Homemade Christmas decorations- tree stars


Here is a lovely way to make pretty tree stars out of old Christmas cards . I think in wartime Britain during the 1940s people would have made lots of homemade decorations out of card or paper! – Hope you enjoy this blog post from 2012!  For full step by step instructions to make these tree stars click here  C xxxx

The 1940's Experiment

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A  few readers asked how I made some really simple but pretty “tree stars”..

Our Christmas this year, is as always frugal, but also has more of an emphasis on homemade, so we are enjoying trying some money saving ideas out and decorating our place festively, making do with what we’ve got.

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Last week, I noticed a link on a friends Facebook page, to an article on how-to make homemade paper stars. Initially looking at the design it seemed like it would be terribly fiddly and complicated but I gave it a go. The  first one was a little fiddly but the second and third were quick and easy and looked delightful once I had hung them up on our Christmas tree .

I made mine from standard white printer paper as I thought they would look nice against the green of the tree but you could make them from…

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Four in a Bed – Channel 4 – 1940s Cooking!


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So one very hot day last summer I drove all the way over to Cambridge to take part in a Channel 4 TV show called “Four in a Bed”.

They wanted someone to facilitate a 1940s bake off and we decided on a very simple ‘Carrot Cookies’ recipe.

Armed with many props from my kitchen such as tea cups, rations books, bunting, old lace, cake stands, vegetables and ‘here’s-some-I-prepared-earlier-cookies’, and getting lost a couple of times on the way, we eventually made it and despite not having a hairbrush at all (I forgot it) was able, with the help of my daughter, to position two rather pathetic looking victory rolls precariously on my head and squeeze into my slightly tight dress (which WILL be loose one day).

We had great fun filming with Channel 4 at DUXFORD LODGE which is a beautiful country house quite close to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

Initially I made my excuses not to do this and tried to find someone else who would BUT so many times in my life I turn things down because of being self conscious so pushed myself to do this and was really pleased I did.

It was fun, gave me a little more confidence and of course will always be a day to remember.

The 1940s Cooking Scene starts at 8 minutes 50 seconds in and you can watch it on the link here.

Keep pushing outside your comfort zone if ever you get a fun opportunity like this and just GO FOR IT!!!

C xxxxx

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A very well know supermarket visited….


profilephoto1940An exciting weekend…

Yesterday I spent all day cleaning up my rather messy kitchen and baking some 1940’s dishes as a VERY well known supermarket were sending a photographer over on Sunday (today!).

I’ll tell you more when I know more because quite frankly, although the photographer was lovely and talented (see his Instagram here) I think he had his work cut out with this chubby silver haired vintage foodie. My dress barely fit, my wrap around pinny wouldn’t wrap around (my boobs have seemed to have grown immensely overnight and has scared the life out of me!) and my Victory Rolls looked more like something worn by ‘A Flock of Seagulls’. I am about 80% convinced right now that they will decide not to run the article when they see my photos…

Whatever happens, it was good spending all weekend cooking and giving the kitchen a pre Christmas scrub and Jess and I enjoyed a chit-chat with the photographer who was very kind.

Right now I am absolutely shattered. I’ve gobbled down 1/2 a Lord Woolton Pie and two blackberry mince pies and am going to have an afternoon snooze on the sofa.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

C xxxx

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Gym and Weight Loss Update – 15th November 2016


Enjoyed some walking and jogging on the treadmill tonight with my friend Bertie and had a lot going on in my head so grabbed my phone and just talked.

My weight has gone up from about 255 lbs to 266 lbs in the last 4 weeks (and I had put 5 or 6 lbs on before that too) so I am really trying hard to get back on track and focused.

As a person who has been morbidly obese most of the last 20 years or so you have a huge fear of once you have lost some weight that you will lose control and put it all back on again (lets face it – we’ve all probably been there many times). I used to be 345 lbs and NEVER want to be there again because it was painful and unhealthy. My goal currently is to get below 250 lbs by Christmas and get below 200 lbs to run the London Marathon in April 2017 as a runner for the Royal British Legion.

Night night, never give up!

C xxx

Blackberry Mincemeat for WW2 Christmas Mince Pies – Recipe No. 157


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You had to really think ahead on the home-front during WW2. Bottling hedgerow fruits during the late summer months would have enabled you to use many of those berries to make Christmas mince pies. The fruits bulked out the dried fruit which was much harder to get hold of in the quantities most housewives were used to.

7c3678aff3aa79930546591cda391b12This recipe comes from ‘Woman Magazine’ and makes about 3-4 jam jars or at least a large litre kilner jar and will be enough to fill 24 mince pies!

I made this today and as I had no blackberries and obviously wasn’t forward thinking like many bakers during WW2, I was able to just pop along to my local Sainsbury’s a buy a frozen basics bag of forest berries which includes blackberries. They’ve worked very well!

I tasted a spoonful before bottling and it tastes very much like a mix between traditional mincemeat and apple pie mixture. Very tasty!

Blackberry Mincemeat for Christmas Mince pies.

1 lb blackberries (or mixed berries). Use fresh, frozen or bottled.
4 cooking apples
4 oz (100 g) butter, margarine or shredded suet
4 oz (100 g) of chopped mixed nuts
1/2 lbs ( 400 g) of dried mixed fruit
2 – 3 rounded dessertspoons of soft brown sugar (or granulated)
8-10 drops almond essence
2 rounded teaspoons of mixed spice
Honey or golden syrup

Method

Chop up apples and place in saucepan with a spoonful of water and soft brown sugar and simmer until apple is soft and getting pulpy.
Add berries, spice and almond essence and simmer on low for another 15 minutes stirring now and again. Switch off heat.
Add your margarine/butter/suet and stir in until melted
Add chopped nuts and dried fruit and stir (at this stage if you wish you can add a dram of whisky or brandy.)
Spoon into clean, sterilized jam jars and once filled drizzle the top with a little warm honey or golden syrup to seal before adding lid.
Store in the fridge or somewhere cool until needed when you make your mince pies at Christmas!

Should keep for 3 – 6 months in the fridge!

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Armistice Day – 2 minutes silence at work.


I got my phone out and took a quick video today during our two minutes silence at work. When I played it back and saw some of the young faces in the video, people I work with, it brought a few tears to my eyes thinking how awful it must have been that so many young men lost their lives during WW1.

It’s important to never forget such selfless acts… C xxxx

Double bra’d and not self-conscious at Poppy Run.


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So today we ran a Poppy Run to raise money for the Royal British Legion as part of my main London Marathon 2017 Fundraiser at www.donatepoppy.uk

Despite my wobbly 260 lbs (yes I’ve put on about 10 lbs recently) I jogged the 1st mile without stopping in a respectable (for me) 12 minutes and completed the rest by jogging the downhills and walking the rest. It took 44 minutes.

Beyond the brilliant atmosphere and the great cause there was something else that made this a happy day for this ‘big girl’ and that was it was a day where I didn’t once feel self-conscious. Not once!

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It wasn’t so long ago where I found it impossible to jog outside in front of people. But then I started jogging a minute or two on most of my numerous evening hikes this past summer and as most of these were done in parks with not many people about, slowly I found myself getting used to running past people and when they looked I smiled. Soon after I tried a few morning 5k park runs. It was quite hard to do this as there can be many hundreds of people taking part and some of them are fantastic athletes. BUT so many people at the Park Runs are so encouraging and coming last just about every single time hasn’t been discouraging at all!

I think what I am trying to say is that part of my long meandering weight-loss and fitness journey is that to become more successful you have to absolutely say F*** it! You have to be able to not give a damn if you jog slow, if you sweat and turn bright pink, if you have boobs that bounce dangerously everywhere even if you’ve double bra’d or if you always come last.

Every day you get out there and do something you will care less and feel better about yourself and proud of what you are achieving. Please never give up, just keep going. Please take this advice from someone who has spent at least 20 years struggling against this thing called obesity….

Love and hugs and here’s to not giving a damn and never giving up!

C xxxxx

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