Thursday, 31 July 2014

One Minute Writer: Cooking

Q. What was the last thing you cooked? 

I'm quite glad you asked me this question. I've been struggling for several years with getting the perfect load of bread in my bread machine. Easy, you might say. Surely you just fling in the ingredients it suggests and then turn it on?! Well, that worked the first few times, but then, all of a sudden the bread wouldn't rise.
Was it the yeast? No, fresh yeast provided no better results. So, I tried the recipe on the flour packet instead. Nope, still flat.
About 6 months passed. I tried again. Another 6 months, try again. No change. I tried kneading it in the machine then baking in the oven, kneading by hand and then baking in the machine, doing the whole thing by hand. No luck.
Then, 2 days ago, I decided to go back to the original recipe in my bread machine's book again. It rose magnificently, but there was two much air and it collapsed again.
Finally, yesterday the bread rose and stayed risen. Reducing the yeast by half and taking out the milk so my lactose-intollerant mother could eat it worked. It still tastes a little of Vitamin C, but I'm hoping that reducing that a little will make it perfect.
Btw, the picture above is not the one I made, but its pretty similar!

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

One Minute Writer: Environmentalism

Q.Do you take any steps to protect your environment, such as recycling, helping wildlife, or planting local plants? 


My household is quite keen on being kind to the environment. The council provides recycling bins, food bins and compost caddies- filling all of these isn't too hard for us. We try to grow as much food as possible in our garden, and buy local/organic when we go to the supermarket. We put out bird-feeders and have a pond with newts and frogs. This year 2 hedgehogs have also taken us residence. Both our cars are dual-fuel, meaning that they can use electricity as well as unleaded petrol.

But there are many environmental things that I wish I could do better. I am aware that I use my car too often, if it were possible to make more time then it would be better to walk (or cycle). I also wish I was more creative with reusing containers, especially those that are not recyclable.

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How about you?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Writing Prompts 7.29: Surprise

Every week we're invited to join in Writer’s Workshop by responding to one of the provided writing prompts posted each Tuesday. The directions are simple:
  • Choose a writing prompt from the list provided that inspires you most.
  • Write.
  • On Thursday, Link up by pasting the URL from your post into the list of thumbnails displayed at Mama's Losin' It. Just scroll to the bottom of the thumbnail list, click the bold words you will see that say “Click here to enter” and you’re all set!
View more detailed instructions on how this weekly meme works in the Writer’s Workshop FAQs. To receive writing prompts in your inbox each week, subscribe to the writing prompt newsletter here.

Writing Prompts:

1.) A song you loved when you were younger, but now listen to the words and…
2.) Create a list of your top beauty must haves!
3.) Something you once said to someone that you wish you could take back.
4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: surprise.
5.) Share a recipe you’re loving.


The first things I think of when I hear the word surprise is birthdays, surprise parties, and people jumping out of cakes. Which is interesting, because I can't remember ever seeing either of the last two. I can remember experiencing the first, however.
The biggest surprise I ever had was when I was taken to London for my birthday. I can't remember how old I was now, but I was at that age where I was really starting to enjoy the bustle of the big city. My parents had taken me for a day out and I was loving it. It had been planned well in advance, so no surprise there. Evening came and we were still in London. This was a nice surprise as we usually went home before dinner time- meals can be so expensive in the big city. It was getting dark and I can remember being dazzled as all the theatre and restaurant lights began to come on. My eyes opened wide as I saw the signs from the shows. I began to ask if there was any way we could go into one, begging from my parents to find a way. And then we stopped outside 'Joseph and His Technicoloured Dreamcoat'. This was a show that I had never seen, although I had listened to my parent's copy of Jason Donovan signing the songs. Philip Scoffield was Joseph at the time- a man I had grown up watching with Gordon the Gopher in the broom-cupboard. We stood there for a while, just looking, and then one of my parents scuttled off to do something (maybe go to the toilet?) before we went home. When they returned, we went to have a closer look at the posters. Then in to the gift shop. Before I knew it tickets had been magicked out of a hidden pocket and we were going in to see the show. Imagine my surprise!
For me, surprises are magical things that take you out of ordinary life. They are special and unique. They are unexpected. They leave no time for worrying about change, or imagining the worst. 
The face of surprise is the child, eyes lighting up and mouth wide. Pure happiness combined with the innocence of youth. As we grow up we somehow become less surprised by life. We long for the past when even a strawberry could be a surprise. I remember hearing once on the radio about a young girl who was so surprised by a simple rainbow that she mentioned it to everyone she met for the whole day- they just couldn't stop her! And then, on the way home, they drove past the same spot and she sat looking out for that same ribbon of colour, hoping to capture again her first surprise. Yet the only surprise she got was that it was no longer there!
As adults we search for surprises but fear that they may be like that child's, lost forever. Maybe if we stop seeking and simple look at life with wonderous eyes, then we might find them again!

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Monday, 28 July 2014

One Minute Writer: Fancy

The One-Minute Writer asks us:

When was the last time you dressed up / got into formal wear?

A. I never really wear formal wear. My idea of formal is getting into a dress, rather than trousers, or wearing a uniform to play with my brass band. I guess the last time I was truly formal was in sixth-form when I was a church sacristan. This involved wearing a long skirt with a white shirt and black heeled shoes (low-heeled mind you). My most memorable moment of wearing this outfit was when I was carrying a large candle down the aisle. Unused to both heels and a long skirt, I almost tripped up (FIRE HAZARD!!!!). Luckily all I really did was drip a tiny bit of candle wax down my best blouse. 

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