Posts Tagged ‘baking’

B is for….

BAKING!

I’ve done a little adjustment on my daily instruction from Karen M. Jones in The Difference A Day Makes. She asked me to find a common cause to contribute towards. She gives examples such as cleaning up the park or repainting a wall or something as things the community can mobilise and spend a day doing.

As I’ve been meaning to join the National Trust for ages, I figured I’d scale this up a little. Stately homes and gardens are one of the many things the National Trust looks after and membership with them recognises, in a way, a dedication to a common cause to preserve history. It also gets you free entry to tons of cool places. I figured it sort of fitted in with my instruction for the day.

So I went along to Ham House yesterday to join up…
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…and while I was there, I asked about volunteering as it suddenly struck me that they have a kitchen garden and a cafe where they produce food made with the vegetables growing outside. Omygoodness, I’d be a bit like a farmer if I volunteered to work in the gardens here, I thought, while enquiring about it.

The lady who looks after the volunteers took me to the office to chat and talked about all the different things volunteers help with and in amongst it all, I heard this….

“…and we have some volunteers who work in the big old 17th century kitchen and do baking demonstrations for the visitors….”

O. To the M. To the G. This is so me! Baking! In a big beautiful old kitchen! Talking to people about baking and then feeding them!

“Oo, that one! Can I do that one?” I exclaimed. The lady seemed equally as excited for me to get involved.

“Would you be willing to be in costume as well, when we get round to doing a fitting?”

“Would I?! Of course I would!”

So the scene has been set. I am to be added to something called Google Calendar and to just add myself onto a day when I’m free. I shall wear a 17th century outfit and hang out in a kitchen all day baking cakes and biscuits and talking to people and feeding them. I don’t know how I could be more excited.

The lady who talked to me actually also lives in Ham House and I reckon, if I play my cards right, I could get in there too. It could be mine and Danda’s holiday home. Our Ham House holiday home.

If you don’t know anything about Ham House, go and watch Never Let Me Go or the new Anna Karenina – they were both filmed there. Then think of me dressed in my 17th century outfit, baking biscuits.

Laura Maisey, Fully Qualified Piglet and Multi-Award Winner

Well, this is a good week. Passed my exams and been nominated for two awards. I’ll do the other one in a separate post. So for now, I would like to thank Wealthymatters for the nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award. This blog is a mixture of useful info and tips on creating wealth (always a useful thing when emerging from a period of self-imposed student-loan-related poverty!).

So the rules for this award are that I tell everyone 7 things about myself and nominate 15 other blogs for the award. So I’m going to have to think of 7 new things as I swear I’ve told the most interesting stuff already. Ok, here goes…

1. Sometimes I think I might like to spend my life becoming the new Alfred Wainwright, a famed English walker, who spent his time walking the Lake District and writing fantastic books about it, known as Wainwright’s Walks. In light of this possible life goal, I’m looking into walking the Pennines for my birthday next year. It takes about two weeks apparently. A friend did it and had a heart attack and had to be airlifted off to hospital. I don’t think the heart attack was related to the walk.

2. I once walked the Great Wall of China. It took about two weeks. It was exhausting. A lady in one village tried to sell me a Great Wall-themed t-shirt and when I said I had bought the exact same one at the previous village so didn’t need another, she said, in desperation, ‘But I have extra large!’

3. When I was travelling in Namibia with a friend and her family, we were staying in the middle of nowhere in a tented camp. As we walked in the pitch black from the dinner tent to our sleeping tent, we looked back up the path and shone the torch, and we had walked straight past a huge HUGE male lion with a massive mane. It had been lying down next to the path, clearly not hungry enough to have a go. If any of us had reached out an arm while walking past it, we would’ve touched it.

4. When I was younger, I named every single cuddly toy that I had, and I had a lot. When I was supposed to be going to sleep, I gave them all personalities and created a little life with them. My favourite doll, which I’d had since forever, was called Yvonne.

5. After I’ve been swimming, I eat far more than is really necessary, to get my energy back up. I’m probably burning enough to have two or three cereal bars. I tend to eat four or five, then a bit of everything else I find in the fridge. I know this is silly. And I know overall, the swimming can’t be having that much effect, due to my massively increased food intake, but I have decided to pretend that it’s not happening. If you would pretend too, then that would be great. Thanks.

6. I love a project. Love it! If someone says ‘I need to file all this stuff by tomorrow, I’ll never get it done’ I love it, I get straight in there. Or if we need to check the best before dates on everything in the shop, I’m on it, I’ve already started! Re-organising a drawer or re-arranging furniture, I love it. Let’s get the garden looking pretty, someone says. I’m your woman! I love it. I get excited thinking up projects for myself to work on.

7. I feel quite a bit of pressure to do something law-related now that I have my degree but in all honesty, I quite like what I’m doing now, even though it has nothing to do with law. People say, ‘O, so what will you do now?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, at the moment I am mostly baking and writing. Which I like. So I’ll do that.’ Lots of people with grown-up jobs don’t like them very much. Whereas I love my job, it’s great fun. I think I should count myself lucky in that and not be in a rush to go and do something grown-up, just for it’s own sake.

Ok, so now you all know me a bit better (I’m running out of cool facts to tell you all actually. Any more awards and I’ll be telling you things about myself that are of the ‘I had a cup of tea this morning’ variety), and it’s time to nominate 15 other blogs for the One Lovely Blog Award. This is fairly easy as they’re all pretty lovely, lovely enough for me to take the time out to read them every day. I’ll try not to repeat any I’ve done before.

1. Thought Catalog – This blog is just fantastic. There are no other words for it. It’s witty, painfully honest and always hilarious. 33 Things You Should Know Before Dating Me is my favourite of the recent posts, but the’yre all worth reading.

2. A Year Of Reading The World – This blog is great. 196 countries, and a year to read something from all of them. I was super excited the other day when I saw a book from Namibia on the list.

3. The Good Greatsby – I love love love this blog. Invite Me To Your Yachting Party and Thank You For Inviting Me To Your Party. I Apologize For My Behaviour At The Party are among the funniest things I have ever read.

4. Belle Grove Plantation – This blog feeds my history obsession. It follows the restoration of the plantation in Virginia, US, where James Madison was born. The little stories of discoveries on the land and tales of the families who lived there are absolutely fascinating. At some point, I’m definitely visiting, it looks amazing.

5. socomfortablynumb – This blog had me at “I’m not all that pretty. I dress wierd.”

6. CyclingEurope.org – This man cycled around Europe and wrote a book about it, which I’m in the middle of at the moment. It’s a great book, fantastically entertaining. Read it.

7. Bagni di Lucca and Beyond – Gorgeous gorgeous photos. I’ve never wanted to go to Italy more! In fact, I have booked myself a trip there soon and my sole holiday research has been this blog!

8. hairsprayandhemingway – I was initially attracted to this blog by the name. The blog is described as being about ‘literature, beauty and life.’ What’s not to love?

9. AsiaDreaming – This blog always has beautiful photos from exotic faraway lands, that make me want to drop everything and jump on a plane.

10. Blogging for a Good Book – It’s the Williamsburg Regional Library blog and every day I come and check out which book they have recommended. I’ve read a few that have been suggested and they were very good.

11. Tokyobling’s Blog – Again, amazing photos and a fascinating insight into another part of the world. The colours and liveliness in the photos are great.

12. Project 365 by Kenneth Todd – One photo a day for a year. Does what it says on the tin. There are some lovely lovely pictures on this blog, check them out if you’re into photography or if you just like looking at pretty things.

13. Fitness and Frozen Grapes – The great pictures of food are just one of the reasons I love reading this blog. No matter how active I am, I always feel lazy when I read this!

14. Lyrics and Chocolate – The most recent post, List of things that never change was great!

15. Steeshes – A Photo Collection of Mustaches – This blog is just great. There’s always a new picture of a moustache. I feel it is good for one to be up-to-date with the latest moustache fashions. That’s partly why I love this blog so much. Check it out. You’re bound to discover something amazing.

 

PS. As a London-dweller, I feel I should say something about the Olympics. So here it is = the Olympics are nice, aren’t they?

Why I get up at 5am

Don’t worry, I’m not especially different from anyone else. It’s not that I’m one of ‘those’ people, you know, who run fifty miles before going to work, just for fun. I think of people who do that type of thing as being slightly superhuman and different from me. I don’t need to worry about aspiring to be like them because I’m just human whereas they’re superhuman, so no need to feel inadequate.

No, when I get up at 5am it’s more having willpower and liking to be in control. Let me explain.

Let’s say I’m due at work at 7am. Option 1 is that I get up around half six, get a quick shower, get dressed, have a cup of tea and some breakfast, brush my teeth, grab my bag and leave the house. If I then finish work at 3pm and go home, I’ll be a bit knackered from work so I’ll spend a bit of time sitting around staring into space. By the time I’ve shaken myself into doing something, there’s a textbook waiting to be read, so I potter over to it and spend the time until dinner doing that. Make dinner. Sit around being a bit more knackered. Go to bed. That’s Option 1.

Option 2. Wake up a few hours before I need to be awake and while I’m fresh and lively and listening to the birds sing outside, do something physical (nothing that requires too much exertion though, remember I’m not superhuman, just human). Something gentle like go for a walk or do some yoga. Then once I’ve done that I sit down at the computer and write my blog. By the time I’ve done those two things there’s usually about 45 mins left before work. So I do a bit of studying/working on essays etc while having breakfast and a cup of tea. Then about fifteen minutes before I need to leave for work I get a quick shower, dress, teeth, bag, out of the door. When I get home from work later, I’ve already done my studying so there’s no guilt factor in sitting around, if I want to. I often spend this time baking, making jam, reading or something similar.

For me, Option 1 is fine but my whole day just runs on automatic. I’ve not made that day my own. I’ve just kind of been a bystander whilst running to and fro. Option 2 starts my day off by doing things that I want to do. If I wanted to spend that whole two hours reading a good book, I could. It’s about having control of how I spend my time and the choice to start my day as I please, not just how I have to. Also, by doing all the things I like to, first thing in the morning, the rest of my day is free to do other things I like (more often than not, food-related).

When I say to people I’m getting up at 5am the next day, they marvel, they gasp, their eyes grow wide with admiration. It’s not actually a big effort at all. When the alarm beeps, I snooze it once or twice, because I’ve never in my life got up on the first beep I don’t think, and then I just think, ‘The next two hours, until the rest of the world wakes up, is mine, what shall I do with it today?’ Plus, my brain starts ticking immediately while I work out what to write on my blog and pretty soon I’m itching to get at the computer!