Thursday, 31 December 2009

My poor neglected blog

Oh dear!

I havent blogged since February!! How do I sum up 10 months in a a few minutes?

The most important change to our lives has been the redundancy/retirement of Peter. He had not been enjoying the travelling over to the office near the airport, so when his team of 4 had to be reduced he volunteered to take redundancy. At nearly 60 he did not expect to find another job near to home (and hasn't actually been looking all that hard!) so has had a lot of spare time to spend on his railway, taking long walks etc. It has taken a little while to get used to him being home all the time, but we are getting a routine sorted out now.

My marketing has continued -- we still do markets at Buxton, Bakewell, Whaley Bridge and have added Castleton to our monthly schedule. Takings have been variable - some surprisingly good markets and some very disappointing ones too. Here's hoping next year will see improvement all round. Sales on Etsy have also been variable -- very few during the summer but quite a rush during December -- in one week I spent about £100 just on postage!!

On-line sales have been boosted by the opening of a 4th Etsy shop -- MarmaladySupplies -- for baking disposables such as cake tin liners, muffin cases etc which has worked quite well. I have also taken the plunge and launched my own website --so I am now a dot!! -- . This was with the aim of selling my edibles in sterling -- but the vast majority of sales (averaging 1 or 2 a week) have been of my baking supplies.

There have been a few family events during the year too. In March my 86 year old father was taken suddenly into hospital with kidney failure and we were warned that at his age the outcome might not be good. After 3 long weeks of his grumbles he was fit enough to return home, and with his medication re-jigged has been fitter than for quite a while. His dementia however continues apace and he is still easily tired by any mental or physical effort. We are due for another round of hospital visits shortly as he has now been diagnosed with prostrate cancer - we will find out how serious it is at his next appointment in mid-january.

In July my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a family party. Not many people reach this milestone - so it is a shame that Dad can't remember it!

My mother's youngest sister, Hilary, had been unhappy in her rented house in Romiley for a while so we were pleased to find a nice flat in Chapel for her. The move was difficult as she has the family failing of being a hoarder - decided what to part with was hard!

Lizzie surprised us in November by announcing she was off to Australia for 6 weeks over Christmas -- a holiday she is thoroughly enjoying. She is due home at the beginning of next week - the time seems to have gone very quickly.

I think that brings me up-to-date on the milestones of the year. Have just looked over my goals for 2009:

to lose some weight and keep it off -- well I am finishing the year about 2 lb lighter, - my max weight loss was about 10 lb

to be more organised generally -- ummm fail I think!

not to fret over things & people I cant change but concentrate on things that can be improved -- think this one has been reasonably successfull

My goals for 2010? probably similar to last years -- with the hope of more success!

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Clutter abounds in our house and time has come (others would say is way over-due) that action must be taken!

According I took a table at the Girls Brigade Table-top sale yeserday.Unfortunately, although I did make some sales, the majority of the takings were from marmalade & cakes. And what space was liberated was more than taken up by the boxes of railway magazines that somehow made their way into the house from a railway exhibition!

However, all is not yet lost in the de-cluttering stakes. I have now opened a third etsy shop, MarmaladyAllsorts for my de-stash supplies & vintage items. Imagine my delight when I actually sold a cup & saucer this morning! A small start, but a start non the less! I hope to be adding stock regularly!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

National Marmalade Day -- Feb 15th

Today has been designated National Marmalade Day, so this post is about my marmalades!

After 3 weeks hard work, all the marmalade oranges were finally processed! (Chopping oranges can get soooo boring!! lol ) Most are in the freezer for use throughout the year, but I also made 150 lbs of marmalade of various sorts.

I am trying out 2 new varieties -- Golden Marmalade which is a mixture of oranges, lemons and carrots and also an Orange marmalade with Earl Grey Tea -- inspired by seeing a marmalade-flavoured tea!

Also this year, I have jazzed up my marmalade names -- hoping that an eye-catching name will inspire people to pick up a jar --and result in a sale! It has been fun & also brain-taxing during the last few weeks to think of appropriate names for all my varieties -- or new marmalades if I come up with a name that doesn fit any of my existing ones!

Today, I have re-vamped the marmalades in my etsy shop -- I have added a section for Marmalades ( rather than have them in with other preserves) and added several new varieties. I have also taken some new photos, and edited the listings to include the new names

Monday, 19 January 2009

It's that time of year again!

January is seville orange season -- the time all marmalade-makers have to buy their oranges for the year ahead. Acordingly, this morning I collected 8 boxes of seville oranges weighing 40 lb each! So for the next couple of weeks I shall be living and breathing oranges as I get them all chopped, cooked and frozen!
According to the leaflets in the boxes, this year's oranges are from the Ave Maria Farm in Mairena del Alcor, Andalucia, Spain.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Sunday shopping & culture

Yesterday we decided to go into Manchester for some shopping and culture. Due to husband not checking the opening times of the shop he wanted to go to, the shopping aspect of the trip was truncated! I did ,however, buy a nice summer blouse for only £5.40 in Debenhams sale.

After a lunch of delicious soup at a cafe we pressed on with the second part of our day -- the Holman Hunt exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery.

As it was the last day of the exhibition it was quite crowded --there was actually a queue to get into the rooms of the exhibition. It was an excellent display of a lot of his most famous paintings and some lesser known ones too.

Holman Hunt's religion-inspired works have never been my favourites amongst the pre-Raphaelites although his earlier ones like Autumn Leaves are nice. I must say tho, that i am warming to his "Light of the World" now I have seen the actual painting rather than just reproductions of it.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Another new year already! Where did the old one go?

Last night we went to out local Italian Restaurant (the Vecchia Italia) with a group of friends as we have for the past 20 years or more. As always the food & company was great. Usually on New Years Eve there is a good party atmosphere as midnight approaches. Last night was a bit weird tho. The restaurant was full when we arrived, but most diners left as soon as they had finished eating, so at the magic hour, there was only our party remaining to celebrate! Was this a result of the recession, the bitterly cold & frosty night or did everyone have somewhere better to go on to ?

I don't like making New Years Resolutions -- it is too dissappointing if I have failed to keep them up even through January let alone the whole year -- so instead here are some of my goals for the year:

to lose some weight and keep it off
to be more organised generally
not to fret over things & people I cant change but concentrate on things that can be improved

Happy New Year everyone!