Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I'll share a few scares from Guernsey with you this evening; wwwa hhhhaaaa, cue spooky music.

This disgusting little number made a sort of gurgling, slurping sound when you touched it

The witch cackled when you walked past and the gruesome looking chap below screamed.

This delightful tray of delicacies, in fact all these scary treasures could be found at our local garden centre amongst the potting mix and chicken poo??

We were out for a quick drive this morning and came across this fabulous display. I love the bigger white pumpkin eating the little orange one.

The Bumble Bee'rs have only just arrived home from Trick or Treating with Mr Bee as their escort. B1 was Dracula (complete with plastic teeth, which he was very impressed with), B2 was a witch's black cat and B3 was a witch. Mr Bee even condescended to were a pair of spunky bat head boopers.

The sweet haul this year was a little more modest, thank goodness, although I am sure that there are more than enough E numbers here to go around. We have already had about 12 groups visit tonight making up about 30 or so Trick or Treaters; all of them had very good manners for such a scary bunch. The night is still young so we may well have a few more ghosts and ghouls pay us a visit.

My pumpkin carving skills were met with approval from all the Bumble Bee'rs this year, compared to previous years. It was declared my scariest yet!

Happy Halloween from Bumble Bee Cottage.....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn Walks

Mr Bee had Monday off work as he has been travelling over the weekend rather alot recently and they owed him the 'hours'. The kids were bouncing off the walls by 7.00am so we departed on a walk by 7.45am in the hope of burning off a little energy. We walked for about two and a quarter hours and covered about 5 miles/8 kilometers.

We wandered along aimlessly for a while and then I remembered the walk to Sausmarez Park I had gone on with some friends; none of the family had done this walk before so they Bumble Bee'rs were very excited to be going somewhere new.

This plant was growing up and down the stream. I do not know its name but it is used as a hedging plants all over the Island. It produces tiny white flowers which have such a strong perfume that it can be smelt from meters away.

We found a chestnut tree on our travels. I am 90% sure it is a sweet chestnut (the edible type) but after reading about how poisonous the Horse Chestnut is I was not prepared to risk getting my identification wrong.

All the leaves will be off the trees very soon and the days will close in, with the daylight hours shortened between 8.00am and 4.00pm (if we are lucky). I don't mind the cold anymore, I think I have acclimatised. The houses are built to cope with the cold in Guernsey, unlike in Brisbane where it can still get below 0*C some nights but the houses are built to keep heat out not in. The gas fire has already been switched on a few times but now we need to fight Tilly for the prime position in front of the fire.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Spalsh Award

I would like to thanks Julie from KC's Court for giving me this award. This is the first award that I have ever received so it actually came as a bit of a shock (no weepy acceptance speech I promise).

I would love to pass "The Splash Award" to the following"alluring, amusing, inspiring, bewitching, and impressive blogs"

The rules are:

1. Post the award on your blog

2. Nominate up to 9 blogs

3. Let your nominees know they've won!

4. Link back to the person who gave it to you!

Diane from Heart Shaped

Hen from Hen House

Jane from Posy

Mandii from Shabby Dreaming

Joyce from Flour Power

Any of the ladies I have nominated should not feel compelled to participate in this award if they do not wish to. I was just so surprised to receive this from Julie that I thought I should pass it on to bloggers whose blogs I love; thankyou for making my morning coffee all the more enjoyable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dessert Party

I have been invited to a few parties since my arrival in Guernsey so I felt that it was time to reciprocate. I was going to hold a kitchen ware or card party, which are both similar in format to a Tupperware party but one of my friends suggested a dessert party; that way no-one would feel obliged to buy anything.

In the end there were thirteen guests, including myself. I know that some people would consider this very bad luck but I thought that as Mr Bee, B1, B2 and B3 were in the house this countered any chance of numeric misfortune. Mr Bee and the kids were relegated upstairs to watch episodes of the Simpsons on the portable DVD player. Mr Bee never ventured downstairs once during the course of the evening; which all things considered was probably a very sensible move.

The guests were requested not to eat any dinner, just to be on the safe side; I like dessert occasionally but I like my jeans fitting more and I didn't like my chances of that if there were huge quantities of leftovers. I provided a choice of six cocktails on arrival but by the end of the evening people were creating their own concoctions, with a varied success.

Guests were invited to bake or bring (for the culinary challenged among us) their favourite recipe. I asked that they also type out the recipe and bring about ten copies so everyone could take their favourite recipes home.

I had decided that I wanted pink roses for the dessert table. I traipsed to three different shops before I eventually found them at the flower/hedge vege stall at Vazon Bay, about a ten minute drive from home. Thank goodness; you know what it is like when you get an idea in your head about wanting something a particular way - there were going to be pink roses and that was that!

Everyone baked their own except one friend who brought an M&S Roulade and an M&S Apple Pie. She offered to stand the box up so people could copy down the ingredients off the back of the packet! Someone even congratulated her on the perfect swirl in her Roulade, but she caved in eventually told her that it was an M&S special.

A few people brought two, yes two, desserts; as if the thirteen already provided wasn't enough.

Here is a little rollcall:

Double Fudge Blondies
Lime Cheesecake (without the cheese)
Festive Rum and Pecan Pudding
Tiramisu Layer Cake
Double Ginger Cake
Oatmeal Cookies
Gache Melee (this is a traditional Guernsey apple dessert)
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake
Ginger Cheesecake
Banoffi Trifle
Cherry Cheesecake
Walnut Cake (a traditional Czech dessert)
Homemade Choc-Mint Ice cream
M&S Apple Pie
M&S Roulade

M&S - something chocolate that I am not sure of the name nor who actually brought it, so thankyou mystery chocolate dessert provider, who ever you are.

SEVENTEEN DESSERTS - oh I just know those jeans are never going to fit me in the morning!

We had to defend the dessert table from Tilly a few times as she thought she was quite entitled to sample a few dishes as well. She was eventually, unceremoniously shoved out the door, only to pine at the window until someone let her in. She jumped straight back on the table - at least we know how she became so rotund now - a weakness for cheesecake.

One friend had to drop some people home and pick up her husband in town but she forgot her handbag so she came back and stayed for another few hours, as did her husband. I did ask Mr Bee if he wanted to come down but the grunty response sent me scurrying back down to the kitchen where I had to reassure my swaying guests that 'NO, I did not think a horde of drunken women pulling him out of his bed at midnight was a very good idea.'

Guests were not permitted to leave without a Chinese container take-home pack or three as although most people ate two or three bowls of dessert there was A VERY LARGE AMOUNT STILL LEFT, and quite frankly there was no way that all that cheesecake was attaching itself to my thighs!

There was a little bizarre drunken dancing accompanied by some lap dancing, drinking of champagne from the bottle with a straw, falling on the floor, lots of very loud talking (Mr Bee repeated some of the conversations to me the next morning), and lots and lots of laughing.

(I know that there are only fifteen desserts on the table but the ice cream was still in the freezer and the Rum Pudding was in the oven).

The guests arrived at 7.00pm and the last guests were herded out the door at 2.00am. I had been drinking Black Russians like they were going out of style and I normally never drink coke. I probably consumed about one can of coke during the evening (they were in very small glasses and once I had put the shot of Kalhua and the shot of Vodka over the ice there was very little room left for coke - what is a girl to do I ask you?) so I was wired and wide awake when the guests left. I stayed up until 3.30am and did all the dishes, washed the table cloth, which was covered in all sorts of delicious looking stains that I am sure Tilly would love to have had a chew of, and vacuumed the floor twice as a one glass was broken during the course of the evening. This glass did not just break, it EXPLODED in a way that I have never seen before. One of my sober guests vacuumed it up at the time but I was worrying about Tilly or one of the kids cutting their feet on a stray bit so I did it twice more for good measure.

I awoke the next morning a little worse for wear but after some toast, bacon and coffee, in that order I picked up surprisingly well considering that I had drunk about three times more than I normally would; I knew that I only had to crawl up the stairs to bed, if it came to that, which is didn't. I was so glad that I had cleaned up the night before rather than leaving it to face the next day. I spent alot of the day lounging in various rooms with Mr Bee reading the paper or watching cooking shows but after less that three hours sleep (as the Bumble Bee'rs have no sympathy for hungover parents) I think I did remarkably well. Aaahhh thankyou bacon, your greasy stomach coatiness saves the day again!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have to face the T-R-U-T-H

I LOVE Onion Marmalade. It is one of my food weaknesses (unfortunately there are a few of those). I will have it everyday on my sandwiches for my lunch if I have a jar in the house. I have to be honest with myself.

Onion Marmalade is not a beloved friend of my stomach. Every time I eat it some of these...

...are required. I have not bought any Onion Marmalade for several months for this very reason but Mr Bee bought me some as a 'surprise' two weekends ago and I have been steadily munching my way through the jar and the Zantac packet.

I have made a clean break and the remained of this delicious jar has now gone in the bin. I think your body is trying to tell you something when any food stuff consumed requires an antacid chaser.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Spooky Season is Upon Us.

Autumn is here. A chill is in the air , the leaves are starting to turn and the Bumble Bee'rs will talk of nothing but Halloween.

There are about 60 houses in our Clos and if we let them they would visit them all. We restrict them to about half and hour of Trick-or-Treating; although we would never let them do the 'trick' part. Some asked for a trick instead of a treat last year and B1 was dumbfounded. He had no idea what they were talking about, which really is a good thing I think as goodness knows what he would get up to!

I have decorated the hall table, which I still haven't painted white, with a few bits and bobs in the shades of the season.

I waited for these leaves to go on sale last Halloween as I didn't want to pay £20 for a vine of fake leaves but then the shop put them in with their Christmas wreaths so they didn't go on sale until January. It was a tense few weeks, I can tell you. I kept telling myself that no-one decorates for Christmas with the colours of Autumn; fortunately for me this turned out to be correct.

I do have one or two spooooooky items to keep the Bumble Bee'rs happy.

B1 was disgusted when he saw my Josef Original girl, 'There's nothing scary about HER Mum!' I did say that she was in keeping with the season but this didn't cut it as far as he was concerned.

I saw the cat jam pot in one of the Mill Street Antique shops last year, on sale, of course; so she made her way home with me too.

I have yet to carve our home-grown Jack-O-Lantern. I will waiting until a week or so before otherwise he will be all mouldy and quite disgusting for the big night.

Last year I had about 40-50 Trick-or-Treaters from around our Clos; we had a doberman in a tutu, a werewolf Dad and fair few ghouls, goblins, witches and warlocks. Alot of the accompanying parents dress up as well. I have limited the size of the Bumble Bee'rs collection buckets so the resulting E number 'possession' does not last for more than a few days.
Thankyou to KC's Court blog for being part of my Pay-It-Forward.
I am still looking for two more recipients of a Bumble Bee Cottage Christmas gift. If you would like to participate please go to this post and leave a comment (please read the rules about participating first so you know what you are letting yourself in for :).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Her Royal Majesty

I have owned cats all my life, not that you really ever own a cat your just have the privilege of feeding them, cleaning up after them and patting them if they deem it appropriate.

Tilly is no exception. I have left these two doonas on a chair in the kitchen as I want to take them to the dry cleaners. I took the kids to school and came home to find this.

Tilly did condescend to open one eye in acknowledgement but as soon as this photo was taken she promptly went back to sleep. 'Yes, yes, off you go serf and fetch me my lunch.'
My husband has pointed out to me 'two' me that I had spelt 'surf' incorrectly. I have corrected my errors. He also wished to point out that as Tilly only has one eye it is hard for her to open anything else! Yes, THANKYOU so much dear :P In case you don't know what this means it is a big raspberry to you, so neeeeeerrrrr.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Save the Sea Star!

I look at other blogs and everyone seems to have all these lovely linens to have for the background in their photos. Alas I have but two and I already used them in last week's posts so here you have one ironed and slightly stained Cath Kidston tea towel instead; artfully arranged so the all the stains are at the back.

I bought this vase a few weeks ago at the Salvation Army charity shop at the Bridge. It cost £3.00. It had a sticker on it which read Sugahara glass Tokyo, Japan. I googled this company and found a vase which looked similar. The old currency converter whipped into action and new it would cost about £30. So it is not a bad buy really.

We live about 200 meters from the ocean so I think seashells are an appropriate thing to have on display.

I had to find something to place my sea stars (seems we are not allowed to call them starfish anymore) in as Tilly thinks they are very tasty. I'm not sure sea stars are the natural diet of fluffy felines so this vase offers the perfect protection for both sea star and crazy cat.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Divorce Party

I went to my first ever divorce party on Saturday night. It was a strange affair. It celebrated something that had actually caused the woman giving the party alot of pain but I went to try to help her forget about it all and have a fab evening (also she always gives excellent parties:).

She had made a cake especially for the event. Mr Bee was concerned that there were going to be strippers; that was until I pointed out that there are NO strippers in Guernsey. To be honest we did not need any for a raucous evening; NO BOYS ALLOWED. There were Apple Sour shots, shot glasses with nude men in the bottom in various interesting poses, an extremely interesting game of 'Truth or Dare' which ended in someone (who shall remain nameless) running up and down the Clos in her underwear!

It was a fabulous, great, wonderful, stupendous evening and I hope it gave the hostess what she needed.

This post is for both N and E. You are both such lovely and wonderful ladies, although it may not feel like it now there will be a new beginning for you somewhere along the way as gems such as yourselves do not go long undiscovered.

Love Me

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pay it Forward

I just chose this photo because I like it not because it relates in anyway to this post. I have joined Diane at Heart Shaped's 'pay-it-forward'.

The way it will work is that Diane will send me a handmade gift and then three people will volunteer to join my 'pay-it-forward' and I will send them a hand made gift (which should be interesting as I do not sew in any way shape or form so will need to think outside the box here). Then they will ask for three volunteers on their blog and then they will send them a handmade gift and it seems to perpetuate from there.

It is just a bit of fun really and nice to receive a surprise in the post. Who doesn't like getting mail of the non-bill variety? So please leave a comment on this post if you would like to join in. The first three volunteers will receive the Bumble Cottage Gift soon, although the 'rules' of pay-it-forward are that you have 12 months in which to send your gifts so there is no pressure really. I'm just worried I would forget so I think it is better if I do it swiftly. Anyway I am a Christmas addict and would love to theme my gifts around the Festive Season.

Please do not let my possible self-harm with a needle and thread put you off joining in my pay-it-forward as I promise I will not send any gifts I have bled on ;)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Godzilla Defender of Brussel Sprouts

The smell wafting from Godzilla has forced me to move him out to the vegetable patch. Our patch is under siege from all sorts of creepy crawlies as it has been neglected for at least seven weeks.

As you can see the brussel sprouts are the worst hit. We are discussing whether it is best to spray them or simply rip them out. It seems such a waste after waiting for so many months for the sprouts to develop to edible size but I think the bugs have definitely munched them by now anyway.

Perhaps Godzilla will frighten the little blighters off!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Big Kids Day Cake Stall

Tomorrow is Big Kids Day and our school is having a 'Mufty' (free dress) day. All the children have been asked if they can wear something orange, the colour of Big Kids Day.

The school is also holding a cake stall to raise money for the charity. So I whipped these up this morning while I was on the phone to my Mum in Australia. I have a headset so I can chat and cook at the same time. There will be cakes and biscuits starting at 10p each. Let's hope they sell out.

The icing was supposed to be orange and white swirls but I didn't make the orange a strong enough colour so the colours blended in a little. I didn't want to add too much colouring as I am conscious of the poor teachers and what they will have to cope with in the afternoon with sugar and food colouring fueled pupils!