Sunday, 31 August 2014

What I'm thankful for #12


Fun nights in with the girls
Laughter
A comfortable bed
Experiencing new places
Being able to bounce back from what would have been a major set back previously

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Happy birthday Bumple!


Morrigan, or Bumple as she's known around these parts, is seven today. In cat years she's 45 years old!

My family adopted her from the RSPCA back in 2007 after we saw her in the local newspaper along with her two brothers (we also adopted one of her brothers, Mac, but he passed away in 2010) after they were dumped at a very young age. On the day she arrived she was transfixed by the television, she still watches it a bit now. She can swing from being very affectionate to aloof, so I guess she's your normal cat. She's a good hunter and loves feet, laying on the floor next to your feet and having you rub her head with them is one of her favourite things to do. 

Happy birthday Bumple!





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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Pumpkin Bundt Cake


I know it's August and it's technically still summer but I'm ready for autumn. I've been in boots and tights for a week now thanks to the wonderful British summer weather, the pavements are already covered in leafs and shops are steadily filling with winter clothes. 

I normally make a pumpkin pie for thanksgiving but I won't be celebrating that this year, however, I still want my pumpkin fix. My experience of making bundt cakes isn't great, I've only made a handful but wanting to increase my experience I thought I'd give this recipe I found on pinterest a go making amendments along the way. You'll see from my photos that once my cake was out of the tin it, erm, developed a bit of a crack...who said home baking had to be perfect?



Ingredients

Cake

450g granulated sugar
225g softened butter
4 large eggs
220g canned pumpkin
270g Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt

Glaze

140g icing sugar
1 and a quarter tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted (and then cooled) butter

Preheat oven to 180/160 degrees, grease and flour your pan.

Cream sugar and butter together, slowly add the eggs one at a time.




Add the pumpkin, Greek yoghurt and vanilla. Continue to mix on a low speed.



Add the flour one cup at a time, if using an electric mixer keep the speed to slow.

Mix in the cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt.


Pour into cake tin and bake for 60-70 minutes, my cake took 65 minutes in total.

 

When the cake has cooled prepare the glaze.

Add sugar and milk to the mixer and whisk slowly until smooth.



Keep the mixer running and add the vanilla, pumpkin, melted butter and cinnamon.

Once the glaze is smooth drizzle over the cake.

 






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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Bank holiday Monday shopping


On a rainy bank holiday I decided to go and do a bit of shopping, there was a ring I wanted to buy from a jewellers (which was out of stock despite being told it would be in...but that's a whole other grumble) and after recently selling my old car I had a bit of money that was burning a hole in my pocket.

After treating my mum for lunch at the new Miller and Carter in the Hayes off we went on our quest to shop. First up was the Superdrug beauty store. I've started putting blonde through my hair so I wanted to get some shampoo to take care of it, I'd forgotten how drying blonde is on your hair.


Next was H&M and after a wander around and trying on a load of things I only came out with a few things, including two scarves for the winter.


I love this skirt, I almost left it on the shelf but picked it up at the last minute. New favourite!



After H&M we went to John Lewis. I wanted to get two new lenses for my camera, it was something I was nervous about because let's be fair - they're not cheap. It may not seem like it, in fact I'm sure my friends will think I'm bluffing when I say this, but I really struggle to spend money.

Whilst in John Lewis I popped down the beauty department (how can you not?!) to buy a new blusher as I only have a little bit of my NARS Orgasm left. I love buying new blusher, especially from NARS - I get a kick out of nice packaging.



The last stop for us was Jo Malone. I bought the Peony and Blush Suede cologne a few weeks ago and wanted to be able to layer my scent so I was after just the shower gel...I may have also bought the matching candle. I'm having a thing with candles at the moment, I now have two Jo Malone ones that remain unburned as well as two other scented candles I'm rotating over the summer. 

  


I love the Jo Malone experience, the ladies in the store really do pamper you. After making my purchase they insisted on giving my mum and I a hand massage using a layering of different scents, I've found another scent I like and luckily it goes really well with Peony and Blush Suede: Earl Grey and Cucumber. 

Remember I said I'm a sucker for packaging...?



This was a crazy photo-heavy post, I went to town with one of my new lenses. I'm never sure how many photos is too many when it comes to blogging so I hope you enjoyed these.

 Have you been on a shopping trip lately?  

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My list in detail #10


See Bloc Party play again

Source
 Remember when Bloc Party sorta split up a few years back? I had tickets for the gig at Newport Centre they were due to play at on the day they announced their split. That was a bit gutting to say the least. Prior to that I'd seen them at Reading Festival 2008 and then in London April 2009. I've not seen them since then as whenever they tour they don't tend to come to Wales and getting friends who a) like them and b) will travel to see them is difficult.

Go skinny dipping

Source

Is this a weird one? I'm not sure. I just know that one day I want to find somewhere I can go skinny dipping, not sure it requires much of an explanation. 

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

What I'm thankful for #11


My health
Having the resources to spend the day baking
Baking
Being able to volunteer
Having a kick ass set of friends and a great family
Nice comments from strangers

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Saying goodbye and moving on


At just after 10.30am today I had a text from my mum telling me she thought I had court papers in the mail. I immediately called her and asked her to open the letter, I didn't want to sit at my desk and spend the day wondering what was in the envelope.

She opened it and read the letter to me. It announced that my marriage was now legally over, it was my decree absolute.

I'm divorced.

I'm not sure whether to say I got divorced today or from the 20th, as that's when it was approved. It doesn't matter in the long run though. I'll probably always remember both dates, the date it was approved and the date I found out. Much like I remember the 23rd of any month as being x-many months since we split up, making tomorrow 11 months. That's how my brain works, unfortunately. I remember things, even things I don't want to remember.

My reaction to finding out I was divorced surprised me. I'll openly admit (mainly because if anyone reading this is going through a divorce I want them to see what people feel at different stages of the process so they know they're not alone – it can feel very lonely) that I was dreading the paperwork arriving. I wanted it to arrive and I didn't.

I wanted it to arrive so I knew I was no longer legally bound to my ex, it was done and I wouldn't have to sweep my eyes over the table in the hall every afternoon when I got home from work to see if it had arrived, steeling myself for whatever emotion may come if the letter was sat there.

I didn't want it to arrive because, well that's more complicated. I haven't ever wanted my ex back, not after the initial shock anyway. It's not that I wanted to stay married to him, but divorce is (in my case) just so sad. It's so final. It's similar to death, which I know can offend bereaved people and believe me I felt truly awful that I felt worse when my ex-husband left me than when my grandfather died. I still feel guilty about that to an extent but I now know that when you split with your spouse you are bereaved, you grieve as if that other person has died.

The last 11 months have been relatively happy for me, I feel happier and more myself now than I when I was married. I hate that. I hate that my marriage ending is what it took to show me that I wasn't happy, I was bored and unsatisfied with life. That's not how married life should be. Is that my ex's fault? Partly. Is it my fault? Partly, yes. We're both to blame. We had really happy times during our relationship, I can smile fondly at the memories of silly things we did or said but then the memories of the last few months of our marriage override the happy memories, it doesn't matter how good things were when the bad times were very bad.

A recently met up with a group of women I worked with seven years ago, some of them married, some divorced and some have never married. One of the divorced women is the type of divorced women I don't want to be: bitter. She asked me if my ex had been “nasty” to me, “He was nasty to you, right? Really nasty?” I explained that no, he wasn't nasty and actually somewhat annoyingly my ex is a nice guy. She didn't have a response to that. But it's true, my ex wasn't nasty to me. Perhaps he was a little cruel towards the end, giving me hope by “choosing love” and then changing his mind within days but he could easily accuse me of cruelty for not wanting to move to America with him. We're both to blame for the downfall of our marriage.

I don't wish him ill. I hope that wherever he is and whatever he's doing he's happier than he was with me. That doesn't mean I want to be friends with him, or to have any contact with him but I'm not bitter about how my life has turned out.

I wish him well.

I'm hopeful for the future.

I'm happy.

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Catching up

I'm sure I'm not the only blogger out there who has lots of ideas that never make it to their blog, I have lots and lots of blog ideas that I've yet to do anything about. At the moment I'm contemplating moving my blog from blogger to wordpress, maybe that will provide enough of an incentive to get things going again. In the meantime, here's what I've been up to for the last month and a half.

Finally visited Got Beef and oh boy, best burger ever. Celebrated my birthday in July with brunch at Juno Lounge. The eggs benedict was very good. Spent lots of time in the garden, my lovely fuscias flowered.

Found this sheet music in a second hand bookshop in St Davids whilst on holiday. Saundersfoot. Took part in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy Run, I got covered in mud and loved it. The allotment is really coming into its own.

I decided to go a bit blonde, a bit surfy and a bit tanned. The resulting blonde/surfy look. I'm now a volunteer dog walker at the Cardiff Dogs Home, Marley (on the left) is still waiting for his forever home in case you're wondering. The beetroot I planted came third in show!

Showing off the teeny anchor necklace I bought in Narberth. Went for lunch at the new Miller and Carter, ate probably the best steak I've ever had. Raided Tesco for new clothes. Took the day off from work to go shopping, this is my new favourite scent.

I came to the Frozen party a little late, but now I'm obsessed. My gym kit buying addiction continues. This week I was introduced to the Vegetarian Food Studio - amazing. Made a Victoria sponge cake yesterday using my dad's home made blackberry jam, it's very good even if I do say so myself.

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Victoria Sponge Cake


The Victoria sponge cake is probably the easiest cake to make, it's so simple I feel a bit daft even blogging it but here goes.

Ingredients
200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g self raising flour
250ml double cream
1tsp vanilla extract
4 medium eggs
Your favourite jam

I used two 20cm cake pans

Method
Preheat your oven, I have a fan oven and set the temperature to about 140 degrees but 160-180 degrees would be fine for a regular oven.

Grease and lightly flour your pans

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together.

Slowly add the eggs one by one to the batter.

Whilst continuing to mix (I used a Kitchen Aid and kept the speed to level 2) slowly add the flour, beat until smooth.

Divide the mixture between the two pans and bake for about 20 minutes depending on your oven. The sponges should be a light golden colour and spring back when lightly touched.

Place the sponges onto a wire cooling wrack. Once the cakes are completely cool whip the double cream.

Spread the jam (I used home made blackberry jam) over one cake and top with the cream, sandwich the cakes together. Dust with icing sugar and you're done!


If you decide to make this cake, let me know how you get on!

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