‘The Russians’ are reading My Blog

Many of my comments have been viewed by the ‘The Ruskies’. I’m not sure I should be ‘worried’ but I thought I should let you know should I ‘disappear’.

We have had reports of ‘Russians’ invading Kent Airspace, and, according to UK news reports, the Royal Air Force has been escorting them over Kent and there have been reports of Chinese and Russian ships round Britain.

Now they are reading my blog….and this is giving me ‘goosebumps’.

DIY Wellbeing Gift: Lavender ‘Handkerchief’ envelope – REVIEW

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Someone on a social media forum gave me the idea to make a lavender sachet from a handkerchief that she could give as a Wellbeing Present. I thought it was a nice, quick idea and a little ‘pick-me-up’.

All she did was collect vintage handkerchiefs, add some edible lavender flowers and essential oil and just sew it up to make a cute and easy ‘fabric envelope’. Add a pretty button for effect.

I made this one which was really easy to make and it went down very well as ‘sleeping aid’.I am a hygge fan, and this is very hygge!

REVIEW: It felt a bit flimsy at first, but you could always put in some lining in, though you wouldn’t get so much of a lavender aroma. I thought it was cute and I hope to make some more. It went down very well to the person I gave it to as a surprise. I would give mine 9/10 because I forgot the essential oil – oops! It’s a nice way of remembering people who have given you handkerchiefs and using spare ones you have round the house. It gives old handkerchiefs a bit of life. If you do make any, let me know what reaction you get…..

40 Good and Bad things about Living in England

Not in any order….

GOOD THINGS

1. NHS – Generally free treatment (although I think if rich people can afford it they could buy treatment). A bit of ‘free and private’ can be good so the system isn’t ‘clogged’. It doesn’t make sense that overseas people also get free treatment as well, after all, many haven’t chipped in.

2. Generally they are animal lovers, though I think things are changing as we live in more urban and sanitised areas. I have met people who don’t like dogs and lots of animals in England are being dumped. Then you get loads of people here leaving their dogs in cars, sometimes even their babies. I don’t think people are very educated about animal care sometimes. They don’t like people ‘telling them what to do’ as they say ‘they know all about dogs’ etc. It is nice to know that there are good rescue homes about, even ones for wildlife.

3. English Food – I love traditional English cookery, and I love learning about food history round the counties. It may not always be good for you physically, but mentally it can be good and it brings a bit of togetherness. I love going up and down the country trying local breads, cakes and buns from regional areas. I am a huge fan of the real Bakewell Tart, not the one we have in the South of England, which isn’t a ‘proper one’. I am a big fan of the London stick Chelsea Bun and Kentish Gypsy Tart. Brits like food and trying new things, but they make good ‘armchair cooks’. The English are excellent picnickers, and they always to choose ‘the right foods’ for a picnic, from a beach, to a demo of some sort and to a posh music concert. My friend from Maidstone in Kent always takes his fresh salmon, salad, cream cheese and black pepper brown bread sandwiches when he goes on a political demo, along with his favourite coffee or homemade soup with vegetables from his garden. Nowadays our picnics seem to be a weird jumble of English and Foreign foods. An outdoor picnic isn’t complete without midges and wasps. It is all part of the ‘spirit’.

4. Art – I think we have a great selection of art and if you want to be an artist, people don’t frown on you when you are an artist, although, parents will say ‘Art is not a proper job’. Once you have actually sold things, you are respected.It can be educational and fun. I also like the Outsider Art scene. You can never be bored here if you enjoy art.

5. Crafts – We have a great selection of crafts and we are always learning new things which is exciting. People from all age groups can talk and mix together. We have a lot of expertise in England you can call upon, such as those from the Royal College of Needlework.

6. I think we are good horsemen and women, if they are into that and nowadays it is not ‘classless’. Everyone can have a horse if they can afford it, some working classes have horses. We have had a lot of knowledge handed down, in some families anyway.

7. We have an amazing range of cuisines to choose from, from Indian, to Ethopian and we’re pretty close to Europe if we want a weekend away and a change of scene. European travel is quite cheap.

8. We are getting into coffee now with so many coffee shops springing up. I was never really interested in the ‘pub culture’.It is nice we are getting into all kinds of fruit and herbal teas now.

9. You can’t beat a rhubarb crumble in a ‘greasy spoon’.

10. We have a variety of weather, it is not always the same. Personally I love a good storm, and lots of rain, rather than a heatwave. Rarely it is extreme.

11. We have some great Ecology Parks and Nature Reserves, with decent hides and knowledgable staff.

12. We have good museums and exhibitions

13. We have good libraries

14. Many English people have a dry sense of humour, although I think we are starting to take life too seriously now. Things are changing.I find that the older generation seem to have more of a dry sense of humour

15. There are lots of free things to do, particularly in cities.

16. You can always get free water in a restaurant or café.

17. We have decent ‘posh places’ if you want to visit for tea like Fortnums and Claridges

18. We can be eccentric

19. We have a variety of countryside with different kinds of wildlife and flora.

20. If there is a disaster, we pull together.

BAD THINGS

1. People can be negative about petty things and they can go on, and on about. I don’t think we make good hotel guests, or flat mates!

2. People can be very passive aggressive and ‘fake’. It can be very difficult to trust people here. It takes a lot of time. You always to be on the look out for ‘people gathering information’ as they could ‘use’ this later. I am quite wary of new people in the workplace. It can be a very judgemental society.

3. At work, people form cliques a lot. This can be frustrating and ‘hard to get into’.

4. Too many people have cars and it causes traffic jams, road rage and pollution. They spend far too much money on smart cars, I prefer to put my money on property.

5. The class system.

6. People not saying hello or smiling at you when you see them in the street. Your work colleagues, neighbours could well ignore you. I find this strange, as I have more of a friendlier ‘American’ attitude. I try to change this, every so often. This should be ‘challenged’ as England can be a very lonely place. I have met lots of people by talking to them more.

7. Crime – you have to ‘nail things down’ in England. At work, even colleagues can sometimes steal from you. One colleague of mine in Kent stole my colleague’s credit card and tried to make a loan in her name! Even the last people you would expect would steal from you, given the opportunity and we are talking, in my case, a group of ‘mature business ladies from Kent’ who nicked things from the company I was at. I have had people steal my bag in a café once and a bike by my home, in a shed. There are also those ‘bookkeepers’ in a company that need to be ‘watched’ as they can take advantage of their employers if they could. I think there’s a lot of jealousy in this country and greed. I think some criminals take stupid risks, but they do end up caught, because they give away a lot of traceable clues. It is a bit foolish but some people think they can get away with it. They even forget that their mug could be on display in national and local media too.

8. They buy children lots of presents even though they rarely play with them or talk to them about ‘real things’. They often have nannies or dump young kid in ‘childcare’. I was very lucky not to have a nanny or have ‘early childcare’, but my mother looked after me instead, rather than a stranger. Quality time is very important for kids I think. I have met several English people who hardly know their parents as ‘they’re always at work’ and ‘come home too late’.

9. Family gatherings – Famillies only meeting up a few times a year for ‘show’. It can be very false and you get superficial and awkward conversations. I have had more formal conversations with family members than people at work. You always feel uncomfortable with your family and look forward to going home. One hour is far too long with them. I wouldn’t even call them ‘family’ if they are like this really. I have had to stop seeing some of my families because they are so ‘superficial. I focus on the ones that do care, though it is mostly my friends now!

10. Supporting the Monarchy even though it is very expensive, unfair and class orientated. Fortunately this is also changing, as young people find it hard to get on the property ladder and you get these people who have no problem whatsoever.

12. Poor transport at weekends and absolutely no transport at Christmas and Boxing Day. This is so frustrating.

13. Alcoholism, Drugs and Junk Food – they don’t seem to care about their own health, until the doctor gives them a ‘harsh warning’. There are too many places that sell alcohol.

14. Easily led. If someone says to do something ‘they will do it’ even if it is bad. They at not very good at thinking for themselves these days. They will do very dangerous or stupid things ‘for the banter’.

15. Obsession with bad pop music and diabolical melodies. However, when we ‘do music properly’ like opera or make original music like The Beatles we are very good. We have really good classical music around.

16. We can be marketed very well like sheep. Just look at the hipster craze. Everyone looks the same. Sometimes we can be marketed to go to ‘cool things’, even though, the more people who do it, it stops looking cool anymore. Now the Craft Beer craze is one of them. In Bermondsey, beersheep go round Breweries because they think it is cool to have a Craft Beer, but they all stand out looking the same and talking shop and superficial things. They look those people who go on Harry Potter tours. Guys, it is not cool anymore. Booze is unhealthy too, so it is not doing you any good.

17. In England they can be very dirty. Many people think nothing of chucking fag butts outside shops and chucking beer cans, coffee cups and crisps in cities in the rural countryside. They look at you, as if you are weird, if you pick it up for them. They say ‘the countryside should have bins’ or ‘it can be someone’s job’. It is very lazy, many have no conscience.

18. There’s a lot of ‘nasty stuff’ behind closed doors such as domestic violence, abuse, financial, spiritual and child abuse. It can very sad living in England for some people. There’s a lot of controlling behaviour around. Many of us have been touched by this in some way, at home and in the workplace.

19. Brits don’t tip enough. You can do the ‘extra mile’ but it is not appreciated.

20. At work, you often don’t get a thanks. It can be hard to feel motivated or appreciated. There is a lot of ‘demotivation’ in the workplace and henpecking at home too. I think England could benefit more from a more positive attitude.

Kent: Passengers on South Eastern Railway take their dogs to work today

It is National #Takeyourdogtowork day which is great for mental health in the workplace, and gets the dog out too, and, of course, immensely spoiled.

I was pleased to see some railway passengers taking their beagle to work this morning, on my way to London Bridge. The lady took the dog after 10am and avoided the crowded rush hour so he was quite comfortable.

Hope to see more and more people take their dogs to work, perhaps more often than a day, to help animal welfare charities and reduce workplace stress and sickness. It also makes the workplace more fun and ‘human’.

To take part next year, keep a note of this website: https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/ for details.

UK: It’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day on 23 June, 2017

Improve your wellbeing in the workplace and help raise money for animal welfare charities by bringing your dog to work on Friday. Bring some ‘pet therapy’ to help reduce workplace stress.

If you would like to take part see https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/ for details.

Bear mind in mind that it could be hot as here in the UK we are having a heatwave, so avoid taking it to work in a car or hot workplace etc.

Thanks to the list of fantastic Sponsors supporting this day :- https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/sponsor</em

Homemade “Papua Sunset” Ice Lolly with Banana & Pomegranate – REVIEW

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I was inspired by Papua New Guinea where they first domesticated bananas, and my trip to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ in Lebanon, for this homemade ice lolly. I just used two large ice lolly moulds.

INGREDIENTS (eyeball)

Natural Yogurt

Pomegranate Juice (essential as it gels the yoghurt together)

Almond Milk

Honey

Mashed Banana, make sure it isn’t lumpy

METHOD: Just Mix up!

Optional tip: You can add a drop of red colouring, though, watch out, some people may be allergic. If you don’t add colouring, it’s just a very pale pink.

REVIEW: 10/10 OMG, one of my favourite ice lollies, and it reminds me of my trip going through ‘Sniper country’ in sunny Lebanon. You can really smell the wonderful aroma of the pomegranate. The taste brings the Mediterranean all back, with the fruit markets and arid hills.

Homemade Mango Yoghurt & ‘Rum’ Ice Lolly – Review

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This was recommended to me by a Kentish woman who works at a fruit stall in England. Sometimes we swap recipes. Instead of milk, I used almond milk which I thought would be healthier. It gels the ingredients well together. I used a couple of lolly moulds.

INGREDIENTS (eyeball)

Ripe mango – chopped

Natural Yoghurt

To sweeten: Sugar or honey

Almond or Oat Milk

Drops of rum flavouring (sometimes Eastern European shops have this)

METHOD
: Just mix up!

Review: 9/10 Very nice! It was slightly cheesy at first, but in a nice Icelandic Skyr way. Far nicer than the ones in the shops too. Personally I preferred a bit of sugar, but that’s me. The lolly took about 10 minutes to eat. I gave one to my friend, who also enjoyed it. I find the ice lollies in the shops far too rich for me, and they’re not very fruity.

Tip: Some chopped almonds would be fun to add and would work very well with the almond milk.

DIY British Sherbet: Review

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I made some sherbet today and I wanted to test it out.

Now, I am an aunt, so ‘I have to do ‘aunt things’ and get into practice for when I need it.

I was inspired by a stall selling sherbet at a Food Fair at Syon Park. They did lots of flavours, including pizza (which I am still working on). This particular recipe is a ‘plain one’ other than a few sprinkles. If you add liquid, like coconut flavouring, there will be a ‘fizzy reaction’. The photo above was when I put flavouring in it, so it is a bit ‘ball’ like but you don’t need to use any flavouring so it will be more powdery looking.

In the UK, sherbet is traditional eaten with a stick of licorice or eaten with the fingers. Nowadays, cooks use it as a topping for ice creams.

INGREDIENTS

Citrus Acid powder (I got this online, but you can apparently get it at pharmacies)

Bicarbonate of Soda

Sprinkles and/or edible glitter (from a cake decoration shop)This adds a little texture and colour if you want it.

Icing Sugar (be generous)

Vintage Sweet Bags (You can get a good range, blue, green, yellow, black and ‘mixed’ on Amazon.

Optional: Licorice sticks from Simpkins on Amazon (not licorice roots) If you can find a good health or candy store, even better as you don’t have to pay for any delivery charge.

Tip: You only need a little citrus acid powder and bicarbonate of soda. The more citrus acid you use, the more ‘sour’ it is.

REVIEW: It is not bad at all.You don’t need to buy sherbet in the shops now, it works! It is fun to have a variety of sprinkles to make it more unique and ‘homemadey’. I would give it a 9/10 and a Gold Star in ‘Aunt Points’

South London: I decided to hand out free ice creams in memory of the Manchester Attack victims #randomactsofkindness

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PHOTO: An empty FAB packet.

We need to make change instead of just talking about it. So in memory of the Manchester victims I gave out free ice creams to random people in South London today, which was a very hot day. I gave out my favourite ones ie Fab and Solero.

These are the people who received them (and they all were very appreciative).

1) a window cleaner
2) a Co-op Funeralcare staff Member
3) Three builders sitting outside a pub, getting hot and bothered
4) And old man sitting all by himself
5) Two staff members at a Computer discount store

We need to end violence but we have to do this at grass roots level. Kindness goes along way. We need to engage in the community again. Hopefully this article will inspire others to do a random act of kindness.

NOTE: I paid for the ice-creams from my own money. I did not receive any freebies. You can get some good icecream deals from Tesco though.