Top Coat, Top Designer and Top Tailors….

Been a while since I blogged. I don’t like January but it’ll soon be over, tomorrow in fact.

I am quite busy with my writing at the moment doing a memoir writing course with Fish Publishing…watch out friends and family, you’d better be nice to me or else! I’m also trying to keep up with the Writers Bureau course that I won last November, there’s tons of it and it may take me the whole of 2014 to finish!

A little story about a coat…

In Petritoli there is a euro shop, we call it that because most clothing sold in there costs a euro. The shop is housed in the old cinema, a massive building and the place is crammed upstairs with clothing and downstairs, in the stalls where the seating used to be, is crammed with items of furniture, costing a little more than a euro but not much more.  We have taken advantage of both departments. I’m not sure where the money taken goes, I don’t think it’s a charity shop. There are very few if any   charity shops in this part of Italy. Correct me please if I’m wrong but I’ve never found any.

A couple of years ago I entered the shop to look for a winter coat and found a lovely brown hairy thing for which I duly paid my one euro.

I wore it to travel to our friend’s house near Cortona and when I took my newly acquired coat off she (Linda, sorry, she doesn’t like being called she) exclaimed,

‘Oh you have a MaxMara!’

MaxMara Euro Coat
MaxMara Euro Coat

I was unimpressed, because I didn’t know who that was. I’ve never really been interested in designer labels so haven’t kept up with who’s who. I know about Chanel, D&G and a few others but that’s about it. However, I took great delight in telling her – sorry not her but Linda – that I’d bought the coat for only a euro!

The lining was a bit worn and this year I thought I’d do something about it. Now, here’s the thing, in this little town of Petritoli we have a pair of tailors, husband and wife. So, I went to Fermo to buy new lining material, which cost 6 euros and then took the coat to the shop and asked them to please make a new lining, making sure not to lose the MaxMara label, because now I proudly show everyone my MaxMara one euro coat…not to labour the point.

They did a fantastic job.

Perfect Stitching
Perfect Stitching

When I went to collect it they said…

‘Mama mia! Molto difficile, maniche, tasche, tutti difficili da cucire e tagliare, molte ore di lavoro necessarie.’ which roughly translated means it took ages and we’re going have to charge you a LOT of money.

‘How much?’ I asked.

‘Venticinque’ she shrugged her shoulders and looked apologetic.

Only twenty-five euro! Brilliant. I went back the next day with the money.

‘Trentacinque’ they said, upping the price by 10 euros, I must have looked too pleased the day before.

I think thirty-five euro or should I say thirty-six is a great price for a MaxMara. I’ve googled it and the winter coats retail upwards of £400 each! RESULT!

New Lining…sorry no photo of old one!
New Lining…sorry no photo of old one!
Label still in place
Label still in place

Busy Baking Biscakes…


Today I wanted to be busy in the kitchen so I began by preparing some bread and whilst it was proving I took the dog for a walk. When I got back the bread was ready for the second proving bit. In the meantime, The Man had got some help to remove a small kitchen from a room upstairs in the house. I thought I would be a good hostess and make some Scottish pancakes and ginger biscuits to give to the lads when they had a break and a cuppa.

I’d never made ginger biscuits before (here was the first mistake) and I didn’t have any golden syrup but thought I could substitute runny honey. I took the recipe from the Internet and wrote down the ingredients and amounts on a piece of card. I thought I would just shove it all in the mixer and whizz it up.

I put in the dry ingredients added the egg and whizzed. It resembled breadcrumbs, no sticking power at all. Well maybe one egg wasn’t enough, I thought, so I decided to put in some milk, whoops too much milk, oh…damn…(or words to that effect) I’d forgotten to put in the butter or the runny honey, too late for the butter it was still in the fridge but I did add the honey. Now the mixture was definitely on the liquid side, better add some more flour, oh and a bit more bicarb. The contents of the bowl resembled marzipan, but soft marzipan. I considered binning it all but thought I might as well cook some to see if it was edible.

Surprisingly, they weren’t too bad. Not aesthetically pleasing, they looked nothing like biscuits, more like flat cakes. The man and his mates loved them and gobbled them up…I named them BISCAKES…(derived from biscuits and cakes or mistakes ha!)

The moral of this story is:-

Don’t give up on something because you haven’t got it quite right, the end result might be pleasing anyway.

I’m sure some readers can think of a better moral than that so I look forward to a few comments. Oh, and don’t ask for the recipe for my BISCAKES as it was all totally thrown in and I have no idea of the amounts.

By the way, the bread turned out beautifully and the pancakes weren’t too bad either.