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

Monday, 15 October 2012

Back to reality

Wow these last two weeks have been just a blur – back after holiday work is just so so busy – not complaining as I love my job not to mention it pays the bills (and debts).

I am very fortunate that I work from home most of the time – I generally only need to attend the office once a quarter and the amount I travel outside the UK for work is also around once a quarter.  Working from home is great – yes there’s no travel (I spent years commuting up to London rail and tube – I don’t miss doing that), don’t have to dress smartly – most of the time its sweatshirt/jumper and leggings/jeans.  Bad hair days are the norm!!!.  If my nail polish is a little chipped it’s not going to matter.  Yes, I miss the face to face interaction with colleagues – but I have DaddyHen.  We have video calls most days but my camera never works !?!?!  shhhhhh  The big down side for me is when to stop – I generally start at 8am and finish at 7ish – and then if I need to catch a colleague in the US then I might have a call later in the evening.  Monthly reporting is my busiest time so for the first two weeks of a month’s its flat out 60+hrs each week. 

What have I been doing these past few weeks – preparing for Christmas.

I have made three cakes; one of which I’ll cut into four to give as gifts.  Last year I hired a tin to make 16 tiny cakes – but that was a bit of a nightmare much too fiddly for my liking.  I use the Delia recipe which has never let me down. 


Drinks – homemade lemoncello and mulled gin – I have used these recipes for a few years
1 litre of vodka
8 unwaxed lemons – juice and zest – no white pith
800gs sugar
650ml water
Heat water and sugar until sugar dissolved then simmer for 10mins, leave to cool.  In large bottle/container add lemon juice & zest, vodka and cooled sugar syrup – mix well.  Leave for couple of weeks then strain thru muslin or coffee filters into large jug, then decant into pretty bottles (sterilised). 
Mulled gin
1 litre of gin
300g sugar
Cinnamon stick
5 Whole cloves and 5 green cardamom pods
1 vanilla pod - split
Dissolve the sugar in 200ml of gin. In a bowl add remaining gin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods and vanilla pod mix in the warm sugar syrup gin and leave in a covered bowl, stirring daily then decant as above.
My tip for covering bowls that need some attention – soaking fruit for Christmas cake or making mulled gin that need stirring once in a while. Is to use a shower cap – I get 6 in the pound shop or sometimes hotels have them in the bathroom.  I also use them to cover the salad bowl if we are eating outside – keeps the insects off the food. 
MummyHen X


Friday, 5 October 2012

Spending Summary September

Moneywise September not good, actually I am very disappointed.

Keep within food budgetSuccess; we spent less on food shopping actually we had £134 left over. SonnyHen complained we didn’t leave him enough money whilst we were away – WHAT!??! He’s working and earning well no VERY well – he had to food shop for him and GF; maybe he will now realise the cost of food.

Pay extra on CC#1 – spectacular Fail.  Not a penny extra was paid on CC#1.  Really hopeful we can recover in October.

House maintenanceFail again for second month running; I have given up asking [DaddyHen says I’m nagging] so I will leave this one for a few months.

Keep to holiday budgetFail – over spent by £50.  After the refunds for the activities that were cancelled, the hotel we had to spend an extra night in, due to the weather, was a little more expensive than the hotel that got cancelled. 

I work for a massive organisation and one of the many things I do each month is MI (Management Information) reporting; the group standard On Budget KPI is +/-10% ((spend-budget)/budget)), however, my department works on a +/-5% On Budget KPI.  I try to adopt the same principle in the Hen household.  This month we missed the KPI big time – A big fail during September.


Now that we are back home there will be a very tight control during October – unfortunately I’m not organised enough to participate in Stoptober – we will be sticking to no more than £125 per on shopping and trying to eat out of the freezer and cupboards as much as possible.


MummyHen X

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Holidays – Day 9 & 10

Oh dear, after such a lovely day yesterday the weather is still very windy and the sea rough and our trip out to Les Minquiers has been cancelled.

So we went 4 hours at Plemont – this is such a wonderful place.  At high tide it looks so dangerous but when the tide out it’s such a wonderful place; sandy beach, turquoise blue sea and caves to explore.  As you can see from the picture below the difference in the tides.

Obviously checking that the tide is out and not due back in for a good few hours.  We're to explore


Cave with the café above

Needle cave

View from over the beach over to Sark

Double caves

A really lovely beech – it felt as if no one had ever been there before

The inside of some of the caves where just wonderful - next time I will take a torch and wear suitable footware - some of the rocks are a little sharpe for bare feet.

Today is our last day we fly back to reality this evening

A final walk along the beach at St Brelade
MummyHen X

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Holiday – Day 8 – up up and away
Today was a treat for DaddyHen – he was going to have a flying lesson – not that we can afford for him to do a full course.  The weather had been awful so we arrived at the Aero Club expecting to be told that it would be cancelled but no the wind was fine and the lesson would go ahead.
I took some crochet to do whilst he was flying if I was not allowed in the plane – but no it would be fine it I wanted to go up as well.  I’ve flown many times and am not frightened but – in a small Piper Warrior piloted by DaddyHen who has never done anything like this before – oh what the hell. I’ll go up
Bob the tutor was very good –DaddyHen took to it like a duck to water! 
The pre-flight briefing was very detailed, Bob instructed DaddyHen on how to manoeuvre the plane to the take-off area on the runway.  Maybe it’s just me but I do find that when pilots make announcements - I always think they mumble; they never sound very clear.  Well listening to the pilots communicate with Air Traffic Control – it’s no different. 
Anyway we took-off on our flight around the island – with DaddyHen at the controls – I did at one point tap in on the shoulder as I thought we were banking too far over, other than that it was a great experience
Some lovely views
Part of St Ouen’s Bay looking north to the Grosnez
Corbiere Lighthouse
St Brelade’s Bay
After this point I was turning a little green around the gills as the plane was banking too hard.
Oyster and mussel beds in Grouville Bay
Gorey & Mount Orgueil Castle
 Les Ecrehous – we did finally get to see them
Plemont Bay – this is a Jersey secret – more about this bay tomorrow
Finally the airport is back in sight
MummyHen X

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Holiday - Day 7

Last night the company that is (or should that be was) going to take us to Les Ecrehous phoned to cancel the weather is bad with winds up to force 5/6 and the sea too rough - am really disappointed. 

Instead we spent the day walking on St Ouens beech. This is a varst beech of over 5 miles long of white sand; its a great location for surfers.

There are so many different types of seaweed

A few sea birds - this little bird which I think is a black headed gull, I know its head is white but these birds spend most of the year with a white head, so why is it not called a white headed full?!?! It was treading up and down to disturb the sand to get food.  I used the RSPB bird identifier to name this little bird.

This boat-shapped house called 'The Barge Aground - Seagull' can be rented out and is right on the beech

German fortifications are a common sight along the coast.  None of them are beautiful but do provide a reminder of the occupation during WW2

Lets hope for better weather tomorrow - today was bright but very windy

MummyHen X

Monday, 1 October 2012

Holiday - Day 5 & Day 6

The weather is really awful, wind, driving rain and very rough sea.
We are back in the lovely hotel in Guernsey. Today we were hoping to go to Sark but the shipping company phoned - the boat will sail an hour later than planned. We are only going to be on Sark for 24 hours and the weather tomorrow is going to be the same and we have a flight to catch.

After some discussion we decided not to go to Sark. I am really disappointed but the weather is really bad (I'm a very bad sailor so the slightest wave and I'm green around the gills) and we can't risk missing our flight on Tuesday.  

So what do you do when its raining cats and dogs in Guernsey - go to the cinema.

The Sweeny was showing and DaddyHen being a BIG Ray Winstone fan so it was a date. We've not been to the cinema for a while so off we went. It was a very small not a big multiplex - it was a little dated something out of the 1980s. The adverts were blurred and so very cheesy but we whole audience laughed - all six of us!!

That evening we managed to get into an excellent restaurant (we had eaten there on a previous visit) and the food was superb - scallops followed by turbot; delicious.

We managed to bring our flight forward on Tuesday arriving in Jersey at lunchtime. For the first few days we are staying in Gorey in the parish of Grouville on the east of the island, it not an area we know that well as we usually stay in the west.

The hotel is basic; it's clean we are only doing B&B as there seem to be some good restaurants in walking distance.

View of Mont Orgueil Castle overlooking Gorey Harbour taken on the way to a fab restaurant. Another lovely dinner; smoked haddock and crab risotto followed by pan fried brill. 

Fingers crossed that our trip tomorrow to Les Ecrehous will still be on - its really very windy and rain very hard.


MummyHen X