Thursday, 23 September 2010

September Secret Post Club

There's a group of bloggers from around the world that form the Secret Post Club.  It's a lot of fun to do because you get to know people from around the world through their blogs and cards, and also you get a gift each month :)  Basically, each month everyone picks a name and sends that person a present. 

This month I received a fabulous gift from the lovely lady who writes the blog Cherished By Me.  She's a mother of five with an adorable blog and recent adventures into the world of high fashion.  She sent me the coolest retro style Union Jack tin.  It's already being used around the house, although my husband keeps mentioning that he'd like to steal it to use for his lunch box...  I have no idea where she found it, but you can see it in the picture.  As if that wasn't cool enough, the tin was filled with delicious dark chocolates from Thorntons!  I would have put them in the picture, but they seem to have evaporated (mysteriously the wrappers are still around my desk). 

Thank you so much for my fab gift!

Cake Pops under construction

For September's Secret Post Club, I was lucky enough to draw the name of Deborah.  I'd never seen her blog Messy Mummy before, but it's a good parenting blog.  It made me want to arrange a play date for our kids.  She mentioned that with two little boys, she likes (and doesn't always get) cute and girly types of things.  I wanted to give her something cute and yummy and fun, so I decided to make some cake pops. 

I made two different types: lavender cakes covered in white chocolate and rose cakes covered in dark chocolate. 

To make the lavender cakes, I baked a lavender cake and let it cool.  To get the recipe, click here.  The rose cakes are actually the exact same recipe, only with rose sugar instead of lavender sugar.  If you don't have rose sugar, you can add a few drops of rose water instead.  Just be carefully not to add to much or else it will taste like soap.

After the cakes had cooled, I made a simple butter cream frosting and added a little pink food coloring.  Then I crumbled up the cakes into bowls and added a little bit of the frosting.  They were then easy to roll into balls.  I stuck the popsicle sticks into the balls at this stage.

Then I melted a bowl of dark chocolate and dipped the rose cakes into the chocolate.  After cooling for a few seconds on wax paper, I rolled them in sprinkles.  Then I left them to cool so that the chocolate would harden.  I repeated the process with the lavender cakes in white chocolate.

I'm hoping that Deborah liked them, because I thought they were cute.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Creative Writing Classes at Furzey Gardens

Furzey Gardens, August 2010

I've mentioned how much I love Furzey Gardens before. It's an inspiring place to be, so I'm very excited about this announcement. I'm going to teach some creative writing workshops (and longer courses if there's enough interest) at

Furzey Gardens this autumn.  The first one is on Friday the 15th of October from 10.00-12.00.  The workshops should be of interest to anyone who writes or is interested in writing.  The setting is amazing.  Please don't miss this opportunity.

If you would like to find out more about creative writing classes at Furzey Gardens, please contact me.
If you would like to register for the class, please contact Furzey Gardens.

Thatching at Furzey Gardens, August 2010

Monday, 13 September 2010

Our Fine Doodle!

A few months ago I mentioned Fine Doodles (click here for the original post).  It took us a really long time to pick which of our daughter's drawings to have transformed into a Fine Doodle, but we finally chose her self-portrait with a rainbow.  You can see a copy of her original drawing and the Fine Doodle reimagining of it.  Unfortunately, both of these are cropped.  You can see the full size images in the Fine Doodles gallery here, along with other great Fine Doodles.

Now we just need to choose where to hang our new picture up...

Saturday, 4 September 2010


We recently visited my parents in the States.  Both of my sisters were in town at the same time as well.  Now, there were a lot of things that we could have done together.  There's one thing, though, that we all love: food.  We watched a fair amount of the Food Network together, and one night we did a great activity: Chopped.  Chopped is a TV show where the competitors are given a basket of ingredients, and they have to use all of the ingredients in one cohesive dish.  (Click here to find out more about Chopped.)

My dad and sister picked the ingredients and acted as judges. 

Our baskets had: feta cheese, sprinkles, sparkling water, whipped cream (the squirty kind in a can), sweet potato, kiwi, grapefruit, peach (doughnut), plum, gluten free crackers, jabanero pepper, and spinach (fresh leaves).  In addition we could use any items in their house/garden.

Rather than just having one dish, we actually cooked both an appetizer and a dessert.  All of the items had to be used, but we could choose which items to use in which dish.
My husband and I (Away Team) competed against my mother and other sister (Home Team). 

Team Home's Menu:
Appetizer: A selection of nibbles, including home-made chutney served on the crackers and stuffed spinach leaves.
Followed by a palate cleanser drink (sparkling water, grapefruit, kiwi, etc.).
Dessert: Mini sweet potato cream pies

Away Team's Menu:
Appetizer: Salad with a grapefruit vinaigrette served on a sweet potato flower
Dessert: Italian Cream Soda (Peach and vanilla flavour) with a plum, apple, and pecan crumble

After careful deliberation, the judges announced the results: both teams scored perfect 100's!  So we tied. 

My dad still maintains that, as judge, he won, as he got to pick ingredients he liked and then eat the food we all made :)