30 June 2010

Lovely Strangers...

Don't you just hate it when you just missed a parcel? It's so much hassle to have to go to the parcel collection office, queue forever and then worryingly watch the staff search for your elusive parcel.

Luckily we have the sweetest post lady at the moment (they change regularly)!!

We arrived home and saw the bright red "Sorry, you were out" letter..

...Sigh.....

I took a closer look and saw our Post lady had written a little note saying she's in the area until 1:30pm and to give her a call on her mobile number if we were back before then...How sweet!!!

She really didn't have to do that whatsoever...I gave her a call and within 5 minites she was knocking at our door : )

She was smilly and very happy that we were happy.


Some people are so lovely.

You guys are so lovely.





It is very reassuring.

Gemma X

28 June 2010

Job interview!!!

OMG you guys...I just got a call and now I have a job interview next MONDAY! I'm really happy but SOO nervous at the same time.

They want me to be interviewed, then have a maths and english test.

And then I have to conduct a 10-20 minute session with 8-10 yr olds...I think like a P.E lesson or something fun.

Now the problem is to think of an activity to do..something fun and sensible?!


Would really appreciate any ideas of stuff I could do with the kids!!

Gemma X

27 June 2010

Sweet Summer Sunday - Banana Cake

Hi all - 


Firstly I'd like to say thank you for all your encouraging words. I just needed to take a step back and realise that if I'm doing all I can..the rest is uncontrolable. Thank you also for your sweet words about me and my little blog...it made me smile!


This weeks recipe is Banana cake. I have to say i'm quite fussy when it comes to bananas. I like to eat them when they are just ripe and quite hard. Once they have bruised and softened I do not eat them. To not have any waste...this recipe is perfect!  I generally use this recipe all year round...however the fruity flavours are definetely 'appreciated' more in the summer. Again this recipe is very moist and will keep for a few days.

You will need:
  • 3 bananas
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 170g soft margarine/ butter
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla essence
  • Loaf tin

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 3, 160c, 320f. Grease and flour your tin. Mix together the margarine and sugar until soft and creamy. Add the beaten eggs and mix.



Mix in the flour and vanilla. At this point the mixture may look dry but don't worry as the bananas add moisture. Peel and mash the bananas in a seperate bowl. 


Once mashed (with a few lumps) the bananas the the main mixture. If it still looks quite dry add a splash of milk!




 Having lumps is fine...It should look something like that ^^^

Pour into your tin and bake for up to an hour or until your knife comes out clean. Let it cool for 15 minutes in the tin and then remove. 



Once completely cool slice and enjoy!!!


Good stuff..a great way to get the kids to eat some fruit!

Right now it's half time in the England VS Germany game. What an atmosphere..it is a scorcher of a day here...very hot!   

Anyway I really hope they win..especially after that disallowed goal...We shall see !
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edit: They lost! 4 -1 to Germany. Very disappointing but Germany deserved to win.

Hope your enjoying your Sunday whatever the weather is like or wherever you may be : )

Love Gemma X

24 June 2010

Having a rant and moan...

I've been feeling really 'off' these past few days. My issues spread from big ones to tiny little ones. I guess it doesn't help that soon it will be my THAT time AGAIN! This humid sticky weather we've been having recently sure isn't helping.

Remember this post ? I still haven't found a job. I've applied for loads at schools but no luck. I'm going to drop one off today so please pray for me! I am trying to get to University this year through the "clearing" process but if not it will be next September. If any of you know anyone that might be interested in some cute cushions, door stops or other home decor..send them my way!

I worry..

I worry A LOT!



My nan worries, my mum worries and I worry...I wonder where I got it from?! lol


I know what I want for my future...but often worry if what I want WILL happen.


I worry about my families health and safety.


I worry about my own health and if i'm treating my body the way it should be treated.


I worry about the way people perceive who I am...what all of YOU think of me. If you guys visit out of politeness  or if you enjoy reading what I have to say. I know it is silly..but it's true!


I worry about learning to drive..another silly one but the thought of it is daunting.


I worry about money, the community, the earth..everything!


One thing that does reassure me is that i'm not alone...everyone worries in their own little way...big or small!


22 June 2010

Garden Update - Summer 2010

Happy Tuesday!
The sun has been shining so much recently. The garden is definitely benefiting from it...it's flourishing! Here are a few snaps...




The tops of the runner beans have been picked. They have now started to "fill out" and are producing lovely red flowers.

I picked the first raspberry today...so yummy! A million times better than the ones at the shop...Organic is the best : )
We have three...Yes..only 3 strawberries at the moment! I think it's because they are potted in a small pot. I need to get a bigger one. 


I've recently started growing potatoes. I was in a garden center and spotted  a perfectly good pack of growing potatoes for only 20p...bargain! 
 The leeks are getting much bigger. So big that they need supporting. I might need to add some more soil.....what do you think? Need some advice : )


I'm loving this plant at the moment. The palm tree is extending upwards and onwards. It smells soooo summery. I caught the BEST photo the other day...accidental goodness.
 
Check out the photo below! You need to click on it to enlarge...seriously!





I'm very proud...it's my desktop picture!
Hope you enjoyed the photo's. I love all the variations of pinks and reds.
Gemma xXx 

20 June 2010

Sweet Summer Sunday - Lemon Yoghurt Cake

Hi Guys,

Welcome to the second "Sweet Summer Sunday"! I hope you're enjoying Fathers day!! I made this cake yesterday for my family..they love it!

This cake is one of Ina Gartens. I'm telling you it is the most moist...tangy..yet light and creamy cake you'll ever taste! . You do not use butter....You use yoghurt and vegetable oil. I know what your thinking....unhealthy?...

Probably. 

The way I see it is that the cake is meant to be shared. If you ate a lot of it to yourself then that is not good. But what the heck...it's summer so why not have it as a one off and share something yummy? 

This recipe is great as you can adjust it to how much you like the taste of lemon. I love it! I hope you'll love it too....

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose/ plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (Around 2- 3  lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Loaf cake tin

Optional (This is for a drizzle which increases the moistness and taste of lemon):


  •  1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Optional (This makes a lemon icing/ glaze topping):
  • 1 cup icing / confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method: 

Begin by greasing your loaf tin and pre-heating your oven to 350f, 170c, Gas mark 4. In one bowl sift in the flour and baking powder.


 In another, add the eggs, yoghurt, sugar, vanilla extract and the lemon zest.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Once they are all mixed well, add the oil and gently fold until it is ALL combined. You don't want it looking like this (pics below)


Just keep on folding for a while..it will eventually get better like this...


Pour into your greased loaf tin and cook for 40-50 mintutes until golden brown and a knife comes out clean. Keep a close eye on it as the edges can brown very quickly...another lesson learned lol!

Now...I think the drizzle is an essential part of this cake but that's probably due to the fact that I like lemon. If you want to give it a go then here's how...

Put 1/3 cup of sugar... 


 And 1/3 cup of lemon juice into a small saucepan..


Stir constantly on a low heat until it becomes a clear liquid and all the sugar has dissolved.

Once the cake has been cooling for about 10 minutes turn it upside down and prick it a few times. Spoon half the liquid over it until it has all been soaked up. Turn the cake the right way up and do the same. Prick and spoon heehee : )



 For me this is where the cake is at its best..it's done. However if you want to go the whole hog and put a lemon glaze/ icing on top here is how to....Let the cake cool completely. Combine the icing/ confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.




It is sooooo good! Go and make this now ...you won't regret it! A great light cake after a BBQ..something to have with a glass of Pimms...or with my summery fav.

Love you all and thanks for reading! Have a wonderful Fathers day.

Gemma X

17 June 2010

Bad hair day...

....but not in the sense you'd think!

Our hairdresser comes to our home to cut our hair. Luckily we have wood flooring so cleaning up the hair is always a quick and easy job.

She (my hairdresser) tells us everytime that we should be careful walking around in bare feet.
Cut hair can be quite sharp and it's likely that one or two pieces will be on the floor even after cleaning up...and can become embedded in your foot!


This is what happened to me the other day...


...OH MY!


It hurt so much. 


I thought I had just stood on a stone. The area became swollen which made it worse to walk on.


Ian was brave nice enough to take a closer look at my foot and saw a long thin line of black running under my skin. 

We thought it was a wooden splinter!

He squeezed it out and to our dismay it was an INCH long hair!!

Ouch!

Lesson learned. Don't walk around barefoot after freshly cut hair has been on that floor!

Gemma X

15 June 2010

Baby birds.

Ians' neighbours found something amazing the other day. Down the side of their house they have a storage area for bits and bits...look at what they found...


Can you spot it?










There it is : )........


Can you spot THEM?.......



There they are!

Click on the photo's to enlarge..especially the ones below. They are SOOO cute!!!



We even got a snap of the mother feeding them worms..yummy : p


We see the mother flying back and forth ALL THE TIME. You can guarantee that she will be back within 10 minutes with mouthful of worms. Before she flies back to the nest she'll make sure there isn't anything following or watching her...so special!

These pictures were taken from an open window from Ians' house so we didn't disturb them. 

I feel so lucky to have been able to see the birds. Most of the time nests are up in TALL trees. It's so crazy seeing a nest on a paint pot. It must be perfect for the mother as it is very quiet and sheltered...a blessed nest! : )

I hope you enjoy the pictures..they are adorable!

Gemma X

13 June 2010

Sweet Summer Sunday - Blueberry Buckle

Hi all - Come on in and get yourself comfy!

 Welcome to my first "Sweet Summer Sunday"...I hope you enjoy it : ) . As mentioned in a previous post..I love desert. It is very rare that I will turn one down....However....I do find chocolate deserts a bit too heavy for summer. I prefer something light and refreshing. Something juicy and full of fruity flavour! I'm going to be showing you my top 4 summer deserts for the next four Sundays (this being the first).


This recipe is from the lovely Meg at her blog whatever.  We had some Blueberries in the fridge and I was getting a bit bored..and I bake when I am bored! I decided to make this cake and it is divine! I promise you'll love it....

You will need :  
  • 4 oz / 115 g / 1 stick / half a cup of Butter
  • 4.4 oz/ 125g/ 2 cups of plain/all purpose Flour
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 4 fluid ounces / 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 oz / 85g/ 3/4 cup of Castor Sugar
  • 300g - 500g or Blueberries (depending on how much flavour you would like) 
  • Spring cake tin - 10"
For the Streusel topping :
  •  6 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 Tsp of ground Cinnamon 
  • 2.2 oz / 70g / 1 cup of plain/all purpose flour 
  • 1oz/ 30g / 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar

Method :

Heat your oven to 350f / 170c / gas mark 4. Grease your tin and lightly sprinkle with flour to stop your cake sticking...set aside. Clean the blueberries and leave to one side to dry. In one bowl, sift together the Flour and the Baking powder.



In another cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla and gently mix in. Once mixed in, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.


Now gently fold in the blueberries. You can either put the blueberries in whole or slice them in half. I prefer to put them in whole as it is less time consuming and you get bursts of blueberry juice in your mouth when you take a bite..great stuff! :D However in this instance I didn't have enough and I wanted to make the blueberries go further, so I sliced them all in half...it was a long job!


Pour the mixture into the spring tin and leave to settle whilst you make the Streusel topping. To make the topping simply add all the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Then break the butter up into small chunks and use your hands to mix combine it all.



You should end up with medium sizes chunks (like when making a crumble topping). Sprinkle over your cake mixture and put in the oven for an hour or when a knife comes out clean.





Leave it to cool..then remove from tin. Best served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream..yum!

It is SO good!

Very light...very flavourful and full of blueberry goodness : ) 


Thanks for tuning into this weeks Sweet Summer Sunday!


Gemma X

11 June 2010

Beautiful Sky

Happy Friday!!! As I write this Ian is working hard at work...I can't wait for him to be on his way home..it's such a nice feeling : )

I love the feeling of welcoming him home after a long days work - Do any of you feel the same about your partners? I can't wait to have a home of our own and to be married. I dream about being the stereotypical wife. A freshly baked pie cooling whilst dinner has just been served as soon as he gets through the door....HA! Of course I know the reality of marriage...nothing is ever as perfect as that...but all the same I look forward to having him home and all to myself.

The other evening we had a B-E-A-UTIFUL sunset...amazing!





You can see the Flies lingering around the top of the tree.




This is lovely. I sometimes imagine heaven to be like this..just a continuation of clouds.


Looks like mountains!


Magical : )


Today is the beginning of the World Cup if you didn't know. It's a huge thing here in the UK...England flags are dotted everywhere throughout the country. I'm not a fan of football but as it's the World Cup I will watch England play (if it's on whilst I am in the living room anyway!).

Tomorrow it is our local school fair. The weather hasn't been too good this past week but it is meant to be a nice day tomorrow.  I want to go shopping in the morning to the Body Shop..i'll show you my purchase soon if I manage to get what I want!

Anyway REMEMBER...




I'm starting Sweet Summer Sunday THIS Sunday so tell your friends!

It should be good!

Have a lovely evening and an even better weekend...you deserve it!!!!

Gemma X

9 June 2010

A few changes...and something yummy!

I don't know if you noticed but there have been a few changes to my blog. If you hadn't noticed then here they are:

  • I've changed the header of my blog slightly by adding a few key words about my blog..hopefully this will give new readers an inkling to what it is about.
  • I've taken away the "About me" on the sidebar and made a whole new page about me. This is there if you want to know a bit about me in short. Take a look! The link is at the top of the page or simply click on my picture : )
  • I've got an e-mail address especially for my blog. Please feel free to e-mail me with any Q you may have. Maybe you just fancy a chat? Simply click on "Contact Me" at the top of the page!
  • I'm hoping to get a button for my blog ASAP so keep an eye out for it in the next upcoming weeks! I'm also looking for a new header but i'm stuck on what to do..we'll see.
If you've been a reader of my blog for a while you'll know I had "Soup Saturday" a while back..I hosted my favourite soup recipes every Saturday : ) I really enjoyed doing it and I got some great feedback from you all. 

In light of this I've decided to host "Sweet Summer Sunday!" Over the next 4 Sundays I will show you all my favourite Summertime Deserts so be sure to check it out : ) They are from some inspiring bloggers and chefs..and...They ALL contain some form of fruit..yummy!

Here is a little preview of this weeks "Sweet Summer Sundays" Desert...



I hope to see you all then : )


Gemma X

7 June 2010

Stuff

Hi all and happy Monday : )

I had a lovely surprise just before the weekend. I received an e-mail from a fellow seller on Folksy...asking me if it was okay to have my door stop featured in her Folksy Friday Blog post....uhh..YES!!!

Woohhoo : ) I was VERY excited!

This is the first time one of my products have been featured on someone's blog so I though i'd share it with you all...

Check it out here.

Clare has just begun her blog so be sure to take a peek at it : )

__________________________________________________


Do any of you ever find yourself wishing you could blog about something as you are doing it...? Or that your could take a picture with your eyes and use it in your blog at some point..?




I do!


I did this weekend...


It was only something silly but I was thinking about what i'd type...then when I got to the computer I forgot...why can't we blog via our brains lol ?!?!

Please tell me that i'm not the only one who does this..otherwise I think I might think about my blog all the time WAY too much!

__________________________________________________

Ian has started his new job today...we are excited but nervous. It seems like this is a new "Stage" or "Transition" in our lives. It is a good change and we are so thankful but any change makes me feel a bit nervous and worried.

I imagine in a few weeks all of this will seem the norm but at the moment it brings a funny feeling.

How do you cope with change? I think the best thing to do is talk about it..

On a lighter note we had a nice weekend. The BBQ/ Bonfire on Friday night was good...We concluded that the fire bin/ Incinerator needs to retire....It was very "Rustic"...



Luckily his parents (who also enjoy camp fires and outdoor eating etc) had some garden vouchers and bought this on Saturday....



We had the house to ourselves so we snuggled outside. Of course I had to make a cup of Tea!


It was very cosy : )
 
Thanks for reading my stuff...it was all a mixture of everyday things that didn't really fit into one category. 

Hope you are all having a good Monday!


Gemma X


4 June 2010

Easy drinking...not so much sleeping!

Hi all,

Last night I had such difficulty sleeping. I went with Ian and his family to a restaurant that does unlimited refills on pepsi...and I had A  LOT (might aswell have my moneys worth lol ). I think the caffeine effected my body...I just couldn't get to sleep!

I turned my laptop off at 11:30pm...I was tossing and turning until 12:30am..so I decided to get up and read a new book! I didn't turn my lights out till about 1:30am heehee...

so now I am one sleepy girl : (

Atleast I learnt my lesson.

Anyway back to todays main post...Easy Drinking....(Ironic ey?!)




Tonight Ian & I are having a BBQ around his house with a few friends. To keep things simple and cheap we're going to serve this drink with Lemonade. It is so easy yet really tasty and pretty.

You will need:

  • Lemonade or Champagne (depending on the occasion of course)
  • Strawberries
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • OR Canned Strawberries



Method:
  • Add one or two strawberries to the bottom on a champagne flute and around 6 tsp of the syrup.
  • Then simply pour in your chosen drink and enjoy!

I tend to use canned strawberries as the syrup is already in the can and it is cheap! You don't necessarily have to eat the strawberry after you've finished the drink...it just adds a really nice red glow! I think using a champagne flute just makes it feel a little special but use whatever you want really : )


It is also quite versatile as you can adapt it for the adults by using champagne or adding a little vodka to the lemonade...naughty naughty!


Thank you for taking your time to read my post and I hope you have a great sunny weekend : )

Gemma X

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