Friday, 31 December 2010

It was, of course, inevitable.

If I were a paranoid person I'd be getting suspicious about now.

Yes, we were given a packet of Marks and Sparks cupcakes. They are very pretty, and they taste okay. But they're just little cakey things aren't they?

Anyway never mind that. I am excited! And also feeling faintly guilty. I have ordered a new compact camera. Now I am lucky enough to have a really nice DSLR thanks to a bonus MrBorg got at work a while back - and it's brilliant (and actually I really should get the manual out and learn some more of its technicalities) but heavy. My five-year-old Kodak compact which I carried everywhere as my everyday camera finally gave up the ghost a few months ago. I took it to a place to see if it was fixable but unfortunately they said it would cost more than the cost of a new one to fix! And I was quite sad about this as it was a cracking wee camera that took a lot of abuse one way and another and had charted the adventures of the Boy since his nappy days, as well as covering the arrival of Miss Mouse. It did its duty alright. MrBorg took the opportunity to have a look at its innards - actually I was curious too.

There you go.

But after much searching through Amazon, various photographic review sites and so on, I managed to find something. This was very stressful - I got totally wound up with the details. Which is silly because my old camera being 5 years old, just about anything new I get is bound to be of higher spec than the old one. But anyway, it's on its way. I don't know when it'll get here but I'm hugging that Calvin-waiting-for-his-beanie feeling to me just now knowing it's on its way. I'm so excited. I hope I like it. I hope it likes me.

It's a quarter to midnight now and I have a 'hello from last year' e-mail to send to New Zealand, so Happy New Year faithful reader(s)!

Monday, 27 December 2010

The Cult of the Cupcake

I freely admit I don't get the cupcake thing at the moment. Cooking sections of bookshops full of surprisingly thick books on baking pastel-iced confections. Not to mention cupcake themed curtains and bedding (because that'll tackle childhood obesity so well..). How many variations of a cupcake can there actually be anyway? To me cupcakes (or fairy cakes actually, I've never called them cupcakes in my life, even though fairy cakes should be the ones with the wings on top) are something I make with the kids when I'm feeling like an uber-mummy. It passes some time, we have fun with adding lurid food-colouring to the icing and scattering on sprinkles of various types. The results are just about edible. But it's not a wildly enriching lifestyle thingy. I'm probably missing the point.

I like to bake though. Oh yes. On the whole I'm not madly keen on cake, it has to be said - a decent chocolate cake, yes; intensely darkly fruity and alcoholic Christmas cake, yes. But I like the process of baking a cake and I have favourite recipes.

Last week I was in my local supermarket trying to get various bits and pieces for the Christmas cake - glycerine and blue food colouring for the royal icing (a tiny drop of it in the icing prevents it looking yellowy) and one of those shiny cake board things available in various festive colours for putting the cake on. Normal enough baking requirements I'd have thought. But I couldn't get them - no food colouring at all that I could see, only pre-coloured icing-tubes. No glycerine. And no cake-boards (or whatever the correct name is). There were however umpty-squillion pots of gloopy 'frosting' (ideal for cupcakes!) and cardboard 2-tiered slot-together cake stands in pastel colours though. Oh goody.

Fortunately one of Mr Borg's colleagues suggested a local shop I always forget about - one that sells fancy-dress stuff, craft things and, it turns out, 'cake stuff'. So I went to have a look and came back with a silver cake-board and some splendidly retro Christmas cake decorations:

Remember the Babycham ads from a million years ago?

And, it being a bit of a Tardis-like Aladdin's cave of cool stuff, there were some other bits and pieces I couldn't resist for the wreath that actually I haven't got round to making but never mind that.

So, despite the best attempts of the Cupcake Cultists in charge of stock at my local supermarket, I has a Christmas cake. And mmm, it's rich..


Sunday, 12 December 2010


I'm posting this quickly because Cat1, Toby, is showing an interest in the tree now (it's been up about 4 hours) and it'll likely be wrecked by morning! Actually the other one's poking around it now too. But for a few hours it looked gorgeous!

I usually get a couple of new tree decorations each year - Miss Mouse chose this one.

We haven't got the metres and metres of paperchains up yet - I've put the drawing-pins somewhere sensible and can't find them.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Colour Fail

Well, there's blue. Ice-blue. Lots of. Or as my daughter would say 'lotsen' (as in 'lotsen lotsen toys'). I couldn't even photograph my knitting 'cos I was knitting snowman and polar bear tree decorations!

But but but there's also.. mildly comedic cat moment!

What was going though his head?

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this but I'm fascinated by snow-flakes and ice-crystals and today I got some cracking pictures of them. This one is of ice-crystals on my wheelie-bin - how mundane, but how beautiful :-D.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Splash of Colour: Paper chains

For the first time in years I made paper-chains. My Beloved was working from home and the school was shut so I was trying to keep the kids occupied without disturbing him. So I found a whole lot of coloured paper and we got to work. See how organised my mind is? No random pile of paper strips for me, oh no!

Some of the paper was patterned and the kids decorated some of the plain strips too to liven them up a bit.

We've already put one chain up in the Boy's room, Miss Mouse wants hers hung up in the living-room and I've made another chain for the living-room so the place will start to look quite festive.

I'm loving the results! I always liked making paper chains in primary school but we used gummed paper strips in weirdly un-festive colours (mustard, dark red, brown - yeah, it was the 70s but come on!) so these look brilliantly cheerful. Schools and nurseries are all closed again tomorrow according to the council's Twitter account* so by tomorrow night I may be surrounded by paper chains!

For the truly un-colourful outside pics see my picture-a-day blog.

* Genius
idea! They have all the details on their website too but that crashed briefly yesterday under the strain of people refreshing when it looked like the schools were closing imminently, but the council's tweets kept me informed!

Monday, 6 December 2010

The dinkiest little Splash of Colour

The last ten days have been distinctly monochrome, and then today another load of snow dumped itself on us - so the only colour I saw was this:

The men of our street digging the road out, salting it, pushing cars up. That's my Beloved in the bright orange! And let's not be sexist, the women were out there too - just not when I took the picture.

So, more muted splashes of colour today! Lovely to be cosy and indoors after a somewhat trying day.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Splash of Colour: December

It's the first week of the month so it's Silverpebble's Splash of Colour time (link to the Flickr group as Silverpebble's blog doesn't seem to be working - hope everything's ok!) and here's my little splash of colour! And a tricky one it is too because it's all a bit monochrome at the moment as the outside world is like this:

There was no school or nursery today (and believe me, they don't close them lightly round here) so the kids and I were trying to find some colour. Any colour.

I had a rummage through my yarn stash and my patterns to see what I had in BRIGHT because it's the nursery's Christmas Fair next week and I want to knit a few tree decorations for it. Jean Greenhowe and Alan Dart to the rescue!

Hurray, knitted Santas and penguins here I come! Meanwhile the kids had dug out the Aquadraw and were immersed in their work for, ooh, quite a while actually.

I've just realised that what they're doing is a fairly literal Splash of Colour!


Ah, finally got in to Silver Pebble's blog and we're doing Splash of Colour from Monday the 6th! I'm ahead of myself! Never mind...