23 July 2012

Domestic Goddess.

All of a sudden I've taken up baking and I love it. I've always liked it but having the time to do it and the space have been two things preventing me but now I'm back in to baking in a big way.

The problem is, I don't really eat much cake unless I have an attack of craving sweet things so I'm doing this baking and it's being eaten by only a couple of people because I don't really want to eat a lot of it. 

First try was a carrot cake which apparently was a huge success. My mum didn't believe that I'd baked it because it was really light and fluffy but all the nuts and bits and pieces were evenly distributed which considering I had to do the mix in two batches due to not having a mxing bowl large enough for the cake mix, was quite a miracle!

Then I was asked to do brownies which were okay but which I wouldn't really class as a success :-(. The tray I had was thinner than the recipe called for and so the brownies were thinner but I forgot to adjust the temperature of the oven accordingly so they burned slightly on the edges.

Brownie mix before going in the oven.

Brownie mis after coming out of the oven.

 Brownies served up. They look really burned here but they weren't! :-O :-D.

Please ignore my bitten fingernails and my swollen finger (after getting caught in the dog's lead and the dog deciding he'd like to attempt to break it for me :-/ ). This was a first attempt at Honeycomb Ice Cream. I don't think I like it, the recipe called for a pint of double cream as the base mix but I think it needs to be either half full fat milk and half double cream or just single cream because it's a bit too rich. This ice cream is actually pretty small and I think it's just the right amount considering how rich the mix is.
I'm going to try rum and raisin ice cream next :-).


 Tray of honeycomb ice cream. Only half of it has gone so far as you only need a single scoop of it really, it's nice but definitely something to have in small doses.

First attempt at millionaires shortbread. This was before the chocolate went on and it is the toffee/caramel mid-layer. The little brown specks are actually bits of toffee that formed in the pan despite me having it on as low a heat as possible and constantly stirring the mix. Thankfully, they're not noticeable now but it was a little thing that annoyed me :-).

 After chocolate had been poured on and had set. That corner that's missing? That wasn't me, that was a 'helper' that decided to 'taste test' while my back was turned!

Ready to eat. I need a pizza cutter to slice it next time because for some reason it crumbled up a bit.

Crumbly biscuit base which I think happened because it needed a little more butter. I followed the recipe to the letter but it's not quite like I expected it to be. However, somebody tested some for me and came out with the phrase "oh my God, it's like my mouth is having an orgasm!" which made me laugh and blush to be honest! I guess that means they're tasty :-).

I'm actually quite proud of how far I've come from my microwave exploding, pasty burning days.... ;-) :-D.
Next on the list is a banana loaf. Wish me luck! :-O.

11 July 2012

Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

This is why I love my dog. He is handsome, full of character but as soft as butter. I've recently got in to the habit of having both him and my rabbit in the garden together and I think they have a little love affair going on :-D. The rabbit grooms his feathers for him and my dog licks her ears and nose for her :-D.

Some photos taken a few days ago and posted just because they make me smile :-).

No other dog I know or have known would be as soft as he is with a prey animal such as a rabbit. I love him for his character and personality (he answers me back when I tell him off!), his loyalty (he sleeps outside my bedroom door and will stay within my sight on walks) his soft character (the only thing he does with my rabbit is lick her nose) and his sheer loveliness with children, adults and other animals :-). He's a special dog :-).

4 July 2012

Pastures New.

Wow. It's been far too long since I last posted! Gosh, where to begin.... There have been a lot of changes in my life recently. It sounds incredibly cliched but I honestly feel like I am at a crossroads in my life. The question is, do I carry on beating the same path or do I change route completely and discover new things? Well, after much thinking and the weighing up of pros and cons, I'm going for the latter and moving to Manchester.

In the last four months since I posted, an awful lot has happened. I gave up the flat I was living in due to the cost and moved in with parents temporarily. I had originally intended on moving further in to the countryside here but prices are prohibitive and that is where Manchester comes in.... I have a friend in Lancs and one or two more people I know up North so why not? The price of property up there is shockingly cheap, I do not stand a cat in hell's chance of getting anything more than a tiny tiny box of a flat here for my budget. Up there I could get a 2 bedroom flat or a 1 - 2 bedroom house and actually have a chance of buying if I wanted to. It's utter madness.

I recently had a falling out with my mum which lead to us not speaking for almost a week. It must have been bad because I'm quite a peace loving person until my limit is hit. Unfortunately my mum managed to hit my limit and this time I didn't just lay back and take it....

A friend I considered a 'once in a lifetime' friend went from being fine chatting online last week to accusing me of being a bully and a liar and not only needing to grow up but also have a reality check. 
He then proceeded to blank me completely for three days and when he did finally reply via text, it was to say "you only need to know what my problem is so you can invent another excuse. Grow up, apologise and behave like an adult." 
Rather ironic considering his behaviour and considering I was rational, didn't swear, insult him or anything else but merely tried to get to the root of a problem. 
He wanted me to apologise for something I'd done and according to him, I knew what I'd done but wasn't admitting it. Hmmm, no I genuinely had no idea what my supposed crime was and refused to apologise as in my opinion, apologies should be meant and heartfelt, not said 'just because'.

The end result of his arrogance, childish behaviour and disgusting attitude was me deleting any contact details I had of him and blocking him on my email, MSN etc. 
Somebody who I thought genuinely was a friend and genuinely cared for me as I did them, then decided to text me and say  "I'd like to be wishing you good luck for your move North and reassuring you that you could rely on me in case of emergency but clearly it's easier for you to ignore me. All you needed to do was own up, apologise and change your behaviour towards them. I will remember you as someone unwilling to treat others in the same way that they expect to be treated; an immature bully and liar. Among other things."

That from somebody I've known well for three years. My reply was very restrained and mature, unlike what I felt like saying (which was extremely unladylike!). My reply went like this - "If you think that badly of me, thank goodness I've found out now before I waste any more time on a pretence of a friendship. I genuinely have no idea what or who you are on about so unless the person you speak about, or you, want to actually tell me what on earth the problem is then there is nothing I can do. Whatever happens, after completely ignoring me as you did, even when I was trying to sort things out, our 'friendship' would never have been the same for me because you have single-handedly killed what was once there. I wish you well in whatever you do but I'm not going to be made to be in tears or be so upset by you any further. It's a shame it's ended as it has but that's life. I'm not the one doing the ignoring. I just won't be made to feel so awful by you a second time (remember the first time you did this? I warned you I wouldn't take it again). For the last time, I have no idea what or who you are on about. I tried to sort things out and you refused. I'm not going to keep trying. I won't apologise when I don't know what it is I am apologising for. Apologies should be meant and heartfelt, not said just to get somebody off your back. Unless you wish to tell me exactly what your issue is, that is how it will remain. I have been thoughtless in my treatment of one or two people before but they were adult enough to tell me their problem and I apologised to them because of their ability to behave like an adult. I've never been purposely spiteful to somebody, with words or actions, and I never will be which is rather lucky for you considering all you've told me about yourself. After the things you've said to me over the past two days, I don't need your good wishes or your help. What on earth makes you think I would? I'll remember a good friendship while it lasted but I am crying no more tears over it or you. Please do not contact me again. Goodbye J."

In truth I don't wish him well, I wish for his true spiteful and vindictive colours to be shown to everyone but give it time and I am sure they will be. The irony of it is, if I was such a terrible bully I could create hell for him and his life but my conscience won't allow me to do it. He's spilled forth every secret to me he has, I know things and have proof of conversations we've had online where if I took a screenshot, it would fuck his professional and personal life up beyond repair. Putting it bluntly, he's well in to BDSM which isn't my thing but each to their own. He's scared witless of it getting out and if I really was such a horrible person, as I say, I could fuck things up for him badly but like I say, my conscience won't let me so his secrets will go to my grave with me. As much as my vengeful side wants to blurt forth everything, the fair side of me is saying 'you promised you wouldn't tell a soul. You have to keep that promise.'
It's a real bastard to have such a strong conscience in times like this you know! Yes, he has things on me that I wouldn't choose to be made public but the difference is, I'm not ashamed of my past. I was young and silly, I made mistakes and I learned from them. 

He is leading a double life and he is petrified of the two merging. The problem is, when they do merge, he'll be one friend down and I may not be good at much but I know I make a bloody good friend. I am loyal to the end, I will keep confidences and I am there in any capacity possible when a friend needs me.
One day he will find out that I really was telling the truth when I told him I had no idea what he was on about and I hope when that day comes, he feels as much regret at the realisation as I felt hurt at his spiteful and vindictive words.

The strange thing is, I have been debating moving North for a little while now and the only things holding me here were my friends and my parents. I've decided distance is needed between my mum and I because otherwise we will end up not speaking for a lot longer than a week. The fall out with my one friend has made me see that friends who are worth it will stick in your life no matter what and those that are fairweather friends will somehow drift out of your life.

My lovely Irish friend (more on her at a later date) said to me last week "You know what pet? This is that magical self-filter in action. It's clearing the crap out of your life, cutting you free of ties and sending you on your way North in to a new chapter." Although I am not one for hippy thoughts, it really does feel like that. Things have worked in mysterious ways and there really is not much holding me here right now. I'm not saying I'll never come back, if it doesn't work out in Manchester then there is nothing to stop me coming back but if it does work out, what have I really lost? Nothing. I'll still be able to see my family and have an improved relationship with my mum, my friends can come and see me and I can see them. My dog and rabbit are coming with me but my horse is sadly staying behind with a friend of mine. She (horse, not friend!) is nearing retirement age and it's not fair to cart her that far when she is settled here.

So, I'm veering off the beaten path that has bored me, tied me down and suffocated me at varying points over the past year and moving on to pastures new and I am excited to see what the future holds.

The girl will cope with Manchester but will Manchester cope with the girl? ;-).

I'll sign off with this. It holds a special place in my heart and reminds of someone I love to be reminded of. I also love Mumford & Sons so that has a little bit to do with it as well :-).