Friday, 23 May 2008

Sweet Offerings!

After my last post I've been asked by a few people to divulge my Banana Muffin recipe, so here it is, hope you enjoy! The original recipe is for banana loaf from the Dinner Lady book, she gives an ingredient list for servings for 4 people and servings for 96 people!! You just have to make sure you get the right list!!

2 ripe bananas
175g (6oz) butter or margarine
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
225g (8oz) SR flour
Half tsp baking powder
Half tsp vanilla essence
Half tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Peel the bananas then crush with a fork. Beat together the butter or margarine and sugar, then add the eggs alternately with the flour and baking powder. Fold in the crushed banana, vanilla essence and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases (makes 12) or pour the mixture into a greased 450g (1lb) loaf tin. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 mins. Cool on a wire cooling tray.

As an added treat I sometimes add a handful of chocolate drops to make banana/choc muffins - yummy.

I've actually managed to make a few pieces of seasonal jewellery over the last couple of weeks. I picked up some of these shell beads from a card making shop and the others from a garden centre - just shows you, you can pick up components from lots of different places, not just bead shops.

I'm afraid I've been a little distracted this week and the little fellows below are to blame! Aren't they gorgeous?

My youngest son made the bird box about 18mths ago at cubs. I noticed a few weeks ago that a bird was visiting every now and then. Earlier this week I noticed the pair were back and forth nearly all day. We can't see inside the box (lid firmly nailed down!) but I was able to get close enough yesterday to hear little chirping noises - we're just keeping our fingers crossed that the chicks survive and don't get pounced on by the local cats!! I noticed a big tabby this morning on the other side of the trellis trying to paw at the box, I don't think they've got a chance of getting inside. I think the problems will begin when they start to fledge. I can't go outside into the garden (or into the conservatory for that matter) without standing for about 10mins (minimum) to watch the parents flying to and fro with their tasty morsels.

We took a trip into Derbyshire last Sunday to visit a Well Dressing at the village of Etwall. For those unfamiliar with the art of well dressing, you can find out about the history and this years timetable here. We've not visited this particular village before and we had a lovely time walking up and down searching out the wells.

At the above event was an owl rescue group called Majestic Owls. They had some of their owls in an enclosure and you could get really close to them. When the owls have been rescued they can't unfortunately be released back to the wild so the rescue people care for them and take them round to groups/schools etc to talk about them and their protection etc. I think you will agree with me that they are stunning specimens. They had lovely names too, one was called TeaBag, which amused my youngest!

I think that's about it for this time. I hope everyone has a lovely bank holiday weekend. Hubby, eldest son and nephew are off to Wembley tomorrow to see Hull City in the Championship Playoffs against Bristol City - I just so hope they win otherwise it will be unbearable, mind you it will be equally unbearable with all the celebrations - come on Tigers!!! We're off into Derbyshire again on Monday to visit a few galleries who are taking part in the Derbyshire Open Arts. I will report back later.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Banana's, Biking & Bluebells!!

Yes, I am still here!! I have already been ticked off for my lack of posting recently, but I have been sooooo busy, honest!

As you will know from my previous posts I was busy, along with my two partners in crime, Ash and Tracey, preparing for our 30 year school reunion. I am pleased to say it was a resounding success. Almost everyone that said they would attend, did and a few extras turned up on the night too. We think there was approx 50 people in the end. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and voted for another get together, but perhaps we shouldn't wait another 30 years next time. I have set up another blog where I've uploaded lots of photo's from the evening and if you would like to see how we've all faired over the years go take a peek here.

The other event I was preparing for was my two day stint at my local gym. I was there as part of their Open Week and there was all manner of things happening, make up demonstrations, The Body Shop, Virgin Vie, lots of competitions, raffles, guess the weight of the cake etc. I don't know yet how much they raised overall, but I should imagine it was quite a good amount, which will all go to MacMillan Care. My little stall did really well, so well that I have lots of stock to make up before my next event. Unfortunately, because I was so busy with one thing and another I didn't get the chance to take any photographs of my new pieces and now it's too late, cos most of them sold!!! But I have included a photo of my latest foxglove pendant taken from my good friend Kerrie Slade's project in Bead and Button. I love the colours in the beads and I always receive some great comments when wearing it.

I hope everyone had a nice May Bank Holiday weekend. The weather here in Nottingham was a bit up and down. Hubby and the boys went to Donnington on Sunday to watch the touring cars, whilst I drove into Derbyshire to visit a few craft fairs and galleries. Although, it was rainy and a bit miserable I really enjoyed myself (the lads got a bit wet though!). I stopped by one craft fair and had a lovely long chat with Anne from Chloe's Designs and treated myself to one of her gorgeous dichroic glass bangles.

That brings us to the present and today I have done two things that I haven't done for quite a while! The first was baking. I used to do lots of baking, but the problem with that is - you eat the products, usually far too quickly!! What prompted me to do some today was I bought some yummy Jumbo Rolled Oats from Rowsley Mill on Sunday, whilst on my travels and I knew they would be ideal for some flapjack!!! I added a few handfuls of dried cranberries and they're delicious. My youngest son even likes them and he doesn't normally like any type of dried fruit in his food!! I knew that the flapjack would last long enough so I also baked a dozen Banana Muffins! Hopefully this batch will last at least till the weekend!!

The other thing I haven't done for a while is to get out on my bicycle!! This afternoon I decided to go for a short bike ride to see if I could capture some pictures of the beautiful bluebells that are adorning our woodlands at the moment. I spent a lovely, if not a bit hot, hour and a half cycling and walking through two nearby villages. I hope you like my woodland pictures featured below.

Till next time.....I'm off for a piece of flapjack!!!