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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.

Sunday’s update: cold weather, food, walk, memories…

This wreath made me smile one lunchtime in Windsor this week. Is it a teddy bear or Mickey Mouse?! 🤣

It’s cold 🥶. Cosy in my house but cold outside. Yesterday we went for a walk at Windsor Home Park and the wind was bitter. I wrapped my scarf around my head but it was only a thin one and the wind bit straight through. I’ve had earache in one ear ever since. I don’t really like winter, it’s too cold and dark, but I do like Christmas.

Today we found a new café (new for us, not really new) for lunch. It’s called Pondwood Lakeside Café and is located in White Waltham next to an angling lake. Their website is here.

It’s a lovely location by the lake.

It would be really nice to go here in the summer and sit outside.

Today there were several fisherman outside by the lake, but there was only one other couple in the café, really quiet. The food was good and they do an all day breakfast which is worth knowing. David and I both opted for the double sausage and chips and a Diet Coke. Not a particularly healthy lunch, but weekends are for treats! 😊. This came to a grand total of £14, good value for money and we’ll be back.

After lunch we went to Dorney to walk by The Jubilee River. It was fairly quiet there too. Where is everybody? Too cold for them? Christmas shopping?

We saw some nice birds… swans, cormorants or shags, wag tails, a friendly robin, red kites, a blackbird, crested grebe, and I think a reed bunting.

The puddles were full of ice. Brrrr 🥶.

David’s currently practising guitar (“Mustang Sally” etc) ready for playing with the band at a local dinner dance next weekend. I’m lying on the bed, blogging. A lazy Sunday afternoon. I’m also thinking of all the jobs I should have finished at home this weekend 🤔 and the dinner I need to cook.

Tonight we’re having roasted stuffed breast of lamb. I bought these from the Windsor Farm Shop on Friday. They look really good, and good value at £3.79 for two. I have no idea how long to cook them for as they have no instructions, I’m just going to wing it. Lamb is OK a bit undercooked anyway. There will be roast potatoes, mashed carrot and swede from M &S, spinach and gravy. For pudding will be vanilla ice cream for David and raspberries, blueberries and ice cream for me. I may persuade David to eat a couple of raspberries 🤣 as they’re good for him.

Before cooking below…..sorry this is a terrible photo. They’re now wrapped in foil ready to go in the oven. I’m going to take the foil off for the last 30 minutes, get me!

As I’ve been sorting out a lot of random photos and old letters this weekend, I’ll leave you with this memory from my past…. back in my rowing days at school on The River Thames at Putney. I’m the seventeen year old in the bright turquoise striped t-shirt, position no. 7 in the boat. I don’t look very strong in the arms! I remember the cold and the blisters on your hands in the winter and the coach shouting at you from the comfort of his motorboat. I remember how heavy the boat was when we all carried it upside down on our shoulders to get it into the water. I used to go rowing on Monday afternoons followed by, believe it or not, ballet class! I found it challenging changing my mindset from rowing to ballet, such different disciplines. And with hindsight, what a tiring start to the week.

My niece Hazel is now rowing at Cambridge University. She is rowing in the girls’ boat and also coxing the men’s. Sounds like she’s loving it.

Have a good week everybody! Thanks for reading The Waffle Xx.

Pink flowers of the day

Hi. It’s amazing how mild it’s been in October and early November. It’s just starting to get a bit chilly now. There are still flowers in bloom around my local estate. The one above I spotted this afternoon.

Here’s another one..looks a bit sad somehow.

I also spotted some purples and some white. Don’t you just love flowers? They’re so great! 😀 These pale mauve ones are so pretty.

It’s been a productive day at home for me today, recharging my batteries and catching up on some home admin. We had no kitchen workmen today 😅 but David sent a video of the plastering to be done where the tiles were removed to the plasterer for his quote and planning. That’ll probably be done early next week.

I wimped out of my bookclub last night as we had a meeting with the kitchen manager guy and I was too exhausted after work and that. Too many nights out on the trot too last week I think. Tonight I’m off to the cinema to see King Richard with Erica and Sue. So I’m making my way now for a quick shower, cooking venison burgers and baked beans for supper and then to the film. Looking forward to lying in the reclining cinema seat and being transported to another world… and relax! 🤗 Bye for now Xx

Sunday’s blog.. the colour orange

Hi. These gorgeous vibrant berries caught my eye the other day walking around the block. I’m loving all the autumn oranges around in nature at the moment.

It’s been a busy but fun weekend. We went to a new restaurant in Windsor last night. It’s called Plate at No.6 and I thought it was superb. We had an orange looking cocktail with dessert. It was a kind of rum punch and was very delicious.

The restaurant serves Mediterranean food in a tapas style concept where you share each plate and they bring each one out when ready.

We had the cod and leek croquettes followed by beef and cheese arancini. Then lobster gnocchi and rack of lamb with courgettes cooked with cheese. We did not share the dessert. We each had the “chocolate, chocolate and chocolate” plate which was dark chocolate cake, milk chocolate mousse and white chocolate ice cream. Yummy. The service was excellent and the bill although not cheap, in my opinion was really reasonable for the quality of the food and the overall experience, I loved it. For those of you who know Windsor this new restaurant is located right next door to The Carpenter’s Arms pub in the cobbled streets by the castle. I think it used to be Cox’s jewellers. It’s quite a small place beautifully decorated which adds to its ambience.

Tonight’s roast chicken is in the oven. The house is still in kitchen chaos, but not quite as bad as before. The new washing machine is working. The new fridge is filled up with food. Some of the cupboards have dried food and tins back inside them. There is still a long way to go with this project though. Tomorrow is the electrician to sort out all the switches. After that the plasterer to fix the walls where the old tiles were taken off. We cannot have the gas hob we ordered.. a long story about a change in legal regulations of the distance between the extractor fan and the top of the hob. We are now choosing an induction hob (more money!) and sorting out which of our current saucepans will be compatible with it. Turns out any pan which a fridge magnet sticks to the bottom of, who knew this? Not I.

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend. Keep smiling. If I’m not on the blog I’m probably sorting out a box of stuff or talking to David about the latest unforeseen kitchen issue. Bye for now! 😊X.

Pretty reindeer and kitchen progress (or not)

Hi all. Windsor is starting to look quite Christmassy. I like these pretty reindeer I spotted today outside my hairdresser’s. It’s called Icon in Windsor and is run by some lovely Polish ladies. They only take cash even in these post lockdown times, but their prices are reasonable for central Windsor. My locks are getting very long! On my current extensive “to do” list is to book a haircut soon.

My home “to do” list for the weekend seems huge. The kitchen project is ongoing, the house is disorganised with stuff everywhere. Only quick cooking and ready meals for us this week. It’s beginning to wear thin already and I’m getting a bit tired. On a positive note, the kitchen work done so far looks good. The price is going up day by day with each issue that’s encountered and of course we are behind schedule, as these jobs usually are. The new washing machine replaces the smelly 17 year old one. I was hoping to put a wash on, but not tonight as the initial programme you have to run takes 2 hours 48 minutes… 😴🥱. Maybe tomorrow. I tried reading the manual to select one programme I will use all the time, as I don’t need 26. Still undecided and I started to get a headache.

No idea what this girl is up to!? she hasn’t come with my machine.

It’s a ready made chicken and leek pie tonight so I’m off to shove that in the oven and put on some petits pois. I’ll leave you with some beautiful leaves and wish you a very relaxing weekend! Xx

The Man in the hat and kitchen cupboards

Hi everyone. Do you like my “Man in a Hat” painting? I did this on Thursday night at Sip and Paint at The George pub in Eton. This was really fun. The tutor gave you a pencil outline for the man on canvas and then told you which colours to mix and roughly where to put each colour. I hadn’t done any painting since school except for a paint by numbers a few years ago I never finished.

We were 5 people in my group and about 4 other ladies. Everyone’s paintings looked fab, all the same but with small differences. I sipped one glass of wine but there honestly wasn’t that much time for drinking, we were far too busy painting layer upon layer and trying to keep up with the tutor. It cost £25. including all materials but not including drinks. I liked the fact we didn’t have to set everything up or clear everything up afterwards. We put our brushes in to soak in water, plates of unused paint in the bin. The tutor must have had to clean all the brushes properly afterwards.

Talking of cleaning, my hands are now infused with Cif cleaning fluid. (Does anyone remember when it was called Jif?). We are having our kitchen cupboards upgraded with new doors, work starts tomorrow. We have emptied all the cupboards (boy what a lot of stuff!), and cleaned the inside of all the cupboards thoroughly with a scourer and Cif.

The stuff from the kitchen cupboards is currently piled up under the stairs, on half the dining table and on the living room carpet. This reminds me of my parents’ house and makes me feel a bit stressed. I keep reminding myself this is just temporary. By the end of tomorrow we can probably put some of it back, as well as throw some more of it away.

We will also be having at a later stage new quartz worktops on top of the existing worktops, a new dark grey sink, easy access storage solutions in 2 cupboards, and new tiling which I showed you in a previous post, but here are the tiles from Wickes we’ve chosen again..

In my downstairs study we are also having new white doors on my super large cupboard, replacing the dated dark brown doors. So I’ve been sorting out and emptying that one too. I’ve just got the large top section to do in a bit. I’m trying to be more Marie Kondo. When you empty your cupboards you realise what a lot of stuff you have been hoarding, forgotten that most of it was even there. Unfortunately as the downstairs of the house is full of kitchen stuff I’ve done multiple trips upstairs with the study cupboard stuff. It’s now also piled up in the spare room. The whole house is a tip! It’s only temporary… and breathe!

I’ve not got much else to report. Time for a hot beverage and then back to the great cupboard clear out. I am drowning in stuff, dreaming of being a minimalist…

When did you last clear out and clean your cupboards…?

I suggest you start now. Have a nice week 😊Xx.

Beautiful pumpkins, new Aldi supermarket, wonderful trees

Hello. I am quite in love with the pumpkin on the left. I grew it myself. It is so smooth and round, the weight of a new born baby. I have watched it steadily progress from green to orange on my kitchen windowsill over the past few weeks. Maybe we will eat it soon. I haven’t finished admiring it yet!

On Monday night we ate the really small one (not shown here), it wasn’t even round. I made a pumpkin and sausage risotto. It was delicious. The recipe is here.

What will I make next? Who knows. Watch this space. For tonight we are having lamb korma cooked in the slow cooker. It smells great. I have to put the cream in in a minute for the last 20 minutes of cooking.

I’ve had a nice day today. I went to the post office and popped into Tesco’s first thing, then met a friend for coffee and carrot cake at the park. Most relaxing. We walked a couple of laps of the park and I tried out the park gym equipment 🤣. On the way home we visited the new Aldi supermarket, admired all the bargain prices. The fruit and veg looked fresh and good. I bought 2 bottles of white wine, each one about £2. cheaper than we usually pay. We’ll see if we like them. There are some random items for sale amongst the groceries. I spotted some ski trousers 🤷‍♀️ , some balls of wool and a sewing machine. Sadly there was no grape juice, this is getting quite hard to source especially white grape juice which I’m coming to the conclusion is now extinct.

After lunching on a scotch egg and a cupasoup, David came home from band practice and we caught up. This afternoon I made my lamb korma and put it on the high setting on the slow cooker. While it was cooking I started clearing out some cupboards in my study and the kitchen ready for the new cupboard doors being fitted next week. It’s a good time for a clear out making sure we really need all the stuff we’ve accumulated.

I’ll leave you with some gorgeous trees of Windsor Great Park from the weekend… and some robust looking cows/bulls that belong to the Queen.

This is the lovely tulip tree, one of my favourites.

This is one of its leaves…

The beautiful path ahead.. May yours be beautiful too. Happy Wednesday to the world via The Waffle! 😊Xx

Rock n’ roll lifestyle

Hi. David’s band played The Swan on Friday night. It was a great crowd and a really fun night. I may have overdone the wine a bit. It can be a bit nerve wracking being a band wife. We know we will have to pick up the pieces emotionally if it doesn’t go well. I was extremely relieved it went marvellously, the courtyard was rocking and the band and the pub staff were happy. I guess each public gig will get a little easier for me. The first one I was so nervous I thought I was going to be sick on the way there, butterflies in the stomach.

“We haven’t done a sound check”, was one of the pre play worries this time. I saw an anxious face of apprehension on one of the other band member’s faces. “Don’t worry, we know you’re brilliant” I said confidently… (and I meant it), then started inwardly worrying what the sound was going to be like amongst all other little worries. This must be what it’s like to have children. A constant state of anxiety whilst presenting a face of calm.

Worrying over, the ageing rockers did good, and only one of them ended up in hospital the next day. Don’t worry, he’s OK. He was already texting from A & E about doing the next gig. This gigging seems to be addictive.

David said the best bit for him was looking out and seeing all the people smiling in the crowd, the sea of happy boppers enjoying the music. As a wife you have to do extra cheering, and you want to, it’s fun but exhausting!

For now I’m off to cook the lamb for Sunday dinner. Roast potatoes are already in the oven. I think I’ll give the wine a miss. Have a great week everybody. Here’s a beautiful tulip tree leaf from this afternoon’s walk. 😊.

A little peaceful waffle

Hi everyone. I’ve not much blog for you tonight, other than just to check in and say “hi” and I hope you’re doing well. I’m fine but several of my friends and family are not at the moment. There is dementia, cancer, Covid, fractures. Lots of problems. Lots going on.

So tonight I’ll keep it short and just send you some peaceful, healthy vibes. This evening we’re having chicken liver bhuna for supper. I’ve made this before. It’s really tasty. The recipe is here.

We’ve been in the garden earlier this week looking at Jupiter and Saturn through the telescope. David sets it all up in the cold, dark garden, and I just pop out for a few minutes when he’s got a good view of something 😊. We saw the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. It kind of puts things into perspective.

Peaceful, healthy vibes to you all. Lots of fireworks. Happy Diwali. Almost bonfire night. Back soon Xx

You can’t hurry love… or pumpkins!

Hello my friends. The pumpkins are still partially green. We decided not to carve them yet. Halloween will be late in our house.

I’ve never carved a pumpkin lantern before, as far as I remember. I want it to be an orange pumpkin, otherwise what’s the point? Did you know pumpkins are actually fruit not vegetables? Yes, news to me too. Just don’t tell David or he’ll never eat them again…🤣.

Here are a few pics from our weekend in Windsor.. the pub has plenty of orange pumpkins.

Cross between a pumpkin and a ghost?!

This made me smile 😊…

Just to confuse all the festivals, I baked my Christmas cake today on Halloween?! The whole house smells of warm fruity Christmassiness. Love it! It’s not iced yet, of course, it still has to go in the tin wrapped in foil and soaked in brandy for many weeks first. This is one from the past..

I start my Christmas prep in October as I enjoy it and also otherwise I wouldn’t get it all done in time. I am a plodder, not a last minute whirlwind. I do not do whirlwinds and would find that really stressful. I remember when I moved out of home my Mum said to me “Who’s going to organise Christmas now…?” It does seem to be an ongoing issue as my parents have been known to not get around to decorating their Christmas tree until Boxing Day.

Christmas for most women I know means lists…a lot of lists…. list after list after list. I’ve already made a few… Christmas cake ingredients, Christmas pudding ingredients, Christmas presents to buy, Christmas gifts I might like to receive, dummy food shopping list to get our Ocado slot confirmed.. The men in our lives look at us as if we are quite mad, putting such pressure on ourselves, making ourselves unnecessarily tired, and they may well be right. But then again, if the men helped a little earlier in the season…. women may not be driven into list frenzy mode!! At the last minute I need to be free to help David when he starts to think about Christmas on 20 December!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

So I hope you’ve all been having a fun Halloween…? Made any Christmas lists yet? I’m going downstairs now to sniff the Christmas cake again. Roast chicken dinner tonight 😋. Chocolate mousse for pudding 😋😋😋. Have a good week Xx

Halloween is coming…bonfire night…then Christmas!

Hi. Halloween has never been my favourite festival. I definitely prefer bonfire night on 5 November, and of course Christmas and Easter. I’m not a religious person so Christmas and Easter are festivals of family, friends and food.

I’m getting into the Halloween spirit nonetheless with my home grown pumpkins 🎃 – looking more orange by the day. It’s time for scary films to be show at the cinema. I do not do scary films. Last night we saw Dune. We didn’t really understand what was going on 🤷‍♀️ but other than that we quite enjoyed it!

There are Halloween decs popping up around Windsor now.

I am such a wimp. Even this fake spider makes me feel a bit creepy. I think it’s the legs.

A few other sights in Windsor today. This is really pretty. I think the flowers are fake.

This is a tree near the library. I like the really big leaves. Maybe it is a fig tree?

Another plant that caught my eye..

Oh, which way to go…? So much good stuff in Windsor….though not easy to read in this photo!

Home from work and I’ve rewrapped the Christmas pudding, ready for steaming on Christmas Day. I mixed it up on Tuesday night, steamed it all day (9 hours) on Wednesday and now it’s all ready in storage in my cupboard for the day itself. It gets resteamed for about 1.5 hours on the day. It smells – and tastes- divine. For those of you who say you don’t like Christmas pudding, you haven’t tasted mine yet. David has been known to send back Christmas puddings in restaurants as they are so inferior to mine he can’t believe they dare to call it Christmas pudding. I think they make very small ones and microwave them and the texture goes all rubbery and horrible.

I know it’s early, but I feel a sense of comfort in our pandemic times completing this task. Whatever happens with Covid and the lorry driver shortages my Christmas pud is all set! Next week, Christmas cake making before the great kitchen cupboard upgrade begins!

Here are a couple of previous years’ puds. Alight with the brandy and not. It always turns out well.

My lips are sealed on the recipe…a closely guarded family secret passed down through the generations. The recipe is a lot of guesswork as it is very vague in terms of quantities. My sister and my nephew will be using the same recipe to stir up theirs tomorrow.

For tonight it’s beefburgers and microwaved new potatoes from M & S, maybe with baked beans. Easy meal tonight. Bye for now, back with more festive updates soon! Xx