Thursday 28 December 2023

Well that was something different :-)

 Yesterday was my birthday and one of the gifts from my girls was a Bake Off experience.

Now I have only every watched one series of  Bake Off, I don't like cooking shows in general so when they told me we were going to be partaking in a Bake Off I was a bit dubious, as it turned out it was good fun 😁

The tent was set out as in the show and all the ingredients for the cake we were making was set out together with instructions.  We were on a time limit, just as the contestants of the show are, which I have to say is a bit nerve wracking, even though ours was for fun, you can imagine how the real contestants are put under pressure.

Our instructions were to make a three tier cake with meringue buttercream icing, a white chocolate Iglu, plus figures to sit in the Iglu.  I had never made meringue buttercream or any form made from chocolate, but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. 

I teamed up with Joanne and Stevie and Jenny paired up, this Is the cake Joanne and myself made.

And a closer look at our figures, which Joanne made, I think she did a great job with them!

Our sponge was almond flavour with salted caramel flavour frosting tinged with blue colouring, coconut for snow and silver balls

Here is Jenny and Stevie's creation.

Their sponge was flavoured with almond and the buttercream with black cherry and decorated with coconut for snow and flaked almonds.

Time for the judging by the head baker,

We all had to carry our cakes to the front, just like the show, they are not allowed to taste so the cakes were judged on appearance and decoration.  So now would you like to know who won?

Well the winner was actually really good but then she revealed that two of the bakers were actually sort of semi pro, one of them worked at the place and another worked at a bakery, there were four in their team too.   I didn't get a photo of it but It's the cake on the back row, second in from the left.  Love how they did two tone buttercream.

BUT....Mine and Joanne's cake was awarded 2nd place
Stevie and Jenny were awarded 3rd place.

I'm very happy with that result 😁

I had lots of other lovely presents, including this one from my good friend Jo

Jo also gifted me these gorgeous goodies for Christmas.

Thank you so much Jo, I love everything 😍  
I've been wanting some stitch stoppers for a while and can't wait to put these into use.

Today I'm doing very little, I've stitched a bit, caught up with Call The Midwife and had some home made soup for lunch, the first proper meal I've eaten since Christmas Day, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been fueled by chocolate, mince pies and left overs in the last few days, ha ha.  I promised myself that I would go for some long walks to compensate, but the weather has been atrocious, the wind if fierce and the rain none stop and as much as I would like to get out I'm averse to getting wet and wind- swept, lol.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoying these days in-between doing whatever it is you want to do.


Sunday 24 December 2023

All is Calm

After all the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks today has been surprisingly calm and relaxed.  I was up fairly early and made the stollen for the girls, It's become a bit of a tradition now that I make them gingerbread granola and stollen at Christmas.  I made the granola a couple of days ago and that Is already in their hampers with their other gifts.  

I also made some rustic looking sausage rolls, one batch with cranberry and one with caramelised onions, my taste tester tells me they are lovely despite their rustic appearance, lol

My Christmas cake is all ready too, I used Delia's Christmas cake recipe but instead of buying and soaking all the fruit I used a premade fruit/brandy mix from Lidl.  I did the same last year and it turned out lovely, fingers crossed this is too.

We had a couple of birthdays this week, my youngest grandson, Jacob, turned 4 on Thursday and my eldest daughter, Jenny turned 41 on Friday.  For Jacobs birthday Joanne had booked tickets for Winter Glow at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.  We were all looking forward to seeing the lights and getting into the Christmas spirit, but it wasn't to be.  For a few days the weather has been very windy and because of that they had closed the light trail and the fairground.  Supposedly they had sent out emails but some didn't receive any notification that it had been closed.  We were told that we could exchange out tickets and go ice skating or perhaps come back over Christmas as the Winter Glow was on until January 6th.  It had taken us just over an hour to get there so we decided to give ice-skating a go. The kids enjoyed it, Bonnie was a bit nervous at first but she was ok after we'd been round a couple of times, just a shame we couldn't see the lights.

Jean, who blogs at shrimptonandperfect recently had a giveaway on her blog and I won!
I was so surprised when I read my name as the winner on her blog, It came at the right time to cheer me up too.
And look what came, a lovely card, book and christmas tree broach.

Isn't it pretty?  I'll be wearing this on Christmas day, thank you so much Jean :-)  I shall enjoy the book in the new year.

Well that's about it for now, I haven't done much blog reading over the last couple of weeks, Ill try and catch up on all your goings on in the next few days, 
There will be five, (mabe six) here for dinner tomorrow, Stevie, Darren, Joanne, me and Mark.  Stevie called to say that one of Darren's brothers is on his own tomorrow and could he come too, there's plenty to go round so that's ok.  Bonnie and Jacob are going to their dads to eat and then will come here late afternoon,  Jenny, James and the boys are eating at home and coming here in the afternoon too.  I'm really looking forward to the day now.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas


Monday 18 December 2023

flat out and in need of a break

Things have been so busy here with none Christmasy stuff that I haven't had time to enjoy anything Christmas related, and now we are steaming away towards the main event!   Ugh, it just feels like a slog this year, that's the way it goes sometimes though.

Finally we managed to get the bedroom decorating all done, the carpet was fitted last Tuesday and I have been working my way through sorting and putting stuff back the rest of the week, the furniture had to wait until Saturday when Mark was home to put things back together.  Still have the curtains to put back up, that won't happen until Friday as they are still at the drycleaners, but at least everything now looks fresh and clean. 

My middle daughter, Joanne moved house on December 1st so that was all hands on deck to help with the move and since then I've been going to hers most nights to help sort and put things in order.   It's been a long and emotional two years for her, (and for us too at times), but now, finally, she can start a new life, just her, Bonnie and Jacob.

There hasn't been a lot of time for crafting over the last couple of weeks but I did make time to sit down yesterday afternoon and finish another one of my forgotten projects.

This is Albert, (looking a little grumpy)

I'd purchased the kit for Albert when I went to Wool@J13 in 2019, I knitted both the back and front body parts fairly quickly after that, then everything got put away so there was still a fair bit of knitting to do to get him done.  I'm glad to have another project crossed off my list, although I may knit him another scarf, I think this one is a bit short

I've knitted two of these kits by Sardines For Tea now, I made the smaller Arthur rabbit for my grandson Arthur in 2020 which you can see here. 

I've crossed all the jobs off my list for today so I'm going to give myself the rest of the day off, once I've clicked publish on this post I'm making myself a coffee and plonking myself on the sofa, putting a film on and stitching, and I'm NOT going to feel guilty about it, lol

See you soon


Sunday 3 December 2023

Are you Ready for December?

Well December 1st came around so quickly didn't? It? And Christmas is just around the corner. 
 I still have presents to buy, but strangely, I'm not stressing about It this year.  Usually by now I would be worrying about that, not this year.

A lot of my extra food shopping is done, I start putting bits away at the beginning of September, easier on the purse, saves all the panic buying and means I can put away things that we usually eat which might disappear from the shelves to make way for all the fancy, (and over priced), Christmas food.
 All that should be left to shop for in the last few days before Christmas are the fresh things.

I put the tree up last week, It's been lovely having the lights on especially as the days have been quite dark recently, makes the house look all cosy.

I'll post a close up of some of my stitched ornaments closer to Christmas, only a couple of new ones this year though.

This morning I've changed the bedding over for Christmas too.  I've only been using Christmas bedding for two or three years but I do really like it, I've got a few to choose from now, this one is new.  I tried to buy It last year but everyone had sold out, I managed to find it in stock at Wayfair this year.  Love the little houses.

I didn't purchase any yarn advents this year.   I already have so many mini skeins and I just couldn't justify spending that much money with no plan for using the yarn.  I will enjoy watching everyone else open their yarn advents though, either on blogs or through the many you tube channels I watch :-)

Something I did decide to do was cast on some Christmas socks on December 1st.
Hopefully they will be finished ready for me to wear on Christmas day.

This is the Vintage Tinsel colourway from West Yorkshire Spinners,  It's knitting up so lovely and is so sparkly, not sure you can see that from the photo

It turned really cold for a few days, and we had our first frost. a couple of days it was -4°, today it's all change again and we have rain.
The garden on the whole looks pretty bleak at this time of year but I couldn't resist taking a few photos on those frosty mornings, It makes some things look so pretty.

I wonder If this poor spider was as frozen as his web!

I had hoped to finish another abandoned project last week but I didn't have a lot of crafting time, there is only a little sewing up to do on it so It should be finished by the next time I post.

Next week Is another busy one, I have various grandchildren for three days and somehow have to fit in painting a bedroom as well - No rest for the wicked 😉

See you soon