Celebrations · Life · Pagan · Sabbats · Uncategorized

Beltane is coming!

As I have shared before, I am pagan as is my family. And as such, we celebrate the sabbats, or the festivals of the pagan calendar, quite often called ‘The Wheel of the Year’. The next sabbat to come up is Beltane. This pops up on May 1st and is a joyous occasion and one to really let your hair down and celebrate. It is from this festival that we get the Mayday festivals and the May Poles, etc.

The year is pretty much split into two segments if you will. There is the Light Half and the Dark Half. It has nothing to do with what magic is practiced before anyone comes up with that one (heard it before *rolls eyes*), but the amount of light that is available as the sun wanders about our beautiful planet. In October at Samhain, we enter the Dark Half of the year, where we prepare for the hardships of winter, making sure the last of the crops are in and get ready to hunker down through the cold of winter. As we hit May and Beltane, we celebrate the Light Half of the year returning at the opposite end of the Wheel. It is a time when the God and Goddess marry and all the joys that come with such a union. This is why Handfastings are traditionally done at this time – although my own Handfasting was in August! It is a time of fertility (not just in the bedroom!) but in fields and pastures, hopes and dreams.

But how do we celebrate this as a family thing?

Well, first thing, as with any sabbat that comes along in our house, we get our Pooka Pages magazine! I’m not sure who gets more excited, me or the children! OK, OK, so it is probably me. Pooka Pages is a free online magazine that is made available just before each sabbat. You can get your own magazine at Pooka Pages here. It is basically about a little black cat called Pooka and his witch, Elsie. There is usually a story or three in there with a lovely message for the children. There will be colouring pages and activities and some recipes and crafts for them to try. We have been reading our Pooka Pages for several years now. It’s free, no sign up and you just go to their website and click the link and you can download the pdf and then print it out at your leisure or just read it online – I downloaded mine just this morning, printed it out and it is all stapled and sat waiting fro the kids and I to read it!

So next I shall go through the magazine, see what ingredients we need and any craft supplies, etc. Then look at decorations. This sabbat is lovely and colourful and I’ll look for flowers – bought, planted and made. There will be ribbons hung in differing colours and anything else that the children feel that they want up. It’s their sabbat too!

I’ll plan food for the day. I do try and have something traditional in some shape or form, although it usually changes as the children decide they don’t like something or want something different! Quite often a BBQ is involved – can’t argue with that! But whatever food we do have, it will be fun. Drinks too! Can’t have fun food without fun drinks.

Foods for this time of year will be colourful ones – strawberries and cherries, red, rose wines and fruit punches, oats, honey, anything food that is pinks or red…think lurve!

I’ll post some of the recipes that I am making in a few days time (probably over the weekend) as I bake and make ready for Monday.

Sometimes we hold full ritual. The children, especially the eldest, loves this part and just this morning was asking me what I was preparing for rituals and can he do something too. They started to take more of an interest last year at Litha and did their first rituals then. Being the proud mummy, I snivelled a touch, I’ll admit it, lol.

I shall hold my own more formal rituals later on when the children are in bed. I haven’t actually written this years yet. But I have my Book of Shadows that has my rituals in, so I will use my basic ritual and then alter it for the occasion.

Something else that happens over Beltane is something quite a few people have heard of, the Beltane Fires will be lit. Years back when, our homes were heated through the main fire of the house, where the cooking would be done too. The hearth and heart of the home. It was important that these fires didn’t go out if you could help it, or you have no heat and no food! But at Beltane, the fires would be put out and made ready when the Druids would light the Beltane fires and flames would be passed from house to house re-lighting our hearth fires with the new flames. As the cattle and herds were being sent out into the fields and pastures, they would be driven between two such fires to drive out and ward off any ill or negativity, and to give the cattle the protection as they were ushered off out into their summer pastures.

In life today we don’t really see this happening anymore, but what we can do, is to go through our homes and clean out anything that is not needed – give it to charity, throw it out, pass it on and make way and room for the new. Have a good clean too. Light a fire (candle) and pass it around your home. Have a couple of fires (candles very well spaced apart for safety!) and go through these for the same thing – ward off anything and to offer protection.

It will be a day of fun, and a day of the family spending time together as we celebrate the sabbat and festival that is Beltane.

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Food · History · Uncategorized

Faggots!

Now I know a lot of people will turn their noses up and think, ‘Brains’! But we love our faggots here. And these faggots, are slightly different, and flippin’ tasty!

Here is the recipe…

Mock Faggots in Onion Gravy

Ingredients:
*450g sausage meat (I bought Free From ones and squeezed out the meat from the      casings)
* 1 x onion, chopped finely
* 1 x leek chopped finely
* Breadcrumbs – match volume, not weight
* Dried Sage – to taste
* Knob lard or fat

Method:
Gently fry the onion and leek in the fat.
Mix sausage meat and breadcrumbs together and then add the onion and leek mixture.
Add the Dried Sage and season to taste.
Mix very well and then form into balls – this should make 12 balls.
Place 4 balls into each foil container and set aside.
Cover with onion gravy, add the lids and bake at about 170C for approx 35 to 40 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

20170423_171652

Onion Gravy

Ingredients:
1 x onion, chopped
1 x tbsp sugar
1 x tsp malt vinegar
1 x tbsp flour (I used gluten free and it works perfectly)
1 x Pork stock cube in 400 ml boiled water
Knob of lard or fat

Method:
Gently fry the onion in the fat.

Add the sugar and vinegar and cook until the vinegar has evaporated.
Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the stock.
Bring to a boil and then let simmer until the gravy thickens.
Season to taste.

20170423_171648

Pour this over the prepared faggots prior to cooking.

If this looks a little pale, add some browning. It doesn’t alter the taste, only darkens the colour.

One good thing about these being made into the smaller tubs, is you can freeze them once cooked and cooled. That’s what we did. Had one half for dinner and the other half is in the freezer.

I found that the gravy didn’t quite make enough for us (personal taste I guess, but my husband likes a LOT of gravy) and so I did have to cheat and make up some onion gravy from store bought that I had in the cupboard. But, even so, the whole dish was delicious! I think though, next time, instead of doing four balls to a tin, I’d do three. I was SO full afterwards!

20170423_220309

You can get the dishes from just about anywhere. Just look for the foil containers with the card/foil lids. I bought my last lot from Tesco I think. I also found them in one of the various Pound shops too in town.

20170424_121729

Give them a go. They are cheap, filling and very tasty.

Toodle pip!
Hugs!
xXx

Food · History · Uncategorized

Our 1940s Ration Week!

I have such a fascination and love with the 1940s. I love the homes, the fashion, the ethics. We were a proud nation then and didn’t bat an eyelid about saying so too. I’m not actually sure when my love for this era began, but I love it none the less. If I could, I would step back in time in a heartbeat. We may have been at war then (and just emerging from) but life was simpler then.

I used to be with a group that did re-enacting. I wasn’t with them for long as I moved away and I lost touch with them. But I did love the few events that I went with them on. They played an American group and us girls were to be the nurses. But I actually cannot stand guns. They shit the life out of me! Even holding one, not firing one, just holding one sent me off in a big girly bawling fit behind our mess tent. I felt such a prat, but I couldn’t help it. So really, it was no use me being with them, no matter how they said that they could work with me and round my ‘issues’. What I would dearly love to do though, is the Home Front.

I love making a home, and having that 1940s feel to it. We were going to slowly change our home over to a more 1940s decor, but with two younger children at home, I’d be so worried about damage. It’s not like we can just pop to Argos and get a new CC41 sideboard now, is it! I do actually have a most lovely piece. I found it on ebay. The chap was selling it for a tenner. I bought it and paid for him to deliver it. It was SO heavy and I died when I saw it. I loved it! But the surprise came, when we had it in the living room, and were giving it a good polish and looking for a makers mark and saw the stamp CC41! I literally squealed!

1940s Sideboard

It is so heavy, very well made of course, but when you open the cupboard doors, it smells of TCP! It did stink quite a bit when we first bought it, over a year ago now. Now, it just smells…

I love to listen to the music too. I have a few radio stations that I like to listen to. My favourite has to be The 1940s Radio Station. They have such a collection on there. Then there is Harry and Edna on the Wireless. These two are great! Harry is a hoot. And Edna, she is so lovely to listen to. The banter and the music. Such a joy to just have on in the background. There are many others, and I am sure, loads that I have yet to discover.

I love the fashion. I’ve had a go at making some outfits too. My favourite has to be my navy high waisted trousers, and then my pale blue peplum blouse. I have a whole bundle of my snoods that I have made. I used to wear my hair in a simple version of the classic victory rolls. They weren’t the huge in your face variety, but much smaller and gentler, but still unmistakable. I always have my red lippy to hand too!

But also, the food. I love, how the housewife of that time, could take so little, and create so much. The food might not be so flavourful and vast as we enjoy now, but she knew how to prepare it to make it last for her family. She fed her family as well as she could. In fact, if you look, they might have had less that we do now, but they were far healthier than we are now! You look on our supermarket shelves now at all the vitamins and supplements. All the diet products…and all the crap we now have!

Our family have been doing ‘Ration Weeks’ for a good few years now. Even the kids get excited when I let them know we are doing another. I love that! Even my fussy husband joins in. The first time we did one of these weeks, we went all out! I only bought food that was within our rations and the whole week was done properly. We even had a go at Lord Woolton Pie. I didn’t for a minute think my husband would even touch it as if it isn’t a potato, pea or baby carrot, you don’t have a hope in heck…but he went back for seconds!! I was gobsmacked.

We decided that this week, we would have another week. Not so strict really, but our meals will be 1940s recipes. I have quite a few books now, so all come from those, or one of my favourite sites, The 1940s Experiment . Carolyn runs this site, and is a wealth of info. She is doing a fabulous experiment to see if she can loose weight whilst being on a 1940s diet. She has done amazingly well too. Go check her out!

Anyway…I sat and wrote out my lists for shopping tomorrow, so over this week, I’ll grab piccies and pop in and out to share what we have for dinner. I’m hungry already just thinking about it!

This is our rations for the week for the family – if we were doing a full proper week and not just the dinners. This was worked out not on the worst or the best ration amounts, but on an average really.

Medium Level Rations during WW2 per week

(2 adults, 2 Children)

Bacon & Ham:                18oz                   /           510g

Sugar:                              36oz                  /           1012g

Tea:                                    9oz                  /              255g

Meat:                           3lb 9oz                  /           1615g 

Cheese:                           13oz                  /              368g

Preserves:                        9oz                  /              340g

Butter:                             15oz                  /             425g

Margarine:                     24oz                  /             680g

Lard:                                  9oz                  /             255g

Sweets:                            12oz                  /             340g

Eggs:                                      7                 or            1 packet of 12 dried eggs

Milk:                                  14.5pts 

+Points:                             20

Powdered Milk:             1/2 tin (4pts)

I’ll put up some pics, and share with you the recipes too. We love to do this, and I tell you, it doesn’t half save on your food bill! Just today for example, changing my shopping list from what it was going to be, to 1940s dinners alone, saved me just over £28! It saves so much more when you do a full ration week too ;o)

Toodle pip!
Hugs!
xXx

Celebrations · Life · Uncategorized

Why we don’t celebrate Easter

To all those who do celebrate today, Happy Easter!! Hope you have a lovely day today and that the Easter Bunny was feeling generous ;o). In our house today, it is Sunday, plain and simple. The only difference here, is that my husband is home from work today, which is nice. But the kids don’t see today as anything other than a Sunday. There are no choccy eggs or bunnies around here, and no mass Sunday roast in the offering. Today actually, the kids chose Meatballs and Spaghetti followed by ice cream with strawberry sauce for dinner.

We celebrated our ‘Choccy Egg Day’ last month at the Spring Equinox, at Ostara. This year, Ostara fell on Monday the 20th March. Spring arrived! Don’t you just love spring? All that newness around as flowers, trees and bushes wake up from their wintery sleep. Animals are birthing and coming out of hibernation and whatever else you can think of. The grey skies of winter make way for blue skies. Windows get to open and children get back out to play. Such a lovely time of the year. Even our clothes change, from the darker deeper colours of winter to the lighter shades and pastels. We lose our coats and pull out the lighter weight jackets.

This, and so much more is what we celebrate at Ostara – OK, so maybe not so much our clothes, but you get my drift here.

Ostara is one of the pagan festivals of the year. It is one of the eight sabbats that we celebrate throughout the year. It is the second of the Spring festivals, and is a date that we celebrate when night and day are of equal length, with the promise of what is to come as the sun shines ever brighter and our days increase.

So for us, we have already celebrated this seasons holiday. Easter is a Christian festival. We are not Christians, so see no need to celebrate the day. I know that I should know the story of Easter, but I have to admit, I don’t. I know the story goes that Jesus dies on the cross ‘for the sins of man’, his body gets put in a cave, and then he gets resurrected. But, what happens on what day, how and why, I’m really not too sure. Something I think I need to put right! I’m going to add that to my ‘to do’ list…

So there are no chocolate eggs or bunnies in this house today. I might grab a couple after this weekend when they go on sale for the kids, but for no other reason than they are fun and cheap and mostly taste yummy!

So whatever you are doing today, and however you celebrate, have fun. Enjoy your family, your church services, and your gatherings. I hope the sun shines for you, as it is here right now and the children have a blast hunting eggs – the highlight for my kids at Ostara!

Talk soon!

Hugs!

xXx

History · Life · Uncategorized

Titanic Remembrance Day

Titanic

Can you believe that the Titanic sank to her watery grave, 105 years ago? 105 years! And still, it is a name that everyone knows. We all know the story of her demise. This grand ship, the unsinkable ship, that sets sail on her maiden voyage, but never reaching her destination. All those lives lost. Heart breaking. And then of course, since then, all the conspiracy stories surrounding her. No matter what you think happened, this is one story that I don’t think will ever be forgotten.

I have been fascinated about this ship and her tale forever. Even before I was really aware of the story and the tragedy, I knew her name. I used to have the PC game, ‘Titanic: Adventure Out of Time’ and loved spending hours playing that, or just strolling about the ship. Gosh, that was some time ago! I wonder if I can still get this now? Might have to take a look at that…

Titanic Game.png

I remember when James Cameron’s film came out. I was working at a petrol station at the time and my shift couldn’t end fast enough! We dived home (I was with my first husband then and he picked me up from work) and straight into the video…yes, VHS then! I bawled like a baby!! Oh my Gods I cried! I still do. I went through two VHS tapes. I know that film all but word-for-word. I can’t quite remember, but I ‘think’ it was my then brother-in-law, bought me the book to accompany the film. I still have that book. It’s slightly worse for ware now as the front cover got ripped off during a move. But I love my book.

My Titanic Book.png

As it happens, my husband is also fascinated by the ship too. So I get to buy him fab books and DVD sets…all for him, of course! He has quite a few now! Right now though, he is waiting on a new PC game to be finished and released. He has been watching the game being developed online for the last year or so and to be fair, it does look amazing. The detail on this thing is unreal. It’s called, Titanic: Honor and Glory and you can check them out over at YouTube. Pop to their About page on YouTube to get their links to various sites to stay up to date. But if you can, you have to see this.

I’m not going to list off facts and figures here as there are so many websites available to go read those. We all know that the disaster was one of the biggest in modern history and far too many died. 1,500 people died that morning. It’s hard I think, to grasp that. One and a half thousand people died. I just wanted to acknowledge those that did die in that tragedy. To let them all know, that many people still living, do remember them all. We may not know their names, but we still think of them, and hope that they rest in peace.

RMS Titanic Wreath

Talk soon!

Hugs!

xXx

 

 

Life · Uncategorized

Bucket Lists!

Do you have a bucket list? I didn’t. I’d heard of the term of course, and seen blogs and vlogs about people’s lists, but never actually considered making one for myself. No real reason as to why, just something that I never felt drawn to write. I have a few ideas what I could put down on one, as watching and reading others, I’ve made the comments that yes, I’d love to try that too, or that I would love to learn that, or whatever they wrote. But that was as far as it went.

Last week, on Facebook, there was a video doing the rounds of a woman who was fed up being scared of things in life and not having control (if I remember that rightly…if I can find that video, I’ll link to it). But her video was 100 things that she was scared of, from eating bugs (definitely NOT one to go on my list thank you very much!), to dancing in public, sunbathing at a railway station I think it was – why? Seriously, why would you even want to do that?! But, I took my hat (if I had been wearing one, I would have at least) off to her. She was one brave cookie. She did 100 things and documented her journey.

Since I watched that video, I have been thinking about these lists, and possibly creating my own. So I did some looking about online and hit my favourite sites…I live on Google and Pinterest! I got lost on these for HOURS…do you? But after reading only a handful, and the reasons why people create these lists, I thought, ‘Why not?!’

First, I searched out an actual definition on what a Bucket List is. Here is what I found.

“bucket list

noun

informal
noun: bucket list; plural noun: bucket lists
  1. a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”

OK, so that sounds easy enough, so let’s have a go. Let me know if you have a Bucket List too. I’d be very interested in reading it if you have one online, so a couple of the things on there that you don’t mind sharing.

These don’t have to be in any order, do that? Well, mine certainly won’t be!

Zoe’s Bucket List

  1. Visit every State in America
  2. Learn a new language – British Sign Language, American Sign Language, French, Welsh (not all, but at least one!)
  3. Lose weight and achieve an ideal weight – currently I am WAY over that!!
  4. Tone up and get fit
  5. Take part in the London Marathon (I’ll accept walking quite happily!!!)
  6. Ride a horse along the beach at sunset
  7. Learn a profession
  8. Learn chess
  9. Become an author – children’s and fiction
  10. Learn to sing – and not just when I am on my own so no one hears just out of tune I am!
  11. Do some volunteering with some charity – autism, asthma or Parkinsons
  12. Dance barefoot in the rain…not a gentle show, but a beautiful downpour!
  13. See the Northern Lights
  14. Get a make-over and do a photo shoot
  15. Earn a degree at University
  16. Learn to play the guitar
  17. Win the Lottery!!!! <————
  18. Go storm chasing
  19. Go to Disney World
  20. Go on a big family picnic!
  21. Go on a cruise
  22. Learn to swim with a mermaid tail!!
  23. Touch an elephant
  24. Visit somewhere to see wolves
  25. Swim in the ocean at night and watch the stars
  26. Visit the Eiffel Tower
  27. Visit Bath (the city, not the room!)
  28. Visit Scotland
  29. Swim with dolphins
  30. Sleep in a tree house
  31. Get a tattoo
  32. Donate blood
  33. Learn to scuba dive
  34. Visit Egypt – see the pyramids and watch the belly dancers
  35. Join a belly dance troupe
  36. Get the Handfasting of my dreams!
  37. Run a 5k
  38. Go whale watching
  39. Own a very nice camera
  40. Learn how to use the very nice camera!
  41. Visit Stone Henge and touch the stones
  42. Visit Avebury Stones
  43. Live near the beach
  44. Send a ‘Message in a Bottle’
  45. Leave a note to someone in a library book to make them smile
  46. Watch a ballet
  47. Watch a live musical show
  48. Go see a Burlesque show
  49. Go to a Drive-In
  50. Stay in the Ice Hotel
  51. Learn Yoga or Tia Chi
  52. Go to a Masquerade Ball
  53. Take a photo every day for a year
  54. Visit Ireland
  55. Visit the Witchcraft Museum in Cornwall
  56. Learn to accept myself for who I am
  57. See a music concert
  58. Make a snow angel
  59. Visit one new place every year
  60. Go to Disney Land
  61. Be able to do make-up…well
  62. Do a Fire-Walk
  63. Do a crayon-melt
  64. Visit a Ranch
  65. Swim somewhere with a waterfall
  66. Create Baby Scrapbook for each of my children
  67. Visit the Statue of Liberty
  68. Ice skate in a city in winter
  69. Shop in New York
  70. Visit Las Vegas
  71. Be an audience member of a live show
  72. Spend the day at a Spa
  73. De-clutter my home and make it more organised

OK, that might seem and odd number to stop at, but I was getting to the point of really having to think. I bet I think of loads as soon as I post this now! But, I was born in 1973, so 73 is a good number ;o)

I wonder how many of these I might get ticked off. It’s time to start dinner for family now, but later on, I’m going to look and see if there is somewhere to register your Bucket List so that you can actually tick things off your list, or maybe an app for my phone.

Take care!

Hugs!

xXx

Beauty · Uncategorized

It’s BirchBox Time!

Who else looks forward to seeing this little box drop through their letter box??BirchBox Package

I know it’s not just me! But if you have no idea what I am babbling about, here is a quick intro into this little box of lovelies. It’s a subscription service. It costs £12.95 a month and that includes postage. I’m assuming all, but if that is wrong then at least on my account, they take the money on the 1st of the month and then a few days later I get an email stating that my box is on the way. A couple days later, it arrives! Normally, they are delivered through Hermes. I have had such bad experiences with that blasted company, that I spoke with BirchBox about this and they now send mine through Royal Mail. It’s not trackable as it is with Hermes, but at least I know my box arrives each month (the first one never arrived, but BirchBox were so lovely about it and sent a replacement straight out to me)!

When you join, you fill in a little questionnaire about yourself and what you would like to receive, and that is it! I have to admit, I don’t use everything in my box. Some I do get very excited about, and some, well, it looks nice in the box. I put those that I am not interested in away, and then I have a selection of little goodies that I can make into little gifts if needed later on for people.

So, April then! This is what I have in my box this month. Each month, all the goodies come in a specially designed box. I have 4 of these now, and they are SO handy. They are sturdy little boxes and look so good. The drawer kind, I stack and keep my nail art supplies in at the moment. This is this months box…

BirchBox Drawer

Doesn’t that box look so much fun?! If you take out the drawer, turn the outer upside down and pop the drawer back in, you don’t get the wording on the top then, just that gorgeous pattern.

So, inside the box then. This is everything that is inside this months box…

BirchBox Contents

This month, BirchBox partnered with Boden, so you get a little card to let you know a little bit about them, their website and a £10 discount voucher code. Then you get the card that tells you about all of the products. It gives you info on what the product is, how to use it and the RRP of the full sized products if you were to buy them from BirchBox.

This month, I got two full sized products and then three trial sized ones.

The first on the list, is the Manna Kadar Cosmetics Full size BirchBox exclusive, High Definition Powder with a RRP of £27.

The card reads, ‘For days when you’re less about the dewy look and more about keeping your make-up on lockdown, this velvet-finish, HD powder creates a beautifully matte finish.’

Manakadar

Next is the second full size product, and that is the ModelCo Eye Define Crayon Liner with a RRP of £11.

The card reads, ‘Whatever your liner style – feline flick or subtle definition – keep it in place all day with this pigmented crayon. The water-resistant formula glides on with ease, and doesn’t budge.’Pencil

This is one of those products that I am excited to try! I know, it’s only an eye liner, but my current one is not water proof and for me, this is an issue. And within hours, it has smudged all over the show! And as my eyes are ALWAYS done…big no-no! So yes, I am super excited to get this one. In fact, I’m going to go open it right now and try it! Wait there, I’ll be two ticks!! Well, it goes on so smoothly! And, you can not only twist to use, but you can untwist it too to drop the crayon back inside the pencil…my current one you can’t do that. So, so far, so good!

Now to the trial sized products. First is the Popaar Gentle Scrub with Artic Cotton with a RRP of £23.50, and comes in a 25ml tube.

The card reads, ‘Never heard of Arctic Cotton? It’s a powerhouse ingredient known for its moisturising properties meaning that this double-action exfoliator both smooths and softens the skin.’

Nicely timed, BirchBox, my current exfoliant is just about gone!

Ice Pure

Next is the Luseta Beauty Keratin Smooth Conditioner with a RRP of £5, and comes in a 40ml tube.

The card reads, ‘ From curling tongs to central heating, it’s no surprise that our hair can get a little frazzled! Strengthen it from the inside out with this nourishing treatment that locks in moisture and boosts elasticity.’

Keratin Conditioner

Last but no means least is the Baija Paris Creme Moana in Fleur de Tiare, with a RRP of £15.90, and comes in a 30ml tube.

The card reads, ‘When your skin needs a little TLC, this super-nourishing lotion will save the day. A blend of shea and cupuacu butters, coconut oil, jojoba wax offer immediate relief to dry patches for baby-soft skin.’

Moana Cream

This one, I might well use too. I have terrible dry patches on my cheeks and the top of my nose between my eyebrows.

So not too bad really this month! I think I may well use everything, by the hair treatment – I have loads of those now. But the other four products most definitely. So four for me, and one for the gift pile. The eye liner will be an every day use item though more than anything else from this months box. I need a good eyeliner!

Did you get a box this month? Or maybe going to try one? Let me know!

Talk soon!
Hugs!
xXx