Archive | December, 2012

homemade Christmas pressies

29 Dec

A bit late to inspire anyone so this is more just a post to show-off!!  As i posted last time i hand made a few Christmas pressies this year for my family.  I couldn’t post about it because my sister reads my blog and it would’ve spoiled the surprise.  So here’s how it all turned out.

Firstly I made toffee for my father in law.  This is the single most terrifying thing i have ever cooked.  Me being anywhere near boiling fat and sugar seemed like a recipe for disaster but actually it turned out OK.  I covered part of the toffee with chocolate and left the other half plain.

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Next I made vanilla essence for my Dad, my big sis and my Gran who are all keen bakers (and very accomplished at it too i might add).  This just basically involves splitting vanilla pods and adding to vodka.  I poured the mix into these cute Kilner bottles.  The hardest part of this recipe is trying not to drink all the vodka (particularly while trying to steady nerves when making toffee!!) – especially after you’ve added the vanilla as it smells divine.

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I then placed stickers on the bottles that i found here.  The finished product is below.  The essence slowly turns brown and is ready to use in three months.

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Finally I made candied nuts for my mother in law.  These are super easy to make – you whisk up an egg with a load of sugar and whatever spice you wish to use (i used cinnamon on pecans and almonds) then bake on a really low heat, turning occasionally, for an hour.  A side effect is that the house smells amazing for a good while after (and you get to eat any nuts that don’t fit in the jars or that happen to fall into your mouth!!).

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I put the toffee and nuts into Kilner jars and added labels that I found here.  It’s amazing that such talented people are willing to share things like this.  I’m sure you’ll agree they are great.


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I’m really pleased with the results and my recipients seemed to be happy.  Above all no-one has seemed to suffer any poisoning after eating any of the products i made.  So that’s a bonus.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Looking forward to the New Year now.

this is how i fly

22 Dec

A week or so ago i had to attend a conference on another Island close by so i got to fly there on what we call a Trislander.  If you happen to be a plane geek their real name is a Britten Norman BN2A Mk. III Trislander.

The planes are tiny little twin props that take fifteen passengers.  You’re loaded in like a car and the staff size you up before you get on.  Safe to say if you keep getting seated in certain seats you may need to re-think your New Year’s Resolutions!

I got stupidly excited about being on this tiny plane as the sun was coming up (after i got over the nerves when it took the pilot three goes to get the engine started!) and took these pics with my iPhone (which explains the dubious quality)….

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That’s the sun rising over France.

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That’s the pilot with his SatNav despite the fact that you can pretty much see your destination as soon as you take off.  You can (and we did) chat to the pilot if you so wish he’s that close.

This is surely the only way to travel.  I’m a lucky girl that i get to do these things.

I’ve been a domestic goddess this evening making some edible Christmas pressies.  I can’t wait to show you the fruits of my labour but one of the recipients reads my blog so you’ll have to wait until after Christmas.  Safe to say my house smells A-MAZE-ING!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend – I’m off to wrap pressies X

another day another medal – Santa 5K

17 Dec

Yesterday I ran a Santa Fun Run in aid of a local charity which raises funds for carefully chosen projects where children are in distress through whatever life has thrown at them, war/disaster zones, poverty, sickness, homeless and on larger scales children that are orphaned.  A brilliant charity I’m sure you’ll agree.

Check out my Christmas socks. They go so well with my Nikes don’t you think?  I knew it was going to be cold so i layered these over my running tights and my normal running socks.  I wore a fetching Santa jacket and hat to go with this hip ensemble.  Vogue should be on the phone any minute…

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The race was a 5K although my trusty Garmin informed me it was actually about 3.75 miles which i reckon to be 6K.  Who’s counting though?  The weather was horrendous – we suffered a hailstorm halfway through (in between the gusting winds) which was fun,  and i promise i wasn’t grumpy at all (ahem!). I managed to warm myself up with this delight afterwards…

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You can always trust Mr Marks & Mr Spencer to make you a good soup – and one that’s Christmas dinner in a bowl to boot!  Yes purlease!!

We got this little trinket for our troubles and I hung it on the Christmas Tree:

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And finally, in case you were concerned i’d gone all normal cat lady on you let me just cement my crazy cat lady status by showing you this cutey:

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You didn’t know Amazon delivered adorable little cats now did you?

Did anyone else take part in a Santa Fun Run this weekend?  I hope the weather was nicer to you.

Christmas cupcakes and Tabata training

9 Dec

In my world cupcakes and Tabata training go together like cheese & wine (or Sunday and roast dinner).  If you don’t agree let me tell you now – you are wrong.

At my work this week we had a craft/culinary competition based on the theme of Christmas trees.  Naturally I stalked Pinterest for several evenings before deciding on attempting Martha Stewart’s Christmas Tree Cupcakes.  Here is the making of…

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I placed my sponge mixture into ice cream cones and my mini cupcake mould.  I used my own tried and tested recipe (read: much easier recipe) than hers but i’m sure it would have come out much the same.

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I attached each cone shaped cake to a mini cupcake and then attempted to ice with buttercream to make them look like snowy Christmas trees.  I added silver balls for extra Christmassyness (and that is a real word). Here is the end result:

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They weren’t terrible, and people recognised them for what they were supposed to be, but Martha Stewart I am not!!  For some reason most of them had a bit of a lean on.  Safe to say i didn’t win any prizes – they are some seriously talented people at my work and i’m going to have to spend the whole of 2013 practising if i’m going to win anything next year.

To burn off all those calories from my cook’s treats (you know – licking out the bowl, sucking the icing out of the icing bag…) i did two Fitnessista workout videos today.  The Six Pack in a Sweater workout and this Tabata workout.  Both of which seriously got my sweat on!  I reckon my abs are going to be sore tomorrow.  If you’ve never heard of Tabata it’s a type of interval training – you only work out for 4 minutes (plus warm up and cool down) but it’s supposed to singe those calories and the after burn continues for quite a while meaning i’m burning more calories as i type this right now.  Awesome.

If you haven’t checked out Gina’s blog or her YouTube channel i urge you to do so now – there’s something for everyone and she is soooo lovely.

On a side note i’ve noticed from my stats that i’ve got quite a lot of people checking in from my home town on a daily basis.  So either my sister is going overboard on checking my blog or i’ve got some new friendly faces watching!!  So this is a big hello to all my fellow donkeys!