cook school 4

Well, I am on my way to being a real, live, cookery school owner!!!!  With plans for our move to Italy still a distant dream, I have been urged by a number of people, (not least, by my Lovely Husband) to start by offering cookery lessons from home!!!  So, I’ve registered with the Council, signed up for a food safety course, am getting consultancy from someone who has been through the same process already and feel full of both excitement and somewhat nervous at the same time!  The kitchens above are from ‘real’ cookery schools, the photos below are from my own place – it looks pretty good I think- certainly welcoming and warm – which is the effect I want to create.  Tia Lucia, (Aunt Lucy in Italian) will open after Easter – watch this space for more news!!!!

Posted by: lucylastic | February 13, 2012

Time to ponder…………….

As I mentioned in my last post, I am spending more time at home lately – I am enjoying, (if that is the right word) a spell of ‘gardening leave’.  A somewhat over-used word, that means many things to many people.  In my case, it means that I no longer have a job to go to – or not a regular type of one in any case…………

My reader may recall that I started the New Year full of excitement about starting a ‘Jamie at Home’ business – this is still the case – but as I have more time than usual to ponder, I am starting to worry about whether I really have enough of the ‘salesman’ in me to make it work.  Many years ago, my younger brother remarked that he thought I could ‘sell snow to the eskimos’, which I think was meant to reflect my powers of persuasion – but I never did feel like that person, a good talker, yes, hands up for that one, but salesperson – I’m not sure.

So far, I am relying on the good will of family and friends to host parties and buy stuff – but to be successful, it needs a much greater network and networking ability – somehow, one has to be able to ‘close’ with stangers, getting them to sign up on the dotted line and keep the pipeline full.

If you have tips or suggestions for doing this better, (you couldn’t do worse, really), then please feel free to let me know.



Posted by: lucylastic | February 2, 2012

I never did like curtains………


but I’m starting to realise why so many people have them………..they keep the cold out and the warmth in.  Duh!  I’m unexpectedly spending more time at home lately – more of which in a future post – but in the meantime, I have lots of opportunity to ponder just HOW COLD it can get inside a centrally heated house.  Especially an old Victorian one – still with its original windows and not many curtains.  When we moved in, I gaily took down the high quality, beautifully lined, but somewhat twee curtains that the previous owners had left behind – and replaced them with more visually appealing, (to me at least) wooden blinds and other ‘window treatments’ that do little to aid insulation.  Today, it feels warmer out than in…………

I hope you’re managing to keep warm wherever you are.  Toodlepip.

Posted by: lucylastic | January 17, 2012

New Year Limbo? Time to shake it up a little!!!

Another week has rumbled past and I’m still in New Year’s limbo……………….. I can’t quite believe that Christmas is over, New Year has happened and we’re ploughing on into another year without a care in the world. At least, that is how it seems of course, but beneath our gay exteriors all sorts of cares and worries lurk. I shan’t bore or depress you with mine – I just wanted to tell you that I am doing something POSITIVE………………

I have decided to add ‘Jamie at Home’ consultant to my many responsibilities – for those of you who aren’t sure what ‘Jamie at Home’ is all about, it naturally has its own website – which you can find at To those of you who lived through the 70’s and 80’s and remember them, it’s like Tupperware, or Virgin Vie, or Jafra or any of the other party plan type outfits there are out there. But of course, it isn’t – it’s the only party plan I know of that has its very own ‘celebrity chef’ at its heart – a chef who uses Jamie at Home products all the time in his widely watched and enjoyed TV series, no less – and I am quite excited to be doing something different. Always one for a get together, Jamie at Home is ideal for someone like me who loves to cook, eat, shop and chat ‘foodie stuff’ with like-minded people.

So, if you haven’t got a ‘Jamie at Home’ consultant near you, why not give me a call…………..I’ll happily pop round and show you his wares 😉

Posted by: lucylastic | January 5, 2012

Christmas and New Year TV comes up trumps!

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I think the TV was excellent this festive season……………….. I can’t remember when I last saw so much good stuff. A couple of hours in-depth perusing of the Radio Times at the start of the holidays was well rewarded with a crop of new, one-off dramas that I thought were exceptional – such as ‘Lost Christmas Eve’, with my very favourite Eddie Izzard; ‘Fast Freddie, the Widow and Me’, with another favourite, Laurence Fox and not to be forgotten ‘Lapland’ with Sue Johnston and the family from hell trying to have a good holiday ‘finding Father Christmas’ when they would all much rather have been at home. The latter was a tad caricatured at times, but Sue shines in whatever she’s in and as someone who took her two young sons ‘in search of father Christmas in Lapland’ not long after their father died, it was interesting to see what they made of it. I also enjoyed the re-make of The Borrowers – with Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood and other well known faces……………pure escapism, but nonetheless entertaining for that.

Eddie Izzard popped up again in Treasure Island over New Year – thoroughly enjoyable and quite scary at times, my only criticism is of some well dodgy ‘special effects’ which occasionally (and randomly) sped up sequences for no apparent reason. But what do I know – maybe there was a point to it I missed!!!

The usual suspects appeared of course, The Snowman, (nothing wrong with that, I finally managed to watch it last night in a final couple of hours festive viewing frenzy); The Nativity, a modern remake of the most ancient story, with virtually every slightly swarthy English actor you can imagine, (Art Malik, Vincent Regan) taking key roles, plus a few whose very whiteness, (Peter Capaldi, Andrew Buchan) was hidden under long beards, turbans and other swathed material. But sympathetically acted and not afraid to focus on the Joseph/Mary conflict, (you’re pregnant, by whom? God?? I don’t believe you). The series aired last year for the first time, but I didn’t see it. Well worth a stint on catch-up. Lots of churchy and carolly stuff of course – and very good some of it was- John Rutter’s own take on Christmas and it’s music went down well with LH and me and I am always a sucker for Carols from Kings – even though I also listen to it on the radio on Christmas Eve. I can’t ever hear Once in Royal David’s City without a tear springing from my eye. I know, sorry, just can’t help it!

There was some good, (by which I mean funny) comedy on – Michael McIntyre and guests made me laugh, (though obviously filmed well before the Catherine Jenkins/Gethin Jones split, who were in amongst the ‘celebrity audience’ which seems to pad out these TV shows these days, ‘too much work’ kept them apart apparently……… did Rhod Gilbert on Live at the Apollo. Sadly, the re-make of AbFab didn’t make me laugh very much – I think it’s had it’s day and they should let it go………….sorry Jennifer, coz I really like you on the radio with Dawn……………

On the miscellaneous front, there can never be enough Strictly for me, so I was happy to see the Christmas special, with some ‘new’ celebrities and the old ones back again for a last gasp of fame and fortune. Downton was decent – especially after the rattling events of the last series which were a bit too much to keep up with at times – and lots of ends were nicely tied up – thank goodness Lady Mary FINALLY made it into the arms of heir presumptive Matthew; it wouldn’t have been bearable to see any other outcome. And good riddance to her nasty fiance, Sir Richard whatever his name was, who knew her ‘dirty secret’ and made her pay over and over again.

Finally, I managed to watch ‘Endeavour’ on catch-up – a prequel to Morse, I was sceptical about what it would do to a much-loved character and heritage – I shouldn’t have worried – VERY enjoyable and young actor Shaun Evans was very convincing as a young Morse – see the photos above – a resemblance more than a likeness, but it was enough – he’s obviously been studying the gestures – maybe even overdid a couple of them – but the link was very much there. Genius casting of a young pathologist Max as well – I can’t find the actor’s name, but he could so easily have been Max in the 1960’s. If you haven’t seen it yet, I urge you to give it a try!!!

I am sure there was much more worth watching – but so many programmes and so little time!!! Thank goodness for recording devices and catch-up!!!

What were your favourites? Do let me know.

Posted by: lucylastic | January 4, 2012

And a Happy New Year………………

Well, where does the time go?  I’ve had my longest Christmas holiday for a long time…………..over 2 weeks……….and still I don’t feel ready for the return to work or as if I have properly ‘had’ Christmas.  I made an effort with the home decor as you can see above – my little cameral doesn’t really do justice to any of it and those lovely flowers were given to me over a week before Christmas and were in fabulous bloom on the day – more than can be said for my sad Poinsettia, that despite looking perky in the shop didn’t really shine all over Christmas and is now most definitely in its decline!!!!

For the first time in a long time, I only had 6 people sitting down for Christmas lunch – including me and LH – it just didn’t seem enough somehow and I wished there could have been more!  I really missed my lovely best friend A, who decided to celebrate Christmas at home in Spain this year, and even some rousing, (if out of tune) karaoke together, plus some spectacular back garden fireworks on New Year’s Eve didn’t quite make up for the lack of festive feeling.

Without wanting to be too doom and gloom, it didn’t help that there’s a big shadow hanging over the viability of LH’s business – people are abandoning car servicing in their droves it appears – I am sure that the general ‘talking down’ of the economy and the outlook on TV and radio and in the papers doesn’t help either…………..why not take an optimistic view of things?  If you are in striking distance of Swindon and need good quality, good value garage services – why not give us a try…………….

And a New Year sees me taking on a new challenge………….. I thought it was about time I started to DO SOMETHING – instead of just waiting around for the stars to align for our Italian dream of a cookery school to become reality……………so I am going to become a ‘Jamie Consultant’ – if you’re not familiar with Jamie Oliver’s ‘at home’ range of goodies, you can find out more at:  and if you fancy booking a party of your own, you know where I am!

Happy New Year everyone!

Posted by: lucylastic | December 12, 2011

A lovely award and a Christmas wish for you all!

It’s not the best way to close out the year, but I find myself wishing my reader a Happy Christmas AND trying to rightfully acknowledge the award I kindly received from Gail, over at

An award? Yes, dear reader – Curious Girl has very kindly bestowed on me a ‘Lovely Blog Award’, (thank you very much indeed CG) and it’s part of the deal that I do the following:

1. Thank the giver and link back to his or her site, (see above)

2. Provide five random facts that folks may not know about me.

3. Pass this award on to five other lovely blog sites and let them know I’m awarding them – that’s a toughie – as it feels a bit cheeky when I don’t know all the bloggers involved – so if you are one of my five from below, all I can offer as an excuse is that I regularly check your pages to see what you’re up to, and I wanted you to know that you’re appreciated!

4. Copy the award logo and paste it onto your own site.

 So here are my five random facts.

1. I have tried (and so far failed) to get onto Masterchef but still watch it in all its permutations!

2. What I really want to do is open an Italian cookery school in Le Marche, Italy – so if you have some spare dosh looking for an investment, you know where to come 😉

3. If I could only ever eat one meat again it would be beef, but if I had to choose a last meal, it would be lamb

4. My very best friend has occupied that position since we started at Christ the King Primary school in 1969

5. I would love to be able to Quickstep, just once, in front of an admiring room full of onlookers…………………

And here are the other five bloggers to whom I am sending this award – favourites all!

 Around Britain with a paunch –

A pot of tea and a biscuit –

 Hannah’s Country Kitchen –

 With knife and fork –

 Italian Food Forever –

You may notice a bit of a theme with these blogs…………………food – it really is my obsession – I have already planned all my menus for each day I am at home between starting my Christmas hols on 15th Dec and the New Year – but I can’t help myself!!! It’s great fun to plan and shop accordingly – but I don’t mind the occasional spontaneous departure from the script……… last Thursday, when my lovely friend was feeling down and I managed to rustle up a selection of tasty treats and nibbles from cupboards and freezer – and she provided a drop of the hard stuff to road test some Christmas cocktails! Happy days.

I am so busy over the next couple of weeks, (not like the rest of you I’m sure) that I doubt I’ll be blogging again till 2012 – where did 2011 disappear to? Answers on a postcard please! Happy Christmas everybody. Ho, ho, ho.



I am a sucker for anything vaguely military – there’s a long line of it in my family – brother, cousins, uncles, grandfather and beyond, back into the mists of time, (there’s also a history of mental instability and Catholic Priesthood, but we’ll pass over that for the time being).

I also love singing – not doing it, I truly have a voice that scares the living daylights out of many – though I am not easily deterred. Accompanying ‘golden oldies’ on Radio 2’s ‘pick of the pops’ is a pleasure reserved for solo performance in the kitchen and I know what they think of me at church – young children have been known to turn round and stare when I start warbling away to some favourite hymn or other.  So, something that combines music and military is absolutely right up my street!

Anyway, less me, more them – The Choir – Military Wives – is what I’m talking about – the lovely Gareth Malone’s latest venture has been on our screens recently – I have been away so it’s piling up on my saved programmes – and of course, has been overtaken by the moving performance made by The Choir on last Saturday’s Celebration of Remembrance from the Royal Albert Hall – with a specially written song guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of the hardest cynic.

There’s plenty about it on the web – just Google Gareth Malone if you want to see more – but for now, I want to bask in the warmth of feeling he creates by bringing groups of people together and turning them into winning teams – some management types could learn a lot about motivation from Gareth. To those who think they can’t sing, he praises constantly; he’s warm and genuine, not too pushy, but pushy enough; he understands who needs to be coaxed out and who is genuinely determined to stay at the back and he knows that you need a bunch of workers to make things happen – a choir is no place for too many Divas!

If you haven’t seen it yet, try and watch at least one episode on iPlayer – I guarantee it’ll cheer you up.


Posted by: lucylastic | October 20, 2011

Sensory overload in Las Vegas……….

This time last week I was in the Grand Canyon – or over it, or in the river at the bottom of it – the main things is, I wasn’t actually IN Las Vegas!  That’s not to say I wasn’t blown away by the beauty of the canyon, (although I was), but mainly because it offered a rare few hours of escape from the sensory overload that is Las Vegas. I can recommend Pink Jeep Tours if you ever want or need to escape from Vegas yourself

Our lovely, well-informed guide Brad made an already good trip better. I had originally blanched at the ‘suggested’ 15% gratuity, but by the end of the day, I felt he’d really earned it.

I had never been before – I won’t be going again. It was awful, dear reader – just awful – the ‘resorts’, (and sorry, but who came up with the term ‘resort’ to apply to a tacky hotel full of noisy slot machines and even noisier people) were like one long waking nightmare – if you couldn’t remember which hotel you were in, there were no clues to be had inside……………… A permanent twilight, no clocks, no identifying landmarks, just machines and tables and cigarette smoke, (never thought I would object to that) and people hell bent on losing their money – grasping on to the faint hope that they just might win big. Too many over helpful staff – where are you from? Swindon – never heard of it? Where are you going? As far away as we possibly can! Do you want a map? Only if it will help me to find a way home!

I do realise I’m turning into a right old ‘bah humbug, isn’t the world awful’ type of person. But this was everything I had been led to believe and more.

There were a few highlights – me and LH renewing our vows with Elvis, (don’t let anyone tell you he’s dead – he’s ALL OVER Vegas)! Tacky? Yes, indeed – but in a nice, unassuming, not pushy way. He was lovely, we were amused, our guests were thrilled. Shame LH left the camera at home……….Another highlight – and actually, the whole reason for the trip – the wedding of LH’s nephew S to bride B – in the Luxor Hotel Wedding Chapel – he looked uncharacteristically smart, she looked divine. 21 of us gave up a week of our lives to celebrate their nuptials and on balance, it was fun. ‘Big Elvis’ performing at Bill’s Gambling Hall – not one of the classiest places on the Strip by a long way – was just amazing – close your eyes and you could have believed it was Elvis for real – an uncanny sound-alike voice, (all his own, no miming here), he (Peter Vallee, as he’s rightly known) was a fabulous way to round off the week. If you are interested, he claims to be Elvis’s love-child, (based on a death-bed confession made by his mother). Who cares – he’s very entertaining and he’s free!

What else do we have to remember LV by? Old timer Elton John – his show ‘Million Dollar Piano’ at Caesars Palace (no apostrophes in Vegas) was pretty good, (if expensive) and he actually sounded pretty good too – better than I had expected; and Criss Angel’s show ‘Believe’ – illusionist and magician – let’s face it, when you’ve seen one lady sawn in half, you’ve seen them all; Criss was, to my mind, not a patch on my own favourite Derren Brown, we kept getting exhorted to ‘whoop’ and cheer and ‘make alotta noise’ – frankly, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown by the time I came out – I had hoped to while away a couple of hours in relative peace and quiet………….with a chilled drink in my hand.  It was not to be.

Other than that, I didn’t like it 🙂

Bah humbug indeed.

Posted by: lucylastic | September 26, 2011

A late summer weekend in Devon – just what the doctor ordered!

Dear Reader,

Apologies – but at the moment, work is winning in the work/life balance equation and I never seem to have a moment to write anything new!

A few pics then of a fabulous weekend in Devon – mid-September and some lovely sunshine interspersed with rain and clouds.  There was a ‘ship in’ and we spent some lovely time together as a group of girl friends……………..

And a lovely walk in a vineyard, followed by a tasting………………… Not to put too fine a point on it, but some English vineyards have a way to go before they get good enough to take on the Lidl and Sainsbury’s specials………………….disappointing whites, less than full bodied reds and not a drop of sparkly in sight.  Back to the supermarket……………….

Or at least, to my lovely local wine merchant -check him out if you are anywhere in striking distance of Swindon.  Brian at

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