Wednesday, 27 December 2017


First of all, I am really sorry not to have replied to the lovely comments I had on my blog last time I was on here. I shall endeavour to do so in the next few days. As you can imagine, with my mum dying, and my hubby’s broken leg, and then Christmas, I have had more than enough to cope with and time has been very short. At times I have become quite overwhelmed with everything and have lost the plot on more than one occasion. When things are normal, I can just about cope with what I have to do, but add another raft of problems and things start to go a bit pear-shaped chez Shosh.

However, over the past few days things have generally been better. We have had a quiet couple of days over Christmas with no visitors, and I was able to concentrate on the dinner and just spending time with my hubby and the kitties.

We have loved having everyone dropping in to see us, but it all takes up such a lot of time and I can find my schedule slipping alarmingly, and I begin to get a panicky feeling that things are slipping beyond my control. Sometimes I’ve just had to apologise to people and take myself off and get on with things, and leave them to socialise with my hubby, which has made me feel a bit rude but it was the only way to keep going. Another problem is that most people have no idea about not letting the kittens out into the house from the flat – they stand with the door open, and before we know it, Ruby has dashed off upstairs, or worse, into the kitchen and I’m terrified of her getting outside when people are in and out! I can’t blame them, because they don’t know our arrangements and their aim is to see my hubby and they aren’t concentrating on anything else, but on occasion this has happened when I am at some crucial stage with the cooking or I’m already multi-tasking more than my poor brain can cope with!

Once we are back to normal again and people aren’t in and out all the time, we will be able to give the kitties the run of the house as we were doing before. At the moment they are generally very content in the flat with my hubby – they have loved having him there all the time, with a nice big warm lap for them to sleep on, and I have been spending as much time as possible in there too.

Here is Lily, lying as she so often does these days – shameless hussy, everything exposed!!

02 Lily On her Back on N's Lap 22-12-17

She is the most soft, floppy and laid back kitty you could imagine. She’s as bad as my hubby – all she wants to do is sleep!

Here is Ruby being queen of the castle on top of the cat tree. This one’s full of life, and wriggles and fidgets when being cuddled, but purrs her head off the whole time!

12 Ruby Queen of the Castle on Cat Tree 24-12-17

Do you remember Beatrice the Computer Queen? Well, it seems that Lily is following in her footsteps! She has been helping my hubby on his laptop.

13 Lily the Computer Queen 24-12-17

Ruby, like Phoebe, isn’t a bit interested in the computer – she is more interested in having fun and generally being a really cheerful, enthusiastic kitty with no intellectual bent whatever.

Here are the latest videos of them. Can you believe they are now seven months old?

I have been doing lots of therapeutic cooking! On Christmas Eve I cooked a new recipe after watching Mary Berry on TV and just had to try her fish pie with soufflé topping. Here is the result.

Mary Berry's Fish Pie with Souffle Topping 24-12-17

The topping is done with cubed white bread and whipped egg white with a melted butter and cheese mixture. I used a combination of cod and salmon and chucked a few prawns in for good measure, and it was the most delicious fish pie I have ever tasted! This one’s definitely a keeper, and I don’t think Mr. Tesco will be persuading me to buy his “Finest” fish pie again! Thank you Mary!

My Christmas dinner was a triumph. It was the first I had cooked since 2006. That was my swan song, and I managed to prepare everything and did my best table decorations ever, but I didn’t really enjoy eating it because I was going down with a horrible flu-like illness and by tea time on Christmas day I was feeling so rough that I went to bed and didn’t get up for a week. I never bounced back from that, and it developed into the ME which has been with me ever since.

This year I was determined to cook a proper dinner again, with all the trimmings. OK, I did buy a Lidl Christmas pudding, but everything else I cooked from scratch, just for the two of us. I thought my hubby could do with spoiling, having broken his leg and been deprived of going out and doing all the things he wanted over Christmas. Here is the table, just as we were ready to sit down and eat.

01 Table Overview

Starting top left: crispy bacon and pigs in blankets. Top right: gravy, bread sauce, carafe of the delicious red wine which was given to us by our lovely neighbour. Middle, left to right: roast turkey, carved and ready to serve; three stuffings: chestnut, mealy (a traditional Scottish recipe made from oatmeal, a firm family favourite), and date and walnut; carrots and sprouts with whole chestnuts. Front row – the best roast potatoes I’ve ever cooked, after finding a tip online to par-boil them and then freeze them, and cook them from frozen, having tossed them in semolina. Crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. I used Maris Piper potatoes, which, like King Edwards, are ideal for roasting. All laid up with my best china and silver on my favourite hand-embroidered tablecloth from my Scottish grandmother.

Here is a close-up of the decoration for the table napkins.

02 Table Napkin Decoration

This is the small table centre I made.

03 Table Centre Detail

These ribbon and paper decorations were made for my swan song Christmas table and I’ve used them on occasion in between. I can mix and match the different elements.

After we’d finished, we settled down to watch the Queen’s Christmas broadcast.

04 The Queen's Christmas Broadcast

I was delighted a few weeks ago to discover that because I’d lost so much weight, I was able to get into my Afghan Nomad Dress again! I made this many years ago and could never bear to part with it. The whole of the front of the bodice is covered with hand embroidery, and it has a very full skirt, and is made of several different fabrics, all in rich colours.

05 My Christmas Outfit

A bit difficult to photograph as a selfie –here’s an old photo of myself in it when I first made it.

Afghan Nomad Dress 4 - Spread Skirt

For Christmas this year, I braided my hair with ribbons and added some gold flowers. Here’s a back view.

06 My Hair, Back View

My hubby was thrilled!


In view of all our current difficulties, we decided to have Mum cremated privately before Christmas, and then to have a memorial service in mid-January. This means we’ve got more time to plan something really special, and also more people will be able to attend who might have been away at Christmas. There’s still quite a bit to sort out, and plans for the service are coming together nicely now, and once the Christmas dust has settled, I shall be able to get down to producing the order of service as I did for Dad’s funeral.

Health Update

At long last I have an appointment to see my surgeon – on 11th January. I was getting desperate, having been promised an appointment before the end of the year and hearing nothing, so I phoned his secretary, and she passed me on to the appointments department, who immediately referred me back to her! I was spitting tacks after this. Since the return of Miss Piggy, my hernia, things have got more worrying – it is now in the same state it was at the beginning of the year when it caused a blockage, resulting in emergency surgery and me being really poorly for ages, something I am more than anxious to avoid repeating at all costs. I am suffering quite a lot of skin irritation around Kermit, my stoma, and he has not been settled all year really, and things are now worse, not better, which has been very disappointing after having such a good year last year. Hopefully my surgeon will agree to go ahead and do a proper repair in the New Year.

Finally, here is what my hubby gave me for Christmas: a set of Derwent Graphik Line Painter pens. I’d seen some reviews of these on Youtube and was longing to get my hands on a set! They come in a lovely box with a slip cover.

06 Derwemt Graphik Line Painters

Hopefully in the coming year I shall get more time and energy to do a decent amount of art, after what has been a pretty disappointing year.


  1. Sounds like you have really been through a tough time and I do pray all goes well with your appointment. I love the nomad dress and can understand your wanting to keep it. Lovely to see you in the original photos. Cute kitties.
    sandra de @4

  2. Firstly, Shoshi, my sympathy for what has obviously been a really stressful time for you whilst I have been absent from the blogging world. (I will go back and catch up with your posts.) Sensible decision to have a memorial service next month. My MIL died a few years ago just before Christmas and I had the task of organising most of the funeral/burial/wake. Thankfully our local hotel managed to find a room for us for a few hours, and put on a wonderful buffet at very short notice. I cannot cope with a lot of visitors now and relieved that this year it is just me and Rich. I always end up being the 'best hostess ever' and exhaust myself. Your Christmas lunch and table looks wonderful. How wonderful you could wear your glorious dress again. Glad to see the kitties looking so well and happy. In 2018 I am going to concentrate on journalling/scrapbooking, plus some different techniques like pyrography and encaustic art. We plan to spend a lot more time in Spain (there may be some exciting news soon!), as the light/warmth really helps with my symptoms and general mental health. Hope that 11th January brings some real plans for getting your repairs sorted. Ali x #9

  3. I wasn't expecting to hear back from you after the last post - you had more than enough to cope with. The plans for your Mum's service sound a perfect way to do things at this busy time of year as people will want to be there.
    Your Christmas table looks fabulous- I cooked properly for me too, though can't get to my dining room table (it's covered in books and stuff) so it was a tray dinner as usual.. Yummy though! Hope the appointment goes well, and you convince them to to the repair. Much love. Helen #1

  4. Hi Shoshi, here's hoping that 2018 will be a much better year all round. That dinner looks amazing and the fish pie too; I'll have to look up the recipe. You are not the only one with a computer helper. My brother's cat regularly sends Skype messages to my parents. Keeping fingers crossed that all goes well with the consultant. You look fabulous in that dress and with your Christmas hair. Happy New Year Sarah #14

  5. Hi Shoshi, firstly our deepest condolences on your Moms passing. I've been so plagued by this blasted UTI, I've had no energy or inclination for visiting blogs, and had no idea. Still trying to get rid of it, on third week of antibiotics for this round!
    Poor Hubby! However did he manage to do that? Will he be in plaster long? Must be driving him potty.
    I think you made the right choice with your Moms cremation, a memorial service in Jan is such a lovely idea. Dress looks gorgeous, I can see why you would not want to part with it.
    Have the rest of a lovely week, Hugs, Shaz #13 XxX

  6. Hi Shoshi, you have certainly had a busy time. I fully understand the need to go off and have some quiet time, and I'm sure your visitors would too. Your dress is amazing - and how lovely to wear it again. I wish you well for your appointment in January. Best wishes for 2018, Heather #17

  7. Thanks for the update, Shoshi - I was wondering how you were getting on. Hope things will return to some sort of normality soon. I know what you mean about people visiting - it's nice but after a while you really just want them to go home so you can get on with things. Lovely to see the kitties thriving! I can understand how stressful it is trying to keep them safe with people coming and going. Oreo now spends lots of time outdoors and I always start worrying when he's not back within an hour and go look for him outside. He always comes back within 10 minutes after that, so I know he must be there somewhere close by! Good job with the Christmas meal - it's much easier to cook for a small family than a dozen people - I would find that extremely stressful - in fact, I don't think I could manage it. Cooking just for the three of us is almost enjoyable! As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of cooking - I used to enjoy it much more when I only cooked for myself - I find it stressful trying to please other people, who have different tastes from me. (Oreo has just walk in, shouting his head off LOL - I wonder what he wants!) That dress is lovely - well done for slimming into it - just goes to show it's worth keeping old clothes that we can no longer fit into - I have high hopes too LOL! It was lovely to see a photo of your younger self - you haven't really changed that much - you've changed a lot more compared to the photos from a few years ago! Hope things get much better for you in the New Year, Shoshi! You deserve a break after all this! Best wishes xx

  8. I loved reading about life in the kitty household! I'm so sorry for the loss of your Mum, and your hubby's broken leg, makes my poor Christmas seem like a walk in the park. But you seem to have coped most wonderfully, your dinner looks awesome, and you, you look absolutely FABULOUS! Thanks for sharing the kitty antics, always puts a smile on my face! Have a wonderful New Year, Lindart #25

  9. Hi Shoshi, sounds like you've had more than your share of upsets recently. However, pleased to see the kitties doing well and the dress is gorgeous, lovely photos too. Thanks for the visit to mine, have a great woyww, Angela x12x

  10. My my - you have been a busy lady. First I am sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. I recently lost my Dad and I know that it is heartbreaking. I cannot believe those kittens are already 7 months. Time just flies. Your dinner table looks lovely. Good for you making everything (almost) from scratch. Happy New Year.
    April #21

  11. oh my,, you have had a rough time,,so much loss and sadness and sickness as well, your lovely cats are there to keep you company and what a beautiful dress, it is gorgeous! A most wonderful gift you were given!! Best of luck at the doctors appointment, I hope you are gven the answers needed to a better health situation,

  12. Hi Shoshi, sound like 2017 has not been such a good year for you and that you've clearly had more than your fair share of troubles. Hope your hubby is making a speedy recovery. Well done in making such a fabulous dinner - your table looks wonderful. That dress is gorgeous and you look stunning. Have a wonderful Hogmanay and a great crafty 2018. Elizabeth x #27


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