Valentine efforts

So, our Valentine’s Day was a little…unusual, given that we spent most of it with GG’s mother, sister and brother in law. However, determined not to ignore the festival altogether, I concocted a couple of little treats with a Valentine theme.

Heart scones

We had no bread in the house for lunch and so, rather than dashing out to buy a loaf of bread (as it was too late to start making any by the time I realised the lack of it) I made these cheese scones for us to have for lunch instead. Very yummy, especially as they were eaten within an hour of coming out of the oven.

In the evening, we ate a meal with GG’s family, in order to celebrate his sister’s birthday (which is actually today, so Happy Birthday, L! Not that she reads this blog, but she might feel some sort of psychic warmth from my wishes!). L’s partner, M, cooked the meal, which was absolutely delicious. Chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and basil, wrapped in streaky bacon and served with roasted potatoes, mangetout and baby corn. As he was taking the time and effort to make this I volunteered to make the dessert, and as it was for a birthday meal I wanted to make something extra special.

Chocolate truffle cake

Et voila! My Chocolate truffle cake, with hand made milk and white (dyed red with food colouring) decorations. I was really pleased with how this turned out.

Chocolate truffle cake slice with raspberries

It easily gave about fourteen slices (we had it for pudding two days running) as it was very rich and tasted extremely luxurious! We served it with raspberries, which helped to counteract the richness a little, I think. Anyway, everyone was very impressed, so I think I’ll be making it again before very long! Mmmm!

Update: Help the victims of the bushfires

The British Red Cross have set up a fundraising page for those of us in the UK who want to help the victims of the bushfires in Victoria, Australia. Click here if you would like to donate. This site just makes it easier for UK residents to donate rather than trying to work out exchange rates, commission fees and where would be the best place to donate. Also, when I tried to access the Australian Red Cross’ website yesterday it was far too busy for me to get anywhere near.

I’ve just donated, and it was really simple, took only a couple of minutes. I just wish I could have given more.

The death toll is currently at 181, and rising. I can’t imagine having to start from scratch, possibly not even in the same town as it could have been destroyed. I can’t imagine having to hold a family together without key members, or perhaps being a child without a family, bemused by the twist of fate which tore apart my family. For many, the loss of things; houses, cars, neighbourhoods etc is the least of their problems. Quite apart from all of those who have been killed by these fires, think of all those who have been injured.

What Marita wrote in reply to my post yesterday night is so true: “Give your loved ones a hug and tell them you love them. They can so easily be torn away from us”. How sad that it takes something like this, sometimes, to remind us of that.

Australian bush fires

I admit that this news story somewhat passed me by at first, but the severity and catastrophe of the situation was really brought home to me when I read my blog-friend Marita’s post on the matter. She doesn’t live too far away from the disaster-struck region. She has posted links to news video showing some of the fire-struck towns, as well as some Google Maps images, which are in stark contrast to the pictures from the news outlets.

According to ABC News, 173 people have been confirmed as dead so far, with the death toll expected to rise through the coming hours and days.

The complete loss of whole towns is just incomprehensible. Well, the whole situation is hard to imagine from our damp and chilly viewpoint in the UK; it certainly puts into perspective our relatively minor gripes about our current ‘extreme weather’ conditions.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering as a result of these terrible fires.

Sunday high tea


Yesterday evening, we had high tea at my mum and dad’s house. It was lovely! GG made a cake, I made cheese scones and Mum made fruit scones along with cooking all the other things that we ate. I’m sure we ate far too much, but then again we enjoyed every morsel!

Jam and cream scones Cheese scones Lemon Layer Cake

And as the photo below shows, I wasn’t exaggerating at all when I said we enjoyed the food! We hope to make this a regular occurrence, although I suppose the table may be a little lighter on cake next time, and might include something approaching a vitamin!


40,000 hits

I’ve let the last few landmarks pass, but I couldn’t resist recording this one. I’ve just passed 40,000 hits on my humble little blog! I know that’s not a lot of visitors in comparison with most other websites, but it blows me away to think that this many visits have occurred just because of the mutterings that I’ve been recording here for the past couple of years.

Only last April I wrote that I had reached 10,000 visitors. This was after having had the blog for a year and a half. My goal from there on was to reach 20,000 by Christmas. The blog has really surprised me since then, as you can imagine!

I think that the reason for the increase in visits must have a lot to do with my looking for new blogs to read and comment on over the last few months. I think that all the bloggers who I have left comments for have been kind enough to pay me a return visit, sometimes becoming regular readers. I’ve also posted more regularly, which has to have helped. Other than that, I really don’t know how my blog has grown so much! Oh well, happy days! Next target; 80,000 by next Christmas!

Rugby fever

The annual outbreak of rugby fever has hit Cardiff, ready for tomorrow’s commencement of the Six Nations rugby tournament.

I was walking down Queen Street today, going home after work, when I spotted these guys wondering along;

rugby mascots

From left to right, we can see Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Italy and England. France was around somewhere, but must have popped off for a quick pint when I took this photo.

I feel sorry for all those romantics with rugby fanatics for partners in Wales this Valentine’s Day, as that is the day that Wales take on England, and so hopes of a romantic day out are dim and distant dreams!

I’m not a huge rugby fan, although I sometimes enjoy watching an exciting game with equally matched and talented teams, and neither usually is GG a sports fan. However, he does make an exception for the Six Nations, so I expect I’ll have a few weekends of teaching the boys to sing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’* just to really get him down!


*For those of you not in the know, ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ is the song traditionally sung by English rugby fans at the matches. As GG is Welsh, and I am English, he gets quite cross when I claim that the boys are as much English as Welsh, and especially cross when I teach them to cheer for the English rugby team! Such fun times lie ahead!

Snow day!

So, my children’s school has eventually given way and closed for the day. We have less snow on the ground than we did on Tuesday (not enough to play in :-() but apparently the forecast is for heavy snow later today and I think they were worried about people getting home.

So I get to have an extra day with my kids – our views are inverted because they are cross that they can’t play with their friends, while I’m happy that they’re staying home. Surely there’s something awry there?!

I’ve got to go out at some point as my voice is fading in and out in quite a comedic way (so no phone call today, Mum and Dad) and I need to buy some throat sweets. I think I’ll do something creative today, although I’ve not decided whether it will take a culinary or a crochet-y direction yet! I got an amigurami book with my knitting magazine recently which has been looking at me invitingly ever since, so maybe I’ll do something from that. And then my wonderful mother in law is cooking my dinner tonight, so I don’t have to think about that – bonus!

I foresee a good day ahead!

An un-Christmas present…

…or maybe a Happy February present! Whatever the reason, my lovely Mum gave me this book today:

John Seymour book

John Seymour; “The Concise Guide to Self-Sufficiency”. I’ve already read a large chunk of it (while I ate lunch loveingly prepared by my father for me!) and I’m finding it fascinating.

I bought Jo the latest John Seymour book for Christmas and was secretly envious and wishing I could justify keeping it! So I really was thrilled this morning to receive this from my generous parent!

Now all I need to do is to find the wherewithal to buy a house and five acres of land and I’ll be all set…


I can’t understand the mentality of youths such as the ones mentioned in this news report;

The driver of a gritting lorry narrowly escaped injury when a snowball containing a brick crashed through the window of his vehicle.

A gang of up to 15 youths targeted the Torfaen council vehicle in freezing temperatures at Pontnewydd at 1030 GMT on Monday night.

After stepping into the road to slow it down, the gang threw snowballs – one of which contained the brick.

Just what did these kids get out of an attack like this? It’s the same frame of mind as those idiots who attack the emergency services. What exactly is the point of targetting an ambulance or a fire engine? What point does it serve, other than to delay (or worse) those dedicated individuals who are trying to help people in trouble?

I just don’t get it.

Snow! Schnee! Neige! Nueva! Eira!

Woohoo! And yahay! And yeeha! It’s snowing! As I type the snow is still coming down, and is settling for the first time in a couple of years! So here are some early photos for your viewing pleasure. If the snow hasn’t melted by the time I get up tomorrow, you may expect some more!

Snow on my magnolia tree in the front garden

Snow on my magnolia tree in the front garden

A dizzying snow dance captured with a slow shutter by our parking area

A dizzying snow dance captured with a slow shutter speed on my camera

Earlier in the day, I captured these images, of which I am a little proud, I must admit! I can honestly say that never in my life before can I remember having seen snowflakes that actually look like the stylised depiction that you so often see in childrens’ books and artwork!
A snowflake! Like in a fairy tale!

A snowflake! Like in a fairy tale!


And more snowflakes!

And more snowflakes!

I wish I could have captured more with my camera, as I was fascinated by these perfectly formed little ice crystals. I spent ages examining them all on the bonnet of my car – my neighbours must have thought that I had gone doolally-tap!

Anyway, if this weather keeps up there will be a snow day tomorrow and the children will stay home from school. In which case we will most definitely be spending some time outdoors. I’m thinking snowmen, I’m thinking snowballs, and I’m definitely thinking more photos!