Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Soooo behind

It doesn't seem to matter how hard I try, I'm always behind with something. I'd love to be one of these really organised people who has everything under control but that's just not me. I try my best but never quite manage it :-(

One thing I'm always behind on with my letters. I love letters! I find writing them really relaxing and getting them is great. Its always nice to see pretty post bringing good news and gossip rather than boring old bills. I've got loads of penpals so I've always got letters to write and nice post coming through my letterbox. Its great! The only problem is with so many penpals, a couple of nights of not writing and I've got a huge pile of letters needing replies. I always seem to be behind. I finally managed to get caught up with my letters at the weekend though. At one point I had nobody to write to. So this seems like the perfect time to start my reply to all letters within a week
challenge. I've got to keep it up for a month. Its easy at the moment a I've got a pile of three - two came yesterday and one today. I just need to make sure I get those replied to tonight before the pile grows a bit more tomorrow. I really enjoy writing my letters so if I could just manage to get myself organised this challenge shouldn't be too difficult to complete.

There's loads of other stuff I'm behind with but I'all get there in the end. The main one is this blog. Ive been rubbish at keeping it updated lately. There's been quite a bit going on though so I need to make the effort to get blogging again and tell you what I've been up to. I'll never make it to 100 blog posts at this rate!

Sunday, 13 January 2013


Anyone who knows me will know I like cooking. I love messing about and trying new recipes to see what I can come up with. And without being big headed, I do alright. I 'm pretty confident in the kitchen and I'll give more or less anything a go. I've never really done much baking though. I make a cake and I reckon it'd taste alright, it just wouldn't look that great. I haven't got a clue where to start with decoraing them. You see all these gorgeous cakes and cupcakes and I'd love to be able to do something like that. That's why I decided to put going to a cake decorating class on my challenge list.

While I've never really been much good at making cupcakes, I'm really good at eating them! Some of my favourites are from Hey Little Cupcake in town. It's not far from Dan's work and every now and again he'll suprise me by bringing a cupcake home. They are scrummy. I was really chuffed when he got me a voucher to do a cupcake decorating class there for christmas.

Today was the day of the class and I set off feeling all excited. I was a little bit nervous too though as I've never done anything like this before. I was convinced everybody would be better than me and I'd come up with the worst cupcakes they'd ever seen. I don't hink I did too badly for a first attempt though. Here's what I managed to create

The cupcakes were ready made for us, as was the buttercream. They did go over how to make everything but it was more about teaching us how to pipe and decorate.


We started nice and easy with the cookie monster - no piping! We had to smooth butter cream over a plain cupcake then roll it into blue sprinkles. The eyes were made with white chocolate buttons and chocolate drops and we used a mini cookie for the mouth. Really simple but it looks great. He's so cute!

Next up was the oreo cupcake. This was a chocolate cupcake with an oreo baked into it. Then came my first attempt at piping. Plain buttercream with a plain round nozzle. Getting all the air out of the piping bag was a bit tricky but once that was done the piping wasn't as difficult as I expected. Two and a half swirls then finish off with a mini oreo and some oreo crumbs.

La Paris was next. I love this one, it's very me with all its pinkness. Its a chocolate cupcake with strawberry buttercream. Trying to remember which nozzle it was, some kind of  inverted swirly one I think. I need to get my head round them all because I want some. The little hearts are chocolate and were just scattered over the top.

This one is like your classic cupcake and it's called Viva Las Vegas. Chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream, gold dragees and white chocolate stars.

My spring garden was the most difficult cupcake to make. The green buttercream is just plain vanilla with colouring added. The piping was tricky. It was like a spaghetti press and instead of swirling round you had to lift up and do a splodge at a time. The flowers and butterflies are made from sugarpaste. They had some really cute little cutters and I want them too! It was all a bit fiddly but worth it in the end. I love the colours.

The final cupcake was a cute little rose. The piping was tricky on this one. I'd got used to swirling up from the ouside but this one was piped from the cenre out and needed to be kept level-ish. It took me two attempts but once the buttercream was on I added a sugarpaste leaf and some edible glitter.

I had a really fun afternoon. I'm dead pleased with how well my cupcakes turned out and I'd definitely feel more confident to have a go at home now. I'm feeling a little shopping trip coming on when I get paid to buy nozzles and piping bags and other cute things to decorate with. I want to do some of their other classes too. In the meantime I've got six cupcakes to get through. Me and Dan have halved Cookie Monser and Viva Las Vegas and the were both yummy. Have to admit I'm a bit gutted about destroying my hard work but the feeling doesn't last long once you're eaing them. Yum!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Back to work tomorrow :-(

I suppose i shouldn't complain really. Apart from the norovirus its been a good holiday. Christmas is always my very favourite time of the year and it was another good one this year. And I've managed to get lots of challenge-y stuff done whilst I've been off. I've done lots of reading, mainly books i got for Christmas. During the holidays I managed to finish The Christmas books by Charles Dickens, With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews, The life by Martina Cole and The Life and Times of the Real Winnie the Pooh by Shirley Harrison. My pile of books read for the read my own height in books challenge now stands at 48.5 cm - a third of the way there!
I've done quite a bit of craft when I haven't been reading. I've made a good start on the felt and cross stitch decorations that Kerry kindly sent me but I forgot to buy stuffing when I was in town so I can't finish them off yet. I've done a bit (and I mean a bit!) on the family tree cross stitch and I've been trying to get my head round knitting. I've not actually done any knitting yet but I've no real excuse anymore. I had a lovely knitting kit, how to knit book and knitting for dummies book for Christmas so I should be all ready. I'm still hoping my mother-in-law will take pity on me and give me lessons. Problem is she's seen my one and only attempt at knitting and it wasn't pretty. That's why its on the list!
Dan bought me a voucher for a cupcake decorating class so that will be another thing ticked off the list next week. I can't wait, it's at a gorgeous little place down Spinningfields. I get to bring six of their cupcakes home so I know however bad the decoration ends up, the cake will still be yummy :-)
He's also paid my entry to the Great Manchester Swim which sounded a lot less scary before I was actually committed to it. I did my first training swim yesterday and I'm quite chuffed with myself because I did manage to swim a mile. It wasn't particularly fast and it wasn't non stop but I can work on that. It wasn't bad for a first attempt. The fun bit is going to be when I transfer it to the open water. I've never done anything like that before but I've got until July to get myself ready. As well as getting the swimming challenge done I'm hoping this can be part of the raising £1001 for charity. I've got a fund raising pack from World Vision and hopefully I'll be able to get loads of sponsorship in to support their fantastic work.
Talking of world vision, I've had three letters from Princess over the holidays. It's always great to hear from her. Makes the work that world vision do seem so much more real. Of all the challenges I've completed so far sponsoring her has definitely been my favourite. It's such a rewarding experience. When you think that for me its one less can of pop a day (and I'm supposed to be cutting down) the difference it makes to communities like Princess' is amazing.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without films and sales and they've both helped me out with challenges. I added quite a few films to the A-Z challenge and got some lovely plates in the housing units sale for January's purchase for the house.
So there you have it, two weeks off work, lots of fun and lots of stuff done. Just a shame it has to come to an end.