Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter from a house with too many eggs!

All went good with my first set of events.......thank God. Now the rush to plan the next set soon and so on.
Anyway, no thoughts of work since the past couple and for the next couple of days, its Easter soon and there are way too many chocolate eggs in the house.......I remember the inlaws coming in summer and enjoying the leftover eggs.
We are fortunate to have lovely friends who spoil our children with lots of goodies.....below is a pic of the little goodies one of their special aunties here gave them, well the contents of two bags, one was hidden by the youngest, upset he couldnt eat chocolate on Good Friday.
BTW, the eldest carefully arranged the things 'because she was bored'. This is at 8:30am because she woke up too early.....
My hunt for non chocolate easter eggs with marzipan continues, I miss the big marzipan eggs with sweets inside my dad used to order from Delhi when we were little. All I've found for the past 10 years is chocolate and occassionally marshmallows in a bucket for Easter......Aldi do a marzipan and chocolate bar but no Easter eggs,......the hunt continues.....
Happy Easter to all, not posting for a few days.....

Monday, 7 April 2014

General Elections in India

Headline on an Indian website I visit occassionally - Gaping holes in  Congress ship and US scared of Modi......
I remember being in Bombay when the Gujarat riots happened and the wave of hatred for Narendra Modi, also remember the horror of seeing the poor victims. Also heard first hand, the stories of those poor poor people. I have goosebumps just typing this. And, for the past few months, I have been reading about the supposed perpetrator of the riots and much more worse becoming the next Prime Minister of India.
The Sunday Times (UK) had a piece on Modi yesterday, and described in full detail, the problems with him becoming PM.
All the headlines I read are pitying the Congress for sinking/how Sonia Gandhi is trying valiantly to show some face in the polls/what a fool Rahul Gandhi is etc....
So is the choice in such a huge country between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi after all.............have you heard of the David Icke forums, they should do a section on Indian politics.....

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Random musings again....

The Gruffalo is coming out of my eyes/ears/mouth now and I often reminf myself if I was working 9-5 full time, it would be harder. Hope all of this series goes well and the future events I have lined up.
Randomness of being in the new kitchen again......H away in Italy this week and I HATE being on my own, though there are three children and a list of friends who offered lots of help. Alarm not working, keys misplaced, a series of mishaps but all's well in the house now, all home safe.
First pic is of my first puris on the wooden chopping board one of the builders gave us - I kept asking for a square cut of the worktop and he got this bit from his car, sanded it for hours and gave it to us. I am delighted that for some reason, not sure what, I dont need as much flour while rolling puris out and its much easier to use. Its 99% the same as our worktop colour.No need for me to look for  aboard to roll out chapatis now, although some credit to the fantastic Pillsbury Atta. Wish it was cheaper though (compared to the £4 atta brands next to it).
This pic is of our very cluttered fridge - just how busy can two little children's lives get - full of school stuff and a calendar. The youngest has just one thing on there - a certificate for his Sport Relief jumps, reminder to give the money in.
No afterschool activities on there - will need a bigger surface when the youngest is in school this year.
The bonus is that I love having everything visible and not having to look in phones/diaries/computers for every little thing they need :)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Friday morning

H at home this week, different to the normal. Haven't done much work for my forthcoming events, need to make up next week.
Friday morning at home, with all of the non usual food shopping happening, I've spent the past couple of hours cooking:
 Not too clear on my old phone camera but this is sorak with our lovely find of dried prawns, in, of all places, a Chinese supermarket in Birmingham! £1.99 for the pack and its divine, not as in prawns, but the flavour...
On the right is gizzard, which I love and the rest of the household not too keen on, on the left is a pepper and besan bhaji, tastes better than it sounds/looks.
These are sprouts, my newly discovered treasure, love them, easy to cook etc etc. On the left, cauliflower without chillies for the kids and I've missed out on my coriander chutney, made after absolute MIL's recipe and its lovely.

Now, after all this cooking and food, I am not hungry, in the least....should do this more often......

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sheela ki Jawaani......

My almost 4 year old singing, rather trying to sing the Hindi lyrics to Sheela Ki Jawaani........and then my 7 year old asking what all the words mean......apart from sexy Mummy, P... told me what that means........
Just before we go into a piano lesson........
Now to bring up the topic again or wait for an appropriate moment....not looking forward to the inevitable explanations as they get older.....
I do like the song BTW, for whatever reason! - this link is with the very very funny English translations of 'Sheela's Killer Youth', which my children shall not see.
Edit to say I have now heard what P, son's friend at school thinks sexy means, and its fortunate to be a 7 year old's 'not to be said meaning of beautiful'.......

Monday, 17 March 2014

Sunday lunch at home after months.....

Yes, months since we ate lunch at home on Sunday - various reasons.
This is some meatloaf in a red wine sauce (sounds better than it tasted!), my version of a sausage pulao - chorizo with lots of sliced fried onions and rice and lightly cooked (sound ok?) sprouts. Have recently discovered how easy it is to do sprouts at home and love them. Added masala etc and kids fortunately ate the little they were given - trying them for the first time.
H and I ate it all, liked it, unfortunately kids picked at it - usually good eaters, something not right with this combination.......

And then, for dessert, this being their once a week Sunday icecream day, the youngest made this Blueberry Banana Meringue icecream concoction, which, again unfortunately, tasted horrible......a first I think. Poor child........

Monday, 10 March 2014

Children reading too much?? Going to Goa...

Long time since I last posted.....after our extension, I have been trying to get my career into some sort of path and finding a workable solution with the children.
Quandary - to let my 7.5 year old read for 2-3 hours a day or not. He can't sit still for a minute, like most boys his age probably, always running up and down, fidgeting, doesn't like craft/art much etc etc, keeps asking someone to bowl/bat with him. Of late, for the past few months, he has been reading, increasing slowly to 2-3 hours a day. After school, he comes home and straight to read, unless its some bowling/batting/group sport we're doing.
Spoke to a few friends about my concern for his reading so much, and they were oh you should be happy he likes to read. I am happy, but not so  much. Unbelievably, he doesn't want to play his Skylanders or Mario games either. Fortunately we have 2 and a half Mario/wii games, but they lie unused, for all the £30-40 each cost.
He will watch tv for a bit, but his reading is taking precedence over everything.
Anyway, I hope this is a temporary phase and he will go back to his 30 mins before bedtime soon. (like his sister has been doing).

Looking at flights to Goa/India. We aren't sure when exactly we will go, but its incredible how much higher flight prices are in August or December. Understandably, its the holidays, but its so tempting to save a thousand pounds and go term time (not actually ever going to happen). Thomascook is doing their charters to Goa for £295, with 2 weeks B&B in Colva, this March.......... :) maybe we will go when children grown up and no school to worry about...... we havent been to India since last Jan......too long....

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Mojo coming back slowly......A Sat at home

After a very long time, I have had a productive Saturday morning and a bit of the afternoon.
H at work, started the morning by doing some jeera meera rump steak in pressure cooker, a big pork roast with Karma's roast masala in the oven, children made a carrot cake with vinegar and garam masala, yes really (tastes lovely).
To top it all, no chapati flour, so tried flatbreads/chapatis with plain white flour. Suprisingly nice, in between tortillas and chapatis.
(Have to post this - a pic of my shark amotik and mild shark curry for the children from yesterday, friend got me a kg of shark from the Markets.

Next went on a much awaited survey in the garden. There is piles of work to be done. Had quote from lovely gardener from our church, who seems reasonable. This is for the work I cant do like trimming a 12 foot hedge etc. Discovered some new things and learnt the plum tree I have planted needs to have a much larger area to grow in. £3.99 from Aldi. Cant go wrong with that. Tried to sort out dead fallen over tree without much luck.
Played with the children in the garden, as in solely focused on play for almost 2 hours. Badminton, cricket and some golf (plastic £5 set from Asda).
Inside, sat at laptop and I've built a rough website, facebook page and advertised for what will hopefully be a business.
Children playing peacefully and happily with Frustration - highly recommended and Im glad I opened it.
Now, do I do the usual folding and sorting clothes, tidying up lounge etc or not........

Monday, 24 February 2014

Our new kitchen

Finally, our kitchen, still getting to terms with where everything is and enjoying the extra space. Best bit for the children is not having to eat daily in disposable plates/cutlery, or so they say.
For me, the cooking on the same cooker, but the novelty of having new stuff around.
We didnt have an island in the end, but went for H's next best option of a breakfast bar. The children eat at it, the youngest has fallen off the bar stool but will hopefully learn.
This is the extended bit, we've still got to get a proper sofa and a larger table.
All in all a much better experience than we imagined.........

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Kitchen extension Week 5 - The Last Week!

 At last, we're on the final week of our kitchen extension, and the kitchen is actually being fitted.......tiles laid yesterday. Simultaneously, part of the garage is having a floor put down and being painted nice clean colours.
Having Benchmarx's pre built carcasses reduces time spent on fitting but there's still loads to be done, say the builders/fitters.
The underfloor heating feels lovely and spread out, not localised like a radiator. Hopefully will never need repairing, its under a thick layer of concrete!
Bit worried about the wood/cream units and then a black cooker and silver fridge, but have been told it will be fine.......I feel all thats missing in our hotpot of colours is some pink and blue etc.
The option was to have a black and something kitchen, but, that was all I didn't want. Our cooker is the only thing in the whole house that is black.
Chosen in the days before we moved house and had a kitchen

when we thought ranges have to be black and nothing else.
Our builders have been a lovely team of people, helpful and polite. Apart from their work, which is very good, its been nice having them around, from the horror stories we have heard about builders.

So, looking forward to Friday and the completion of this big undertaking for us.......will update with pictures.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

No kitchen for 10 days, Sainsburys Cafe review

 From  my previous posts, while our kitchen extension has been happening, we have now reached 10 days without a kitchen/cooker/cupboards etc.
I was initially quite happy about not cooking, but as the first few days passed and we all tired of ready meals and takeaways, am now changing my views.

Anyway, we went to Sainsbury's Cafe yesterday evening. H works late, so his curry/rice was at home (courtesy our lovely friends).
Our regular haunt is Morrisons Cafe, the Rubery one is lovely, fantastic staff, but the main thing is good
food at incredible prices.
More on that in another post.
This was the new Longbridge Sainsbury's, built on the old MG Rover site. First pic is a huge wall with timelines including Rover.
Cafe deserted at 5:45pm. Until we left.
This pic is a kids meal of sausages and mash. All hot kids meals and lunch bags are £3. Half a jacket is £1.70. Adult meals are around the £5ish mark.
Drinks - Tea for a pound, coffee a couple of pounds something. Slice of  fudge cake £1.50.
Kids meals come with a piece of fruit and a drink.
Our kids were ravenous, so wolfed this down, then remarked that the Morrisons sausages were much larger. Fact.
Overall ok. I cannot help comparing it to Morrisons where there is a larger variety of children's meals, kids eat free with an adult meal, get a bag of cut fruit, chocolate, activity pack and a drink for £2.50.
We are regular weekly shoppers at Sainsbury's, probably go to the cafe once a year. Regular monthly eaters (at least the children are) at Morrisons Rubery, as a result tend to do lots of shopping when we go there.........more on our eating for this week in another post.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Kitchen extension Week 4 Days 1-5

 Week 4, Day 1 - this is the walls and ceiling plasterboarded today. Looking much brighter already.

This is the old kitchen, where the new kitchen is also going to be, unplasterboarded and looking like a dungeon!

Lots of other work, drains and gas being sorted, paving being replaced outside, step being done (think its not really needed, H thinks is compulsory with the children).
Next week, hopefully the kitchen comes in.

 Walls plastered Day 2
 Old kitchen, which will be the main bit of the new kitchen being plasterboarded and plastered Day 3.
Other work being done - paving relaid outside and a new step.

Express happenings in the garage - it has been cleared of about our 100 odd bags of junk/stuff to be sorted in 2 days and they are currently transforming it into a playroom sort of place.......very very quickly, should be done by Fri!

 Days 4&5 - a few coats of paint et voila - its finished, well the construction is.......four weeks later.
2 of the team did the painting, the rest have been busy transforming a part of the garage into this lovely living space - our unexpected added bonus.......
I have no before picture of the mess/bags/stuff in the garage, its empty now.
One of the builders team spent most of Friday doing stuff to the windows......cant quite figure out what, but from his face and words, have concluded its something major - so showed appropriate pleasure etc......
 Now, next week, Monday the tiles and Tues-Fri the kitchen will be fitted, and then hopefully over.
Im very happy with the light in the room, it looked dark and miserable when there was just brick.

Now our search for our Indian 10 seater table........short of sourcing something from India direct...

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Kitchen extension Week 3 updated

 Week 3 - after a 2 day break lat week for gale force winds, the builders were back Monday and did the roof. These are the 3 rooflights the architect recommended, hopefully there will be enough light.
Day 2 - lots happened, we evacuated the kitchen, our cooker and fridge freezer is now in the hall and the builders have broken through. Also put the doors/windows.
Finally, a view of what the extension will look like, for the first time I think it looks large and worth all this money!!!
Cannot envisage what it would  look like before this.

Now, for 3 weeks without a kitchen......

Day 3&4
 The floor insulation laid, roof done - took 4 days - done by a separate team. Non stop rain daily since they have started, now the roof is on, its a bit better. This is the extended bit, where our dining table will go.
The kitchen is darker than we imagined.
 Underfloor heating decided on and laid this morning. Everyone in the house except me likes/loves/has to go barefoot and this made the most sense, hopefully will not stop working etc. Tiles to go on the top.
Next week, the plasterboard then plastering/tiling and hopefully week after next, the kitchen will be put in, then finito......

In the middle of all this, we've had 10 windows replaced - double glazed, and its lovely, no condensation anymore and we think its a bit warmer.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Our current kitchen mess

 Packing away all my masalas/emptying cupboards etc in anticipation for sometime next week for the big breaking through.
The steel beam is already in - the top of this picture.
We thought we'd start work on the kitchen as soon as we moved here, its now almost a year but its finally happening.
After finalising the kitchen, most of the weekend spent sorting out our eating arrangements for the next 10 days, then hopefully back to normal or much better.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Kitchen extension Start to End of Week 2

Week 2, Day 1 and this is coming together. Still dont think it will be as big as the builder says, but, we'll see.......
The builders leave before 1:30pm everyday, here at the dot of 7.30am, in the dark/frost/ice etc.
Our kitchen hunt continues, fed up of looking at the same plans drawn up now.

 Update on Day 4 - these two pictures are the roof being framed (?) on Tue and Wed.

 This is our kitchen when the steel beam was being put in.
The steel beam put in on Wednesday. Today's Thursday and they have a minor hiccup - gale force winds etc forecast, or the roof would have been laid today/tom. Never mind, they are ahead of schedule, we're told, so on to Week 3 and a finish soon.