A little water on my mantle

Andrea at Lower Shaw Farm introduced us to Alchemilla, or the Lady’s Mantle:


Yeah, that’s not dew, that’s rain. It rained a lot. Anne’s head was drenched by the end of play, and refused to leave until I sat her down and she realised she was cold. Then suddenly she was agreeing with all my suggestions (how many almost two-year olds do that, I ask you). Change your jacket? Okay… Get in the buggy? Okay…! Put rain cover on to keep breeze off? Okay…

Yes, Freudian

So the Liberal Democrats are most likely hoping to form another coalition government in the event of no majority party after next year’s general election. To me, the key information is:

The two parties have until now, tried to keep any contact over a potential future coalition deal secret.

Members of the group insist the dinner, which took place at the Joe Allen restaurant in central London, was an “informal catch up between friends who have known each other for years”.

Well, that’s nice to know that the different parties who are meant to be keeping one another on their toes / in check are old mates.


I picked up a Minion from our local charity toy shop. Anne likes the Minions (who doesn’t?).


But according to her, he is Monty, the main character in Monstersaurus — one of her favourite books of the moment.

Is this a sign of crafting to come

Oh, the detritus of former craft projects… I have a whole load of fabric ‘scraps’ from a play mat I’d intended to make for Anne when she was a baby. She is now almost two and would probably rather eat vegetables than use a play mat (one, too much havoc to wreak in too little time; two, she generally doesn’t like vegetables). I had already cut them into strips beforehand, so all I needed to do to turn them into fabric yarn was to do a wee bit more cutting.

Et voilà! Um, here is the start of a crocheted rag rug:

the beginning of a rag rug

I’ve missed crocheting in the round, although using fabric strips and a huge hook is a slightly different undertaking to an amigurumi duck. The inspiration for the rug comes from King Soleil, and if this ‘prototype’ goes well, I might raid a local charity shop or Freegle to get some shirts / sheets to cut up.

Thermal pot ‘baked’ beans

Based on this veg-heavy Aussie recipe, I’ve adapted it to work in the thermal pot.

baked beans
1 tin beans of your choice, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 thick rashers streaky bacon, cut into 1cm strips
1 red pepper, diced
400g can tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Small pinch dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Saute garlic, onion, carrot, and bacon in the thermal pot until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the red peppers, mix well. Pour in the tomatoes and the beans, as well as the herbs and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for five to ten minutes, then transfer it to the vacuum sleeve. Let it cook for at least two hours.

Put the thermal pot back on medium-high heat and stir in the honey, vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste). Reduce until the sauce is at your desired consistency.

Light-weighing in

Gary Barlow and a host of other famous / influential folk have invested in schemes that have been designed to avoid tax. Cue outrage. Oh please. If we had the money to pay accountants to find these ‘investments’ that take advantage of tax law loopholes, we’d all be doing it.