The Gallery – Nature

This weeks The Gallery theme is Nature and as an extra incentive Tara over at 
Sticky Fingers has a prize!! Yes a prize! Not any old thing to give away, but a hamper filled with Green & Blacks chocolate nom nom nom!!

I love taking nature photographs there is such an abundance of beautiful things to appreciate with the lens. In fact it was hard choosing which photo/s to use because I have a lot covered by this theme within my collection.

In the end I have decided to go with Sunsets.

Remember the old saying:

Red sky at night, shepherds delight

I always think of this when I am witness to a beautiful setting sun and the sky it leaves behind once it has been absorbed by the horizon.The colours that the sky displays are so beautiful and vivid.

 I wrote a piece of poetry (for the Writing Workshop for Josie at Sleep is for the Weak) back in May where I describe a setting sun:

The glowing sun starts to set
and the twilight sky erupts,
ablaze with vibrant colours
its final incandescence unveiled.
Like a work of art hung in a gallery,
it paints the beauty of mother nature.
The world seems a better place
when the golden sun luminates!

This first photo of the twilight sky could be a painting I think. If it were, I imagine it to have been inspired by an artist with a tormented soul who is expressing so many emotions, as it seems to me to be so fiery and full of anger and  yet also showing love and beauty – just so dramatic. I love it!

This next one is again another example of the many different colours the post sunset sky reveals: purple, salmon pink, pink, lilac, grey just gorgeous! I was driving home one night and just had to pull over and capture it.

However, I do think that to witness a sun setting over the sea is an amazing sight and when you are on holiday or after a day in this country, it makes a perfect day in the sun end on a high aswell. Indeed as the dying rays reflect across the ripples and waves, it is almost giving you two sunsets for the price of one! 

I will stop writing anymore now and let you enjoy the photos I took at Westward Ho! beach here in North Devon, one cold January afternoon just as the golden sun was setting.

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Cupboard Love!!

Right time for another Burton moment. 🙂

Earlier I popped to the kitchen to fetch his water and when I returned the little monkey was climbing into his toy cupboard!

Here let me show you

Iggle Piggle there you are!

Quick Iggle Piggle before Mummy sees me!

Oh you have caught me!

Yes, can I help you with something?

Easy does it

He thought it was funny as well!
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Big Bake Off – White Chocolate & Strawberry Cake

Englishmum has set a bake-off competition which is open to everyone and anyone who can bake! All you need to do is make and bake a cake, tart, pie or bun and take a photo and then email it to her. The best photo wins a hamper filled with Green & Blacks chocolate. 

So as I am always open to an excuse to bake a cake, I decided to take up the challenge and on Saturday I made a Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake. It comprises of a vanilla sponge with white chocolate chunks, sandwiched together with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream and decorated with pink vanilla buttercream, fresh strawberries and white chocolate shavings.

Here it is

If you would like to recreate this yummy cake here is how you can!

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

You will need:

For the sponge:

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
12 squares of good quality white chocolate

For the filling & topping:

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g icing sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla ext rat
Red food colouring
Good quality strawberry jam
White chocolate shavings
A handful of fresh strawberries sliced (keep 1 whole)


Pre-heat oven to 160oC (fan) 180oC/350oF/gas mark 4
Grease and line two 20cm cake tins

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour.
Put all of the dry sifted ingredients in a separate bowl
Add 1 egg at a time with a 1/4 of the dry ingredients and mix for a few minutes after each addition until all mixed.
Finally add the vanilla extract and milk beat again but do not over beat
Divide the mixture between the two tins. Then divide the white chocolate squares between the tins and sink each square just below the cake mixture surface.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins or until golden brown and cooked.

For the buttercream, whisk together the sifted icing sugar, milk, vanilla extract and butter until smooth and creamy.

Once cooled down put half the buttercream on the underside of one of the cakes and on the other cake add enough strawberry jam to generously cover the surface.
Sandwich the two cake halves together. Then add a squirt of the red food colouring to the remaining buttercream and once well mixed in add to the top of the cake. Then decorate with the fresh strawberries and white chocolate shavings.

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake – done!

Recipe loosely based on a recipe taken from the book Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas, but with my own added extras!
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Sleepless in Barnstaple

Despite almost falling asleep before he had his bath, and being to put to bed at 7pm because he seemed so tired, tonight Burton just did not want to go to sleep!

Usually when he is put to bed we have the same routine whereby he has to kiss the four cuddly toys hanging off his mobile – sometimes repeating the kissing just to delay going into his cot for a few more seconds! Then I have to reach in to the cot to pick up Penguin (his favourite cuddly friend whose poor beak is always sodden!) and he puts his beak in his mouth with a muffled “aaaaaaah” and hugs him and then he lays down with the other toys that are in the cot. These are Disney’s Simba and Roo, Burton Bulldog, Ducky and Little Giraffe.

However, tonight he did not bother with the kissing of the mobile animals, as he went straight to Penguin. I figured this is because he napped at his grandmas earlier and had missed his friend. As soon as I walked out of his room I could hear the squeals of delight at being reunited with his cot friends, and he was babbling away to them for ages. Fifteen minutes later he was sat upright pointing at the three cuddly toys sat up on the shelf opposite his cot, waving and talking to them. Another quarter of an hour passed by and he was crying unable to sleep so I let him come and sit downstairs and play for a bit while ate my tea. I put him back to bed and he was pointing at the toys on the shelf again, but I just passed him Penguin and left him again. Then he started crying and screaming again!

Well, within twenty minutes he was sat upstairs with me on my bed watching the last half an hour of Toy Story 2 pointing and commenting in babble speak at the animated toys appearing on the screen. No signs of any yawns!! Film ended and he starts channel hopping and laughing – I am yawning but he is having a lovely time! Anyway, by 9.30pm I took him back to his cot and oh how he screamed while pointing to the toys on the shelf. So in order to keep him quiet, and hopefully send him off to sleep, I took those two Teddy Bears and Humphrey (the elephant) and placed them in his arms. Straight away he started ‘talking’ to them and within ten minutes he was fast asleep.

So when I popped back in his room to take out some of the toys this is what I found. Can you spot the baby amongst the menagerie that is the contents of Burton’s cot?

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Running Scared


So many of you will have noticed on Twitter recently that there has been a lot of tweets regarding running and the #mummyto5k appearing quite often. I believe that Maria over at 
Mummy’s Busy Little World started this running malarky although it appears that it coincided with lots of other bloggers like Karin at Cafebebe wanting to get fitter and shed some (baby) weight so now we all have something else to aim for.

I have never been a great runner or indeed enjoyed getting out there and going for a run. Yes I have tried several times to try running as part of a get fit plan (for which there have been several!).I have gone out and bought the relevant running gear and gone out but after one or two attempts I have packed it in. I think the main problem is controlling my breathing while running, I always get that sharp pain in the chest and then it is hard to get back into a stride. Oh and I always get a very red face which must scare anyone who sees me lol!

At school I was ok at running short distances on sports day. However, being the sap nice person I am, after signing up for the 100 or 200m races someone would always ask me to swap for the 1500 so stupidly I would and then they would get the glory while I would come in last – red faced and hardly able to breath! I used to hate the road runs and cross country runs at school and would normally end up chatting to another fellow hater and we would stroll in long after everyone else!! However, on the odd occasion where I would put my mind to it and actually run in the road run I would do ok I think I was 7th once which was pretty good as there would be about 30 of us taking part. Kind of goes to show that if I had spent less time chatting and more time running I may have been a half decent runner back then!

Recently, I have entered the Race For Life twice and never trained because I was convinced that I would just walk fast (this I can do!). However, once there with all those other lovely ladies, you feel the urge to pick up the pace and run and I think I did 5k in 37 minutes the first year and 34 minutes the next.

After completing Race for Life 2008

I had friends enter who had trained for it and I did the same as them! Of course after completing in such a good time I always think I will keep the running up, but, of course, I never have. It makes me wonder that if I actually out some effort in and trained that maybe I could do even better. My problem is I just cannot be arsed so I muddle along hoping for the best at these races!!

So now as I think about the #mummyto5k race I know I need to get out there and train because since I had Burton I have not done any exercise running and need to know how my body will cope with it. So I HAVE to get out there and practise. My mind thinks up excuses as to why I shouldn’t enter the Adidas Race:

Who will have Burton?
How will I get to London for 11am from North Devon?
I will have to buy some running attire!
I have to run!!

So I have written this and linked it to Maria’s blog because I think that if I make this public I cannot back out, and with the support and shared experiences of all the other wonderful running crazed mummy bloggers and non mummy bloggers I, like them, will succeed and run, run run!! Plus it will be great to meet them and share this fitness regime!

If you want to read more or take part yourself, then please visit the following sites for information, help and support:

PS have registered
PPS now I need to tell Burton’s daddy!!
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