Natural Gemstone Pendants - handmade by me in the United Kingdom


I make unique one-of-a-kind pendants using natural gemstones like Agate, Amethyst, Jasper and Quartz but at very affordable prices. If you want to be different from the crowd, then check out my pendants and other items. You will never see anyone wearing the same as you.

I design and make greeting cards too.

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

What a blood bath!

Well that was a dramatic awakening this morning.  I obviously watch too many crime dramas and subconsciously wanted to replicate arterial spray at a murder scene.  

I couldn't believe how much blood there could be and how far it went from a nose bleed when you aren't awake to plug it.

If I had had a spare hand I would have taken a photo
J  It must have looked hilarious and I know that I looked a complete bloody mess!

I can only imagine how much blood there would be at a crime scene if my simple nose bleed was anything to go by!

It’s not the first one I have had while asleep but I guess I normally wake up a lot sooner.  A vampire would have been really handy at the time.

I woke up to a strange sensation of wetness trickling down my neck and as I moved I realised it was a nose bleed and just the effort of trying to get up and reach for some tissues sent it spurting even more.  

It had obviously been bleeding for a while too as my face looked like I had been in a fight with Rambo!  

The only part of my face that wasn’t covered with blood was my forehead.  I must have been restless because gravity hadn’t just let it trickle in one direction.  

I suppose that’s why I didn’t wake up sooner as it didn’t run down in one spot to make me feel wet.  I had just gradually got damper all over.

My blood had also managed to go own my chin and neck too so the quilt cover was covered as well as the pillow.  

A passing thought went through my head as to how much worse it was than once before when I had a nose bleed in bed on holiday once and how embarrassing that would have been if it had been as bad as this.

Honestly it would have made a great comedy film to see me trying to stem the nose bleed while trying to get the pillowcase and quilt cover off before the blood went any deeper.  

Obviously my heartbeat got even faster at the whole affair as the blood was pumping out faster than my tissues could hold it.

I know the best thing for the nosebleed would have been to sit quietly with it but I’m a woman and I knew how much harder it would be to get the blood out of the quilt and pillow if I didn’t get the covers off the bed quickly.  

Maybe I’m lazy but it seemed more important to me to get them off than to sit quietly at that moment in time.  Deal with the mess and then worry about the bleeding.

I can tell you – trying to keep some tissue plugging your nose when it is pumping to that extent with one hand while trying to strip the bed with the other is no mean feat.  

I am on Aspirin and I can tell you that blood was pumping out at every fast heartbeat more than I could possibly stem at the time.

I have decided that they probably don’t show murder scenes on television as they would really look in real life as even my simple nose bleed caused a total blood bath.  

My hand looked as bad as my face and it was trickling down my chest and down my arm from the hand that held the bundled up tissue paper to my nose.

I didn’t even attempt to tackle my pyjama top until I was sure the bleeding had finally stopped.  So I am signing off now as I have a machine load of washing to put out and a bed to make.  

Oh and my head still hurts…from the blood loss or from the pressure….who knows!

I only wish I hadn’t been home alone as it would have made some hilarious photos.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Dogs are like elephants

Well not exactly of course.

But you know the way they teach elephants not to run away by tying a rope round their leg attached to a post when they are young and when they get older as long as they have a piece of rope round their leg it doesn’t have to be tied to anything because they think they can’t escape anyway. 

Funny thing the brain and association!

Well our two little dogs will be 3 yrs old in February and they have a similar quirk.

Our back garden (yard to my American friends) is safe and secure because we had a dog before which we sadly lost to liver disease.  But when we first brought our two little urchins home it was OK during the day but the first evening we realised that we could not see the black one when she was out of the range of the patio light, so we couldn’t keep an eye on her the same as we could the little cream one.

So the next day we did a major construction on the lawn with bamboo canes and chicken wire folded in half lengthways so that it was about 2’ high and we could still step over it but it would keep the pups in a smaller area of the lawn and patio which was lit by the patio light.

We did have to make major changes a month or so later when one of them kept managing to climb up the fence and over.  So we unrolled all the wire again and tried to flatten it out again as best we could to its full 4’ height so that she could not climb over it.  Of course this meant that we had to build a make-shift gate to get through as we could no longer get over the fence either.

Well this fence stayed up for the rest of that summer and all of the next too but early this year we took it down as we now felt it would be safe for them to roam the garden and not eat everything in sight.

Now here’s the fun bit – they still go round the outside circle of where the fence used to be. 

It’s not that they ever went outside the fence so never really took that route as they were always inside it.  But now they have the whole garden they still seem to go round the imaginary fence.  The do go “through” the imaginary fence but not before they have run round the outside to get to the back of the garden and then they walk on to what was “their” area.  But then they go back out of “their” area to run back round the imaginary fence again to come back indoors. 

It is so funny to watch.  OK the grass is a lot better round the outside part of the lawn as it hasn’t been used as a female dog toilet or been dug up by playful puppies but it is not so noticeable for them to go round the outside.  At first they even made a pathway in the lawn just around the outside of the old enclosure but now they don’t necessarily go quite so close to the imaginary fence so the “path” is not quite so noticeable.

Dogs always seem to get used to a routine if you have one but our dogs seem to be really bad at having a definite routine, as they know our habits I suppose.  When I have been alone in the house upstairs on the computer they have been scratching at the lounge door in the evening because they know they are usually in there by that time even though there is no-one in there. 

Also they are used to me taking them down last thing at night to go to bed in the kitchen and the only times that I haven’t been the one to take them down they just wouldn’t settle and kept scratching the door to come back upstairs again as they couldn’t believe it was bedtime if I didn’t take them down.

If they hear a word that sounds remotely like “brush” their heads whip round as they think a treat is in store because they usually get one after their brush.  There are many little habits / expectations like this too.

And like all dogs of course, they always try to tell us when it is walk time, dinner time and treat time.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

How ridiculous! Littlewoods Catalogue needs to get their act together!

This is not the first time I have had problems with Littlewoods but as I like to buy my clothes from catalogues rather than dragging round the clothing shops in and out of tiny smelly changing rooms I persevere with them.

I hadn’t bought any new clothes for a while but wanted to get some for the winter so I chose some items and checked my emails in the offers file I keep to see if any offers were still in date.

Yes I found one with 15% off clothing and 10% off home and electrical – great I thought.  OK it’s been sitting there a while as it was sent last November but the expiry date was 28 October 2012 and seeing as it was now only 6 October I was well within the expiry date.

Would the code work – no it wouldn’t! 

So I placed the order anyway and immediately sent an email to Littlewoods to explain that it wouldn’t accept the code and could they please add it to my order so that I would receive the 15% discount.

I received their acknowledgement of my email which said they would get back to me.  This was followed a day or so later with an email saying it was going to be dealt with by the appropriate department.

This same scenario carried on for over a month – me chasing, them sending the same type of emails.

I received my monthly statement – no discount.

Now I hadn’t ordered from them for quite a few months so you would think they would be only too pleased that I had chosen to order with them again and would honour the discount without pause.

No – just pass-the-buck emails.  Presumably the idea is that you are expected to just give up and pay the full price.

But I ordered more than I would have because of the discount. 

I rang their customer service department and after putting me on hold for ages the person came back and gave me an address to send a hard copy of the email to so they could see it.

I had already sent a copy of the email as an attachment on one email and copied it on to the email another time.

So in this modern computer age where I received the offer online and I ordered online, I am expected to print a copy of their email to me and post it off to them by snail mail, only for them to still possibly ignore that 15% discount.

I feel I should take this to some trading standards thing or somewhere as this is ridiculous. 

I have their email as proof of their offer and the date had not expired when I placed the order.  What more do they want from a customer who has been with them for decades.

I do buy from other catalogues as well as I like to have a wide choice but Littlewoods are the only ones I seem to have problems with (well apart from La Redoute who never seem to send you the gift they have on offer at the time and send you a replacement crappy gift – but I wont go into that).

I will see what transpires with my Littlewoods discount!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Super Easy Mushroom Soup Recipe

Here is another of my so-easy-anyone-can-do-it recipes that a few of you have asked for.

The herbs and spices can be adjusted to taste so I have just listed the ones I use.

Large box Mushrooms
3 cloves Garlic
2 Vegetable Stock Cubes (made up with water)
Glass Wine
Fresh Basil
Fresh Chives
Mixed Herbs
Red & Black Pepper

All in pressure cooker, up to pressure, turn down for 10 mins, then off.  

Liquidise if you like smoother soup.

You can keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest J

Before serving you can also add a knob of butter and/or some grated cheese – stir to melt. 

Or you can stir in some milk or cream for a Cream of Mushroom soup.

NB.  I just made some yesterday and as I hadn't got any fresh herbs in stock I just sprinkled in some spices from my spice rack and it was still lovely.  

I always tend to add Mixed Herbs and some Black & Red Pepper from my spice rack to most soups.

The main ingredients (mushrooms in this case) and the Stock Cubes are the only important ingredients really.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Surely life doesn’t have to end this way! My own views on the Liverpool Care Pathway.

It has been a while since my last blog as I have been wanting to post this one but must have changed it a hundred times as I don’t want to antagonise anyone – anti euthanasia, pro the Liverpool Care Pathway etc. or upset anyone who has lost someone on the so-called CARE pathway.

But if I don’t post it soon I will never post it.

There seems to coincidentally be an awful lot about it in the newspapers at the moment too.

But I just feel I need to write this and get it off my chest as I have been agonising over this for nearly 4 years now.


If you were marooned on a desert island with no food or water, what would happen – your body would die!

So if you are lying in a hospital bed and you were given no food or water, then what would happen – your body would die!

If you are lying in a hospital bed and you are given a lethal injection, what would happen – yes, you’ve got it – your body would die!


The decision is made to end the life of your body at the point they put you on the Liverpool Care Pathway so at that point it is euthanasia – just slow euthanasia.

Due to some very outdated laws and oaths doctors can now put you on a slow death route as they are DOING NO HARM but they are not allowed to give you a lethal injection.

So instead of the nice painless quick ending that we would be kind enough to give our pets, they can only subject the body to die on its own through lack of the vital sustenance it needs to survive.

If we did it to a child, elderly person or even a pet AT HOME we would be charged with neglect. But do it in a hospital or care home and they put the name CARE into a form of euthanasia.

I am not against the Liverpool Care Pathway as such because it can save a person from living in a state that they would never be happy in again and may save them a long time in pain.

What I am against is not changing the law to enable doctors to sign the papers for a fast instant injection instead of signing the papers to withdraw all nutrition and fluids, when it gets to that point in a person’s life.

SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG HERE in this day and age.

It is a cruel way to end the life of a body.

I will never stop feeling “guilty” as I sat day after day at my own mother’s bedside and looking into her eyes knowing that her body was slowly being put to death, while she was muttering that no-one was feeding her and that she was thirsty.

Don’t get me wrong, she was 92 years old and had not really had much of a life for the last couple of years and she was in hospital because she had had a stroke.

After 3 weeks she could still hardly move and would have absolutely hated to have been in that state for the rest of her days but she was conscious and talking as best she could although it was hard for her to get the words out and sometimes she wasn't making any sense and her hand seemed to be writing what she wanted to say at the same time.  But she did know they were not feeding her and kept telling me, even if she only knew subconsciously.

I had been unable to visit her on the Sunday and when I came in on the Monday they didn’t say anything but when I spoke to the nursing staff they mentioned that her feeding tube had FALLEN OUT on Saturday. I thought they stitched those tubes in!

They said that as no doctors were around over the weekend the tube had not been put back in.  Then they gave me a leaflet on the Liverpool Care Pathway which I guess was supposed to answer most of my questions before I saw the doctor as his time is precious.  They said I could make an appointment to see the doctor the next day if I wanted.

So by the time I could see the doctor and complain / approve their decision 3 days had already passed and her organs were already damaged, probably past the point of no return.

I was told she would not last more than a day or so in her weakened state as she was effectively already into day 3 of the Pathway. She actually lasted 5 more days after that.

I don’t know how awful that felt for her to not be given nutrition and fluids, and more importantly I have no idea how horrible it must have felt for her to have her organs shrivel up and die slowly inside.

But I do know how awful I felt knowing that it was 100% certain that her body was about to die and there was nothing I could do to end it quickly for her.

We don’t do this cruel thing to our pets and we shouldn’t have to do it to our loved ones either. It is cruel to them and it is cruel to us.

The current newspaper articles are about whether people are put on the LCP unnecessarily or without permission from the relatives.

But having been through this, my point is that if it is clear the patient will not get through the illness or will have no quality of life left in their last remaining days, then surely we can save them having to go through this awful process and end it in a more humane way for them. It is not dignified to put them through this ordeal when there is a simple way out.

In circumstances like this it is time to change the law!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Yellow Mint Sauce Indian Restaurant Style Recipe

Do you love that orangey/yellow sauce in one of the pots they put on the table with the poppadoms while you are waiting for your Indian meal to be served?

I love it and could happily eat a whole pot myself.   So I asked my favourite Indian restaurant for their recipe and this is it.  

Yellow Mint Sauce

Natural Yogurt + Milk to thin

Green Chilli to taste (approx. 2 small)


Garden Mint

2-3 dessertspoons Sugar

Mango Chutney


Blend the extra ingredients, then add to Yogurt

These are the basic ingredients but this is one of those dishes that you can add as much or as little as you like to get the taste you like best, as some like it stronger than others.

I haven't got a photo to show you but will add one next time I make it, or visit the Indian restaurant which gave me the recipe.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ooh dear – thought they were cheap!

We have been putting up some sheds at the side of the house to hopefully empty the garage so that we can turn it into a room.

We had to buy cheap sheds as they are the only ones we could find that were narrow enough.  With sheds you obviously get what you pay for!  They came with lots of bits to assemble, which were far from perfect shapes and they don’t fit together very well.

We bought those ones that you don’t actually go inside – they are more like outdoor wardrobes or cupboards with double doors that open right out.  We needed them narrow to fit down the side of the house as the back garden isn’t very big. 

If they were more expensive we wouldn’t have been able to buy 5 of them so we can’t really complain about the workmanship of them.

Down at the allotment quite a few people have been getting sheds, which normally arrive in about 6 pieces and go up in about half an hour. 

Hmm and then there are our sheds!  Our sheds arrived in about 20 pieces (plus all the fittings) and take most of the day to put up each one.  2 days for the one that would just not sort itself out and was all twisted.

The bits are warped, not quite the right size, knots in places you need to put a screw, the tongue and groove doors have gaps – you name it, these have it.  Even the floor has an extra strip that you have to put on as the original floor is not long enough (they provide the strip for you).

Never mind, they are all up now, we now just have to put some form of shelving in them and we can start emptying the garage.

It is so good that we are both very easy-going patient people as others I know would have smashed them to smithereens by now and used them for firewood – they probably wouldn’t even burn but that is all they are really good for!

They do look a bit like a row of lockers but at least they don’t take up as much space as walk-in sheds and all the space inside is usable.  I doubt anyone will see them down the side of the house besides us anyway.

We’ve just got to empty the contents of the large (nearly double) garage into 5 incy wincy little sheds now J  

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Easy Coffee and Walnut Sponge Cake

As requested here is my very easy fool-proof recipe:

8 oz Soft Butter
8 oz Caster Sugar
8 oz Self Raising Flour
4 Eggs
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Instant Coffee (enough boiling water to dissolve – leave to cool)
½ packet (approx. 4 oz Chopped Walnuts)- keep aside some to add in the middle of the sponge and large pieces or halves to decorate

Coffee and walnut butter icing (amount to individual taste) for middle
1 teaspoon dissolved Instant Coffee
Walnut pieces

Coffee icing for top and side
1 teaspoon dissolved Instant Coffee

Turn oven on to 170 degrees.

Make coffee for the sponge (if you don’t mind the extra washing up, make 3 coffee mixtures ready to use).

Line 2 sponge tins with non-stick baking paper (or grease the tins well).

If the butter is still a bit hard, put it in the microwave just above defrost temperature for about 30 seconds until just soft as it makes it easier to mix.

Put all the ingredients (apart from the walnuts) into a large bowl and stir well (you can cream the sugar into the soft butter first if you want, but I find it isn’t essential). 

When it is all mixed in you can stir in the walnut pieces (I break mine up quite small – each half into about 6 pieces).

Divide the mixture into the 2 sponge tins.

Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes (until they feel springy on top – but don’t test until about the 30 minutes or they will sink in the middle).

Take them out and cool on a rack (tip - keep the one with the best rounded top upwards and the other one with the top downwards on the rack, so the 2 flat parts are in the middle of the cake to ice).

Make another coffee mixture with as little hot water as possible and when cool add it to butter and icing sugar – make as much as you like for the middle of the cake.

Make and cool the last coffee mixture so it is cool to make the setting icing for the top.

When the sponges are cool, put the bottom sponge on the serving dish and spread with the butter icing and push some walnut pieces into the icing (or you can add them to the butter icing before spreading it if you prefer).

Put the other sponge on top.

Make up the icing with the last coffee mixture and add the icing sugar, adding a little bit more water to get the amount of icing you want.

Spread it over the top of the cake (and round the sides if you want). 

In my photo I made the icing a little thinner plus more than normal and let it run down the sides and on to the serving plate (spoon up over the bits it missed on the sides until all covered).

Decorate the cake with the walnut pieces (tip – don’t put them too close to the edge if the icing is still runny as they will fall off).

If you want just the basic reminder instructions, here they are:

Put all sponge ingredients in a bowl, stir, divide into 2 tins.

Pop in the oven 170 for 30 mins, then cool.

Butter ice the middle, setting icing the top.  Walnuts to decorate.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Oops –shouldn’t have done that!

I say that, but if I knew what caused it I certainly wouldn’t have done it.

One or other of the discs in my back is playing up again which is why it has been a while since my last blog I am afraid.

You may laugh if you saw me as this time I just can’t sit down.  Sitting down seems to push the disc on to the nerve so I have spent 2 weeks now either standing up or walking about.

Wow – is that boring , or what!

I haven’t even been able to get online as I only have a desktop pc.  It is definitely one of those times that I wish I had a tablet or a phone that has internet access.

I have been baking as it is something I can do standing up so hubby has been happy.  Talking of which, I had my first ever disaster when baking a Ginger and Marmalade Cake the other day.  Hubby wasn’t quite so pleased about that as he had to clean the oven afterwards! 

The tubs I buy of Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda are exactly the same apart from the name and, of course, I mixed them up and put the wrong one in the cake.

You should have seen the mess.  You know how it is, you pop the cake in the oven and then forget about it until it is nearly time to get it out.

Well, when I looked through the oven door (as best I could as I can’t bend down) I couldn’t believe it.  The cake was bubbling, not only at the top of the high cake tin, which I never expected it to reach when it rose, but it was bubbling all down the side and all over the oven floor.

Plus, of course, as luck would have it, I had 2 cakes in the oven and had put this one close to the front so I could get it out first – so what happens – it had gone all over the door as well as down between which meant it had also made a mess of the bottom oven underneath as well.

It’s a real good job that the other cake turned out fine which redeemed me in hubby’s eyes for all the cleaning up, as the disaster cake went in the bin.  It tasted like neat Bicarbonate of Soda. 

Logically it should have been good for the tum as it had Bicarbonate of Soda and Ginger in it.  But definitely not to be!  Obviously somehow Bicarb does not work with either butter or with eggs!

I regularly make Date Loaf and indeed the Fruit and Nut Loaf (that survived in the back of the oven) with Bicarbonate of Soda but there is water in the recipe and no butter or eggs.  Flour and sugar is obviously ok as they are in both recipes.

So note to self:  Always check the labels before adding!

I don’t know if helping to erect a shed had anything to do with my disc going out (I have 3 bulging discs according to the MRI and my consultant) but I was really only passing things (screws etc.) an holding things in place, leaning on them while he screwed them together and nothing strenuous as I was being careful.

So whether it was getting in different positions to normal or whether it was “just the straw that broke the camel’s back” I just don’t know.  The pain came on when I was supermarket shopping (no I wasn’t pushing the trolley) and if I had been at home I may have been ok as I normally put my moist heat pad on my back and sit down at any sign of my back going normally.

I am very happy though that the nerve isn’t trapped or the disc leaning on it all the time, as that is what happened the 3 previous times.  Standing up all day is something I can easily put up with – it is just that I get bored.  It is surprising how many things we normally do sitting down!

I gave up waiting for it to ease off and stacked some big books under my keyboard and mouse but it still means the monitor is low (as the leads wont allow me to put that up any higher.  So after a few days of trying to type at arms length and my neck leaning forward to see the screen, I got neck ache and had to stop doing that as well for more than a few minutes at a time.

Thank goodness for gadgets.  One of my most used is my “picker-upper-thingy” – a long handled grabber (like a long gun with pincers on the end).  I have learnt to pick up everything with it, from cat fluff to shampoo bottles, even some cake ingredients out of a low cupboard when I was on my own the other day.

It would be so funny to watch me I am sure, but I have got it down to a fine art now which is a good thing because why is it that you keep dropping things when you can’t pick them up?!  It’s like when you cut your finger – everything you seem to do catches on it.

Anyway, although I am not better yet, I have managed to do this blog in short spurts so I will post it and hopefully be back to normal service soon J

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Do we eat anything natural any more?

Vegetables are not what they were a couple of decades or so ago.  We now only have neat-shaped fruit and vegetables that have been grown in artificial conditions.

They have to be the right shape and colour.  They are treated and sprayed so that they can travel thousands of miles to get to our shops and still be in good condition.  They are grown in artificial environments so that we can eat every type of fruit and vegetable throughout the year instead of just when that item is in season.

Even "organic" ones are contaminated in some way by the chemicals in the wind, rain and underground water supplies, even if they aren't sprayed and fertilised.

We live in a very artificial world.

We have just got an allotment this year but the produce will still not be "natural" or "organic" as such because we have to:

Buy the seeds which have probably been changed in some way.

The land used to be farmland so has probably been treated with numerous chemicals.

The water is from an underground well which all the water from the fields nearby drain into after the farmers have sprayed their crops.

The chemical spray from the nearby fields probably blows over in the wind and rain.

If we did use any fertiliser, even from the nearby horses instead of in fertiliser bags, we don't know what they have been eating in their feed.

We now have chickens so our eggs are as free range as they can be but we still have to buy layers mash to feed them on so don't really know how they treat that.

We will never be able to get back to natural truly organic food as we have done too much damage to our soil and water but I wonder how far they will go in producing perfectly shaped and coloured fruit and vegetables for us to buy – will they all be identical in the racks in the shops so there is no real choice at all – it’s getting that way now.  And what happens to the ones that don’t conform to that shape and size – they get thrown away or ploughed back into the fields! 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Banana and Brazil Nut Cake Recipe - my own recipe

I had some bananas that were going a bit squidgy again and so thought I would make a cake with them. 

I decided to try making up a different recipe using brazil nuts and a few other things I had to hand.

It made a lovely cake which was totally consumed in 24 hours, mainly by my husband as I only managed to eat 4 small slices before it all disappeared – and it makes a big cake.

I was debating on icing it but never really had chance before the first chunk disappeared.  So as it was really nice just as an undecorated cake, we were happy.

So here is my recipe:

Banana and Brazil Nut Cake

This recipe is extremely easy.

Turn the oven on to 150 degrees (electric fan oven) – low/medium heat.

Into a large mixing bowl add the following, mixing after each ingredient is added:

4 large Soft Bananas, mashed
4 oz softened Butter
8 oz Caster Sugar
12 oz Self Raising Flour
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
4 XL Eggs (or 5 medium eggs)
4 oz Chopped Brazil Nuts
6 oz Seedless Raisings
1 tablespoon soft Honey
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon Mixed Spice powder

Stir well to mix all the ingredients.

Pour into a large greased circle tin (with the hole in the middle) or a large cake tin.   

(It would probably work in sponge tins if you cooked for only approx.. 30 minutes or bun cases for 15 minutes).

Cook for approx. 70 minutes (until a knife comes out clean).

Best to cover with foil for the last 15 minutes to stop the top burning.

The cake can then be either left as it is or iced, whichever your preference.

Enjoy J

(I have some more recipes on my blog – just look for Recipes down the right hand side).