Author: sophiebarnes

Lockdown diaries 25.03.2020

Lockdown diaries 25.03.2020

So, it’s been an exceptionally LONG time since I wrote on this blog, but as there is a global virus pandemic and everyone has to stay home now, I’ve got a bit more time on my hands. I’m still working remotely at the moment, but 

Renovations Update 02.12.2018

Renovations Update 02.12.2018

This weekend has been somewhat productive in the house… We have finally managed to get through to the plumber  – he is coming to fit the rest of the bathroom next weekend. We purchased the tiles/adhesive/grout for the bathroom floor (because the floor needs to 

Baking in a slow-cooker…

Baking in a slow-cooker…

Due to the current renovation situation, we don’t have an oven…or a hob… which has a very interesting set of restrictions when it comes to cooking/baking/eating. 

Currently I have the following cooking tools in the kitchen:

  • 2 small sharp knives
  • a plastic chopping board
  • a plastic mixing bowl
  • 2 1-litre plastic jugs
  • a whisk
  • a large plastic serving spoon
  • a basic slow cooker
  • a standard microwave
  • a very small “cube” fridge
  • disposable plates, bowls and cutlery

We also have the added complication of no drinking/running hot water at the moment (so bottled water is the only option at the moment)…

That being said, today I managed to make a CAKE. In the slow cooker. Granted it was a packet cake mix, but still – I measured stuff out into the measuring jug, mixed it in the plastic mixing bowl and then lined the slow cooker with a cake liner that I found sticking out of a box and glooped it into the slow cooker pan. Put a tea towel under the lid of the slow cooker and put the cooker on high for 40 mins, turned down to low for 40 mins and then put on high for another 40 mins… literally no idea why I went up-down-up with the heat – I was panicking I think. after it was done turned the cooker off and left it in their to cool down slowly.

The resulting cake is very soft and spongy and very moist… not the best cake in the world, but, a slice with a splodge of elmlea was quite enjoyable this evening…

Festive Wishlist

Festive Wishlist

This year I have no Christmas spirit. It’s shit. Everywhere else feels like Christmas on steroids. The original plan with the new house was that we would be finished renovating in time for a lovely Christmas in a lovely house. Seeing as that plan has 

Catch-Up: 25 November 2018

Catch-Up: 25 November 2018

Well, what can I say….it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, the house has taken over our lives!  We got the keys on 27th July and, almost 4 months on, we’re nowhere near to a proper liveable stage. Currently we have a plumbed 

Where to begin…? Catch-up 03.06.2018

Where to begin…? Catch-up 03.06.2018

So, things got somewhat hectic over the past two months! Between school and home and moderating for the exam board, and school and new house conveyancing and EVERYTHING, there has been a lot going on. So, to bring things up to speed a little, here goes:

NEW HOUSE
The house purchase has progressed quite a lot, we’ve finished all of the conveyancing on our part now with our solicitors (and paid the bill – ouch) and are now waiting on our sellers to finish their conveyancing for their new property – hopefully that should all go through in the next 4-6 weeks. Then begins the utterly massive task of renovating (see The Great Big Renovation Project) page for the main list, it’s not small by any means!

HUBBY’S JOB
Well, he’s now almost THREE MONTHS in! Probation performance review on Friday (eeek!) but I’m sure everything will go well and he will come home happy on Friday afternoon – he’s worked SO hard the past few months – in some ways it’s like having a completely different husband. One that gets up at 5am, out the door to work, comes home smiling and talking about his day, trying to explain tidbits of his job to me over dinner – it’s wonderful! (granted, the 5am starts are not always the most welcome!) The next big task is getting him to go to bed earlier so that he’s getting enough sleep – I do worry sometimes if he’s had a particularly late night/short sleep and is then driving to work…

30-BEFORE-30
Parts of this are going really well, but I haven’t kept up with blogging about them at all! In short, I have:

  • made 3 different breads
  • made 4 different cakes/desserts
  • held 3 dinner parties with friends
  • failed to complete the Great Manchester 10K due to consultant’s orders (hubby completed it though and was AMAZEBALLS)
  • watched all of the films in the MCU and seen Infinity War twice

 

Catchup: 04.04.2018

Catchup: 04.04.2018

Well, LOTS has happened since my last post! 1. Hubby has been working for the past month and is very happily settled into his job. This has been one of the best things ever! Hubby seems so happy and so focused, it’s been really nice 

Caramelised Orange Shortbread with White Chocolate

Caramelised Orange Shortbread with White Chocolate

Today I was musing the idea of using melted butter to make shortbread – as I couldn’t be bothered to either use the food processor or to employ the traditional rubbed in method. I looked at various recipes online and decided to try out my 

Catchup – wb 26 Feb

Catchup – wb 26 Feb

The past week has been very unusual – we’ve had some really bad weather thanks to the #BeastFromTheEast and #StormEmma that has resulted in having Tuesday, Thursday and Friday off as snow days, and being sent home at 11:30am (kids left at 11:15am) on Wednesday due to severe weather. In some ways this has been great because it was going to be a really hectic week at school (performances, options evening, rehearsals, report writing, moderation etc), but thankfully that all got cancelled! I’ve caught up on some sleep and had quite a good rest really, pottered about the kitchen making a few things and spent some time with hubby.

Best of all, HUBBY GOT A JOB!!!!! It’s been a few days now, and I still can’t put into words just how proud I am! He started applying for jobs/put his CV online two weeks ago, last week he started talking to some recruiters and doing phone interviews etc, and a couple of test builds (web development), had a schedule of interviews for Monday (one in the morning, phone interview in the afternoon), Tuesday (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) and Wednesday (one in the morning). However, by the middle of Tuesday, he had TWO JOB OFFERS! So excited for him, and the snow-day was perfect timing! It meant I could go meet him after an interview to discuss his two offers because he was torn between the two (similar roles, similar pay, different companies, different focus) and, after talking it through and speaking to his mum, he accepted the Tuesday interview offer and STARTS ON MONDAY!

Very excited for him. Want to make sure it is a smooth transition for him, going from doing a little bit of volunteering and house chores to working full-time is quite a shock to the system. So will make sure I get up early enough to get through the bathroom before he needs to be up, so that I can then get packed lunches ready and make breakfast. Until we move back to Manchester he’s got a 60-70min commute to Didsbury, so needs to leave around 6:45am to get there with some contingency time for traffic/weather (he needs to be in work by 8:30am, so is aiming to arrive between 8/8:15am). I’m also going to make sure shirts are ironed on a Sunday ready for him for the week.Now we are both working full time it now means we’ve got to be super organised. This is also good for me because it means that I will actually take my lunch every day (making two lunches seems somehow easier than making one) and we’ll have to stick to a meal plan because I can’t just ask him to nip out during the day to pick things up – plan is to make sure frozen home-made ready meals are taken out and put in the fridge the night before when making dinner to make sure it’s defrosted in time for the next evening.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we’re going to the Trafford Centre for some celebrating – going to get him some nice new shirts for work (we still have some wedding gift vouchers that we can spend), followed by some lunch, a trip to Costco, mooch to his parents’ house for a bit, then dinner out at Jamie’s Italian, Manchester for a celebratory dinner. Then he is gonna meet up with a guy friend for drinks and I’m gonna go to the cinema to kill time so they can get a lift home.

In other news, we went to view what we thought was going to be our “dream house” – it had a damp basement and something just didn’t feel quite right…it’s since sold, so I guess it wasn’t our house after all, got a few more that we’d like to view, but have a meeting with a mortgage advisor next week to see what kind of mortgage we’re looking at before we get serious into the viewing system…

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

As part of snow-day boredom, I asked the lovely hubs if he’d like anything baking. He suggested a red velvet with cheesecake frosting. I obliged… 250g plain flour 30g cocoa powder 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda 100g butter, very soft 200g caster