Monday, 31 December 2012

Six months of blogging…
The year has ended on a high in the MummyHen household (we have not had any powercuts since Saturday morning - ssshhhhh)

After six months of blogging, six months of being careful with money, watching what we spend we have made some really good progress.

Credit card #1 has been paid in December good riddance – woooohooo (dances a jig).  I will write about the problems of trying to close the account.
CC#2 is now being targeted with final payment due in August.
DaddyHen Loan paid off in July.

Snowballing has begun – DH loan and CC#1 are now going towards CC#3 which should be paid off in latter months of 2013.
CC debt is now just over £42,000; down from over £54,000.

Emergency fund established in July.

Christmas - no cc spending everything is paid for.
And the best of all was making some lovely friends in blogland

Thanks to all of my followers and readers

Goals for 2013 are being finalised …

Happy New Year!!

MummyHen X


Friday, 28 December 2012

It goes on and off and off and on…
Power cuts still on going. Power went at 7pm yesterday evening; workmen turned up at 10pm, lights came on for about an hour. Then the digging started, yes they started to dig up the pavement directly outside my house at midnight, why couldn't they do this when they came at 10am in the morning??!!

They continued digging and looking for the problem until 2:45. I did telephone to complain, but the thing that got me. You won’t believe it. The power company do send text updates during the power cut but they stop at 22:00 until 7:00 because of the noise nuisance. Yes, blogging friends they won't send updates because its (and I quote) 'it's against the law' as it causes a noise nuisance but its ok for them to erect powerful lights and for them to dig up the pavement in the middle of the night directly outside my bedroom. I am not happy.

Eventually got to sleep to be woken by the house alarm going off - you know what that means - yes another power cut. More workmen, another hole in the pavement a few doors up. Clearly the hole they had to dig in the middle of the night in front of my house was a waste of time and sleep.

The customer liaison officer phoned me this afternoon after the power had been off for 6 hours, to apologise for the inconvenience but they still hadn't found the fault and we should expect more power cuts.

Brilliant just brilliant!!

MummyHen X

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Had a lovely Christmas…

Except for the power cuts.
Just sitting down to Christmas lunch and darkness, after stumbling around for mobile phone I managed to phone the power company – it’s not the same as the one we pay our bill to for power cuts you have to know who is the supplier of electricity.  Anyway got the number logged the call – they were already aware; I did point out that the auto messages whilst waiting do say to check the website or yellow pages or utility bill.  Yellow pages we recycle as we have the internet,  ah except when we have no power, and we don’t get a paper bill it’s all online.  Fortunately I have a phone that is internet enabled but what about those that don’t; anyway I had my whinge.  We were able to carryon eating and the day wasn’t really spoilt; just over an hour without power, but some of the neighbours where still cooking and they have small children – it can’t have been much fun.  One of the positive things is when you phone and report it you can get text message updates – that was helpful. 

Boxing day – quite day; visited MIL. Just sitting down to dinner and again - darkness – yes another blackout.  This time the number was already in my phone – the  man on the phone said I was the first to phone; and was I really sure it was a power cut and not my fuse box – deep breath; yes I was sure as we had one the day before.  Again just over an hour without power.
Went to bed early as have been suffering a cold and sore throat; didn’t sleep well so woke late at just after eight; that’s odd the digital clock isn’t working – yes you’ve got it another power cut.  Phoned again – blah blah blah.  This time they will send out a gang to see if they can identify the fault and fix it.  This time is wasn’t as bad as it was light so we decided to go out and collect medicine for the cat – it could have waited but might as well do something useful whilst the power is off.  SonnyHens birthday next week so pickup up a few presents in the sale – shhh.  By the time we got home the power was back on.  First thing was to make sure all the phones are fully charged.

We will now put together a power cut kit and leave it in the draw in the hallway so we don’t have to rush around finding touches, matches, candles, radio with battery.

Do any of you have a land line phone that doesn’t use electricity to work – remember the days before digital phones; we don’t and it’s a real pain.


MummyHen X

Monday, 24 December 2012

Been on the go all day

Like most of you I’ve just sat down for the first time today.  Worked this morning, collected the final shopping, then started the baking and cooking.
I finished the gingerbread house – not great photos but want to make sure I got some pictures before it collapsed; it’s still standing!!!!

Boiled the ham, cooked the turkey crown, made mince pies, sausage rolls and then cooked tea.
The only thing I’ve not done is vegetable prep but that won’t take long in the morning.

I am now going to put my feet up and have a lovely glass of wine.

MummyHen X

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas preparation

[thought I'd published this yesterday - grrrrr]

Although I’m working next week – it’ll be much less busy and stressful as most of my colleagues are on holiday, so finishing work yesterday was a relief. 
Went to Mr S’burys today and to spend my nectar points and do a final shop before Christmas – it wasn’t as bad as previous years.  Speaking of previous years – I looked back at how much we spent last year on Christmas; everything gifts and food; it was a real shock, north of £3,000.  No, I can’t believe it – this year I have spent under a third of last year – just the butcher to visit on Monday and then we are done.
I received a lovely cook book for my birthday from SonnyHen along with a request for a gingerbread house

 – never made one of those before; ok I’ll give it ago; had everything in the cupboard except the decoration; so have started

What are you going to prepare over the next few days?
Tomorrow preparation
Bread sauce
Cranberry sauce
Mince pies
Sausage rolls

Monday preparationButcher – turkey and beef
prepare vegetables
Feet up, relax with a glass of ...

MummyHen X

Monday, 17 December 2012

Many Happy Returns

I didn't have a party but had some lovely presents from my wonderful family - thankyou.
Me at my 1st birthday party, forty something years ago (DaddyHen did confirm that I am still mid-forties!?!?)


MummyHen X

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cakes wonderful cakes

Yeah I have finished my cakes – all done n’ dusted.

Cake Parcel – inspiration from Jane Asher Christmas Holly Parcel. Oh my I didn't notice the price wow.


White Star Tree – inspiration from The Pink Whisk – if you not visited Ruths blog then you are missing a treat. 

Holly Cake – inspiration Pink Whisk Holly & Berries Cake.

I have a stressful job and making these cakes has been relaxing and I really enjoyed it.  I hope all the recipients will love then too.


MummyHen X


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It’s cold

Actually it’s freezing – the cobwebs in the garden – no I don’t have any in the house!?!? – are very frosty this morning.

Cakes are coming on but not finished – only the two large round ones to complete, large square is complete but can't post a picture as the recipient reads my blog.

Here are some better pictures - actually not that pleased with the photos.


MummyHen X


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Icing afternoon

I need to buy some more icing as I ran out, four small cakes (5” square) all done well almost need some sliver ribbon to put around the base of each cake.

Large 8” round has had its base white icing - still deciding on the design; spent far too much time yesterday evening looking at some wonderful designs. I have some ideas so watch this space.

Large 10” square didn’t get to this one today – need to buy some more icing

And I did make another Christmas cake – which will be gifted; had all the ingredients in the cupboard so it was ‘free’


The artificial light is dreadful so apologies for the poor quality of the photos

 MummyHen X

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Marzipan afternoon

All done and ready for the icing tomorrow


MummyHen X

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent has begun

Four weeks until Christmas, I love Christmas – I had hot Christmases as child when we lived in Africa and cold Christmases here in England, both very different – the food, traditions, and obviously the weather but the constant was the family being together, carols and church. 
How do you prepare for Christmas?
I have ordered meat and poultry from the butcher – in previous years I’ve used high street supermarkets but in more recent years I like to support the local butcher.
I have made drink – mentioned here in my previous post.  This will be decanted in the next week or so ready for gifting.

I have made food and stocked the freezer for the days after Christmas and New Year before life gets back to normal in January.  I am hoping to take time off from work and have a rest so I little planning ahead will help.

I have been crocheting a table running – my poinsettia table runner.  I used 100% cotton and a 4mm hook. 

Start with yellow, create a magic loop or chain 6 to form a circle/loop, chain 3 (counts as 1tr), 11tr in to the same space. Slip stitch into the first stitch to join.  12 stitches in total.

Change to red and work 12, 2tr & chain 1 clusters into each space. Slip stitch into the first stitch to join.

Change to green and work 12, 3tr & chain 1 clusters into each space. Slip stich into the first stitch to join.

Change to white into the next space work 2tr, chain 1, 2tr 1chain.

Into the next space work 2 dtr (double trebles), chain 3, 2 dtr, chain 1.  This forms a corner cluster.

Into the next space work *2tr, chain 1, 2tr 1chain*.  Repeat * *

Into the next space work 2 dtr (double trebles), chain 3, 2 dtr, chain 1.  This forms the second corner cluster.

Repeat until you get back to the beginning the format is two clusters [2tr, chain 1, 2tr 1chain] in between each corner cluster. 

I joined as I went along but you could create all the squares and then crochet them together. There are a few ends to sew in but its worth the effort.
I think I will block it as the edges look a little wonkie



MummyHen X


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Back in my own bed

After a week of sleep deprivation in the Netherlands I had the best night sleep last night ever and I do mean EVER.  This is the photo of the bathroom that I couldn’t post the other day – it’s not a great but you can see there’s no roof and the glass ‘walls’.

I do enjoy going away especially for holidays but on business it’s different – it's jolly hard work, it’s always good to connected with colleagues that you only hear their voice.  But is nice to be home; except the jobs I had hoped that would complete are still far from complete – well a start has been made but not much else.  DH informed me that money would be needed as:
1.    The lights had gone in the kitchen
2.    The boiler is leaking
3.    The door on the dishwasher is hanging off
4.    The washing machines sounds like a cement mixer
5.    Cooker hood is blowing not sucking

And there’s me eager to not spend anything, other than household bills, from January until end of March – I want to get back on track with paying down our debts.
The week before I went away I received my annual statement for the car loan – the monthly credit amount didn’t look right, it was £12 lower than the amount that was leaving my bank each month.  I phoned to query and was reminded that I took out a ‘return to invoice’ insurance but now that there are only 10 more payments left of the loan and the car value is far higher than the amount owing I cancelled this insurance.  I remember us deliberating if we needed the insurance when we bought the car.  Which was the best thing as six months after we had the car we were burgled, and the car was taken – after nearly four weeks the insurance company was on the verge of paying-out when the car was found in a container at Felixstowe ready to be shipped to Mombasa.  Now, if the car had not been found there would have been a difference between the amount the insurance company paid out and the amount remaining of the car loan.  Anyway, this £12 will go towards paying off a credit card.
We’ve not used our credit cards at all since beginning of July – everything has been debit card or cash – and we are seeing a difference.  The first card is nearly paid off – should will be gone by end December it will be tight we will have to keep close eye on spending over Christmas.
All of the Christmas shopping is done – just food shopping to do and we are NOT going to go mad – why does the population think that a famine is coming and clear the shelves; The shops are only closed for 1 day.

MummyHen X


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Quick hello

Quick hello 

I'm dog tired. Full on intense all day meetings followed by social events, followed by catching up on work and the bed in the hotel is like rock. Not having much fun.

The hotel is ok, it's functional, even if the bed is awful -the weirdest thing is the bathroom it's a glass room in the bedroom. It has no roof, the walls are glass, part frosted glass, thank god I'm on my own as its not at all private. Was going to post a photo but can't get it to upload

Posting this from my tablet and its not that easy

Mummyhen. Xx

Friday, 23 November 2012

I’m back

Well it's been nearly two weeks since I last posted and I've missed having the time and energy.
I worked 12 days straight without a day off, averaging 13.25 each day - I managed 3 hours off yesterday and today. I managed to get to bed before midnight for the first time in two weeks last night - what wind and rain! I didn't hear a thing DH woke me at just before 8 (I usually start at 8) my first teleconf was at 8.30 so time for a shower and some breakie.
I have had no time for anything, DH has been a real rock totally dependable. Some lovely meals, cups of tea and the occasional biccy, popping into the office everynow and then to see if I'm still 'alive'.  Ohh he made a lovely apple cake.
I got to the stage yesterday when I thought if I carry on I will be no use to anyone – I was exhausted.
I'm off to Holland on Monday for the week – work not holiday - will be good to see all the team again (we only managed to get together a couple of times a year) it will be hard work but fun. Still need to prepare my presentation - nothing interesting I to the budgets and numbers, the other members of the team do the interesting techy stuff - some really useful stuff; like putting training material on ipads for field staff so they don't have to carry round 15 A4 ring binders. Lots of other exciting apps but I can't tell you about those - the team I work in develops apps for ipad and android.    

This afternoon I managed to feed my Christmas cakes, plant an amaryllis (it’s been waiting for about a month) it should be a light pink colour too late for Christmas but the hyacinths I planted a month ago are looking promising.  All planted the same day, all on the same south facing window sill - some don't like they are doing anything but tiny glossy green shoots are slowly appearing.

I crocheted all afternoon,
sewed in some ends actually there were 300 of them

Planning a new crochet project – always got a few on the go at the same time.
We have nothing planned for the weekend other than watching rugby, more relaxing and catching up
MummyHen X

Monday, 12 November 2012

Happy Birthday

It’s my MILs birthday today – happy birthday.
DaddyHen and I took her out on Saturday for lunch – it was delicious; tapas followed by seafood linguine.

Really hope you have a lovely day

 MummyHen X

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Their Name Liveth For Evermore

Ode of Remembrance by Laurence Binyon
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Like with so many families our family remembers those who gave their lives – we especially remember Alfred William Dewberry killed on 10th April 1917 aged 34, DaddyHens gt grandfather, buried in France

Remembered on the Silvertown war memorial in East London 

MummyHen X

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cork Christmas trees

Work has been as hectic as usual – I longed for the weekend of doing nothing or crafty things.

We had some wine corks lying around – DaddyHen enjoys a glass of wine or two at the weekends – we had a few but not enough for my tree project.  I asked the local wine merchant and they gave me a huge bag.

I stuck them together with glue – waited overnight for the glue to fully dry and then wrapped either green or red ribbon over the top – simple.

The little cork people – I knitted or crocheted a hat and skirt; knitted pattern from here Korknisse. I made up the crochet pattern.


I need some to send the Bloggy Blanket to someone else – I have added a few more squares but it needs more; could you crochet a square or two to add to the blanket – let me know.  It can be a simple granny square or a more complex pattern. For more information about the Bloggers blanket have a look at Mums blog


MummyHen X


Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Firstly, big thanks to all those that commented after having virtual afternoon tea with Mum.

We don’t ‘do’ Halloween, we don't have any young children, but I did enjoy pumpkin carving.
Pumpkins were £3 for two – after a little research – what did we do without the internet?
There are some great sites with templates, tips, what tools to use – after raiding DaddyHen’s tool box - knew we had a Dremel somewhere.
I set to carving my pumpkins so much easier with a Dremel, ice cream scoop and small knife
Both DaddyHen and SonnyHen think I’ve lost the plot – until SonnyHens GF arrived and want join in – she suggested a skull which was the most difficult of them all.  SonnyHens GF carved the bat - lovely carving; I like the way the light is darker, as less pulp has been romoved.

It was our first time pumpkin carving and this is my ta-dah moment

MummyHen X

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Afternoon Tea with Mum

Mum held a virtual tea party – which was great fun to meet all the others bloggers.

I took a long some cakes and a few biscuits

French Fancies – Lemon, Strawberry and Lime
Chocolate and Strawberry muffin
Blackcurrant cheesecake
Vanilla cheesecake with orange sprinkles
Jammy Dodgers and custard cream
Jammy Dodger pattern is from Matt - he has some wonderful crochet projects -According to Matt
The other cakes are all from Grietje - English patterns are at the bottom of each post Petit Fours


MummyHen X

Friday, 19 October 2012

Speeding – been naughty

A few months ago, on one of our days out, I got a caught for speeding. It was in an area I didn’t know, the limit was 30mph, I didn’t see the camera it was a mobile camera – in a van.  Anyway, I was driving, so after filling out all the forms – the car is registered to DaddyHen so the process took a while despite providing all the information in the first form.
Anyway I was given the choice: go to court; fine and points or speed awareness course; no fine and no points.  After weighing it up I opted for the course – it’s offered to those who are only slightly over the limits, who are caught on a camera and who have not attended a speed awareness course in the last three years.  I selected the venue – I could have gone nearly anywhere in the country - paid £85 and booked a half day off from work – so sort of a fine but hopefully I would get something out of the course.
Yesterday was the day; made sure I arrived in plenty of time as if your late then you miss the course and are then prosecuted via the court.  Two enthusiastic trainers and a classroom of 22 speeders; 15 men, 7 women; I would say the average age was early/mid forties, with about 600-700years of driving between us. I’ve been driving for 25 years - and haven’t looked at the Highway Code seriously since I took my test; I did help SonnyHen when he was learning but didn’t really take it in and he used a disc and not a book.
The instructors were not there to judge or to criticise our transgression but to help us understand the impact of what speeding does; how we can improve and have strategies in place to reduce our speed. We were seated in tables of 3 or 4 and started by looking at eight road signs in our booklet – embarrassed to say I only got six correct. 
We watched is video which was shown on UK TV back in the 90s – it’s a little hard hitting so be warned. But the message is clear driving at 5mph over 30mph it takes 21ft longer to stop.
Also this oz video, the speed is in kilometres per hour but the message is the same. Just going that little faster – not 10 or 20 miles over the safe limit – it takes so very much longer to stop. And the consequences could be life changing.
We played an awareness game – we watched this film, which was stopped before the reveal and had to count how many times the basketball players in white shirts passed the ball – simple you say but ... oh and btw let me know who joins the game? Out of a class of 22 only four of us saw the extra player.  How aware are you of the road conditions and surroundings on the route you take every day.
Street lights mean that the limit is 30mph, unless there are signs showing another limit.
The speed limit is the maximum legal speed for a stretch of road in perfect driving conditions.
Leave a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front
Driver error is a contributory factor in 95% of crashes
Hit a pedestrian at 35mph and you are twice as likely to kill them as if they were hit at 30mph 

I got a lot out of the course can for me it was worth the money and time – I will be driving slower in future


MummyHen X