# Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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Burger King have been criticised for this tasty looking burger which contains 966 calories. The Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Double Angus burger is apparently the biggest and most fattening burger available on the high street and has twice as many calories as a Big Mac. Costing £5.29 it has a fat content of 58g, something which has been widely criticised according to the article. Personally the calories content doesn’t put me off, it’s not really the sort of thing you would eat every day more as an occasional convenience food.

posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:09:21 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 30, 2012

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These sheep in a New Zealand nature park are particularly striking because they have been dyed pink. The sheep were originally dyed in order to celebrate breast cancer awareness week but it proved to be such a hit with visitors that The park called SheepWorld has decided to leave them this colour. They have been coloured with a harmless food colouring which washes out in the rain. They do look rather good.

posted on Monday, January 30, 2012 10:40:01 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 29, 2012
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This unusual white blackbird has recently been pictured in a park in Nottinghamshire. The bird is leucistic, a genetic mutation which prevents pigments from being deposited normally in its feathers. Despite white birds being more vulnerable to predators it has been living in the the woodland of Rufford Abbey Country Park for the past four years and during that time has gradually shed any black plumage to become completely white.

posted on Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:14:50 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bottles of ale which were brewed to celebrate the coronation of Edward VIII have recently been found in a bricked up cellar. The ales were brewed to celebrate Edwards coronation but were never released for sale because he abdicated to marry Mrs Simpson. They were recently found in a bricked up cellar after workmen were called in to replace a floor at the Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds.

posted on Saturday, January 28, 2012 8:37:46 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 27, 2012

There is still time to register for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which is this weekend. All you need to do is register your details on the website at the following link. http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/  Then just spend an hour recording the birds that visit your garden on either Saturday 28th or Sunday the 29th. When you have finished go back to the website and submit your results. The results help the RSPB to get an idea of the numbers of different bird species in each region so they can see how they are doing and spot any problems with decline.

posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 2:45:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
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This is interesting it’s a man who has developed a way of combining cleaning the house and exercising. Steve Markovich, from Crescent Springs, Kentucky combines resistance training methods with day to day housework. The workout includes vacuum cleaner lunges, window cleaning squats, sofa lifting and karate kicks with most of the workout being able to be completed indoors. He has now started producing videos showing others how to follow his workout plan and is due to publish a book called Aerobic House Cleaning. What a great idea.

posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 9:39:07 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 26, 2012

At a time when religion appears to feature less in the lives of many people in the UK, it is interesting to note that there has been a rise in the number of Church of England weddings. Figures show that Church of England weddings were up by 4% in 2010 when compared with 2009, the biggest annual increase in 10 years. The church has put the rise down to its weddings project which asked the public what it wanted from a church wedding and briefed the clergy on the findings. The project also included the launch of yourchurchwedding.org which is designed to make planning your ceremony easier. According to the article most people cite tradition as the reason they would like to get married in a church.

posted on Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:55:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That’s according to recent research which has found taking the contraceptive pill significantly relieves the symptoms of period pains in a third of women. The study looked at 1,300 volunteers aged 19 to 24. It found that the pill reduced pain by at least one point on a ten point scale. It seems, then that there could be other benefits to taking this form of contraception. Personally I noticed no reduction in the severity of period pains whilst taking the contraceptive pill although one big advantage is knowing pretty much to the day when your period is going to arrive. At least then you can plan for it or in some cases run two packs of pills together to skip it altogether if it is likely to clash with an important event that you need to be well for.

posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:54:53 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 24, 2012

article-2086794-0D7B8DD000000578-696_468x286With otters such as this little guy pictured now being found in most rivers in Britain, the population appears to be doing rather well. There are now thought to be around 10,000 of them in Britain. Whilst this is good news for the species it seems it is bad news for koi enthusiasts. Otters are good at climbing and digging and are naturally drawn to ponds full of large well fed fish. One man interviewed has lost 15 of his carp whilst another found the remains of a £200 fish on his patio. Householders in some areas are now being warned to protect their ponds with metal grids. For those considering more drastic measures they should be reminded that otters are protected and anyone attempting to kill them or disturb them can be fined up to £5,000 or jailed for six months.

posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:01:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 23, 2012

A study has found that eating even small amounts of processed meat can increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Eating one sausage or two rashers of bacon a day can raise the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by a fifth. Scientists in Sweden found that eating 50g of processed meat a day raises the likelihood of cancer by 19%. Eating 100g a day, the equivalent of a small burger increases the risk by 38% and eating 150g a day raises it to 57%. Other red meats such as joints and steaks were found to increase a man’s chance of developing cancer but not a woman’s. Personally I eat very little processed meat but I don’t think I will be giving up bacon anytime soon.

posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 11:29:47 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 22, 2012

article-0-0F6F567300000578-525_468x349This is interesting it’s a new product from McCain, a jacket potato that is ready in just five minutes. Although jacket potatoes are very easy to cook, they do require at least an hour in the oven to produce a soft inside and a nice crispy skin. This product, however, claims to produce a perfect potato in just five minutes. Called the Ready Backed Jacket it can be microwaved in five minutes and is said to taste as good as the traditional oven cooked potato. At £1.49 for two it seems like a good idea for those who are pushed for time but I would be dubious about whether it would taste as good as the oven cooked alternative. It does seem to perform quite well in the taste test conducted in the article though, so might be worth a try.

posted on Sunday, January 22, 2012 11:25:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 21, 2012
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If this article is to be believed then a large cat could be living in Woodchester. The remains of a deer were recently found that are consistent with a cat kill. It appeared to show teeth and claw impressions and the stomach had been taken out and discarded which can also be consistent with cat kills. This cat pictured could be the cat in question although some people have also spotted a large white cat. It does appear based on the evidence so far that there is a large cat on the loose in the area but it seems further investigation is needed to find out exactly what it is.

posted on Saturday, January 21, 2012 10:23:15 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 20, 2012
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The world’s biggest Koran has recently been unveiled at the opening of an exhibition centre in Kabul. The book measures more than 7ft long and 10ft wide. The 218 pages are decorated with 30 different calligraphy designs and took almost five years to finish. It certainly looks impressive.

posted on Friday, January 20, 2012 7:59:28 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scientists have discovered what many people may already suspect, drinking alcohol does make us feel good. Apparently it releases endorphins into the the brain producing feelings of pleasure and reward. Researchers used something called PET imaging to observe the effects of alcohol in the brains of 13 heavy drinkers and compared these to 12 control subjects who were not heavy drinkers. It found that drinking alcohol led to a release of endorphins in all of those taking part with the heavy drinkers having greater feelings of pleasure. it is thought the greater feeling of reward felt by the heavy drinkers ultimately encourage them to drink more and may cause them to drink too much.

posted on Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:03:19 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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This cute little guy is thought to be the world’s smallest frog. Measuring just 7mm long it has recently been discovered in Papua New Guinea. Called Paedophryne amauensis it lives amongst the leaf litter on the forest floor where it is well camouflaged. It was only found when researchers studying frog calls triangulated frog calls in the forest and found they were coming from the forest floor. Putting a handful of leaf litter within a plastic bag revealed the tiny frogs. 

posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:13:03 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This article suggests that the average family has three arguments a week which are caused by the dog. Although there are no figures to show whether other pets such as cats cause a a similar amounts of arguments, it seems family pets do cause quite a few disagreements. Arguments range from who should take the dog for a walk to how many treats they should have and who cleans up after them. I don’t think our cats cause this many arguments, although we do often have to apply the “cat sick rule” the person who finds it first, cleans it up.

posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:15:18 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 16, 2012

Uggie the dog has created such a following that his fans are campaigning for him to be eligible for an Oscar nomination. Uggie is the star of the new film The Artist and has recently appeared on the Graham Norton Show and a special West End screening in aid of the Dogs Trust charity. His appearance in the film was so successful that it has won rave reviews and generated an online campaign calling on the organisers of the Oscars to relax the rules on honouring only human actors. Uggie was saved from a shelter for abandoned pets as a puppy and had two owners who rejected him because he was too wild before being taken on by an animal trainer. Omar Von Muller took Uggie on and trained him. He has since appeared in a number of adverts as well as What’s Up, Scarlet?, Wassup Rockers, Mr. Fix It, Water for Elephants and most recently The Artist. Uggie is unusual amongst film stars that he does all of his own stunts including skate boarding and water skiing.

posted on Monday, January 16, 2012 7:46:47 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article around a million Britons used a payday loan last year to pay their mortgage or rent. The information comes from a report from the homeless charity Shelter and is a worrying sign that people are taking on expensive debt to pay essential bills. Payday loans are supposed to be used in the short term to get you through to payday as the name suggests. They do, however, carry horrendous interest rates often as much as 700% interest so are not really an option for paying basic bills as the debt can quickly spiral out of control. If the article is true it is very worrying that people are becoming so desperate to take these sorts of loans out for their recurring monthly bills.

posted on Monday, January 16, 2012 7:44:50 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 15, 2012
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If you want too purchase a slightly different property then this observatory might be what you are looking for. It has been put on the market by Swansea city council who say they are looking for imaginative proposals for the future of the building. Built in 1988 the building includes a stained glass roof by artist David Pearl and panels of carved poetry by Nigel Jenkins.

posted on Sunday, January 15, 2012 11:52:14 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 14, 2012

This is interesting, its a dogcam solution that could be used in search and rescue operations. Called paws the application is an acronym for portable, all terrain wireless system. it has been developed by UK firm Wood and Douglas which specialises in wireless broadcast technology applications. It basically involves fitting a wireless camera and harness to the dog which can then search the debris of a disaster zone for any signs of life. It has the advantage that the dog can not only reach places people might not be able to reach but also use its sense of smell to track down any survivors. The information is sent back to the receiving station where the person co-ordinating the rescue can see the live video.

posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 11:34:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 13, 2012
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If you have trouble understanding the offside rule then help might be at hand. The back of the new 50p coin to celebrate the Olympics includes a handy diagram which should leave you in no doubt. I think a few referees could do with keeping one of these in their pockets.

posted on Friday, January 13, 2012 2:02:16 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I have long thought that there should be more screening methods for driving under the influence of drugs. Whereas it is easy to screen motorists for drink driving, police currently have to prove that a driver’s actions have been impaired by drug use. Road safety bodies, however, feel that existing laws covering the offence are inadequate and need to be reviewed. A panel of scientists and academic experts will look into whether a new criminal offence should be created to deal with the issue and whether it is possible to gauge how different drugs impair a drivers performance and reactions behind the wheel. Currently suspected drug users are required to undertake exercises such as counting out 30 seconds and walking in a straight line as well as being examined by a doctor and providing a blood test but as some of these tests cannot be done at the roadside the substances are often out of a drivers system by the time they are tested. With around 10% of 17-24 years olds admitting to having driven soon after taking illegal drugs last year it seems a change in the law could be long overdue.

posted on Friday, January 13, 2012 1:25:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 12, 2012

I recently purchased one of these baby bouncers for Penny to give her something to sit in when we have those rare moments of alert time. Whilst the description on Amazon is incorrect the product is quite good. If you are purchasing it from Amazon, bear in mind it doesn’t have 5 swing speeds as mentioned in their description. The bouncer does have a vibrate function which is very useful for helping to get rid of persistent hiccups, something Penny seems to suffer from a lot. It also has a removable bar with various hanging toys. There are two butterflies which rattle and crackle when grabbed and a flower which can be pulled to activate music. Penny is currently too small to be able to reach these but I do find the bar useful for attaching other toys such as her black and white books which she seems to like. I am quite pleased with this bouncer. It is fairly basic but if you are looking for something to sit your baby in to allow her to take in her surroundings, as I was, then this does the job.

posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 8:43:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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This is quite cute. It’s the story of a two-legged dog called Kandu that has his own set of wheels to help him get around. The dog was born without any front legs and would normally be put to sleep. However, his owners decided to create a set of wheels for him and he seems to get around fairly normally. The couple have since adopted another dog that also has no front legs as a playmate for him.

posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:55:42 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If once a week is the answer then you might be able to cut down on the amount of washes you do. This article suggests that you can get away with washing jeans only every three months whilst still smelling socially acceptable. A team of volunteers in Australia agreed to wear a pair of jeans five days a week without washing them. They found that the jeans didn’t actually smell bad and that many stains simply wear off. Melbourne researcher Tullia Jack believes the findings of her experiment could have an impact on the environment as her volunteers saved thousands of litres of water and electricity in not washing their jeans.

posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:17:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 09, 2012

article-0-0F4C403B00000578-998_474x339A program is underway to electronically tag predatory American crayfish in order to understand more about the species. The non native crayfish have been invading Britain’s waterways at an alarming speed and pushing out the smaller native crayfish. It is believed they were originally released into the river by an aquarium owner. The American crayfish have already colonised the River Lee near Enfield taking over 17km of the river. The American crayfish not only prey on the native wildlife but also spread crayfish plague, a disease which is deadly to the native white clawed crayfish. The predatory crayfish will be fitted with radio transmitters on their backs to track the spread and find out exactly how fast they are moving. I bet they are quite tasty, I wonder if we are allowed to eat them.

posted on Monday, January 09, 2012 8:42:15 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 08, 2012

article-2080644-0F4C3C6900000578-548_634x286Corn Buntings are currently an endangered species so this picture of a large flock of the birds photographed near Devizes in Wiltshire is good news for the species. Numbers of the birds have plunged in recent years due to intensive farming methods which have seen field margins being ploughed up, leaving the birds nowhere to lay their eggs. In fact numbers of the birds have fallen by nearly 90% over the last 40 years. It is thought that recent schemes which pay farmers to improve their environment are starting to have an effect and numbers of the birds have increased by about 5% over the last three years. These measures include growing fields of spring barley and leaving stubble over the winter rather than ploughing the fields so seeds are available for food.

posted on Sunday, January 08, 2012 11:21:21 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 07, 2012

PennyI brought one of these for Penny for her first Christmas present after seeing it in action at the baby show at Earls Court. Ewan the Dream Sheep as it is called has various settings that are supposed to comfort your baby and help to send her to sleep. The various sounds are activated by pressing Ewan’s paws. They include music, heartbeat and womb sounds. The sheep also has a useful night light function which I am yet to use. Penny does seem to like her sheep and it does certainly help her drop off to sleep. It has a Velcro tail function for attaching to the pram/bouncer or cot  which is really useful. So far I have been quite impressed with Ewan.

posted on Saturday, January 07, 2012 11:24:17 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 06, 2012

The avent bottle warmer certainly makes those night time feeds a lot easier. It is designed to warm milk or baby food to the correct temperature based on the quantity in the container. Whilst I haven't used it for food yet it has been in daily use for warming Penny’s milk. The device is easy to use, you turn it on, select the type of container using the display and select whether it has come from the fridge or not. Add 30ml of water. You then simply, select the amount of liquid or food which is closest to that in your container and press the button to start the warming. The device bleeps when the food is ready and the milk/food is warmed to the correct temperature. I must admit that whilst the device is easy to use once you get used it, it did take a little while to figure out all the settings. Once you know what you doing this is very easy to use but one thing I will say is it requires two hands to operate it, which when you have a screaming baby under one arm is not the easiest thing to do. Other than that I have found it to be a very good product.

posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 9:37:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-2078989-0F47B34300000578-830_634x417This white kiwi was recently hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, New Zealand. The bird is white because both of its parents are thought to have carried a recessive white gene which caused its pure white feathers. Although rare, this is the second white kiwi to be hatched at New Zealand’s national wildlife centre, with the first being hatched in May. The birds usually have a brown plumage.

posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 9:36:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, January 05, 2012

It seems the Euro is under threat in more ways than the current economic crisis affecting the eurozone. According to this article Sainsbury’s and Lidl have stopped selling chocolate Euros and have gone back to offering Sterling coins instead. It seems the Sterling coins were brought back due to high demand after numerous requests from customers for British chocolate coins. The move back to British coins appears to have significantly increased sales of the line although it is not clear whether people were reluctant to buy the Euro coins because of the current financial crisis or simply because the Sterling alternative is more familiar to British customers.

posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 12:39:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The recent rise in fuel prices seems to have made fuel a target for thieves. This article claims that high prices are behind a recent increase in fuel theft and the theft of catalytic convertors. The AA are being called out at least once a week to cars that have been damaged during a fuel theft. Thieves usually steal fuel by cutting through fuel lines, smashing open fuel caps, removing petrol tanks or drilling into fuel tanks and pumping out the contents. Larger cars such as people carriers and 4x4s are more vulnerable because they are higher off the ground giving thieves easier access and also have bigger fuel tanks. Fuel theft usually tends to go unnoticed until the victim runs out of fuel or finds they have a persistent smell of fuel coming from their car. Other than parking your car in well lit locations it appears there is not much you can really do to combat the problem.

posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2012 8:35:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I purchased one of these microwave sterilisers some months before my baby was due and since we have had her have used it on a daily basis. The best thing about this product is the fact that it is really very easy to use. It just requires 200ml of water to be added before putting in the bottles/ breast pump or teats to be sterilised and then you just pop in into the microwave for 6 minutes and everything is ready. It takes quite a few bottles, teats, bottle tops and all the breast pump parts before becoming full. Despite this I find I am using it at least 3 times a day to keep up with the demands of feeding a hungry baby. One thing I would say, is its a little on the bulky side so do check it will fit your microwave before ordering, but if you are looking for a steriliser that’s easy to use and one that will save you time then this gets my vote on both counts.

posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2012 8:34:22 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I recently purchased one of these manual Avent breast pumps to help with feeding my newborn baby after she experienced problems with latching on during breast feeding. Having used an electric breast pump whilst in hospital I was initially dubious as to whether a manual pump would work as well. I was, however, surprised to find it quite efficient. It is very easy to sterilise and set up and a cup full of milk can usually be produced within a 15-20 minute period providing you are keeping yourself well hydrated. In some ways it is nicer to use than an electric pump, being much less noisy and less painful on the nipples. It certainly provides as much milk as the electric alternative I have tried in a similar space of time. At less than £20 it has been a very good buy and one that with our current feeding problems has proved essential. We are now progressing well with breast feeding but will be continuing to use this to enable us to share the most tiring of the night time feeds.

posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 8:09:52 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you like me are partial to a little bit of cheese and wine, then you might want to rethink your wine choices. Whilst many people, think a red wine is the perfect accompaniment to a good cheese it seems a white wine might be better. According to this article white wine is a much better choice with cheese than red. The main reason is that red wines are generally more strongly flavoured than whites and as such can overshadow all but the most robust cheese. White wines on the other hand are more versatile and compliment a much wider range of cheeses. It seems the tannins in red wines simply dominate the flavours of most cheeses so experts recommend drinking white instead to get more from your cheese experience. Whites that have been “oaked”, that is left in oak barrels should also be avoided with cheese.

posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 8:08:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 02, 2012

Pork StirfryWe had a lovely pork roast for our New Years Eve dinner but it was really too much for 4 people and there was loads left over. I found some recipe ideas when searching online and decided to make a stir fry with some of the left overs. Adding a couple of peppers, chilli's, soy sauce and lemongrass and putting the pork into the pan at the last minute created this dish pictured. Served with rice it was full of flavour and tasted so much better because it cost less than a £1.00 to make and made use of what we already had in the fridge.

posted on Monday, January 02, 2012 9:47:33 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 01, 2012
Penny New year

Rather than go out this year we spent New Years Eve at home as we thought Penny was too small to go to the pub and didn’t really fancy leaving her for a whole evening just yet. I cooked a slow roasted leg of pork with trimmings and apple sauce and and apple crumble which used up nearly all of the apples I had stored from this years crop. Then we settled down to watch the fireworks on the TV. Penny did wake up in time to watch with us, however, didn’t seem that impressed with the display, I think she may be a little too small to appreciate TV just yet.

posted on Sunday, January 01, 2012 12:25:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback