…. a real New Year that turns into numerical basic – for what? My maths is pretty basic but serves my needs. When I’m designing a new garment I am continually counting. adding, dividing, multiplying then subtracting the figure I first thought off etc. etc. No this little twist of numbers is saying to me don’t clutter your life, keep it simple, be honest with yourself, be kind, be industrious (mentally and physically). Life really is what you make it – so make it heathy, happy and productive. May your New Year be all you would like it to be.
On Saturday it was grey and grim, with a blustery cold wind delivering slanting rain. The dog refused a walk. It was bad. But perfect for turning up the music and making Fondant Fancies. I used to, in the past, buy them in a cardboard box made by a Mr Kipling but they always looked more yummy than they tasted. So after seeing Mary Berry showing us all how to do IT I had to have a go. Under cooked the sponge. In a perfect world it needed another 4 minutes but I have a tendency to go and start doing something else and the perfect 4 minutes turns into a catastrophic 30 minutes or simply the smell of burning. Also I dislike dry cakes so out came the sponge and although in the centre it wasn’t light and fluffy it was OK. Everything else went fine – except I should have remember when putting the butter icing round the edges of each little cake I made it as smooth as possible AND trimming the outside edges so they are straight is important so each cake stands up properly. At this point I realised we would never eat 25 cakes so I froze 12. Then came the tricky bit – the fondant icing. I managed to get it a good consistency and coloured half with raspberry juice. The next bit is just plain messy. I did the fork in the side bit and sort of held it above the bowl of icing and spooned the icing over the top and then round the sides. I really believe its one of those jobs you find your own way of dealing with it. Just accept it is messy (and it really puts you off icing!). Then I dribbled chocolate on the white ones and the white icing on the pink and ‘Voila’ some quite nauseous (by this time I’d had enough) looking little cakes. I had to taste one and I thought it was quite nice.
But on Sunday I tidied them up round the base and put them on a plate and felt much prouder of them. I have to say they definitely improved with keeping – the icing firmed up and the cake inside stayed very moist and all the flavors blended. And the Monday tasting was when I really thought they were delicious and worth the effort. I could never make them perfectly and I don’t think Mary Berry would be too impressed but the flavours were excellent.
fancy a fondant fancies?
too much and you end up swamped in the past. But Christmas is about memories for me and I cherish them. I have two brothers and a sister and I was the one who could never understand why everyone wasn’t awake at 2.00am on Christmas morning. The stocking was stuffed because when I pushed with my toes I could hear the crackle of paper, and almost taste the tangerine and silver wrapped chocolate Father Christmas that would be stuffed in the toe. Come on everyone its Christmas! But eventually that wonderful day would roll on full of laughter, church, singing, turkey, and FUN. It was all so magical. From gazing out of the window before bed on Christmas Eve and being convinced I could see and hear Santa gliding through the night on his reindeer drawn sleigh to the clearing up piles of wrapping paper and laughing as my poor Mum tried to make notes of who sent what to whom. We crashed to earth when it was thankyou letter writing time. But I even remember that with pleasure – on reflection – all part of the ying and yang of Christmas.
I feel very lucky that I have such wonderful memories and in fact I realise that although my Christmases over the years as an adult have been sometimes very sad and rather confused I have never lost that wonder. Christmas Day for me is never an actual day, a Monday or a Friday etc. It stands on it own Christmas Day. I do not give it religious overtones but it is a special day. It is a day when I find as the years roll on I do reflect on my life and my loves. I reflect on my mistakes and my triumphs. On my sorrows and my joys. But I also look to the future to still try and improve in every way and accept my shortcomings but push forward with my strengths. Strangely this is harder as you get older as I have so many pre-conceived concepts about everything. So 2013 is the year for questioning everything because I’m running out of time to mess around waiting for something/someone – its up to me. The only thing I am prepared to wait for is the bus!
So this is my first Christmas without a car and so far so brilliant. My bank balance agrees with me. Luckily I have lovely friends with cars who I know will help if I need them. On Monday I hope to buy my Christmas decoration which will be various pot plants. I started this idea a few years ago as my husband and I decided we really didn’t want a tree but we knew we needed something. So we decided on flowers and pot plants. And thanks to my Angelfriend I shall have no trouble getting them home.
So I am now going to knit myself some fabulous trousers which will be striped and very floppy and a sweater to match. These are for Christmas Day. All done on my knitting machine. I have always loved knitting by hand and then I started to crochet. But when my beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago I decided, after months of thinking, to buy a second-hand knitting machine. Over the last 6 years as the cursed cancer cruelly stole my lovely loves life away – he died this year on February 23 2012 at home with my son and myself caring for him to the end – I have been learning how to use this machine. It has helped me during some very. very hard times and in fact just before and after Colin died I couldn’t use it
But I am back in the saddle and am finding it giving me new consolation (and ambition). A few years ago I decided I couldn’t wear anything I hadn’t knitted. That is why I had to design the trousers –
I love skirts but hate tights actually that is a combination I’m also working on. Now a friend said to me one day ‘Uumm you look very uumm knitted!’ an observation which still makes me laugh. Many a true word is spoken in jest – in other words I’m still working on my style!
So the parcels are sent – the cards are sent. Time to wallow in yarns and a bit of cooking – peppermint creams first I think. Delicious and very easy but they need time to dry out and this year I’m going to coat them in chocolate oooh and I must make some French Fancies as seen on The Great British Bake Off that should be festive better get the Carols on!
to visit my lovely niece and family and my brother and sister who both live near by. I was a little apprehensive of getting to the airport without a car but it was very simple and everything linked up seamlessly.
I can honestly say in my position I realize now that the car was more of a pressure than a necessity. And possibly a habit (a rather expensive habit at that). So I must say as I walked the dog passed parked cars covered in ice and snow, with some of their owners busily scrapping away with the engine chugging away trying to warm everything up, I felt no pangs of regret. Although I certainly didn’t feel smug as walking on the pavements is quite scary in this seasonal weather. Maybe I should buy some crampons? There is always some little irksome problem to puzzle about!
Katie, my niece, has developed over the last few years a wonderful, cheerful business called ‘moltonwonky.co.uk’. (Look up Katie Lynn or moltonwonky just quirky and fun – I haven’t worked out linking yet and must wait for advice from my guru). Katie trained as a stainglass artist but has now developed an individual, funky style using fused glass. Every Christmas she has an AT HOME with about 4 other crafts people. This year it was Caroline who made yummy sweets, Kathie creates lovely jewelry and Hannah made charming bags. When I arrived on Wednesday afternoon they were still setting up in the downstairs rooms and it all looked quite magical. On Thursday they were open all day and didn’t stop until 9.00pm. I was part of kitchen staff and had a lovely day chatting, making tea/coffee popping more sausage rolls and nkymince pies into the Aga and my own mouth and drinking Margaretas (can’t spell it but I loved drinking them). Katie has also produced (with a little help from her husband) four lovely children. Two girls first and then two boys. And what a joy they all are – if I could bottle their hugs well, I would use one first thing in the morning and one last thing at night and maybe one inbetween when I felt the need.
But it was still great to fly home. Except it took me a little longer than anticipated as I missed my connection bus to the village because I was dreamily sipping coffee in the shopping centre and miss read the time! So I need to sharpen up my wits to TIMETABLES – more studying required.