Archive for ‘home’

November 15, 2013

More than a little change

We have moved. From a little house to a big flat, from the countryside to the coast and from friends to the unknown.

It sort of happened all of a sudden. One thing led to another then I stuck my neck out and here we are in a rented flat. Not everyone is overjoyed or happy every day but we are loving the space we all have and liking exploring our new area and most of all seeing my Mum on a weekly basis without it being a palaver for either of us.

Here’s the view from our bedroom window.

Bedroom view

And this view from the balcony is the same thing I see from the kitchen window which is much better than what I used to see

Balcony View

We’re on the second floor which is the top floor here and it was a struggle getting all our stuff upstairs those first few days. We thought we’d never get to the point where we didn’t count each of the 26 steps but now we bound up them all without even thinking about them as a struggle.

We haven’t moved for 12 years and it’s been difficult sorting through our accumulated stuff then choosing and deciding and letting things go. I talked to myself very sternly and took bags of fabric to the recycling centre. We made numerous visits to the charity shop and the shoe bins at the Clarks shop.  I now have a much smaller stash of fabric to be upcycled and odd scraps that might be useful. Most of what I have kept fits into the built in cupboard in the hallway and I have the sewing machine right next to it so that keeps everything together a bit better than it used to be. What I need to do now is sew more!

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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December 31, 2011


2011 is almost packed up and put away. The tree is still up though and the stars are still shining outside albeit with one larger area of dark matter becoming apparent following a quick repair to enable a further six stars to light up. (Cut off light bulb, strip wires, twist together again and apply some tape. What do you mean I should have soldered the wires?! Having an electrical engineer in training here is putting a damper on my happy-go lucky electrical solutions!)

I love the possibilities that the New Year brings and every year I hope that we will be contented, healthy and all move forward in positive ways. This year we are still hopeful but also sure that unpredictable times lie ahead in many areas of our lives. I think we will have to make sure we do things that make us happy to balance out the other bits but sometimes life is like that.

There have been a lot of good times this year as well as a few bad ones here and there and these are some pictures that trigger good memories for me.

December 21, 2011


Well it’s getting ever closer now… We have been working on the tree and a few decorations but that’s it so far because I have yet to find the box containing the tinsel.

Here’s how it started on Monday afternoon

It is a simple origami folded thing from here . This year the tree is double spread of newspaper wide and three pages long. Then we plastered it with old envelopes and flour/water paste.

It was painted this very green shade on Tuesday and is looking much drier and stiffer now. The tree has already suffered some damage from being under the soaf so this will need a minor corner repair at some point! (It’s the picture that is fuzzy, not your eyesight)

Miss Amoo went to a home ed thing with friends the other week and came home with some lovely crafty things including this little fabric decoration

Hers has 2-3″ squares and a ribbon on top which looks great and I thought I might have something somewhere to do something similar. In all my tidying up of late I found a bag of 1″ squares that I cut last Christmas and the year before to make little scrappy wreaths with a home ed groups we go to. I didn’t want to make wreaths again so I’ve made these:

They’re blutacked to the back of this little door and I might sew some more tonight if I can drag myself away from doing nothing. It really feels like it’s time to hibernate and my whole self is slowing down as everyone else is revving up. Never mind.