Monday, 17 November 2008

It's been a while (again)....

Time flies when you're having fun. Or even if you're not having fun, time still flies! That's not to stay I'm not having fun.....I'll stop there I think!
It's been ages since I have updated my blog but I have been extremely busy working and making cakes, brioche, scones etc etc for the coffee shop (if I see one more lemon drizzle cake I may scream). Haven't had much chance to sew, started my jelly roll quilt and am currently trying to catch up with Miss Moss Stitch who is sewing like a madwoman for our Wonky Bunting stall at the school's Bring & Buy school on Wednesday. Nothing like a bit of pressure, I sat yesterday making little fabric wreaths and hearts. I also have a craft day on Saturday and need to make things for that too.
Why does time fly so quickly? I need a pause button! (or I need to learn to say No!)

Monday, 29 September 2008

What a Beautiful Day (hey hey)

Nothing much to add...the pictures say it all really !

Friday, 12 September 2008

They're Here.....

I know that title comes from a film (answers on a postcard as to what film, as the name escapes me at the mo!).

(From left to right) Frankie, Jamie and Tilly arrived yesterday.

They are settling in well and even put themselves to bed last night. I kept ringing my mum up and asking her all sorts of daft questions, and when they were all "in bed" I went to shut the door and they made a little sound. I found myself apologising for shutting the door and waking up early wondering if they were OK - it's like having babies all over again! This morning, H shot out of bed at 6:15am when I whispered "Who wants to help me....." and he said "ME ME ME!"

Frankie (who "belongs" to C) was the last one out of the Eglu this morning, so she is definitely like her owner as C is always the last one up in the house. H said that Tilly is like me, in that she's bossy! Well I said, "I'm the mummy, and I'm in charge!" To which C whispered "No you're not, I'm in charge actually" and then rolled over in bed, pushed her thumb back in and closed her eyes. I left her there for another half an hour! (I pick my battles carefully!).

The coffee shop has been open for 2 weeks and all I can say feet are killing me and I sleep really well every night. I've had to make so many Brioche loaves that I now know the recipe off by heart. People love the variety of cakes on offer, and this week I added to the "collection" by making Nigella's Breakfast Bars. With a slight tweak (no peanuts and 25g less Oats), they went like hot cakes, even though they aren't technically a cake!

It seems the local Bobby is partial to The List Writer's Tea Loaf and a cup of builder's tea and we have had several repeat customers who all seem to love that we remember them, how they like their tea or coffee and sometimes if they have given us a recipe or suggested a certain cake, when they come in again - we have made it! (Not sure whether that was a good thing or not!!!!) Anyway Friday's are cream tea days and today was our busiest day yet, so I was rather pleased when a friend had to postpone a play date, because I can hardly type, let alone speak. The children are out playing with the chooks, so I'm going to make myself a nice cup of Assam tea and put my feet up for a while!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Bake City

Strawberry & Polenta sponges (bottom),

Daddy, Mummy and Baby Pineapple & Raisin loaves
(recipe courtesy of Cake Makes the World go Round).

Lemon Drizzle and Cherry Bake (which H made).

Brioche in the breadmaker (recipe below)

Banana, Choc Chip and Raisin

I've been away for a while......but as you can see I have been busy.

News since I last blogged: THE BUILDERS HAVE FINISHED!!!!!! We are now in the 'decorating stage' which is so much better than the 'everything is covered in dust' stage. We have our beautiful new kitchen, showers are in, everywhere needs a good clean and our chickens arrive on 11 September!!! (thought I'd slip that in quietly!)

Our new coffee shop opened for two weeks, as part of the church's opening celebrations. We were mobbed! It seems a light and airy coffee shop with good coffee and home made cake is needed in the town. I will post pictures of that another time because I was so busy I didn't take any!! We decided on the name City Light which fits nicely with our ethos "You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden".

For the first two weeks of the school holidays we went to Whitstable for a week (glorious weather, right on the beach) and then to Cornwall (torrential rain all week but stayed in a forest which was very relaxing). R and I came home and the children stayed in Cornwall with Nana and Grandad.

So....I've been doing a lot of baking and a little bit of sewing too (that's another blog for another time!).

The aim of the coffee shop is to have home made cakes and I will be making the majority of them so I've been making tried and tested recipes that are suitable for freezing, trying out new ones (Strawberry & Polenta cake being one of them....delicious with ice cream!) and my breadmaker has probably been used more since the new kitchen has been installed than ever before for things other than a brown loaf.

This is a really easy peasy recipe. I don't really like shop bought because I find it too sweet. - it's a really nice treat and change from croissants for breakfast or today smothered with jam after tea!

4 medium eggs at room temperature

125g/4oz butter, melted and slightly cooled

6 tbsp warm (not hot) water

450g strong white bread flour

1.1/2tsp salt

2 tbsp caster sugar

7g sachet of instant or fast-acting yeast

Melted butter for glazing

Pour eggs, butter and water into the breadmaker bucket, then add half the flour. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, cover with remaining flour and mound the yeast in the centre. Set to dough programme. When ready remove dough from bucket and quickly knead on a floured surface. Drop into a large loaf tin and brush with a little melted butter. Bake for 10 minutes at 220 deg/Gas mark 7 and then reduce temp to 190/5 for 25-30 minutes until well risen and golden.

I have frozen a few test slices to make sure it tastes just as delicious as it did fresh. This will definitely be on the menu!

Thankfully we have 2 more weeks of school holidays which means loads more baking, a bit of sewing, a bit of decorating, spending time with friends and family, enjoying long lunches with a bottle of wine (OK that's just tomorrow because it's my birthday!!) also means that we're 2 weeks nearer to getting our chooks which have already been named as Frankie (a more girly version of the boy's name, named after C's favourite boy (after her brother of course!!), Serena and Tilly, although C has just come into the office (new office!) to tell me she wants to call one of them Nugget......

Sunday, 6 July 2008


I have got so much to write about, but not a lot of time. So I am doing Ms Moss Stitch's Tag first.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was working at Kellyfield Consulting, a lovely small firm of legal recruitment consultants. Worked for 2 really great guys (one of them now an MP!) Had been married for almost 2 years. We were renovating our first home together and were probably up to our eyeballs in dust (10 years on we are at it again!). Weren't really thinking about children. We were planning a long touring trip to Italy (never made it, H arrived instead!)

5 Things on my to do list today -

Put old cooker in the skip
Dry my clothes so I have something to wear tomorrow
Hoover everywhere (futile because of dust, but imperative all the same)
Get refreshments ready for tonight (London Community Gospel Choir coming to sing at our church, 250+ people coming....I am going to be so tired later)
Iron my tea towels and apron for another busy week at City Light Coffee!! (more on that later)

Snacks I enjoy -

Jaffa Cakes
Starbucks Skinny Frappucinos
Water biscuits

Things I would do if I were a billionaire -

Give to charity and my friends/family.
Set up a wonderful secondary school in the area and not let anybody in who tutors their children. Give them a fantastic education and a good set of values too. Let them be children and enjoy having lots of fun whilst learning too (subject close to my heart? Noooooo ;-)
Buy a house by the sea and a house in the forest
Get a dog, cat and lots of chickens!

Places I have lived -
Essex, Essex, Essex and erm, Essex. I haven't moved more than 10 miles away from where I grew up.

People I want to know more about-Whoever hasn't done it! I'm a bit slow doing mine so am probably the last!If you haven't done it yet then I tag you - let me know though so I can have a nose!!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Happiness and Hearts

This weekend has been one of those times when you are thoroughly exhausted but for all the right reasons.
We escaped from the builders who were putting in new windows at the back of the house, and told the children we were off on an adventure. After singing our way through both soundtracks from High School Musical and High School Musical 2, plus various other songs - we arrived from our arduous 2.1/2 hour journey that should've taken 45 minutes at Legoland! I thought H was going to faint in the car as he only twigged where we were when he saw the large piece of Lego outside the entrance. I wish I'd had my camera for the open mouths and squeals of delight.

Saturday was a glorious day.

Sunday was not-so-glorious weather wise, but we still managed to have fun. I'm so glad I packed my Cath Kidston Poncho! H still managed to go on the Bungee Trampoline....

C went on as well, but I couldn't catch her on film. She was up....she was down and all the photographs I took either have the top of her head or her toes!!

Of course we had to have a trip to the shop, and now we have a whole box of PINK lego.

After a relaxing swim at the hotel this morning, we headed home in the horrendous rain. I found two new hearts waiting for me to add to my collection.

This wooden heart is sumptuously smooth. It is bigger than the palm of my hand but I just love turning it over and over in my hands. It will go in our bedroom when it's finished.

The end of the weekend is near, but at least I have new windows to keep out the rain...and a lovely set of new french doors ('scuse the mess!!!)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Tea and Cake

This morning, before taking C to school, and before going to work...I made a cake.

I woke at 5:30am because a small person had crept into our bed (H is away on a school trip and C is missing him!) I couldn't sleep after that so decided to bake! I found my 20cm tin in the cupboard (I thought I'd put them all into storage).
It went down very nicely with a cup of tea at work today!
Coffee shop STILL has no name!

Friday, 9 May 2008

No Title, No Inspiration!

It's been a long time since I last "blogged". I have been sorely lacking in the inspiration department, I think the house extension/renovation has sapped it out of me. I'm bone dry I tell you!

I can't seem to concentrate when the builders are here, so I flit. I don't sit still long enough to do anything constructive. Well actually that's slightly untrue as I have been reading....a lot. I usually leave half an hour to an hour before I have to pick the children up and sit outside the school reading. It has also been particularly favourable that the ticket machine is out of order so I can be one of those annoying parents who park RIGHT NEXT to the school. It's been a joy!

H is going away for a week with the school next week. He's not even 8 yet....I think we will all be bereft without him (he's happy to go as he has £40 pocket money!!). C will be lonely at night (they have been sharing a room for 5/6 weeks) and love going to sleep listening to Matilda or Giraffe, The Pelly and Me. Mind you, she'll be happy not to have to sleep on the Sleepover Bed and she'll get to play with all his toys. She will get to watch the "Making of...." parts of High School Musical 1 & 2 (the script of which she knows verbatim, together with the soundtrack). I can't believe we are so late to the party - everyone I know now rolls their eyes at the mention of HSM. We are still in the honeymoon stage!

So back to H. The List Writer would be proud as we have several lists from the school. Lists of clothes, telephone numbers, itineraries and the list of Dos and Donts.

"No bad behaviour will be tolerated"
"No Chocolate or sweets"
"Don't forget suncream and a sticky address label" (just remembered I have to sort that one out!
"All clothing must be labelled" (more like, get a black marker pen and put "H" in everything. I just know he will come home minus pants and socks as they are usually slung off at the end of the day! At least if I find an imposter pair of pants in Henry's luggage, they will either be F's or T's!

Better disappear as H is due home from his Violin lesson (something else that has happened while I've been away from Blogsville). I will update you on that another time.


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Quite frankly I know where I'd rather be.....

...not here that's for sure!
Whilst I am dealing with this....

My two small people are living it up on holiday with "The Nana" and "Grand-dand" and have been very busy indeed. Introducing Daisy, Henri(etta), Charlotte, Ruby and P-Eggy

R has said that when all our building work has finished, we should get hens! My flabber is truly gasted as this comes from a man who reluctantly agreed we could get a rabbit, or a cat but draws the line at a dog, yet enthusiastically wants chickens. I'm not going to argue with him though. We might go for a pink Eglu...I'm getting very egg-cited (sorry, I couldn't resist that, it just came out).

Still haven't made anything, although I have cut out C's nightdress which I'm hoping to put together tonight. I also went to IKEA this morning and bought some funky fabric for 2 tablecloths.
I could have bought so much more but don't really have anywhere to store it! Plus my other fabric from Etsy arrived yesterday and R thinks we're being taken over!
I'm going to refill my hot water bottle in a minute. There's no point having the heating on as there's a giant hole in the wall and the front door is permanently open. It will be lovely when it's finished, it will be lovely when it's finished....(repeat to fade)...

Friday, 21 March 2008

Tag, you're it....

The delightful G tagged me and complained I hadn't blogged in ages....well that is true so here are my answers, and I will hopefully blog some more later on during this glorious Easter Weekend.

Why I started my blog ....Gill told me about hers, and I thought it was a good idea! Found it very strange at first, but I'm addicted now..

How I came up with the name of my blog ....My daughter loves pink, and we call her cupcake sometimes. Plus I love cake...

Do my friends and family know about my blog? What do they think of it? My blog is on my Facebook account, so I would imagine my friends know about it, and that means my family do too. R knows I blog, but can't get his head round it at all!

How do I write my posts ...If I think of something, I write about it. Sometimes I'm formulating blogs in my head when I'm cooking, listening to my iPod (whilst cooking), or sewing and listening to my iPod!! Lately though I've been up to my eyes with builders and cups of tea and because I haven't had a chance to do any sewing, I am not inspired as much! Mind you, I have cut out a gorgeous nightdress for C!

Ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments ...Had a troll who posted something this morning (which is why I am now moderating my comments). No unkind posts yet...why would someone do that!

Do I check my stats? No? How do I do that?!

Do I care who/how many read my blog? Yes!

Do I try to increase traffic? No idea how to do that!

What I like and dislike about blogging...I like reading about other peoples blogs...and looking at photographs, and getting inspiration! I hate uploading the photographs and sometimes get carried away looking at too many blogs while my ironing multiplies..

I was tagged by Gill and I'm going to tag...erm let me think....Shabby Shac !

Friday, 7 March 2008

Cupcakes and Aprons

It's been a funny ole week. C was 4 on Tuesday but that seems like a week ago already. Still, building is progressing. I now have a door on my new utility room and the roof is going on next week. Am praying there won't be a gale over the weekend as, although we're not exposed to the elements, I don't want us to lift off (or our scaffolding to start shaking!).

As time draws nearer to the opening of the coffee shop, we (that's me and friends from work) started talking about names. I was actually supposed to be doing something else but came across a site which had quite a few suggestions for a coffee shop which will be inside a church. A few were good, and most of them made me chuckle....The Bean'ry, Let there be Latte (I nearly spilled my latte reading that one!), Jehovah Java, Son-light Cafe, Cup O'Joy, Beanier than thou, Holy Grounds, Higher Grounds, Blessed Beans and my favourite...Fire Escape!!! Gill came up with Cafe on the Hill, as our strapline is "A City on a Hill cannot be hidden". However, we aren't actually on a hill and I can already imagine the endless stream of people saying "But you aren't on a hill". Everyone liked it though and it might make the short list!. Another idea was "Divine" but Gill pointed out that's a name of a drag act, and also the very nice chocolate! So...we are still nameless.

So as I couldn't think of a name, I started looking at the more fun things, like fabric for aprons, coffee machines and cakes. I can't do any cooking at the moment as all my cake tins are in storage! However, I could look at, and buy some fabric for my Emmeline Apron. I was only supposed to be looking, as I can't even make them as my sewing machine is away at the moment! But...I fell in love with them, and suddenly Paypal were emailing me with a receipt. Funny how that happened.

The dark brown one with the dots reminds me of chocolate cupcakes with lots of sprinkles over them, and the other ones just coordinate so well!

I actually have a fat quarter of the paisley pink, and didn't even realise it was Amy Butler. Best keep that to myself and not tell R :-)

I have also been asked to make two bridesmaids dresses in pale pink silk with hot pink sashes. One is for C, and the other is for another little girl, E. My sister-in-law is getting married in September and I will be making a toile out of calico at some point, which I will show you. It's all very exciting. I am doing the flowers as well so I may as well just stop sleeping now!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Littlest Cupcake.....

Happy Birthday!

Monday, 25 February 2008


We had a wonderful weekend away, although it didn't get off to a good start. R had the day off on Friday but I still had a few hours at work to do so he drove me to work. We were less than a minute away from work when a woman lost concentration at a junction and smashed into the side of our car! Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and the poor woman admitted liability (I say poor, because I felt so sorry for her, she was in floods of tears). Anyway it's all going through now and thankfully we are fine. I was really sore on Friday and R is getting over a stiff neck etc but getting better.

Anyway we could still drive the car so made our way to Newmarket after work, and after a quick coffee with R's sister and an even quicker shifty at a funky kitchen design place on the way!

We were shown our room, which was gorgeous. We settled in, made a cuppa and decided to lounge around for a few hours and watch a DVD.....unfortunately (or fortunately for us!) the DVD didn't work, and there were no more Junior Suites available. So they upgraded us.....

As R stated "Blimey, it's bigger than our house!" (the room we stayed in is featured on the website, squashy yellow sofa and nice double-basined bathroom with plenty of Molton Brown which was replenished on the second day)

As the room was so gorgeous, we decided to opt for Room Service, and enjoyed The Bourne Ultimatum in luxury. I didn't fall asleep either!

Breakfast was in The Orangery.....poached eggs and bacon, followed by Croissants and Coffee. Well, we were going for a marathon shop!

Five hours later and we were all shopped out and ready for a swim. We then relaxed further by reading the paper and our books, while sipping Bollinger and dozing before going down for dinner (albeit a bit unsteadily after all the Champagne on an empty stomach).

The next morning we awoke at ten to nine....unheard of in our household! A sign of true relaxation!

When we were reunited with the children, and my parents went home, we decided to go for a walk. In true List Writer style, this is a picture of my new walking boots.

I can't wait until next February.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Been a While.....

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted!

Life has been pretty hectic at Chez PinkieCupcake. The builders are here, scaffolding is up, neighbours are difficult, the kettle is in overdrive, the kids have had half-term and there is a fine layer of dust everywhere. Apart from that, life is gooooood.

I have been suffering from a severe sewing withdrawal. I haven't done anything crafty for a month. Have done a bit of cooking though (including 2 ginger cakes for work!) but not enough time has been spent at the sewing machine as far as I'm concerned!

C has become increasingly interested in baking, so we've done a fair bit over half term. H did get involved too, but didn't want to pose for the camera!

H was more intent on sitting on the sofa, covered in a blanket (takes after his mother) and reading. He read loads! Mr Gum books, Sir Gadabout and Captain Underpants......we also took a trip to the library where he leafed through a few Horrid Henry books to check them out.
R and I are really looking forward to a weekend away. We go every year for a couple of nights without the children. No real occasion, which makes it even better. We also go for a mammoth shopping expedition which is great because we hardly ever go shopping together, and it's great not to have any small people hanging off your arms saying "Can we go NOW....." I'm looking forward to going to John Lewis and drooling over some new Emma Bridgewater pottery....I'm easy to please!

Oh, and the opportunity to enjoy some uninterrupted reading.....bliss. Mind you, I say all this now, but I shall be sitting there saying "Shall we ring the kids....I wonder what they're up to!!"

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Cakes and Tea Towels

My eyes have been opened to a brand new world. The previous occupants of my middle drawer were from Tesco, Primark and a very dodgy looking one from Centerparcs! (no I didn't steal it, I bought it!!). Anna then posted on her blog about having too many tea towels. A new obsession was born. Cath Kidston...Emma Bridgewater...Heinz Ketchup?! Fortunately for me (or my purse), CK had a sale on, as did EB... When I took a good look at my collection I realised I had MORE Christmas tea towels than anything else! I got a nice Santa one from my parents this year too. Maybe they were trying to tell me something when they came to stay. I even checked Ebay for tea towels - well you can get anything on there!!

Then...came the Ginger Cake, with picture. Of course I HAD to make it but I didn't have ginger in syrup. Feeling a little under the weather, I ventured to Waitrose miserably on Monday. I wanted to curl up in front of the TV watching Dirty Dancing for the 100th time but also I wanted to make that cake!
I should have gone straight to the syrup, but no....I ambled from aisle to aisle browsing, thinking "ooooh that looks nice", "so does that" (plant, flowers, magazines x 3, early birthday presents, nice soap, chocolate, Lavazza Carte D'or - I was ill!). "Yes, and I definitely need a pink whisk". I shouldn't have got a trolley!

£125 later (I kid you not) I had everything I didn't need, but what did I forget?!! It's OK, I remembered as I got into my car! (People who know me well, will know that I do this a lot).

Our printer is in for repair so I hand-wrote the recipe down. Meticulously followed the instructions: omitting the dried fruit on the purpose, and the sugar by mistake. It ended up sloppy though (I beat the hell out of it), lined the tin and popped it into the oven with a baking parchment lid on it so it didn't burn (very wise A). The smell from the oven was delectable (I have regained my sense of smell thank goodness!).

So here it is....together with one of my new tea towels :-) I am now going to cut the BIGGEST peice of cake, make a Latte and watch Dirty Dancing.

This was a very expensive cake!!!!! But totally worth it. I think I'll have to add it to my regular cakes when the coffee shop opens!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Awarded for Rambling....

Anna from All Things Lovely has awarded me an award (bad English!) for my mutterings. Am very chuffed!

So now I have to share 7 facts with you...

I used to have a fork-lift truck license. I think it has expired now but I once used to work as a sales administrator and as we were a small company, all employees had to learn to drive the fork-lift. It was great fun, and a great laugh watching a 1970s safety film called “The Colour of Danger”….

I have been with my husband since I was 14 years old. First kissed him at the tender age of 12……we got married at 23 and have been married for 11 years. He asked me out when I was 12 and I said no so he didn’t speak to me for 2 years. He asked me to marry him in 1988!!!!!!

I wanted to be an accountant when I was a little girl….then a nurse and then a florist. Got to be one of them!

I HATE wasps….they paralyse me with fear.

When pregnant with my daughter, I was sick so much I dislocated my jaw….

I love Alan Rickman, Russell Brand and Eddie Izzard!

I still suffer with homesickness and I REALLY don't like change! For example, it takes me a good 2/3 days to settle into a holiday and when I first started work, I was so nervous and anxious that I used to burst into tears at lunchtime. I'm much better now.....(as you all back away from the computer!!)

So do I have to nominate another blogger? Well I will the person who got me into 'all this'. This woman is responsible!

That's all folks! (for now, anyway!)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Getting Fruity

I always find it harder to get my two to eat fruit during the colder months. Whilst I pack their dinners with veg (some of it they can't see - although my daughter can spot a courgette a mile off!), fruit seems to lose it's appeal. I'm giggling as I remember getting my children to try new veg by candlelight - it's amazing if they can't see if properly they will try it!!! Doesn't work now though....
I'm not a fan of stewed fruit and so to be honest it doesn't occur to me to get them to try it (although I have an idea what would happen!!). My freezer is full of it though as I don't want to waste it. I think a few people might be getting apple pies over the weekend!!
C and I went fruit shopping today in Marks & Sparks. Perhaps because she chose it, she devoured quite a bit after dinner tonight, as did H - especially the Strawberries and Cherries.

I'm really pleased with the photo of the apples and plums. Having had my camera for 4 years, I discovered that if you press the 'food' button on the menu, you get a better picture (better late than never I guess!)

As part of a New Year Resolution and pre-building project sort-out, I had an amazing discovery. I'm amazed that they were unopened and hadn't been discovered by one of my children during a rummage through the cupboards to find something....anything to eat (other than fruit!!!!).

I had 4 with my tea and now feel sick! They were gorgeous. Now they are open, I can hear them calling me from the cupboard! I hope R comes home and hides them somewhere else before I end up eating them all!!!!! Uh-Oh...C has just found them!!!