NPME

The Easy Life of Food!

posted by Natalie Paddick

The Easy Life of Food…!

 

I am blessed with three beautiful children, a girl and two boyz, this means a house full of teenagers, for some reason they do not live in the same time zone as us! Therefore once they are on holiday away from the confines of a normal timetable.. It becomes an epic to try and feed them all. So what can happen is the fridge gets raided at all times of the day and night, and their choice of food is what is ever easiest and quickest to quell their instant hunger! One will just fill up on cheese, another on crisps and biscuits and one on endless bowls of cereal… This is of course is fine for the occasional meal but not good on a daily basis… Particularly as their mother likes to cook!

So here is my tasty sausage and beans recipe, it can be cooked in advance left in the fridge and then reheated in the microwave at any time of the day …. And if you are going to serve this to adults look out for my tip below!

Sausage & Beans – My Way!

Sausages – any type you like

Onions – quartered

Baked Beans

Tined Tomatoes

Tomato puree

Squirt of Tomato ketchup

2-3 Garlic cloves

Paprika

Mustard powder

Salt & Pepper

This is a one pot cook, no ‘faff’ recipe. Cook the sausages in oil in the pan give them a good healthy colour, bung in the onions, and cook letting the ingredients stick a little to the pan, brings out the flavour. Don’t let the sausages and onion burn, when it looks like they are going catch, pour in a little water, stir making a sort of gravy out of the fluid. Once the sausages are cooked….

Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat through and Da-Da it is done!

This is how my children eat it!

In the mornings:- This could mean in the middle of the night in the wee hours!

Heated up with fried eggs on top… And crusty bread…

At Lunch or Dinner:- This is any time after 12 noon…

Heated up – Topped with grated cheese served with chips or fried potatoes and a crisp green salad…

Tip – Conversion for the adults!

Serve with roasted peppers and rice…. And for my husband …. Fresh chillies … You can of course roast chillies in the conventional way, heating them over a flame until the skins become black and then putting them in a plastic bag to remove their skin… But this is supposed to be an easy recipe … So for a quick flavoursome way of adding some heat… Cut the chillies into rings cover them with cider vinegar and add caster sugar to balance the flavours… Let the chillies rest for 20 minutes, to take on more of the flavour… Delicious sprinkled over the sausage and beans… This chilli recipe can be used with all sorts.. Really lovely with cheese …

To be honest with you … Anything goes with this recipe .. In terms of the ingredients … Whatever you feel in the moment.. I have ‘poshed’ it up on occasions for an easy adult supper… Adding chorizo sausage, chopped fresh herbs… Adding butter beans and kidney beans… If you reheat the recipe in the oven, it gives the flavours a much deeper expression. Just before serving sprinkle spinach over the top… Serve with crispy garlic bread and rice …. Delicious ….

And now for a Quick Desert …..

Banana Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

My son is either non stop eating banana’s or he leaves them in the fruit bowl to wither and go black! … Not to worry… ! This is the best way to deal with them…

250g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

125g butter or similar

250g caster sugar

4 black bananas – mashed into a bowl – Or what you have

2 eggs – beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g chocolate broken into pieces

Heat the oven 180C (350F / Gas 4)

Mix and mash butter, sugar, bananas, eggs, extract.. Don’t over mix.. This recipe is better on the rustic side! Add the dry ingredients and chocolate with a quick mix and pour into an oiled loaf tin. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the skewer test works! Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then turn out… If your children happen to be around you can serve it warm …

In the mornings:-

Serve with butter … With a cup of tea or coffee….

At lunch time or Dinner:-

Serve a slice with vanilla ice-cream …

This cake really lasts well … Well it would if it was not eaten so quickly!

Enjoy …. X



My.Idea.Of.A.Tart

posted by Natalie Paddick

Caramelised Onion Tart

As I have said I loved to cook, I don’t mind what I cook as long as I am cooking….

I don’t eat meat and I can’t eat flour products …. But I don’t care because I can cook them! I have a keen sense of smell and that is how I flavour my food…. I then have a household of willing participants to check my seasoning … So all is well!

As you might imagine meal times are a bit of a marathon in this house as everyone has slightly different tastes and favourite meals … For me this is a good thing … It means that every meal time I get to cook many different meals .. Not everyone’s idea of fun … I realise … But it works for me!

This onion tart can be used for any season and is great if you are entertaining a vegetarian, just melt some goats cheese over the top for extra pizzazz. The tart works beautifully as an accompaniment to any meat dish and I also used it in packed lunches … So in brief it is a great all-rounder!

The best tip about making this tart is the painting of beaten egg over the base of the tart to stop it having a soggy bottom! A tip for all tarts if you ask me!

But no it is not one of my recipes it belongs to Delia! Here is the link:

CARAMELISED BALSAMIC AND RED ONION TARTS WITH GOATS' CHEESE – Just Google it!

The sauce in the picture is my recipe and it goes beautifully with this zinging tart.

Natalie’s crunchy mayonnaise

Judge the amount of ingredients to suit your needs and the amount of people you are serving.

You don’t have to use mayonnaise, sometimes I use yoghurt! Use what you have nothing is written in stone. Just mix them all to taste. Here is what I put in!

Mayonnaise

Good glug of Olive Oil

Dijon mustard tsp or so

Squeeze of lemon

Chopped spring onions

Capers

Chopped celery

Cornichon – Gherkins

This sauce, is quick and easy and works so well, with so many other dishes. The caramelised tart is really quite sweet because of the balsamic vinegar. However if you use this sauce with another meal such as beef or fish, you can sweeten it with a dash of honey or even a squirt of tomato ketchup! Enjoy X

 


Flourless Chocolate Cake

posted by Natalie Paddick

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I am not into cake or chocolate really for that matter... I know … I know… I am a freak of female nature! When I was a child my mother would have made for me the most amazing cakes for my birthdays in a desperate attempt to normalise me into being a standardised female, in her eyes. My mother the ‘Super Model’ loves a cake .. She is one of those breeds of women who can eat any amount of cake without it having any effect on her waistline whatsoever..

….The cakes she had made for me, before it was even fashionable to have cakes made into items/objects that do not resemble cakes at all … I had cakes made in all styles, one was in the shape of pond with frogs seated around the edge, playing musical instruments. This was when I was going through my frog spawn phase; like all children I was fascinated by the change of squidgy, sticky mases of clear baubles containing a tiny black dot that relatively quickly transformed & grew tails & limbs & heads & then jumps out of their containers, springing around our garage attaching themselves to dust in their journey to escape their confinement from me. I loved the cake, but I never wanted to eat it! On another occasion in a determined effort by my mother to bring out a ‘sweet tooth’ in me she had a Hansel & Gretel cake in the shape of the witches house, it was quite beautiful, the roof was covered in smarties held in place with icing sugar, the little house had decorated marzipan panels all around the edge of the chocolate building. Icing sugar icicles hung from the edge of the roof & beautiful handmade summer flowers decorating the garden, all in full bloom …. Yes it was not lost on me that this cake had an issue with its seasons … But it was quite a masterpiece…. Did I eat it? …. ‘No’ … I ate some of the smarties off the roof & took the cake to school, to share the main body of the masterpiece with my school mates …. And many happy teachers….

So despite all my mother’s best efforts … To turn me to the ‘sweet side’ …. It never worked …. I say …. ‘Let me eat cheese!’ …. However I have always loved to make cakes, it was just the need to find someone to eat them for me … I forced these cakes on my friends, boyfriends, the gardeners at my childhood home and the window cleaner, who was extremely partial to a cake and would most often leave the house after polishing the windows, with a sizable chunk of cake for his family wrapped in tin foil for a safe journey home. My mother started to change her view of me … If I could not eat cake .. Then maybe I could make cake .. Best of a bad job … & I can make cake! …

Understandably my husband on the grounds of health and safety, his health and safety, was reluctant to consume entire cakes just as a means to keep his cake cooking wife happy. So I looked for other avenues to consume my passion for cake making… My sister-in-law and niece were always eager to comply, so there was a bonus! When we had our daughter and subsequently two sons, they all had the ability to eat cake, which was a great relief for my mother & me … I would make the most elaborate cakes … Quite ridiculous really … But the children enjoyed the spectacle … Now I am lazy [cake wise] … I just like to make ‘easy’ cakes and this recipe is one I often like to make..

Obviously this flourless cake is ideal for people who love cake but are intolerant to gluten, it is also very much a cake that can be enjoyed by all, that is the beauty of it … I like to make it with dark chocolate [70% solids], however, when we have had an excess of Easter milk chocolate eggs in the past & I became fed up with the children attaching themselves to the ceiling on another sugar high. I would use [steal] the left over chocolate from their eggs to make this cake. Obviously this is not an ideal ingredient for an adult cake, but you can freeze it and bring it out for a children’s/family gathering. [Just be careful how you defrost it].

This cake lends itself for all occasions and seasons, if I want it to look posh over autumn, winter gathering … I hide the natural cracking on the surface of this cake behind some skilfully piped design made from ganache mixed with a bit of icing sugar to make it stiff and take on the shaping of the piping…. In the summer, spring I serve it either just dusted with chocolate powder and cream or adollop of silky ganache over the top allowing it to spill over the edge of the cake in a decadent way & serve it with vanilla ice cream …. Beautiful ….

So the recipe I hear you cry …. Which is taken and slightly adapted by me, as we all do with our favourite foods, to suit our family’s tastes. This recipe is taken from Amy Willcock’s Aga Baking. [Don’t panic you do not need an Aga – it cooks just as well in a conventional oven too!]

Serves 8-10 [I also make this cake in half the size too]

I use a spring bottom tin 22cm 8.5”

Pre-heated oven 180*c / 350*f / gas4

350g good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

175g unsalted butter .. I use whatever I have [don’t panic if you only have salted butter]

6 eggs

235g golden caster sugar [I sometimes use just caster sugar – I am beginning to think I a bit of a cooking slut!]

1. Grease tin.

2. Melt the chocolate & butter together.

3. Whisk the eggs into a frenzy – So they become fluffy & pale.

4. AGA – Roasting oven – 20 minutes, turning the cake half way through cooking. Then transfer into the simmering oven for another 20 minutes. Check the consistency of the cake with a skewer, when you poke the cake some of the cake should come away with the skewer, unlike a ‘normal’ cake! Cool completely in the tin..

5. Conventional Oven – Bake in a bain marie for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven & leave in the oven with the door ajar. Remove from the oven, remove the cake from the bain marie and let it cool in the tin ….

All I can say is ….. Enjoy ….. I know you will …..

Let me know what you think …..

 

 



TurningGrandmaIntoAMudPie

posted by Natalie Paddick

Turning Grandma into a Mud Pie….

I have thought long and hard about writing about some 'bits' of my life. If I should? .. If I can? Like most people’s lives it has been an interesting journey, particularly with regard to my family and extended family. I have a great memory for detail sometimes the memories are too vivid, however and even better I have a good sense of the bizarre and the humour that is required to go along with it. Some of my stories are very black, but my survival technique is comedy. Turning Grandma into a Mud Pie, is the first of my stories, to be committed to public scrutiny. Here I can introduce you to some of the characters in my life! Enjoy ….. (I hope)…

So welcome to my musings on a mad world …

Turning Grandma into a Mud Pie

Ten years ago, or thereabouts, we were invited to my favourite aunts home, (my ‘fathers’ sister). Her name is Elvira, she has an eccentric rambling house outside Brighton, which rather matches her character. She was going to host a large ‘Jones’ family party, in addition to which, was to include the final resting ceremony of my grandma's ashes and to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday. Well as near as dam it! To the senior members of the Jones family around about that time … Facts rarely influenced a situation and almost never get in the way of what they want to do and how they want to present a particular set of circumstances …… They just make up the pieces to fit and if they don’t they lie or shout! … To be honest …. I come from a long line of over-reactors! They only worry about reality if and when it happens! To my reckoning it would have actually been grandma’s 103rd or 104th birthday .. But hey-ho!

Grandma passed away at the grand age of 98, whilst me and my husband and our then two children, we now have three, were on holiday in France. We did not attend her cremation, but like most of the family cremations it was held at Golders Green crematorium, all the organisation was as ever controlled by my biological father, known to me as Trevor…… I think I was asked by him to call him Trevor, which is his name, when I was about 13 and it stuck, for many reasons….. Suffice to say that there is a great deal of bad feeling between Trevor and myself!  But when you have money you have control and he was in control of grandma’s cremation arrangements. But Trevor is not the story today that is for another time. At the end of the cremation Elvira was handed the ashes until such time as the family agreed on a final resting place…. The ashes were to be safely stored at Elvira's and her husband Doug’s sprawling overgrown house for the next few years. Or so we thought! 

So, for this momentous family gathering various members of the Jones family clan were shipped in from all over the UK and from far flung corners of the world. The party was to be a two day event…  I did not attend the party on the Saturday as Trevor was attending… He cannot abide to be in my company … And it felt fair to me to give him and his long term partner Hilary some space with his siblings and others. My totally eccentric aunt Elvira kindly invited my mother and I to meet up with the rest of the family on the Sunday, as Trevor would have left the proceedings. So I took my mother and my nine year old daughter to meet grandma’s children, my aunts and uncles and her great aunts and uncles. I thought it would be an exciting occasion for us all … If not illuminating… 

Grandma I was told had thirteen pregnancies and seven surviving children, five boys and two girls. Which, in itself is quite an achievement as my grandparent’s contempt for each other was so extreme that they could not bear to be in the same room together, in their own home, so as not to come across each other, with the exception of bedtime, she had the front room he had the back room… When they were out together in public there was a heartfelt and palpable atmosphere of utter disgust between them…  One of my earliest and most shocking memories of my grandma Doris Margaretta Jones was that she would regularly have outbursts of a varying pitch and level at my grandfather publically. Saying in response to any comments he may have made…. “He makes me spit! He makes me SPIT!” She would during the day repeat this comment with unfettered distain toward him… As a young child this was quite shocking and alarming, as to me grandma was a pillar of society and the matriarch of the family, whom I felt safe around, which in my childhood was rare at times. To me she had the highest moral values. It was out of character to ever imagine that grandma would lower herself to spit… Like a navvy in the street! Simply shocking! … Although being the type of child I was, I was kind of excited to see her do it and wonder what effect it might have on my mother’s sensibilities … Wicked child I am!  I can confirm that to the best of my knowledge grandma never did spit and over the many years I just came to accept that is what she said when grandpa was around..… Another childhood dream of seeing her spit was dashed!

It was a further source of equal bewilderment to me that grandpa, with equal regularity, when we were all out, in a restaurant, in an airport or any public place, he would hold up his hand and point out the signs to the Ladies toilets? …Raising his pointed finger at the sign of the WC and booming at my grandmother ….. “Doris there’s the Lavatory, ….. THERE…  The lavatory Doris …The lavatory’s are there Doris.” I realise now, it was his way to irritate her and embarrass her…. But as a child it seemed very strange that grandma could not see and read the signs for herself and why would she not be equally interested in where the restaurant was, for example? I mean she was partial to a cup of tea?… Never once did he not do this …. He would then slide up behind me, grab my arm with the most painful iron like grip, which made my legs buckle under the pressure… And hiss his laugh in my ear through the front of what I think were his dentures, this gesture always ended in a quiet throaty whistle…  Her obvious response was that he made her spit! But still, to my irritation, no moisture was ever forthcoming! 

Growing up in this strange world, finally at the age of about four I realised that my grandparents could not stand the sight of each other but were tied to one another in some form or other … Possibly because it was a generational thing … ? They were never to my knowledge kind to each other, except on two occasions, Grandpa was knocked over on his bicycle on the North Circular Road, on arriving at hospital he was given a pain killer for his injuries; unfortunately he was allergic to the drug and he had a major stroke, which rendered him unable to speak … He would stutter, stammer and shake, however I do remember on occasions he was able, under his breath to hiss the audible words, at grandma .. Bitch and Fuck … At times of his frustration … Despite this …. She sat with him day after day, for over a year, such was the determination of my grandmother to coax him back to health. Writing endless sentences and doing sums for him to copy and say to her out loud. 

She would put a heavy glass ashtray in front of him to pick up, to try and reverse the paralysis in his arm and hand. After a year or so …. I think in order to get away from her he made a full recovery… He wanted to get back down the bus depot where he was a bus conductor and where there were men and free whisky! She had done her job and he was off her hands again. The second time there was some kindness from him was when he was dying and she was at his hospital bed and he wanted her to hold his hand …. She refused … 

For the party grandma’s ashes must be found … So the search was on … To put you in the picture and describe Elvira’s and Uncle Doug’s wonderfully shambolic and rambling home. You approach the property via a joint driveway shared with the large old house next door which has been converted to an old people’s home, their house is on the right as you approach. This Sussex property has beautiful views over the adjoining countryside. The house has a large number of rooms on the ground floor, on the second floor is a more open planned area, stuffed full of their life’s accessories, bits and bobs. To the back of the house there is a large acreage of overgrown scrappy lawn that has been vaguely tamed into walkways by a ride on lawn mower, to be frank it is really too much for two people in their seventies to handle, but this is the way they want to live their lives.  To the left of the house, on a lower level is a 1970’s style building housing a very old and rather frightening swimming pool, with water that has more than its fair share of shades of green and in one corner looks slightly like a swamp.. Beyond that is further bumpy scrubland lawn with a five foot hedge denoting the perimeter of their property to its neighbours, the old people’s home. However the hedge just stops and you can walk around it onto the neighbouring lawn. To the right of their property there are a number of scattered outhouses one of which is a dance studio, where my aunt has been a very successful dance professor. There are many glasshouses scattered around the main house, that are filled to the brim with overgrowing plants that have pushed their way out through smashed windows. Other outhouses are filled to bursting with more relics from their past, Doug who was in the film industry, has containers of scripts and reels of films billowing out of boxes in these storage huts. Under the house is my aunt’s collection, thirty plus years of The Telegraph newspaper, bundled into piles tied with string. Elvira needs these newspapers just in case she may require an article contained in these precious documents, she has a penchant for cutting out snippets of articles and sending bits of news to you in order to demonstrate a particular point or to inform you of something you might not have known or understood, in a previous life!  I have received a large number of cuttings over the years as have the rest of the family. Nowadays Elvira sends the information via email. Interestingly the emails arrive in the most unusual staccato format that is sometimes difficult to follow, she uses stars, exclamation marks and full stops like some people use emoji.  Without exception Elvira always signs off her notes or emails with; ‘So busy’ or ‘In haste’. Both ‘sign off’, comments over the years have really irritated and infuriated her brother Trevor. Because he likes to think that he is the more important and busier than anyone else! Families and their foibles … Don’t you just love ‘em! It makes me laugh!

Back to the party …. As ever with all families there is always a back story, ours is a black comedy drama. Grandma's final resting was agreed to be in the back garden of Elvira and Doug’s house. A marquee had been erected and vast amounts of food had been ordered from Marks and Spencer to see us all through the weekend, as Elvira now refuses to cook. Grandma's seven children and their respective wives and partners and some of the eighteen or so grandchildren and any vague relatives with the similar surname were wheeled in for the event. The Jones have a strange ability and need to find distant relatives to enthuse over, I think this is mostly as they don’t particularly like their actual close family who have seen them for whom they really are! Therefore new shinny relatives are always handy and welcome at any event. Having the common surname Jones you can imagine we have a lot of potential new family members to choose from! 

The final resting place for Grandma was to be under a newly planted tree, by the hedge adjoining the neighbouring property. The placing of the semi-mature tree turned out to be significant and was to be paid for by Trevor. Uncle Doug had confided to Trevor that the position of the tree was critical, as he and Aunt Elvira like to sunbathe in the nude, this had sometimes confused the old people in the nursing home next door. Particularly the Captain, who resided at the home, and whose window looked down on to my aunt and uncles back garden. Confused or not the Captain sometimes with other occupants of the home would wonder over into the garden, to join the fun, possibly in the hope of something more than your average cup of sugar? If you get my drift? ..

I suppose, if you think about it, sometimes the days in an old people’s home must drag a bit so the occupants must look for other ways to be amused? Elvira and Doug provided perfect adult entertainment in this regard! …. So to avoid unwanted guests the tree needed to be placed in a precise location. Some of Trevor's many staff were dispatched prior to the ceremony to plant the ‘modesty’ tree.

On the day we were there, drinks were flowing well and my uncles were making a great deal of fuss over our daughter who is always rather pleased to be the centre of attention and enjoying the fuss, and why not! As ever in the UK the weather was living up to the “not as summery as it should be” factor, in fact it was quite chilly and there was a hell of a wind. So instead of eating in the marquee, which was bellowing in the strong breeze, we were to eat in the main house. One of my cousins, Elvira’s child, was entertaining me, telling me all the gossip about various members of the family and all the goings on at the party the day before. Really is that not the point of these meetings … The gossip? My cousin told me to look at the fireplace, “we could not find grandma’s ashes anywhere in the house or in the out buildings!” Elvira had put grandma somewhere safe but she could not remember where? Therefore Elvira had had no choice and was forced to scrape out the ashes from the fire place for the event until she could lay her hands on the real grandma! I told you at the beginning of this story … facts or reality rarely affects what the Jones do! Totally irreverent of both us, but it added to the humour of what was to come! And it was most probably true!

After lunch we were all forced out of the house to undertake the main event and indulge in a little mud pie making! My beautiful mother dressed as always like a supermodel was asked by Elvira to make her way to the back of the marquee, where my mother came across a wheel barrow of soil and another wheelbarrow filled with dried manure! Elvira holding grandma’s ashes in a canteen in one hand and a desert spoon in the other explained to my mother that she had worked out, presumably into a kitchen bowl a night or two before? That each of the family had two and a half scoops of grandma’s ashes, to mix. The plan was to scoop out your allotted amount of grandma into a Tupperware box then take two spoon full’s of manure from the wheelbarrow deposit that on top of grandma and then sprinkle an appropriate amount of soil of the top of the mixture! Yes really!! There was a watering can on hand so you could pour some water over the grandma mixture and combine her into a smooth ‘roux’.  Finally, the wet human slop was to be deposited in another wheelbarrow located nearby, which had a net covering it, containing the contents of the day’s before ceremony of grandma’s “bake-off” mix congealed together by other members of the family!  … Quite literally turning grandma into a mud pie! 

I could tell something was up as I could hear shrieks of hysterical laughter from my mother, there is no stopping her once she gets started, and then you could hear loud chastising from my aunt who was trying to control my mother’s guffawing. To my aunts horror and my mother’s lack of reverence in the face of the ensuing ludicrous task. My mother’s attempts to deposit two and half scoops of grandma into a Tupperware box was being hampered by the wind and the ashes were being blown away. My mother, due to her violent laughter attack was not quick enough to secure grandma’s ashes under the manure and soil and slosh her with a gloop of water.... So as a result some parts of grandma became unattached, blown away by the wind and are now residing somewhere over the Sussex countryside, a lucky escape for that bit of grandma if you ask me!

When it came to mine and my daughters turn .. I went all haughty and said that I could not be involved in turning grandma into a mud pie, the idea was quite ridiculous! In hindsight, writing this, I think this was wrong .. And I should get a life!  Perhaps grandma would have found it quite acceptable ….. And funny … Let’s face it some memorials are boring!

The interesting thing was that once we had a barrow load of grandma’s mud pie mix. It sort of just sat there and no further progress was made on that day…. We just got chatting and the scattering of the ashes got put to one side! Grandma was immortalised into a mud pie, so I guess she could wait, other things were going on. 

A bit later, having gone into the house to hide from the weather, I had an interesting if not surreal conversation in the kitchen with my aunts and uncles, with the exception of Elvira and Doug, they took me to one side to discuss on where my aunt kept the breakfast cereal? Not exactly a scintillating conversation, but each to their own! My aunts and uncles, knowing how close I am to Elvira told me of her habit of repatriating the breakfast cereal back to the bottom cupboard in the kitchen, they were all taking it in turns to put the cereal into one of the top cupboards. However each and every morning, the cereal would find its way back into the under counter cupboard! … As you might imagine, I could not quite grasp the importance of where the breakfast cereal was housed, I mean did it really matter? But they were most insistent that I discuss the matter with her! Delving further to see what the actual problem was, why does it matter where the cereal is kept? Well you would think!!?? It transpired that Elvira has always kept the breakfast cereal in the lower cupboard… For my Uncle Doug’s delight and personal enjoyment!

Then the penny dropped … It emerged that my aunt does not wear underwear in the mornings a long standing arrangement between her and her husband, she wears the equivalent of what we would call a baby doll nighty, I guess having being a sex kitten of the 1960/1970, why not??.. Incidentally, to her credit at the opening of the premiere of the film Entertaining Mr Sloane by Joe Orton, produced by her husband July 1970, Elvira knocked Princess Margret off the front pages of the newspapers at the premiere  … So beautiful is she? 

However back to #cerealgate. In the mornings when Elvira enters the kitchen, to her siblings and respective wives horror, who are happily sitting at the table eating breakfast …. Elvira bends down, full ‘flash’ to get her breakfast cereal!??… What can I say??? And indeed that was my question to my aunts and uncles….. What do you want me to say to her? The general consensus was that I am close to my aunt and I would be able to make her see sense … Christ this is my family, no one sees sense! But okay … I will give it a shot …!

Elvira came into the kitchen to collect some more food so I seized the moment and took a deep breath. Whilst my uncle and aunts shuffled conspiratorially behind me to see what the response would be! “Elvira!” I gesticulated toward the assembled members peering on with childlike interest. And they shuffled back slightly, again! “Elvira why do you or Doug keep moving the cereal from the top cupboard where your guests are putting it, back to the under counter bottom cupboard? Did you realise they can all see …. Well, em see your naked bottom?” She turned around with condiments in her hands and stared at me, seemingly with her mind elsewhere, so I continued, as if to try and point out the obvious … “these are after all - your brothers?” Without even a blink she shrugged her shoulders, glanced at the assembled crowd and just confirmed.“ Oh they never see my front bottom they only ever see my back bottom, I do it for Doug!” And off she went out of the kitchen … To stunned silence … What can you really say? Well I am sure we can say a lot …. But I suppose the nub of the matter is that it was their home and she can have her cereal in whatever cupboard she wants to put it … I guess?? …. Each to their own! … I turned to my aunts and uncles, picked up my glass of wine and attempted to copy my aunt’s aplomb  .. Suggesting that they admired the ceiling in the kitchen when Elvira was deciding whether to have Rice Crispys or Co-Co Pops! What can you do! … Clearly they are nudists!

As I said, grandma, or what was left of grandma thanks to my mother’s hysteria was never on that day, consigned to the ground as on this family occasion talking and musing on life had taken over and the weather became windy and dull so grandma remained quietly in her wheelbarrow… As it turned out this happened to be a good thing … As some weeks later the ‘modesty’ tree which had already been planted with a hole left to one side for grandma’s ashes… Died before the ashes had been scattered! It had been planted over a Nissan hut which had restricted its root system and killed it off. I have to say another bodge-up by Trevor. 

So some weeks later another tree was purchase and delivered to the house for replanting in the same location… Two more Polish workmen were dispatched to my aunt’s house to undertake the planting of this fine new specimen. However before planting the Nissan hut needed to be dug out first, as you can imagine a fairly major job, particularly by hand! These poor men dug and dug, extricating chunks of concrete as they went. The weather had improved, it was now a heat wave and the sun was shining down upon their backs, making it not only back breaking work, but they ran with sweat in the heat. They dug and dug and dug over a number of days.… Eventually they were close to the end of the job.. Back filling the hole with manure and soil ready to plant the tree. The hole was deep enough at this point for the men to stand with just their head and shoulders above ground level…. 

In the house there was a knock at the door and it was Elvira’s teenage granddaughter; who had been taking a student gap year and had turned up to see her grandparents. To see her granddaughter was a great excitement to Elvira. She wanted to show her the progress of the final resting place of grandma, which her granddaughter had missed due to being abroad … In the ensuing excitement Elvira on the way out of the kitchen door to the garden, grabbed a canteen that was on the shelf, proclaiming to her granddaughter that she too could be part of grandma’s final resting place as these were grandma’s ashes … Elvira ran toward the two workman, slogging away, digging in the hole, glimmering with sweat … And in a moment of supreme dramatic gesture, ripped of the lid of the canister and threw the contents into the air directly above where the two workman were digging, both who had stood to watch what Elvira was doing…. Too late to get out of the way, the men were open mouthed at this performance, yes grandma’s ashes flew into the air in a blacken smoke only to land on the sweaty workman … Sticking and clogging to their wet skin …. The men spat and gasped and spat again trying to rid themselves of the dried ashes of grandma … Scraping at their bodies trying to brush off the dried powdery residue of grandma off their shiny wet bodies …. 

To this day I am unsure if the two workman were fully aware of what was thrown at them, really not nice … But a number of things spring to mind? Firstly, I do wonder at the quantity of ashes grandma managed to create, she was only a small woman. There was the measured out number of spoonful’s at the earlier family party occasion and a further canteen of ashes thrown at these two unsuspecting workman. And secondly, I feel somewhat gratified, as grandma had spent most of her life announcing that she wanted to spit and to my knowledge never managed to carry out this threat.. So at least in death she managed to make someone else spit and I secretly think that she would have been pleased… 

As a footnote to this story, some years later when my uncle Doug had been diagnosed with a mild form of Alzheimer’s. I called the house to speak to Elvira and Doug answered the phone.. We got chatting and he advised me to his delight that Elvira was riding on the lawn mower … Presumably mowing the lawn? He then told me that she was knicker-less! This is not the sort of thing he would have normally said to his niece under ordinary circumstances therefore I was desperately thinking of ways I could divert this type of conversation and so to speak … Get him off topic!! …. Then he announced that he was sitting watching Elvira with his Percy … To this day it makes my toes curl.. I mean what the hell do you say to that? I was stammering over my words ..  Anything to move on with a different conversation …. One of those dying moments… I carried on chatting about whatever came into my mind other than my uncles Percy! … Then over the line I heard a meow…. “What is that Doug?” … “It’s Percy my new cat … He was a stray and he has adopted me…” Well as you can imagine not only a welcome relief to me … But a lovely moment .. As Percy gave them both such delicious joy in the years to come and Percy, I am guessing had no problem with where the cereals were kept!  

I guess all families are like this right! ?? …. 




SpeedofSoundTshirt

posted by Natalie Paddick

NP/ME Style collaboration with

The Speed of Sound …

The making of affordable Art 


If you follow the NP/ME Style blogs you will know that my mates at The Speed of Sound and we have worked together before … We created art back drops for two of their songs, checkout .. Checkered Land, January 2014 and Shut All The Clubs, February 2016. 

Asked by The Speed of Sound if they could use this shot, we had edited for their song video.…. For a promotional T-Shirt …. Obviously the answer was “YES”…. what a compliment … A new string to our bow … 

Here are some fun shots of the T-Shirt, which you can purchase from The Speed of Sound for £15.00. [It is great quality] .. I have one … 


So if you see a picture on the NP/ME site or on my twitter feed @NNpme that you like or you would like me to take a picture specially for you let us know …. 

These are the links to The Speed of Sound site:-

https://thespeedofsound.bandcamp.com/                                             http://thespeedofsounduk.com/




Easter2016.LookBook

posted by Natalie Paddick

The Egg Game

Warning … This can provoke mass hysteria …

[You have been warned!! Tears have been known!]

The Origin of the Game

When I was young my parents made friends with a German couple and their children on a Holiday to San Sebastian … [Which incidentally I won in a raffle at my school, the two week holiday that is!] My ‘father’ who has a penchant for collecting people he thinks he can impress and influence, took a liking to this German family. Thus they were incorporated into his collection of miss-fits … Not because they were not nice they were .. But they just did not fit with him! Anyway I digress.. One Easter the German friends and their two children were billeted to Dutch Garden our family home in order to entertain my ‘father’..

They arrived to stay one Easter bringing very many generous gifts for all … One of which was a packet of thin papers in an envelope decorated with pretty shiny Easter eggs… It turned out that decorated real hard boiled eggs at Easter was a tradition for them. I was hooked from the off you dropped these pieces of paper in with the boiling eggs and they would turn the boiled eggs into the brightest full-on colours, which we shined, (back then), with bacon rashers.

 

I loved the look of them and they sat pride of place on the table until Easter Sunday came… Then we were introduced to the egg game … Which was basically to smash the eggs to see which egg remained intact at the end of the game … I know I am easily pleased! A simple person that’s me … Not!!

 

Over the years that followed I have played this game every single Easter .. However I have developed the game to make more sense for us …. This is how it works!

 

The Rules

The aim of the game is the last person standing with an intact egg is the winner … (Intact means that one side can be cracked, so long as that egg has cracked both ends of all the other eggs.)

 

1. Hard Boiled Eggs are essential, at least 3 per person .. More if you like! (We have about 6 each!)

 

2. Decoration of the eggs … See notes …

 

3. Everyone chooses just 1 egg each at the start of the game. The rest remain in the bowl until needed.

 

4. A coin is flipped to see who goes first then all persons taking part stand in a circle.

 

5. The person who has won the toss, turns to the person on their right. Both hold an egg each, pointy end of the egg out.

 

6. The winner of the toss, has first hit of the other person’s egg. Just one hit at a time!... If the hitter cracks the other egg, (pointy end). The egg that is cracked has to be tuned to blunt side of the egg. The person that has cracked the other persons egg gets to hit their egg again.  (So the second hit can be pointy to blunt end or any combination). Whichever egg has annihilated the opponent’s egg. (Both ends of one egg cracked). The winner moves onto the next person. The person that has lost this round chooses another egg, and waits their turn as the egg games goes around the circle of players.

  … Are you following?  The new opponent must use his pointy end first …

 

7. You follow this procedure until you have a winning egg .. Even if that egg has one end broken .. But has destroyed all other eggs at both ends ..

 

Okay it is a bit mad! But it is very funny and strangely competitive … For those of you that are going to complain that it is a waste of eggs .. Use the broken eggs to make egg mayonnaise sandwiches which you can enjoy later with your ‘High Tea!! …

 

Some Tips …

When my children were young they loved to decorate the eggs .. They used to drop them and crack them before we even started the game, so a good way for small children to decorate them is once boiled to put them back into the egg carton and get the children to stick transfers and stickers on the eggs. Then once they have done one side you can turn the eggs so they can be decorated on the other side.

 

Without the special egg colouring papers provided by the German friends. You can colour hard boiled eggs by using food colouring and vinegar with boiling water. If you want to be really arty-farty then you can decorated them in all manner of ways, we like to draw faces on them and personalise them…

 

The winner gets …

Well when the children were younger it used to be a chocolate egg as a prize to add to all of the other bits of chocolate they already had. Now they are all teenagers.. It is money!

 

So there you go …. The Paddick Family Egg game ….. Enjoy … 


SpeedOfSound2016

posted by Natalie Paddick

The Speed of Sound – Shut All The Clubs

For the second time NP/ME Style has had the opportunity of working with The Speed of Sound, we provided the background pictures for their heart felt writing about the loss of privately owned and council run venues across the country, which limits the stages bands can perform on. 


The song Shut All The Clubs points out the sad fact that these valuable culture social meeting places are being shut down and bulldozed to make space for developments of flats, corporate buildings, restaurant chains and the ubiquitous coffee houses and designer celebrity ‘chef’ restaurants.


The song alludes to a time when these spaces had a personal identity within their community along with the people that inhabited them. Culturally now we seem to live in a world that is all the same, every town centre mirrors the last. The high streets are full of the same corporate companies all with their special personal relationship with the tax man!

 

We happily loaned some pictures that we had taken to be used in this video:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo0m41Y_-lM&feature=youtu.be


The strange fact is that these pictures were taken in a derelict house that we demolished to build two new five bedroom luxury homes. It should be pointed out that the demolished property had been condemned and could not be rebuilt, so we believe like The Speed of Sound that if you are going to redevelop then it should be done with an eye for style that works within its surroundings, complies where possible with modern ergonomics, but overall maintains some character of its own!    


It is inevitable that our urban environmental needs must change and be upgraded as time moves forward and modern life dictates a different pace and style of living. But do we really need to rape and pillage, architecturally speaking, our towns, cities and villages of their identity? 


NP/ME Style likes all types of design as long as it is done well and considered within its surroundings, but I totally empathize with The Speed of Sound lyrics in Shut All The Clubs. Please let us all be individual and leave some doors open giving us an element of freedom and choice. Letting us breathe the fresh air of individuality!



To order please click here:-

  https://thespeedofsound.bandcamp.com/album/shut-all-the-clubs-love



DemolitionLookbookJune2015

posted by Natalie Paddick

How to have fun with Demolition ….

Family Entertainment my style …

I thought I would have a bit of fun with these pictures …

They are now two beautiful homes … 

Right said Fred, both of us together, one each end and steady as we go

Tried to shift it couldn’t even lift it, we was getting nowhere

And so, we, had a cup of tea


Right said Fred, give a shot to Charlie, up comes Charlie from the floor below

After straining, heaving and complaining, we was getting nowhere

And so, we, had a cup of tea


Charlie had a thing and he thought we ought, to take of all the handles

And the things that hold the candles – but it did no good (well I never thought it would!)


Right said Fred, have to take the feet off, to get them feet off wouldn’t take a mo ….

Took its feet off, even with the seat off, should have got us somewhere, but no!

So Fred said let’s have another cup of tea, and we said “right-oh!”


Right said Fred, have to take the door off, need more space to shift the so-and-so

Had bad twinges, taking of the hinges, and it got us nowhere

And so, we, had a cup of tea


Right said Fred, have to take the wall down, that there wall is gonna have to go

Took the wall down, even with it all down, we was getting nowhere

And so, we, had a cup of tea


Charlie had a think and he said look Fred, I’ve got a sort of feeling

If we remove the ceiling,

With a rope of two we can drop the blighter through ….


Right said Fred, climbing up a ladder, with his crowbar gave a mighty blow

Was he in trouble, half a ton of rubble, landed on the top of, his dome

So Charlie and me had another cup of tea

And then we, went home!


I said to Charlie we’ll just have to leave it standing on the landing, that’s all.

You see the trouble with Fred is, he’s too hasty.

Now you never get nowhere if you’re too hasty ….. 




SpeedofSoundTallulavideo

posted by Natalie Paddick


Thank you Speed of Sound ..... 
Here is their new Video .... Check this out ...... Great Fun ..........




LookBookSpeedofSound

posted by Natalie Paddick

 
What Fun For a New Year ...
..... The Speed of Sound ....
Are to use some of my Pictures for their new Video ..
{to be released later this month .. I will keep you briefed}
 
Here is a quick peek of two of the stills;
{Also included are some of the originals}:-


John Armstrong - Guitars/Vocals
Kevin Roache – Bass 
 & (since October 2014) eighteen year old Owen Deane on Drums. 
 
Some background information:-
Speed of Sound have been ‘lurking’ in Manchester’s underground scene since 1989.
They have been described as:-
****“a cool mix of punk and The Byrds 5th Dimension LP” 
         by Berlin based counter-culture DJ Lord Litter
 
****“a merger between Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Lou Reed”
         by MusicVsTheWorld blog; 
 
The Speed of Sound’s music is a brand of original independent music, unfettered and unchained by mainstream music industry trends. 

Their song Checkered Land (inspired by Alice Through The Looking Glass)
was on their 1989 EP and is a live favourite, the band picked it as the next video and rerecorded it with the new line-up.
The audio will be released as a download after the video is completed..... I am officially so excited .....
 
Asked how the band can enjoy playing songs older than some of their audience John said;
"A lot of modern popular music is choreographed to death, but we like to keep things fresh with a bit of improvisation,
the songs evolve all the time, especially when the line-up changes and live performance brings that out, it keeps the creative process going.”

On the video itself, John said “We’ve used some of the John T

enniel illustrations too, 
but I was really excited by Natalie’s photographs crossing Alice with Alex from A Clockwork Orange,
it just sparked as some ideas do and it was great when she agreed to us using them in the video."
 
Two CD albums and a 7” double-A-side-single are already available, while their third album (featuring all new songs)
has passed the demo stage and will be recorded during 2015.

The Speed Of Sound are on Bandcamp, iTunes, CDbaby, Spotify, Amazon, Reverberation, Soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook... etc  



LookBookHalloween2014

posted by Natalie Paddick

HALLOWEEN..............
EVIL PROSPERS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING ............
My children, love Halloween, as a child I was pretty indifferent..... except for a couple of exciting incidents ...But for some reason when the children were little I made a big deal of it .. Another reason for a party... And we have continued the big parties right up to now ...

I would spend hours creating outfits making up games for them; giving them all gloves for safety before lighting sparklers; but only after my yearly speech on how dangerous sparklers can be!!! And pointing out where the water bucket was, where they can deposit their spent sparklers.... Adults are just kill joys!! ... Ohh!! Just to touch the red hot poker of a sparkler that has finished, it’s so mesmeric it calls me to touch it as it glows!! ...  I can confirm that this is not a good idea as a child I did just that and I can further confirm that the red hot wire welds to your skin!! It’s painful!!! 

The other Halloween I remember as a child, was earlier on that day my uncle won me a “Sally Long Legs Doll” made of straw, she had a loop on her head, which was attached to my wrist. At the Halloween Party later that evening; I span her round and round and round in front of the bonfire, suddenly she became her very own Catherine Wheel; (if anyone remembers them? They always span themselves of the rusty nail they were attached too flinging itself alight and spinning into the crowd of young expectant children’s faces! Lethal!! ) Any way it was fantastic; her legs were ablaze!!  I just kept spinning her. Shards of crackling straw snowed down on my face, hair and clothes. Very quickly Sally’s body was completely ablaze and was becoming more difficult to spin her around my ever hotter hand. A shrill scream from the house; my grandmother and suddenly all eyes were on me.... Arms grabbing at Sally and me, but she was not to be moved! The adults stopping my hands from moving meant that she set alight my highly inflammable anorak, which incidentally I disliked ... Sally and I were ablaze ... I could smell my hair burning. Like all these things, it all went into slow motion; people pulling, pushing and slapping at the flames. Stamping the ground as my anorak and Sally melted .......... 

I remember gasp and then suddenly the light’s went out; my eyes blinded by the force, the dribbling melting cold feeling running down my face. The cursing of my uncles and the shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh as the fire was put out. My nostrils were filled with rancid smell of burning. While all else were panicking my quick thinking grandfather had thrown the bucket of water which we were later going to use for apple bobbing all over me, soaking me and my uncles and “Sally No Legs”.... One of my uncles ripped the remains of her burnt head from my wrist..... It was exciting ....
 
Once my beloved mother realised that I was fine; she went into a complete fit of the vapours ... And all eyes and attention were on her... I was sent into the house with my grandmother to be de-frocked and dried ... 

I had no particular idea that I was in any danger at the time..... But as a result I do not take children’s safety lightly ... Really your children are safe in my hands!!! .....
 
So I have always wanted to make the Halloween Parties thrilling for the children .... Each year my idea’s on parties got larger and more expansive ... Frankly they became epics!! But this particular party was one beasty year... We had nearly 8 acres of garden and woodland at the time. I saved all the jam jars and glass containers over the year, filled them with candles and dotted them around the outside of the house. The children carved fifteen pumpkin's, which we filled with t-lights. All their friends were to bring a carved pumpkin which we lit and displayed around the garden. We had candles burning at all the windows of the house ... It looked great ...

A large stainless steel barbeque with a chimney on, (one of our designs), which was full of burning wood crackling in front of the house. As evening fell it had a great spooky atmosphere. Children arrived and were given an old ink pen with a feather on top dipping it into either blue, green or red ink to sign their names on an old piece of parchment, (tea stained pieces of paper.) Once they had signed their names, they had to throw the paper into the fire. Yes you have it ... Harry Potters Goblet of Fire .... 


Blood coloured drinks were dispensed to the children and wine to the adults ..... Excitement was mounting, more children arrived in their beautiful Halloween outfits throwing their names into the Bizarre-Beque of Fire .... The night was dark and cold but luckily clear.... On the table was a old boom box, smoke from the smoke machine was billowing into the cold nights air ... It was time to start the game ...... I managed to get silence and told the audience that I had been sent an owl earlier in the day from the Ministry of Magic on a very important issue relating to the escape of a dangerous Wizard from Azkaban .... Please listen to the recorded message sent to me by the Ministry .... Fortunately I had a theatrical upbringing and I am a good mimic ... 

Switching on the tape out screeched Rita Skeeter’s voice .... (mine) Dia Warning to any young wizards or witches out tonight they will have to be very careful as the mad evil wizard Known as Scar-Faced Paddick has escaped from Azkaban Prison and it’s believed he is heading to this house, he has taken Harry Potter hostage. Be warned that the ministry have sent death eaters to patrol the gates and the perimeters of the house ... They must not be approached!!! ..... You young wizards and witches have to save Harry Potter by sending a lighted message into the sky ... Go out into the woods and gardens, there you will find hidden seven messages which will tell you where to find the seven keys of freedom ....You will see and hear many things out there, but be strong ...... We have to save Harry Potter.... You must keep your eyes open for 400 glow sticks hidden in the woods.... Collect them and bring them back to the front of the house so we can spell out Harry Potter’s name on the lawn ..... Please wait until you hear the sound of the shooting firework ..... Yup!! I got their attention!!!

The firework exploded into the sky and off they all ran .. To be fair some ran more enthusiastically than others!! ... I mean they all had torches ... they will be fine!! I should point out that I had spent over a week setting this up. Putting signs up, caldrons full of gunk; which they had to put their hands in to get the key’s out. Polystyrene putrid cats, hung in the trees, slimy frogs, rigged to fall on them. Stuffed Halloween figures all over the grounds. The wood had been rigged with 48 different spooky noises which, we could set off by remote control .... But the really, really best bit ... was we hired a man to walk around the woods as the escaped convict wizard.... Who was primed to sneak up behind the children and put his hand on their shoulders ... Brilliant ..... And Spooky and pretty terrifying stuff!!

As the children ran into the darkness they disappeared from sight into the woods .... We started setting off some of the sounds ..... Their screams were so loud .... Some of the children ran back toward the house saying that they saw someone out there in the darkness!! It was great fun, it went on for about 45 minutes until the children had collected all the key’s and the lawn was lit up with Harry Potters name..... There was only one slight hitch... The poor man wizard Scar-Faced Paddick emerged out of the woods and into all our sight. Some of the teenage boys took it upon themselves to charge him and knock him to the ground... They had to be pulled of by some of the parents. I think they were over excited! I suppose it was a bit of an adrenaline rush!!??

The end of this production ended up in the courtyard where we had hidden hundreds of sweets for the children to find in an allotted time, before the wicked wizard entered the courtyard to catch them.....

Finally it was time for food and more wine for the adults, I can tell you I was ready for a large glass! As I raised my glass to my lips ... My mother charged into the kitchen .... Screaming ............. Lesley; (my beloved sister in-law), has fainted ........... Too much excitement!!! Never a dull moment in my life!!
 
PS. Lesley after a week in hospital was fine ... Bring on the next Halloween Party ......!!! 





LookBookFountain2014

posted by Natalie Paddick

Cheers!! To my great friends Craig and Tessa, who have allowed me to style these pictures of their fantastic Gastro Pub. Designed by Hennessy Interiors; @Hennessyint. My only warning is ........ BOOK FIRST!!


 













LookBookChristmas2012

posted by Natalie Paddick

Party Time Starts Here!!!!!

Wool Bowler with Embroidered Badges To Set The Mood!

 

Antique Chinese Beads to Add A Touch Of Class!!

 

Porcupine Quills! Not One for the Faint Hearted!

 Metal Filigree Felt Hat...I Just Love It!!

Bold Leather Chain Necklace...For Impact...Obviously!!!

I Just LOVE the Look of this Hat!! A One Off!

AND I LOVE THIS ONE TOO!

Them Chinese Beads Again In Their Full Glory!

Amythist and Coral Necklace with Leather and Silver Loops..Party Time!

Body Armour! Black Chain and Beads....Simple!

Double Looped Leather Necklace! For Pure Statement!

 

Stainless Steal, Silver And Gold  Cuff...NOT TO BE MESSED WITH!

Those Beads Again!

All out Killer Style! Pearls, Stones, Wood, Silver and Leather...All in the Mix....And Why Not!!

It's Worth Another Look!

Hand Stiched Leather Bangles......Pile them high!

A Real One Off! Leather, Wood and Silver Cuff!

SO LET US PARTY!!!!



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