Welcome to my blog!

Hello and a very warm, waffly welcome from Windsor.

That is Windsor, Berkshire, UK, home of the Queen in case you were wondering. But no, I don’t live in a wing of her Majesty’s castle.  

Just starting off with this blog… I am new to it all so please bear with me!  I hope you enjoy reading my content.

Busy week!

Hi. This is a super quick blog post to say I’m having a very busy week both at work and in my social life, but I am thinking of you. Of course!

This was our quick and tasty dinner tonight. Chicken breast pieces cooked in this curry sauce with basmati rice.

We’ve had Holy Cow sauces before but maybe not this one. It was very tasty and dinner on the table in 15 minutes.

Time for some green tea with lemon… my evening drink of choice.. and a little chocolate. That’s me sorted. Back soon hopefully 😊.

Meals of the week

Hi guys. I have not had pizza this week. David doesn’t really like pizza. What’s not to like? I don’t know. (He does, however, like cheese on toast 🤔…. pretty much the same thing I think). So, I’ll show you instead what we have been eating this week. The cooking has been all pretty quick and easy. And guess what? We’ll be having takeaway pizza at book club next week… 😋.

Monday: leftover roast pork curry

I wanted to use up the leftovers from our roast pork joint from Sunday. I made up this quick curry and it was very tasty. Firstly I fried a chopped onion in a little olive oil, then added chunky pieces of the leftover roast pork and about a tablespoon of hot curry powder from a jar. I fried this up for a bit, then added a bit of stock made with bouillon powder with boiling water from the kettle and stirred in a tablespoon of tomato purée. I simmered it for a bit on the hob while I cooked the basmati rice, and added some frozen petits pois to the curry in the last couple of minutes. Yummy. I want to eat this again right now.. but it’s gone! Nada.

Tuesday: Nigel Slater’s garlic mushroom tarts

These were also very good and are a regular in the Waffle household for a meat free meal for a change. The recipe is from Nigel Slater’s “The 30 minute cook” book. The pastry is ready made puff pastry. The new potatoes were prepared by M & S and I popped them in the microwave for 4 minutes. Simples!

Wednesday: pre-cinema meal at Noodle Nation Maidenhead

I was very happy to learn that Noodle Nation is open again. They’ve had a refurb, looking good with booths rather than open benches now. I had the prawn and chicken pad Thai. It was delicious although I was slightly defeated by the portion size. Afterwards we went to see the new Aretha Franklin film for our girls’ night out. David was at home heating up an M & S butter chicken. The film was quite good but very long….

Thursday (tonight): salmon steaks with broccoli and potato wedges

Well this picture above doesn’t look that good does it? Mine will be better than this sparse looking plate. I like to cook the salmon in foil in the oven for 20 minutes. I used to add butter to the parcel, but it doesn’t really need it and is better for us without. We have fish at least once a week and really enjoy it. The wedges will be super easy straight from the freezer. Plus fresh broccoli.. another healthy addition.

Friday: ready made bacon and cheddar quiche with baked beans

This is just a really easy ready meal heated up in the oven when I’m tired on a Friday night. I like the sauciness of baked beans with the dryness of the pastry. If we’re not going down the pub I will have a glass or two of chilled white wine and chat to my Mum on the phone while this is in the oven. If I’m going down the pub, I’ll save myself for wine or cold lager at the pub.

I am so hungry now, all this talk of food! Hope you enjoyed my meals. I’m off to the kitchen now. Bye and Bon appetit! Xx

Are you really happy or just comfortable…?

Hi. I’ve been thinking about the concept of one’s comfort zone since I climbed up and over the O2 in London on Wednesday. This activity was slightly out of my comfort zone and I wouldn’t have wanted to try it without a friend by my side. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it wasn’t scary at all, just fun 🤩. I was pleasantly surprised that my ankle held up having sprained it badly in January when I fell down the stairs. It’s still not as good as the other side, my ankle I mean.

If you want to try this climb yourself, it costs £32. each and they give you a harness and shoes to wear. You leave your bags and stuff in a plastic crate which they lock away for you. You can take your phone for pictures only in a zipped up pocket so they give you a gilet to wear for this. It’s all very well organised and well worth it. If you don’t like heights, I reckon it’s much less scary than the cable car we did afterwards. That is really high up and you can see the drop down much more so than on the O2 climb. Still loved that too. That’s £5. one way you can pay with any contactless card. What a glorious day 😎.

One could say that many people have a narrowed comfort zone since Covid started. Since lockdowns they have got used to not going out, not talking to people, not experiencing new things. I love this quote “are you really happy or just comfortable?”.. Here’s another one: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

So how about you? Are you out and about again now like me since vaccination? Are you doing all your old activities again or are you trying new ones? If you are not trying new ones, why not???! I challenge you this week to at least try a new food you haven’t tasted before, or walk a slightly different way to work perhaps, mix it up a bit! It’s really easy to get stuck in a rut. I do love a routine, but hate a rut.

So Julie and I are now thinking about what to do next. Any ideas? You want something that challenges you a little bit, but that’s not so far out of your comfort zone you start freaking out about it. That would not be pleasurable. So far Julie has suggested indoor sky diving, although I’m not sure about that. I have thought of a life drawing class with a nude model.. ha ha.. nude stranger is definitely out of my comfort zone as is my drawing ability for people and their naked bits!! Also a graffiti workshop sounds quite cool. Give me a boiler suit and some spray paints and I’ll be off! Still thinking. Open to suggestions for the next challenge. I told Julie to write me a list of activities and I’ll tell her whether I would consider it yay or nay. Life begins after lockdowns.

Have you changed physically since the pandemic? Or do you feel like a new person in other ways? I have long hair now, after so many years of a bob. It’s a nice change. Like a lot of people I’m a little bit fatter now… not such a nice change! I do really enjoy eating and drinking as you know. Nothing to worry too much about. Worrying is overrated.

This is the sky of Windsor today, interesting…

We went out for a little walk earlier stopping off at Budgen’s for emergency ice cream supplies for tomorrow. Ocado are out of stock of ALL ice cream products including individual ice creams and lollies, frozen yoghurt and in fact ALL frozen desserts eg Apple strudel COMPLETELY. What is going on.. Covid? Brexit? Lorry driver shortages? It seems we may be short of wine choices and turkey/chicken at Christmas- oh la la!! I reckon I could be happy with a salmon or beef en croute, some sort of alcohol.. whatever is available. There’s enough to keep us going for a long time in the Waffle cocktail cabinet… and I’ll just have to start making my own ice cream if that’s going to be a permanent thing. Right, that’s me sorted. No stress. Back soon my happy Wafflers 😊❤️.

Up at the O2 London – Wow!

I’ll keep this brief as I’m worn out with fun. What a great day. Fantastic!

Julie and I climbed up and over the O2 in London today. The weather was gorgeous. We loved the whole experience.

Here I am smiling at the top. We made it!

We got the cable car on the way home. Also super fun 🤩.

Can you believe this blue sky?????!

Can you believe we did this? Super cool 😎.

More to follow when I’ve recovered from the excitement! Xx

Autumn capsule wardrobe all sorted… and now it’s summer!! 😎🥵🌞🌻

So my colleague Tina was right when she said “Isn’t 1 Sept too early to start your autumn capsule wardrobe, Gail? It might be really hot at the beginning of September?” ….. “No, I’ll just keep out a couple of short sleeved tops and it’ll be fine”.

Well my dear readers, it is not fine, we are now having 4 unexpected days of very warm weather. So it turns out I’m back rummaging through my underbed storage unable to find the items I’d want in an ideal world, because I’m not getting ALL that stuff out again! But I’ve found enough lighter clothes for a few days, so that’s sorted. I actually don’t regret doing the autumn capsule already because I know it’s all ready and I’m happy with it.

Capsule wardrobing has changed my life. I now like and wear EVERYTHING in my wardrobe. And I mean EVERYTHING. I used to call mine a failed capsule wardrobe as you’re supposed to have about 38 items and mine is often 60-70 items each season including coats and shoes! But I’ve found this large curated capsule works really well for me and I’m still calling it a successful capsule as I have a proper colour scheme where pretty much everything goes with everything else, I shop mindfully and intentionally now, I have a fraction of the amount of stuff I used to and everything is so much easier. So there!!

For those of you completely uninterested in my wardrobe choices, I’ll move on.

The first sunflower is out now. I think it was waiting for the sun. Gorgeous!

Yesterday I made a rhubarb cake with home grown rhubarb. I still love this cake. The recipe is here.

I often like like to serve this with plain yoghurt or crème fraîche but I didn’t have any yesterday so I used strawberry yoghurt. This was too overpowering, I will not be doing this again.

Also a friend of the sun, my tomatoes have finally gone red and I had the first one yesterday. Delicioso!

This is the colour of the sky today. In my arty wall shot. This is the wall of Broadmoor Hospital in Crowthorne. The walls are very high. It is a high security psychiatric hospital, the oldest high security psychiatric hospital in England. David and I walked next to it for a while as part of a short walk in Crowthorne before visiting my mother in law at her flat for tea.

It’s a bit of a random Waffle today. I’ll blame it on the heat! I’ll just show you a few pics from recent local walks and love you and leave you. Have a great week! 😊Xx

Under the weeping willow tree. Feels like magic…

Are these hips or hoares? Does anyone know?

The River Thames at Laleham. More of this next time.

Food news

Hi. I’m feeling a bit shattered after a very busy day in the office. Time to unwind by chatting to you guys about food, one of my favourite subjects as you all know! 😋

I was drawn to this pic of berries as I’m trying to eat more of these recently. It’s not difficult. They’re really tasty and really good for you, an easy habit to keep. Yesterday I had blueberries with yoghurt for pudding for lunch, today strawberries au naturel. Tomorrow? Who knows. Fruit of the day may be nectarines or blueberries or a combo of the same, let’s live a little!!

On tonight’s menu is scallops with black pudding and potato wedges from Ocado. I’ve made this dinner before and we enjoyed it. Not for some I know.. the scallops too fishy for some, the black pudding not desired by all, but we like it and it’s quick and easy to make on a week night.

There’s been some good cooking and eating going on as usual in The Waffle household over the past week. Here are some of the highlights…

1 Spiced crab Mac n’cheese.. recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine. Very good, oh so good. We gobbled this up fast. It was my first time using Old Bay Seasoning which I bought from Amazon. I’m definitely making this again.

2 Speedy Chicken Laksa.. recipe from the Good Housekeeping Express cookbook. All the recipes work in this book and they only take 30 minutes. Always tastes like you’ve cooked a proper meal from scratch. David must have told me 3+ times how much he enjoyed this dinner. I do like noodles for a change.

3 Bengali fish curry… recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine. I used cod for this. It was delicious. Also easy to make but you need to allow 30 minutes for marinating. I would make this again too. It seems like a healthy curry as no butter or coconut milk involved, a light tomato sauce.

4 Cassis Spritz cocktail… recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine. Every bank holiday I make a new cocktail. This one included Cynar liqueur which is Italian, made from artichokes.. (didn’t tell David that beforehand!). It was nice and refreshing. We added a little more crème de cassis than the recipe said as it seemed to need just a little more sweetness. It’s a sweet yet bitter balanced drink topped up with wine and soda water. I might make it again, but I’ll also explore what else I can make with the rest of the bottle of Cynar. I ❤️❤️❤️using new ingredients and tasting new things. I will never tire of this. Cheers! 🥂Xx

More Chelsea Physic Garden…

Hi. As promised I’m back with the rest of the Chelsea Physic Garden pics..

They have a male and a female ginkgo tree, one either side of the path. Who knew that ginkgoes are either male or female… ? I didn’t. Now don’t ask me which this one below is!? It’s gorgeous whichever it is. I ❤️ ginkgo trees.

There were a lot of plants producing fruit… firstly robust apples..

A lemon tree.. I’m surprised it’s warm enough for lemons (+ ghostly looking lady in blue in the background!)

Extremely juicy looking blackberries in an arch. I was tempted to gobble one up but resisted the urge. I had just eaten all the strawberries in the Eton mess.

And then we came across this ancient trough of garden waste. Do you think it’s really this old….? 1670?? A quick google search shows me that it probably is as a photography society in the 1970s went to visit a 300 year old leaden water tank in Chelsea Physic Garden. Amazing. I wonder who the maker WW was? He obviously wanted to be remembered, placing his initials prominently to last the test of time. The gardens themselves were established in 1673.

So pretty! These are one of Sarah’s favourites. Japanese anemones.

So I think that concludes the photo tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden. I hope you folks enjoyed it as much as I did, and let’s hope they keep up the good work of maintaining this amazing garden. I’ll be back, hopefully in the Spring. Old wheelbarrow (probably not 300 years old!) ready and waiting for use.

P.S. I’m off to make a Cassis Spritz cocktail now… exciting stuff. It looks like a Kir Royale but more interesting.. more on that and other very important food matters next time 😊 Xx

Chelsea Physic Garden

Hi. This is part 2 of my day trip to Chelsea last Friday. I had lunch at Chelsea Physic Garden with my old school friend, Sarah (Sarah, of course you’re not old, but school was a loooooong time ago!). We went to school together in Putney… from the age of 8 to 18.

Chelsea Physic Garden is about 15 minutes’ walk from Sloane Square tube. I have also walked there from Victoria Bus Station before. It’s a gorgeous little oasis of a garden, full of history and a pocket of calm in the busy place that is London.

This is where you enter now..

This below used to be the entrance, on Swan Walk. I preferred going in this old way, past the little ticket office hut with the friendly man.

There are lots of interesting plants including a medicinal plant section and lots of fruit and veg growing. They run workshops and free guided tours of the garden. You usually have to pay to go in but it’s well worth it. I’m lucky that Sarah takes me in on her membership as a guest.

Here is the statue of Sir Hans Sloane… (and a mysterious lady in a bright orange top who wanted to get on The Waffle!).

I think people used to arrive by boat through this gate from The River Thames, in the good old days.

Beautiful wild flowers, just in front of our lunch table al fresco.

We noticed that the café had poshified its menu a bit, and the prices were higher than before. We missed the simplicity of the salads they used to do, but the food was still good. I had the chicken breast on mashed potato for main which was quite nice. The Eton mess dessert was delicious if a little enormous. Sarah and I had one Eton mess each but our waiter told us three ladies had shared 1 portion between them and been defeated by it 😂😂. It was very good.

Inside one of the glasshouses.

It’s all so gorgeous. Just put me in a little hut in the corner with my blog or in a deck chair with a book to read and I’d be very happy.

Raspberry ripple anyone?

These sunflowers were mini ones, you can’t really tell from the photo.

It seems that Sarah was right, I have far too many glorious pictures to fit into one blog post… I’ll just show you one more…to be continued next time… as I have to do yoga, water plants and cook haggis for dinner now 😋. Back soon my friends Xx

The Windsor Waffle goes to Chelsea

Hi. On Friday I had the day off and went on a little trip to Chelsea to meet my friend Sarah for lunch. I hadn’t seen her for almost a year, so it was great to catch up.

I went by train from Windsor Riverside to Richmond, then tube to Sloane Square. I stopped off for coffee at Peter Jones Sloane Square, looked at some overpriced clothes, then had a wander down the King’s Road. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I spotted a few interesting things en route. Don’t ask me what the flags above are for, but I quite like them.

This sign below says “All your life you were waiting for this moment”.. mm.. I’m not sure I was really feeling that!

I looked for the Japanese shop Muji, but it had closed down. There was a big Peloton shop nearby. Signs of the times.

Boris bikes.

Scooters. I’m not a fan of these. Very dangerous the way they weave amongst the traffic and on the pavements in Windsor.

The hanging baskets were quite nice.

I spotted this gorgeous bookshop. I’ve never noticed it before. I bet it’s been there for many many years.

Very tall, narrow building.

As I turned down a side street, I noticed this blue plaque.

Then I got distracted by the gorgeous architecture, in particular the posh front doors with steps leading up to them, love them! You must feel important approaching your house up one of these sets of steps.

So shiny! Someone must polish this plaque.

Lots of pretty flowers and window boxes. It’s a very beautiful although expensive area of London.

Gorgeous house.

Space where a house is being reconstructed.

Marvellous architecture all around.

The National army museum, I’ve never been here. Maybe it’s interesting.. I’m not that keen on war.

Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. Over 300 retired British soldiers, male and female, live here. They have a bright red uniform.

Chelsea Physic Garden. I will tell you all about that next time. It’s lovely! I’ve been there many times for lunch with Sarah who is a member there. I’m never disappointed.

Here is a sneak peek of the interesting plants, over the wall… to be continued….Xx