Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Hello again!
It looks like I'm going to spend my day in
Camden tomorrow so I won't be able to blog
about the nettle soup I had for lunch.
It was very nice actually.

Stinging nettle has a flavour similar to spinach
when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, D, iron,
potassium, manganese, and calcium.

Don't worry - they don't sting when cooked!

Here's my own recipe, it's spicy and very frugal.

½ carrier bag full of nettles, tops or young leaves
1 large or 2 medium onions
4 garlic cloves
3 vegetable stock cubes
Cracked black pepper
Sunflower/Vegetable/Olive oil

How to make the soup:

Pick the nettles.
Don't gather them beside a busy road where they
will have been contaminated by traffic fumes.
Most important, don't forget the gloves!
I used my washing up gloves and a pair of scissors
and the job was done in no time.

Wash them thoroughly.

Discard only the tougher stalks, as the soup will be

Chop the onion and mince the garlic.

Put a dash of oil in a large pan and sweat the onion
and garlic until soft but not brown.

Add water and the stock cubes and pile in the nettles.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until
the nettles are tender. Season with black pepper.

Purée the soup in a liquidiser (you will probably have
to do this in 2 batches).
You don't have to use all the liquid you were cooking
the nettles in, I only used half of it, otherwise it might
be very thin and I wanted mine creamy.

Check the seasoning and serve warm.



I really feel like I'm 18 again, and this in the worst
way possible. I have a depression sneaking up on me
and I can feel it.
After living with deep depression on and off for over
20 years I can read the signs and the lack of energy
last week was just the beginning.
I don't know if it's the temperature drop or my awful
homesickness or personal issues that brought it back,
all I know is that it's here and it's bitter sweet.
I need to figure out what to do...

Went into town this morning for a meeting and on my
way I stopped by one of the charity shops for a super
quick scout. This is what I got.

Vintage clutch bag, £1.

1960's/1970's pitcher, £1.

Cook book from 1961, 30 pence.

Click images for larger versions.

I'm gonna be brave and try the nettle soup for lunch
today and if it's nice I will blog about it tomorrow.

Monday, 30 August 2010


It's been a rather productive weekend for me.
I was glad that some of my energy came back and
I took advantage of it to the fullest and I feel very
accomplished for once.
I made the most of the bank holiday, for sure.

Yesterday we went picking blackberries, again, it was
nice to be out in the refreshing autumn air.
When we came home I decided to do something nice
for my man so I vacuumed the inside of the car.

When I was finished I started to replant some of my
house plants, they grow and get babies like crazy so I
had to get them into separate pots.
I got six new plants, the kitchen now looks like a green

In the afternoon we had friends over for a jam session
and in the evening we all went to our favorite place in
Golders Green for dinner.

I got food poisoning and didn't sleep much but I went
up at 7:30 am to make coffee and porridge before we
went picking even more blackberries, plums and also
stinging nettles.

After lunch I had the house to myself so I decided to
make nettle soup and blackberry sauce.
Also did a load of laundry and vacuumed the house
for the third day in a row.
When the housework was done I treated myself to a
long hot shower and relaxed with a book.

Life is pretty good after all...

I think I got green fingers.

Plums are a nice snack, especially when they're free.

Nettle soup in the making.



I'm back to black.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


I had more of a drive to do things today, maybe
because the sun was shining...
We started the day by having breakfast together.
I had a proper one with oat bran porridge with
linseed and an apple from mother in laws garden
with cinnamon.

After breakfast we went blackberry picking and
then to a local car boot sale.
I was scouting for knitted stuff but had no luck,
all I got was a red gingham top that need some
Also got a nice 1960's vase with original stem
stand in it and a rocking moose for the future
family member.

After the boot sale we went to a DIY store to get
some compost for my house plants and a garden
I was supposed to sand some wooden edging and
then paint them but it was way too windy outside
so I decided to mow both the front and the back
lawn instead.
I was finished just in time before it started raining.

It was time to make dinner and since it's getting
colder I felt very peckish for a nice hot soup.
It turned out very nice and spicy with all the garlic
and black pepper.
I tell you, that will keep any flu and cold at bay.

The rest of the evening will be dedicated to some
house cleaning and some grooming, I look like shit.
My Saturday night not sound very exiting but I'm
saving myself for tomorrow when we have guests
over for a jam session and then dinner out.

This might look boring but it was very nice and kept
me full all the way to lunch.

1960's vase, £1.

Top, 50 pence.

Rocking moose, £3.50

Yummy hot low carb soup.
Ingredients: Swede, carrot, celery, parsnip, tomato
purée, Knorr veg cubes, onion, garlic, black pepper.

Friday, 27 August 2010


Hi my sweets!
Am I the only one out there who feel totally
uninspired, tired and fed up with the cold and
the rain?
It's supposed to be summer!
For as long as I lived here in the UK it's been
nice and warm all the way to mid October.
What the h**l happened?!
I am freezing cold, walking around with thick
woolly socks and a cup of chai tea all day.

Anyway. We took a little trip to Golders Green
yesterday for a quick browse in my favorite
charity shop before we had dinner with mother
in law at our favorite vegetarian Chinese.
I didn't score big but what I got is very useful
to me personally.

First I found this 1950's umbrella stand for £2.
It's not that I need another one but the kitsch
factor was too high so I couldn't resist and it will
come in handy in my hobby room to store rolls
of wall paper and wrapping paper.

I also found a pair of really nice red-ish pants with a
vintage look that for once isn't too long for my short
chunks. I paid £2 and the brand is Miss Selfridge.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Today has been one of those days when I felt I've done
nothing at all, I just feel fed up and tired, my lower back
is killing me at the moment.

After some thinking I realized that today has been pretty
busy after all...

After a proper cup of coffee at 7 am I warmed up with a
one hour walk before swimming and then I went home
and read a bit before I went for a meeting in town where
I treated myself to a cardigan and a bolero.

When I came home I read some more before it was time
to go for a massage.

When I got back I tried to have a nap but I couldn't so I
mended a knitted sweater I got at a car boot sale over a
month ago.

Then I made carrot and swede mash for dinner and then
started revamping some jewelry I got the other day.

The day isn't over yet, the plan is to go for and evening
walk with Markus and pick some more blackberries if
we find any along the way and hopefully relax the rest
of the evening, watching Carnivale, perhaps.

Bolero, £3, outlet shop.

Cardigan, £11, Primark.

I love Dennis Lehane.

Knitted sweater, 50 pence, car boot sale.

Low carb dinner. Yum!
Grilled peppers, tomato, root mash and Quorn steak.

Stuff to revamp.

Monday, 23 August 2010


There's a feeling of accomplishment and satisfactory
to fill up glass jars with your homemade goods.
Here's the result from yesterdays saucy adventures,
applesauce with cinnamon and plum sauce with fresh
grated ginger and Muscovado sugar.

Sunday, 22 August 2010


My frugal mission is continuing.
We picked a whole lot of apples from my mother in
laws back garden the other day and today I made
use of them, big time!
I made two cakes and a batch of chunky apple sauce
with light brown sugar and cinnamon to have with
my porridge or as a dessert.

Here's the recipe for the apple cake I made.
(You get one cake out of this recipe.)
It's a "skinny cake" so you might think it will be a bit
dry since there's no oil but it actually stays nice and
moist because of the amount of apples.
I got 10 pieces, each one contains about 95 calories.

You'll need:
2 eggs
2 dl light brown sugar
2 dl flour
1,5 tsp baking powder
4 tsp cinnamon
4 apples

This is what you do:
Put the oven on 175 degrees °C.
Use a round baking tin with detachable bottom.
Peel the apples and remove the core, grate one of
the apples roughly and slice the other three.
Whisk eggs and sugar thoroughly with an electric
Mix the dry ingredients and pour it into the egg
mix and whisk until smooth.
Add the grated apples and mix well.

Put the apple slices in the bottom of the tin, add
the cake mixture then put the rest of the apple
slices on the top of the cake.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 min.


Saturday, 21 August 2010


I had a really good day yesterday.
In the morning I went for an hour walk before swimming.
Markus took me for an outing in St. Albans where we had
a delicious lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant and then
we went scouting for vintage goodies at my favorite vintage
store and afterwards we had coffee.
I do like the small things in life and yesterdays outing really
perked me up since I've been feeling rater lonely and a bit
down lately.

Enough about my feelings, here's yesterdays finds:

1950's heels, £4.
These shoes were heaven sent!
A long time ago Markus gave me a pair of opera gloves in suede
from the 1940's that used to belong to his grandma
in the same
color as these heels.

It's been taking me so long to find anything matching so I was
really excited when I found these beauties.

1950's toiletry bag, £3.50.

Necklace and bracelet, £6.
This set looks awful if you look closely, it's not very well made so
I'm gonna do my best to revamp it.

I have a bracelet with a chunk of matching roses so I might make
a pair of earrings out of the bits from this bracelet.

Vintage Bakelite bangles, £2 and £1.
I'm a bangle addict and this was a real bargain!
The colors are more juicy, my camera doesn't do the justice.

1960's Nubian head, £3.
This was a real bargain! I wish all vintage Nubian figurines was
as cheap as this one. I think this one is number 13 in my growing


1950's letter rack, £1.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


I finally got my thumb out and finished a project.
Got this fab 1960's teak lamp at a car boot sale for
30 pence some months back
(The sticker says 50 pence but there was a little
bit of haggling involved, of course.)

Anyway, it was supposed to be an easy fix but it
turned out to be one of those small projects that
you just don't prioritize.
It was standing in the back of a closet looking sad
and I though that now is the time to bring it back
to it's former glory.
And so I did.
It needed a good clean, both the lamp and the cord.
The wood was very scratchy so I gave it a light go
with some fine sandpaper and then gave it a good
oiling in with Teak oil. (I love the smell of Teak oil.)
Markus attached a new plug and the shade was a
bargain from the local supermarket for only £1.50.
What took me so long?
I hope that this will be a lesson for myself not to let
small (and fun) projects like this linger for so long.

I think it turned out nicely.
Amazing how £1.80 can brighten up your day. ;)

Click images for larger version.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


I can't say that I enjoy food programs on TV but I do
love The Supersizers. This dynamic duo, Giles Coren
and Sue Perkins takes us on several journeys in food
history. My personal favorite is Supersizers go 70's.
They also made a show about food in the 50's but the
one I find most interesting is this particular one...
Supersizers go Wartime.

I know it's not wartime but the recession is making it
pretty sour for a lot of people and I do think we all can
learn a thing or two how to live more frugal and maybe
this will inspire you. Or not.

Also watch part 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

I do practise the frugal lifestyle, as many of you already
know, maybe not as much as I want to but every little

A couple of evenings ago I went for a walk with the most
colorful basket in town, picking blackberries and plums
that grows in my neighborhood.
It seems like no one really cares about the fact that we
can get it free as long as it's not on private property.
What you see in my basket is just a fraction of the huge
amount of plums I got.
I made plum sauce, perfect as a tangy dessert or to add
in plain yogurt.

I also recently planted some garlic, peppers and zucchini.
Unfortunately it's been rater cold here in Britain, we
usually have summer until late September so it doesn't
grow as fast as I wish it would.
For now it' just an experiment. We'll see what happens.

Zucchini and peppers.

Garlic and peppers.
(Don't worry, there's a plastic sheet around the dirt
so the rust won't do harm to the veg.)

Monday, 16 August 2010


Yeah, a big fat Mazel Tov to the newly weds!
I still haven't recovered from the wedding on Saturday.
I'm so tired and sore and I didn't even drink!
It was a long journey up to Cheshire, about 4 hours.
The wedding took place at the beautiful Runcorn Town
Hall, a building that could be taken out of a Tim Burton
movie, so stunning and almost surreal.

My girl Elaine and her man Si's wedding was so much
fun and so cute and sweet, I had a really great time.
Elaine is one of the most creative people I know and I
must add that she did a lot of the stuff herself.
I was SO impressed!
Here's some pics of the day, click for larger version.

Here's a picture of the stunning Victorian floor tiles in
the entrance hall.

The ceiling in the entrance hall.

In the waiting area before the wedding.

Elaine and Si signing the register.

The happy couple kissing outside the town hall.

My shoes. (I forgot to take a pic for previous post.)

Time to release the doves.

Me and Markus.

Me posing by the car.

The beautiful wedding bouquet.

At the reception. Soo pretty!

Too late honey, you're stuck now!

The wedding cake!!!

Markus and me in the late hours.

My gift to the bride, one of my handmade hats.