Tag Archives: carrot cake

Lessons I’ve Learned in 2016

snoopyDo I start off with a reflective, thoughtfully written paragraph?

No, let’s dive straight in – so here are the 10 lessons I have learned over the last year:

10.  NEVER put a mixture of grapeseed and jojoba oil on your hair – it’s a b***er to get out.

Why did I do this crazy thing? Vanity, pure vanity. I have never been blessed with thick, voluminous, lustrous locks. My hair is baby fine and there has never been much of it. I have it trimmed regularly, but still, sometimes looks like 9 strands of hair…literally.

So I did what any other vain person would do and searched Doctor Google for some advice on how to naturally thicken one’s hair. And this seemed liked a reasonable suggestion. Just gently massage the mixture onto your scalp for 5 minutes and then wash off using a mild shampoo.

Well, the first bit worked, the massage was very therapeutic and mildly relaxing. But, did the darn oil wash off? No sir, it did not. I washed my hair twice and it still felt like an oil slick. Gross! Once it had dried, it did feel silky smooth, that did not last. By the end of the day it looked like I hadn’t washed my hair for a month. Solution, wash hair with baking soda and then wash hair with shampoo – that seemed to do the trick.

Lesson learned – don’t be so b***dy vain, and just use hairpieces like everyone else! (I’ve got a fab blonde long, curly wig I’m dying to try out. Will my IQ go down though once I put it on?)

9.  EGGS are great as a beauty treatment, just don’t eat them.

I’ve posted previously about the wonders of an egg-white face mask – and yes, I’m still slopping the egg-white on my face on a regular basis.

However, this was the year that eggs decided to give me up!

You know as you get older that your tastes change and things you used to like, no longer do it for you? Sometimes, as in my case, the food in question decided it did not like me any more. Without going into too much detail, I found that I now cannot eat eggs – or rather I can but then regret it!

Lesson learned – just stick to having egg on my face and don’t buy any chickens in the near future!

8.  FLYING SOLO IS FUN

This year, I grabbed the bull by the horns and decided to strike out on my own. S*d the fact that I had no one to go with, I bravely bit the bullet and went to places I never thought I would ever go to. And yes, I went on my own – or rather I was accompanied by a good book – and had the most splendid of times.

I knocked 2 items off the bucket list – I had afternoon tea at The Ritz and lunch at The Ivy and went to numerous plays/musicals in the West End all by myself.

Yes, you get stared at – I just buried my head a little deeper into the book and ignored, and yes I was shoved away in a corner )Ritz) and not really afforded the same attention (Ivy) as someone who had companionship at the table – but I had the most wonderful time.

I met some lovely people at the theatre and saw some fabulous productions.

Next year a spa day beckons – need another crystal healing session – and I might check out a few art galleries.

Lesson learned – don’t be afraid of doing things on your own.

7.  TRAMPOLINING is fun and very good exercise.

There are trampoline parks springing up all over the place. Forget Zumba, Ballet Fitness or Yoga, it appears “bouncing to get fit” is the new exercise fad.

I took SC to one of these trampoline parks and it was super fun. After an hour you certainly feel the burn, even if you do nothing more than bounce. You also leave with a tremendous grin on your face.

It’s also extremely good for your pelvic floor muscles. After having SC, my pelvic floor is not what it used to be. Let’s just say, trampolining certainly gives them a good work-out!!!

Lesson learned – having fun keeps you young.

6. I CAN or I’ll give it a darned good try at the very least.

I have started a couple of projects this year, that I have been um-ing and ah-ing about for a good few years. Finally, I decided that I should just do it – to coin a phrase. After all, what’s the very worst that could happen? Yes, I know, I could fall flat on my face, but at least I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried.

The 1st project is going well and the 2nd project after a bit of a shaky start is beginning to gather momentum, so hopefully, cross fingers, it will be onwards and upwards for both of them.

Lesson learned – don’t dither, just do it!

5.  CARROT CAKE and catch-ups are the best thing ever.

My best friend moved back overseas in September, and the one thing I really miss is our regular carrot cake and catch-up sessions.

Lesson learned – don’t underestimate the power of carrot cake!

4.  I AM WORTHY!

I worked out a long time ago that clearly, I am just not the right girl for anyone. And I’m happy with that. Me, myself and I (after a rough start) get on very well now and I don’t need anyone to make me feel happy or complete (if that makes sense?).

I’ve had my share of being treated badly, shall we say – an option, a replacement, a stand-by, a joke, etc.

I finally know my value. I may be quirky, weird, geeky, lanky, but I am deserving of something real, something true and something better.

I am strong enough now to realise that I am worth the effort of climbing to the top of the tree.

Lesson learned – I believe in actions not words.

3.  SMILE everyday.

No matter what, just smile. Like the song goes, “smile, though your heart is aching!”

Life is better when you smile.

Smiles, like laughter, are infectious, and your smile may make someone else’s day.

Lesson learned – smiling makes you feel better.

2.  GRAB OPPORTUNITIES by the proverbials.

Life sends us opportunities every day. We just need to open our eyes to find them.

When you are sent an opportunity, embrace it and make the most of it. It may lead to bigger and better things.

Lesson learned – be grateful for everything life throws your way.

1. LIFE IS AMAZING!

Every day is a blessing, no matter what the day holds for you.

Don’t worry about what other people think, do what makes you happy. What is the point of doing stuff that makes you miserable?

Life may not always work out the way we want, it will always hold surprises – good, bad or otherwise – and those little blips will either lead us onto better things, teach us what we need to know or just be something to brush off.

There will always be some upset, but at the end of the day that’s life, it’s never going to be plain sailing.

We have 86,400 seconds every day to live life to the fullest, so don’t waste them.

Lesson learned – to wake up every morning and feel grateful and blessed for another chance.

 

What have you learned this year?

Happy New Year everyone

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Recipe – Cinnamon and Carrot Cake

I got this lovely recipe out of “Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen”, a book I bought seriously years ago. It has been languishing in the drawer in the kitchen for a while (most of my recipe books, are actually taking up a cupboard’s floor space (and some) in my bedroom…) and I decided last week to try something a little bit different instead of coffee & walnut cake, and this was one of them.

Ingredients

  • ½lb (225g) Plain Flour (this can be normal, wheatmeal or wholemeal)
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 4oz (110g) Butter (or Margarine)
  • 4oz (110g) Honey
  • 4oz (110g) Sugar
  • ½lb (225g) Carrots, peeled and finely grated

Method

  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 (325°F, 170°C, 150° (Fan));
  • Grease a 1lb (450g) Loaf Tin;
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder);
  • Put the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and melt over a low heat;
  • Pour this mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is combined;
  • Stir in the finely grated carrots;
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and pop in the oven;
  • Cook for 60-80 minutes until the mixture feels firm to the touch and a skewer, when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean;
  • Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, the turn out onto a cooling rack;
  • Enjoy!

What happened when I did it!

  • Well, the first thing, is I clearly didn’t read the recipe clearly enough (must use my glasses more often) as I only added ½ teaspoon of baking powder, not ½ tablespoon – that could be the reason it felt very ‘heavy’!
  • I also always use light brown sugar instead of caster sugar. I also think that if you want to use fruit sugar, it would work just as well just remember to only use 2/3 of the amount).
  • I didn’t have any nutmeg in the cupboard – or rather I did but it was seriously out-of-date, so it got binned – so I replaced this with 1 teaspoon of ginger.
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon does make for a very heavily spiced cake – so if cinnamon is not a particular favourite, you could always use half the cinnamon and replace the remainder with mixed spice, or ginger! Cinnamon does have an enormous range of health benefits, so this could be said to be a ‘healthy cake’ – would one of those really exist?
  • An alternative – which is the route I took – was to top the cake with an orange buttercream frosting (recipe below). This actually helped to cool down the spiciness of the cinnamon, and it tasted great 😉

Orange Buttercream Frosting

  • 35g Butter (or margarine)
  • 20ml Milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (or orange juice)
  • 166g Icing Sugar

These are approximate guidelines, as I reduced a recipe by a third!

Chuck everything into a bowl and mix with an electric beater – or a spoon, until smooth and creamy 😉

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Top 3 ‘comforts’

So, let’s say you’ve had a lousy day at work, you’re stressed or you just feel less than 100%, a bit down. What do you do to make you feel better?

Some people reach for the chocolate, others for a bottle of red (or white) wine.

Obviously, that doesn’t work for me!

My top 3 comfort methods for feeling better are (in no particular order)

  1. Cuddles – SC is brilliant at just flinging his arms around me, for no reason, and saying “I love you Mummy”. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on my face every time 😉 He also instinctively knows if I’m not feeling happy and gives me lots of big hugs – which are obviously returned as big, if not bigger.
  2. Watching a old-fashioned movie, snuggled under the duvet and slumming it in pyjamas – with a box of tissues to hand. I’m an old-fashioned kind-of gal, and those old movies get me every time. You know the 1940’s and 1950’s movies – English or Hollywood, not particularly fussed. But the type where boy gets girl … in the end. Never a dry eye watching those.
  3. Cake – Well, since I can’t eat chocolate and don’t like wine, I must have to have one vice, don’t I? I love making cakes, but you can’t beat a cup of tea and slice of cake from either the local tea-shop or from the bakery department at the supermarket. Although I hate coffee to drink, I am quite partial to coffee cake, but I do have a soft spot for a moist, carrot cake with cream frosting – there is an amazing shop just opened where I live and there carrot cake is to die for (nom  nom).

What do you reach for in times of trouble?

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