Just being ME

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bashed neeps, and the Christmas in February giveaway winner ...

I haven't ever been sure whether a neep is a swede, or a turnip?

For this post, it's a swede/rutabaga (US) of which I love, bashed with a knob of butter and black pepper.

Why a photo of a swede?

It's because the smell and taste of swede always reminds me of childhood Christmas dinners at home. We'd always have mashed swede, along with a huge roast turkey with sausagemeat poked under the skin, and Paxo in the cavity, roast potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and thick Bisto gravy.

Oh I wish it could be Christmas every day! Only ten of you thought so, and left a comment on my Christmas in February giveway post, for a chance of winning a copy of the Hamlyn 200 Christmas Recipes book.

I asked what you had for your Christmas dinner? All comments were fun to read, and considering it was February your memories hadn't been affected by the sherry!

Anyway all ten names were scribbled on a piece of paper, torn into shreds and put in a dish. The winning name pulled out was ...

Amanda and Tim!

Congratulations to you.

I think you are going to enjoy trying out recipes from this little book.



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breakfast and brunch ...

What do you have most days for your breakfast? You know you mustn't skip breakfast, don't you!

On most days I have full fat! Greek style natural yogurt with muesli. On an 'early start' work day I have it in bed watching BBC Breakfast, much to the dismay of the other half, who will get out of bed to make and eat his porridge!

My muesli of the moment is Dorset Cereals 'Simply Delicious Muesli'. A crunchy blend of chilean flame raisins, sunflower seeds, dates, roasted hazelnuts and brazil nuts with multi-grain flakes. It has taken the place of another favourite of mine, Sainsburys 'Fruit and Nut', which contains whole almonds.

My favourite discovery in Greek style natural yogurt is from the Essential Waitrose range. It is very thick and creamy, and is just the best.

On a 'late start' work day I might have Scrambled Eggs. I love it, but it has to be sloppy, usually on white toast but wholemeal will do, with lots of freshly ground black pepper on top! I'll eat this half way between breakfast and lunch, so you'd call it Brunch.

In Victorian times, they'd have enjoyed Kedgeree for breakfast! In this day and age, a meal more suited as a lunch or supper dish.

It's dead easy to make using only four ingredients, rice, smoked haddock, hard-boiled eggs, and a handful of peas. Maybe five if you include a generous grinding of black pepper.

Pop over to Simone's blog Linden Grove and you may, if you're quick on your toes, get a square of home-made Blueberry Buttermilk Cake for your breakfast today.

A breakfast doesn't have to be healthy one everyday!



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Captain Cook's Cottage, Vic, Aus ...

Built in 1755 by the parents of Captain James Cook, the cottage originally stood in the North Yorkshire village of Great Ayton.

In 1933 the owner of the cottage decided to sell it to the empire, and an Australian bid of £800 was accepted.

I thought to move house is stressful enough, but to actually move a house, well that's a completely different ball game!

The cottage was deconstructed brick by brick and packed into 253 cases and 40 barrels complete with an ivy cutting, for shipping onboard the Port Dunedin from Hull.

This lovely old photo shows Cooks Cottage where it once stood, circa 1920. The single storey extension was demolished before the sale.

The cottage now stands in the beautifully picturesque Fitzroy Gardens in the city of Melbourne, Australia.
Click on link for more Scenic Sunday


my music memories, 1970s ...

Which waveband was your family radio tuned to?

In our home it was Radio One on 247, playing all day, every day. Remember Junior Choice with Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart, Noel Edmonds on the Breakfast Show, David 'Kid' Jensen and Dave Lee Travis, the Hairy Cornflake! Mike Read, Peter Powell and Simon Bates' Our Tune?

Remember the portable cassette recorder, and recording the Top Forty on a Sunday afternoon, stop/starting at the beginning and end of every tune. Losing your favourite tape when it got all caught up and tangled around the spools!

Remember the music centre, in trendy plastic casing! When songs were cut on vinyl, singles played on forty five and albums on thirty three.

Remember the Disco 45 songbook, with all the latest lyrics? Look at the price, 5p! I bought every copy, from Issue No 1 until the time came when it was taken off the shelves. Then one day I lost my marbles and binned them, every single one of them!

I also remember buying the Words songbook at an increased price of 15p, well, inflation was a big thing in the 1970s! At the time when a David Bowie calendar shared my bedroom wall with The Police!

I really liked the magazine Smash Hits, my collection starting from Number 1 to whatever number it was when it dawned on me where would I find the space for another copy?

I'd love to get to hear any music memories from your childhood, or who you had plastered to your bedroom wall during your teenage years!



Phishing, don't get caught ...

I know many of you out there have a webshop attached to your blog, or make purchases from the internet.

A message for anyone who uses Paypal as a form of sending and receiving payment, is to be aware of an e-mail which has recently come to the surface.

Today, I looked into a recent message to my web address which somehow slipped through the net of our internet security, with an attachment download to fill in sensitive information, saying it was necessary to restore my Paypal account access, threatening a shutdown of my account if they received no reply.

Even though it appeared credible, there was just something, well, fishy about it!

Phishing is a form of web forgery designed to steal your identity, usually for financial gain.

One of the most common 'phishing' scams involves sending a fraudulent e-mail that appears to be from a trusted company or brand. This e-mail then directs you to a fake version of a well-known website and records any information you enter, such as your password, financial details and more.

Remember, Paypal will never e-mail you asking for your:

Credit or debit card numbers
Bank account numbers
Driving licence numbers
E-mail addresses
Your full name
Postal address
An e-mail from Paypal will never contain an attachment

Paypal will only ever ask you to enter personal details on the secure Paypal website, after you have safely logged in to your Paypal account.

Parts of this post may appear witty, but to be caught out is really no joke. Your identity can be left open to every degree of fraudster.



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Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, NSW, aus ...

The walk takes about two hours, the most part along the cliff face of the Pacific Ocean, passing six beaches and bays.

We had to do it a bit different and took it in reverse, from Coogee to Bondi!

The name Coogee is said to have been taken from a local aboriginal word 'koojah' which means smelly place, referring to the large amount of seaweed washed up on the beach.

A bit unfair I thought, the beach had a niceness about it, and on first impressions I preferred it to Bondi where we'd visited a few years back.


Like me you really don't need to be superfit to do this walk, but if you don't want to end up looking like a tomato, or feeling like a dehydrated prune, on a hot day it's essential to wear a hat, long sleeves and carry plenty of water.

In an emergency there are pit-stops along the way, and we stopped in a bowling club where after signing in, I swiftly downed half of shandy, and the OH a pint of Tooheys!

Finding ourselves starting to sizzle in the mid-day sun, where only mad dogs and Englishmen go, we didn't get to complete the walk and decided our best bet was to catch the bus from Bronte beach back to the shade of the city, to cool off!
Click on link for more Watery Wednesday


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Cradle Mountain, Tas, Aus ...

The views on the road down to Cradle Mountain in the Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania were breathtaking.

Being windy, and all up hill and down dale, there was no use for cruise control on our automatic car!

On arrival we decided on taking on one of the more difficult walks up to Crater Peak, over steep terrain exposed to the elements. They weren't wrong, we just about experienced four seasons in one day with gusty winds, blazing sunshine and light showers!

A bright buttercup-like flower.

A pretty pink alpine.

For an artistic slant on this post I took this photo on an angle! I quite like it.

A paper-like white flower.

A creamy-white alpine.

Concentration is the key on this trek as rocks are sharp and jagged.
On our descent we witnessed a man carrying a huge rucksack on his back lose his balance, resulting in him toppling backwards consequenting in a badly gashed arm, and I'd imagine several bruises to boot and a very hurt pride.
We both breathed a sigh of relief at not having to use first aid, or attempt to summons the mountain rescue!
This was a difficult walk for me, but to see the stunning views of the beautiful lakes below, made all the suffering worthwhile.
Not returning the way we came, we took a detour, and at the end of our walk six long hours later, I was pretty much finished!
Click on link for more Scenic Sunday


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the Twelve Apostles, Vic, Aus ...

Spectacular limestone stacks that have formed over twenty million years.

Erosion has created fascinating gorges and shapes in the nearby cliffs.

Originally the site was called the Sow and Piglets!

When you see the rugged cliffs and rocks jutting up from the sea, you can understand how the region came to be named the Shipwreck Coast.

Click on link for more Watery Wednesday



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Christmas in February giveaway ...

Would anyone like a chance of winning a copy of the Hamlyn all colour cookbook 200 Christmas recipes?

When I came across it I liked the photography and clear instructions, so much so I bought myself a copy, a copy for two friends of mine, and also a copy for you.

I was going to leave the draw open whilst away on holiday, but just didn't get the chance to get onto my blog before we left.

We spent Christmas Day in Hong Kong stopping over for re-fuelling, the plane that is, although we were given a makeshift festive meal on our flight, which was small but tasty all the same.

Just leave a comment telling me what you chose to have for your festive meal on Christmas day, and I shall enter your name into the draw.

I shall leave the draw open until midnight February 27th, and welcome comments from the UK and overseas. Note recipes are in imperial and metric measurements, and not in cups!

I hope you enter, as it really is a lovely little book.



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Sydney, NSW, Aus ...

Having arrived on Boxing Day to cloudy, blackened sky and the next day torrential rain, we spent the first leg of our trip visiting the surrounding suburbs and foreshores of Sydney using the city ferries.

It's a great way of getting around and for unlimited, value for money travel on public transport, it's a good idea to buy a green travel ticket when you arrive.

Dubbed the 'old coat hanger' you can pretty much see every angle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from a ferry.

The bridge has such a dominating presence that on most days wherever we happened to be, my eye would always be drawn to it.

It takes on an odd dreamlike quality.
Click on link for more Scenic Sunday



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... just come from a land down under
I've just got back from spending five weeks in Australia!
Just like this cute and cuddly koala with his/her tasty eucalyptus leaves, it won't be long until I am chewing over your latest posts.
Do bear with me though. I have a lot of catching up to do, laundry included!