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(almost) wordless New Year’s Eve recap

1 Jan

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I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  Wishing you a healthy and happy 2013!

Dawn X

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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.

my little sister’s hen party

10 Jun

Last night my older sister, Michelle, and I got to send our little sister Alice off to married-dom in style by throwing her a fabulous hen party.  We’ve been planning this for months but i’ve not wanted to mention it on the blog as i think she may read it from time to time (probably not often enough though Ali!!!).  Now i’m not going to share any pictures of the hens or divulge too much of the juicy details as that goes against the sacred hen/bachelorette rules – what goes on tour stays on tour, right?  But i will give you a flavour of what we did…

The most fun part of the whole planning was torturing Alice as she did not have a clue what she was going to be doing.  She got sent this email:

Good evening Alice

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn up at Michelle’s house at 13.00 hours on Saturday 9th June.  In order to complete your mission, wearing something comfortable, you must bring with you:

An outfit to change into for the evening (think glam)
Scuba gear
A length of twine 
Welder’s helmet
Make-up, accessories etc
A whisk
Four steel oil drums (must be steel – no cheap aluminium)
A 3/16th socket wrench

(only two of these items are correct.  I will leave it up to you to decide)

Ensure you leave your dignity and your husband to be at home, make sure your life insurance is up to date, and get ready to enjoy(ish) the party.

See you Saturday,
Your bridesmaids x

I followed this up with lots of texts and emails asking her if she’d had her vaccinations, that i was just checking the bungee cord etc…man i’m a mean sister.  The reality of the day was that it was quite lovely.  We had an Alice in Wonderland theme (natch) so we had to dress her up first.  She made a surprisingly convincing Alice.  Then we went to a local Art Gallery and made headbands based on birdcage veils.

We had afternoon tea/champagne while we crafted away.  Michelle and i made all the goodies, Michelle even made the little dormouse to go in the teapot.  It really was sooo much fun and i’d love to go back.  They do all sorts of classes from stitch n’ bitch to nude sketching.  Hmmm what to choose…

After we finished our class we let Alice change out of her costume and we all got glammed up and went out to drink lots of cocktails and eat a scrummy meal.  I ate this…

It was ok tasting but very greasy.  We then tortured Alice some more with some Mr & Mrs type games and a bit more drinking.  It really was an amazing day – Alice was possibly not half as drunk as she should have been by the end of the evening, given it was her hen do, but she went home very happy.  As we are all old and a bit lame we were all home by 12.30!! Gone are the days of walking home with the sunrise.

Now i just need to think about what i’m going to do to burn all that greasy fried food and cupcakes off.  If only it weren’t raining and i wasn’t crippled!!

the boy done good

20 Feb

hello lovely peeps.  I haven’t blogged all week and i feel guilty.  It’s been very hectic around here…lots to blog about but so little time.  I’ll start with John’s (my hubby) amazing success at a local auction house recently.

I asked John to pop to our local auction house as they had two lots of vintage suitcases that i wanted for the house.  We already have one we picked up in an antique shop but i have visions of big stacks of the lovely things to use as storage.  Neither John nor i had ever been to an auction before – i had visions of sneezing and buying a ruby necklace but none such thing happened.  Unfortunately boring old work got in the way for me and John went on his own, keeping me updated by text all the way.  John made it sound like sooo much fun even if he did get quite carried away.

We didn’t get the suitcases as they went for a couple of hundred pounds but, even better than that, John picked up a box of old used cameras (i’ll show you what we did with those on a different post), a huge framed Mark Rothko print and best of all this wonderful trunk.

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The name of the original owner is stencilled on the top of the trunk and there is a sticker of the ship it travelled on the side.  Using this info John has since found loads of info on the internet about the owner.  So cool – this gentleman would never have imagined that more than half a century later we would be storing all our CDs in his trunk!

It really is a beautiful piece and i’m very happy to give it a home.

And while i’m giving lots of blog love to the hubby check out this gorgeous pic he took of George our cat

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He’s on our bed but i kinda think he looks like he’s in the dock.  Definitely guilty i would say!

Enjoy your week.  Four day countdown to holiday…. x