How to get a gluten free crunch


One of the things I miss most about not eating gluten products is the crunch you get from eating a lovely crusty loaf of bread. A lot of baked gluten free recipes taste nice but are missing a crunch. I have found that lining a loaf tin with linseeds or sesame seeds before baking gives you a crunchy crust even if the bread is a bit cakey.

But I also have found a recipe from the 26 Grains  (written by Alex Hely-Hutchinson) book which helps with the fix. The recipe is for Caraway, Oat and Seed Crispbreads. They are full of nutricous  goodies and are very easy to make.


270g gluten free rolled oats

315g mixed seeds – sunflower, linseed, sesame, pumpkin etc

2 tablespoons of caraway seeds

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1 teaspoon garlic salt or flakes

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted

1 tablespoon of maple syrup


Preheat  oven to 180 degrees

Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper or a silicone sheet

Blitz 120g of the rolled oats to a coarse flour.

Add the oat flour to the rest of the dry ingredients

Mix together the wet ingredients in a jug with 375 mls of water

Divide the mixture in 2 and spread over the baking paper or silicone sheets.

Flatten it out as much as you can by putting a piece of baking paper over the top and rolling or pressing it with your hands

Bake for 15-20 mins until the edges start to brown

Remove from the oven and turn it over – it will fall to pieces but thats ok

Cook for another 15 mins until it’s dried out.

Leave to cool and break into pieces and keep in an airtight container.

Making clothes

I love making clothes. I learnt how to do this at school and by watching my Mum. I used to make lots of clothes for my children when they (and I) were younger. Back then, in the 70’s, I had a basic sewing machine, but it did the job. Once my children grew up and life changed, I didn’t have the time or the inclination to sew. anymore. It was one of those things I knew I wanted to pick up again when I had the time. The time came when I retired. I bought a cheap machine to get me back up to speed, which was a bit of a false economy as the quality was poor and I got quite frustrated as I couldn’t get the tension right.  I decided that I would splash out on a better one. After a bit of research and a conversation with an expert in John Lewis, I decided on a Janome DC3050 sewing machine.



Since I bought my new machine I have made several blouses, a Japanese style apron, and  a jump-suit for my grand daughter. The more I do, the better my completed garments look.  I am quite proud of my achievements and only I know where the mistakes are!

Here are a few pics of some of my recently completed items.





Living to be 100


I want to be around to see my grand children and great grandchildren grow up. I want to know what’s is like to be an old lady but not an ill old lady. I am going to try my best to make this happen.

This is what I figure I need to do:

1.Be Positive – it’s good to have an optimistic outlook – not always easy I know 

2. Don’t smoke or take illegal drugs – I don’t

3. Drink alcohol in moderation – I don’t enjoy alcohol as much these days anyway so not difficult 

4. Don’t eat too much sugar – this is a challenge…

5. Keep physically active – I garden, walk, cycle a bit and go to a yoga class once a week.

6. Keep my brain active – browsing, reading and talking does it for me

7. Keep learning new skills – we are learning Spanish and Ballroom dancing just now 

8. Keep smiling – can’t help myself!

9. Have fun – These days I only spend time with people I like and only do the things that make me happy!

10. Stay at a healthy weight  – my love of cooking makes this a challenge too…

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

I usually make a Christmas Cake in October, using a recipe from the Delia Smith Complete Illustrated Cookery Course   This year I am trying out a gluten free recipe from the  River Cottage Gluten Free cook book. It has figs and prunes in it which is unusual and uses buckwheat and sorghum flours. The method is basically the same – soak the fruit for 24 hours and then make the cake.

I have made one to try out the recipe and if it’s ok I will make one for Christmas. It has to mature for a couple of weeks and then have a tasting by the chief cake tester. If it passes the test then I’ll make another one. Gluten free cakes can dry out quickly, but hopefully with top ups of brandy brushed on top, each week, it will be ok.

How to start a capsule wardrobe


IMG_0085.JPGI have always like to wear stylish clothes. Even when I had little money I made sure that I always made the best of myself. I couldn’t always afford many clothes or to have a proper haircut but it was important to me that I looked good.

I have always liked to co-ordinate my clothes, accessories and make up. Whilst I working and had money to spend, I spent a good deal of my salary on clothes and accessories.

When I retired in May 2017 I knew I would not be able to continue to spend the same sort of money on clothes and therefore I had to find a different approach.  I still wanted to look good, even though I wasn’t going to work every day. Although I had gathered loads of clothes over the years, many of them were not suitable for my new life. After a few months of thinking and a bit of research, I found what I was looking for – seasonal capsule wardrobes.  

 I had a really good clear-out and got rid of many clothes I did not wear or need anymore. This was not easy because I had collected them over many years. However, I had two goes at it and now I am happy with what I have.  I have my current seasonal capsule wardrobe clothes, my wear at home stuff and a couple of boxes of unseasonal clothes which I dip into each season, before I but any new ones. I had a fair few handbags and coats plus a quite a bit of dress jewellery which I had collected over the years and thinned out those too. 

Leanne at classyettrendy sells seasonal capsule wardrobe e books for a reasonable fee. She provides links to all the items she suggests. As her business is American, all the links are for USA shops so I don’t use them. Instead I source substitutions from UK stores.  I also have made some myself, found some used items on eBay but also use my existing pieces use my existing pieces. I really enjoy sourcing the clothes, shoes and handbags.  

Each season I purchase the new e book and see what Leanne suggests for the next season. I check my stored items and select any which are right. Over the next few weeks I begin to shop for any new items I want. I decide if I want to make any of the pieces and look for patterns and fabric.

I tend to browse online at Next, Clarks, M&S, Joules, White Stuff and FATFACE initially to see if they have what I am looking for. Obviously price plays a part but sometimes I will splurge out on a new classic piece if I can afford it. For example, I bought a new longline beige cardigan this autumn, and paid a bit more than usual because I know its something that I will wear a lot. 

Once I have most of what I need for the coming season, I pack up all my last season clothes and put them into my storage boxes and get rid of anything which has seen better days. Then I am ready to go! I have everything I need to look stylish and smart for another few months. 

It’s World Menopause Day!

I was in my 40’s, when I started to think about the ‘dreaded menopause’. Sadly, I  couldn’t ask my Mum as she died in 1989, aged 52 from breast cancer. This fact has always influenced my decisions about the menopause and its symptoms. 

I knew that I would never take HRT, but at that stage, I never knew what I know now. I still have never taken HRT but I have been tempted. 

In my peri menopause days I used Serenity Cream which I thought had bought me through the menopause symptom free. I faithfully used it through what I thought was my menopause. Then BANG when  I was 52, I really started my menopause which came as a great shock. I started having lots of hot flushes in the evenings from precisely 7pm, about every half an all through the night every night. I read that that SOME women have them for 10 years or more. I told myself that I wasn’t going to be one of them and that it was a mind over matter thing. How wrong can you be … 9 years later I still have hot flushes but thankfully fewer and less frequent and severe. They were a pain in the arse and still are. I can almost conjure one up just by thinking about it! I have a sort of premonition when one is coming, bizarre. I know that it wont last long but sometimes I just have to go outside to cool down as they sometimes make you feel a bit claustrophobic. I have tried all sorts of herbal potions and pills like black cohosh and maca etc over the years and none of them have helped at all with the hot flushes. I now know its just something have to put up with. I dress accordingly in layers and spend a lot of time taking my cardigans on and off! I never wear polo neck jumpers! 

What came on gradually over the the 9 years was the ‘dryness’. Not just skin, but areas of moistness if you get my drift… I hate talking about this but this is the bit which I hate even more than the hot flushes, but just something you have to get used to. 

It used to upset me to think I am not the woman I was and I won’t ever be again, but I have learned to love myself all over again.This new me doesn’t care what people think, she wears what wants, goes out without make up and still has fun! Onwards and upwards! 

Planting Spring Bulbs

F8A0D3E0-8A9C-4B9E-82FA-637DFFDB520AI like to plant spring bulbs every autumn, some in the garden and some in pots. Once planted they provide me with a start of a vision for  the next gardening year. I visualise them sprouting up and making me happy when they bloom. 

This year I am planting a white one called Tulip Francoise in pots for the court yard garden outside our office and Tulip National Velvet, a glossy red one, for outside the lounge french doors.

I will also be planting bluebells, snow drops, yellow winter aconites and yellow tulip sylvestris  in our new woodland garden. Although I have bought  a couple of hundred bluebells and snowdrops, it won’t nearly be enough.  I plan to buy extra in the Spring ‘in the green’ and so quicken the naturalising effect. I know it will take several years before my vision of the woodland garden comes true, but it excites me thinking about how it will look in the future.

Ginger Cake

This is the best ginger cake you will ever make. I promise. This recipe is from BAKE by Lorraine Pascal. It’s gorgeous and verified by my partner Mark and many of my family and friends.  Yesterday I thought I would see how it turned out using GF flour using a flour mix in the Phil Vickery – Essential Gluten Free  I am using Flour Mix B 

500g (50%) GF brown rice flour

300g  (30%) ine maize meal

200g (20%) cornflour 

As you can see the GF cake (top) didn’t look as pretty as the wheat flour one. Its a lot more crumbly, but tastes just as good. I have now cut it into slices and frozen most of it as GF cakes tend to go stale quicker. Also it means I can’t eat it all in one go. Needless to say the other one will be gobbled up by the other half over the next few days. Ginger cake

Saturday Morning Musings

Not sure what to do today? I have several ideas going round my head :

  • Make a ginger cake for Mark and try out a GF version
  • Plant some bulbs
  • Ironing
  • Cut out a dressing gown for granddaughter Nell 
  • Tidy the greenhouse
  • Write pieces for future blogs 

As its now started to rain, maybe I won’t plant the bulbs – although I could plant the ones that are going in pots as I could do this in the greenhouse.

Well I have have given myself 45 mins to write and then I want to get on with something instead of thinking about it. 

The ginger cake has won so that what’ll I’ll start with today. Then I will do some of the bulbs. 

I’ll let you know how I’ve got on! 

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