GARDEN | Thompson & Morgan – Van Meuwen Customer Service Update – BUYER BEWARE | Champagne Twist

 

UK Bank Interest Rates to Double | Champagne Twist

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I flipped on the TV last night by chance, and caught the tail end of the Martin Lewis Money Show, and learnt that bank interest rates are set to double.

DOUBLE

DOUBLE

The fear and panic that came over me was so overwhelming, I immediately burst into tears. Thoughts included – I am bearly keeping my head above water as it is, and now could literally face bankruptcy.  It was all the more hurtful, as I was having a good day up to that point.  I have been making good, meaningful and positive inroads into my plans for the Champagne Twist social network and up coming business.

Then this bombshell.

To say I have been knocked for 6, is the understatement of the decade, and as this new decade is only 8 days old, that’s saying a lot.  But after a calming and reassuring chat with my mum (yes I resorted to that age old standard of calling my mum at the first sign of a crisis, don’t judge me, and if you do, I don’t care!) – I feel a little more hopeful.  I didn’t get much sleep, but as the daylight increases, things aren’t looking quite so dire.

What angers me, is that my financial institution has not informed me of these new changes.  This sneaky, underhanded way banks deal with their customers these days, is beyond appalling. Many charge nearly 40% in interest rates, but only give up to 1% for savings. As for their customer service, don’t get me started.

There is hope on the horizon. Next week The Martin Lewis Money Show is dedicating a major part of the show to dealing positivity with the new overdraft charges.  I strongly suggest you watch, even if you are financially sound.  With the uncertainly of recent world events, it would be wise to keep abreast.

Stay blessed everyone, and if you can, pass this post onto as many people as you can. Spread the message, you can help someone, and that’s a great thing to do.

 

The Martin Lewis Money Show

Monday 13th January 2020

ITV, 8pm and ITV+1, 9pm

 

Saving the birds and No New Year Resolutions | Champagne Twist

I have long given up on making new year’s resolutions.  Partly because by this time of year, i.e. the 2nd of January, I’ve broken half of them.  But I have started to implement my plans to help encourage birds and beneficial pollinators to my outdoor space.  I’m starting with the birds by making sure that I supply various foods to sustain their diet during these cold winter months.

January and February tend to be the coldest months of the year, and food is very scarce both for food gardeners and wildlife.  I’ve taken advantage of the Christmas and New Year sales and purchased a bird table and bird food supplies.

Wilko is my go-to bird food supplier, I normally buy a tub of 50 fat balls for £4.  The birds which especially love these fat balls are robins, blue tits, magpies and the occasional big pigeon.

 

In an effort to attract a wider variety of birds and to tempt the blue tits away from my already blossoming honeysuckle, I’m trialing these suet blocks.  So far, however, they are not at all tempted by the, preferring to stick to the fat balls.  I’m think maybe I need to give the birds a bit more chance to discover them, or move the blocks elsewhere in the garden.  I’m hoping when the bird table arrives, I can place the blocks on it, and save my poor honeysuckle!

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I also placed a bird seed feeder outside, but again, the birds are not biting. Oddly, I’ve never had much luck when it comes to loose bird seed.  A few years ago, I was filling a seed feeder, when I spilled some on a now defunct garden table. I went inside to get something to clean it up, and in the few seconds I had turned my back, a family of squirrels appeared in the garden.  For a split second, I thought I was a Disney princess, and the squirrels had come to visit me in my fairy tale garden. Then I remembered how I spilled the bird seed.  I admit I was more than a little hurt that the fantasy didn’t pan out, and more than a little bit cross that at least 10 squirrels, came from nowhere to deprive the birds of their lunch.

I’m glad to say that the squirrels have not returned in such numbers, although we do get the occasional visit from a solo squirrel, one who I suspect keeps digging up my raised beds. But thanks to the neighbourhood cats, mainly stays out of the way on the roof tops.

While I hope that encouraging birds into the garden now, will encourage them to help me control the snail and slug population later in the Summer, I’m also doing this to help increase the local bird population. Some species have been declining for years, so every effort I make can only help them flourish.

I’m looking forward to receiving the bird table, and hopefully a bird feeding stand, currently on waitlist, and will review them, along with the bird food in due course.

This may not be a new year’s resolution in the true sense, but I’m glad that I’m actually doing something that will help the environment.  Far better than trying to be more healthy – that kinda went out the window yesterday morning when I ate 6 Spiced Blueberry Panacakes for breakfast, which I covered with icing sugar (not so bad on sugarless pancakes), vanilla yogurt (quite good) and half a bottle of maple syrup (ooops!).

Wait, blueberry is a super food right? Maybe I can still keep my ‘be more healthy in 20’ resolution then!

OK maybe not.

Spiced Blueberry Pancakes recipe – Champagne Twist

Spiced Blueberry Pancakes recipe | Champagne Twist.jpg

Well, it’s the first day of a brand new decade.  It’s a sobering thought that we are now in the new 20s era.  Personally, I’m hoping that this decade is better than the last one, and that all my plans and hopes pan out in a positive way.

With that, here’s the new look Champagne Twist YouTube Channel, the theme for this year being “New Vision”.

This year I’m starting with a bang food wise, with an easy and delicious recipe for Spiced Blueberry Pancakes.  These pancakes don’t have any sugar as the sweetness is derived from the blueberries, the vanilla yogurt and just a drizzle of maple syrup. You can of course use a cheaper golden syrup, but I think the Maple syrup adds a unique spicy hit which compliments the mixed spices, so is for me worth the extra expense.

When combining fruit with spices, the usual go-to flavour pairing with blueberries is cinnamon.  As it is still the Christmas season, I wanted to keep the festive flavours, but add a slight twist. So I plumped for a mixed spice blend, which does include cinnamon, as well as other spices – dill, coriander, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

So here’s the recipe, let me know if you try this and what you think of it, it would be great to hear your considered opinions.

Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful, fun, healthy, happy and safe new year.

Spiced Blueberry Pancakes, with vanilla yogurt and maple syrup

Ingredients

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml milk
  • knob of butter, melted
  • 150g fresh blueberries
  • oil or butter for cooking
  • maple syrup and vanilla yogurt to serve

 

Method

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder and mixed spices in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate, small bowl, beat the egg, then add the milk and melted butter and combine.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dr, to form a smooth batter.  Fold in the blueberries.
  4. Heat a teaspoon of oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan.
  5. Pour a small ladleful of batter into the pan.
  6. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with vanilla yogurt for a healthy breakfast, and with maple syrup for a pudding or treat.

Mince Pie Filling Recipe| Champagne Twist

This is a quick and simple recipe for the festive season. You can use this recipe for mince pies, or as an ingredient for fruit cakes. A useful store cupboard standby.

Mince Pie Filling Recipe | Champagne Twist

 

Ingredients:

  • 100g glace cherry halves
  • 400g jumbo raisin mix
  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed citrus peel
  • 100g ginger
  • 1 tbsp of ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of brandy
  • 1 cup of orange liquor

Equipment:

  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 spatula or spoon
  • 1 large sterilised glass jar

Method:

Mix all the fruit and spices together in a bowl and then fill your sterilised glass jar, ensuring that you leave room for the alcohol.

In the same bowl or jug, mix together the vanilla and alcohol, then pour over the fruit mix in the glass jars.

Allow the mixture to steep for at least a week in a cool dark place. The longer you leave it, the better.

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mince pie mincemeat filling recipe

There you go – proper luxury mincemeat. Also serves as a lovely Christmas foodie gift. Just grab a label and some ribbon and you’re done! It’s also a good way to use up all those half empty bottles of alcohol.

Africa Fashion Week London – Ankara Fabric, featuring Fola Ogundare of Diligent Hands Fabrics (part 2) | Champagne Twist

Screenshot 2019-07-26 at 09.03.14In the second of the AFWL special posts, Fola Ogundare of Diligent Hand Fabrics, takes us through caring for Ankara fabric. Over to you Fola!

Ankara Fabric Care

As one who has owned lots of fabrics and clothing made from my collections, here are some of my tips;

  1. Hand washing / dry cleaning is best.  If machine washing, do so at low a temperature, say 30 degrees.
  2. Do not soak for a long time before washing. Hand wash any soiled areas prior to machine wash.
  3. While most fabrics are colourfast, wash inside out using a mild laundry product.  Dry using a cool heat and avoid hanging in direct sunlight for hours.
  4. Ironing would be easier if you use fabric conditioner and use spray starch to keep in shape.

Once again thanks go to Fola for her kindness and generosity in sharing such wonderful tips. The first article can be found here.

Diligent Hands Fabrics at Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

So there you go, there is no excuse now, try making something with Ankara fabric. Check out Fola’s range at http://www.diligenthandsfabrics.com.

There will be plenty of fabric shopping opportunities at AWFL, so why not make something fabulous now you’re armed with all of Fola’s tips.

In the next `AFWL post, I will be showcasing my own Ankara fabric makes, so subscribe to Champagne Twist to ensure you don’t miss out.

Tickets for AFWL are still available for purchase, just click here to find out more.

 

 

Africa Fashion Week London – Ankara Fabric, featuring Fola Ogundare of Diligent Hands Fabrics (part 1) | Champagne Twist

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African textiles, in particular, Ankara fabric, allows for a vast range of creative and crafting opportunities. But, for some, tackling this fabric can be daunting. So in order to banish any fear of using Ankara fabrics, I asked Fola Ogundare of Diligent Hands Fabrics for some tips. So for the first time on Champagne Twist, I hand over this post to Fola.

Ankara fabric: 3 tips for creative success, by Fola Ogundare.

  1. Cotton African prints most times when new can be a bit stiff, so they are most suited for clothing that requires a bit of structure with minimal drapery.
  2. Pre-wash your fabrics ahead of sewing for projects. By experience, shrinkage may be up to 10%.  You could also adjust measurements to allow for shrinkage.
  3. Use print fabric to glam up simple garments like monotone or plain colours.  A pop of print is as potent when mixed with plain cotton or lace fabrics.  You may also make a headband or oversized purse with leftover fabric.  Don’t forget hair accessories like fascinators and button earrings and bangles.  There are lots of online resources if you need help.

Diligent Hands Fabrics at Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Thank you Fola, for sharing your great tips. Check out Fola’s range of fabrics and accessories at www.diligenthandsfabrics.com.

In the next post, Fola will take us through the essentials of Ankara fabric care. Subscribe to Champagne Twist to ensure you don’t miss out.

AFWL 2019 logo

There will also be plenty of fabric shopping opportunities at AWFL, so why not make something fabulous now you’re armed with all of Fola’s tips.

Tickets for AFWL are still available for purchase, just click the link to find out more – AFWL tickets.

Festival of Quilts 2019 – Reduced priced tickets

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Hello,

First, here’s the winners’ announcement video from the Champagne Twist, Festival of Quilts ticket giveaway.

Did you miss out on the free ticket giveaway?  Don’t fear, I have been given an exclusive code for reduced-priced tickets by the very kind folks at Festival of Quilts.

All you have to do is go to my YouTube channel, subscribe if you haven’t done so already, and leave a comment, indicating that you would like to attend the Festival of Quilts 2019.

Be quick, you only have until Sunday 28th July.