Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Baking fever is taking over!

Everyone seems to be going a little bit bonkers for baking at the moment.  That includes me!  There is a sea of TV shows all dedicated to dare I say it "Baking".  Let's face it everyone loves a nice bit of cake or a cheeky muffin. 

I baked a lemon sponge cake with double whipped cream and lemon curd in the middle.  I took it into work and gave my work colleagues a piece.  One person said it was the best cake they had ever tasted.  I have made that cake twice before and they do take a little bit of perfecting, but they are so simple to make.  I felt really humbled at the response I got.  However, I was a bit nervous when I sliced into it, what if it is not cooked in the middle?  That is the thing with cakes you never know until you have to slice it up.  I must admit it did look really quite magnificent.  I tasted a bit and it was good.  Was being the operative word as it was gone in a flash.  When good cake is in the building the word spreads fast!

I am new to this baking lark and I have not got much experience.  A few years ago I would have never even had the inclination to do it.  I think it was when I realised my Daughter enjoyed doing it with me things seemed to click into place.  My Husband loves my cake too, it is definitely the way to a man's heart.  There is something theraputic about doing it.   To me it is another way of spreading the joy and I felt very humbled to get good feedback, plus I knew they were not lying as I tasted it!

Move over Mary Berry there is a new chick in Town!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

My Husband has got a new bird!

My Husband has got a new bird, she is about 7cm long and called a pacific parotlette!  I am not good with animals mainly because I am allergic to most of them.  I am very allergic to dogs and extremely allergic to horses.  When my Daughter comes back from a riding lesson I cannot even go near her clothes without getting an itchy throat and sneezing.

The shame of it is that my Husband loves dogs and we did have a dog called Marmite until baby number two came along.  He was bought up with always having a dog.  With having two young children and my Husband commuting we could not give her the quality time she needed.  We gave her away to friends of ours and I still love her, however, me living with a dog made me asthmatic.  It is horrible not being able to breath in your own home, I was constantly weezing and having to use inhalers.  In the end it broke my Husband's heart to give her away. 

I was unsure about having a bird in the house and feared I would be allergic but so far it is okay.  She is cute.  On the first day she came to our house she looked petrified, she hardly moved.  I felt sorry for her.  Slowly she is getting used to us.  I just hope I don't do something stupid like leave a door or a window open when she is out of her cage!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Whitney Houston RIP

It was very sad that Whitney Houston died at the weekend, however, I cannot get over the fact that she was a drug addict.  I remember dancing to her hits back in the day, but for me unfortunately her erratic behaviour and drug addiction in her later years is what I will remember her for.  I feel desperately sorry for her Daughter, she must have witnessed some horrid scenes at the demise of her Mother, that must have been incredibly painful.

What I do not understand is why someone with the world at her feet goes down the drugs route.  It appears that when you get to mega stardom and have lots of money to spend, you make the stupid decision to spend it on drugs!  Obviously, over the past year she is not the only one who has gone down this route, too add to the list is Amy Winehouse and the great Michael Jackson.

Is it the fact that when you get to that level of fame, your friends and family sell you out and you are left with friends that are on your payroll.  Possibly, they cannot cope with that level of scrutiny and feel they live under a microscope.  It is not like they can lead a normal life style.  Does this make them feel the only route they have is to take drugs?  Having personally had to fight for my life through Cancer I find it tough to get my head around why you would do this to yourself.

The Hollywood bubble seems to have moved on that instead of doing illegal drugs they go to their Doctor's and get prescription drugs.  I wonder whether we will see another Doctor on trial for providing Whitney with drugs.  Everyone, is now quick to honour her and her amazing voice.  Yes, she did have a world class voice, but tragicially in her later life it bought her a life style of unhappiness.  There are too many kids these days who want to be famous most of the time for not doing very much, so take note of what happens to these stars, does it truly bring them happiness?  The simple fact is that the body cannot take drugs illegal or legal (including alcohol) for a long sustained period of time.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family, particularly with her Daughter.  I wish her strength and hope she has a strong family behind her to help her through.

Friday, 10 February 2012

My car and garages trying it on!

My car went in for an MOT on Wednesday and I used a local garage I have been using for years.  They called me to give the good news that I needed 3 x new tyres, an exhaust, and some back end thingy.  You can imagine my delight when they told me it would cost £575!  I was absolutely mortified.  Okay so it is not a new car, it is about 6 years old, so you would expect it needing a little bit of work.  I spoke to a friend of mine whose partner owns an MOT garage and she said she had spoken to him and he said sounds like they are ripping you off.  That night I had a fretful nights sleep and I decided I was going to ring them to get the price reduced.  I made 2 or 3 phone calls to them and got the price down to £430, okay not great but marginally better.  I saved myself £140 for making a few phone calls.

Everyone, is finding it hard at the moment no pay rises and the cost of living going up.  £430 for me in a month is my entire family budget.  Luckily, my Husband has a good job so it is not too much of an issue.  My question is how many people are these businesses ripping off.  My Husband accepted the original £575 without question and if I had not intervened he would have paid it.  No doubt there are many people who do that. 

In the last 6 months this must be my 3rd or 4th debacle with these circumstances, I have saved myself hundreds of pounds, my best was with a certain utility company trying to charge me an extra £369.  Companies seem to have lost their morale compass.  I implore anyone out there who gets a bill, don't just pay it, give them a call, it could save you a lot of money.  After all it pays to complain, and don't renew insurances go on the u-switch websites and shop around.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pink Ribbon Bingo - Breakthrough Breast Cancer


As an avid supporter of Break Through Breast Cancer, I am supporting their launch of Pink Ribbon Bingo,  This amazing Charity is raising funds for their research into Breast Cancer to beat this disease, tell your friends work colleagues, or anyone who will listen.  Even if you have one go, you are raising money for the prevention of Breast Cancer, and of course there is the added bonus that you may win!  So go on have a go.

Do it, do it, let me know if you win!  You know I love a good story.

Tracey X