31 Dec 2012

Hestia and the end of 2012

So we say goodbye to 2012 tonight.  On the whole it's been a pretty good year here on Olympus:  Everyone I love is still hale and hearty.

Back in January, I unveiled my Drawer of Shame.  Which turned out to be Two Drawers of Shame and, as it turns out today, pretty much another entire Bedroom Cupboard of Shame too.  I would like to tell you that since expunging my guilt here on m'blog that the Drawers have been emptied.  But I'm afraid that they are still packed to the gunwales with abandoned craft projects.  I don't like to rush at tidying-up.

February saw me trying to be domesticated and have a bash - well, several bashes really - at a Claudia Roden recipe that I saw on Faux Fuchsia's blog.  They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  But almost ended in cake-induced diabetes and the fervent vow never to try to be a Grown Up again.

Mentally, I'm fine now thanks, but one of those cake tins is completely buggered.

23 Dec 2012

Hestia's pre-Christmas Christmas

Ivy from my garden, tied with red ribbon as napkin holders
Very festive.
Juno thinks I've been watching
 too many episodes of Kistie's Vintage
Christmas :-D
I'm not the world's greatest cook, so how it came to pass that I thought it would be a Good Idea to do a full Christmas dinner for my brother and sister in law AND my mother and not-my-boyfriend-Ron I have no idea.  I can only surmise that I'd been imbibing the Crabbies Ginger Beer at the time.

Anyway, for the past 3 weeks I have been anticipating/dreading the meal that I was to prepare.  I alighted upon the fact that Beef Wellington looked like a bit of a show stopper and a quick panicked message to Legend asking for suggestions for dessert resulted in a recommendation for Tiramisu.

17 Dec 2012

Hestia succumbs....50 Shades!

I went to the local book shop today and have come home with this:

Dear Reader, have I succumbed?  Has the lure of masochistic sex been just too much for a poor Household Goddess to resist?  Have I run out of books on Theology and Philosophy? Are things getting hot and steamy here on Olympus - and I'm not talking about a condensation problem or leaving the iron plugged in, yanno?

Get real :-D

The box is full of this:

Food porn.  The only kind worth bothering about.

I'f I'm not back on here before Christmas, I wish you one and all a wonderful day - whatever you are doing!

4 Dec 2012

Hestia's Remember November

I don't know where my time goes.  *whispers* Facebook probably.  But we are looking straight down both barrels of December - and it's loaded  - with all the attendant stress that comes from this jolly month.

So, I thought I'd swing by and share some November magic with you, before we are properly terrorised out of our wits with the realisation that it's only '2 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS'!!!!

I bought one of these:

No, not a green sweater, but a black tricorn!  My friend Ania has a purple one and I thought it looked quite fetching.  I was a big Adam Ant fan back in the day and without a word of a lie, I have been wearing it around the house, coupled with a white flouncy shirt, black jeans a black fringed wrap and all the attitude of Margaret Lockwood in The Wicked Lady.

Sonshine has announced that if I so much as step into daylight in that rig-out he will phone Social Services himself.

The self-same Ania knitted me these....

.....because Tartarus accidentally washed my beloved bed socks with the bed linen so they shrank to miniscule felted blobs that a doll would have been hard-pressed to squeeze her feet into them.  

Tartarus has now departed for sunnier climes, I am wearing them in bed at night.  But they look a bit good for bed socks, don't you think?  Ignore my hairy wee pins.  I'm back to being a goaty little satyr again from the waist down.  It's winter.  It's Scotland.  My legs won't be on view until next summer.  Which is likely to be the 16th of July and even then only for half a day I expect.

I made potato scones with leftover potatoes.  Twice.

They were damned tasty.

I treated myself to this:

Which is a privately printed Tarot deck by a Russian artist called Alexander Daniloff.  I am loving it to absolute DEATH.

I also have this flowering in the garden.  Just the one.  And I'm about to cut it because another frost like last night and it will be reduced to purple mush*

I love these cactus-headed dahlias.  It should have flowered ages ago, but I don't dig them up over winter, so the poor thing had to start from scratch in the darkness of the earth, instead of the brightness of a shed.  Pretty eh?

My winter flowering viola:

And lastly, figgy - who gave us 4 teeny weeny tiny figs.  She's not looking too well, but I'm assuming that this is ok for a Turkish Fig.  In Scotland?

Just because I know you lot are inquisitive little souls, the blue 'M' is part of the house's name, which is mosaiced (is that a real word) into the floor.  I know. Posh.

* needless to say, I did not cut the dahlia bloom in time and it has turned to mush 
*Monty Don would be ashamed of me face*

Tell me what's been happening with you!

25 Nov 2012

Hestia...bakes some bread

Check out my focaccia :-D
And Aiden's Village People tash!
When I read that one of our local hoteliers was setting up a bread school, I KNEW that I had to go.  I have made bread before, in my bread-maker and no one would eat it because it wasn't Real Bread (ie from a shop).

So last weekend I found myself in the warm and welcoming kitchen at Munro's Guest House with owners Andy and Joan.  Due to some boiler malfunction, the class was limited to the two local students - myself and the lovely Aidan.

I'd never met Aidan before, so wasn't sure whether he was working on a 70s Porn King vibe or taking part in Movember.  Mercifully, it was the latter.  He was a really lovely guy and we soon fell into easy conversation.

We were soon apronned up and ready foraction, with Andy explaining the science of bread-making and telling us some ripping yarns about his time as a location caterer with the BBC.  Turns out Aiden is already an experienced bread-maker.  Just me that is the virgin then.  Hey ho.  I decide to do whatever Aiden does.  Other than the moustache growing.  Although, I bet you I could give him a good run for his money if there was no such thing as electrolysis.

We pummel and stretch our dough, we let it rise, we move on to our next loaf......we stop for a very tasty bowl of soup and some chat at lunch time.  I admire Andy's chickens.  No, that's not a euphemism.  I really DO admire his chickens that are pecking around outside.

We return to our bowls.  I am really enjoying myself.  Or loaves are moulded and slashed with a craft knife.  As a left-hander, I am well-used to right-handers getting a bit 'fainty' when they see me wield a knife.  God Bless Andy.  I thought he was going to pass out as I slashed and jabbed my way through my bloomer.

By the end of the day, I have made a white bloomer, a focaccia, soda-bread .... and we make a not entirely successful foray into potato scones.  I still eat my tater scone.

I am thrilled to bits with my 3 beautiful creations as is Aiden with his.  We could not be prouder of our efforts, as you can tell from the photo.

I drive home, the car infused with the scent of fresh bread.  I hurtle myself into the kitchen with my paper bags.

'I'VE MADE BREAD' I shout to anyone who is listening.

Sonshine pads into the kitchen and inspects the bag contents as I strip off my hat and jacket.

'Can I make you a slice of toast? A piece 'n' jam?* A big chunk of soda bread and butter?'

He shakes his head 'nah, yer alright.'

Tartarus is ensconced in front of the telly.

'I'm back,' I announce, poking my head around the door.

'Want a bit of toast on bread THAT I HAVE MADE WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS?'

'Nah, you're ok.'  His eyes do not leave the screen.

'Where's Lovely Dad?'  Lovely Dad is Tartarus's best friend and he and his daughter came over to visit us the previous day.  They have clearly gone home.

'Away back up the road.'

I am crestfallen.  'THEY might have wanted to taste my bread.'  I am aware that I am sounding like a sulky teenager.  I am also aware that I am again harbouring stabby throughts about Tartarus.

'Nah, Lovely Dad is currently carb free.  He's not eating bread at all.'

'Right.  So no one wants to eat my bread then?'

They are now both sitting watching the TV.

There is silence.

I quietly wrap everything in cling film and put it in the freezer.  I am disappointed.  I am angry at myself for feeling disappointed.  But mainly I want to stab Tartarus.

I wonder whether there are workshops in Undetectable Poisoning.

To find out more about Bute Bread School, please visit their site

* 'piece 'n' jam'  is Glaswegian for jam sandwich.  I aim to inform :-D

*whispers*  I would also be very grateful if you could completely ignore the purple Fanny Pad packet that has slipped out of my back pocket and is sitting waving at you from my chair in the photo.  I didn't even NEED the accursed thing, but when you are a woman Of A Certain Age, you must be prepared for Deluge at any time.

21 Nov 2012

Hestia ...has been missing in action

I know, it's been ages, and I have no excuse other than.....not much has been happening here worth blogging about.  And I know that a dearth of Interesting Stuff usually doesn't stop me blogging....but I guess we all go through little patches where we just don't have anything to say :-)

Well, here's what I've been doing:

Sonshine went to the Hallowe'en disco as Dr Jekyll

Note the single hairy hand and the proper lab coat.  Ignore the long hair though.

Figgy has produced some figs.  THREE to be precise,  TADAAAAAH!

I cannot lie to you, reader.  Here is another photo to illustrate how teeny they are.

Of course, I have not eaten them.  They have shrivelled to HALF the original size in the fruit bowl.

I went to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and took two photos, both of which were this:

Which is a bit of stained glass by Margaret Mackintosh.  With the corner of a big Arts and Crafts cupboard behind it.  I can only say, in my defence, that later on that evening I became very ill with Norovirus.  It may have affected my photography skills earlier on Saturday.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So then the Norovirus:

I did mainly this.

And yesterday Sonshine was also suffering from it.  It's horrible, but mercifully brief.

But wait a moment,  I HAVE done something VERY exciting!  I have been on a bread-making course.  

That's VERY exciting when your entire month of November can be summed up in 3 tiny figs and a sojourn in the toilet.

More of that later though!  

The bread-making, not the sojourn in the loo :-)

29 Oct 2012

Hestia's slatternly ways revealed

So, I know that I give Tartarus a hard time for being unromantic, unaffectionate, uncommunicative and all the rest of what I now accept as Being A Scottish Man.

I decided that fair's fair.  Here's what HE'S got to live with.

These are a few pix of the house, prior to tidying up before his arrival last Friday:

This is my side of the bed.  As you can see, you need crampons and a Nepalese guide to find your way through the pile of books, magazines, pads, pencils and pens to locate the actual bed.  This pile of books was in excess of 10 inches tall.  Or, if you work in new money, the height of Kylie Minogue.

This is my dressing table:

You would think, looking at that junk-strewn top that I spend HOURS turning myself into something fit to grace a Hollywood red carpet event.  In actual fact, I spend just enough time on it to turn myself into something fit to grace the outside world without scaring the horses.

This is known as My Office.  As you can see, it is a repository for washing, ironing, miscellaneous painting artefacts and, bafflingly, a small drum kit.

After a few hours work, these places are transformed:

Unfortunately, the hall now looks like this:

Ah well, at least now you have some sympathies for my other half.

But will I ever be able to hold my head up in the Co-op again?

*** just as a postscript - Tartarus was going through the photos on the mac and discovered these.  So he's less pleased with the tidy house than he was when he actually encountered it :-D

26 Oct 2012

Hestia gets smooshy with Nigel

Nigel Slater
I rather like Nigel Slater.  He's sort of the TV cheffy version of Severus Snape: dresses all in black, unruly hair, that haughty and disdainful demeanour.... but deep down, you know he's one of the good guys (what?! What do you mean I've RUINED Harry Potter for you?).

What I like about him is he's quite like me.  Apart from the artisan brown-paper butcher meat and the lemons from his own garden, of course.  And the re-modelled kitchen.  But he COOKS quite like the rest of us: a bit of this, a handful of that.

I watched the latest episode of his show - all about using the stuff that's left over in the fridge to best effect:  Making the Most of It.  He had a couple of punnets of blackberries and a lovely bit of hand-tied pork something or other needing to be eaten.

I too had a bit of pork something or other.  It looked quite similar. I resolved to Do The Recipe.

Blackberries? I wasn't wasting money BUYING blackberries.  No siree.  I was going OUT in my spanky new Barbour jacket (it has no hood, wtf is THAT all about, Mr Barbour?) to pick blackberries.

The weather was kind, but finding ripe and juicy blackberries was a tricky matter.  The fact is, it's been a dreadful summer.  This year's crop have ripened late.  And in such poor weather that there's not a lot of loveliness in them.

The harvest was not without incident - the bloody insects that seem to live in the plants panicked at my picking efforts and wafted themselves into my face and bit me loads of times around the eyes.  Scotland.  It's such a wonderful place for wildlife.

I also managed to get a rip in my new jacket - a small thorn rip in the cuff.  It's less than 2 months old.  Still, at least I didn't fall in any drainage ditches.  This year.  It wasn't a lot, but I managed to get sufficient for our means.

I came home and ordered the slave small boy to get smooshing with his hands, just like Nigel did in the telly programme.  The pork was duly exhumed from the fridge and liberally rubbed with the bloody and battered fruit.  I'm sounding like an episode of CSI.

Actually, it's LOOKING like an episode of CSI.

The casserole dish was popped back in the fridge and marinated for 24 hours.

The following evening I produced the joint with a flourish and Sonshine pronounced it a bit 'rubbish looking'.  But I knew that a slow cook in the oven for a couple of hours was going to turn this into something very special, if a funny colour.

Well, I hoped it would.  I was starting to forget what Nige actually DID with the pork.  I recalled that it was rested while he sliced and diced a red onion for the berry gravy.  So I did the same.  I was sure that there was something else, possibly flour, but I couldn't remember - so I didn't bother.

It looked like this:

I served it with smashed pots (boiled with a couple of garlic cloves and mashed with butter).

And after it was too late to do anything about it, I found this on the intertubes:  how it should be done.  Well, I was nearly right. I forgot the flour and the stock, but hey ho - we ate it and enjoyed it. And lived to tell the tale.

Mind you, I'm not sure that I have saved any money, what with the ripping of the new Barbour though...

Who's your favourite TV chef?

24 Oct 2012

Hestia .....finds an interesting thing

While I was out brambling* (and ripping my jacket), I found this Interesting Thing:

That's a glossy little black berry, about the size of a mint imperial, and its accompanying leaf.

I found a bush that had one solitary berry clinging on.  Where a bush has been stripped bare, that's a sure sign that what ever was there was really worth stripping <- foraging tip.  From someone who forages at the Co-op mainly.

But I didn't know what it was.

I had the slave Sonshine do some googling and it is Blackthorn.  Better known to foragers everywhere as Sloe.

It was growing at the side of a field and there is another tall bush (also devoid of berries!) nearby.  Although they can be planted as good thorny hedging, I think this is more a case of 'planting by bird poop'.

No wonder there were no berries left, there must be some illicit booze-making going on around here *looks round hopefully*  Christmas drinkies are going to be VERY interesting this year.

I've made a note of where the bushes are.

And next year.....I'll be ready.

*more of which on Friday :-)

22 Oct 2012

Where's Hestia?

So this is us, Standing Up To Cancer in the town centre. We each paid at least a pound to take part in the photo. I am in there.  Somewhere.  So, take THAT cancer, we are SO going to whup your ass!

Have you done any fun fund-raising to help a charity? Do tell!

PS - I WAS going to put a big arrow to myself in the photo.  But now I can't find myself either :-)

19 Oct 2012

Hestia's meltdown. Literally.

Yesterday was not one of my best days.

I don't know quite what was wrong with me.  To be honest, it's still lurking around the edges of me today - a bit like when you think you see a ghost and it just turns out to be a bit of stray hair in your peripheral vision.  Well, I've got a bit of a black dog in mine.

It also seems that I've transferred that black dog to the arse of my soup pan:

'Yet, here's a spot' 

I'm sure Lady McBeth had my char-blackened soup pan in mind when she said that.

It was going to be beautiful soup too.  I had a ham hough in it, lentils, leeks, kerrits (you can just see the pathetic remains of the uncharred kerrits*).  I also had a litre and a half of home-made stock in it.  And I let it BOIL DRY.  In fact, I let it boil beyond dry:  I have, single-handedly, caused a rise in global warming.  Just wait, in years to come we'll see in the statistics that a massive spike occurred yesterday afternoon.

I was furious with myself and there was much in the way of unhappy banging about in the kitchen. Some profanity.  Mainly tears.

Later in the day, because I no longer had soup to serve up, I made a curry.  And managed to burn the rice.  Look.

What the HELL is wrong with me.  If this is the menopause coming on, just shoot me now.

Bugs Bunny calls carrots kerrits.  If it's good enough for Bugs.... :-)

16 Oct 2012

Hestia and..... an old friend

Once upon a time, two girls went off to university.  They had a blast.  And dubious taste in clothes as you can see.  Also, the one on the left clearly had no access to hair conditioner.  Or hair straighteners.  Or self respect.

But as time went on, they drifted apart - careers, husbands, new places to live....

And then someone invented Facebook.

And they got back together.  Twenty years later.

This is my oldest friend.  Technically, she's not my oldest.  She's my most long-standing friend.  Oh the stories she could tell you....but she'd better not :-D

She came down to the island to have a sleep-over with Sonshine and I and we just slotted back together as if the intervening 20-odd years had only been a heart-beat.

I compelled her to eat my lasagna and we drank her wine.  I think I got the better end of the deal!

I also wished that she could have stayed longer.

Here's to the next time we get together....and it won't be 20 years.

And here's Hestia's advice to you today - if there's someone that you've been meaning to phone/e-mail or even text, but you think that too much time has elapsed.  Just do it.  DOOOOOOOO IIIIIIT!

13 Oct 2012

Hestia faces the Make Up Mavens

I dream that the lippy makes me look like this.
After our third and FINAL visit to Nando's (in Glasgow this time) we pulled on our  woolly hats, turned up our collars and headed back up a dark and wet Buchanan Street to return to our hotel.

But what's this?

A large and glamorous department store (that I visited in the past with disastrous consequences for my credit card....remember my session with Daniel?!) threw a warm and welcoming light out into the darkness!!!

I have a vague memory of asking Tartarus to bring me home a Chanel lipstick many months ago.  He had been dispatched so many times to the Chanel concession in the airport in the US that the girls who worked there must have thought he had a deep rooted Chanel addiction.  He had refused to go again and suggested that I just buy the lipstick in the UK, for all the difference in price there would be.

'Want to see your mother absolutely TERRIFIED?' I asked Sonshine.

Well, what small boy doesn't?

12 Oct 2012

Hestia's Minibreak - Part 2

So - some photos of the mini break.

This is a cinema, entirely devoid of people other than myself and Sonshine.  I prefer to call it a 'personal screening'.  And no, we STILL didn't sit in the expensive leather seats.

Paranormal:  review - a bit weird.  If you liked Coraline, you'll like this.

10 Oct 2012

Hestia goes on a minibreak

No longer a Nando's virgin
It's the October school hols.  I'd hoped to be in Birmingham to visit m'bro and m'sisinlaw but they can't fit us in. So I took us off on a mini break.  To Stirling.  Yes, that's right.  I took us to the exotic locations of 20 minutes drive from Juno's house.

My List of Mistakes

1  Don't download the instructions on how to get to the hotel from Google.  
Just don't.  Flagging down confused foreign tourists will net you the same result: lost at teatime in an industrial estate, feeling sweary, stressed, sweaty and wanting to punch people.

2  Don't prebook your cinema tickets
Thanks to my unscheduled tour around the Industrial Estate.  Twice - once from the north, once from the south.  We had approximately 20 minutes to find our way to the cinema.  Yes, I had downloaded google's driving instructions for that too, trying to be organised.  We didn't get lost BUT I did get so stressed at trying to find it/get there on time that I did manage to drive into the car park through the exit.  Managed not to hit any coaches that were trying to exit the car park.  Bus driver looked surprised though.

3  Don't order HOT at Nandos
We have never been in Nandos and Sonshine decided that he wanted to eat there both nights of our stay.  They serve chicken.  In various stages of hotness.  This resulted in me not wishing to be too far from a toilet for most of the following day.  Tricky, given that we were spending it in a Safari Park.
Turns out both our bums were fine.  No sharts.  This time.

4  Don't expect a 12 year old co-driver to be much use
He was in charge of the Google driving instructions for getting to Blair Drummond Safari park.  Let me just tell you that there was much effing and blinding as I careened into a Sainsbury's car park.  Through the exit.  I am nothing if not consistent.  We did manage to find our way there.  By luck or angels or something.  Not by Google's directions though.

5  Do not try to conduct illicit affair somewhere off the island - you will be caught
Not that I am in the throes of any such thing, but it's unnerving to be standing at the Hot Snax Bar in a Safari Park only to find the man standing next to you is actually your neighbour from across the road.  Fortunately, HE wasn't  in the throes of an illicit affair either.

This uncanny knack of being somewhere and finding a local within whispering distance also applies to Australia where my Day Carer and her husband stopped off in Perth on their Selma & Louise driving journey across its fiery red wastes to buy sandals in some small shop  Only to find themselves confronted with a couple of near neighbours from back home who had popped in to the same shop to buy jeans.  No-one was involved in any kind of illicit affair.  But you can see how my mind works.

6  Avoid driving into Raploch
Just.  Avoid it.

BUT - all that aside, we had a fantastic time.  The hotel was great.  We WERE next door to a whole gaggle of girls who seemed to knock on each other's bedroom doors at all hours of the night which was a bit unnerving.

Safari Park was great - our visit there shall be in pix on Friday.  I hope they make you smile.  In the meantime, here are some children and date-scoffing ring-tailed lemurs.

Do not be perturbed.  Children are commenting on the fact that they eat dates too.  Not lemurs.  Although in Stirling you can never be sure......

Part Le Deux of the mini break saga happens tomorrow......

5 Oct 2012

Hestia ....attempts another fashion blog

So, I'm sick of looking at myself in jeans, so I thought I'd buy a couple of day dresses.  But since I live in rambling Victorian house with rambling Victorian central heating, they have to be WARM.  They also have to not look like prom dresses.  They should also not make me look like a sack of fighting alsatian puppies.

I found this http://www.feverdesigns.co.uk/ and promptly treated myself to this:

Darcy: in olive
sorry about rubbish picture, but can't get a larger one

And this one

which is called, rather alluringly, Cheetah

They arrived promptly and very well wrapped.  And I can honestly say that I have worn Cheetah INTO THE GROUND since I bought her. She looks fab with a pair of black boots or smart black Mary-Janes.  I don't look like mutton dressed as lamb or mutton dressed as mutton even.

Sonshine and Tartarus decreed that the top one, Darcy, was lovely, but made me look like someone from Wartime Farm.  I don't care, I luff it.  It's to be my Winter Frock.

And, for the first time in 30 years, I had to buy underskirts!  The frocks don't creep up your legs though, but I thought that an underskirt would finish the look off properly.

I also had a look at Mrs Make Do's blog and she pointed me in the direction of VIYELLA of all places.  They have an Ella range, geared for the younger folks, and I was pleasantly surprised to scroll through much of their stuff.  This Downtonesque frock is only £35.00!

This one is only £40, but has limited sizes left.  Very Duchess of Cambridge

So, if, like me, you've never given Viyella second glance because its just NOT you, don't be so hasty!

Now, I must go and lie down with a few Tarot decks and a copy of Mein Kampf to return to my normal dictatorial self......

3 Oct 2012

Hestia...and Jerusalem!

Lordy, I could just go a chunk of this RIGHT NOW
In some other life, I am sitting in a white-washed cafe on a hillside in Lebanon looking out over the scrubby countryside and tucking into a golden swirl of freshly made hummus, the lemon sauce glittering beneath the hot noonday sun....

Quite how I reconcile that imaginary life with the one that I lead here in darkest Scotland is entirely down to Yotam Ottolenghi and his partner in culinary crime, Sami Tamimi.  I've already written about their divine cauliflower fritters here.

23 Sept 2012

Hestia ....gets a Brazilian

No, not something that leaves my nethers looking like this:

Nor have I managed to wangle myself one of these:

I have no idea, I just googled 'hot brazilian men' and up he popped.
One can dream.

No, the Brazilian that I have finally got for myself is a BRAZILIAN BLOWDRY!!!!

Tartarus was initially concerned that I was going to come home from the hairdressers with a 1" wide strip of hair down the middle of my skull.  *sigh* MEN *shrugs*.

A Brazilian Blowdry involved sitting in the hairdressers for FOUR hours while a lovely Russian girl painstakingly painted my hair with keratin stuff and straightened it until it was straighter than a New England clergyman's soul.

I was then tasked with keeping my hair straight for the next four days - no hairbands, no tucking it behind my ears.  Nothing.  

For the next four days I remained indoors, keeping away from rain, wind and anything that might cause my hair to kink in rebellion.  I looked like a ghost.  But one with swooshy hair!!!!

Tuesday morning, I returned to the hairdressers to have it all washed off.  The Russian girl didn't say much and I suspected that my coarse, kinked hair may have been too much for the treatment.  'Is it curly?' I whispered.  'A bit.' she whispered back.

And secretly, in the heart of myself, I rejoiced that my hair would not be beaten by chemicals and hung onto its sense of myself for grim death.  

I eventually looked at myself in the mirror.  Well, it was curly, but it wasn't my usual CURLY.

And then she dried it with her fingers - a technique guaranteed to send me into cotton wool puff hair hell......and lo, it stayed normal looking.  I was encouraged.

The hairdresser then flicked her straighteners over me.  It went poker straight in minutes.  From entering the salon, washing/conditioning, drying and straightening - 45 minutes.  A world record for me!

Since then, I have barely had to draw my own straighteners through it and we're now at Sunday and it looks like this:

I should have brushed it before the photo, but you get the idea.

It's not poker straight, but I don't want it poker straight.  I want it to look natural and slightly waved.  The condition of my hair is lovely and I cannot tell you how delighted I am to have swooshy hair with minimal work from myself.  It is definitely something to consider if you're going a holiday and don't want to humph loads of hair stuff with you - maybe for the party season too!

But the moment of truth will be when I wash and dry it myself!  Watch this space!

21 Sept 2012

Hestia...has a T&M competition!

A perfectly formed Hestia

T&M isn't a 21st century version of S&M.

Or even M&S.

Although if you're a keen gardener, there's no denying that their catalogues do offer the finest gardening porn you can get your hands on without incurring the wrath of the Church or social services.

T&M are, of course, Thompson & Morgan, experts in the garden since 1855.

I was chatting with Ania and Viv about stuff last week and Ania pointed out that there was a little bean available called Hestia.  I was suddenly struck by inspiration and jotted off a missive (well, a facebook message anyway) to the good folks at T&M.....would they like to help me with a little competition?

Reader, even when I sent them links to some of my outstanding gardening failures such as thisthis, or this they still kept smiling and promised to post me some packets of lovely little Hestia!

17 Sept 2012

Hestia ...is in mourning weeds

Last known photo of sexually confused Hamster, Nibbles
This is a blog post that I have dreaded writing.

No, no one has mistakenly eaten Kevin (my ancient pain au chocolat) and died a gruesome fusty-chocolate-related death.

No, our beloved Nibbles has moved on to that great hamster wheel in the sky.

She had been getting fatter and fatter in the past couple of months and I suspected that all was not well inside Nibbles, but she was a happy little rodent - swinging on the bars of her cage, patiently trying to escape at every opportunity.

On Wednesday we found her sleeping at the bottom of her cage, not in her bed.  I thought she was dead, but apparently Sonshine checked and left us this missive, to ensure that we didn't tip her into the swing bin by mistake.

4 Sept 2012

Hestia and the Great Sock Disaster of 2012

Tartarus has been cleaning. As only he knows how.  I smile supportively and retire to a dark corner with Ian Rankin and just keep my hands and feet away from the hoover.

He decided to change the bed.  Which was due.  So I helped excavate the duvet from within its cover and I decided that his pillow was too manky to be put back on the bed (what DOES he exhale?!) and put the pillow in for a wash.

Reader, there then followed a DISASTER.  Evidence Exhibit 1:

These were, not 4 hours ago, a pair of pale green, hand-knitted size 5 cashmere bed socks owned and loved by yours truly. Now they wouldn't fit a toddler thanks to the inadvertent felting process that they underwent when Tartarus attempted to wash his pillow this morning at what must have been a 'boil' setting.

He is truly apologetic and has even offered to buy me another pair of bed socks.  He even proffered a pair of his never-rotting merchant navy socks which were hastily deposited back in his sock drawer as I reached for the gleaming new kitchen knife.

However, before you get up in arms, dear reader, at my unreasonableness - be assured that he is still stab-free.  And out buying me a Belgian Bun for smoko :-)

*busies herself looking for hand-knitted cashmere socks on Etsy*

29 Aug 2012

Hestia's wardrobe malfunction

So, it came to pass that we went to the wedding and I told you alllllll about it.

Well, I told you all the NICE bits about it.

What I didn't tell you was that despite me standing in a doorway and looking expectantly at Tartarus for what seemed like 10 minutes, I failed to elicit a 'you look lovely, darling' or anything of that nature.

'I was waiting until you had your shoes on,' he said defensively as I contemplated flinging my antique handbag across the room at him.

OK, fair enough....I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

However AFTER the wedding, when we were relaxing on the sofa - shoes off, ties, off, control pants removed - he raised his bleary eyes towards me and said....

'You were showing a fair bit of tit in that dress.'

Reader, I was so dumbfounded that I could think of nothing sensible to say.  Of course, my thoughts turned immediately to stabbings and wondering how much I could get for selling the Ducati without him being aware of the fact.

The frock came from Kaliko.  A brand not really reknowned for its stripper tendancies.  But let's face it, this is a man who wasn't even interested in my stripper tendancies when I had them.

Of course, the next day he denied saying it QUITE like that and was filled with remorse, apologies and pain killers.

We came home and I uploaded my photo of the three of us to facebook and m'blog.  I complained to some friends about what he had said.

The offending frock

'Hey, don't worry,' said one lovely friend.  'I'm pretty nifty with photoshop.  I've downloaded your photo and can fix it for you.'

And lo!  The photo was fixed.  And my excess tit was removed:

24 Aug 2012

Hestia and the importance of grammar

Given that he is an Engineer - and a Scot - I am aware that English is not Tartarus's first language.  Or, indeed, his second.

But it came to pass that he e-mailed me to say that he was bringing home a painting of the ship.  His beloved, elderly ship, now sold to some unsuspecting Mexicans.

We have a Rogues Gallery of all the vessels that he has sailed on.  Verily, a flotilla of ship photographs in plastic frames bobs around the upstairs hall.  As close to the bathroom as I can get them.

He is very proud of his ships.  Another one to the fleet would be no hardship.

He duly arrived home and snapped open the locks on his case, handing me a small oil painting.

I'm no Brian Sewell, but I could tell that there was no trace of a bright orange-hulled ship with a helideck in it.

'I don't get it. You said you were bringing home a painting of the ship?.......'

'No - I said that I was bringing home a painting OFF the ship...' he corrects me.

And that, dearest reader, confirms that wars do, indeed, start over such trivialities as a missplaced comma.

Or in Tartarus's case, that a murder can be committed as a direct result of a missing 'f'.

Picture of a ship

Picture OFF a ship

Have you too, endured the fall-out of sloppy grammar?

Explore the ruined citadel of m'blog: