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The Best Badger Birthday Cake – Ever!

2 Jul

This weekend, my lovely brother, sister-in-law and niece came to stay. And look what they gave me when they arrived! This is quite possibly the most awesome birthday* cake I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s my book, made into a cake! Amazes! (Although it did feel a bit mean to eat Baby Badger’s head, and I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it).

It was all completely gluten-free too (you couldn’t tell) and tasted FANTASTIC, lemony sponge goodness. Mmmmm. So thank you to Lucy, cake-maker extraordinaire, and thank you to the Saunders contingent, who got it for me. You’re all marvellous.

If you want to see what other tasty treats Lucy can make, take a look at Lucy’s Cake Boutique, her website is  here.

*It was a belated celebration cake, as my birthday was a few weeks ago.


How Does Your Garden Grow?

11 Jun

Tomatoes from a previous year. Plants of 2012, this is what we’re aiming for, just so you know.

There are things that I’m good at. Things like, stockpiling books. Eating chocolate. Cooking (most of the time). Multi-tasking. List making and organisational stuff. But gardening? Gardening I am not good at. Plants, generally, are not my friends. Rather than green fingers, I have black ones. Black fingers of death.  Yet, despite this, every year I have one weekend where I go a bit nuts and decide I want to grow lots of stuff, so I plant it over-excitedly and hope for the best. And this annual event happened last weekend. I started with tomatoes. I usually grow tomatoes, and they generally work out okay. I’m quite forgetful, so I’m better with outdoor plants than indoor ones, because if it rains, it doesn’t matter if I’ve forgotten about them, as they still get watered.

We don’t have a vegetable patch, just the world’s longest lawn, so everything’s grown in containers. I stuck my tomatoes in pots and gazed at them proudly from my kitchen window. But then I decided some mange tout would also be nice. And some lettuce. And carrots. French beans, radishes, a pepper, courgettes and a cucumber also followed. And then a friend gave me some spinach seeds. Then I found a cheaper-than-cheap raspberry cane in Wilkinsons, of all places. Plus I’d also decided a tub of sweet peas would be nice, and that Tornado Toddler should have some sunflowers. So now we have a patio that resembles a garden centre. Will these things actually grow? I have no idea. The things I bought as plants I’m more hopeful about, as long as the slugs and snails don’t eat them. The stuff I’m growing from seed…who knows. I don’t know if I sowed them properly, or in the right kind of soil. Tornado Toddler didn’t help, as his idea of gardening is pulling everything up again and running off with the bamboo canes. But fingers crossed something works out and that by the end of the summer I’ll be able to make a salad entirely from stuff I’ve grown all by myself. And it’s raining loads at the moment. So at least it’s getting watered.

A Room of One’s Own

21 May

Yesterday I had a very lovely day. Along with two of my best friends, we left our respective kids with the husbands, and went out for a day. We shopped (I got two new dresses, perhaps going some way towards finding a new sense of style, number #14 on my bucket list), had lunch and then…then we made lampshades. Oh yes. There’s a fantastic craft emporium called The Makery near where I live, and they offer workshops on a huge variety of things, including lampshade making.

Lampshade made by my own fair hands.

This is my finished product. I’m *very* proud of it. Apparently, lampshades made in this kind of material can sell for £50+! In fact, all of the completed lampshades looked like they could be sold in very posh shops for vast amounts of money.  It was fantastic, seeing how they all turned out. And now I want to make more! A lampshade for every room in the house! (Relatives, look away now. You may be getting these for Christmas).  You can see how excited I am just from the annoying amount of exclamation marks I’ve used in this paragraph.

My lampshade is going to be put in my new study, which I’m super excited about. A room! Just for me! Husband is very bitter about this, because his PC actually lives in, um, a cupboard. (Not even one of those fancy cupboards that turn into a desk. It’s an actual cupboard on the floor. But in my defence, he hardly ever uses that one, he’s on the netbook most of the time. ) My new study is going to be the room I write in, plus I’m also planning on setting up my sewing machine in there, so I can make all sorts of marvellous things (just need to learn to use it first), thus completing number #16 on my bucket list. I’m writing this in the old room, which is about to be painted, and I’m surrounded by boxes of books, piles of paper, duvets, pillows, and all sorts of other mess. It’s making me want to spasm, so I’m counting down the days until my new study will be ready to move into. It’ll be a while before everything gets done and decorated and sorted, we’ve a lot of painting and stuff to do first, but the lampshade is the first step…

Bucket List

3 May

I’ve been quiet  and not blogged for a while. Someone very close to me died, which happened extremely suddenly and was a massive, massive shock, and then I was on deadline for May,  needing to get the edits for my novel done. Yes, a novel! I’ll write about it tomorrow.I’ve been wary about blogging about it up until this point because I’ve been very superstitious about things and didn’t want to jinx anything.

Anyway, because of everything that’s happened recently, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about quite big stuff. Things including what I want from life, and what I want to achieve, and I’ve learned the harsh lesson that you never really know what’s waiting for you around the corner. Cheery, no? But I’ve realised you shouldn’t keep putting things off, in case the chance to do them never comes.

So over the last few weeks I have been thinking about my Bucket List. The things I want to do before I die. And I thought if I write them down on my website, they won’t get lost, like all the other lists that float around my house then end up in the recycling, with me tearing my hair out two weeks later because I’ve lost a vitally important email address, or mobile number, or note to myself to do something that I’ve now forgotten. So now there’s now a new page on my site, where you can check out the things I want to do. It’ll probably keep being added to, but this is for starters. I’m kicking off with looking for a uke tutor, although Twitter so far has not been very helpful.

Check out my list, you’ll find it under the ‘Bucket List’ tab at the top of the page. Those are my things – what’s on yours? (Warning: I may shamelessly steal any I like the look of).

How Many Pancakes Is Too Many Pancakes?

25 Feb

This week was Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day. I’ve been gluten-free for over a decade, and have never before managed to master the art of gluten-free pancakes, which has given me great sadness. My efforts turned into a grey, doughy ball in the pan, and tasted revolting. I missed pancakes. A lot. But then I found this amazing recipe on the Dove’s Farm website:

And oh, deep joy, it worked. Pancakes. That taste like real pancakes! So I ate a load on Tuesday. Then some more on Wednesday. And then last night I was sitting on my sofa, watching Grey’s Anatomy, and fancied more pancakes. So I made some batter and ate another load. And I plan to have more tonight. Don’t judge me. I’ve years of pancake absinence to make up for.

(I hope Dove’s Farm didn’t mind me borrowing their image)