee Print - Long To Reig...
Red, white & blue 100% cotto...
Union Jack, Jubilee, Olympic...
BRITISH BULLDOG JUBILEE limi...
The Queens Jubilee Bracelet
Mismatched Union Jack Vintag...
DIamond Jubilee Pocket Mirro...
Jubilee bunting gift box wit...

All items are available from Etsy, just click on the pictures to go straight there.  I'm in love with the pin cushion and the gift box.

How are you celebrating the Jubilee?  We are going to a barbeque (probably be an indoors one now though given the weather) and I shall be wearing red, white and blue.  Keep it patriotic, God save the Queen and all that.

Have a great celebration weekend.