Archive for February, 2012

February 19, 2012


The day is over so this is yesterday’s news

She’s already thinking about turning 10 which just makes my head spin.

This big girl used to be a tiny weeny girl with size 3 red wellies

J took her to town today to buy a cake and some books and it poured with rain so hard when they were out that they called El Famosisimo to pick them up in his car and drive them home. She came through the door soaked but beaming, flanked by two big brothers who had humoured their little sister on her special day.

We knew that it was a special day as she has been talking about it for about six months. Now the day has passed but we are stretching it out by having a party later today and making a birthday weekend of it.

Now we just need to wait for Miss Froo’s birthday which is due in September which despite her wish for it to be next week is actually a whole spring and summer away. Thinking about summer makes me yearn for a day without needing to wear something woolly but I must wish my life away!

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February 16, 2012


It must be nearly spring? Surely? I see snowdrops and the start of daffs too round here and they are small signs aren’t they?

I was hoping to get a box with new compression stockings in it today as I’ve got a party to go to and I need a ‘skin’ coloured stocking to wear with the ‘James Bond’ dress code. During the winter I wear a black stocking and match it with a black sock on the other leg or with a random sock that no-one can see under a long skirt or trousers. This is not a good look with a dress, high heels and a bare right leg.

I ordered new stockings last week and for the first time ever, Juzo made a mistake with my order and sent me the wrong ones. My current stockings are getting a bit slack and that makes me feel less comfortable than I would like. If they can be put on and taken off without a struggle then they’re past their prime. If I approach anything like Nora Batty wrinkles in the stocking I get more pain because the blood that should go back to my heart gets stuck in my leg.

The postman came and he had this box, not a stocking box. Good and bad news!

I haven’t opened it yet but having received a box like this last year from the Potato Council I can tell you that there are probably six seed potatoes in there and two black potato growing sacks along with a load of blurb about how to engage school children with potato growing. Last year we grew a good few dinner’s worth of potatoes and tipping the bags out and hunting for the potatoes is like finding treasure in dirt.

The bags will be parked in the garden and filled with compost that will need to be scraped out of the bottom of the compost tardis but the garden is a total mess at the moment and I think I need to make a trip to the dump before I can show you any pictures of anything out there!

Hopefully the stockings will arrive tomorrow.

February 8, 2012

Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is a very old recipe that I got from Blue Peter when I was about 10 years old. As a child I had developed a great dislike of marzipan and wasn’t all that keen on fruit cake so my mum used to bake this cake as an extra cake at Christmas. It was enjoyed by everyone who ate it, as long as we didn’t tell them what the ingredients were!

I was sure that when I got married my wedding cake would be a huge mayonnaise cake but fate and the generosity of friends meant that I ended up with a beautifully decorated traditional wedding cake so I cut it with grace and didn’t eat any of it. We still have a huge chunk of it wrapped in tin foil in the under stairs cupboard!

Now I bake this cake for birthdays or big treats and we love it with cream and strawberries in the summer. It was in imperial back then and I still think in ounces so here it is in all its glory:

10 oz plain flour
8 oz sugar
1½ tsp baking powder

7oz mayonnaise (not a low fat one)
4tbsp cocoa powder
8 floz boiling water
1tsp vanilla essence

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar.
Then add the mayonnaise and mix it all up until it looks a bit like breadcrumbs.

Add the cocoa powder to the hot water and pour this into the bowl along with the vanilla essence. Stir this up until everything is a very dark shiny brown and you can’t see any more breadcrumbs.

Pour into a single tin and cook at Gas 4 180° 375°F for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cooking time may depend on the size of your tin. You can cook this in a 7″ or 8″ round tin for that long but if you use a bigger tin it will cook more quickly. Check it after an hour and see what you think. The top should have cracks in it and a skewer should come out clean.

This is a dense, sturdy cake that is best served with something like cream or ice cream or mascarpone with fruit on the side.

Here it is in action on El Famosisimo’s 18th birthday dusted with icing sugar and topped with lots of candles that struggled in the breeze.


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February 7, 2012


Did you see the moon tonight? It was huge when it rose and I kept catching sight of it through the trees and across the fields whilst I was out this evening. I came home and took a picture but really the only way to remember this beautiful sight is hold it in my head. How many sights are stored in my mind? I don’t know, but there are lots of moons and I don’t know why.

What did you see today that made you stop and stare?