Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Fairwell Harry, I made you cake…

Friday, July 15th, 2011

 “London. Implacable July weather. People everywhere. People swarming Trafalgar Square. People perched on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. People crowding the backstreets of the West End. Is this a Dickens novel? No, it’s the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.” -   Time magazine

Me and Teen Ellie watched the live stream of the Harry Potter premier in tears. I am not really a Harry Potter fan, by this I mean I have never read any of the books, never stood in line endlessly to see one of the movies, and I have to admit (rather quietly) to not always completely understanding the story lines.  But I am far more than just a little fond of Harry Potter and his wizardy friends,  its a weird kind of feeling,  like the fondness you feel for your child’s oldest school friends. But before you cart me off to the funny farm, let me explain why…

 The first movie came out an astonishing eleven years ago and it has been the magical (pardon the pun)  backdrop to teen Ellie’s childhood ever since. Like cultural osmosis, its part of the fabric of her young life.  Her best friend at six was so obsessed with Harry,  that she slept with his picture underneath her pillow, and wrote “Mrs Harriot Potter” on all her books.

When the first Harry Potter computer game came out me and my friend,  spent 3 days solid trying to complete it. Baby Jack had his very own Harry dressing gown that looked like a hogwarts magic coat, which he wore  for his first primary school book day, he made a very cute, very blonde Harry.  Ellie had the Harry Potter jelly sweet maker, the Harry potter chocolate (it had fizzy popping candy in the center, which Ellie was SURE was actual magic ;) ) , the harry potter bed sheets and the movies of course…we watched the movies to death.

  So I am ever so slightly in love with every one of  JK Rowling’s expertly crafted characters.  I also love the fact that the movies are just so, well,  British!

 I love all the scenes of sweeping London, the beautiful old buildings and grimy little cafés,  the glimpses into English suburbia and the beauty and sometimes barrenness of the countryside.

I love that  Harry and Co always  look like they haven’t seen the sun for more than three days a year (like most of us from Oct through to June!) either and  they all have “normal” clothes and none Hollywood  hair.  Something which I think is sadly missing from most other films and TV shows targeted at young people ( god I sound old, but its true) .

 As well as this, practically every good British actor from the past ten years has appeared in someway, filling it with a warm feeling of home and (dare I say it) it makes me a bit proud to be British.

So…  this is my sweet fair well to Harry, and my first baby’s childhood.

 Teen Ellie turns sixteen this October and dreams of being at Hogwarts and defeating  Mr no Nose (Lord Voldemort) will soon fade to nothing. Well maybe not nothing, maybe there will be a small space forever Harry, forever six and full of magic and wonder.   Maybe thats why Harry is so popular the world over,  maybe he gives us all a tiny excuse to believe in a little bit of magic! X

( Harry’s last stand is out this weekend, I’m off to see it on the big screen with Ellie, and a box of tissues! ) X

 

And just to properly celebrate the occasion I made cupcakes, magical  rainbow ones of course !

Rainbow cupcakes!

Ingredients-

2 eggs

40z 0f  self raising flour

4oz of butter

4oz of sugar

A teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of good vanilla essence

4 different colours of food colouring. I used red, blue, green and yellow.

Firstly cream the butter and sugar ( I do everything in a food mixer, but you can do it by hand too) . Then add the two eggs, and then the flour and baking powder, finally add the vanilla. If this mixture looks to think I add a little water or milk ( 1-2 tablespoons).

Separate the cake bater equally into four bowls. Add the food colouring to each bowl, a little at a time and mix. I found the red and the green quite strong, but the blue and yellow much weaker. 

Then line a muffin tin with six muffin cases. Spoon a little of the first colour into each case (use all the mixture) I used yellow first,  spread evenly.  Next, spoon in another colour ( I used green) gently over the top of the first. spread to the edges.

Continue this process until all the colors and mixture is used. Then take a wooden cocktail stick or something similar and swirl each cupcake very lightly.

Then put them in the oven for approx 25 mins, until they are lovely and golden.

Thats it ice them however you like, I made up a batch of butter cream icing, instructions are on the back of the icing packet. I added a teaspoon of vanilla at the end.

Thats it, easy and really, really fun! Milly had a great time helping me.

I will just add, I know there are some scary health opinions about food colouring, there is lots of info online about it,  and I will let you guys make you own mind up about that.   But personally I feel as long as your not making these everyday, you wont get cancer or ADHD or grow another head  .. but that of course,  is just my personal opinion kids! … other opinions may vary   XXXX

The Girls Night Out!

Friday, January 28th, 2011

So this Friday night my best girlie mates invited me out. I am never good at going out. I always enjoy it when I get there, but before I go I am like a hermit with a bad case of social anxiety. But it was one of my very best pals, “Posh Sara”s leaving do..(she buys from Fortumns and regularly visits her family in new york, where she hires an entire hotel  suite….no caravans in the quantocks for this girl, let me tell you… I must add though, she is one of the kindest and most genuinely sweet people I have meet, and I do not merely say this in case she reads! ….but I  digress..sorry…)

Anyhow..its Sara’s leaving do, she is off to Australia in a matter of weeks so I can not miss this girly Soiree . I have new outfit  in the shape of  some rather flattering skinny cargo’s and all saints top from ASOS, and I have new red hair ….well its kind of red…and I have no spots…and minimal bags due to excessive *been in bed with the flu*-sleep, so now is as good as time as any, and Teen Ellie is pracically pushing me out the door so..HAY HO… off to party I go.

We started out on our favorite pub. With comfy sofas, wine and  great girlie giggles about gynecologist visits, eye exams and rampant rabbits (don’t ask, we must be at that *weird* age) and then onto a little restaurant for dinner. Before this dinner , I think I must have scrubbed up fairly well because my old (not in years) pal (honest, but hilariously funny) Karen, told me I looked about twelve, “but  in a good way”,  I will take that kind lady, where have you been all my life!

 Anyway,  then there was more wine, and lots of carbs… I had the most amazing monk fish risotto… and garlic bread…. yum!

It was at  this point the camera comes out, and my confidence starts to wilt. But this is Sara’s leaving do, and we want some pictures right? Only when I am handed the camera I am forced to secretly push delete … allot!  My arms are the size of Russian shot putters and I am sure I have, at the very least a double chin, it might even be a triple! so I spend the rest of the night feeling ever so slightly fatter and older …it doesn’t help that all my friends are gorgous and two of them could probably  get into a pair of size 8 skinnies..together. But I am not bitter, honest…. and it was a great night.

As it was all coming to an end we decided, a bit worse for wear, to go and get chips. Possibly a bad move because we were the only females in a very tiny  kebab shop with about 5 spotty teenage drunk boys. And just to finish the night out with a bang..one of them called me mummy!  I nearly died!

In hindsight it was  pretty funny and I love that I have such fab company to go out with, and  I kind of found my *going out* mojo again because of it. So I say, hooray for girls nights! And if any of my mates read this, sorry you probably only have about five good pics now.  But at least my arms look okay ;D x Oh..and please let me know if you have had any similar *girls night out moments* it will make me feel sooo much better! X

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The Recipe bit….

I can’t go without leaving you this amazing recipe  for fluey cold aches or post girls night out pains…or just cozy winter warm cozy-ness! (yes..I know thats not really a word..but it should be…) am LOVING soup when its cold outside, especially hearty ones like this. With some nice bread and a bit of pudding,  it sustains even the caveman of the house (BigJ) ! ;D

Jewish Mother’s penicillin with a touch of the Italian,

OR.. The BEST Chicken Noddle soup -

900ml of chicken stock 

 **cooks notes please, please use homemade chicken stock, its SO easy and tastes completely different. All you need do is get your Sunday roast chicken carcass (or any other day) . Bung in a pan with a whole carrot, a stick of celery (or a teaspoon of celery salt) , a onion cut into two, 5 pepper corns, 2 bay leaves and 2 cloves. cover the whole chicken with plenty of boiling water. And let Mr chicken simmer gently in his bath of loveliness for several hours. Yes, you do have to be in for this, but its pretty low maintenance, all you do is very occasionally check to see if there is enough water. Easy! also if you do make this soup with your chicken stock and a little left over brown chicken meat it means that one chicken will feed a family for two meals,  that’s frugal food made easy!  )**

1 -2 cups of left over chicken,

 1 onion,

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano

1 small teaspoon of dried thyme

1 pinch of chili flakes

50g of spaghetti

a good cupful  of frozen peas and sweetcorn

First get out the peas and sweetcorn, and place in a bowl near hob to start defrosting.

Then fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil and butter for several mins adding the dried herbs and chili  too.  Pour on the chicken stock and simmer gently for 5 mins, add the chicken and the pasta (noodles) for about another 8-10 mins, or until the pasta is cooked. Stir in the peas and sweetcorn and simmer for another min, before serving with lots of bread and maybe a shaving of Parmesan cheese…. UN-beat-able!  

Diet Rebel…Dangerous Curves Ahead!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I have been cooking up this blog in my head for a few weeks. Well actually, it started more as a rant in my head, that turned *into* a blog post. But I hope you won’t mind. It all began with Teen Ellie. Not her fault, I must add, but still….

First here’s a pic of my oldest, she is 15 and is probably in fairness a good 2 sizes bigger than most of her tiny teeny  peers, as well as being at least 2 foot taller too! She stared getting very nasty comments on her blog, formspring and tumblr accounts about her weight ages ago, all stupid stuff, but I could tell it hurt.  Then just before Christmas it got really nasty. These “people” started saying they they hoped she’d die, that she was (more…)