Monthly Archives: August 2013

Friday Poem – If

Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If”:

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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Cut and Come Again Cake Recipe

When I need my stress levels reduced…I bake.baking

When I feel stressed, worried, anxious, a bit low, or any combination of these and others I find it helps to bake a cake.

Or in the case of today 3!

Wow!

I have a lot on my mind at the moment!

Anyway – I more than replenished the cake supply, so hopefully there should be no grumblings in this house for a while!

But I digress.

I made a simple fruit cake – called a “Cut and Come Again” cake.

I had had this years ago at a friend’s house and she gave me the recipe which I long since lost, but today I thought I would try something different to cupcakes and managed to find a recipe posted onto Saint Delia Smith’s website by someone – it is not a Delia recipe.

It was seriously easy to make, smells amazing and tastes fab 😉

So, here you go recipe for “Cut and Come Again” cake:

Ingredients

  • 12oz (340g) Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • 6oz (170g) Soft Margarine
  • 6oz (170g) Caster Sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6oz (170g) Sultanas
  • 4oz (113g) Currants (or chopped nuts if you prefer)
  • 4oz (113g) Raisins
  • 3 tablespoons Milk

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (Fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
  • Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin
  • Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl, or food mixer
  • Beat well until thoroughly mixed
  • Pour mixture into tin and level the top
  • Bake for about 1-1¼ hours (until skewer comes out clean)
  • Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off paper and cool on a wire rack.
  • Make a cup of tea and enjoy!

My Findings on Making the Cake

  1. This was a seriously easy cake to make – anyone can do it – from measuring out the ingredients to pouring into the cake tin literally took less than 10 minutes!
  2. I never use Caster Sugar in baking I always use soft brown sugar – only because I believe it is less refined and therefore slightly healthier – big emphasis on the slightly, after all it is still sugar! (I have tried fruit sugar alternative when I made cupcakes, total disaster, but that might work better with this recipe as well)
  3. I mixed all the ingredients, EXCEPT the fruit, first with my electric whisk for about 3/4 minutes, and then I added the fruit and mixed for a further minute – for me this seemed more logical, as you can see that everything has been mixed easier than if you have small dried fruit bits floating about!
  4. I put the cake in for 1 hour initially, then checked with the skewer, then I cooked for a further 5 minutes and the skewer came out clean. Everyone’s ovens are different and I would advise 1 hour first and then 5 minute intervals. For those that don’t know about the skewer test, it is purely to see if the cake is cooked – put a clean skewer into the middle of the cake, down to the bottom – if the skewer comes out with cake mixture on you can see that the mixture is still not quite cooked, if it comes out clean your cake is ready.
  5. This cake tastes extremely good when you are sat down with your feet up and a large mug of tea 😉

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Friday Poem – The Invitation

I stumbled across an abridged version of this lovely poem on Pinterest. It’s an extract from a book called “The Invitation” by Oriah “Mountain Drredroseeamer” – check out her website http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me

how old you are.

I want to know

if you will risk

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone

with yourself

and if you truly like

the company you keep

in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation, published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999

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My favourite film- An Affair to Remember

OMG! I love this film. I can’t remember when I first saw it, but it was long before ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ came out.an-affair-to-remember_quote

It is guaranteed to make me blub several times, so a big box of tissues is always required.

Yes, it is a total chick flick.

I don’t know if men get this movie – maybe if there are any men out there who have seen it, could let me know I’d be ever so grateful.

It is very dated by today’s rom-com standards, but it still tells the story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again – with a twist – effused with old-style Hollywood glamour.

I always wanted to go on a cruise to New York in the hope I might meet my very own Cary Grant, go shopping and get all glammed up to then meet him at the top of the Empire State Building – it ‘being the closest thing to heaven they have in New York’ 😉 – heck a girl can dream can’t she 😉

Might have to dig the movie out and watch it tomorrow?

Shopping list for Tuesday – 1 box of tissues…LARGE 😉

 

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Friday Poem – Desiderata

I stumbled across this poem in a shop the other day.magic

It was written by Max Ehrmann, an American writer, in 1927, but only became popular in the 1970s.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;  for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

 

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

 

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

 

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;

You have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

 

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

 

Be careful.

Strive to be happy.

 

 

Desiderata – desired things – what do you desire?

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There are fairies at the bottom of my garden…

…all ringing little bells!fairy dust

Not really, but SC now has a fairy friend.

The other day he wrote a secret note to the fairies to ask for a cat, and requested it be delivered the following day at 4pm.

Now obviously, I didn’t want him to be too disappointed when it didn’t arrive – not least because my dad needs seriously buttering up to get a new cat – I decided to write a letter back to SC from the fairies.

I used a handwriting font and some cream coloured paper to print it out on and then tore it down to size, so it looked more ‘fairy-like’.

I explained that fairyland didn’t have any kittens at present and that they (the fairies) wanted to make sure he had the perfect cat for him, so he had to be patient.

The following morning he woke up (super early, even by his standards – 4:30am is not a time I wish to be re-acquainted with), and when he found the note he was beside himself with joy – announcing he’d got a new best fairy friend – I called her Petal!

So, he wrote a letter back, and now I have to write another reply!!

What have I gotten myself into?

On the minus side, I have to write reply letters.

On the plus side, he seems to be content he has a confidante – so to speak – and maybe through the letters I can get Petal to help explain why some behaviour is not appropriate, without it being me the only one saying that he shouldn’t do this and that attitude is not appropriate!

Well, I guess I best get my fairy wings on (no joke I have some) wave my magic wand and write another letter before sprinkling it with fairy dust and leaving it on top of his note!

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How easy is it to get lost in the woods?

Not one where you don’t know where you are going, but one where you have a map – albeit a hand-drawn affair?woods

Surprisingly very easy, judging by SC and my effort this afternoon.

We went to some National Trust woodland this afternoon and they provided us with a map.

After doing the small circuit with in the PMV (personal mobility vehicle) with my mum, we set off on the slightly longer circuit in search of mini-beasts, deer, trees to climb, etc.

We managed to reach the curve of the circuit fairly easily – having stopped to look out over the surrounding countryside, found a tree with a branch that touched the ground – so SC now thinks he has climbed a tree –  looked underneath moss and stuff to find centipedes, worms and the such – personally I think it was a little too dry for them – and best of all we actually spotted a deer in the woodland. SC was amazed, and it came quite close, however, I was not quick enough to take a picture on my camera and it skipped off before I could press the button (oops!)

So, we got half-way!

Easy!

Next thing we had to find was a fallen tree.

SC found that no problem, or so we thought.

According to the map the path should have taken us back to the middle of the small circuit.

So we kept walking.

And walking.

And walking.

Until at length we came, not to the junction I was anticipating, but the main road!

EEK!

Where could we have possible gone wrong?

I studied the map.

And then I studied it again.

Seriously, I could not see where we could have gone wrong.

The next thing was most definitely a fallen down tree, which we found.

The only slight discrepancy between the location of the actual tree we found, and the one on the map, was that it wasn’t past the house in the woods (yes, that one, in a dark, dark wood, is a dark, dark house, etc.), and the one we saw was!

Surely there can’t have been two fallen down trees?

Also the signs for the walk we were on indicated for us to turn the way we did!

So, mild panic setting in on my part, insofar as my mum was sitting blissfully unaware in the car, back at the car park, which I thought closed at 5pm! Time was 4:30.

We spotted someone on a bike who told us to turn right at the first crossroads we saw and that should take us back to where we needed to go.

So, back SC and I set at a fair old pace – yes we ran!

Not for long, we did the run for a bit and walk for the rest of the way 😉

Anyway, we got to something that vaguely resembled a crossroads.

And do you know, when you are a little unsure all roads in a wood look the same, no wonder it is so easy to get lost!

However, I was a bit wary and very conscious of time, so I thought the best course of action was to re-trace our steps through the woods, and not take any turnings that might make us more lost!

Thankfully, by retracing our steps, we did reach the car, and more importantly before the car park closed. Phew!!

It was a fabulous walk, I just wish I knew where we had gone wrong…

I think I’m going to have to go back and have another go!!!

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