Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Winter Solstice - Total Lunar Eclipse 2010

So did you get to see it? Sadly due to immense fog we didn’t . Shame given that the last time it fell on the winter Solstice was nearly 400 years ago. But not to worry the next one on the Solstice (oh ok a day before) will be in the comparatively short amount of time in 2029!

For those of you who might not quite know how a lunar eclipse works it’s where the Moon passes through the shadow created by the Earth blocking the Sun’s light. This creates an effect where the moon colour appears to be a shade of red/pink.
I found the above youtube clip and really liked it, clear and without newreporters adding their own comments you can sit back and watch the beauty.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Cernunnous and Winter Solstice

I like reading up and learning about all sorts of things but find that in this day of technology books of old are suffering. I have to wait for days for a book I've ordered to come into the shop or from online suppliers. So often I find myself wandering the echoey halls of the web and trying to piece together fact from fiction. Now of course a lot of what we study and believe is called by lots fiction but the key word in what we do is faith. As such I take a lot of what I read with a pinch of faith and try and pass that on to others.
The recent study I wanted to read was about Cernunnous. I feel drawn to Him, in His many forms and am often hunting out writings, art, images etc of Him. I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you all but seem unable to put the words together in any fitting form today (a bit of a mental block with everyday madness filling the gaps). So I thought I'd post some information I found on and let you read it for yourselves.
Cernunnous was the Horned God of the Celts. He was associated with the hunt and fertility. Occasionally he was portrayed with serpent legs, torso of a man, a head of a bull or ram, or shown with stags wearing antlers. The name Cernunnous means horned.

He is the lord of life, death and the underworld. Being the Sun to the Goddess of the Moon as he alternates with her in ruling over life and death. With her he cooperates in continuing the cycle of life, death and rebirth, or reincarnation.

His own life is said to be circular. The Horned God is born at the winter solstice, marries with the Goddess at Beltane (May 1), and dies at the summer solstice. His death represents a sacrifice to life.

The Horned God's origin possibly dates back to Paleolithic times, as evidenced by a ritualistic cave drawing found in the Caverne des Trois Freres at Ariege, France. The picture is with one of a stag standing upright on its hind legs, or a man dressed in a stag costume performing a dance. The wearing animal clothes in rituals to secure game was practiced in Europe for thousands of years.

He was worshipped by the Romans and Gauls who portrayed him with a triple head. Sometimes the Romans depicted him with three cranes flying above his head.

Other deities associated with, or others have claimed them to be representative of, Cernunnous, the Horned God, are Herne the Hunter, a ghost of Britian; Pan, the Greek god of the woodlands; Janus, the Roman god of good beginnings with his two faces looking in opposite directions representing youth and age, and life and death; Tammuz and Damuzi, the son- lover-consorts of Ishtar and Inanna; Osiris, the Egyptian lord of the underworld; and Dionysus, the Greek god of vegetation and the vine, whose cult observed rites of dismemberment and resurrection."
The Celtic god Esus was analogous to Cernunnous. Similarly the animal of Esus was the bull. Esus was sometimes identified with Cernunnous who appears on the Gundestrup Cauldron. Supposedly Esus was also ruler of the underworld, but this did not keep his worshippers from considering him to be a god of plenty and portraying him holding a sack of coins.

Most frequently whenever Cernunnous was depicted or portrayed, he was shown as an animal, usually a stag, or surrounded by animals as he is depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron seated in a lotus position. This was seen as appropriate as he was the god of the hunt and fertility. He was also the ruler and protector of the animal kingdom. He is often seen holding a ram-headed serpent.

In the Welsh tale "Owain" his role as a herdsman-god and a benign keeper of the forest is told. Here he summons all the animals to him through the belling of a stag. All the animals even serpents obediently came to him "as humble subjects would do to their lord."

Some feel that the honoring of Cernunnous even continued in the early Christian era. Many of the early ascetics still had pre-Christian longings for nature. To substantiate this there is the account of Saint Ciaran of Saighir. This humble man went into the wilderness to establish a cell that would eventually become a monastery. A boar came, seeing the man he was terrified, but later returned and was submissive to the man of God. Saint Ciaran considered the boar his first monk. The boar was later joined by a fox, a badger, a wolf and a stag. These animals left their liars to join the community.

There are other tales such as this one that give rise to suspicions they caused early Christian writers and artists to associate Cernunnous with Satan. Although some Christians never lost their love of nature. Saint Francis of Assisi is well known for his love of animals and birds.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Oh no!

Is this a sign of how this week is going to be? Firstly the weather changes so I can't get together with Fella, far to much snow in between. Then the tumble dryer stops working so snow clothes taking an age to dry. The chimney is leaking so front room damp and then finally this morning my Goddess statue fell and broke into lots of bits. It was one of those slow motion things, you know the sort where you know perfectly well what is going to happen, you try to do your best to stop it but you just won't get to it in time.
So am now really sulking. Was my favorite statue of Her too.

Stomps off to strop in corner quietly...

Friday, 17 December 2010

Rocky Road in a Stocking

Littleun has made quite a few new friends and he has found it difficult to choose who he would like to give gifts to this Yule. So we came up with an idea that meant he could give out a few without breaking the bank. Rocky Road in a bag. We were lucky as last year in the sales I managed to nab a brilliant deal on stockings (no not my leg coverings but the sort you hang up for Father Christmas). Lovely deep red velvets with fun appliquéd characters and just the right size. Well the idea is get all the ingredients (minus the butter) for the recipe, put them into the stocking with the printout on how to and tie the top with a ribbon. Hey presto, you have a gift which Littleun has helped put together and which his friends can make and do with their own families. If you fancy doing similar this is the recipe for Rocky Road (and yes couldn’t resist had to make some for ourselves, boy am I putting the weight on this year!).

Rocky Road Cake

400g bar milk chocolate
1 tin of condensed milk
100g butter
Bag of marshmallows
Tub of glace cherries
Packet of digestive biscuits
Raisins or sultanas

Put the digestive biscuits in a thick plastic bag and roughly crush so that you end up with nice chunky biscuit pieces, then set aside.
Melt the chocolate and the butter together on a low heat (or in the microwave), then once melted, add the condensed milk, mixing thoroughly.
Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and add in the digestive biscuit and all the other ingredients. Mix well. You can add as little or as much as you like of the other ingredients and vary it to suit your tastes.
Tip the mixture into a tin lined with cling film (this well help you later!), flatten out into the tin, and place in the fridge to set. When set, cut into pieces and turn out.
my camera has stopped working so photo credit is Tristan Tristan

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

"On the road to Beth Beth Beth"...

Ah, it became clear after all. That annoying song that has sounded like a rapsters tune for the last 3 weeks suddenly made sense as I sat watching littleuns school nativity yesterday. My little darling was a star both in behaviour and as a character. In a bid to involve all the younger children in the nativity they added a few extras. Least of which was a side story of an angel who hadn't got her wings. On her way to Bethlehem she was always late in catching up the others, till it became obvious that she would get her wings after helping several animals with ailments. A fun afternoon of enthusiastic children who despite having rather short attention spans and waving madly at their parents, gave it their all. And yes, I did have a tear or two.
Now we are sitting here this afternoon, putting together our latest Yule gifts, Rocky road in a bag...
ps, the snow is apparently on the way back, argh.

Friday, 10 December 2010

A Turkish offering

We all like a sweet or too, sticky indulgence that we know we really shouldn’t eat but oh just so have too. One of my dad’s favourites is Turkish delight. (Known as rahat lokum meaning giving rest to the throat). It’s pretty with its subtle soft colours and aromatic flavouring plus is a lovely thing to make at home and give out when our friends come and visit at Yule.

To make you will need:
3 tbs gelatine powder
400g sugar
1 tsp rosewater or to taste
2-3 drops of red food colouring
2 teaspoons cornflour
200g icing sugar
An 18 cm square cake tin wetted with water

Put 300ml water into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat then sprinkle in the gelatine and stir with metal spoon until melted. Add the sugar and stir continuously until dissolved

Return to the boil and continue boiling for 10 mins. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater and colouring.

Strain through sieve lined with muslin into the prepared cake tin and let cool. Leave to stand overnight to set.

Next day, sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl, then sprinkle a thick layer onto a work surface. Transfer remaining powder mixture into a plastic bag.

Remove the Turkish Delight from the cake tin, loosening the edges if necessary with a wet knife and dipping the base of the tin into hot water for a few seconds. Turn out onto coated work surface and cut into 3cm squares.

Put the squares into the bag, together with any sugar mix left on the work surface, seal the bag and shake well until they are thick and evenly covered.

Pack into an airtight container and sprinkle over any remaining sugar mix.

Orange Delight: Instead of the rosewater and red colouring add 1 tbs strained orange juice, 1 tsp orange flower water and 1 tbs ground crystallized orange rind at the same time as the sugar, prceed as above.

Lemon Nut Delight: Instead of the rosewater and red colouring stir through 1 tbs strained lemon juice. When mixture is beginning to set carefully stir through 40g blanched, chopped almonds or pistachios and proceed as main recipe.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Come Winter

There can be no doubt that we are firmly residing in Winter. Yule is here soon and the logs are already burning. But in amongst the cold and snow that blankets everything people bustle along, busy as ever, capable now of moving again and it seems to me that they have forgotten to look around them. To slow down and really notice the changes. Hard to you say? Well yes I suppose it is but it is also important too. Despite the modern day appliances and so called civilization Winter still levels the playing field. The elderly and young alike need more care. Jack Frost doesn’t mind their ages, only gleeful that they might not be able to keep him out. So some of us have agreed, we will take note of who our neighbours are. Remind ourselves of the community again and try and help. Even if it’s only to pick up a pint of milk or to bring some companionship to them for a while. So here’s the challenge, learn the name of your neighbour before Yule and offer a little bit of that most important thing you have to give; some time and friendship.

The following poem is from someone who falls into the above category yet stubbornly refuses help at times being mentally and almost completely physically independent still at the grand age of nearly 92. A cantankerous fellow, but always there in our hearts and in his own way a leveller too. Oh the fun I have had watching him with Littleun, 80+ years separating them, but both gleefully laughing as they watch “Tom and Jerry” together (“originals minds you, none of this newfangled rubbish”) or as they enjoyed the hotdogs and mince pies on fireworks night in the heated conservatory. Anyway, hope you like it:


When the bold little robin sings his sweetest song,
And the lanes and meadows are cold and white:
When the nights that follow are dark and long,
Then nature sleeps through the winter’s night.

While, at the break of dawn, stillness keeps
Bar meadow pond where the waters slow,
And snug, the barren hedgerow sleeps
Beneath a mantle of drifting snow.

See how the winter spreads its snowy shield,
Blending church and cottage into one:
The snow-faced clock, its time concealed,
Save for the bell and the chimes that run.

Beside the stream, the mill in hoary mist
Is still, while nature sleeps in settled snow,
And ice bounds trees whose branches twist
In restless dreams, while northern breezes blow.

So softly tread this carpet white, hinder not
The fragile warmth the distant sun may bring:
For soon, there’ll be no rest in nature’s cot,
When dawn awakes and morning turns to spring.

Poem © PRISM

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Stained Glass Ginger Biscuits

Ok it’s still rubbish weather wise here so have warmed the house with the smell of ginger. We often make goodies as gifts for friends at Yule and this year is no different. We have hampers ready with yummy things like our chutney from the summer and the apple schnapps soon ready to be poured into individual bottles. But one of the other things we like making are decorations and if that can be combined with food all the better.

We have put together some bits and bobs that the Littleuns can make (with a bit of help from the adults) and our first foody one are these delicious biscuits. Make them, hang them or just eat them.

To make you will need:

Cookie/biscuit cutters, we used stars, bells and house. Two of each is helpful, one smaller than the other.
Baking sheet.
Greaseproof paper

For the biscuits:
350g/12oz plain flour, extra for dusting
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
½tsp salt
2tsp ground ginger
100g/3½oz butter
175g/6oz soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg, beaten
4tbsp golden syrup
Packet of fruit flavoured boiled sweets, different colours.
To decorate:
Tube of readymade white icing
Narrow ribbon
Ice sugar/dust


Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas 4
For the biscuits mix the flour bicarbonate of soda salt and ginger together in a bowl.
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, and then stir in the sugar.
In another bowl, beat together the egg and golden syrup, pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix to make a smooth dough, kneading lightly with your hands.
Crush the sweets in a bag using a rolling pin.
Roll out the dough on a floured work top to about 5mm/¼inch thick, and then cut into the shapes chosen. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet lined with the paper.
Cut out the centre of each biscuit making sure you leave a good edge all around the biscuits, completely fill the hole in each biscuit with broken sweets.
Make a hole at the top of each biscuit so that you can later thread the ribbon through. Bake for 10-12 mins or until golden brown.
Remove biscuits from oven and whilst they are still warm check that the holes are still there if not gently re-make. Leave on tray until cooled. Once cooled pipe icing in patterns wanted around the biscuits, you can dip in the ice dust if you want a snow-ish feel to it. Thread ribbon and hang.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Snowflakes for littleuns

Well our snow was there when we went to bed, all 1½foot deeps worth and when we woke up this morning it had all gone and was replaced with rain, lots of it. Littleun was a bit upset so we decided to make some of our Yule flakes ready to go on our tree and windows. If you would like to make some, this is how we did it.

You will need:

White paper or card,
Coloured tissue paper,
anything pretty and sparkly basically

Draw around a circle object. Cut out the circle you have drawn, fold it in half, then half again. Using a pair of scissors cut out little shapes from the paper.

Cut out a circle of the tissue paper, putting dots of the glue onto the back of the snowflake push the tissue paper onto it.

Decorate the front of the snowflake as you wish, stick on sequins or use glitter etc.

When finished tape or white-tac it to your windows or hang on tree.

Sorry about the naff quality photos, am having problems with both the camera and uploading to blogger :o/

Thursday, 2 December 2010

It's Snowing!!

We don't get snow that often but in the last few years it seems to be happening more and more. In a way its lovely, pretty to look at but in another it brings home the needs of the community. It definitely makes you more aware of those in your neighbourhood as you work together to clear the pavements, to help older neighbours by getting their shopping and the fun had sharing the sledges with the local children on the nearby hill. So on that thought here are some of our photos of the town in the snow...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Bet that made you all jump! Yep we are still here, almost. It’s been a mad old month and what with one thing and another I just haven’t been able to get over here. Hope this finds you all well?

So, how are all the Winter preparations going? We got caught out and have snow, the earliest this area has seen for about 17 years (so the met office tells us). The heating bill would be rather high, if it were working that is! So we’ve gone back to good old fashioned water bottles and extra layers plus now have the excuse of snuggling up next to each other on the sofa. We are crossing our fingers that the snow doesn’t stop school as they have on 17 days to go and so much fun to cram into it all. This is Littleuns first Winter at the new school and they are teaching them some “lovely” songs to sing at the show (though if I hear the rap version one more time I might scream an ickle bit).

Well this month we have run about in all sorts of places, started it with the autumn turning out and mild days with wandering in Wisley admiring the colours and new displays. In particular the new children’s play area. A natural area made from fallen trees the children had many things to climb on, build and use. The tree trunks were carved with some interesting patterns too:

We’ve been to the theatre, Ice skating, sealife centres and oh so much more, plus have bulk brought glue, glitter and felty-fuzzy stuff for Littleun to make things over the next few weeks. So if you are interested take a look at our ideas in the coming month, I promise I’ll post, honest!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Remember 5th November

Diwali diyas

For this year not only is it a celebration of one Christian political parties ideals against another in the UK it is also the celebration of Diwali. Both are celebrations using light and both celebrations of a King victorious over another political enemy.

Now I would have thought that most of you have heard at some point a bit about the gentleman named Guy Fawkes and his cohorts attempt to blow up our Houses of Parliament along with the then King James?

Well if not: On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung, drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words “Remember, remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten.
Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for "A penny for the guy".

Although in this county of controversy you are much more likely to find an effigy of the Pope than Guy Fawkes being burned. And in our town we tend to burn effigies which are relating more to a political or social situation that is currently directly effecting the town’s population.

So on the week we had our towns bonfire this was the effigy:

(6166, number of pirates we had to beat the world record/ Carr Taylor, local wine grower who beat the French at their own game becoming the only English Sparkling wine to do so. Guinness pint, well again to do with Guinness world records/ lastly the emblem is for our branch of bonfire boyes)

But as I said today is also the Hindu celebration of Diwali. A festival of light it celebrates the victory of one King over another.

Hindu Mythology

The Story of Rama and Sita:

Lord Rama was a great warrior King who was exiled by his father Dashratha, the King of Ayodhya, along with his wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshman, on his wife's insistence. Lord Rama returned to his Kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, in which he put an end to the demon Ravana of Lanka, who was a great Pundit, highly learned but still evil dominated his mind. After this victory of Good over Evil, Rama returned to Ayodhya. In Ayodhya, the people welcomed them by lighting rows of clay lamps. So, it is an occasion in honour of Rama's victory over Ravana; of Truth's victory over Evil.

The Story of King Bali and Vamana Avatar (the Dwarf):

The other story concerns King Bali, who was a generous ruler. But he was also very ambitious. Some of the Gods pleaded Vishnu to check King Bali's power. Vishnu came to earth in the form of a Vamana (dwarf) dressed as priest. The dwarf approached King Bali and said "You are the ruler of the three worlds: the Earth, the world above the skies and the underworld. Would you give me the space that I could cover with three strides?" King Bali laughed. Surely a dwarf could not cover much ground, thought the King, who agreed to dwarf's request. At this point, the dwarf changed into Vishnu and his three strides covered the Earth, the Skies and the whole Universe! King Bali was send to the underworld. As part of Diwali celebrations, some Hindus remember King Bali.

The Defeat of Narkasur by Lord Krishna:

Lord Vishnu in his 8th incarnation as Krishna destroyed the demon Narkasura, who was causing great unhappiness amongst the people of the world. Narkasura was believed to be a demon of filth, covered in dirt. He used to kidnap beautiful young women and force them to live with him. Eventually, their cries for rescue were heard by Vishnu, who came in the form of Krishna. First, Krishna had to fight with a five-headed monster that guarded the demon's home. Narkasura hoped that his death might bring joy to others. Krishna granted his request and the women were freed. For Hindus, this story is a reminder that good can still come out of evil.

Krishna and The Mountain:

In the village of Gokula, many years ago, the people prayed to the God Indra. They believed that Indra sent the rains, which made their crops, grow. But Krishna came along and persuaded the people to worship the mountain Govardhan, because the mountain and the land around it were fertile. This did not please Indra. He sent thunder and torrential rain down on the village. The people cried to Krishna to help. Krishna saved the villagers by lifting the top of the mountain with his finger. The offering of food to God on this day of Diwali is a reminder to Hindus of the importance of food and it is a time for being thankful to God for the bounty of nature.

Sikh Festival Diwali In Sikh perspective, Diwali is celebrated as the return of the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji from the captivity of the city, Gwalior. To commemorate his undying love for Sikhism, the towns people lit the way to, Harmandhir Sahib (referred to as the Golden Temple), in his honour. Jain Festival Diwali Among the Jain festivals, Diwali is one of the most important one. For on this occasion we celebrate the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira who established the dharma as we follow it. Lord Mahavira was born as Vardhamana on Chaitra Shukla 13th in the Nata clan at Khattiya-kundapura, near Vaishali. He obtained Kevala Gyana on Vishakha Shukla 10 at the Jambhraka village on the banks of Rijukula river at the age of 42.

So for me whatever the reason for celebrating tonight, whether it’s the New moon, Diwali, the Protestant upholding over the Catholics, or just because we are entering a dark period and to be with family and friends united with light, I will spend some time thinking about what we have, how despite our little moans and groans we are on the whole lucky and will light that light for the forthcoming months….

Diwali information from

Monday, 1 November 2010

Pumpkins and Witches

Well Samhain was cut short, really couldn't make it past 8.30pm but we did have a go at giving out treats for the other kids in the area. Also managed to carve out some pumpkins, not nearly as many as last year but hopefully still good. Seems funny that we spent the whole summer growing them for this one evening only for them to go on the compost but then again, that's part of the circle. They will help next years grow and hopefully being back on form next year then we will have lots more. Our witch made another outing with her spells and potions and littleun changed his mind and wanted to be a pumpkin too as you can see above.

So there's some photos, sorry for the blurry fuzziness to them, the camera really isn't good enough for night time shots but hopefully you'll get the gist.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Samhain and the Winner is...

Well it's here and it has slid in without enough preparation from us. The bug we have had has still got its hold on us and the only positive effect it is having is that it gives such horrible aches and pains that I can save a fortune on any zombie costume whilst having the walk down pat!
Really has been a rotten few weeks sadly so haven't managed to post anything here as just getting ourselves up and about has proved to be a bit too hard at times. But we do need to do the announcement of the Bloggerversary winner. So this morning we have sat here, entered each name the appropriate amount of times into our very special sorting hat and here we are with the winner being (drum roll)..... Kally!
Kally is relatively new in the world of Blogging and is celebrating her first Samhain today with her littleuns. So if you can, do take a wander over to her blog, she has some lovely things to tell you all about.

Create your own banner at!
Hope to be back next week with more of our ramblings, showing you hopefully how we managed to celebrate today. Am now off to make a brain jelly for my mums Hallowe'en party. Good Samhain blessings to you all.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sniff Snuffle urgh

Not well feeling awful, can't put a clear thought together let alone a post, so on the basis I haven't had much response am re-posting the link for the giveaway and will hopefully be back in a couple of days.

Off to climb back under the duvet....

Friday, 8 October 2010

Samhain/Hallowe’en Visit: Highgate Cemetery

for more photos click here
Well this is the time of year to think about or ancestors. To remember them and where we have come from because of them. But I was thinking, not only should we remember those directly linked to us but how about those who through their existence have directly or indirectly affected us?

I have always been interested in the cemeteries, places of supposed haunting; I find them peaceful and intriguing. Whenever I am in a new area I visited the local cemetery. Not only is it normally a lovely place for a walk, most having beautiful gardens and tree areas, it is also a place where you can learn things.

Highgate cemetery is local to some of my family and one I have visited over the years quite often. They have in the past held “ghost visits” at Hallowe’en to those brave enough to try them.
Highgate cemetery is in London and has lots of “residents” from the inconsequential to the most revered. Open to visitors, although only when a funeral isn’t taking place, you can visit the graves of those who have had a touch of improvement (or maybe otherwise!) on our world. Whether it be the written influences of someone like Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhikers Guide..) or Farzad Bazoft a journalist, executed by Saddam Hussein's regime, or the work leading to the invention of electric dynamo by Michael Faraday, physicist, through to Karl Marx there is someone there who will make you stop and think. To be grateful of whom we are and how we got to be there. Not to mention it is just the most fantastic place of Victorian Gothic to study!
So next time you are passing one, have a look, the messages engraved on the stones should be enough to make you think, if not at least the surroundings are worth a visit.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Samhain/Hallowe’en Marzipan Canapés

So your guests are turning up for your party and you want to have something for them as they come in, just a little something to make them HYPER!!!! Because what’s a party if it hasn’t got a load of kids bouncing of the walls? And these canapés are just the perfect start. Your Littleun can easily make them without much guidance earlier in the day as you get things ready.

You will need:

250g Gold Marzipan (makes approx 18)
200g White marzipan (makes approx 8)
Red or/and Black food paste dye
Orange paste dye
Green paste dye
Wooden spoon
Toothpick/cocktail sticks

Marzipan Skull Method:

Using a knife carefully cut the block of white marzipan into 8 equal sized squares.
Using your fingers shape each piece into a chunky rectangle. Then squeeze the lower part of each one to make a chin making the edges as smooth as you can.
Taking the handle of the spoon press two eye sockets into each skull. Then use a toothpick to press in a nose and mouth
Using the end of your tooth pick dip into the red or black dye pastes and infill carefully the eye, nose and mouth until really dark.

Marzipan pumpkin method:

Unwrap the block of gold marzipan cut of a corner and wrap and put aside. Place the rest onto a clear smooth surface, take the end of a pick and add some of the orange paste to the marzipan then kneed until all mixed in to dark enough colour (don’t forget some paste colours darken after sitting for a while).
Roll a piece of marzipan to make a small ball, flatten slightly on top. Make the rest into small balls of a size you prefer. Put on plate or tray and set aside
Taking the piece of uncoloured marzipan you had set aside at the beginning repeat colour action but this time with the green paste. When done take small bits and roll into stalk shape. Make a hole on the top of the pumpkin part with a stick and add stalk.
Use the end of the toothpick to press two eyes and a row of teeth into each pumpkin.


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

So the B******s Burnt it!

Sorry for the swearing but am so very very mad and saddened by the loss of the pier. Yesterday early morning at least two people decided the pier wasn’t needed anymore and they burnt it. The lovely ballroom is now a shell of twisted metal rising out of the sea. But sadly due to the controversy surrounding the pier I very much doubt that, phoenix style, any restorations will rise as well. It’s just far too much for them to do when they couldn’t even sort out the compulsory purchase order in the first place. So probably its either going to rot for many many years similar to the Brighton one along the coast or someone might actually get around to pulling it all down.

Think this poem I found on You-tube sums up the Towns feelings rather well. It’s by a lad called Christian Watson:
"They Burned it Down"

They burned it,
They burned it down.
One of the best things about this town.
They burned it with inaction and excuses,
Time, lack of money, lack of care.
Don’t it make you feel useless?

If they had given me a hammer and a couple of nails,
If they had given me some glue and a bucket of paint.
If they had given into the peoples demands,
If they had given me permission
If they had given me a hand.

They leave this town rotting,
Observer building, The Ridge;
Moving the Soul of the College into an oversized fridge.
There’s no money in restoring.
It’s all in construction.
In whoring cheap materials cheap labour,
Under the table deals sold of Council favours.
Then give it a few years its up and its “Bye see you later”.

But we have to live here,
While you burn it down.
One building at a time,
Don’t it make you feel proud?

They burned it,
They burned it down.
Two teenagers bored and un-amused
A claim to fame,
Exploding into flames.
And come the morning the gray light smoke fades,
As the soot washes down the drain.

Those boys in a cell they’re just products, two sad little names.
That we can put on the rock that sees this town wither and wane.

Well I’m fed up the uming, the ahing, the handwriting, the handwringing, the sighing.
The filling out forms creating the contracts.
Watch the rats as they feed at the supports.

I’m fed up of waiting.
And when I can see what needs doing.
So grab a hammer, grab a box of nails.
Get some wood from Stamco, get some paint.
And what else?
We just need some people, each with a pair of hands.
Because if we move as one, we can make them give into our demands.

We need to reclaim our seafront, Our beaches, Our castle, Our bricks and mortar.
The town we call home.
Because we knew what needs doing, Where to put the love and care.
It’s time to claim what we own,
Before it’s burnt up and burnt away.
Like the Pier.
That we lost today.

Photo credit Simon Hookey

So what to do, for ages a lot of infighting no doubt. Indifference even maybe? I hope not. I really do. This town is slowly suffering and we need our history to move forward. I hope that it gets rebuilt or a brand new one in its place.
Grr, rant over.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Samhain/Hallowe’en Parties things to do

For the first half of October I am mainly concentrating on the things we will be sorting for the Hallowe’en side of the 31st. And for the second half of October I’ll be posting a bit more about what we will be doing for our personal Samhain celebrations. The two in my mind at least being very different from each other.

As such here is something about one of the props we are going to be using; Wizard/Witches Brew.

It’s very simple for all to do though if very Littleuns are helping watch out for splash back as the vinegar can irritate eyes.
You will need:
A clean glass jar/bottle
Clear (distilled) vinegar
Food dyes
Washing up liquid
Bicarbonate of soda

Half fill the jar/bottle with the clear vinegar. Add several drops of food dye, then sprinkle a little of the glitter over the top of the vinegar.
Add a good squeeze of washing up liquid to the mix. Gently stir with a metal spoon.
Put the jar/bottle onto a tray (which can be disguised as something else) and then add a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the jar. Stand back slightly!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Anniversary Giveaway!!

Ok to celebrate the fact that I have been here for a year and because when you add up the extra few friends I know who read my blog anonymously and the followers who publicly (mad lot of you that you are!) declare an interest there is 150 of you; I am having my second give away. As ever anyone anywhere can enter as long as you follow the usual bits below.

Because when I put 1st anniversary into the Google I got “paper” as the answer, I have gone for a few things that I thought you would find interesting made of paper.

So we have in this giveaway several books, Hallowe’en mobile to make (thought your Littleuns would like it), a diary and calendar with some beautiful faerie artwork and a dream catcher (because my Littleun wanted to add something into the mix and he is fascinated by them!).

There are three books, one on all the things you might ever want to make out of chocolate (got to say the Italian Truffles on page 174 look fantastic), a book on Alternative Therapies covering subjects from aromatherapy to yoga and lastly the 3rd book is called “the Essential Allotment Guide” one I found rather useful this year helping with the basics of starting up an allotment, involving the children in it and the ways to grow things organically.

To Enter the Giveaway:

• Anyone who is a follower of this blog can enter by commenting below! You must be a follower to enter (see sidebar).

• Receive 1 extra entry if have my button on your blog. Please include a link to your blog in your comment entry below.

• Receive another extra entry if you post about this giveaway in your blog and link it back to here. Please include a link to your post in your comment entry below.

You can leave all the links in one comment, no need for individual comments. Closing date is30th October with draw by random magic hat technical system on the 31st October. Good luck to you all!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Ceremony of May at The Stables Theatre

^click to enter The Ceremony of May^

Take this chance if you are in the area of popping over to Hastings, Sussex on the 6th October to see The Ceremony of May and Travels Through Time being performed at the Stables Theatre, The Bourne, TN34 3BD. Well worth the visit you’ll be tapping away and grinning before you know it.

Travels Through Time:

Dip into a dramatic exploration of episodes from local life. From Smugglers and witches, entertainers and poets to modern fishing quotas, the company weave a dramatic musical tale adding both verse and quotes from contempory sources.

Ceremony of May

The Ceremony of May was cited a “complete triumph” when premiered at the years Jack in The Green in Hastings and rapturously received at Rochester Sweeps Festival. Rose Blakeley’s expressive poetry on the mystical traditions of spring, adeptly set to music by Sussex violinist Garry Blakeley, becomes a fiery fusion, with Jane Downes’ redolent tones conveying the magic.

Tickets are available for The Stables Box Office on 01424 423221 or you can book online at

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Samhain/Hallowe’en Parties, What do you wear?

Littleun has been invited to a friend’s birthday party and as it is the day before Samhain his friends mum has gone with Hallowe’en as a theme for it. Well looking at his fancy dress box and the fact he seems to have turned into a giant overnight none of it is going to fit him. Unfortunately having a few financial issues at the moment means that I am not capable of buying some of those fantastic outfits you see in the stores so together we are going to make one. And like a few years previous Littleun wants to be a skeleton.

from a couple of years ago

We used:
Some white clothing paint
Old Black long sleeved t-shirt, leggings, socks and gloves

Put clothing on Littleun so that you can mark the elbows and knees with tape and mark the middle of the t-shirt at the bottom vertically.
Take of the clothes and lay flat. Roll up the newspapers and stuff the arms and body of the t-shirt.
Using the paint on bones shapes, don’t worry too much about being symmetrical.
Stuff the leggings and repeat painting.
For the hands paint smaller little bones on each finger of the glove and a bigger filled semi-circle on the area which covers the top of the hand.
With the socks we found it easier to put a small food bag onto his feet first then put the sock on, stopped the foot getting covered in paint.

When all done follow paint instructions for curing the clothing.
Paint up face and have a fun time.

Friday, 1 October 2010

31 Days to go but a whole year has been

Well as we all know its 31 days to go till Samhain and we are looking forward to it so much. We have so much to do this month. Our leaf scatter to make, Pumpkins to carve, the place mats, our gifts and things for the altar. But we also have our self reflection to happen too. For tomorrow we will have been on blogger and “out” for a whole year. So not only will we be remembering our ancestors on Samhain but we will be remembering our journey to this point. The ups and downs since opening up to those around us. The “ding” moments where it suddenly became clear, the path forward no longer as troubling as the path behind. A year of change for both of us indeed. We have been so lucky to have shared it with many kind faces, those we know and those perfect strangers all ready with words of encouragement and guidance and great big smiles.

This year: My life though stressful at times doesn’t get to me so much, having now found a way to channel the calm to over-ride the grumps. We have lost friends, sadly passed away. We have gained those friends at the school gates, the groups, Sabbats and meetings. Battles have been won health-wise, for the while at least. Littleun has started School. I have restarted full time work. We have made time for our laughs. Our cousin’s families have increased with new babies, now and soon. We have our allotment and the joy of sharing the tips and tricks with the neighbours on it, plus the fun of walking through the town, popping in to see people sharing the crops and bounty we have got. Our wealth has increased, not financially as you would think by that but the wealth of knowledge, of importance, of irrelevance, of knowing when it matters and when it doesn’t. And one of the best things I have learned this year is Time, find it, make it, enjoy it so that you can share it, share each other.

So here’s to the next year, may it be as interesting, challenging and fun as this one has been, with many more things to do, with friends and family, old and new.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

What did you once do that you really miss?

In my case its play the recorders. I know that sounds a bit geeky but it really was fun. Even managed to work with Sir Peter Maxwell Davis for a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Southbank once. And I miss it. Having recently found them again I thought I'd dust them off and bring them into our lives a bit more, well the neighbours dog barked everytine I have, Littleun has run for the hills and I have realised that just because once you were good at something doesn't mean you still are!

Being the stubborn sort I have not given up and am now practicing trying to get somewhere even half decent. It has however made quite a few folk I know go "oh I used too..." and start doing things they enjoyed once more.

So my question to you is, what did you do that you really liked and would you learn it or do it again now?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Happy Awards & Sunshine Awards

Well I have only just realised there were two awards given to me during the last month and I haven’t posted about them! Very sorry!

So here we go the first one is called the Happy Award, which is fun and makes you smile. It was kindly given to me by Avie at Hearthwitch Cottage. The idea is to list 10 things which make you happy. Now not too many years ago I would have found this tricky, everything was “going wrong” but after the recent years of new good friends and getting a grip well am much more content so here you are in no particular order:

Obviously Littleun, annoyingly bright in the morning that Smile is worth the glowing numbers on the clock saying 5.00am.

Sitting in the allotment, eating the lunch made with the things we have grown and not caring an apeth about the streaks of mud across my face from all that digging.

My friends, from the new ones in the school playground at collecting time to the long lost one who has returned after many years hiding away in a far corner of the country.

The smell of my chutney, jam and bakes which only a couple of years ago was tinged with that acrid burnt smell but now is wonderfully sweet as we learn more each time we do it.

Those height lines on the wall which started so small and now are so tall.

The buzz at the celebrations when we are gathering for the Sabbats, the hellos, the winks, the joyous laughter & the raucous shout when you see someone you haven’t seen since the previous year.

Watching the Winter waves reclaim the beach spraying wonderfully over the prom in a “its mine” sort of way and the smell of the sea as it does so.

Chocolate. Well I just had to add this one, I defy any woman to say it wouldn’t make her smile to have some given to her!

Music, the right piece for the right mood which will bring back memories of happy times.

My new sort “relationship”, which is neither conventional nor normal but is more going down the road of “let’s just have fun and enjoy ourselves”, without stress or dictations but with giggles and being there for each other when we need to cheer up or laugh or let loose.

Being typically lackadaisical I am saying that anyone who fancies doing so please tell us what makes you happy, you can link from here on the comments.

The other award has been given this time by Louise over at Wandering along Loopy’s Life Path and is that lovely bright Sunshine award. Lucky me now has been given this twice so thank you ever so and if anyone fancies reading my answers for it do click on the piccie.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Seed box gifts

Over the last few weeks we have been gathering the seeds from our flowers and veg ready for use next year. This is something the gardeners used to do a lot but in this “must buy” society is something you don’t hear about that often any more. So far we have several packets drying out and apart from being in brown bags or envelopes haven’t done much with them. Cue the need for a box to put them in. Now we could have just got a box and that be that but Littleun said he fancied making one for his grandfather too so we have come up with an idea for cheep but meaningful gifts. A seed box with home-grown seeds.

You will need,

A shoe box
Pictures from mag’s, papers, seed envelopes etc of flowers, veg or anything you can think of that you would associate with gardens.
Sticky backed plastic
Seeds, envelopes and pictures

Cut out the pictures in non-uniform shapes. Glue onto the lid and the base, cover with the plastic so all smooth and slightly water-drip proof. I have added a couple of recipes that we love doing jams and chutney.

With the seeds we have split them and decorated each envelope with pictures of the plants to show what is inside them ready to add to the box.
Simple but effective little gift for the Littleuns to make.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Busy busy times

Well the last week has seen my littleuns birthday (party was noisy, Pirate themed) His first week at the new school and a whole lot of work at the allotment. And we have loved every minute of it. But it has meant that I haven't a clue what or where I am so you can imagine my surprise when I looked up the date today for some work, eek! where has it all gone? I thought I had days yet to get ready. So this year we are having a slightly scaled back Mabon and what with the Harvest moon to celebrate too the answer has yet again been bake.

Today we made some biscuits for littleun to take into school, the teacher there has read a little of his casefile and found the small word half way down the page that indicates we aren't quite like the others in his class. Fortunately she seems to be very positive and has asked us to provide some things that would show his class mates what we do. And for all my ramblings I found it very hard to do so. Opening up to her our rituals and patterns wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. Bizarre when you consider that I write it all here for anyone anywhere to see!

However fact sheet, photos and biscuits now done, littleun excited at sharing it all and to top it off a blog entry, finally!

Hope you all have a brilliant Mabon and Full Moon. We will be heading up the allotment for ours, hoping the weather holds, to sit in the glorious moonshine.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Samhain/Halloween Blog Party

Ok its party time. As the countdown to Samhain starts for us soon we are joining the merry band in participating in Domestic Witches Blog party. Basically a great big way of linking lots of folks post regarding Samhain or Hallowe'en and a great way of learning things and having fun.

The following has been taken from Serenity Athenina's page to tell you a bit about how it all works but do trundle over to her blog yourself for more information and to sign up!

Who Can Participate?

Anyone with a blog and is planning on posting about Halloween/Samhain! I am not going require that anyone submit what they write, but I will require that you sign up using Mr. Linky and leave a comment sharing just how you plan on participating. There is no deadline for sign ups. I will check back periodically for new participants. Another requirement for participation is that you display the banner and link back to me on your blog.

What if I Don't Have a Blog?

While no one is required to submit any posts to me, if you have a great idea and want to share it I would be happy to post it on my blog for you. You can leave me a comment below, reach me at or on my Facebook page. I will list you as a contributor on the sidebar and list any links you have (such as Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter) as well!When is the Blog Party?I will start the blog party on October 1st. On that day, I will post the links to all the participants in my sidebar. I encourage all the participants to blog throughout the month about the holiday but I know that's not possible for everyone. However, if all you plan to do is post the day of Halloween/Samhain your participation is strongly discouraged.

Where is the Blog Party?

Here and at all the participants blogs! How it will work is I will include the title of your latest post along with your blog link in the sidebar. Every time you share a new post, everyone will know about it! Some blog parties require that you submit the posts but this is automated so that means you don't have to rely on me to share your posts. Isn't that wonderful!

Why the whole month of October?

For many Pagans, Witches, and Wiccans, Halloween/Samhain is the most important holiday of the year! The biggest holiday of the year requires a lot of preparation. A blog party is a way to share all your celebration, ritual, decorating, craft, recipe, and costume ideas with each other!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Mabon making but Yule drinking...

Apple Schnapps

YAY I hear you cry, not another cake or jam recipe phew. No its one for the adults. Recommended to me by a Scandinavian friend this recipe is for a knock your boots off apple schnapps. Make it now at Mabon with your apples harvested and store for the few months to drink in winter or give as gifts.

Use fresh, fully ripe and aromatic apples. Wild or cultivated. Organic if available. You can use almost any variety. So start with your favourite one, then try some other varieties.


Wash and slice 1-2 apples. Leave the skin on.
Put them - and also the cores - in a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
Cover with clear, unflavoured vodka - 40% alcohol content (80 proof).

Let steep for two months or more in a dark place at room temperature, 18-20°C (64-68°F).

Shake lightly and taste it from time to time.

Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.

You can serve your apple schnapps after it has settled for a couple of days in a dark place at room temperature. But some storage (aging) will improve the flavours. Taste it from time to time to find out.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Mea'n Fo'mhair/Mabon: Crab Apple Jelly

Ok, well you just knew with all the crops from our allotment/Dads garden this year was going to turn into recipe after recipe. And I hope you don't mind. We are also going to be trying out different crafts too so hopefully some variation for you!

For a recipe based on the crab apples we collected you will need:

Preserving sugar (see method)
1kg/2¼lb crab apples
3 cloves
water (see method)


Preheat the oven to 120c/250f/gas½. Put the preserving sugar into the oven for 15 mins. Wash the apples and cut them in half but do not peel or core. Place the apples and cloves in a large saucepan.
Pour the water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until soft. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Measure the juice and ass 450g/1lb/2 cups of sugar for each 600ml/1pint/2½ cups of juice. Pour into a pan and heat gently. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly until the setting point is reached. Pour into warm sterilized jars and seal.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Mea'n Fo'mhair

So having been openly on my Path for almost a year I thought I would look a bit into the names for the various celebrations, find out some more as to how they have come about.
Mea'n Fo'mhair seems to be the Druid name for the Autumn Equinox but when I typed this into the search station I got a lot of hits for sites which all carried the same short explanation. Having trawled through many of them I have decided to cheat and give you the same answer!
The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.
And being me, the type of person who never actually completes what I initially started, having wandered off side tracked by something else which caught my eye, I liked the idea of making an offering. We often leave small plant food cubes on our walks so this was something that littleun was used too. I gave him a choice of which areas he wanted to go to as we have many lovely woods nearby when he pointed out something I had overlooked. On our allotment we have a budding oak. It has decided to grow in a rather inconvenient area but all the same is doing well. This as littleun said would be a good tree to offer our thanks too. To protect it, nurture it, give the area around it the food it needs and to watch it grow hopefully for many years to come. So come the equinox you will know where we will be.

Monday, 6 September 2010

To the Rescue...

What a week. September is always busy for us. We have Littleuns birthday, Littleuns Mad Aunt birthday, start of Littleuns new school, Holidays to enjoy oh and the Harvest to continue. Blimey exhausted just reading that little lot!

a few of our apples...

Well the Harvest is normally longer than now but this week we had to do a mad rescue as the allotment got blown down by a rather horrible turn in the weather. Sadly we have been forced to gather in the tomatoes before they have ripened as the wind and rain are starting to cause damage and rot. So look out for green tomato recipes soon as that is what I will have to do with the 3 large bag loads of them we managed to save. As for the cucumbers well they are fighting back, have found another 5 hiding in amongst the damage so more salad any one?! As for apples, well don't get me started, the whole of the kitchen has been covered by them as we have washed and now are drying them off. We have Bramleys, Coxes and Crabs, guess tomorrow includes sugar on the shopping list!

Birthday parties are being planned too, baking and cooking to happen. This year we have gone for a cinema type party, lots of Tom and Jerrys etc think it will be good but I can't believe how much Littleun has grown, seems like only yesterday I brought baby home from hospital. And not long before he starts school. Ooh do I cry now? boohoo!

So a busy month, with Mabon to enjoy as well, ahead.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Chocolate Cake (with a twist)

Do you have kids who love the naughty foods but aren't so great with the good veg foods etc? Well a friend of mine did so when they came round we got her littleun and mine to do some baking. This recipe mixed the fun of chocolate with the goodness of the secret ingredient... Courgette/zucchini.

to make you will need
450g courgettes/zucchini, peeled
250g butter, softened
250g light brown soft sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
125ml milk
1tsp baking powder
350g self-raising flour
4tbsp cocoa powder

cake tin 30x20cm greased


Turn oven to 180c/350f/gas4.

Cut greaseproof paper to tin size to add extra protection.

Grate courgettes/zucchini finely.

Put softened butter, sugar and extract into bowl and beat with wooden spoon.

Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with fork.

Gradually add eggs to the mixture, add the milk and whisk together.

Carefully sieve in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Taking a metal spoon fold the mixture.

Spoon mix into the tin then bake for between 35 and 45 mins.

Test centre of cake with skewer and if right leave to cool.

Sit back and stuff yourself silly...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Mediaeval Fayres

We spent yesterday at our local fayre, it’s held once a year in the grounds of a 15thc Home/Castle. “Herstmonceux is renowned for its magnificent moated castle, set in beautiful parkland and superb Elizabethan gardens. Built originally as a country home in the mid- 15th - century, Herstmonceux Castle embodies the history of Medieval England and the romance of Renaissance Europe.”

The Fayre is a 3 day event celebrating the life in mediaeval times. You can walk through the village shoppes; eat in the Buxom Wench enjoying vegetarian food as much as the smells of the hog roast. The camps are set up so you can wander about looking and chatting with the larp family. The re-enactments of battles and shows of strength for the armouries are mesmerising to watch. And the whoops of delight as you catch up with friends you haven’t seen for a while, exchanging ideas and gifts, fill every corner.

The owls and birds of prey were graceful and beautiful to watch, Littleun and his friend got to hold one. It was lovely to see the gentleness and awe with which Littleun interacted with the Owl. For a few minutes there was a calmness and quiet as they watched each other. Littleun is always eager to see the birds and learn about them so it’s great to get this chance every now and then.

There are always things for the children to learn, activities to play. Quite a few for the adults too. From weaving, brass rubbings, chicken catching (they got out again), how to fire guns, shoot arrows, skin rabbits the list is endless. The ability to buy the materials for next year’s gowns and clothes at reasonable prices, with good quality is great too. And finally I managed to get a set of Ogham staves, well made with care, far better use than the hodgepodge ones I made.