Sunday, 31 May 2009

Business woman?

My olive oil soap is lovely but I wont be giving up the day job anytime soon. I am a dreadful business woman when it comes to retail.

The soap bars were bought in the Souk in Aleppo either by my in-laws or by my husband when he was there in the summer. They average about £1 to £1.50 per bar. Add in the celophane bag and ribbon, another 30p. Bubble wrap to protect thesoap. I have some aorund the house for the first few bars but maybe 20p after that. Padded envelope,
50p unless I hve some for recycling. Also I have been worrying about the packaging since I posted the package. Maybe it needs a box too. Postage was, I tihnk, £1.62.

Total cost £3.62 (or up to £4.12, if it is the second batch of bars)
Incoemn £3.50!

I want to world to try this lovely soap but I think I may have been a bit too eager to sell. To be honest though, it would need to be over £5.00 per bar to make anything, even less than a £, and I cant pretend that £5 is way too much to be paying for soap.

So goodbye to my career in the soap market, back to the day job!

Thursday, 28 May 2009


I love marmalade. I have it on my toast maybe two mornings each week. One of those is at my parents house so I have to supply them as well, unless I want shop bought marmie on my Friday toast.

Saturday was marmalade day.

Lovely orage mush prior to the addition of killer quantities of sugar.

4lbs of sugar. Just as well it takes me two years to eat a batch

15 minutes of rapid boiling and dicing with death each time I stirred and the boiling sugar chased up the sppon at me.

Testing for set as well as taste

Crammed with yummy orange bits and surprisingly un sweet.

Clean & shiny recycled jars

Half filled jars. SLowly at first so that they dont crack with the heat.

Ready to reful the cupbaord

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Olive Oil Soap

I have finally advertised my first bar of the lovely olive oil soap on ebay. I have an excuse honest, I have been busy (bad excuse, I have had plenty of time, I know). Also the soap improved with storage so it should be better now than when I first received it! If it sells then my sister-in-law will send me more. Photographs dont do it justice but my photgraphic sjills didnt actually improve much with the college course I attended last term. Sigh!

I have also managed to link my ebay ad to the blog ! This is easily the most sophisticated thing I have ever managed to do with the blog!

I have also been reading up about my beautiful soap.

Stacked Soap - curing prior to shipping out.

Aleppo soap was the first hard soap ever made. Small scale production methods and ingredients have not changed since the 8th Century, family secrets are kept. There are no artificial substabces, colouring, frangrances, preservatives or other artifical substacnes added. The product is 100% natural. Even today most of the processes are carried out my hand.

The Suq - original shopping mall from the time of the Crusaders, still in daily use.

More soap stacks - simple but truly beautiful.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

If I was a shopper

I had a Lakeland catalogue through the post this morning. I love Lakeland.
If I was a shopper there are loads of things I could happily accomodate.

Check these out

Front cover of the catalogue showing a bouquet of washing up brushes.

One of the brushes close-up.

Its not that clear but this door stop is knitted with aran wool. Got to be a pattern out there somewhere to make these for Christmas pressies.

and the baah lamb version

My family wouldn't walk along the road with me but how cool is this???

Total cost would have been just under £100. I will stick with my virtual shopping for today.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Worn out with all this good luck

I know I need to be grateful for the fact that I still have a job and that we have more work not less in the recesssion. I do know this really. But I am just so busy, stressed out and frazzled that its not even funny!

I am trying to keep up with everyones postings but I dont have much time. I promise to be commenting again soon.

Another couple of weeks and things should start to get back to normal. Ha, normal, whats that?? But maybe it really will.

Dont forget me, will you?

Monday, 18 May 2009

Nucleur Medicine, Burger King

My husband had to spend a few hours at the general hospital for tests on his heart, following the chest pain episode a few weeks back.

All went well for the first test. He had to spend some time n the hospital getting jabbed with radian, he then takes an hours break and comes back for scanning. All together about 3 hours. The second test is called a stress test. Very similar but he is injected with something to simulate exercise. This may have been the fly in the ointment actually.

At the end of the first session he is send away to the cafe for something to eat and drink & must return after an hour for the scan. He remembers queueing to get into the cafe area and the next thing he knows he is lying on the floor, waking up from a sleep he thinks, with 'hundreds' of people standing over him. Oops.

I have a phone call at work. This is A&E in Southampton. Oh my god, who is in A&E runs through my brain. First thought, my eldest son has an injury at work. I know that my husband is there for tests but not A&E. But yes, it is. I drive down to the hospital, get sent up a one way street by a work man (who shouts a bit more than is entirely necessary i think), car park is full and secondary car park has a queue of around 30 cars. I drive out of the back of the hospital and off down the road, finally parking in a staff car park. The walk is long and sweaty for someone with a trapped nerve in her hip and an inclination to migraines. Feeling very stressy at this point. The footpath is closed and I need to walk out on to the other road and up the one way street again. Grumpy, flushed and headachey I finally arrive at A&E. My husband looks a picture of health, despite the ECG monitors. I, however, look half dead.

Plenty of chance to get get my breath back and things do not happen quickly in A&E. The best way to test his heart to see if there is a problem is the nuclear medicine test that has been abandoned half way through. We go back up to Nuclear Medicine. The porter pushes my husband, clad in his A&E nightie, a in wheel chair. You are dressed very unusually for nuclear medicine says he. Normally it is outpatients only. Ah, says my husband. I started off up here before I went to A&E. Ha ha says the porter, you're the man that closed Burger King at lunchtime! Yep, that's him. The porter tells everyone we meet and for the rest of the day everyone makes the obvious jokes about Burger King being bad for your health.

Finally we are allowed to leave by the end of the evening. The heart is beautiful and without blemish! On the way out my husband insists on burger king for supper (the first meal since breakfast 14 hours before). There is nothing like being really hungry, even I enjoy it. We escape unrecognised into the night, no longer famous.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The art of compromise

I have the chance for 4 weeks holiday all together in the summer this year. We planned to drive over to Crete with all of our stuff. However times have been a bit hard lately. My husband missed a bit of work with his two heart scares and then we had to pay for my brother in laws funeral etc. I checked out the price of ferries. We have to drive 2000km and also 3 boat trips. Even on LPG that cant be good for the environment and definitely not good for my pocket. Now the car is complaining too. It needs a new radiator & exhaust. However it is a special edition and converted to LPG so not so easy to get parts. It also needs all new tyres. It is eating money for snacks.

So we looked at flights. We could go in August but when I checked Easyjet flights were £400 or more. Checking other airlines i found flights for upwards of £600!!
This is way more than I want to pay. SO i went back to driving again. If we avoid the longest ferry trip then we drive another 1000km but save 25 hours. But still the car needs lots of TLC first.

A third option - we spend a couple of weeks here at home finishing the garden landscaping. Late in August we travel out to the other house for 2.5 weeks and get back at the end of the first week of September. Total flight price £551, for all of us. We wont really notice the difference in time we spend in Crete but the garden will benefit from the attention & we will not waste money we can ill afford to spend.

Making up my mind to not drive was the hardest bit. I really wanted to. But now I have i feel much relieved. Funny how brains work!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Its alive!!!!!!

My husband is determined that the honeysuckle will grow throw the holly tree.

Not sure what I am supposed to be looking at as I was too busy taking photos!

One of the currant bushes that lived after transplant from the allotment. The blocks in the background are the base of the water butt, which need to be sorted out at the weekend.

The cherry tree in closeup.

The cherry tree and bricks re-cycled from the kitchen wall which will be used to build the barbecue (nothing much goes to waste around here)

My husband showing off his (my!) tomato plants.

My baby cucumbers are getting rady to take on the world. Sadly the peppers and aubergines are not in such a hurry to get out into the world.

Everything is growing.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Listmania update

I did pretty good on my list and more besides.

Tomorrow I can do whatever I like! The main thing to remember is to take photos. I have photographed what I am up to in ages. I want to share my little cucumber seedlings and my garden generally. Plus have a look at the guest bathroom as it comes to life.

Today I made a Thai red beef curry but it was so hot we can barely eat it! My husband ate his but sort of hinted that he didn't want seconds as he could barely breath after firsts. I am going to freeze it in batches with plain rice for lunches at work. Tomorrow I will stir fry some chicken wings in a Chinese spice powder. I can serve them with warm pitta, a nice salad and some houmous. Perhaps I will also make cake and a macaroni pudding. I haven't yet bought the sugar to make my marmalade so maybe some chance of that tomorrow too.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Tomorrows chore list

Collect Parcel (new phone fro eldest son - £5 from eBay)
Pay in eldest sons cheque to bank
£ shop visit - buy toothpaste and crisps
Finish laundry and put away
Payy 2 bills
Plant carrotts, betroot, lettuce and herbs
Re-organise the freezer to accomodate extra food from mum until her new freezer arrives
Clean up the kids rooms a bit (waiting for them is just never worth it)
Advertise goodies on ebay
Catch up with filing
Buy wall tiles and light fitting for guest bathroom

My life is so wild and exciting!!!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Whats going on around here....

The garden is starting to look really good. It has recovered from the building work finally. There is a little more stil to go to the dump but the really is looking pretty good. There are little tiny cherries on the tree and blossom on the cooking apple tree. Some of the pots are planted up with plants and little trees. The weekend I plan to plant a few more pots this weekend, maybe of beetroot and carrot & some more herbs. The seedlings are coming along too. Fifteen or more little tomoator seedling & the heads of little cucmbers plants are popping out of the compost.

The guest bathroom progresses. I will take photos this weekend to show off my little glass mosaic tiles.

After the bathroom is finished then i get my larder & then my lovely kitchen but I dont rush anywhere, we progress daily so that is enough.

We are ten days fromt he arrival of the auditors at work so I am quite pleased to be still doing anything at home!!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Practising what I preach

I ahve been too busy to blog or read blog this long weekend. It is has been non stop woodwork (I am trusty assistant not carpenter). Cooking, cleanig & re-arranging furntirue, gardening, plating seeds & seedling. Just living the life really. I have even taken photos for ebay selling! I hope to have a quick look around my favourite blogs now and then its bed time for a tired but pretty much fulfilled woman.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Is there a connection?

I noticed that my sister has a very nice house. Not big and flashy but very comfy and always clean and tidy (always! you can never catch her unawares). They always have healthy, scrummy food from scratch each day, she has a lovely garden including a lovely little veg patch. One thing she doesnt have is an internet habit, or more specifically an internat blog habit. I wonder if this is a co-incidence??? Do I hve to give up the into to finally get on top of my housework! Ooops.

My life

My wonderful husband has died. He was in hospital for some weeks but this was very unexpected. I won’t be reading or writing for the foresee...