Saturday, March 29, 2014

Court Coleman Manor Bridgend --break away!

We had a wonderful time away at Court Coleman Manor, Bridgend earlier in the week. there was so much lovely scenery to see--this lovely waterfall was just by the entrance.

everywhere you looked in the manor there was something beautiful to see--such character!

beautiful sweeping staircase..

huge old bellows served as tables in the bar..

all the ceilings were stunning with ornate plaster..

we had a lovely meal in the award winning restaurant..

the kitchen was open so you could see your meal being cooked..

the wine list was a bit different--when it was closed up it looked just like a bottle of wine!

There was a hall of fame full of celebrities who have stayed there..

Good ole David Dickinson....

Casualty has been filmed there. and one of Bills favourite shows-- Stella

couldn't let little ones near the staircase --there is a huge gap between the posts!
very imposing building...

there was a  lovely king size 4 poster bed..

a super jacuzzi bath..

a desk--and free wi-fi... very important to me to be able to keep a watch on my emails/on-line bookings etc when I'm away!

the TV was hidden away in this cupboard..

beautiful view from our room-could see for miles..

the lovely tulip tree was in full bloom..

looks like I was caught trying out the jacuzzi !!

there is a lovely fountain in the grounds--some lovely fish in there-and also saw some frog spawn and tadpoles in there too.. we had a lovely time--and will be going back there later in the year..all the staff were just lovely ! Worth the 2 hour journey to get there!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Grasses Workshop

Jackie came along for the first time.She created a lovely picture..a bit of to-ing and fro-ing at times getting the water right--but that is completely normal   ,Grasses isn't the easiest subject I teach...acrylic paint does not work as easily as oils sometimes , so we had a few goes at getting the skies just how the students wanted....but as I explained to them--everything looks different if you are just patient and go on to  the next stage,what you thought wasn't quite correct is suddenly OK...getting students to leave their paintings alone can be the hardest part of the class!

Claire was painting for the first time and came along with Debbie and Ian who were also first timers..She found the background easier than the foreground grasses...

Josie used the metallic paint at the end to add some sparkles to her grass head and also added a lovely moon and some twinkly stars to her sky..her bunnies were just great too..all very mystical!

Ian seemed to find it quite easy..and just got on with each stage--he did go back and have a little fiddle with the sky and it did work out really well!

Debbie excelled herself when it came to the fine detail..she painted lovely delicate grasses..

We have had students bring all sorts of lovely things to eat and share in the workshops in the past--but this was a first--a huge tub of flying saucer sweets! I was very good and didn't have a single was not easy--they are one of my all time favourite sweets! But between my sister Sharon, daughter Becki and me-we have lost 4 and 1/2 stones in just 9 weeks so do not want to jeopardise it!

Well done everyone--lovely results!

I'm writing my blog in the most beautiful setting...We are away at Court Coleman Manor in Bridgend  celebrating my birthday and our 13th wedding anniversary..we are having a lovely time...and you will have to excuse any spelling mistakes as a little bit of alcohol has been consumed!
We have a lovely room---The Blue 4 Poster Room...
the bed is soooo comfy!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter Wonderland Workshop

Anne managed to create a stunning 'mackerel' sky in her painting..and when we left to come home there was a beautiful mackerel sky outside too..its amazing what can be achieved with a limited palette of just 3 colours-blue,black and white

Anne's hubby Martin had an awful bad back bless him and was in a lot of pain by lunchtime...however he soldiered on and made a lovely job of his painting..Martin added some extra detail to his picture with a crack in the ice on the pond and his fence which went all the way up his path too--

I loved the sheen on Jackie's pond--it looked really cold and frosty..

Jaq is adding some reeds to the pond here--she chose to use the purple shades rather than the blues-it gives it quite a different feel..

Helen is adding the snow to her fence posts here....she told me that all her friends and family are well impressed with her paintings she has taken home so far..and think she is really talented-which of course she is!

Lovely results from you all--well done!

beautiful sky when we left the room..

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slimming World....Recipes

Me and my daughter Becki have been going to Slimming World since the middle of January, we are both doing well with a nice steady loss each week...I have done some lovely recipes lately and have been asked for them by friends and family--and when I took along a quiche to class the other week -everyone loved it!                                                                                           All are very easy to make...the quiche is as follows...      4  or 5 eggs, 1 tub of onion and chive low fat cottage cheese, 1 onion,chopped and fried in a little fry light.. some lean bacon (diced) or ham, mushrooms,tomato's, peppers or whatever veg you like!    Simply mix the eggs and cottage cheese together with a little milk touch of salt and pepper--I add chilli and garlic flakes at this stage too..put onions and dry fried bacon or ham if you are using it into the bottom of the flan dish, pour over the cottage cheese/eggs/milk mixture ,put some sliced tomato on top and cook in the middle of oven gas mark 4 for about  20-25 mins until golden....delicious warm or cold! The quiche is syn free and you can eat as much as you want! The small individual ones are made in small cake tins using a small piece of ham to line each one-just add a spoonful of the mixture on top of each piece and bake..

This whole cake is just 1/2 syn...its as light as a feather to eat and is scrummy! Separate 4 eggs, to the 4 yolks add 1 pack of low fat quark, 3 tablespoons sweetener ,1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and whisk together.. Whisk the egg whites with 1 tablespoon sweetener until very firm. Fold half the whites into the yolk mixture, then gently add the rest in. I used 2 sandwich tins but you can use a swiss roll tin... whatever you use -line it with grease-proof paper and spray with fri-light.
Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in centre of oven gas 4 for about 10-15 mins.. when lightly golden brown take from oven and remove the greaseproof straight away.leave to cool on rack..Then I mix 1/2 pack of quark with 1 tablespoon sweetener and spread onto the cake base..I use the frozen Forest fruits mix fruit from Aldi to put on top..tastes lovely and you could eat the whole thing for 1/2 syn..

But its good to share ;-)

Diet Coke  Chicken is another firm favourite in our house! It sounds pretty gross--but tastes bloody beautiful---So simple but tastes like you are being really naughty and having a Chinese takeaway!  Take 3/4 teaspoon of 5 spice powder

2 or 3 cloves of garlic-crushed

I cheat and use a tablespoon of this garlicky sauce I get from the local market on a Saturday instead..

1 Tablespoon of Worcester sauce

4 tablespoons of tomato ketchup or passata..

one can of diet coke..mix all of the above together in a jug.....
I always use this rice--quite expensive at £6 ish a kilo but it tastes lovely, takes longer to eat as its quite nutty and seems to fill you up for longer.... I use 1 mug full for the 2 of us--takes about 30-40 mins to cook..and there is always some left over-and its lovely cold..

While the rice is cooking  put 2 chopped up chicken breasts and one onion chopped into a frying pan to colour--then just add the rest of the ingredients from the jug..

 Simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens..

Enjoy! If you use passata instead of tomato ketchup its completely free of syns..
Many butchers make 'syn free' sausages -we have been lucky to find a nearby farm shop that does them--they are beautiful-very meaty and tasty-- they also do a very good rib eye steak that we have each week as a treat--
and no----we don't cut the fat off!!!  I save my syns up all week for this and my wine! And its so worth it!

Now to a couple of things we have tried and don't recommend---above is the 'smash' use a mix of Smash dried mash potato and herbs to create the base-then use passata, low fat mozzarella, ham and onions for the topping...have to say its not the best thing we have ever done--wont be doing it  again!
This is another waste of money in my opinion--thought the flavoured coffees would be a nice treat and a change from the chocolate Options-- they are all pretty horrible--had to add sweetener to all of them in order to drink it--which I don't normally unless you like really bitter coffee give it a miss!  I will add any more recipes I find and have tried --will maybe try the ginger and lemon chicken at the weekend--using low cal ginger beer if I can find some anywhere