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Archive for the ‘general’ Category

‘Tis the season?

Well, we’re all here in December merrily settling in for the festive season and although I can find my Christmas cheer quite easily at home I am struggling a bit in the office.  You see, I married a man who believes that the office is where you go to work,  nose to the grindstone all day.  I, on the other hand, believe that there should be some social aspect to work.  You spend more than 7 hours a day in the office with the same people, you are bound to find out about their lives.  But since living with R I have veered a little to his way of thinking.  For example, do I really need to know that the person sitting opposite me has a rash THERE? 

Recently I received a few Christmas cards from colleagues I barely speak to signed with ‘love’, been told to buy secret gifts for people at work that have to be ‘cheeky and fun’ and finally to add to the commercial feeling, was informed loudly by my boss that they spend on average £ 500 per child on presents alone (they have two children).   And that’s when I started feeling a little sad for Christmas.

So, I’ve decided that although I won’t be sharing many Christmassy festive thoughts at work, I will definitely save up all my cheer for home and family, where it should be.

Anyway, enough of the Christmas bah-humbug feeling OtherMonkey!  I hope that everyone will be spending time with the ones they love and that Christmas this year is all that you hoped it would be.  I’ll be posting up some Christmas decoration photo’s up soon so that should really get me into the festive swing of things.

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baking, baking, baking

It has been a busy couple of days here at the other monkey house, the smell of baking has been overwhelming.  Various things needed to be baked this week. Rocky road bars made for a work Halloween charity sale, lemon cake baked for a friend, and chocolate fudge brownies made for a Halloween party last night.

I do love going to a house where you are guaranteed to have at least 4 different desserts at the end of the evening.  I must say the pumpkin cheesecake was my favourite and luckily we managed to bring some home with us as well.

The most important thing of all is that I was introduced to the very addictive candy corn!  Yummy!  How do Americans restrain themselves from eating it all the time?

I was going to write a post about slow-cooking as I made a delicious steak, ale and cheese pie the other weekend to celebrate the new season coming but, unfortunately the pictures were deleted, ahem.  Will post it another time as I am sure that more pies, stews and casseroles will be made here at the other monkey house in the coming weeks.

Wow, November already.

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Well, hello September!  Time really does fly when you get older.  When I was younger I remember having to wait forever for my parents to finish watching the news before we could watch our programmes, anyone remember Party of Five

This past week at work has felt like swimming in the deep end of an endless pool.  My brain was tired and stressed and I found myself snapping at my husband for breathing to deeply and not whipping up meals on demand.  Me on PMS, never a good thing.  Luckily my manager is one of those understanding types and gave me the day off as TOIL (time off in lieu).  Yes, I toiled therefore I deserved TOIL.

The first thing I did was naturally write out a long mental list of things that needed to be done, house cleaning and washing being top of the list and I had to pull myself together and realise that this is a day for me, I could do anything that struck my fancy.  I was built with the guilt gene buried deep in my brain so this has been hard to do but so far I have;

  • slept in later than usual
  • had breakfast in bed reading blogs
  • played with the cat
  • went shopping and ended up buying some styling creme that will hopefully tame my curly hair
  • aimlessly wandered around a material store
  • nosed around Zara and drooled over a cherry red sweater with the cutest buttons on the sleeves
  • drifted around Marks and Spencer with the older generation and bought some dinner for tonight
  • came home and baked banana loaf

I think that banana loaf is one of the five fruit and veg that you should try and eat a day, it’s more-ish, cake-like and has enough bananas in it to make you feel slightly healthier after having a slice.

My recipe for this loaf came from an old cookbook called ‘Come, Cook with Mary’, it was given to me by one of my mother’s friends, who had it passed down to her from her sister who sadly passed away about 10 years ago.  Our local church in my hometown used to have all the ladies send in their favourite recipes and bind them into a cookbook, which went on sale to raise funds for the church and community.  This is one of those cookbooks, splattered with flour, oil and enthusiasm.  Most of the recipe titles begin with a persons name like, ‘Aunt Jane’s Genoa Cakes’, never mind that we have no idea who ‘Aunt Jane’ is.  But this is the book you come to when you want something familiar and comfortable to nibble on, and the banana loaf is the essence of being at home when the wind and rain come knocking on your door.

BANANA LOAF

2 cups (240 g) flour
1 cup (120g) caster sugar
120g butter
2 eggs
3 ripe mashed bananas
65ml water
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb of soda
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 160C
Cream the butter and sugar together.  Stir in the bananas and beat well.  Beat in the eggs one by one.  Add flour and salt and stir in well.  Dissolve the bicard into the water and stir into the batter, then add the baking powder.
Pour into a well-greased loaf tin and bake for about 50 minutes.  Let cool a little in the tin before turning out.

Serve with a cup of coffee and you are good to go.

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Change is for the good

A few small things that are changing around the othermonkey house:

  • Switching broadband providers: I am really looking forward to this.  R originally signed up for 8 MB, we’re only getting 0.5 right now.  Their anti-virus software did not protect us from a virus that is still lurking on the home pc and just because I have email with them is no reason why we should stay.
  • Having worn glasses for a couple of years, I am finally taking the plunge and seeing if it’s possible that I can wear contact lenses.  This might not be a big deal to some but to a person who physically has to be held down to get eye drops in, this is a BIG DEAL.
  • Putting our cats on a diet.  Our cats eat like dogs, enough said.
  • Trying to cook and eat smarter.  We went shopping on the weekend and almost keeled over with the shock of prices that have just risen and risen.  So I would like our house to try to eat and buy more sensibly.

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So I got a message from a family member the other day on Facebook, wishing me a happy, happy birthday for…. a day that is not my birth date, it’s hers.  OK, I see the funny side.  How can you grow up down the road from someone who is related to you in blood and still not have an inkling about birthdays!  If you’re unsure, just don’t say it.  Rather start your message with ‘Hey, haven’t seen you in a long time..’ then talk about the weather, the one thing that binds us all together.

Facebook has increased my knowledge of the emotion of sheer terror that I have when I think about high school.  Suddenly the number of friends that you have are incredibly important again.  R says that you should have the chance to call someone a ‘friend’ or an ‘acquaintance’.  Could you imagine the untold angst?  The drama that would then follow?  People would start leaving you snotty messages, detailing how much of a friend they feel now and what you have done to them in untold emotional damage for the rest of their life.  Maybe I am a bad person to talk about this social space as I am absolutely terrible with putting names and faces together and can only remember a few key people from those days, the very good ones and the very bad-for-your-sanity ones.  What I can say about it is, that I am grateful to have found a good friend on there and that that space is now the way to communicate as we live such a distance from each other and our email addresses change now and then.  So, one good point versus more bad points.

I am practising a mind-set that you can try and maintain when logging on. 

Zen-like calm? check. 

Bottle of vodka? check.

List of all high school jibes that you withstood and conquered? check.

Mental list of all the good things that have happened in your life so far? check. 

Loins girded (I always wanted to say that)? check.

Let me know how you get on…

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I confess…

I became a blog junkie about a year ago when I stumbled upon the Yvestown blog and the Cooksister blog, two very different blogs that appeal to the foodie person in me as well as the ‘I wish my home looked like that’ type of person in me.  From there on it spiralled to the point where I was scouring the internet for new ideas and opinions all the time.  So, thanks internet world, I am officially hooked!

So, this is it, my first post.  This has come as a complete surprise to me as I sit here on my sofa tapping away, who would think that what I am typing is out there for everyone to read.  My husband, R, remarked this afternoon that I have so much to say and at such a furious pace that I should just start my blog already!  So, here it is.

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