My Reading List for the Next While

I have always loved to read; Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton when I was small and Stephen King when I was, what I though, a totally grown up teen (usually scared to move when I turned the light off)!

Over the last few years I have let my reading slip and haven’t read as much as I would like. I was in a reading group at the local library and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I read books that I would never have even looked at before, and also met and enjoyed the company of people which I would probably have never came across either. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to go to it for a good few months now, but I really am going to put the effort in to starting back next month!

Anyhow, after my rambling here are a list of a few books which I have read already this year and a list of other ones which I want to read over the year. Making this list I have discovered that this could be a year of re-reads. Most of the books that I am planning on re-reading I have come by by chance, so have took that as a sign that they are to be read again. (I buy most of my books from charity shops or look out for them on Amazon at 1p).

So, to start, here are the books that I have already read this year (not as many as I had hoped, but it’s a start).

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I enjoyed each of the books for different reasons. The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale is a quick read and when you get to the end of each chapter it just makes you want to read on. I am not fast reader but if you have a spare afternoon I think you could finish this book in one sitting!

The Thread by Victoria Hislop is so beautifully written, when reading it you could be sitting on the sea front in the Greek town with the sound of waves in your ears and the feel of warm sun on your face. This book is about the Second World War and how it effected the whole, of what was at the start a small village, to after the war was over. A absolutely stunning read.

ABC Murders – Agatha Christie, need I say more. I love Agatha Christie and had this book read over about 3 nights.

I adore Tudor history and could read about it forever (and there possibly would be enough books out there about it to do just that). Bess was a formidable lady during Queen Elizabeth I reign. She came from practically nothing, to being the richest women in England (bar the queen). A fascinating ensight into a truly amazing lady’s life.

And now to my list of what is to be read over the however many number of months it takes me (I did say I was slow reader).

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A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Hare with Amber Eyes are top of my re-read list, along with The Book Thief and The Poisonwood Bible. And of course another Tudor book, The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser.

There are also loads of new books which I’m including on the list, these include –

  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Burnt Shadow – Kamila Shamsie
  • The Travelling Hornplayer – Barbara Trapido
  • Death Comes to Pemberley – PD James

As you an see my nights and weekends are going to be pretty fully for the next while. I will give you an update as and when I get the books finished.

Also please let me know what books you enjoy and you tend to go back to over and over again, and also if you have any recommendation on new books feel free to leave a comment, and I will check them out.

See you soon xx

 

 

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What I’ve Been Up To

What gorgeous weather we are having here in Northern Ireland! We just can’t believe our luck, especially as it was the May Bank Holiday yesterday and we could get out and about, instead of sitting in the house watching the rain hit the windows!

Well things here at Bean and Beth have been quite hectic as of late with one thing and loads of others. I though I would do a little blog post to bring you up to speed with what has been and is going on. I still have my Etsy shops (Bean and Beth, and Bean and Beth Vintage), although at the moment I have my handmade shop closed as I try to decide what direction I want to go with it. I love making my crocheted items but finding time to do so has been really hard lately and when I do crochet, I like to do it for the fun not to try and meet deadlines. I am also trying other sewing projects (just for fun mind you), and I am happy so far as I have not stitched my hand to anything yet (although there is away time).

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I also have my eBay shop still open and have been trying to keep on top of it! I even decided to get an accountant for last year (how grown up is that), as figures are not my strong point. So the boot sales are in full swing again. Saturday mornings are all about early starts, coffee stops on the way there, freezing our heads off walking around the sale and usually coming home with approximately 6 things (it was actually 3 pairs of shoes last weekend, I did despair a bit!), but I suppose this is having the full reseller experience.

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So that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Over the next wee while I am hoping to share with you my crocheting, sewing, baking and over course reselling stories with you with photos and everything (I’m getting very tech savvy!!).

See you soon!

 

 

My Feet Haven’t Touched the Ground!

My goodness, I know it’s a clique but doesn’t time just fly!. We are already 3 weeks into the Summer holidays here and before we know it, it will be August and all the back to school crap that goes with it. Shoes, pencil cases, school bags, auughhh!

Since my last blog post (which seems to have been light years ago (my apologies)) I have been up to so much and have been a right busy bee (and sometimes a right tired and anxious mare). So what have I been up to? Well, at the end of last year I started a handmade Etsy shop, then at the start of this year I started a vintage Etsy shop, and an Ebay shop. This has all been on top of my full time job!! My feet haven’t really touched the ground in last 6 months, to be honest, and the dust and ironing pile is just growing higher (nothing new there then).

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Ok, let me tell you a bit about each shop, so you have an idea what I’m up to and that I’m not just swinging the lead, browsing Etsy for pretty shiny pink things (not that that would every happen, hem hem!). In my handmade shop I started by making things that I like myself, planner clips and fabric flower brooches. Now I still make these, just not to the same extent, as I am trying to add more crocheted items to the shop. I make crocheted baby blankets and accessories. I found crochet last year and have taken to it like a duck to water. There is always some form of crochet happening each night.

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Then there is the vintage Etsy shop. This as you can tell sells all vintage items, mostly from the 70’s and 80’s and some a little further back than that. I enjoy selling these items as I love everything I buy and would happily keep it all. Although I think I might just need a house twice the size of the one we are in at the moment to house it all.

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And lastly there is Ebay. This is the one I spend most of the time on. My Saturday morning lie ins has been swapped for early morning elbowing at the car boot sales. Now I am not usually a morning person, but when it come to Saturday morning I am up and out of the house for 7.30am and at the car boot for around 8.00am. The most surprising thing of this little part of my adventure is the husband (Paul) has now jointed in on these Saturday morning trips. I’m still questioning my decision to let him come with me, as the last time he ended up coming home with ramps for his car, and today he came home with a 1990’s stereo with turntable (where the hell that’s going I don’t know!)

So that’s what I have been up to. Now that I’m back I hope to keep you updated with all the going on’s that are happening. So keep an eye out for new handmade stuff, anything vintage that I turn up at the car boots and other daily shenanigans.

See you soon

Highland Toffee and Krispie Buns

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Really, there can be nothing better in this world than proper big wodge of krispie bun, and a cup of tea, can there?? I always loved these as a child, and because they could be whipped up in minutes, even better.

I was talking to my husband about crispy buns (I know, we really can have come weird conversations) the other night and we were reminiscing about how my mum and his granny use to make the using the bars of Highland Toffee. I don’t say this often, but, OMG who remembers Highland Toffee? 10p for a whole bar of creamy gorgeousness. We were still wondering if you can get it anywhere, because none of the shops local to use have sold it in years. But, it was delicious even to eat it on it’s own, it lasted ages and usually you would lose a filling to it somewhere along the line.

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As I said they were easy to make, just melt the toffee and add to rice crispies and the let it harden, with the optional extra of chocolate on top. But, as Highland Toffee can’t be found locally I came across and religiously use the below recipe for my krispie buns now. They are lovely and light, hold together really well, and will satisfy any sweet toother. I use a square cake time to make mine in and they turn out like door steps they are so thick.

So here it is, enjoy!!

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Ingredients

45g butter

300g marshmallows

180g rice crispies

300g chocolate – I use 2/3 milk chocolate & 1/3 dark chocolate

sprinkles (Optional)

  1. Pop he butter and marshmallows into a pan and heat until the marshmallows have all melted. Stir the mixture regularly
  2. Meanwhile measure out your rice crispies into a bowl
  3. When the marshmallows and butter have melted together pour over the rice crispies and stir it together. You need to work quickly here as it gets very sticky very quick.
  4. When it’s all mixed together, tip the krispie mixture into your tray/tin and pat it down. (See below for tips at this part)
  5. Leave to harden up. You can leave i on your counter or put it in the fridge if you have room
  6. Melt your chocolate and when the crispies have hardened pour it all over and then if you like add sprinkles.

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TIP 1 – The first time I made this recipe I didn’t line the baking tin and found it extremely hard to get the buns out, so from them on I lined the time with baking paper and found them a lot easier to cut and remove from the tin.

TIP 2 – Because the mixture is so sticky it can be hard to pat it down into the tin. I found having a small bowl of water near by and dripping my spoon/fingers into the water and then patting it down meant the mixture didn’t stick to everything.

So, there you go all done, now whose got the kettle on!!

Heather x

Krispie Buns

Back So Soon!!

From my last post, you can see that I’m trying to play catch-up with the blog. So here I am, back already (believe me I’m as surprised as you are!).

Unusually we have been having really beautiful weather here in Northern Ireland (not a rain cloud in sight) over the last week, so every available minute has been enjoyed. Me and Beth have enjoyed walking at night, and Mr Bean and Beth has had time to sit and rub his new prized possession (might try and get a few photographs for you, it’s a car by the way)!!.

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With the sun being out I got a few photographs of the flowers in our garden. I do love pink flowers, and thankfully this year the sheep haven’t broken out and ate them (could have made chops out of them last year, they ate everything)!

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Also I have been baking again, we call the buns Fifteens. They’re a no bake recipe and I’ll share that with you soon. I tried a chocolate loaf cake as well, it turned out nice, but I think I need to tweek it a bit, and when I get it just right I’ll share that with you too.

So that’s how we have spent the last days of summer and the start of autumn. I’ll leave you with a photo of a beautiful sunset we had the other night as well.

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See you soon

Heather x

Excuses and Craft Fairs

When I started this Blog I thought, I’ll do this weekly, every Tuesday, I should be able to manage that. Shouldn’t I? Well here I am two blogs in and already two blogs missed. Yip here it comes the excuse, but wait, it’s good, honest!

I started a little craft/handmade business (shameless plug, you can find me on Facebook at Bean and Beth). I have always loved making things and in particular cross stitching. But, over the last few years have never found enough time to really get my teeth into it. Believe me I have had one cross stitch on the go for 15 years. Its beautiful too, a geisha, I have all the cross stitch done just the backstitch need finished, which is why I have never finished it. So I took the bull by the horns and started up Bean and Beth.

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Anyhow, getting waylaid a bit, back to my excuse. I had planned to go to a craft fair in November, giving me plenty of time to get bits and bobs made, and then I got asked if I wanted to go to another fair last weekend. Now bear in mind I was asked 10 days before the fair. Of course me being me I said yes, and then realised the amount of work it was going to take. But I wasn’t going to back out of it. So I spent every available minute between then and last weekend making my wears.

As for this week I have been making some orders for Halloween signs and personalised items, and have been trying to play catchup to the ironing, not to successfully might I add.

BOO Sign

So there you are that’s my excuse, and of course I did take pictures of my stand at the fair and then proceeded to delete them later off my phone, so I can’t show you that, but here are a few of the items I make and sell, hope you like them. Let me know in the comments.

P.S. You can find me on Etsy too!

Halloween wreath

Purple book mark

Retro flower brooch

See you soon

Heather x

Chocolate Cake and Weekends

I know, we all ask the same thing come Monday morning, ‘where did the weekend go?’. I make all these plans of what I’m going to do, and then come Sunday night, not one has ever been carried out. So as of last weekend I decided that I was going to plan my weekends better. No more running into town, when whatever I need can be got on a Friday. I do all the housework in the morning (YUCK!! but apparently it has to be done), and then that leaves me all afternoon to do whatever I want. I thought that I’d show you a picture of the view from the front of our house on Saturday. It really is beautiful whether it’s a good day or even bad.

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So this weekend I thought I would dust down the slow cooker and make a lovely fudgey chocolate cake pudding. I had never made a pudding or cake in the slow cooker before, and I tried this out a few weeks back, and was absolutely amazed at how good it turned out. I even fooled the husband into thinking that it had been done in the oven. I’ll share with you below the recipe I used, which I have to confess I snuffled from I Heart Naptime. This recipe is delicious as my daughter will wholeheartedly agree with (as will her chin and most of her top by the time she was finished).

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SLOW COOKER CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

1 cup Flour

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Milk

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1 Tbsp Vanilla

1/2 cup Nutella

1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

Topping

3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

3/4 cup Sugar

1 1/2 cups Boiling Water

Spray your slow cooker with oil or rub butter around it. Mix flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Then whisk together the milk, oil and vanilla and then add that to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then fold in the Nutella (I soften it slightly in the microwave first, as my kitchen can get cold) and chocolate chips. Spread this mixture into the bottom of the your slow cooker.

To make the topping, add the cocoa powder and sugar to a small bowl (I use a jug), then pour boiling water over the top and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then pour the mixture over the top of the batter. DO NOT STIR. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or until the top of the cake is puffed up and set. Enjoy serve with some vanilla ice-cream.

As Beth said to me when I handed it to her, yum yummy yum!!

Sorry about the photographs, they really do no justice for how the cake actually tasted (my kitchen wouldn’t have the best of lighting).

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Hopefully you give it a go and enjoy it has much we have.

Heather x