Thursday, 31 December 2015

Visiting Paris with Mr FD & MiL

We had a lovely time in Paris.

Here's a taster

but you'll have to go over to The Teapot to read about the rest of our adventures.

They do not include break-dancing cats.

Monday, 28 December 2015

On the first, second and third days of Christmas...

...my Swap partner sent to me...





I joined in another Christmas swap, in which you are partnered up, and send 12 gifts to your partner to be opened, one a day, in the days after Christmas.


I was paired up with Pam, from A New Life in Wales and I sent her various goodies (which you can read about on her blog - I've forgotten what I sent her!!). Here are the lovely things she sent me...

The first day (I opened my first on Boxing Day) Mr FD chose a parcel which revealed this sweet little coaster, made from Welsh slate
Apparently, according to Google, "cwtch" means "to cuddle". Good advice in an emergency: Keep calm and cuddle someone!!


The second day MiL chose another parcel from the box. In this was a lovely handmade drawstring bag and some chocolate treats

Although the fabric is quite Christmassy I think I will use it all year round. I'm not quite sure what for yet...But I'll think of something!

On the third day (today!) I came down to breakfast and a parcel was already laid out and waiting for me...
A dinky little pincushion with some fab heart-topped pins. I'm not a sewer, but I have two friends who are, so I'm sure Pam won't mind if I pass this gift on to 2 people who will use them more than I will.

I'm off to Paris tomorrow, with Mr FD and MiL. We are staying overnight and then putting her on the train home. She was worried about changing stations in Paris, so we said we'd go up with her. So I'll be opening my 4th, 5th and 6th day parcels all in a rush on Thursday. Or maybe I'll spread them out over more than 12 Days...!

Thank you for my lovely gifts so far Pam; I look forward to opening more!





Sunday, 27 December 2015

Swopsies!!

I think you will like to read about my lovely swopsies. You can finds out about them over at The Teapot

Here's a taster...

Isn't it cute?!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

Hello Dear Peeps!

I hope you had a lovely Chruistmas Day, whatever you were doing and whoever you were sharing it with!

I managed to make it to the Christmas Eve service at church, with my MiL, although Mr FD didn't come. He stayed at home and popped the stilton stuffed mushrooms into the oven, so they were ready when we got home. They were very delicious too. I'd planned on following a recipe, but in fact when I read it I realised the mushrooms were deep fried, which wouldn't have suited MiL. So I made up a stuffing - spring onion, mushroom ends, crumbled stilton, a smidgeon of creme fraiche & a splish of cognac. That went very well in the mushrooms,which when baked created their own little sauce. Very nice.

On Christmas Day we got up at about 8.00 and had croissants from the bakery, with redcurrant-and-cherry jam, home made by a friend. We are looking after the dogs of our friends, so it was my job to pop down & give Roxy her tablets in half a Knacki. Marvin just gets half a Knacki so he doesn't feel left out! They love their Knackis!
They are gobbled down so quickly, Roxy doesn't realise she's been medicated!

After the dogs had been "done" we opened a couple of our presents, and then set out for a walk in the amazing Spring-like sunshine. We took Marvin with us. We drove a few kilometres above the village...
looking towards the mountains of Le Puy

Mr FD, FD and Marvin. The plain of the Loire is behind us.

MiL & Mr FD striding ahead

 With the Lyonnais mountains behind.

It was a lovely walk, and Marvin had a great time exploring smells and running about. We couldn't take Roxy too as she has a heart condition & can no longer go for walks.



When we got home it was time for smoked salmon...and champagne. Our friends Rob & Mel gave us this bottle quite a few years ago, and we saved it for "a special occasion"
Of course, it never seemede quite "special" enough, so finally we decided to open it this Christmas and make it a "special occasion" by enjoying it. Which we most certainly did!!





After a pause while Mr FD & MiL prepared the vegetables, we opened our other presents and then moved on to foie gras, and faux gras. MiL doesn't eat meat, so I made a paté called Faux Gras from lentils, mushrooms and walnuts. Apparently it is very good (although I'm not convinced!)

A lengthy pause while family were telephoned, and then we moved on to our main course...Mr FD and I had guinea fowl (bought ready-boned and rolled) and MiL had sea bass. She made a caper-and-lemon sauce to go with it. Roast potatoes, red cabbage, carrot and romanesco cauliflower completed the feast

(not my favourite, but Mr FD wanted it!)


Pomme has come to join the feast!

I popped down to prepare the dogs' dinner while the others tidied up. Then we had cheese and cake with Strictly, Call the Midwife and Doctor Who. 

My home-made cake - not very well decorated, I'm afraid!

It was a delightful day! I received some lovely presents - a Vent du Nord CD and Pandora charms from Mr FD, a gorgeous handbag from my nieces & theuir men, a pair of lovely earrings from MiL plus a Pandora charm. My mum sent a little bag too, plus some money. I also had great fun opening my swap parcels. I'll write a post about them over at The Teapot, later on today, or maybe tomorrow. Here are two of the lovely decorations that Diane sent me though...

 The top left is a flying reindeer which we bought in Lyon Christmas Market our first year here in France. One wing dropped off, which makes it perfect to hang against a wall/door. Top right is a wooden cut-out decoration, from an earlier swap. Bottom middle is a little heart from a Christmas swap last year, which stays attached to the cupboard door all year round. And finally bottom left & right are the two quilty Santas sent by Diane this year. Thank you Diane for these, and for my other lovely gifts.

So, as you can see it was a lovely day. Today we have chilled this morning, we have a vegetarian curry for lunch, and Mr FD & MiL are going for a long walk. I'm staying at home to watch some of the hours of Coronation Street that are rtecorded (since I was working so much during the Autumn I couldn't keep up with the action. I've got everything from the beginning of December to watch!), to cleahn up a bit and to prepare for our visitors this evening. Our friend Corinne, her partner and her mum are coming for drinks and eats. Richard may also pop in. 

Wot larks!
And, finally, as it wouldn't be a Fat Dormouse blog post without a LolCat:

Happy Christmas, dear Peeps!



Friday, 25 December 2015

Joyeux Noel

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace, Hail the Son of righteousness.

Happy Christmas to you all

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Grrrrr!!!

Mother in Law is here and - to get us in the festive mood - we decided to head for the carol service at church. Leaving with an hour in hand (50 minutes to get there) I thought I'd better doublecheck the time. So with Mr FD driving I checked the webpage.

 Yes, you've guessed it - I'd got the time wrong! It started at 6.00 not 6.30. We would have got there too late...so we turned round and came home, Mr FD saying in a small voice "I was looking forward to that..." So was I. I feel very grumpy now.



I hope MiL may feel she wants to go to the Christmas Eve service (5.30 - I've already checked!) as there's no Christmas Day service. Otherwise I'll feel we've missed out on all the services!!! Which we will have done.


I suppose it doesn't matter really. It's how I meet God in the here and now that really matters, rather than singing together. I can still welcome the Christ child. I suppose half of it is that I feel I've let people down - I didn't have a role in the sevice but I still really wanted to go. Oh well, can't be helped now. Pop on the smile, open the wine and enjoy the evening!!






Saturday, 5 December 2015

Evenings out...evenings in...

Hello again, dear Peeps.

I am SO sorry that my blogging has been reduced to once a week at the moment - I am practically working full time at the moment (which wasn't the plan!) and I've forgotten how all-consuming that can be!! I know there are many of you who do work fulltime who are probably rolling your eyes at this, and thinking I'm being all pathetic-and-poor-me. I know! I'm just saying I'd forgotten!!

I had a nice evening yesterday. I met Caireen, the wife of my rector (who is in Canada admiring his first grandchild) and we went to the Christmas market in Clermont. After a wander round we went to a traditional Auvergnat restaurant for dinner. I had the Assiette Degustation (tasting plate) which was tartiflette (diced potatoes cooked with cheese), aligot (mashed potatoes with cheese), auvergnat sausage, charcuterie and a green salad. Rather too much potato, cheese and meat - but delicious! 

At the Christmas Market I bought myself an electric hot water bottle - you plug it in, and after about 10 minutes it is toasty warm. 
Perfect! In winter I really need a HWB on my back in the car: it helps relieve pain. Fine in the morning, but coming home the HWB has become a cold water bottle as there's rarely a convenient kettle. So now I can plug in my bottle in wherever I'm teaching to have heat on my return journey too. Huzzah!

I also bought a few bags of nibbly things for Christmas feasting! 

It's hard to believe it's only a matter of three weeks before Christmas! I'm nowhere near ready, although I have made the Christmas cake. It will need marzipanning and icing, but at least it's made. I must remember to "feed" it. 

I managed to post off my three Christmas swaps today, but still have my Ship of Fools Secret Santa to wrap up and send, plus a couple of family presents. I went a bit b'zongo in Hotel Chocolat on Thursday (15% discount!),  and sent quite a lot of chocolate to various people...

My MiL arrives in two weeks. Eeep. I really need to sort out the tip that is the spare bedroom. At least I'm not working on Fridays now, so there's a couple of free days that I must NOT use sat in front of the computer wasting time!

I didn't think I'd have much time today, as I'm leading the service & preaching tomorrow (as Rob is in Canada) but a recycled (but updated) sermon and a quick planning-for-next-week session means that this afternoon is mine to use as I wish...tidying my study, making fat balls for birds, packing more socks for refugees and wrapping some presents are some of the things on my list. Then tomorrow (Advent 2) means I can break out the Christmas Music (Rend Campfire Christmas!!!) and put up the decorations.


So what has food been like this week? Good, generally! Mr FD has been ion charge of cooking and has done a great job. We had Nigel Slater's Chicken in Cider one day (leftovers today) and a very tasty lemony pork wrap on another day. 

This week is looking as follows:
TODAY: left over chicken with soufflés

SUNDAY: Duck confit (more duck fat for birds!), ducky potatoes and green salad.

MONDAY: Yoghurt spiced chicken, rice and vegetables

TUESDAY: Spicy lamb steaks, vegetable, potato wedges. Basically lamb steaks with an oniony-tomatoey-red peppery sauce + a bit of chilli thrown in. Easy-peasy!

WEDNESDAY: Spinach and sweet potato curry. Thank you Jamie Oliver for this recipe! 
THURSDAY: Rouelle de porc au miel (recipe in French) This is a slow cooker recipe - well, it's not, but it's going to be, if you get my drift! Served wioth pasta when we get home from shopping/teaching on Thursday evening. It's a bit of a treat to have a pork joint midweek, but it's going to serve AT LEAST 2 meals and hopefully even three.

FRIDAY: Cold pork, chips and beans. 

SATURDAY:Chorizo (or pork!), potato & spinach bake

Thank you, as always for your comments on my blog. It's always lovely to hear from you!

MAGS (who trains Twiglet the guide dog puppy!) - thank you for your comment. I love reading about Twiglet and you take lovely photos of her too.

POMPOM: It was good to "have coffee" with you last week. Let's do it again sometime!!


FISHCAKE RANDOM - thank you! I did (as you will have seen) have a lovely evening yesterday just for myself, leaving Mr FD at home to have his free pizza from the Van. (He helped Natasha-the-Pizza-Lady with her computer, so the pizza is part-payment!)

SANDRA at Thistlecove Farm told me about her sock giving to the Salvation Army. Mine are going to Socks for Refugees. Where are yours going?!

If you have odd socks for refugees they are also welcome here 

 So there we are...I'll just post tomorrow's sermon at The Teapot, if you're interested. Maybe I'll get to post during the week...or maybe I won't!