• Men and women seem to have very different ideas about bonfires. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bonfire as much as anyone, especially on Bonfire Night, but I like it to be contained, to be safe, and to be a reasonable size. This is where men appear to think differently. Put a man in charge of a bonfire and you turn him into a pyromaniac. The pile of wood to burn gets larger and larger. The barbecue lighter fuel appears and gets liberally sprinkled on the pile and then matches get struck and the towering fire hazard is lit. A long stick is needed to prod and poke the fire into life, stirring up the wood and allowing oxygen into the pile to get those flames going. Higher and higher the flames climb, possibly setting alight a neighbour’s tree or sending clouds of smoke over the hedge to blind innocent passing drivers. Then small children are encouraged to throw more combustibles onto the fire with scant regard for the sparks and burning ashes raining down on them.

    Everyone else gets cold or bored eventually and retreats indoors for hot soup, a cup of tea or a beer. But the man of the house is out there ensuring everything is burnt. Nothing must remain but a smouldering, glowing pile of ash. Only then is his job done, only then does he resume his normal personality, only then does he become human again. He watches, admires, swells with pride and can finally go home, safe in the knowledge that his bonfire was the biggest, the best, and the most impressive in the neighbourhood.

    The following morning the smell of smoke lingers in the damp air, it is slightly foggy and the men are outside again, the clearing up has begun. The singed plants and trees are trimmed, the ashes dug into the ground and the spent fireworks removed from the lawn. Life returns to normal, men return to normal. Until next year.

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  • I recently discovered a great new product. It’s a Graze box. It’s delivered to the house each week full of lovely healthy snacks. So far I’ve had pistachios, olives, seeds,spicy rice cakes and crackers, dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit such as mango, cherries, blueberries . My daughter and I look forward to it dropping through the letterbox each week. We get to try a few healthy treats and enjoy the surprise element. You can rate the foods on the website so you don’t get anything you hate and get more of what you like.

    The first box is free if you use a friend’s code and the friend gets £1 off their next box or can donate it to charity.

    If you want to try it you can use my friends code for your free box. The code is K47MM4M
    http://www.graze.com/p/K47MM4M

    Let me know what you think.

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  • I have made a start on my healthy eating plan. I know I
    have to improve the diet of my family so I decided to incorporate
    lots more vegetables into some of their favourite meals. This is
    not a new idea but I have let it slip recently.

    Today I have made a large pan of bolognese sauce. Not terribly exciting, you may think,
    but at least everyone (except veggie me!) will eat it. As well as
    the usual minced beef, tomatoes and herbs this one contains onion,
    carrot, celery, yellow pepper and mushrooms. Of course my son is
    not keen on any of those so I gave them a good whizz in my Kenwood
    food processor attachment first until they were all a similar size
    to the mince. Cunning, yes? In the finished sauce most of the
    vegetables really cannot be seen and what cannot be identified is
    much more likely to be eaten. I used up a glug of red wine hanging
    around since Christmas too.

    As part of my plan to eat more
    economically I have made more than I need and will get a few single
    portions stashed in the freezer for those days where I need a quick
    meal for someone, hopefully this will save on requests for fast
    food as there will be something ready in just the ten minutes it
    takes to boil the pasta.

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