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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.

Best meals of the week

Yum yum. This week I’ve been quite busy so we’ve had a couple of ready meals: lasagne with carrots and fish cakes with baked beans. But I have also managed to cook 2 home cooked meals and 1 more coming up tonight.

My favourite so far was the sausage and squash risotto we had last night. Really delicious comfort food. The recipe is here

On Monday night I made a gnocchi bake with broccoli and spinach in a cheese sauce. I served this with salmon steaks baked in foil in the oven. Also very nice, but in future I would cook the broccoli a bit more as it was a bit too hard. I gave David a portion with just the spinach in and he loved it. I hadn’t made a gnocchi bake before. I’m sure this won’t be my last.

If you want to recreate this one at home, the recipe is here.

For tonight, I’m making turkey enchiladas. I’ve made this before and they were gorgeous. Hoping for an equally good result with this one.

It takes a while to cook so I’m off to get my pinny on and get started with that one. Catch you later. Happy weekend everybody 🌞🦔😎🥳

And relax 🫖🍪….

Hi. How are you all? I’ve been busy doing very grown up things. I don’t mind being a grown up, but then when your parents get old and ill you suddenly have to grow up to a whole new level. You become really responsible, they become dependent on you, and at times it’s quite overwhelming. I want to shout “no, I don’t like this, make my parents younger again!”

So yesterday I visited a care home in Windsor as a possibility for my Mum maybe quite soon, or maybe at some time in the future. It all depends on how my Dad’s test results go, and how seriously ill he turns out to be. We will know more on Friday. Yes, that’s right, Friday the 13th, what a day to get your test results.

The care home was lovely, of course very expensive as they all are. My Mum has no idea about this idea at this stage. It’s a difficult conversation to have.

Today I accompanied my Mum to the dentist in Kingston (again!). This is a series of 7 appointments to get her a new denture plate for her top teeth. Last appointment taking the impressions was really traumatic and my Mum was in a lot of pain and frightened when they tried to get the mold out of her mouth. This time was still painful but not quite so bad. Unfortunately the impressions had to be redone as her new teeth got damaged on the way back from the factory. Sometimes memory loss is helpful, however. We chose not to upset her by telling her anything had gone wrong and the very kind dentist and I just kept smiling (under our masks) and pretended it was all part of the process and this was the next stage. My Mum was none the wiser and we all got through it.

Now I’m back home lying on the bed, drinking tea and relaxing. David has spent several hours today sorting out the wiring for the new TV. Our old one of 15 years gave up on us last Thursday night in the middle of watching the news and was unfixable. We have since then been craning our necks of an evening watching Netflix on David’s iPad propped up on a pile of my cookery books. We’re currently watching “The Silent Sea” on Netflix which is a Korean Sci Fi series. It’s set on a station on the moon and everything is so dark, I realised last night what I thought had been the shadow of a monster in one scene when one of the crew members died was actually just a dirty smear on the iPad screen 🤣🤣.

I promised you some more pretty pictures from Windsor, so today I’ll show you some lovely leaves I took recently. I hope you find them relaxing as I do.

Gorgeous, aren’t they? I could look at leaves all day…. 🧐❤️🍃🍂🍁🌱

The beautiful nature of May

Hi. How are you? All these pictures have been taken in Windsor over the past week or so. I’m really into what’s growing at the moment. Isn’t nature beautiful? What a glorious month May is my friends!

This blossom above and below is HM The Queen’s blossom. It was taken in the grounds of The Royal Household Bowling Club. This is next door to Frogmore Cottage, ex home of Harry and Meghan. David’s band played a gig at the bowling club. They were awesome as is the blossom.

Just a ball of loveliness really isn’t it? Melts my heart..and I haven’t even had a drink yet 🤣🤣.

The rest of the pics below are little visions of beauty around my local housing estate. There really is a lot of prettiness all around these days.

Perfect little pom poms of joy!

I am so happy when I see these things.

Which is your favourite?

Isn’t it incredible the amount of detail you get with an iPhone camera these days. I’m loving the edging on each petal of this dandelion.

So now I’ve just realised I forgot to tell you about Part Two of our Cambridge trip last weekend….oops!

I don’t think I really had many photos left to show you, but I can say we had an excellent dinner at The Ivy in Cambridge with Hazel, so I’m looking forward to The Ivy Windsor opening this summer. After that we went for cocktails at one of Hazel’s favourite places called “Town and Gown”. Then on the Sunday we had a long lie in at our hotel while Hazel got up ridiculously early to watch the sun rise on May Day at a student event. She said there wasn’t much sun, I think we’d had it all the day before. We then met Hazel for more tours of her College and marching at top speed all over Cambridge and relaxing over nice brunch at The Copper Kettle. There were masses of hen parties in Cambridge for bank holiday weekend.

This building above is Cambridge University Library. It’s massive. Hazel doesn’t actually use this library as she prefers her nearer College Lbrary. She also doesn’t use books much these days, studying science. I guess it’s just a laptop and the quiet space.

More pretty pictures of Windsor to follow next time. Have a lovely evening/day/afternoon wherever you may be 😊XX

Trip to Cambridge

Hi. David and I had a little trip by train to Cambridge to visit my niece Hazel on bank holiday weekend.

Hazel is studying Natural Sciences and is at Pembroke College. She currently has modules in Maths, Chemistry, Evolution and Cell something, I forget the name. What a clever girl!

Pembroke College is very old and beautiful. The gardens are so well kept and tranquil. I was envious of her accommodation here and the beautiful chapel and library. I was not so envious when she started talking about exams coming up in her difficult subjects!

The College library is in the middle of this picture above, with the clock tower.

This is where the hungry young students eat their meals. Sometimes they get dressed up for formal dinners. Hazel has a beautiful green dress she wears for the same.

I love the key hole and the face on this door.

The sun was shining, as I had requested from Hazel for our visit! We decided to visit Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Hazel gets free entry there. David and I paid £7.50 each. It is a really lovely place.

Look how sharp this one is below! Ouch!

This next one is Hazel’s favourite. It closes up segment by segment, leaf by leaf if you touch it.

We especially liked the glasshouses. There were a series of these with really interesting plants. We stopped at the outside café for cold drinks. It was really hot! David thinks his head got a little sunburnt!

After the botanic gardens we left Hazel at her College and walked back to our hotel, the Ibis Cambridge Station, to have a quick shower and change ready for early dinner at The Ivy restaurant. More in Cambridge Trip Part Two, to follow soon….

Visit to The Hurlingham Club

Hello. It’s been a busy weekend.

On Friday I went to The Hurlingham Club in Fulham with my school friend Sarah. Then on Saturday overnight to Sunday David and I visited my niece Hazel who is studying at Cambridge University. Today I’ll tell you about The Hurlingham Club.

This is a very exclusive private members’ club. There is usually a 25 year waiting list to join and you have to be nominated by an existing member. I believe these days you even have to be a child of a member. There is also a very hefty annual membership fee. Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, has been spotted there playing tennis with Princess Charlotte. I don’t think I’ll be joining any time soon 🤣🤣, but it was a nice treat to go as Sarah’s guest for the day. Thank you, Sarah.

We sat outside and had toasted sandwiches and a glass of wine for lunch. It was a gloomy and chilly day, but we were fine under the heaters.

These tulips were amazing. Never seen tulips with these edges before.

The grounds are very beautiful and immaculately kept. There are some black swans and interesting ducks. They are currently doing some maintenance work on the stream.

There is an outdoor swimming pool. We saw a man standing in the pool who made us feel cold! The pool did look lovely though. The tennis courts are grass. There are a few places to eat and drink inside and outside. It wasn’t very crowded at all on Friday.

There are some stunning trees. This oak tree planted in 1953 is absolutely gorgeous. It didn’t look like a normal oak tree shape and the leaves were bigger than a traditional English Oak. I think it was maybe a sessile oak.

There are some peacocks!

Everything is lovely. A little oasis in the city.

The camellias are doing well, not died from frost like ours.

After touring the grounds and catching up with each other, we went inside to get a coffee and then I headed home by walking back over Putney Bridge and catching the train to Windsor.

I hope you enjoyed the Hurlingham Club tour. Next time: weekend in Cambridge. Isn’t it nice to be out and about again? 😊 Xx

From The Waffle bookshelves – part 2

So, where was I? Oh yes, books on the go for me at the moment. I’ve almost finished “Actress” by Anne Enright. This book was a Christmas gift from my friend Clare who is very good at choosing novels for me that I haven’t read. I like the cover picture with the little girl on. She looks a little like I did as a child, I wonder if this influenced Clare’s choice of this gift for me?! This story is mainly about a mother-daughter relationship with a famous mother. I’ve enjoyed it so far, not loved it, but looking forward to reading it to the end. I’ll probably pass it on to the charity shop when I’m done. I very rarely read books more than once.

Next up I need to start reading the next book for my book club which I collected from the library. This is “The Girl with the Louding Voice” by Abi Darė. I’m excited to start this one. The deadline is 17 May for our next book club meeting. We select our books randomly from a long list produced by the library. This is great as it pushes us out of our comfort zone with what we are reading and sometimes we have a pleasant surprise.

I like the colourful book cover!

Next up I have another book recommended by a blog friend, this time by Basia. Her blog “ Life Through Basia’s eyes” I am really enjoying recently. So you see I also have many interesting blogs to read as well as books piling up. It’s a nice problem to have. She recommended this one below..

Damon Galgut is an award winning South African novelist I hadn’t heard of before. It looks like an interesting read.

Last, but not least, I have now received a birthday present book from my friend Clare. I do love to receive books as gifts. She said that she was just starting to read it too. I’ll probably get around to starting this one in a couple of months. My priority reading has to be my book club latest one and then the ones that are due back to the library.

What are you reading at the moment? (Apart from TWW). Anything good? 😊🤔📚📚📚📗📓

From The Waffle bookshelves – part 1

Hi. How are you? I’m tired. Work is crazy busy since my return to the office after Covid, then a short week due to Easter and my day’s leave for the pottery workshop – more about that another time.

I seem to have got a bit carried away with the amount of books I’m trying read at the moment. So many books, so little time!

For dinner tonight we’re having prawn and spinach curry from Good Housekeeping Express cookbook. I really like this book. The recipes all work, taste delicious and take a maximum time of 30 minutes to prepare.

I go to this book time and time again.

Another non fiction book I’m into at the moment is this one about capsule wardrobing.

This is like a workbook. I’m working through it slowly. The best advice I’ve had so far for this ongoing project of mine to streamline my wardrobe into clothes I actually want to wear and which all go with each other is from the blog and website www.uselesswardrobe.dk. I’ve found that really useful.

I’ve changed the way I use my local library since the pandemic. I’ve really got into reserving books I want to read online with the library and then I collect them when they email me. The system works really well. The trouble is, I fancy reading far more books than I actually have time for. In my dreams I am lazing about reading good books in ALL my spare time… mmm, doesn’t quite happen like that.

I’ve recently collected this book by Thich Nhat Hanh.

I fancied reading this as he was highly recommended by my blog friend Liz, and I think mindfulness is important. You can check out Liz’s blog here. I’m always grateful to Liz for being one of my first followers and commenters on The Waffle. It means a lot when you’re new.

I’ll have to pause now to go and cook the dinner… back later with the rest of the books I want to show you…..Xx

Coffee time

Hi. Do you like coffee? Do you feel guilty drinking it as we have been told repeatedly that too much caffeine can be bad for us? In fact, in moderation a couple of cups of coffee a day have been found to have significant health benefits. I was surprised to learn recently that, amongst other things, coffee can be good for your liver. This below is from The British Liver Trust website:

“A British Liver Trust report (published June 2016) ‘Coffee and the liver – the potential health benefits’ confirms coffee is good for liver health.

The report provides evidence that:

  • Regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee may prevent liver cancer – the World Health Organisation has recently confirmed this reduced risk after reviewing more than 1,000 studies in humans
  • Coffee also lowers the risk of other liver conditions including fibrosis (scar tissue that builds up within the liver) and cirrhosis
  • Drinking coffee can slow the progression of liver disease in some patients
  • Beneficial effects have been found however the coffee is prepared – filtered, instant and espresso

However, it is important to remember that although drinking coffee may protect you from developing liver disease and can in addition help those who already have some degree of liver damage – the key messages for good liver health remain reducing the amount of alcohol we drink, eating a good diet, drinking plenty of water, doing regular exercise and keeping to a health weight.”

So I’m currently on a quest to find a decent cappuccino in Maidenhead town centre. I had the most disappointing small cappuccino at Costa coffee located downstairs in Maidenhead Odeon cinema recently. This has gone up (like everything these days) and now costs £2.95. Even though I sat inside they apologised for having to serve it in a takeaway cup, for some reason. It was at least half a cup of foam, a teeny weeny bit of coffee I reached eventually, no teaspoon to spoon out any of the foam, I’m not sure I even had any chocolate sprinkles. Quite frankly what is the point of a cappuccino without chocolate sprinkles I ask you? I will not be rushing back there for coffee.

My second attempt was at the New York Deli in the Nicholson’s centre in Maidenhead. Picture below.

This was much better 😊. I had a good amount of chocolate, foamy but not too much, a teaspoon was provided, a decent serving of liquid for a small/regular size. It cost £2.75. My only criticism was it was perhaps a bit too milky and could have been slightly stronger, but I do not like my coffee too strong and sometimes would be in the mood for it quite milky like this.

So this wasn’t bad but I’m still hunting for the best small/regular cappuccino to drink in in Maidenhead. Watch this space!

I was very surprised recently to find one of my original blog posts republished on another website under someone else’s name without having asked my permission. I do have copyright notices on my blog for a reason. I do not wish my content to be used elsewhere other than The Windsor Waffle. Kindly ask me before attempting to republish or link to my content elsewhere. So there! Got that off my chest.

I hope you’re all doing well. Apart from coffee I also quite randomly like hedgehogs.. I mean to look at rather than eat, obviously. I was pleased to receive a hedgehog bookmark and hedgehog socks from my mother in law for my birthday. So cute!

Have a good week everybody. I hope you have some great coffees and spot a hedgehog or two if you’re really lucky! My sister’s spotted some recently in her garden in the Cotswolds. 😊 Xx

New utensils pot = living the dream 😊

Hi, I love my new utensils pot for the newly refurbished kitchen! I’ve been looking for one recently to replace a blue jug and a ceramic pot that looked cluttered and not in keeping with the new grey and neutral colour scheme. I know this was quite expensive, £22.97 including post and packing from Amazon, but I bought it with gift vouchers, it is massive, it holds up to 20 utensils, it is dishwasher proof and….wait for it…. it spins around 🤩🤩🤩🤩. It’s great fun selecting a spatula from the other side giving it a twirl. David is also most impressed. We are very middle aged to get excited by such events 🤣🤣

When I haven’t been playing with my wooden spoons and spatulas, I’ve been busy so far this week working, going to the dentist in Windsor and also taking my Mum to the dentist in Kingston, attending book club at The Swan, reading a couple of books including “The Curated Closet” and this evening watching the film “Operation Mincemeat” at the cinema in Maidenhead which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Tomorrow is my belated birthday lunch in Marlow with Julie and pottery workshop day, wish me luck! Last time I attempted to make a pot was roughly 1980. Just like riding a bike? 🤔 maybe.

So I’ll just finish off my green tea with lemon and polish off a couple more Easter Lindor truffles… then head to bed for a big sleep 😴 hopefully as last night was a 3.30 am awake for ages worrying kind of night which I don’t wish to repeat. I may be dreaming about the magic spinning utensils…. or this pretty blossom below.. Xx

April = garden month 😎

Hi. I don’t have Covid any more 😊. I had my first properly negative test on Saturday, just in time for my birthday and Easter Sunday yesterday.

It’s been a great weekend. Glorious sunshine. Out and about again without the Covid. We’re still a bit tired on and off, David’s ears are still bothering him and my throat is still a bit inflamed, but basically we’re fine now. 😊

I did not expect the first half of April to be Covid month. So let’s draw a line under that now and move on to garden month.

We’ve been to the garden centre and bought herbs for my vertical garden, compost and manure for the veg patch.

Yesterday morning I planted up the herbs. I have rosemary, mint, thyme, parsley and some lettuce. There are a few pots still empty. I wonder what will go in those 🤔

We started this wall in lockdown 2020. It makes me feel happy. The plants are out of the way of slugs but they do need a lot of watering as this is a sunny south facing wall.

Today I also planted some sunflowers in these pots. More happiness to come.

I have weeded and dug in some manure to the veg patch. This was hard work! 😥 my back was aching, but it’s done now. Look at that lovely rhubarb!

I have ordered some Arran Pilot seed potatoes to go in the dug part. These are our favourites. I’ll probably also plant some other veg along the way. I honestly don’t think this saves any money at all once you’ve bought all the compost and seeds etc but I really enjoy this connection to the earth. David has green fingers and really enjoys gardening too, but is limited with his back and neck issues. We pay someone to mow the front and back lawns and to do the pruning of large bushes etc. The veg patch is enough to keep me busy. I love the garden but have so many other interests too.

Here are a few more pics of The Waffle garden today..

The poor camellia did not survive the frost again.

I’ll leave you with the view from my birthday pre dinner cocktails. We went to Roux at Skindles in Maidenhead. The highlight for me were the cocktails on the terrace. Such a stunning view.

You also cannot beat the goats cheese soufflé starter 😋😋😋 OMG this is good.

Bye for now. Have a good week. Only 2 days of work for me this week yippee 😊😎Xx