Oh Paris……..

Paris is fast becoming the place I obsess about, the place I dream about and a major factor in whose profile pages I stalk on Facebook. An old friend from school has just got back from Paris, she went for her birthday and, as if I wasn’t hankering after the City of Lights enough, she opened my eyes to THIS…..

Heaven

More heaven

Dead!!

All of these pictures come from the master that is, Pierre Herme. Have you ever seen anything as perfect in your life?!!

 

So I am now sat, on a Monday night, in my onesie, stalking Paris!! I also adore the blog by http://nomadgrad.com/ who is currently living the dream in Paris.

 

Does it show that I REALLY want to go to Paris?! How do I convince my boyfriend that this is the place we need to visit next *sigh*.

 

I’ll spare you all my whines and sobs anyway and leave you with this…..

 

City of Lights

 

Xoxo

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New beginnings

Well, the last few days have been keerraazy, and not in a good way.

 

Friday morning mum went in for her gallbladder removal, she was really worried because she had an op years ago where they basically poisoned her with drugs and it took an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) doctor to come into her room and get her sorted, the reaction was so bad it was a potential stroke. So anyway, up at 5.30am on Friday I drove mum to hospital, we got ‘checked in’ so to speak to her room and just played the waiting game. The aneathatist came in to see her and assured her he’d keep a close eye on her (which he last one didn’t, he disappeared and no one could find out what to do to help my mum). The nurse said she was one of the first on the surgeons list so…..at 10am she went down to theatre, still so so nervous.

 

The op went fine and at 11.30am she came back up to the room, groggy obviously but ok. I can’t tell you the relief!! 3 hours later however, she started to feel sick after water, but, persevered so that she would be able to go home at teatime which is usually the case for such an op. It all went a bit wrong a couple of hours later though when she tried to eat. She had a slice of cucumber and a slice of tomato and that was it, she was getting the exact same hot flashes and sickness as before, this time though, she recognised the signs. Scary isn’t even the word. She was upset which got me upset, the nurse wanted to give her more drugs which mum didn’t want, but eventually they convinced her to try the anti-sickness drug that the aneathatist had advised them to try on her notes, just incase this happens.   Now I was only…..13 at the time of her last op so didn’t witness how bad she was, apparently, she was a LOT worse than this before, she actually went green and really scared the nurses. This time, just very red. An hour later they moved her downstairs which is the floor you stay on when you ain’t getting home that night! Luckily she picked up after the anti-sickness jab and before I left her at 10pm had a slice of dry toast. 

 

Turns out, because my mum NEVER takes anything, not even so much as a paracetamol, her system just couldn’t really take the cocktail of drugs that they give you when you go under anaesthetic. The nurse told us each aneathatist has their own concoction of pain relief, anaesthetic and anti-sickness they give you when you go under (scary right?!). She’s home and well now thank the Lord, well, she’s not doing too well with the relaxing thing but she’s not sick anymore!

 

All of this made me really want to seize every moment of life because, you really just never know do you. I’ve decided to study beauty therapy and have passed my first 2 assignments with flying colours, so happy, then I’m going to do some local courses for eyelash extensions, tanning and of course, nails haha. I’m also going to crack on with the bucket list! The Nutcracker is on at the Alhambra in April so you just know that I’m booking that as soon as I have the money!

 

I just wanted to let y’all know why I’d been fairly quiet anyway, hope you’re all having better weekends!!

 

Ciao for now 

XOXO

Planning ahead

I know that they say that you shouldn’t plan ahead too much, but how can you look to the future with serious excitement if you don’t? When you book a holiday you’re planning, when you buy a house, it’s planning, so why shouldn’t you make lots of general life plans?

Although it’s not detrimental to my future wellbeing, I decided today to begin to take my bucket list to a whole new planned level!! For example, I want to go to Miami, so I’m gonna plan where I want to stay and what I want to do, so that when the day does come where I book the holiday, I can get excited about all of the things I want to see and do, things that, unless I write down at the time , I’d probably forget about! Kind of like little girls that start planning their weddings in a wedding scrap book from the age of 9 haha.

Oh….I appear to have added yet another thing to my list too….travel on the Orient Express. This may have to go on a general life long bucket list though, I’m not convinced that trips gonna happen in the next 5 years, unless I have a lottery win or a very generous donation from someone. Any takers??

Xoxo

Orangutans

I was in Asda last week with my mum having a general nosey around at greeting cards when I spotted an absolute beauty that literally had me in tears laughing. I don’t know what it was about it, I took a picture on my phone but it simply does not do the little fellow on the front justice, so I’ve decided to go back, buy the card and frame it.  The little fellow on the front was a baby orangutan. I.AM.IN.LOVE. I’ve discovered that they can make me smile no matter how fed up I am (and today that’s a fair bit).

 

Like a bit of a loser I’ve spent the last 20minutes or so on Google Images looking at pictures of baby orangutans, have shared some on Facebook, and decided that it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t spread the orangutan cheer on here!!

 

This just melts my heart

 

Too funny!!

 

*sigh*

 

Hope these made you smile too 🙂

 

Xoxo

General twaddle

I had a moment today. I’ve felt kind of run down after all of the holiday madness and we found out today mums gotta have an op, not a major one, just a gallbladder removal but none the less, she’s upset about it, and I realised as I logged onto my Facebook that, as human beings we really take life for granted, abuse our bodies and boy are we selfish. Sorry to get all ranty and deep on you folks!

 

As I sit writing this, my cat is curled up, content as ever, at the side of me, fast asleep. You always find that, no matter what, pets are always faithful to the end. They never judge you, they’re always there when you’re feeling low, don’t care how you look or whether you’re having an off day and they will always sit and listen to you (whether or not they understand is questionable but it always makes me feel better!)

 

I would literally do anything for my cat, he has kidney problems and an IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and has daily medication, a monthly steroid injection and cat food for a sensitive stomach that you can only buy at the vets. Now Felix (my cat, obv) never asked for any of this, but as his owners, we have a responsibility to look after him right, he has a serious weak spot for curries (don’t ask, he never got fed them by us I assure you) but we make sure he is fed well and is well looked after and to look at him, you would never know he was 16 (approx 76 in human years) and had a list of ailments.

 

My point in all of this is, as a household, we generally eat healthy, yet, Felix has his kidney problems and an IBD, I have an IBD (Crohn’s Disease) and my mum has to have her gallbladder removed (the step-pa seems to be ok, for now!) We try so hard to look after ourselves as a family and it really annoys and saddens me when I log onto Facebook to see people I know have problems, have been in hospital because they have had a gastric band fitted, or have bowel problems that will require serious surgery in the near future, yet they go out, eat greasy kebabs, pizzas, curries, drink pints of lager, cola, and generally feed themselves a load of crap. Now, I’m not judging, live your life how you want to my dear friends, but I just wish people would realise that, you only get one shot at this, you only get one body to work with, so when you have serious problems, work with them not against them.

 

We don’t always get a choice in what hand of cards we’re dealt in life but, I believe we’re dealt them for a reason.  

 

So, I’m beginning to sound a bit preachy now, but I hope you all understand where I’m coming from and agree that, we need to live life to its fullest and try look after ourselves as best we can. Oh, and that our pets are probably the only ones in our life that will always, without fail, listen to our crap and not turn around and say, not today I have my own stuff to deal with. They are the ultimate best friends and Felix inspires me everyday with how he fights so hard every time we think we’ve lost him. I like to believe it’s because he knows how much we love him but, I’m just soppy like that!!

 

Image

This was 12 months ago at the vets when he was in such a bad way we weren’t sure he would make it to this point where he would even be able to stand up.

 

ImageThis is more recent, a couple of months since. He makes me laugh all the time and cheers me up whenever I need it. If I remember rightly, this was after he had face planted one of our plates with curry sauce on it (he’s so sly!)

 

Xoxo

Box of Chocolates Chocolate Birthday Cake

Here it is folks, as promised, I’ve finally shifted my lazy ass and put the pics of my cake onto the laptop. I’m really really happy with how it turned out, it got the seal of approval from all our guests and got plenty of compliments. Just be aware, you need self control, the chocolates sitting on top are far too easily removed and eaten before you realise what’s happened (that’s not just me right?)

You will need:

3, 8inch Springform Cake Tins

Tin foil (just in case)

Greaseproof paper

Spatula

Food Mixer

Kebab sticks/Cocktail sticks

Sift

Large bowl

Ingredients – Chocolate Cake (2 layers)

3 Cups Plain Flour

2 Cups Castor Sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (sifted)

1 Tbsp Camp/Coffee

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Oil (I used Sunflower but Vegetable would be fine)

1 1/3 Cup Milk

1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar

Ingredients – Vanilla Cake

1 1/2 Cup Plain Flour

1 Cup Castor Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

1 Cup (250ml) Milk

1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar

1/2 Cup (4oz/100g) softened Butter

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Ingredients – Frosting

About 2 Cups (20 oz/500g) softened Butter (I used 2 Stork packets)

1/2 Cup sifted Cocoa Powder

3 Cups Icing Sugar

1/4 Cup Milk

1 Tbsp Camp/Coffee

Now with the frosting, it’s all about taste, if you want more cocoa powder in then just adapt to how you’d like it.

  • Preheat oven to gas mark 5/190c
  • Prepare your 3 cake tins. Line the base with greaseproof paper.

Chocolate Cake

  • Into a large bowl, sift your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Flour Mix

  • Into a large jug, pour your milk and cider vinegar and leave to sit for 5 mins.
  • Stir the milk mix as it will look curdled by now, it’s supposed to resemble buttermilk. Of course I guess you could buy buttermilk if you so wished.
  • Add in the oil, Camp/coffee and vanilla extract and mix very well again.
  • Pour your flour mix into the food mixer, begin to slowly beat and gradually pour in the milk mix.

I always use the beater attachment

  • When you have a well mixed batter, medium consistency (I messed up at first and the mix was very thick, but just keep adding milk until you have a pudding like consistency)
  • Evenly distribute the batter between 2 cake tins and pop in the oven for 30 mins.

All ready for the oven

  • After 30 mins turn the oven up to gas mark 6/200c for another 30 minutes. My oven was a little slow on this day and took a while to bake, if yours does the same don’t panic, cover with tin foil for 20 minutes or so, depending on how underbaked your cake is)
  • Wash up and get ready to start on the middle layer, the vanilla cake layer.

Vanilla Cake

  • Preheat your oven to gas mark 5/190c
  • In your food mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
  • Sift together your flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in a separate bowl.
  • In a jug, pour your milk, add the cider vinegar, leave for 5 minutes then stir.
  • Add your vanilla extract to the butter mix. Beat briefly until the vanilla is well mixed in.
  • Alternately, beginning with the flour mix, pour in your flour and milk mixes to the butter, eg, 1/3 of your flour mix, 1/2 of your milk, 1/3 flour mix, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour mix.
  • Be careful not to overbeat.
  • Pour the whole mix into one cake tin and place in the oven for 25/30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting

  • Place your butter in the food mixer and beat until creamy.
  • Add your Camp/coffee.
  • Add half of your cocoa powder and beat.
  • Add your icing sugar gradually, if the mix gets thick, add your milk.
  • Add the rest of your cocoa powder until you have a fudgey frosting. It may look a lot but remember, you have a 3 layer cake to cover and fill.

Once your cakes have cooled, begin to assemble them onto a cake board. I misplaced my icing turntable, utter nightmare, the cake gets very heavy! Frost inbetween each layer, carefully assembling. Any excess, just spread it down the sides.

Assembled cake

Now, very very carefully, taking a sharp knife, cut out a ring on top of the cake. Luckily, on this occasion, I had a hump on top of my cake so cut that out.

The chocolates will sit in this hole

The cake scraps could freeze ready for cake pops, or you could just nibble at them all afternoon long so that by teatime you can’t face food (this happened!!)

I had a couple of cracks, as you can see just at the front, but you can cover this with your frosting if you’re careful with how you handle the cake. Once you have covered the whole cake, I would advise using some fondant to line the inside where the chocolate will sit. Spreading frosting inside that dip is no easy task, crumbs will come away and stick to your spoon/spatula but don’t fret. Fondant was my saviour on this day and covered up the mess in the middle, nobody had a clue….until now!

Finished product

 

Picture 2!

 

I hope I’ve explained everything clearly in this post, if not please just ask if you have any questions!! This cake feeds soooo many people but lasts about a week if you keep it in an airtight container.

 

Ciao for now

Xoxo

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year my friends!!

I’ve decided to make a promise to myself, not a resolution because I break them far too quickly!

So this is just a quick post to say I’m still alive, happy new year and that I’ll be posting pics and the recipe for my box of chocolates birthday cake (I’m so proud of how it turned out)

I’m off to continue drooling over Hawaii 5-0 now, well Steve McGarrett to be exact. Ciao for now.

Xoxo