Friday, 21 March 2008

It's Easter...and you might have a bit of time on your hands!

Yep, that's Italian for you. Sounds like (bwonjorno) and means Good Day/morning. An Italian friend of mine did tell me that the beauty of the Italian language is that, how it is written is how it sounds... so that made my life easier when I decided to to a crash course in learning conversational Italian. What was this in aid of I hear you say. It was in aid of my girlie trip to Florance and Pisa. There were 7 girls in total and that can only mean one thing three things FUN, FUN and more FUN.
The photos taken above were at one of the Ice-cream palours we stopped in. It was a very cold and windy day, not really a day for ice-cream but just look at how they were displayed, you just had to have some.
So after having 'oon gelato' (I'll leave that for you to figure out), I was hooked, none of the supermarket ones do it for me now, not even Carte d'or (alright maybe they're ok). So now that it's Easter and you have a bit of time on your hands try making some homemade ice-cream. I had some very ripe bananas lying around, hubby found this recipe on the internet from a website called 'Hints and Things' and I tell you the ice-cream is divine. The recipe did say you could use milk or cream, I went all out there and used Double Cream! All I can say is yummmmmmmy!
If you don't have an Ice-cram maker, don't let the number of steps put you off, all it is really, is a case of mixing the banana, sugar and cream (I did mine in a blender), putting it in the fridge for an hour or so, then putting it in the freezer for 30-40 mins, take it out and mix to avoid ice bits forming and this process is repeated about 4 times and then voila, your amazing homemade ice-cream
Have a wonderful Easter and may the HOPE that the Easter Story gives us, be real and true in your lives now and always - forgiveness, hope and new beginnings.
Making ice cream without an ice cream maker
Courtesy of

Step 1
Decide on the flavor of ice cream you want to make

Step 2
Find a suitable recipe, get the ingredients, make up the mixture

Step 3
Pour your freshly prepared mixture into a fairly wide bowl and put in your refrigerator to chill for between 1 and 2 hours. How long will depend upon whether you've actually heated up or cooked any of the ingredients when making the mixture.

Step 4
Remove from the refrigerator and put into your freezer for 30-40 minutes.

Step 5
Take the bowl out and check the state of the mixture - it should have started freezing from the outside edges in but not be fully frozen in the centre of the bowl.

Step 6
Place the bowl onto a work surface and beat the mixture well, breaking up any ice crystals and making it smooth again.

Step 7
Put the bowl back into your freezer and wait another 30-40 minutes.

Step 8
Repeat steps 5 through to 7

Step 9
Repeat steps 5 and 6

Step 10
Put the bowl back into the freezer for the final time and check every 30 minutes or so until your ice cream is frozen and ready to eat.
Once your mixture is prepared you can blend/freeze as you prefer:

I expect you are now "itching" to have a go, so here are some recipes to get you started. Two easy but popular varieties followed by a couple of more unusual ones using ingredients which are normally readily to hand.
2 easy ice cream recipes …

The ingredients:
3/4 pint (375ml) cream or milk

4oz (100g) sugar

3 bananas – nicely ripe (to mash up)

To prepare the mixture:
Mash the bananas well and put into a mixing bowl. Take the cream or milk and pour into the bowl. Mix in well with the bananas.

a) use an electric ice cream maker to blend/freeze your ice cream which usually takes 20 to 40 minutes. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

b) blend/freeze by hand without an ice cream maker See the guidelines set out above for ice cream making without a machine

Thursday, 28 February 2008 more worrying

Well this is what I hope I'll be doing. I know I'm not alone when it comes to 'worrying' but it was only the other day that I realised how harmful it can be to us. You see we've just bought a new car (Over a month ago...) a lovely VW Passat estate. We all love the car especially as it's a far cry from the little old car we've had for the last 3 years! Anyhow, this new car uses Diesel. I was really worried initially that I would mistakenly fill it up with Petrol instead of Diesel. Put I had been good UNTIL last week. You see I had a lot on my mind and I was letting it get to me. I pull up at the petrol station and absentmindedly fill it up. I check the receipt many times just to ensure that the lady at the till used the money off vouchers I had given her. Did I notice anything else on the receipt NO!

The next day the car doesn't start properly... eventually it does and I drive it to the gym. I go about my daily stuff as usual, in short I must have driven the car in total about 20 miles. Luckily for me Hubby gets me to take the car back to the dealers to find out a couple of things we wanted to ask about the car. I mention to them that the car hasn't been starting properly, they try it and it DOESN'T START AT ALL. They ask me if I put Petrol in it instead of Diesel. I say a big fat NO, why would I do that (secretly thinking to myself that I wasn't really sure!) The guy asks if I had the receipt (I normally keep receipts for ages but I remember throwing this one away). They open up the fuel tank and smell it, saying it smells like Petrol and ask me to smell, I take a smell and say I really cannot tell, they bring me a bit of Diesel to smell to enable me to tell the difference... I sniffed and sniffed but couldn't tell the difference - I had sniffed so much that I started to get light headed LOL! The long and short of it was that it was Petrol in a Diesel tank! The dealers offered to get one of their mechanics to sort it out and I was to find out how it went the next day - they did warn me that it might be expensive. It had recently happened to someone and it cost £800 to sort out. I go home that day feeling very sorry for myself and wondering how I was going to break the news to Hubby! I even went on the internet to search similar situations - BIG MISTAKE! the number of horror stories out there, even down to changing a whole engine. Usually if you misfuel a car, it's best NOT to drive it...I did 20 miles remember!

Throughout that evening/night, I kept telling myself that if I hadn't worried so much I wouldn't have been so absentminded! I promised God that if he sorts it out so that there wasn't too much damage I'LL NEVER WORRY AGAIN! I kept thinking of a verse in the bible that goes kinda like this : who out of you from worrying can add an extra strand of hair to you head! And really, when you think about it what does the Worrying actually do for you apart from making you feel really terrible.

We got the car back, and it only cost us £120 pounds. So I have to stop worrying now, I did Promise! So how's it going - Not easy at all but I'm getting there & feeling much better for it ;-)

The cake above was made for a Man who loves his LABELS, it's a Hackett Poloshirt, looking like it's in a box with tissue paper around it. The lady who ordered if for her husband loved it. The photo doesn't even bring out the stitching effect I did and the shimmering effect around the cakeboard that I love doing. Hope you like it.

If you have access to SKY TV, one of my cakes will be on a show, as a give away prize for a lucky winner for MOTHER'S DAY. The show is on SKY channel 194 BEN TV 10am - 11am. It is called Princess Arize, presented by a lovely lady who has a GREAT heart for up and coming businesses. So don't forget Saturday 1st of March SKY channel 194.


(p.s, I fished out the very smelly and soggy receipt - It confirmed that I had bought PETROL)

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

...if you ever need a pick me up

Jack Johnson is the man responsible for making me dust off my guitar and start practising again after many months of it sitting in a corner looking like some kind of additional room decoration!

He has such a warm voice. I play his 'sing-A-long & lullubies - Curious George album for our little one at night. Also listen to the lyrics of his songs, there is usually a message in some of them.

We really like Upside Down as the beat especially at the beginning makes us want to dance! His lifestyle and some of the things he writes about makes you just want to 'chill out' (I guess the fact that he lives in Hawaii must help!)

Oh and the movie Curious George was fun!


Sunday, 27 January 2008

Wow, it's been over 2 months since I was here!

Happy New Year everyone... hope you had a great Christmas and that the new year is going along just fine for you. Christmas was really nice, or should I say quiet, which is not usually the case in our household. As for the New year, so far so good. Actually I'd be lying if I say the last 2 months have been fine and dandy, as they haven't but as always when life sends you these trials, they really are to test you. I'm still a little wobbly but getting there nonetheless, don't worry I won't bore you with the details because whatever I might be going through, I know there are people going through much worst, so I just pull myself together and keep moving.
On a more positive note, I have lost quite a bit of weight, don't ask me how much as my little brother borrowed my scales and hasn't given them back and I really don't want to spend money on another one yet, so I rely on what people say and how my clothes hang on me.... it's been all good and yesterday I saw a photo of myself two months ago and nearly choked at the sight!
Businesswise, well in the 6 months I've been in Colchester, I have done very few cakes! I have advertised and in the two places I put myself my telephone contact details were put down wrong. One was my fault (so unlike me as I tend to be very good at double checking details) and the other error was down to the magazine, they put down my details wrong. At times like these you look up to the skies and say is this some kind of a 'sign'. Well I certainly think so, I am now looking into taking the business into a different direction and I pray this does work, I have started to make enquiries and will be meeting up with a business advisor soon to run the plans by him. In the meantime, I will still keep on making cakes for clients that know of me, but I won't be advertising anymore the old style of my business.
Oh and I have decided to go into teaching - the aim will be to teach science subjects in secondary schools. I pray that when it all falls into place I can get work part-time (as my little one is still quite young) and if the business goes to plan, I won't have to be hands on all the time with that...
So please have me in your prayers and any advice on how to get into teaching will be greatly appreciated. I have registered with TDA and details have been sent to me, but it is always confusing to know which way to train!
The few cakes shown are the ones I've done over the last 2 months... enjoy.

Saturday, 24 November 2007


When I take our little one to his pre-school, we pass a farm that rears cows, not just any cows but 'Shetland Cows'. Now we all know about the Shetland ponies, just never knew Shetland cows existed. The ones that we see on the farm are like the cows above, all fuffy and hairy but black and white like the normal cows we see. What a joy to see, especially as I found out on the internet that they are becoming a rare breed. Anyway, glad someone near us is helping towards slowing that process down.
So what's that go to do with PAY IT FORWARD, well nothing really, just that whenever I see these 'Shetland Cows' I smile, so why not put a smile on someone's face by 'Paying it forward'.
Have any of you seen the movie 'PAY IT FORWARD' with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. I gathered that this was based on a book. It is a really heartwarming story (if you are like me, lots of paper hankies by your side as you watch said movie...) When I can, I'll get the book!
PAY IT FORWARD, is based on doing one good deed for 3 people and asking them to do one good deed to 3 people themselves...before you know it, loads of people are doing good deeds for loads of other people and it spreads... I got the idea from another blog (she got the idea from someone else, and it goes on from there).
There is a whole website dedicated to PAY IT FORWARD, please do have a look, link enclosed, and here is a little bit from the website:

Reuben St. Clair, the teacher and protagonist in the book “Pay It Forward,” starts a movement with this voluntary, extra-credit assignment: THINK OF AN IDEA FOR WORLD CHANGE, AND PUT IT INTO ACTION. Trevor, the 12-year-old hero of “Pay It Forward,” thinks of quite an idea. He describes it to his mother and teacher this way: "You see, I do something real good for three people. And then when they ask how they can pay it back, I say they have to Pay It Forward. To three more people. Each. So nine people get helped. Then those people have to do twenty-seven." He turned on the calculator, punched in a few numbers. "Then it sort of spreads out, see. To eighty-one. Then two hundred forty-three. Then seven hundred twenty-nine. Then two thousand, one hundred eighty-seven. See how big it gets?"

So what am I doing about it? Well I signed up to PAY IT FORWARD on little Foodies blog and am really excited about getting a little gift from her, and my promise to her was to PAY IT FORWARD to three bloggers that are the first to leave a comment on my blog, wanting to be part of PAY IT FORWARD. What will I be giving out, lots of love and hugs... just joking! I'm not sure, it really depends on who you are, I would love to give something specific to you. It won't be a big gift, just something to put a smile on your face and to show you that there is a lot of love out there in the world amid all the wars and suffering. If you like I can even donate a cake to a good cause (note the word good cause!) Put really, at the end of the day, it's all about getting good deeds done all over the globe, so come on, sign up on my blog and be a part of something 'warm and fuzzy' (some amazing good deeds have been done out there due to PAY IT FORWARD)
Remember, you have to be happy for me to have your address to send the stuff to. This you can do via my Website (The shop I'm proud of - top right hand corner of my blog) but leave a comment first on my blog and we'll take it from there....
Below is the link to Little Foodies blog and the PAY IT FORWARD post!
... and here is the link to the PAY IT FORWARD website itself:
...come on, you know you want to :-)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

...I survived the 11 cakes

So what were the 11 cakes, First there was the 4 tier wedding sponge cake that you can see above, the bride also wanted a fruit cake decorated so that she could keep it for her 1st year wedding aniversary, and since it was a big wedding, she requested 4 other large cutting cakes, (the cutting cakes are not elaborately decorated, as they are not on display) So that's 9 cakes in total.

I also made their 'Engagement Party cake' which comprised of a Champagne Bottle coming out of the middle of a cake, with the illusion that it was wrapped in fabric - that makes 10 cakes. (I was also asked to make a large fruit cake for her Mum!) There was a birthday cake which was requested by another lady whose wedding cake I had made earlier in the year... the party had a Black and White theme, hence the colours, that makes 11 cakes. All cakes apart from the fruit cakes were baked and decorated during the week - phew, and what a week that was. The week before all this I made a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for a lady who had come across my website but lives in North London - I sent her photos of cakes I had done but that were not up on my website and she loved them. She was gutted when I told her I had moved to Colchester as she really wanted one of my cakes (I was really touched by that!) luckily for us, her sister attends the University over here, so she picked up the cake for me and took it down to London.

For all of you out there thinking of business ideas but never getting round to implementing them, this is for you...

"while I at length debate and beat the bush, there shall step in other men and catch the bird" JOHN HEYWOOD - Taken from the book 'PASSING TIME IN THE Loo' vol 1

Catch you later....

Sunday, 7 October 2007 what have I been up to?

...well let me start by saying the above is a photograph of my first cake order in Colchester. The young lady had recently come back from a holiday in Australia and loved 'Jet Skiing' there. So her boyfriend ordered her a cake with that theme in mind! She was thrilled with the cake and so were her boyfriend's family - I'm really hoping that I'll get some good 'word-of-mouth advertising here. Talking about advertising I am still awaiting an advert of mine to come out in one of the local publications here. I must give the advertising guy a call to find out what has been happening (I bet you it's got something to do with the postal strike!) Anyway back to the cake, everyone loved the attention to detail I included on the cake. One bit that really stood out was the way I made the rocks and how I placed them on the cake board...

This brings me nicely to one of the highlights about being in Colchester - there is a Sugarcraft shop that I discovered about 25 mins drive from us, it's at Clacton-on-sea. Oh, how lovely it was to be able to take our little one down there with me, not only to shop but to let him run around on the seaside, he had great fun throwing stones into the sea and then running away from the waves as they came in. There was also a Pier there with lots of kiddie rides, you just have to be armed with lots of coins and 'Bobs your Uncle' a real fun day out. Come half term when his big sister is at home, we'll definitely be going back there.... and here was me thinking that you can only have fun at the beach in the Summer!

So I guess I can safely say the kids are really enjoying Colchester, our daughter loves her secondary school and new friends. She has also joined St John's Ambulance cadets.... which is every Tuesday evenings. She learns First Aid and other life skills in a fun environment, one evening I had to take her to Colchester's Ambulance unit where the cadets were shown around the Ambulances and the other equipment. It really is a lovely youth organisation. I'll leave a link at the bottom of this post (it's only £1.00 a class and you also get to buy a really snazzy uniform for them).

I have also taken up cycling b..... I had to do something after I went into Marks & Sparks to buy a pair of trousers - I found these lovely black cropped ones (the material is amazing!). As I tried on my normal size I realised I was struggling.... and there was NO WAY I was going for a size up! so I bought them, when I tried them on and showed hubby, he let out a little "oooohhh"...... apparently this meant that they were very nice on me, but a bit too figure hugging in some areas - hips and bum to be precise! (yes I can give Beyonce a run for her money in those areas!) When I asked if they were okay for Church the next day, he said a great big NO! Anyway, the cycling has been fun, especially as hubby bought me an MP3 player to use while cycling. So I'm up at 7am, out of the house for about 7.15am, my cycle route for now is about 24 mins, I get back and do some push-ups, crunches etc and usually ready for a shower by 8.00am.... and then I say to the day "bring it on"
...last week I offered to help for one of the Alpha Suppers in Church, only to be told later that I will be cooking for 40 people (pray tell me why did I put my hand up when they were asking for help?) anyway right now I feel like a contestant on BBC 2's THE RESTAURANT, you know the one with Raymond Blanc... it is a much see for all you foodies.... Wednesdays and Thursdays 8pm. I think there are two more weeks to go till the end. Anyway back to the Alpha supper, that will be Fried Rice and Chicken Stew for all..... I'll adapt the stew for the vegetarians (any ideas?).
So I guess that's it, in a not so 'nutshell'
Catch you later....