Wednesday, 7 November 2012

In Loving Memory

It's been quite a while since I blogged. 
In late September my Mum was diagnosed with cancer. After being hospitalised for the second time with severe anaemia they kept her in and ran several tests, eventually giving her 6 - 8 months to live.
She died on 2nd November.

My Mum taught me to knit. She taught me to bake. She turned her hand to many creative endeavours I've never had the patience for, including cake decorating and quilting. 


I will be taking a break from my blog for a little while to focus on my family. When death comes so close it always makes you re-evaluate your life, and I'm also going to use this time out to take stock and decide on the direction of my blog and shop for the coming year.

I hope to see you all again soon.

Friday, 28 September 2012

A, B, C . . . is for cake!

September appears to be recipe month! I don't know if it's the wonderful blustery dark storms sweeping in, drawing the nights in earlier, or if it's just being on a diet (8lbs gone so far!), but lately I'm even more obsessed with food than usual.  So a little later on I'm going to share another recipe with you, Good Housekeeping's Pear and Almond cake. Can you say lush?

But before we have cake I thought I would share a little blogging feature that's going around at the moment ~ the ABC of me. It's a neat thing I've seen on a few of the crafty / foodie blogs I visit and I think it's a great way to share a little about myself with you:
A} Age: 40

B} Bed Size: Double, with a King-size feather duvet on top. I ♥ my bed!

C} Chore you dislike: Oh dear, all of them! I guess I least despise ironing, because at least I can set the ironing board up in front of the tv and do two things at once! Possibly dusting / polishing is my biggest yurk ~ my house is composed of layers of clutter upon stuff surmounting bits and bobs, so dusting really means tidying too. Sadface.

D} Dogs: Nellie-egg, our rescued Podenco cross from Spain. She is sweet, timid, and when she’s been asleep in her bed for a little while she smells somewhat like a biscuit!?!

E} Essential start to your day: Coffee. No idea why as I drink decaf anyway, but the day doesn’t feel right if I haven’t had a small cup of coffee laced with hazlenut syrup.

F} Favorite Colors: Hmmm, I love all colours, all shades, depending on the where when and why, but I think perhaps emerald green tips the scales for me.

G} Gold or Silver: Gold. I do like silver’s clarity and clean look in some situations but generally I like the soft warmth of gold.

H} Height: Five foot nine.

I} Instruments you play (past/present): Remember at school they used to make you play recorder? Well, that’s my limit I’m afraid. I can’t remember how to read music but if you give me a few minutes practice I can play the themes from Star Wars and Harry Potter. What more do you need ;)

J} Job Title: Part-time office admin, full-time mother, crafter in the gaps between.

K} Kids: One son, aged eleven going on fourteen! He alternates between an angel and a nightmare, and puts the smile in my heart.

L} Live: In Portsmouth, an historic naval port on the south coast of England 

M} Mum’s name: Anne

N} Nicknames: I don’t think I have any, not that people use to my face anyway! Sometimes people call me “Fi” but not often. One guy at work calls me “Madame Fi-Fi” but I do wish he wouldn’t. I am not a poodle.

O} Overnight hospital stays: None so far, touch wood!

P} Pet Peeves: There are sooooo many! It would be quicker to list the things that don’t hack me off! But I guess most of them can be boiled down to arrogance, and a lack of consideration for others.

Q} Quote from a Movie: Oooh, again, how to pick only one! I am a big movie buff, and part of me wants to choose something obscure and/or artsy but in the end all that kept popping into my head was this Python quote: “Lord, I am affected by a bald patch”. The timing and delivery are just brilliant. Can you name the film it’s from?

R} Righty or Lefty: Right-handed for everything except cutlery, weird huh?

S} Siblings: My little baby sister is 38 now, how did that happen?!

T} Time you wake up: Just lately it seems to be around 5 – 5.30am. I’ve always been an early bird rather than a night owl, but this is getting a little early even for me!

U} URL favorite these days: The usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, but I'm Loving My Fitness Pal lately, and IMDb is always extremely useful

V} Vegetables you don’t like: Tomatoes. They are the devil’s fruit.

W} What makes you run late: I’m usually pretty punctual, but “I’ll just quickly check my emails / facebook / twitter” pushes me close to the limit.

X} X-Rays: Only dental x-rays.

Y} Yesterday memory: Chopping apples!

Z} Zoo Animal Favorite: Not really keen on zoos, but I do love animals. Maybe a giraffe? Or a tapir? Tigers are awesome but whenever I’ve seen one in a zoo I’ve just felt sad for them. They should be prowling the jungle, not lying in a cage.

Ok, enough about me. Cake time. 

Pear and Almond Cake

225g (8oz) butter
250g (9oz) caster sugar
3 medium eggs
125g (4oz) SR flour, sifted
1/2 tsp almond essence
75g (3oz) ground almonds

For the Topping:
2 medium pears
2 tbsp demerara sugar
15g (1/2 oz) flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

Line base and sides of a 8" (20cm) round tin with baking parchment.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Gradually add the eggs one at a time, add 1tbsp if the mixture looks like curdling. Beat in almond essence.
Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour and ground almonds. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 20mins.
Meanwhile, peel and core the pears then slice into approx 5mm slices. When the cake has baked for approx 20 mins, carefully take it out of the oven and arrange the pear slices prettily on top (they should sink slightly. Mine didn't, so I gave them a helping prod) Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and flaked almonds. Return the cake to the oven for a further 55 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve still slightly warm or at room temperature.

I really like this cake, and it's a perfect autumnal treat. The edges had a fabulous crunch, while the centre was soft and moist. I thought the pears could have had more impact, and might try an extra pear next time I make it, but it was delicious nonetheless.
Despite the fruity element, this is not a healthy option! But I have added the nutritional info provided by the Good Housekeeping recipe to My Fitness Pal for those of you interested in calorie-counting.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Slow and Low Lamb Stew

I have another recipe for you!
Already? I know, I'm not pacing myself very well, am I! But this was something I just threw together as an experiment and not only was I quite pleased with how it turned out, I was amazed to find out how low the calories were too! I made this in my slow cooker (crock pot) but you could do it in the oven if you don't have a slow cooker, just keep it slow and low as the Beastie Boys said.

Lamb and Tomato Stew

300g diced lamb
2 large carrots (approx 200g)
1 medium onion (100g)
1 tin chopped tomatoes in juice (400g)
1 tin new potatoes, drained (345g)
1 chicken oxo cube
1 beef oxo cube
approx 1/2 tsp dried herbs (I used Herbs de Provence)

Brown the lamb quickly in a dry pan then add to the slow cooker along with the chopped onion, sliced carrots, tomatoes and herbs. Crumble the stock cubes into the empty tomato tin and make a stock with boiling water, this will give you about the right amount of liquid for your stew.
Leave the slow cooker on high for an hour or so then turn down to low for the rest of the day. Add the drained potatoes for the last half hour of cooking.

This made four good sized portions and was deliciously filling, but when I plugged all the ingredients into My Fitness Pal (my new best friend!) I found it only came to 177 calories per portion! I would have added parsnip too if I'd had any, which would add perhaps 20 calories per portion, totally worth it. The sauce is not very thick, if you prefer a thicker sauce you could mix in a blend of butter and flour (melt a tablespoon of butter, add a tablespoon of flour, mix well, then blend into stew) but obviously that would affect the calorie count a little. Please also note that you may need to keep an eye on the liquid levels if you cook in a regular oven as you will lose more fluid using that method.

I think this week I have saved enough calories for a cakey treat tomorrow, don't you?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Creamy Courgette and Dill soup

I need to start this post with an apology. Regular readers may remember that I promised a Christmas Craftalong tutorial every month, and you may also have noticed that this hasn't happened recently. Life, I'm afraid, has kind of got in the way. I'm sorry :( I have some bits and bobs ready to make the next couple of crafts and if I can get some spare time I will get on and do them, but if I'm unable to do so then I will make sure I share some links to some awesome crafty websites where you will find lots of wonderful tutorials.

In the meantime I thought I would share a recipe. I've been dieting recently (sob!). I need to lose approx 2 stone (that's 28lbs to any US readers) partly because I am at least 2 stone overweight, and partly because I'm running the Great South Run (10 miles!) at the end of October and need to shed some weight so I don't destroy my knees! I'm using the awesome My Fitness Pal website to help and can really recommend it, apparently they also do an awesome phone app, but my phone isn't that smart. Any healthy recipes I post I will make sure are in their database too so you can easily count your calories. So let's start with this healthy adaptation of Courgette and Dill soup:
 Courgette and Dill Soup

2 big or 3 medium courgettes ( I used yellow here)
Small knob of butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
300ml vegetable stock (I used oxo cubes)
500ml semi-skimmed milk
2 large spoons chopped dill
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice the courgettes then fry in the butter and olive oil until soft. Add stock and milk. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
Pour into a blender, add the dill and blitz. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

This made approx 1 litre of soup which I divided into 4 portions. It's a lovely light yet creamy soup, only 133 calories, and makes a delicious hot snack or perfect warming accompaniment to a low cal ham sandwich for lunch. To find it on My Fitness Pal simply search for Cheery Chicken Courgette and Dill soup.

I'd love to hear what you think of the soup, and I'll share more recipes here as and when time allows, each will be on My Fitness Pal for any of you who calorie count.

If you would like to sponsor me for the Great South Run (I'm raising money for the RNLI, our brave Lifeboat men who are entirely funded by charity) then please go to my Fundraising page. Every penny helps and will be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Bounty of Berries

August is a busy month for me. 'Tis Harvest Time - the original reason for allowing children a summer holiday from school - and the main harvest in my house is blackberries. For any of you who have never been blackberrying, then you really ought to try it ~ it’s free food after all! You don’t need a lot of time or equipment, you don’t even to travel far to do it. Blackberries grow in cities just as well as they do in the countryside, try looking around the edge of parks, allotments, even business parks / industrial estates. There is some snobbery that city berries will be covered in petrol fumes and dirt, but unless they’re growing on an exceptionally busy road this really isn’t the case.

Having said that, it’s a much nicer activity to pick in a green place. I go to the local woods (which is still on the island!) with son and dog in tow, a toy bucket or an empty ice-cream tub in a carrier bag ready for my treasure. Do not wear your best white t-shirt! The juice can stain, and you will at the very least go home with purple fingers (and probably lips too!) The ripe berries are a plump glossy black, don’t pick the dark red as they’re not fully ripe and will just be sour and unpleasant. Likewise, avoid those with a dull sheen as they have gone beyond ripe and are beginning to moulder. An hour with a decent crop on the bushes should be plenty of time to fill a 2 litre ice-cream tub, which will give you approx 1 kilo of fruit. When you get them home stand the tub under a gently running tap and wash the berries handful by handful, draining in a sieve. Layer them on a sheet of paper kitchen towel (to absorb some of the water) in another empty ice-cream tub, removing each sheet of paper once the layer is full. This helps soak up some of the water and makes it easier to get the berries out once they are frozen. When the tub is full, simply replace the lid and pop it in your freezer. You now have berries to hand all year round!

As well as being delicious, blackberries have a multitude of health benefits:

1. Blackberries are one of the top ten foods containing antioxidants.

2. Blackberries are packed with polyphenols helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.

3. Blackberries are filled with anthocyanins (antioxidants which give blackberries their deep purple colour) which help in memory retention and the risk of hypertension.

4. Blackberries are said to strengthen blood vessels, help fight heart disease and help improve eyesight.

5. The high tannin content of blackberries help tighten tissue, relieve intestinal inflammation, and help reduce hemorrhoids and stomach disorders.

6. Ohio State University found that blackberries may protect against esophageal cancer, a cancer caused by gastric reflux disease.

7. Blackberries have shown to protect against other types of cancers. They contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), a compound believed to play a vital role in preventing breast and cervical cancer.

8. Blackberries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Manganese and fibre.
9. The high fibre content of blackberries help reduce risk of intestinal disease and the risk of developing diabetes.

10. Blackberries are a healthy food choice that kids and adults love. They are a great way to refuel after a hard workout and help aid in fighting obesity.

One cup of fresh blackberries has 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and only 1 mg of sodium.

(from ingredients, inc.)

So, what are you going to make with them? My main uses of blackberries are jam, crumbles, and blackberry vinegar; but they are extremely versatile and can be used in many recipes. Try stirring them through muffin batter in place of blueberries, or blitz a handful of berries in a blender with a banana and some milk for a delicious smoothie – this is a particularly good use of the frozen berries as they chill the smoothie as well as adding flavour and a fabulous purple colour.   

Below is a quick and easy crumble recipe for you to try. I always use eating apples as they are what I have to hand. However if you want to use cooking apples by all means do so, but I would recommend adding a couple of spoons of sugar to the fruit mix.


Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Cooking time: 35-45 minutes
Serves:  4

250g Blackberries
500g Apples

Crumble Topping:
170 Rolled oats
50g Wholemeal flour
40g Demerara sugar
50g Butter

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350F / Gas 4.

Peel, core and slice the apples. Put in a large, ovenproof dish and stir in the berries.
Place the rolled oats, flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub together until well mixed. Sprinkle over fruit and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream. Or custard.

The juice and grated rind of an orange makes a lovely addition to the fruity filling of this crumble, or why not try a little cinnamon in the crumble topping?

Blackberries are usually in season from early August until mid-late September, so you still have a couple of weeks left to enjoy them. I'd love to hear what you make with your berries!

Monday, 27 August 2012

A Right Old Hoot

I don't very often blog about the stuff I make, but I thought I would share some pictures of the latest additions to my Etsy shop ~ a Rainbow of Owls.
I adore vintage fabrics, especially these bold kitschy florals, and as I was lucky enough to find most of these in one fabulous carboot sale I figured they ought to all stay together somehow.

I already had blue and green owl cuddle cushions in my Etsy shop, but with such a great array of colours I realised I could make a whole Rainbow of owls to join them.

Here we have two complete owls watching as I finish off their brothers and sisters.

Posing for a family photo together in the sunshine.

The owls are all available in my Etsy shop. Feel free to contact me for combined postage offers.

(if any colours have sold since posting this, please contact me as I may be able to remake in the same fabric)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Queen and Garden

Yesterday a friend and I took the kids to London to see a special exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery ~ The Queen: Art and Image. This exhibition has been put together to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and contains photographs and paintings of Her Majesty from the 50's through to the present day.

Dorothy Wilding's portrait is one of my favourites. Seeing it up close you can even see the brush strokes on the image.

Pietro Annigoni's Renaissance style protrait was inspired by an observation the Queen made while he was making preparatory sketches "When I was a little child, it always delighted me to look out of the window and see the people and traffic going by." To me, this painting is a poignant reminder of how a young woman was held seperate from the rest of us, and became a symbol for our nation.
In sharp contrast, Eve Arnold's portrait is one of sheer unselfconscious joy. Who says rain can't be a delight?!
I love this image of the Queen cradling Prince Andrew. Partly because it shows Her Majesty as a woman and mother, but I also adore the loving yet protective embrace she holds him in.
The final portrait in the exhibition is this one by Annie Liebovitz. Similar to the Annigoni portrait it shows the Queen cloaked against a natural background. But in this photograph the Queen is facing us, making a connection with the viewer.

There are many more portraits at the exhibition, and even more in the catalogue which also features a timeline chronicling the course of the Royal Family during Queen Elizabeth's reign so far. The exhibition is on until 21st October.

After lunch we walked up to Covent Garden for a wander around the markets. My son really enjoyed his first taste of Covent Garden and we had to stop and watch every street performer, from a balloon-swallowing magician to a knife-juggling heavy metal fan. We browsed the shops, my favourites being the Moomins Shop, and the oh-so shabby chic Sass & Belle, and the Apple Market, where we found this awesome t-shirt stall:

 Martin Eden is from Norfolk, and sells these airbrushed t-shirts exclusively at Covent Garden. My son loves his Pee and Poo shirt!

 And here I am with Flower Seller Mandeville, one of the many decorative Olympic Mascot sculptures that have been placed around the city.

There are 83 of these sculptures around London, each decorated to fit their location and placed on trails designed to encourage tourists to walk around the city and discover hidden gems and landmarks.

Hmm, I think I may have a plan for our next visit . . .

Monday, 13 August 2012

Inspirational Artists ~ Daphne Padden

I am a huge fan of vintage travel posters, from the pre-war deco style, to the kitschy post-war delights of the 50's and 60's. One of my favourite designers is Daphne Padden, who designed some beautiful posters in the 50's and 60's before turning her hand to miniature wildlife watercolours.

A portrait of Daphne Padden painted by her father, Percy Padden, himself a fine artist and poster designer.

There's not a great deal of official info about her online (not in my feeble attempts to research her anyway), she's not even been Wiki'd! Luckily for me there are other people who adore her work, but are much more skilled (and dedicated) in their research. Quad Royal have an abundance of images and information, and most of what I have learned has come from them so I will just summarise here, you shall have to visit their fabulous site once I've whet your appetite.

Daphne was born in 1927 and attended Epsom and Ewell School of Art. She began designing posters in the mid 50's and is probably best known for her British Transport Commission and Royal Blue Coach Services travel posters.

 That cat knows who to make friends with.

Even Poseidon holidays in Southend!

and these lovely Welsh ladies are just waiting for your visit!

But apart from a plethora of posters, Daphne also designed posters and packaging for M&S, the Post Office Savings Bank, the British Diabetic Society, ROSPA, P&O, Trust House Forte and British European Airways.

This telegram is an example of her work for the Post Office. Who wouldn't want to receive a bouquet of pink roses from a unicorn?!

I wonder how many of us remember signs like these?
I could happily share hundreds more of her designs, but I will let you discover them for yourselves. I'll just leave you with one of my favourite of her watercolours, Evening Flight of the Barn Owl.

I love the crispness of the owl flying over the misty softness of the landscape.

Daphne was elected a member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in 1984. You can find more of her watercolours on the Lincoln Joyce website. She died in 2009.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Tangerine Dreams

After a brief spell of dazzling sunshine, we seem to be back to grey and gloom here in Portsmouth.

Sadface :(

I found myself yearning for a little zesty brightness to cheer me up, so I put together this zingy Etsy treasury

I chose a variety of items different shades, different textures and a mixture of supplies, finished items and vintage goodies. I hope you'll see something to inspire you!

I love the texture of these ceramic beads, the touch of turqouise around the edge sets them off beautifully.

This cuff would go perfectly with the lovely maxi dress I just made (to be blogged about at a later date!)

I might get these soaps to put in homemade Christmas Crackers this year, I bet they smell as good as they look!

I hope this fruity treasury has inspired you. For more Orange inspiration, check out How About Orange ~ a brilliant blog jam-packed with funky fabrics, free downloads and fab tutorials.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Cool Case

Check out my lovely Ikea Cool Bag!

It's lovely, bright, and very spacious. Can you guess what delights it has in store?

Ta-da! This is where my sewing machine lives! The old case was terribly shabby and falling apart, and I'd been looking for the right fabric to make a new one for ages. Then I spotted these zingy cool bags in Ikea (love that shop!) and thought to myself, they look just about perfect! And it is :)

It even has a little pouch inside which I use to store my pin case, and lovely strong handles so you can carry the bag on your shoulders for when you're out and about on Super Sewing Missions!

Does your machine have a special home? I'd love to hear about it, or even better, see some pictures!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Pinspiration Strikes!

Do you use Pinterest? I started reluctantly a few months ago and now I'm happy to admit I'm addicted :) I mainly repin crafts and recipes (I know, you'd never have guessed, right?!) but also art that inspires me, fabulous fabrics, and, well, there may be a board pinned with hunky chaps who float my boat ;) I'm trying to figure out how to add a follow me button for Pinterest, but in the meantime, this will take you to my boards.

I thought I'd share my experiences with a couple of the Pinterest crafts and recipes with you. I've found that although there are some awesome images on there (I'm so jealous, you've probably noticed my lack of skills in that department) not all of the crafts or recipes deliver as one might hope.

So first, a couple of crafts. This one suggested using a fork to make little pompoms and worked fairly well. Here is my attempt:

It's a little scruffy but I like it. It's a very quick and easy method of making pompoms, you just need a little more patience with trimming than I had!

So next, Sharpie mugs. Here is the pin that inspired me. This was an awesome idea, but unfortunately it failed to deliver. This was my first attempt:

The colours faded badly during baking ~ the sunbeams were originally a bright and vibrant yellow ~ and they didn't hold up at all during washing. The mug on the right was solid blocks of colour and most of the colour loss came from being gently hand-washed with a soft sponge. There were also raindrops under the cloud which completely disappeared. Time for a sad face! :( All the different tutorials I read said to bake at 350F (180C) for half an hour, which I did. To no avail.

So I tried on glass jars.

The black lost it's vivacity and became a watery dark brown, but it hasn't wiped off at first touch. I don't know how much better it will wash up, if at all, but as I'm using these jars as tea caddies they shouldn't need too much washing.

One of the simplest recipes I have tried is apple nachos. Here is my version:

Simply slice one apple per person and arrange beautifully on a plate, then drizzle with caramel ice-cream sauce and scatter over roughly chopped honey roast peanuts. My son and I love these. I could never have imagined him being satisfied with an apple as a pudding! They make a great alternative to pocorn on a home movie night, and they're especially good after a big bowlful of macaroni cheese ~ the crisp sweet crunch is the perfect contrast to the creamy fatty dollopy mac & cheese. Why not try raspberry sauce instead of caramel, or swap the nuts for chopped ginger biscuits?

There are a whole stack of other recipes and crafts I want to try, so I expect I'll do another post like this in the future to share my successes or failures! How about you? Do you have any recommendations to share? I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Velkommen til Portsmouth

The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic here. I had another jam sale to prepare for which went really well. My Ginger Beer proved very popular, but luckily I managed to save a couple of bottles to enjoy myself ;)
I've also been preparing for a visit from some lovely friends who are flying in from the Land of the Vikings. Any readers who know me will realise that means a LOT of tidying and housework, something I am most severely allergic too! But I've also made some little gifts for the children.

Some little drawing books made from recycled cardboard . . . .

and can you guess what these are? Well, I'm so pleased with how they turned out I may just make some for the shop.

But it's not just been presents for the kids, I've also been tarting up the house.

My number 8 looked sad and lonely before I made it this snazzy frame. I just sprayed an old picture frame a bright bubblegum pink.

I think it cheers the whole front of the house right up, and with the Jubilee / Olympic bunting still up, I think it will be a lovely greeting for our Nordic visitors ♥

Now, if only we can get the sun to visit too . . . .

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Oh dear!

Well, this isn't the post I had hoped for! My original plan was to do a draw for the winner of last month's pretty pinny tutorial but then . . .

. . . disaster struck . . .

. . . in the wash.

Now everything's gone a bit pink!

Luckily (?) there weren't any comments on the tutorial so I'm hoping no one was holding out for this apron. However, I'm happy to send it out if anyone is interested? Just comment on this post or message me and I'll be happy to send the blushing article out to you :)

And in the meantime, I'd best get on with July's tutorial!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Jammin' at the School Fete

Despite the torrential downpours, floods and hailstorms, it really is summer here in the UK! And so the lovely tradition of the school fete means I have been rather busy lately building up my jam stocks. Today was the first fete for me this year at a local junior school. We had some obligatory rain, but luckily the school was prepared and most of the events were easily moved indoors. For privacy reasons I'm not going to post lots of pics of the fete, it is a school thing after all and it doesn't feel right to share pictures of children without their parent's permission. But here are some shots of me and my set up.

 I like to be within easy reach of a fire alarm!

Setting out tasters has really helped my sales. I found people were reluctant to pay homemade prices until they tasted homemade products and realised it was worth paying more than supermarket rates. Plus it looks good, and it's a great way to interact with the customers.

I've made chocolate bark as christmas gifts before. It's quick and easy to make, looks great, and tastes even better.

This is the first time I've sold it, and it went down pretty well. As did the Ginger Beer, another new product on the table. Luckily I still have a half bottle at home and enjoyed a glass while watching Wimbledon, another great summer tradition. The weather may not realise it's summer yet, but ginger beer and tennis remind me that it's June :)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Not so Chicken after all

Our 'Head Honcho' chicken is called Vader, so named because of her delightful temperament. Well it seems she's decided that pecking at the others isn't enough to seal her position as Chief Chook, now she's discovered a new trick to wow the flock.

"Hey Girls, watch this!

"1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . "


A little high-wire walk . . .

Down some tricky steps . . .

Then flap like crazy!