Archive | February, 2012


25 Feb

Chocolate is indulgence!  And the best chocolate indulgence is a chocolate cake.  There’s nothing more satisfying than baking a chocolate cake yourself and enjoying the fruits of your labour!

This is my version of Hummingbird Bakery’s Chocolate Guinness cake.  This is my chocolate cake with morello cherry filling and it was dee-vine! 🙂

Hummingbird Bakery's Chocolate Guinness Cake with  Morello Cherry Filling


Wednesday Weirdness

22 Feb

As the rest of the Christian world celebrates Ash Wednesday, I sit here at my desk trying to breathe in and out slowly.  Am feeling very stressed today, you see.

I had a to-do list today, and a schedule.  That’s gone down the drain.  There are other stressors but those things, I’d rather not talk about.  Even thinking about them is making me hyperventilate more!

Why won’t my Wednesday stick to the schedule!  Argh!

Stress Paul Stress Ball

Photo credit:  Stress Paul Stress Ball –

We have bread!

19 Feb

I have the biggest grin on my face at the moment as I have made bread!  Well, focaccia is a kind of bread, so I guess I can claim that right?  Virtually speechless as am really, really, really pleased with myself!

This was the dough being coaxed to rise a second time.  I was a bit worried as the dough was really wet.  The book did say that the dough would be wet but I wasn’t sure it was meant to be THAT wet!  I was very worried.  I’d tried to make bread before and failed, quite miserably.

focaccia dough

But it did come out beautifully I think!

Salt and pepper focacciaThis was the salt and pepper focaccia.

FocacciaRoasted vegetable focaccia on the left and the salt and pepper on the right.





18 Feb

I love this photo really.

Shadows in Manningtree


16 Feb

Post A Week 2012




I’ve declared (whether officially or unofficially, although I think the little doodad — a current favourite word — on the right hand side of my blog makes it sort of official, doesn’t it?) that I have committed to writing one post a week for 2012.

I’ve done the post a day challenge last year and it wasn’t the easiest of things to do.  I think the words simply don’t flow when you try too hard to be creative.  I needed the structure and the discipline that posting every single day created so that I could write.  But I discovered that if I really wanted to I could write; that to me is an amazing reassurance.

I think the key to writing is to allow the ideas to flow and to brew in your head so that they are able to come out in a steady stream.  The only way to do that is to ease the pressure.  So that’s what I’m doing this year.  The goal is still to blog as often as possible, to write as much as I can so that my writing style does, eventually, evolve into something that is uniquely mine, and to write so that when people read what I’ve wrote, it sounds like me and not an amalgamation of my favourite authors’ writing styles.  But I’m removing the pressure factor and taking my foot off the pedal.  I’m allowing myself the structure of setting the quota of one post a week so that I have a little wriggle room and I don’t feel so pressured into churning things out.  I rather like the idea that my blog entries are finessed out of me rather than beaten out of me by the writing taskmaster!

So there it is.

I am writing a post a week for 2011.  And, funnily enough, I think I’m writing more than that.

To quote Martha Stewart, that is a good thing!

Valentine’s Day post-mortem

15 Feb

Valentine’s Day was a quiet affair.  Mind you, this is not a complaint.  I am really becoming ornery in my old age.  I find that I prefer a quiet and steady life.  Heavy on the quiet, generous on the steady.  I find that I am learning to value stability and and routine more.  I’m only in my mid-30s, God help me and whoever comes across me when I’m much older!  I’m becoming quieter too.  I’d rather sit in companionable silence rather than chatter away, as I used to.  These days, I find people who talk too much irritating!  Oh dear!

It was a dinner of lamb shanks with veg and horseradish mash (yes, for those of you in the know, it was that Tesco deal).  But instead of a fizzy drink, because my blood sugar was inexplicably high last night, it was cups of milky tea and a glass of sparkling mineral water instead.  I was given a lovely red box of my (absolute) favourite Guylian Belgian chocolate seashells (thank you Alan!), but diabetes prevented me from indulging last night.  This will have to be saved until my next diabetes check up.

And now, my thoughts turn to love and all the mushy stuff.  In so many ways, my views on love have always reflected what is written about love in 1 Corinthians 13: that love is patient, kind, that it does not envy or boast; nor is it proud; it does not dishonour others; it is not self-seeking or easily angered and it doesn’t keep record of wrongs; it doesn’t delight in evil and rejoices in the truth; and love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.

I think my ideas about love and romance have changed.  I still believe in fairy tales, and the happily ever afters.  But I also know that love isn’t always fire and passion (don’t get me wrong, it can be, but you can’t sustain fire and passion ALL THE TIME or you’ll burn out!).  Love isn’t the swashbuckling adventure high that some people think it is.  Love isn’t the being together but the knowing you are part of a whole.  As far as relationships go, I find that I don’t do needy people (except maybe my mum who demands that I make sure I email her as often as possible because she wants to know that I am all right.  I remember once she kicked up a huge email storm because I hadn’t emailed her in two weeks–granted, I live on the other side of the world now, but still–BUT I DIGRESS!) and I find that I need my space.  I find that the unspoken connection is enough for me and sometimes, too much communication is simply that, too much.  And while I appreciate that there are times of high emotions, I don’t do drama and tears anymore.

Love inspires stillness, stability and affirmation that it is love and that it is right.  Everything falls into place when love is right (actually when it isn’t the right kind of love, no matter how much you love, no matter how much emotion wells up inside you, no matter how much you fight for it, things will refuse to fall into place and you end up feeling like you’re hitting your head with a very large, very solid brick).

We should all be so blessed to find the right kind of love; the love that brings us the affirmation that our souls need, the love that strengthens us so that we are able to be patient, kind, not envious, boastful, or proud; not self-seeking and always honouring others; the love that will give us the courage to always trust and hope and the strength to persevere.

Valentines Day Quotable: David Nicholls

14 Feb

I thought this was an excellent bit of wisdom from One Day author David Nicholls.  Very timely too for Valentines Day, as I’ve never believed Valentines Day was only for the romantic kind of love.  Love is love is love!

Quote from David Nicholls