Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 91

Free Choice but must be outside..... couldn't take one without the other.. my little frog/toad garden ornaments!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Desperately seeking Tia...

Name: Tia
Hobby: Chasing Squirrels
Motivation: Food, Squirrels, Pheasants, Dead Things, Sheep Poo
One word to describe her: Exuberent

Today I have taught Tia to high five.... I watched the Pedigree training video, they were training a young border collie... well everyone knows Border Collies are very brainy and more importantly like to show off... Rottweilers on the other hand are quite brainy but don't give a toss!

That is a little unfair to Tia, in her puppy and bronze training classes she was a proper little brown-nose, but I think that was because she wanted to look down her superior nose at all the other puppies ..

she'd be like " look at me Mr Trainer, look what a little angel I am, look how I sit and stay, not like these silly little children who just want to play and don't do a thing they are told.. look I'm so good at lying down and staying I may go to sleep now... yawn..... "

I swear training classes taught her not only sit, down, stay, wait and come... but also how to roll her eyes!!

Anyway in my little trick teaching session today, I got Tia to high five me in probably the same amount of time as it took the border collie in the video.. and they had cut the outtakes... so I was reasonably impressed with my little bundle of fun..... of course she did do it with slightly less finesse and possibly a bit more force.. but she got there!

I then watched video number one which is on the recall... now Tia's recall in a training environment was really excellent, from the first go, you really would think I was the most interesting thing to her .. although I could see the look of insecurity on her face when sat outside in the middle of the class surrounded by lots of strangers and their dogs.... being abit of a wimpy Rotti I knew she was thinking mummy no, don't leave me!
oooh what's that over there

Her recall in reality isn't quite so good, out on walks its reasonably good with no distractions, although she does have selective deafness.. but a distraction to Tia can be an interesting smell on a blade of grass, a dragonfly... even a gnat!
Yes mummy, you have my undivided.....

The video says to train with whatever is their motivation.. well for Tia that would be food... or a squirrel, but I've yet to find a willing squirrel!  The key to training recall with distractions is to start with small distractions and get them to change their mind about going to investigate and come back to you instead... I'm fairly confident Tia is already at this point, in controlled environment she is always good..... the video doesn't cover what to do when they see a pheasant.. or even just smell one... when Tia is already thinking "mummy, who is mummy...mmm pheasant"

You know that actually does look quite interesting, what were you saying again.....?

"Tia, Come".. sorry non-comprende

Photo-a-Day Day 90

Orange.... my Pylones Samurai Veg Peeler :)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 88

Jewellery .. I hardly wear jewellery, this is my Truth charm bracelet and my two Links of London Friendship Bracelets, I never take any of these off

The charms you can see are my little vampire, rock chick, a little dog, cupcake and a handbag with Born to Shop on it.  They were all presents apart from the rock chick one.  I have a few that are just beads and also a tattoo one, that was round the other side though!  Need to get it filled up :)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 86

Household appliance... I love my Dualit kettle, it was my treat to myself when I moved in this house... well it was one of many treats really.. I can always find an excuse!

Whats rockin this Friday

Okay so things to be thankful for... its a gorgeous day, woke up in the middle of the night with rain lashing at the window, sounded lovely when I was in bed but hoped it would have stopped by early morning walkies and it had :)  Looks all set to be a nice sunny weekend... I am loving this mild winter, I hope it continues.. please no snow :)

I Can't Believe its Not Butter.. has a new taste.. and it actually does taste a bit like butter.. I only bought it as it was on offer.. and Clover now has a rival.. okay this wasn't exactly earth shattering stuff..

I've had quite a number of orders for Christmas Treat Doggy Bags, will be a busy little baker in December and Tia will be especially thankful

Still on the dog treat subject.. had lots of entries to my dog photo competition to win 4 x Wheat Free, Turkey, Veg & Cranberry muffins... the entries are all so cute, I'm so glad I delegated to my mate for judging, I wouldn't be able to choose!  If anyone has a dog and is based in the UK and would like to enter click the facebook tab above!

Reading Game of Thrones Book 1 at the moment and damn its good.. I can't put it down!  Hope book 2 is at the library for me to collect on Monday :)

Finally, I'm sure lots of people have seen the Benton/Fenton videos on You Tube, hell they've been on the news now!  I am thankful for the fact that when Tia did her little break for freedom last Saturday, she a) wasn't near a road b) wasn't chasing Deer towards a road and c) my screeching across the field wasn't caught on camera and broadcast on you tube!!!  Benton/Fenton has had over half a million views now, I'd have died from embarrassment!

If you'd like to join in with Rocking Friday's check out

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 85

Cold..... so yesterday was only the second frost of this winter.. and I'm not complaining that today was all mild again.. long may it continue.. however it did mean I had to take a photo of the ice in the freezer to represent cold...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 84

Square.... so this took me ages.... I searched the house for something square... and then after I found this:

the square links on my watch

I then thought dammit the light switches are square.. they didn't make a v interesting photo though.... then I saw this the carved pattern in my wardrobe....  also spotted drinks coasters too after I'd put camera away!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 83

Black..... the coal in my coal scuttle... and the fircones I use for kindling

Monday, 21 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 82

Free choice

The naughty little one's nose.... the root of most of her mischief!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 80

Reflection...... not great quality as taken on my phone

Tia on the naughty step

So it was a gorgeous, peaceful morning....

and then just after this photo was taken, Tia darted off across the field.... there was nothing to chase.. but in the distance I could make out the sheep in the fog... and Tia was heading straight for them.... as she got close, the poor resting sheep, jumped up and ran.... I was running after her, but obviously she is pretty damn quick when she wants to be.. she was like inches from the rear sheep's back end... but she ran passed it and kept running.

I couldn't see her any more so I stopped running to see if I could see a clue as to where she was and if she was attacking a sheep (she normally ignores sheep, obviously if they are close by I put her on the lead, but in the distance even on a clear day, she doesn't pay them any attention).  I was panicking thinking she would probably be shot if the farmer was around (not that the farmer in that field is ever around, his poor sheep are left out in all weathers, even lambing in snow.. anyway I digress....), but the sheep had all stopped running and were just standing around calmly.... then I heard a train..

Tia is never off the lead when I hear a train unless the river is in between her and the track, because she likes to chase them, normally as soon as I hear a train approaching I call her and put her lead on.. but of course she's not normally half a mile away and out of sight!  So between her and the train line there was two tiny fields.. I hoped, I wasn't sure if she was already in these fields.. the train went passed... the sheep were still loitering... nothing, no Tia... then she started barking her head off, Tia never barks... so I was certain she had trapped a sheep and was barking at it because she couldn't get it, but at least I could work out where she was.

I carried on running to far side of field next to the river, there was a fence there, but plenty of gaps for her to get through and I still couldn't see her..... but she was still barking.. so not dead from train then!  I got to the fence and she was the other side barking up a tree.. probably the wrong tree since there was nothing up it!

Not a clue what made her run off, she only ever runs off when something interesting to chase... squirrels & pheasants being the main thing... she crawled back through the fence when I got there with sheepish (no pun intended) look on her face... so glad she never ate a sheep.. also glad that she still hasn't made the connection between roast lamb and sheep!!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 79

Hard...... with social media... and to be honest any number of other distractions, its hard to stay focused on work!

and yes my desk really is that much of a mess.... will be tidied up at 5pm... juggling working on 6 different genres of magazines is messy work!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 77

Bed.... couldn't make mind up which photo to use.. the obvious bed one or the not so obvious bed one!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 76

Favourite place..... didn't quite have time to drive there and was a bit stumped..... but opted for only other option.... this is my favourite place in the world (Scotland - not travelling with Che Guevara!)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 75

Comfort..... (not quite her normal on her back legs akimbo style of comfort that she normally does...)

..... and this is her more customary display of comfort, taken just before bedtime....

Chocolate Apple Betty (Nigel Slater's)

I had this recipe at my sisters BBQ on Saturday night... it was the most heavenly dessert ever!!!!!  I think I found the right recipe online anyway, its from Nigel Slater's Real Food book, which I bought my sister for her Birthday, think I better invest in a  copy for myself :)

Chocolate Apple Betty
Serves 4, with cream or vanilla ice-cream

  • 1kg Bramley apples, peeled and cored
  • 30g butter For the crumb layer:
  • 125g soft white breadcrumbs
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 3 heaped tablespoons golden syrup
Cut the apples into large chunks, put them in a pan and toss with the butter and a couple of tablespoons of water over a moderate heat. When the apples start to soften but are still keeping their shape, tip them into a 1.5 litre baking dish. Mix the crumbs, sugar and chocolate and cover the apples loosely with the mixture. Melt the butter with the golden syrup in a small saucepan, then pour it over the crumbs, making certain to soak them all. Bake in an oven preheated to 190°C/Gas 5 for thirty-five minutes, till the apple is soft and the crumbs are golden and crisp.

Photo-a-Day Day 74


Friday, 11 November 2011

Rocking your world Friday

So what rocked my world this week...... other than the fact its Friday.. that's normally enough!

I've had 5... yes 5... people free early morning walks... this is a miracle... its rocking Tia's world too because she got to be off the lead the whole time in the fields, so she got to run and get up to mischief... clearly I got the time spot on this week... if only it could be like that tomorrow and Sunday too....

I finally got to go to field archery club Sunday after three weeks away from it (due to conserving petrol)... can't say I have improved... I get gradually worse each week I think.... but I did come back with two more arrows than I went with.. which is a MIRACLE..!  Two arrows, one from my first ever set and one from my brand new wooden set, have been lost in the woods.. well the wooden one flew underground... but as promised they eventually show up and get posted back into the lost arrows box..... felt like doing a skippy dance when I retrieved them... I was beginning to think that my new value for money hobby was gonna be costing me a fortune in arrows!

Modern Family S2 has been rocking my world every night this week... OMG it is so funny... like proper laugh out loud funny not a tiny little snigger funny!

Amazon delivered a new shiny cookbook this week - The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater... wanted it for a while and last month I was insanely jealous as I bought it as an extra pressie for my mum for her birthday, but in my new frugal (my arse) state of mind I managed to resist buying it for myself.... well I resisted for a month.. it is now mine all mine.. and I can say that the Cheese Smothered Potatoes (January 19th I think in the book) absolutely rock!  Also picked up Rick Stein's Spain... I love Spanish food.... well I just love food really...its the Chorizo and Rioja that do it for me.... not cooked anything from it yet, but the Salt Cod in Dried Pepper Sauce looked bloody gorgeous when he cooked it on tv!

Oh yes the fact my kitchen sink is finally unblocked after much messing around Monday night and then a nightmare of a Tuesday morning.... who would have thought water going down the plug hole could be taken for granted so!

Finally.. did I mention its Friday.. 'nuff said

I will leave you with what is quite possibly the happiest song in the world............

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent Double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep, Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod.  All went lame; all blined;
Drunk with fatique, deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime....
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhingin his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori
                                  Wilfred Owen

Photo-a-Day Day 72

Stairs/Step...... taken on this mornings walk, I took photo 4 times and every time Tia refused to look at the camera.. not a clue what was so interesting over there!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 70

Favourite food.... decided I like too much food to pick a favourite as such, Thai, Italian & Mexican are when eating out..... so I choose Home cooked, I love cooking and if I cook it myself I am 99% sure of never being disappointed  -I did once cook a recipe that sounded gorgeous... it wasn't!

Because I'm not about to just knock up a recipe right at this minute I took the easy option and photographed my recipe book cupboard...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 69

Something Creepy....

So okay he isn't really scary.... but I did  my best to take it from an angle to make him look like he was!  Its my paper mache dancing doll from Sri Lanka :)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Dog Photo Competition

 Tailwags and Treats are doing a Christmas Dog Photo Competition, all you have to do is visit and 'like' my facebook page:

You then post a photo of your dog, doesn't have to be posed, can be random pooch mentalness.  The winner gets 4 x Christmas (wheat free and gluten free) Turkey, Veg & Cranberry muffins.

The competition will be judged by my mate so no dogs can bribe me with extra tailwags and puppy dog eyes.. also Tia and other employees (Bridie, Frankie & Diesel) aren't allowed to enter..... if they could have though, here would be their entries.......
Tia.... young and looking a bit ridiculous really

Frankie Claus

Bridie - Santa's little helper

Diesel .. I must get more photos of the newest member of the Tailwags pack!

Photo-a-Day Day 68

A Smile... well its more of a blurry cheesy grin really - I can't smile and hold the camera still at the same time it seems!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 67


Tonight's glass of Rioja in candlelight

Photo-a-Day Day 66

Yesterday's rule was Light, these were taken from my bedroom window of the fireworks at Tutbury Castle

Friday, 4 November 2011

Photo-a-Day Day 65


My Friday Song

Doesn't mention Friday at all.. but what the hell, I forgot to do Thursday at all!  I love this song so much...

Rocking your world Friday

So this is my first one of these and I'm not really sure what I'm doing.......

So a brief summary of this week....

Highlight of the week has to be not recognising my husband..... (we've been separated 10 years - married for 11)  Technically I did recognise him as an ex... I just recognised him as the wrong ex... I'm sure it could happen to anyone... well anyone who hasn't bothered to sort out a divorce anyway!  So plan of action for the coming weeks is start divorce proceedings.... I sort of forgot he existed from the moment I left him (clearly!)

Fireworks.... none around here so far, sure that will all change tonight... so Tia will be guarding my house thinking a war is going on outside.... maybe something good has come from the current economy... the out of work masses that can normally manage to find several hundred pounds spare to buy outrageously loud but completely pointless fireworks may have finally come to the conclusion they are a waste of money!!  Possibly helped by the fact I've not seen any in the local shops this year... wow, finally some progress.. now if they can ban the sale of fireworks for own use completely for next year, Tia will be very happy.

Archery this weekend, I've been so skint last month I've had to conserve petrol... but now I've been paid I can go and attempt to hit some targets with some arrows :)

Almost finished my latest pet portrait - a rhodesian ridgeback, hopefully will get it finished this weekend.  Will be putting my prices up soon, following a chat with a marketing lady, who says my value for money price is probably having a negative effect!  She did a price/value comparison and I am offering excellent value but possibly making people think that my pencil portraits are not as good as the people that charge higher sums.  I wasn't totally convinced, but she did show me some examples and not wanting to blow my own trumpet, I did see her point!

Finally, my blooming blackberry has gone a bit squiffy... the "n" key and subsequently the "comma" no longer work.. this was the first sign something had gone wrong, then the phone wouldn't wake up.. then it woke up but wouldn't type what I was typing.. it is still having its moments, but it is back in some sort of working order (apart from the N and the comma anyway).  I have three months left on my 2 year contract, and really think that phone companies tying you into a 2 year contract should guarantee the phone for the whole of the contract period!  I want an iphone 4S next and was happy to wait (my company doesn't offer the iphone at the moment) to switch to a different provider, but if my blackberry keeps playing up I may end up having to get new phone earlier and taking a hit on the price :(

Well that was a boring summary, my Monday to Fridays are pretty boring really!