Monday 17 December 2012


One of the many annoying things about Xmas is that you put up the decs and then spend the rest of the festive season picking them up off the floor and sticking them back up again.  So on and so forth ad infinitum. 

Like my yellow and white balls.  They will not stay up.

I've stuck them with rather lovely gingham washi tape but it's pretty hopeless.  The balls are just too big and heavy (ooh er).

I know what you're thinking.  Yellow. 

Not a colour traditionally associated with Christmas.

Well, at J and P Towers, we like to fly in the face of tradition (especially when we find a little pile of yellow card festering in the cupboard).

So, we made yellow and white balls

and yellow and white paperchains

Then I discovered some faux fur craft card in the cupboard.  Following Kat's instructions here, I made these fur card baubles:

Believe it or not, I'm not a great lover of Xmas decs but I do like to make a little effort with our Xmas wreath.  Not for us the traditional or the natural.  In fact, the more unnatural the better.  For two years running we had a plastic bag wreath fashioned from a wire coat-hanger and those transparent plastic bags you get from the supermarket to put your fruit and veg in. 

2010 was a little bit minimalist if you ask me:

One solitary pink bird

but I more than made up for it in 2011:

I added two glittery penguins and a pink flocked reindeer to the mix!

Although, I'm a great believer in the "more is more" school of wreath making (yes, that esteemed school), this year I've gone for a pared down look.  I've ditched the plastic bags, the glittery penguins and the pink bird and instead, it's furry pompoms, a cutesy penguin and the welcome return of the pink flock reindeer (tied up properly this time so that it doesn't knock aganist the door in high winds waking a poor Mr J and P up from his slumber - see here).
I wound a furry pompom garland which I'd had for many years around a wire wreath

OK, that's all folks.  Hope you all have a wonderful Xmas.  I don't like to go on about it but we're off on holiday just after Xmas - to Mallorca.  I know!  I can't wait.  Adios amigos. xxxxxxx

Friday 7 December 2012

They're dropping like flies

There always seems to be some sort of pet related "happening" here at J and P Towers.  They're either popping their clogs - see here and here.  Or, if one has popped their clogs, the other has gone into a steep decline - here.  Or we're finding mangled deer legs in the pets' hay - see here.

Last weekend was yet another pet hoo-ha.  On Friday, Dennis the rabbit who I posted about here, went the way of the fox.  I know!  What a shocker.  We have, for many years, let him run about in the garden and the first time Dennis actually manages to dig his way out, foxy loxy gets him *very sad face*.

Mr J and P and I were talking about him and Mr J and P said that he could never imagine Dennis as an old rabbit and then muttered something about "living fast and dying young."  Y'know, like:





 and Dennis:

Mmmmmm.  maybe not.......

The next morning, I went to feed the guinea pigs and noticed that Ginny looked very still.  Yup, she'd only gone and kicked the bucket *another sad face*.

Two out of three pets in two days!  I swear when we had to tell Little Miss J and P that another of the pets had died, she looked at us suspiciously as if we were, somehow, responsible for her beloved pets' demise.  It's really not true, I promise!

Here's hoping for a happier, non-pet related weekend this time around. xx

Friday 16 November 2012

Vintage sheets

Contrary to popular opinion (well, popular opinion in my house anyway), I have not been spending my time stroking my little collection of vintage sheets.

  Nor have I been inhaling their newly washed aroma of sheer loveliness.


Nor burying my head in them, emitting frenzied yelps of joy.

 Nor have I been whispering sweet nothings to them. You know how you do?


You see, dear readers, I've been busy cutting them.

 Into squares.

To make a patchwork duvet cover.


Snippings.  I almost can't bear to throw them away.  What am I like!
Actual squares:

 This beauty is going to be the backing:

Only another 60 squares to go *gulp*.

See you in a

Saturday 3 November 2012

Retro cook-off

In my last post I mentioned the Retro Cook off that Kylie and Donna are hosting today.  I'm taking part!  Not that I'm actually here.  No.  I'm sunning myself in (hopefully) sunny Spain and am keeping my fingers crossed that the Blogger scheduling setting works.

Anyway, the thing about some vintage cook books is that the photos are few and far between and what photos there are tend to be a bit rubbish.  Not only that but the recipes err on the side of too bloody complicated.

Fanny Cradock's "Adventurous Cooking" is a case in point:

Fanny and her hen-pecked hubby, Johnny:

Famous in the 60s and 70s, Fanny was known to be bossy, snobby and a bit of a tyrant
So yes, the book.  Unnecessarily complicated.  For instance, she has a recipe for "Casseroled Peas".  Why would you casserole peas?  The whole damned thing takes one and a half hours to cook.  Why oh why?

These are the instructions for "Savoury Swans with Hard-boiled Eggs" consisting of a hideous concoction of whipped cream coloured with green food-colouring piped on top of the egg with the addition of a pipe cleaner to form the head and neck of the swan:

I couldn't get what she was on about but then eureka!  I found this picture on the internet of what they should look like.  Erm, nice. 

Remember what I said about rubbish photos? Well, I found this bizaare item under the cakes and puddings section. It clearly has a meringue base but what the topping is I know not. I think it's supposed to be chantilly cream but it looks horribly like raw mince or possibly spaghetti.

I thought about doing this little gem for the Retro Cook Off: the chequer board:

It consists of bread squares, buttered and then spread with alternating caviare and smoked salmon and finished off with a parsley border.  Sorry chaps, but I was clean out of cavier. 

Instead I went for the simplest recipe that Fanny could muster:  Oranges a la Turque:

I took my one orange, peeled it and simmered in water for 15 mins.  I then removed the orange and  and added sugar to the water.  I simmered for a bit and then I popped the orange back in and simmered for a further 10 mins, took it out and popped it on a plate.  Meanwhile, I tried to cut the pith from the orange peel and then cut the peel into thin strips.  Popped them into a pan of water, brought them to the boil, strained the water away and added a second lot of cold water, brought to the boil and did the whole damn thing again for a third time. 

A gratuitous pic of the peel boiling away furiously
Are you still with me?  I then placed the orange strips in with the sugary water and simmered until the syrup became very thick.  I spooned it over the orange and popped a bay leaf on top (the recipe calls for an angelica "leaf" but I didn't have that).

At last!  I present to you Orange a la Turque:

You know, I'm thinking that it doesn't look that bad
Unfortunately, it collapsed and I couldn't get it upright again:

Mr J and P tucking in:

Mmmm, slightly chewy.

I think it's a thumbs down from Mr J and P
Mr J and P's verdict: "Not bad but it left lots of chewy bits in my teeth.  Kept me entertained for hours afterwards though."  Charmant.

After my efforts, I went on the internet to find more images of Fanny's delightful cooking.  Hell, why didn't I do this?  Banana Candles.  Aren't they utterly brilliant?  Covered in nuts, I think, and topped off with glace cherries.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this little beauty:  Fanny's very own Swedish Bird's Nest.  Consisting of:  chopped chives, capers, diced potato, anchovy and two raw eggs.  Delicious.

Nom nom

They don't make them like that anymore.........

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Let's get culling

In case you hadn't realised, Mr J and P and  my good self are dreadful hoarders.  Mr J and P is a terrible one for his books and I'm just terrible with everything.  Yes, dear readers, it's official:  I've got too much stuff.

I hereby declare to cull my collection of jars, for a starter, which are cluttering up the kitchen work top.  Lovely though they are - some are just sitting there EMPTY - and I haven't got anything to put in them because everything is in jars or some such container already.  I know, it's madness.

I'd like to show you my collection of vintage sheets which I'm massing at a steady rate in order to make a patchwork duvet cover.  However, they're stuffed in bags in my wardrobes (yes, I have two - a constant irritation to Mr J and P who is not happy with his mere one) and I can't get to grips with them.  I can't shut the wardrobe doors properly and every time I open a door something falls out.  It's very annoying.

I need to get organised.....

I need to cull......

and, more importantly, I need to make room for more stuff..............

So, what have I been buying? Well, take a look at this 1970s "Revelation" vanity case complete with its tag and never used (ebay £9.99):

The inside is pristine

It even came with these plastic containers which I'm inexplicably overexcited about
It now houses my little collection of perfumes:

Look at my lovely orange plastic snack tray thingymebob.  The little trays spin round.  This makes me inexplicably overexcited too.

I love this picture.  It's big and much more vibrant in real life:

Bernard Cathelin:  Red Anemonies on a Blue background
I found the large genie bottle decanter in a charity shop for £9.99.  The smaller one was 50p at a car boot.

One last thing before I go and tackle my jars.  I'm joining Kylie and Donna's RETRO COOK OFF:

Why don't you join in too?  Go on, you know you want to....xx