Saturday, 19 April 2014

Luscious Lemon Drizzle Cake

I recognise here that when sharing a recipe online that it is conventional to put up a picture of the finished article.  But heck, I fly in the face of orthodoxy.  What's more I forgot to take a photo at the opportune time and the cake is nearly eaten now. So, here's a shot of Louis demonstrating the very reason why kids like making sweet stuff.  It's so that they can scrape the bowl at the end of the process.

Anyway let me tell you that the lemon cake that Lou knocked up was blooming delicious.  Foolishly we gave a piece away 'Moist, excellent balance of sharpness  and texture...better than many purchased in cake and coffee shops' was the verdict that was texted to me.  Blimey!  So what is that recipe then?

Well, it's from the Flora spread website.  The link is here.  And yep Lou's cake looked quite like the one in the picture except he made it in a loaf tin.  All the ingredients bar the ones for the syrup were bunged in the food processor and whizzed.  Simples!  There was just one way in which we deviated from the original recipe.  I'm not a fan of margarine type spreads and we used proper old fashioned butter.  Give me the real stuff anyday! 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Sharing a Smile

I know that there are some areas of the country where it is considered really odd to engage with the strangers that you meet going about your daily business.  Thankfully, this is largely not the case in the West Country.  People often say hello, smile and even, shock horror!, start up conversations with complete strangers.  In the supermarket I was complimented on the necklace I was wearing and I myself , expressed admiration for a dress that another customer was wearing in a coffee shop.

Svelte Support, my lovely colleague, hit it on the head.  Like myself she smiles and chats to all and sundry.  She said that she doesn't care if some people see this as a bit mad.  That's their problem. Rightfully she pointed out that her interacrtion, might for some be the only meaningful interaction that they have with another human being in a day.  Now there's a thought to spur us all on to getting more smiley and more chatty.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Best Use For Duct Tape Ever!

Photo: The Guardian
I'm into week 4 of sick leave. Had things gone to my dizzy pre-op plan, literally thousands of craft projects would have come to fruition by now.  I like to be realistic in the targets that I set myself.

The reality?  Well, I'm doing very well in the scheme of things.  My physiotherapist is pleased and hell, lets give myself a pat on the back, I'm doing far more from a physical point of view than I expected at this stage.

But I get tired and the pain breaks through my analgesia.  I have to nap and rest so by the time I've done the exercise that I've agreed should form my rehab programme and what needs doing around the house there's little time for all that creative activity.  No matter!  I've no doubt that I'll be back to living as full and active a life as I want soon.

In the meantime I'll take inspiration from others.  Last week it was the mountaineer Jamie Andrew and today, Pascale Honore is the person who is spurring me onto greater things.  Follow this link here that will take you to the video which shows how this lady has taken to the waves again after a spinal injury.  It's so mad it made me smile and smile!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Biographical Bookmark

I was searching around for inspiration for a post today in my photo files and found  this picture of a bookmark that I much admired. It was made by one of the Scouts.  The overall  size is about the length of a ten year old's hand and arm.  After the lovely graphic decoration was applied, it was laminated and cut out. Wouldn't something similar make a lovely personalised keepsake for a relative or friend?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bargain Bling

These pretty rings were snapped in the window of a shop dealing  in both new and secondhand baubles. I particularly like the one on the left.  As someone who dabbles in making their own bling  I appreciate the work that's gone into it.  Indeed if I'm tempted to buy a piece of jewellery these days I'll only go for stuff that I wouldn't be able to make myself.  My skill level, just from attending basic level courses, is sufficient for lots of potential purchases to be ruled out.  Once you know how to shape, solder and add texture to bits of precious metal, it's surprising what you can knock up given a bit of time and patience.

At Christmas, M, a friend of mine thought she might just 'pop' into Exeter to buy a friend a charm from the Pandora store.  As she isn't local she asked directions.  'That's easy' said the passer-by that she nobbled.  Just look for the place with the queue. She was amazed  that the line snaked around the corner from the store and that the quick dash into town took way longer than she'd intended.  That multi-component jewellery is such a clever concept. Darn, I wish I'd been the one to have thought of it!

This is what £250 will buy you at Pandora's online store.   It's one of their stacking rings in 14ct gold and I have to say that I quite like it. But that 18ct vintage number with its pretty blue stone and higher precious metal content is much more up my street. For starters, it's unlikely that you'd come across another one just like it again. And because there's no added costs for design, or all that hype, its worth remembering that secondhand jewellery is often so much way better value.

Monday, 14 April 2014

TOWIE: The Alternative View

Just time for a quick one today so I thought that I'd share this happy little ditty about Essex, the county that I grew up in.  I've chosen this particular version partly for its video that was shot on the seafront at Southend-on-Sea, a place where many happy memories were formed. It's only a twenty minute walk from Mum and Dad's house so most childhood weekends and school holidays were spent down there.  What a brilliant place to have on your doorstep.

The other thing that I like about is that it paints a picture of a county that isn't dominated by stereotypical Essex Man or Woman.  We don't all have dyed blonde locks, fake tans and bejazzled lady gardens, I'll have you know.  My recollection is much more of a county where it's not to difficult to find chirpy, creative individuals.  Rather like Devon then!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

More Clouds and Gratefulness

That practice of being mindfully grateful is paying huge dividends.  Once I actively started to place emphasis on what I have rather than focusing  on what I do not, the list that I can come up with of how I am blessed just grows and grows. And yes, as David Steindl Rast has pointed out gratefulness does indeed seem to be the precursor to happiness.  Heightened awareness of this has resulted in  an extra source of strength that I am sure is contributing to me getting well.  I'm especially more appreciative of others when they give something of themselves  and am actively looking for ways to express this overtly. Do you know an old man who was much more incapacitated than me offered me his seat on the bus the other day? Blimey, I didn't think I seemed that doddery! Of course, I didn't take up his offer as I didn't need to. I recognised how much kindness it demonstrated and could thank him accordingly.

Back to the wonder of clouds that I talked about a few weeks ago.  Here's another snap of the sky that I've taken.   Would you believe that this is the view from the side window of my house?  It was obscured by an old wooden venetian blind for so long that I forgot it was available to me.   Really!  Of course, it's Haytor, that most iconic of the sights of Dartmoor which is just three or four miles west of here.  Needless to say that the blind now stays up which has resulted in mad naked dashes between bathroom and bedroom  as fast as I can hobble. What's the chances that the neighbours are will see my bare butt anyway?  My reckoning is that they're pretty slim as I'm not vastly overlooked.

So  I take pleasure from the vista now every time I climb the stairs. And now when I'm doing my physiotherapy exercises I use the bannister as a handrail, stare off into the distance, recognise that I am getting stronger and give thanks that I'll soon be up there in person again soon.