Sunday, September 25, 2016

Birthday steak and Manhattans

via Instagram

30th Birthday Fun

Darling friends and family have been spoiling me rotten. I've been for a long weekend in Mere, a fancy dinner at the Pig in Brockenhurst, and for a weekend away in Brighton. More to come as well!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Sandy's socks mark #1 done. Will get to check fit in two weeks time. #knitting #socks

via Instagram

Hannah's Mum's chocolate cake recipe

The amounts first up are for a single layer cake in spring form tin that goes up like a volcano. The second, larger amounts are for two normal size victoria sponge sized cake tins, creating a very tall double layer cake; or a traybake as per a brownie tin:

Plain flour                        7oz                         (10.5oz)
Bicarb                              1 tsp                       (1.5 tsp)
Baking powder                  1 tsp                       (1.5tsp)
Cocoa                              2 tbsp                    (3 tbsp)
Soft light brown sugar       5 oz                        (7.5 oz)
Golden syrup                    2 tbsp                    (3 tbsp)
Large eggs                       2                                (3)
Sunflower oil                   150ml                    (200ml)
Milk                                 80ml                       (100ml)

Put all ingredients in at once and mix thoroughly. I use the Kitchenaid for several mins on medium. It makes a sloppy, pouring mixture.

Put in a lined tin and cook at 160 C for 45 to 50 mins. If making the double round sponges, start checking after 25 mins or when it smells done. Gas mark 5. If the middle has risen too much and you don’t want a volcano, saw off the top.

Icing  - melt half a 100g bar of dark 75% chocolate, add a large teaspoon of honey and tbsp butter (approx amounts). Mix till all just melted and glossy, then pour over the cooled cake.

For a birthday cake decorate with white chocolate buttons, minstrels or smarties. 

Alex's notes: Very good with 3 medium beetroot steamed and pureed added.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Housey things.

So the stairs will be carpeted tomorrow, and the hall curtains await alteration. The small bedroom is yellow, and now awaiting a new doorstep.

I have been sanding and varnishing the bottom steps. I think I look like Rosie the Riveter.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Comfort in, Dump out

Found this today:

Really helpful advice on how not to put your foot in it if someone in your life is going through a difficult time. Some people do this instinctively, others need a helping hand

"Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie's aneurysm, that's Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie's aneurysm, that was Katie's husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan's patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair" and "Why me?" That's the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, "I'm sorry" or "This must really be hard for you" or "Can I bring you a pot roast?" Don't say, "You should hear what happened to me" or "Here's what I would do if I were you." And don't say, "This is really bringing me down."

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that's fine. It's a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT."

Sunday, July 03, 2016


I sometimes fear that people might think that fascism arrives in fancy dress worn by grotesques and monsters as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis. Fascism arrives as your friend. It will restore your honour, make you feel proud, protect your house, give you a job, clean up the neighbourhood, remind you of how great you once were, clear out the venal and the corrupt, remove anything you feel is unlike you…It doesn’t walk in saying, “Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution.”

Michael Rosen (via femmesorcery)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

From my former university chaplain to his former students...


Post EU referendum, a negotiating position....

Dear Brexiteer. What we need you to do now. - by Fr. Philip Blackledge

"So well done, first of all. You listened to the arguments, the same ones I listened to. You heard all the same information I did, you listened to the same debates that I did, but you voted to leave. And you won. I take that – it was a democratic process and sometimes in the democratic process you lose, as I have done.
The referendum has activated the political energies of people who haven’t been interested in politics for some time, so we are told, and many of them are like you, who voted to leave. So here’s the plea of the losing side to you now.
Firstly, don’t stop – don’t stop with your political passion and activism, because we need you now. We need you to be active, we need you to keep talking to the people who you trusted with this vote, and we need you to hold their feet to the fire. There will be a General election in 2020, if not before, and by then, you will know whether their promises are good or not. So make it clear to them that you are watching to see if they were telling the truth or not.
If you voted leave because of all the money which will now go to the NHS, make sure it does. If it doesn’t vote them out, because they lied to you.
If you voted leave because of all the immigration, and it turns out that the deals that they do mean immigration will not go down, then vote them out, because they lied to you.
If you voted leave because of all the Brussels bureaucracy, and it turns out companies still have to conform with all Brussels bureaucracy in order to be part of a trade agreement, then vote them out, because they lied to you.
If you voted leave because you were reassured that the economy would be as good as or better than it is now, and it turns out that the pound has fallen, and businesses have left, and people have lost their jobs, then vote them out, because they lied to you.
If you find your rights – maternity and paternity leave, breaks at work, sick pay, health and social benefits – are taken away, when we were told they would not, then vote them out, because they lied to you.
My feeling is that the issues will remain. Immigration will not go down, mainly because we don’t train people in this country, we import them, which creates an underclass of white working class and second and third generation immigrants who aren’t trained or educated for work. With fewer workers rights, that’s only going to increase, rather than diminish.
So please, if you find that they lied to you, vote them out. And vote for the people who will tell you uncomfortable, complicated truths, rather than easy, simple lies."

by Fr Philip Blackledge  -

Friday, June 17, 2016

#ascot2016 prep...

via Instagram

Sometimes I can't sleep

When I can't sleep, I mull over the day.

Feeling sad about Sandy moving to America. I'm excited for him, but sad for us too. He's a very dear friend, full of adventure, vim and party spirit. I appreciate his conversational art, and his thoughtfulness.

Feeling anxious about what needs doing at work.

Wondering what to get Ben for his birthday.

Ticking off the list of house admin. Carpets, curtains, fireplaces, architects.

Wondering if I have time to go to a craft shop tomorrow to buy something to jujzz up my Ascot hat.

Worrying about going to the doctor about my stupid lady parts.

Worrying about the EU referendum.

Feeling sad for the family of Jo Cox.

All sloshing around my head. All tick, tick, ticking away.