Monday, 25 April 2011

Hello from my bunker

Here's hoping you've all had a wonderful Easter! Sadly I have had to work most of it - A major report I need to write slap bang in the middle of the Easter holidays has meant being cooped up in my (windowless) office. The poor kids have been farmed out here there and everywhere, and are now entirely accustomed to glimpsing me emerging from my lair with mad hair and staring eyes to throw some food at them before retreating back for further self-flagellation.

I managed to revive myself yesterday in order to make lunch for 13 members of my family, complete with assorted allergies/issues with other family members (present) /intollerances of the weather/drink problems (mine).

Why do I do it to myself? I can honestly say I haven't felt this drained for a very long time. I'm literally adding this post in ten minutes before I go back to the grindstone while the sun continues to bless EVERYONE ELSE outside.

I shouldn't be moaning, because on an up note - I have been nominated for a MAD Award! I have no idea who would be so kind, as I have so few followers, and I'm only posting once or twice a month, but I'm still super grateful!

I shall be back when this blasted report is put to bed and I can breathe again......


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

From Russia with love?

I had 300 page views from Russia last month - why I have no idea! Has anyone else experienced weird stats like this - and if anyone is reading this in Russia - reveal yourselves!

Monday, 4 April 2011

My creativity seems to have vanished by 9pm every night (I'm typing this line after the rest of my post and can't even think of a decent title).

It makes me such a sporadic blogger - I lie in bed in the mornings thinking of witty ( in my half-doze) observations of family life, but the inspiration vanishes by breakfast. Take today. I swear I had a great idea at 7am. Then I got up, made breakfast, moaned at kids, drove 20 miles, hoovered, moaned at Royal Mail for buggering up electric gates, worked, drove another 20 miles, completed Yr 4 geography project, moaned to Mr. G, and by the evening, I've completely forgotten it. Gone.

So, let me bore you with my birthday instead. As I career towards middle age (oh, alright I'm already there), birthdays make me feel slightly subdued, but Mr G. does his best to gee things along, and I'm always hugely pampered. Want to know what I got?

Magimix 4200 food processor - still in wrapping - had no time to play! Mr G. had to be persuaded on this one. He always insists on 'luxuries' for his presents, and thinks this is a boringly functional piece of house-wifery. I don't care. I've wanted one forever, and I can' t wait to whip up my first meringue!

Jo Malone lime & basil soap (identified as a pass-on gift, as there was no ribbon round the box!)

Gorgeous table lamp from my best friend H.

5 bars of Green & Black's chocolate (but no ginger next time please Mr ungrateful am I?)

The Beauty Bible anti-ageing book..... (co-written by the co-founder of the above - who knew?)

The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit - Fab, fab, fab book. (beetroot & horseradish anyone? - delish)

Glittery glass bracelets in hues of blue (from Sam)

Heart shaped glass vanity boxes (from Lily)

Scarf with dangly baubles on each end (very now, apparently)

Subscription to Conde Nast Traveller (one can dream...)

Mr G. made me his speciality cake (see above - so pretty!)- Nigella lawsons 'store cupboard cake' made with raspberry jam instead of marmalade. Divine! He makes it every time. Its name makes it sound a bit dry & dusty, but it's actually satisfyingly fudgy. Here is the recipe:

125g of unsalted butter
100g of dark chocolate
300g of good quality raspberry jam
150g of sugar
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
150g of self-rising flour

Melt the butter slowly in a heavy-bottom saucepan. When it's almost melted, add chocolate pieces, stir and take off the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, until chocolate has melted. Add the jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir thoroughly (it's okay to leave small visible chunks of jam in the batter). Add sifted flour, stir and pour into a buttered and floured 20-22 cm loose bottomed cake tin or 2lb loaf tin. Bake at 180˚C/350.F/Gas 4 oven for 45-50 minutes, until the cake has set (test with a knife or wooden stick). Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled dust with a layer of icing sugar or drizzle with melted white chocolate.

I know - I'm lucky, lucky, lucky. Then I got spoiled all over again on Mother's Day. This was a big improvement on last year when Mr. G was away. The kids had been given strict instructions on how to give me breakfast in bed, but got the pancakes stuck in the toaster. After I had got up to dislodge them, I went back to bed to pretend to be asleep again for 'Take 2'. I was 'woken' five minutes later by Lily tripping up over the stupid dog and judiciously flinging orange juice all over my entire face...