Well here we are, another few weeks down and looking like at least another 3 to go. How are you all coping? I keep hearing that Covid 19 has been the ultimate leveller, putting us all on the same playing field. But I am painfully aware, as are many of you, that it is not. It’s far from it, we are not all having the same experience. Some are locked down in small flats, perhaps with small children or elderly relatives. Some are completely alone and with little to no support around them.
I am however hearing wonderful stories of people coming together, communities reverting back to what it was like in the 40’s and 50’s and properly checking in on their neighbours and sharing what they have without asking for anything in return or simply telling them to pay it forward when they can. There have been heart-warming stories like Captain Tom Moore, who at the time of writing this, had raised over £18 million for NHS Charities by walking 100 laps of his garden with his frame. Something so simple has got us all behind him and it’s been so special.
We at QVC are doing our bit too in raising money for the The National Emergencies Trust. QVC has already donated £50,000 and is hoping to raise another £75K with your help. For every £1 that you donate QVC will match it with a further £2. We are nearly at our complete total of £125,000!! I have already donated to it myself too so if you are looking for somewhere to show your support for others then perhaps you will consider our campaign.
The NET are in partnership with the British Red Cross and the money raised will distribute funds to support communities in the UK made most vulnerable by Covid 19. I know there are many ways out there for you to show your support so a massive thank you to those who have chosen to back our campaign. To find out more and to donate click here.
What we’ve been up to
You may have read in my last blog that I was taking 2 weeks off work. I already had it booked for Easter and figured I would take it as time at home to spend with Fred and Kids. We have been surprisingly busy, kids will do that to you! We have baked, crafted, played and watched films together and you know what, I have actually had a nice time. This is where I am incredibly aware of how lucky I am. We have a garden to spend time in and so far we have managed to stay healthy and that’s the most important thing.
We got the paddling pool out for the sunny days and if you have been following me on Instagram you will know all about the trampoline disaster and subsequent success last week. I had ordered a trampoline back at the end of March just before lockdown and I was lucky to get one ordered as few days later when lockdown was announced you couldn’t find them anywhere. Apparently the whole country went trampoline crazy to keep the kids entertained and active in the garden!
Anyway fast forward a few weeks, still no trampoline. So I chased the order, obviously stating that I totally understood that there could be a delay but could I get an idea if it would arrive in time for my 5 year old’s Birthday. That night I got a reply, they were very sorry but due to high demand and ‘an issue with allocation’ (translated, they gave mine to someone else!) they no longer had any stock and hadn’t bothered to tell me but had now refunded me.
I was completely gutted but these things happen, particularly now, there’s so much worse going on than us not getting our trampoline. That said, skip forward a day and my lovely next door neighbour Jill calls me from the queue outside the supermarket on her essential shopping trip “I’ve just seen a man leaving the store with a 10ft trampoline, if they have any left do you want one?” Well it was bigger than the one we were going to get but I just said YES!!!!!!
So my lovely neighbour managed to get a 10 foot trampoline box into her car along with her groceries and I couldn’t have been more grateful. (She stayed in the house while we got it out of her car). It was definitely above and beyond a neighbourly favour and I of course have sorted a present to say thank you. The kids have bounced every single day on it since we put it together (I think it took us about 3 hours!!) I have also given it a try, you know to make sure it’s right for the kids of course.
Other than ‘trampoline gate’ it’s been all about Easter and Ivy and Fred’s Birthdays so it has been busy. Easter Sunday was spent cooking and creating an Easter Egg hunt around the house, that was after the Easter Bunny had arrived and left treats in the garden. One of my mum friends shared a printable egg hunt with clues so I hid those all around the house with prizes and it was a brilliant success, the kids keep shouting ‘Best Easter Ever!’. The sun shone and we ate in the garden and it was lovely.
On Ivy’s Birthday we decorated the house with balloons and banners and did ANOTHER Easter egg hunt but this time it was for chocolate eggs all around the garden. Our garden is tiered and when we made it to the top that’s where we had a party game of pass the parcel.
A complete win on lockdown was that I found an Piñata in the cupboard that was supposed to be used for one of Tilda’s Birthdays a few years back but got forgotten about during the craziness of a party!! It was still filled with treats and chocolates which where, ahem just about in date! So we strung that up on the basketball hoop and all had a go at whacking the poor cardboard donkey until it spilled the goods. It was a lot of fun and Ivy swung the final blow so she was thrilled.
If you have a look on the table behind the piñata you can also see how my Plants2Gardens Orchard is getting on. It’s an apple, pear, cherry and plum tree which I bought a while back and arrived with bare roots and I have to admit I left them a long time in a bucket of water before I planted them so I was worried if they would be ok but they have started to kick off and sprout, so I will keep you posted on their progress. The mini orchard is now sold out but we have lots of other fruit trees available if you fancy trying your hand at growing your own, we’ve definitely got apricot, cherry and plums! When these get bigger, I will give them a proper forever home at the top of the garden.
I have also bought the Thompson & Morgan Incredicore Peat Free Compost for some more gardening that I have planned so I will let you know how I get on with that. It’s compressed and when you add water to it, it expands to a 10 litre bag of compost!
Two days later it was Birthday number two. This time it was a lockdown party for Fred. We started the day with cards, presents and bacon and eggs. We got him a new BBQ, which seemed like the handiest gift right now. He then went out on his allowed bike ride which he hasn’t done much of, normally he goes on his static bike in the shed! Today was a treat though and he got a break from our house for a bit!
When he got back, we fired up the pizza oven, we ordered a batch of make your own pizza kits from one of the local independent pizza places ‘Gossip’ as we’ve been trying to support some of our local businesses. They were a big hit and the pizzas turned out beautifully. It was another sunny day which has been so special these past few weeks. Fred had a FaceTime with his mates and while they were all on the phone I brought out the cake so they could all join in singing Happy Birthday too.
In the kitchen – Basic Lockdown Chilli Con Carne
With so many of us pulling dinners together with what we have at home already I thought I would share one of the meals I’ve done purely with what’s in the cupboard and the freezer. Chilli Con Carne is definitely one of those dishes. When I do venture to the supermarket, which like you is rarely (or perhaps not at all for many) I stock up on meat for the freezer and dry goods that will keep us going once the fresh fruit and veg has been used up.
This dish can be a lot more indulgent when you’ve got everything but it actually doesn’t need to be. You may even have a jar of chilli con carne sauce in the cupboard which makes it even more simple!
1 pack of steak mince
1 Red Onion (white is great too I just had red, or frozen if you have them)
1 jar of chopped tin tomatoes
Squeeze of tomato puree
1 beef stock cube to crumble (if you have a jelly pot then add this once it’s got more liquid in the pan so it dissolves)
1 tin of red beans (if you don’t have them but have baked beans then go for it, it’s about using what you have)
1 clove fresh garlic (you can use garlic granules or puree if that’s what you have)
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
Sprinkle of dry chilli flakes (to your preferred taste and heat level)
Salt and Pepper
White Rice, (use Brown if you prefer as it’s healthier)
Simply chop and fry the onions and garlic until starting to brown. (I use my deep Le Creuset casserole dish as it’s going to get quite full with sauce etc.) Add the steak mince (defrosted first if been in the freezer) and cook until brown, sprinkle with beef stock cube, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Add the tin of tomatoes, the tin of red beans and a squeeze of tomato puree. I then sprinkle in the chilli flakes and taste test for the heat, Fred and I both like a bit of a kick!
Leave all that to simmer for another 10-15 minutes. You can make this in advance, in which case leave it to cool to re-heat later. Or while it’s simmering you can get on with the rice, simply follow instructions on the rice pack.
The best thing about this dish is that you can make lots and batch freeze it for another time or you can have leftovers for another night and serve with jacket potatoes. I like mine sprinkled with cheese. I also normally have a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt but we didn’t have any.
If you have it, chopped chorizo is also a fab way to elevate your chilli con carne. You can also use stewing beef too if you want a more authentic Mexican style dish. We also had some leftover baked beans in the fridge so I threw them in too to use up the leftovers. I am getting much better at finding ways to use everything we have at the moment to try and be less wasteful!
Don’t forget that QVC has an amazing selection of food that can be delivered to your home so If you are struggling to get to the shops or get a delivery slot from the supermarket then do have a look. I can recommend our fab selection of pie brands.
One last thing!
Before I go I want to share something fun, many of you will know Sarah Booker who is our guest presenter for Emu. You’ll have heard her mention that her husband is a musician and he has done a brilliant song and video with their girls called the ‘Lockdown‘ by TJ Walker and the Walker Sisters. It’s soooo good, have a watch and enjoy and feel free to share it.
Sending lots of love to you all, I will be back on QVC next week Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Love from Katy xxx