Energy Drinks


When I was in my 20’s I spent much of my time awake.  Not because I couldn’t sleep but because there was so much to experience I didn’t want to miss a minute.  I worked hard and played hard.

Not being much of a coffee drinker at the time, and not really enjoying fizzy pop, I was always looking for an alternative.  Then one day, out of the blue, I stumbled across Purdey’s which, as I recall, had the liquid zeitgeist guarana, in it.

And so began a lifelong love affair with a berry that, for quite a while, became my best friend.  However, life moves on, and as so often with friends or a close relationship borne through work or social connections, it will often fade over time if one or another stimuli aren’t there.  Similarly with Purdey’s, my once best drinkable buddy and I, despite loving not only the taste of the drink but also the design of the bottle, slowly drifted apart.

Until this week, when, whilst pottering around Waitrose picking up something for lunch, I spied, out of the corner of my eye, a silver bottle.

Now I’m not declaring myself to have magpie habits, but I do feel I am probably naturally drawn to something that catches the light, which this bottle did.  Taking a closer look I was delighted to see that it was, indeed, my old friend Purdey’s.  Instinctively I picked up a bottle and sashayed over to the ‘pay for me now’ counter, without even checking the label.

Imagine my surprise then, when eventually reading the label, I realised guarana was no longer present.  However, I had, by this point, opened and begun to enjoy once more, the multivitamin taste sensation, coupled with a trip down memory lane, both of which I enjoyed enormously.

I won’t be buying Purdey’s regularly, and am not disappointed that it no longer contains guarana, but it’s nice to know it’s there, just in case the feeling takes me.


Buying Cake

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Every Thursday, the wee boy and I have a little treat.  To be honest it’s one of our many little treats.  All part of the excitement of being four (insert age here) in my opinion.  I suppose, if I thought about it long and hard enough, I would possibly contend that actually, I may be over doing the whole notion of treats, but I haven’t thought about it that long and hard, because I don’t want to ruin the magic.

What is this little treat?  I hear you ask.

Buying cake.

Not any old cake though, oh no.  We go to Waitrose and choose a cake from their very exciting little cake stall within the shop.  And today’s cake was a strawberry and vanilla cupcake.

The wonderful thing about the Waitrose cake stall is that they put the cakes in a beautiful box, which makes it feel extra special.  We then go straight to the cashier, the wee boy hands over the money in exchange for our cake and a token to put into our chosen organisation plastic box slot, and take the escalator back down to the car park.

By this time the wee boy can hardly contain himself and is already holding his cake, carefully taken out of the box, so that when he gets sat in the car he can take that first bite almost immediately.  And thus the weekend has begun.

On the way home we talk about our day, and what we might do on our ‘me and you’ day.  Precious moments I wouldn’t miss for the world.  And ones I store in my own metaphorical beautiful box to take out as often as I wish.

What could be more magical than that?

Sweet Potato

iStock_Sweet potatoes

Aren’t potatoes a wonderful thing?  I am always amazed by how many differing types there are.  I have never eaten a potato, or a potato dish and thought it was unpleasant.  In fact I would go so far as to say I find almost everything to do with potatoes delicious.

So today, realising we have absolutely no food in for the weekend of any significance, I popped into Waitrose to pick up a few bits.  One of which was some sweet potatoes.

Now I really must just have a diversional rant here.  Whilst in Waitrose, happily minding my own business, my eyes were presented with a father and son image that, quite frankly, I find completely abhorrent.  Why does a certain type of male insist on putting the collar of his t-shirt up around the back of his neck?  What on earth possesses them to think this is in any way an attractive, stylish or appealing look to impose on the public?

Just to clarify though, a collar turned up on a Mackintosh coat I understand completely.  In fact, many coats lend themselves to the turned up collar look. Having a penchant for film noir I am appreciative of those men who carry off that unique elegance.  I don’t even have a problem with men sporting the look at private parties, sports venues or in their own home.  I’m not completely unreasonable.  Indeed what people do in their own homes is their own affair. But I find it deeply unreasonable to enforce it onto the public.  Myself especially.  Surely I am not the only one?

So, aside from gathering all my wits in order not to march up to said father and son and turn their collars down, the image momentarily completely puts me off balance. However, I eventually managed to compose myself and continue with my tasks. One of which was to purchase a few glorious sweet potatoes.

Now for those of you who are not versed in sweet potatoes, my advice would be to begin your journey by slicing and twice cooking them.  By this I mean, slice them into wedge or large chip size, put in a pan of water, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes, then drain and dry.

You have now cooked them once.

Put your oven on gas mark 7 and heat some vegetable oil in a roasting dish.  When the oil is hot put the dried potato slices into the oil and swizzle them around.  At this point I sprinkle salt over them all, but you may wish to pop them in saltless.  Top shelf is best for these.  Leave them for around 20 minutes and then turn.  Leave in the oven for another 20 minutes or so.  They should come out crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Alternatively, of course, you could deep fry them.

You have now cooked them twice.

The other way to start you adventure on the sweet potato train is to take out up to one third of what would have been white potatoes for mash and replace with sweet potato. Cook together with the white potatoes, drain, mash and butter up as usual. You will have the most delicious, slightly sweet, orange mashed potato.  The wee boy is extremely partial to this method.

Whichever way you decide to cook your sweet potato, now is most definitely the time of year to get cooking them.  The colour is sublime, and totally complimentary of the season.

Who said style over content?

Entering the age of technology

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Guess what I’m doing?  Prepare to be astounded.

I am, in fact, sitting in Waitrose cafe, free coffee at my side typing on my laptop, and I don’t mind telling you, feeling very chuffed with myself.   You see, although I have seen very groovy people type away on their laptops in cafes, and watched endless reruns of Nigella tap tapping away at her computer, surrounded by books, looking very glamorous and relaxed, I never for an instant imagined that this could be me.

I am usually flying round places packing things in, grateful that I don’t have toilet roll hanging out of my pants.

However, this morning I woke up and thought, I have a whole heap of things to do and read which are all on the laptop.  Which means, in effect, that I could be anywhere with wifi and accomplish these things.  I cannot tell you how this has transformed my thinking.

You see usually, when I have an administration morning, I am at home.  ‘How lovely’, I hear you say.  Well, it is and it isn’t.  When I’m at home I am distracted by things that need doing.  Mainly cleaning.  When I say I’m distracted, I don’t mean that I am distracted because I get on with these tasks.  On the contrary.  I just sit, work, and feel more and more guilty about not having done the tasks, often to the point where I will, that evening, telephone someone in order to discuss the household tasks I haven’t yet completed.

Although, to be fair, I’m sure there’s a law somewhere that states you do have to talk about your most dreary tasks for many, many hours, before really knuckling down to them.

Today though, the cleaning dichotomy is not even in my peripheral vision.  Today, I am getting distracted by people.  Glorious, interesting, diverse and almost without exception fascinating, people.  You know the other wonderful thing I’ve realised about ‘working’ on a laptop in a public space is that you become invisible to those around you.  Ooo, all these things I’ve yet to learn.

And so it is that I find myself catching up with the age of technology, ever so slightly, feeling very glamorous and indulgent.  All I need to do now is knuckle down and actually work.

The thing about trees…




Sitting in my garden, surrounded by trees with the last glow of the day casting a glorious light on proceedings, I can’t help but feel content.  Yes, there are weeds and slugs and other wee beasties surrounding me.  Yes, there is the tinkling of the ever present ice cream van which continues until the final rays have bid their farewell to the day and yes, the blithering fox is still squarking away in the allotments down the road, an ever present being at this particular time of year, but it’s lovely.


There is, however, a downside to having a large cherry tree in your garden, just above where the car is parked.  Bird poo.  The bat mobile (I promise you it looks nothing like a bat mobile, but 4 year olds enjoy naming things, and who am I to quash imagination?) spends every evening as an open target for all the flying wildlife that enjoy a stop over on the cherry tree’s branches, before going on their way, and consequently, every morning, we potter down the garden to see how much coverage has happened overnight. I’d like to believe that I could keep this barrage under control, but sadly, it just doesn’t figure high enough on my agenda.  But there comes a day when the embarrassment of driving around in a bird toilet gets the better of you.  And today was that day.


Morning things happen and, just before I knuckle down to things which cannot be put off any more, I go for an indulgence from the wonderful Waitrose.  A free coffee.  Did you know you could pick up a free beverage every day with a Waitrose card? Genius, as I always have a quick saunter around, looking at things I’d like to buy if I had the money.

Which sometimes, I do.

So I head off to Waitrose and suddenly have a slight misgiving.  Can I really drive through the car park in a bird toilet?  I take the bull by the horns, decide it’s not my issue, and, head held high, I find a spot, do the necessary, and dismount.  Do you dismount from a car?  Anyway, I get out.  Slowly, I scan the other cars in the car parking area, looking to see just exactly how much the bat mobile stands out in the crowd.  The car next to me is covered with some sort of sticky stuff.  The car opposite has also been treated to a bird party.  The car next to that obviously has issues with a muddy driveway.  And so it continues.  Well, actually, I stop looking and flounce up the escalator with a spring in my step.


Later that day, myself and my beautiful 4 year old assistant clean the car.  Just as we’re about to leave, we hear hear a large plop on the roof.


That’s the thing about trees.