Stake It With A Cake!

simnel cakeI have always enjoyed baking, whether a cake was needed to mark an occasion or not. Having a large family, there would always be something to celebrate and more often than not I would be found leaning over the kitchen top, mixing and decorating the cake that was to mark it.  Does our need to put something in our mouths go back to babyhood, when it was a primary method of discovering the world? Even in adulthood it can feel comforting. But a cake is also a visual monument to remind us of why we are celebrating and an opportunity to get people together for more than just a cup of tea.

I don’t remember when I made my first cake, but it must have been at school in my cookery class. I learned the basics from my mother, who was also a keen baker in name as well as deed, although not quite as adventerous as me! I went through the first few years of marriage and having my own kitchen, trying out new recipes on unsuspecting family and friends. I even made a battenburg cake once when my parents came to tea, being a lover of marzipan and loving the pink appearance that matched the table cloth. This moved on once our children came along, to cakes often made in the same form as the present we would give them for their birthdays. These ranged from bike cakes to space-ships , forts and clowns. It didn’t come without stress, but eventually I progressed into making our son’s four tier wedding cake. Having made a Christmas cake from the same recipe for 25 years, it was just a matter of mass production, balancing and decorating!

There are some cakes though that have been made time and again in the name of tradition. These signify the regular celebrations of Easter and Christmas and are well loved family recipes. They help us to look forward to and mark the occasion and help to provide memories.  And now, with Easter approaching, the smell of Simnel cake gently baking in the oven as it does every year at this time, will remind me again of what Easter means to me. The smell, sight and taste of this delicious cake will always be associated with Easter.

Simnel Cake- A Traditional Easter Cake Recipe

What To Cook For Supper? 10 Tips To Make Life Easier!

My Vegetarian Spaghettin Recipe

My Vegetarian Spaghetti Recipe

Is this what you often ask yourself? Feeding a family or even just yourself can become tiresome when you have to come up with something interesting every day. Who wants to spend lots of time trying to decide and then finding you don’t have the necessary ingredients? Another trip to the local supermarket, taking yet more time, could well end up with you feeling tempted to buy something ready-made and compromising your health. How can you streamline this daily task? Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years: (more…)

How To Lose Weight When You Love Baking

My Almond Slice Recipe

My Almond Slice Recipe

I am in a challenging time of life. My challenge is how to lose weight in order to journey into the second half of my life in good health. And how to do this when I love baking and- dare I say it- sampling my baking delights? I would normally find it do-able to avoid the sweet goodies when grocery shopping, but surely I’m not expected to avoid my cakes? They might not compete with Mary Berry’s creations, but the smell certainly makes them irresistable!. (more…)

The Beauty And Uniquenss Of A Single Red Rose

Red Rose with Wavy Petals

Red Rose with…
Clive Nichols
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I remember a few years back a friend helping me to sort out my house. I felt I needed some moral support at the time, although was quite surprised to receive a first-hand lesson in her motto, “less is more.” When my husband returned from his business trip, he was a little shocked to find some of his loved pieces of furniture donated to other “needy” people. The house certainly received a new look, but in hindsight it might have been better to have checked with him before allowing the furniture in question to finally leave the house.

Sometimes I feel alone in a crowd, as if no one is noticing me because we are all the same, mingled together. Pull me out from the crowd and I have a voice at last.

At times. I might be hiding in the crowd and leaning on other people when no-one is noticing and I am too scared to come out and stand up for who I am.

At other times I know that I have something to say or contribute and therefore feel empowered, even if I stand alone. However, on these occasions I am not alone, even if it might appear so, for my inner faith in God empowers me with his help, to be strong and confident, because I know that I am loved. This is the simple truth that I hope I have passed on to my children.

Give a red rose to someone you love, as a symbol that they are complete and beautiful in their uniqueness.

I am loved! Are you?

My Favourite Red Rose Gifts

A New World With A New Laptop Computer

laptopWhen you are on a budget you can’t always have the latest and best of everything. This year I received a new Dell laptop for Christmas, after “making do” for so long. It all looks shiny and new to me, even though it’s reconditioned. My savvy husband bought and tested it and here I am at the start of a new year, ready to go.

This new laptop is at last reliable and light enough to take around with me. So- (more…)

New Opportunities- Thank You Son!

Time For A New Start
Yesterday my teenage son invited me out for a drink. How lovely is that? I did go with him and had a great time, but not until I had battled excuses in my mind about how I didn’t have time and the day had almost gone. Thankfully I managed to pull myself together and make the most of a great opportunity to spend time with a son who might not be at home for much longer. I listened to his dreams for the future and was inspired by his enthusiasm for life. He reminded me of how he got his present job and apprenticeship- through a friend. It wasn’t by striving and worrying. Oh yes- will I ever learn this lesson, especially if I believe my life is in God’s hands, where I placed it? (more…)

My 10 Lessons From 2013, From Working At Home Online

Open Shutters

Open Shutters
Lynn Fecteau
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It’s not always easy working at home, but ideal if it works, for it enables us to be there for our families.

This is my journey which started five years ago when I was full of hope and excitement after attending a bootcamp. I learned so much and was keen to make this work. It is proving a long journey, just as they said, but one which is slowly beginning to bear fruit.

Here are 10 lessons that I have learned in the last year that I want to build upon in 2014. I will be expanding on these steps in further posts. Come with me as we step into this new year. (more…)

My First Batch Of Traditional Mince Pies (and the recipe)

Mince Pies

Mince Pies

Last weekend I was feeling “under the weather!” I was struggling to shake off a tummy bug. My husband and son had decided to jump in the car and visit Grannie, so I decided to catch up with myself and the housework. Thankfully, the housework was sorted by lunchtime and then it was “time for me.” As I was contemplating what to do, a friend, whom I had been meaning to see for some time, popped in for a cuppa. That was so nice to sit and chat and I felt so blessed. As I said good-bye I wondered what I could I do to bless my family and welcome them home.

I then decided to get started with Christmas!

However, the thought of putting up the tree and decorations felt a bit too much. Curling up on the sofa with my favourite Andre Rieu DVD lasted for 5 minutes before it hit me:-

I would bake my first batch of mince pies! (more…)

The Story Of The Lost Christmas Cake

Tunis CakeThe year was 1987 and for past years we had always enjoyed the delicious Tunis Cake that was popular in England at that time. My mother had always bought one at Christmas time and I had continued the tradition. Until we moved to Germany.

When we lived in beautiful Bavaria we enjoyed many new things, such as the breathtaking view of the mountains that were only an hour away, the many natural lakes to swim in during the Summer or ice-skate on in Winter. At Christmas time we enjoyed the new foods such as Lebkuchen, Stollen and the huge choice of fresh bread and brezen at the bakeries was amazing. But we had one problem: (more…)

I Dreamed A Dream

I Have Dreamed a Dream

I Have Dreamed a…
Melissa Daams
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Last year my husband gave me a set of singing lessons for my birthday. I’ve always loved singing, but never had proper lessons, so I was very eager to start. When my teacher asked me to think of a favourite song to work on, I immediately knew which one it would be.

“I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables has been a favourite ever since I heard it sung by Ruthie Henshall. (more…)

Defiant Child Behavior problems