The “C” Word (Part 1)


Yes, it’s that time of year when the dreaded (or maybe not) “C” word crops up. Christmas. It’s really not long to go and so the preparation begins.

I am not religious and therefore Christmas holds no special relevance for me. However I do like to have certain days in the year which are unlike all the others. Whether new traditions are created, celebrated, new foods made, or it is a day for spontaneity. Life can drag us all down, and to have a few days here and there where your routine is different, you eat different food, and have something to look forward to is a good thing in my book.

So, back to Christmas. I enjoy the tinsel, the glitter, the lights and I love the food. Christmas cake (which will be my part 2 of “The “C” Word” and Christmas mincemeat are the two food items which need to be prepared in advance. Long in advance. And, before you ask, no, I don’t do Christmas pudding. Not in the traditional sense anyway. But watch this space for part 3…….!!

Mince pies are lovely, home-made mince pies are even lovelier, and so, too, I have discovered is home-made mince.


I found a recipe I liked and have only done minor tweaking here. This one is a VERY boozy Christmas mince.

With raisins, currants, cranberries, sultanas, almonds, lemon, Bramley apple, dried candied citrus peel, cinnamon, mixed spice, Demerara and dark muscovado sugars, rum, brandy and Amaretto………..sigh.


Now I just need the willpower to leave it for a few months.



Boozy Banana Bread (aka a work in progress)

I did a post a short while ago about Banana Bread for adults, and have now made a bit of progress with my recipe tweaking.  I have not reached perfection yet however…..

But I think I have now found my go-to recipe, it just needs a few more gentle tweaks. This is really the easiest banana bread recipe, although it is vamped up with chocolate and alcohol in this particular instance.  Since I found I could make it by substituting oil for butter it is just a case of slopping everything together, pouring it into the baking tin (it is a very runny batter) and baking it.  What more could I want? Slop, pour, bake, eat!

I used Jim Beam Maple bourbon, although you can use any whisky, or bourbon, or even rum…..*thinks of further recipe tweaking possibilities*

I didn’t add walnuts this time (I think pecans would be a good option), and instead of dark chocolate I used milk chocolate, and yet somehow it all worked. Give me a few more chances to tweak this and I might have something to be proud of 🙂




Pebbles. Stones. We see them all the time. We hurt our feet walking on them. We kick them. We throw them.  We walk over them and never notice them. We never really look at them.  They are there. In time they get beaten up and ground down and end up smaller and smaller until they are grains of sand. Forgotten.

Sometimes after rain, or walking on a beach when the waves have broken over the pebbles, the sun catches them at just the right angle, and for a moment they are beautiful.

Beauty in small things. Things thought of as ordinary, but full of beauty. We just need the right light, the right angle, the right frame of mind, and then we see it. But with a little care, a little love, the beauty in what we once thought of as dull, can be brought out. And it shines.


Double Chocolate Muffins (again!)


I made these muffins not so long ago, but each time I see the post and my photo I cringe. I don’t have the talent to take nice photos, but I felt there could be a better representation. Also, I have been craving chocolate, not just chocolate, but something deeply chocolatey!

Double chocolate muffins it had to be then! I have only made this recipe once before, and so without a second thought I happily chucked all the ingredients in, and mixed.  There seemed to be rather a large quantity of batter, which I didn’t remember before. But that just makes more muffins, so win-win! The other thing I noticed this time was the texture of the batter was very mousse-like. I guess this explains the volcanic result. The recipe made 15 muffins, bursting out over their cases (real muffin tops!).  Once I get the hang of posting links (you may regret this) I will eventually include recipes and links.  This recipe came from Good Housekeeping Magazine.

The resulting muffins? Deeply chocolatey and oh-so-light in texture. I’m happy 🙂



I have been thinking a lot about friendship. For quite a while.  This is as a result of what is going on in my life, what is going on in friends’ lives and general observations on social media. And introspection.

It seems to me that the concept of friendship has changed. Just saying this makes me feel awfully old, and old fashioned. But maybe it is that we now place different values on friendship. Then again, if we do, has it changed, or have I not noticed it until now. Or do I simply not have the social skills myself to make a lasting friendship? As I said, introspection.

For me, certain attributes are very important in friendship. Honesty, loyalty always. Having things in common is important, and yet having different interests is important too. A friend doesn’t always have to be someone similar to me, we can be very different people and yet there are common aspects of our lives that bring us together.

Is friendship more fleeting these days? A friendship of necessity, drawn together by a common circumstance, and when or if that circumstance changes, the friendship doesn’t survive?

I hate to fall out with a friend. Especially over a misunderstanding. I will fight for a friendship, fight not to lose it. Because that friend is important to me, because misunderstandings can be resolved, we can agree to disagree, but that person with whom I originally became friends is still there, underneath that all. Why would I throw it away?

When a friend changes the way they behave towards me without reason, it hurts. I wonder why. I wonder what I have done to cause this. I try to understand, to find out what happened, to resolve any issues. Am I foolish for doing this? I don’t understand how someone can just walk away from a friendship without a backward glance.

And yet we all, I am sure, have at some stage in our lives had a friend where after a while you realise you are making all the effort, you are always there for them when they need you, they disappear when things go well, they are not there when you need them. And then sometimes, it feels that the only option is to call time on the friendship. This is still a painful decision to have to make.

I am losing two friends at the moment. One for reasons I cannot understand, and I have tried. I have tried to understand, and I have tried to save the friendship. I just don’t know what else to do. The lack of explanation or closure is what hurts the most.

My other friend was in a motorbike accident a couple of weeks ago. I still live in hope that he can pull through, but it is looking more and more like he will not make it. This is a different kind of sadness and loss. And I feel so helpless when trying to offer support to his friends and family.

What are your experiences with friendship? Do you agree, or disagree? Is there a trick to dealing with all this that I haven’t learned?