Wednesday, 26 November 2008

It's National Curry Week 23 - 29 November 2008

Curry is certainly one of Britain's favourite dishes, whether it's a Chicken Tikka Masala, Prawn Korma or Rogan Ghosh. Indian cuisine has become so popular that now, every year we have a National Curry Week.

All over Britain Indian restaurants, caterers, pubs, canteen, schools, clubs etc are invited to celebrate the cuisine and culture with special dinners, record-breaking attempts, raffles, auctions and more. This is all in aid of contributing to the alleviation of poverty by supporting Oxfam, the appointed charity for 2008. You can eat out during the week and donate to the cause or send £1 per person to Oxfam.

Find out more about Oxfam here and how you can get involved.

Use the links to the recipes below and have a special curry.

Take a look at the National Curry Week recipes, there's curries and kebabs and lots of other international dishes.

There are also lots of delicious recipes here

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Sewing Stuff

I like to shop local wherever I can to support businesses in the community. It’s getting harder though. Virtually all our local craft and wool shops have gone. We do have a large warehouse type of thing a few minutes drive from where I live and it sells all kinds of craft stuff. However I’m finding as it diversifies into the trendy scrapbooking and card making supplies it’s reducing the range of some of its more traditional crafts such as the fabrics and supplies for cross stitching.

I wanted to buy another Beatrix Potter cross stitch design book in the range I bought a few years ago and some Aida 18 count fabric. When I went last week they had neither. They’ve stopped stocking the chart design books and you can only buy complete kits. That’s a pain because the Hunca Munca design I wanted isn’t available as a kit, only as a chart. They now only stock DMC embroidery silks, no Anchor stock at all.

So I ventured online to browse the sewing supply sites. I’ve avoided this in the past for as I’m one who likes to see and feel what I’m buying in the sewing department and often I’ve found delivery costs high. I found one with a good range of Beatrix Potter design booklets and amazingly the price was slightly less than what I’d paid years ago.

I also saw some plastic bobbins for my trusty old sewing machine whilst I was looking around the site. Yet another thing the local warehouse supplier has stopped stocking. The down side was whilst browsing I saw some things I couldn’t resist in their 50% off sale.

I've only used a cross stitch kit once. A horse and foal picture for my daughter and it was really expensive so I've avoided them since then. However they had some lovely kits which were all half price. I got a sweet Christmas Peter Rabbit cross stitch kit for £5.25, the photo at the top. Another I chose was a gorgeous Me to You kit for £8.00. He's the grey bear with the blue nose below, isn't he beautiful? You also get the alphabet chart so you can customise it. Imagine everything you need including the needle and no running about. I'm converted!

Unbelievably the postage was only £1.00 and the order was sent out first class post about an hour after I ordered it. I got it the next morning, that's incredible! Marks & Sparks take over a week to deliver!

Seasoned cross stitchers may already know about them, the company is Sew and So If anyone wants to buy from them I can highly recommend them. They do deliver abroad too. I’m not on commission or anything, I’d never heard of them before. I doubt I’ll be wasting my time and petrol wandering about from now on, I’ll be buying from them!

Apologies to anyone if I've broken copyright with the images from their website. It was just to let people see how nice they are. If it's a problem I'll take them off if you let me know.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Skywatch Friday - 21 November 2008

These pictures were taken last December and the sky was every bit as blue as the photographs show. Looks more like a sky in the Mediterranean than the North East of England! Not a cloud in sight!

The foreground is Herrington Country Park. Until about four years ago this was the site of a huge coal heap, the remnants of the mining heritage of the industrial North East. Reclamation has created a park for everyone to use with no worries about running on the grass, that's what it's for!

The site is now a great venue for leisure activities such as charity fun races, nature watches and other environmental activities. The Race for Life takes place here every year. It's also a great place to walk as there are lots of trails which are suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

There are lots of wild birds there including swans on the lake and the ponds.

There's a play area too!

Even in the middle of winter lots of people go there to walk or just to sit and eat their lunch. If it's raining they just sit in their cars and take in the peace and quiet.

The historic building in the background of the first picture is Penshaw Monument. Here's another view of it taken from the bottom of the hill. It's quite a steep climb but lots of people climb it with children as it's always open to the public.

On Good Friday children keep up the old tradition of rolling their boiled (paste) eggs down the hill. On Easter Sunday morning there's a service at sunrise. I have to admit I've never made it!

Penshaw Monument
The monument was built in 1844 and is dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada. It was built as a half-sized replica of the Temple of Hephaestus, Athens and is 100 feet long, 53 feet wide and 70 feet high. The Monument is a listed building and the best preserved model of a Doric Hexastyle temple in Britain.

The Monument dominates the landscape and can be seen from miles away as it is 136 feet above sea level. You can just see it in the background of a photo, a View from the Bridge that I put in an earlier blog. My husband originally came from Northumberland but he says when he's driving he knows he's home when he sees the Monument.

It's certainly a beautiful sight in the evening when it is illuminated but sadly vandals have destroyed the lights on a number of occasions. My photographic skills don't run to getting a good picture of it at night.

Why not join us at Skywatch Friday and post your photos? We'd love to see them.


I don't know what's going on here with the photos, they suddenly have lines across the skies!
They were fine until I made the posting live. The originals are fine and I've reinserted them but they still have those strange lines across them.

I'm not going to worry too much as I can see them on other people's posts too. Must be my PC. Weird!

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...