Archive for August, 2011

Fledgling Foodie Files #2

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , , on 29/08/2011 by Jen Healey

The title of this blog will be the new category in which I am going to record all the new baking/cooking that I am doing, whether it’s a success or not!  I have always enjoyed cooking, reading cookbooks and watching cooking programmes on tv, so I’m indulging myself in an activity that brings me a lot of pleasure.  I like to cook, feed others, eat and write – so my Fledgling Foodie Files are born – please be kind.  Those of you who know me, know that I have no formal culinary training to speak of, I don’t really count the cheese and potato pie that I made in high school, and my grandma, who baked great treats when she was alive, is not longer around to provide me with any guidance.  Therefore, I am teaching myself from my many, many cookbooks and documenting it here, for fun.

With that in mind, here are the butterfly fairy cakes I baked yesterday.  I was pretty pleased with the way they turned out, as were my chief tasters, although my daughter didn’t like ‘the crumbs’ – which is her term for the actual cake – she did enjoy ‘the cream’ (obviously the buttercream).

There are only 9 cakes pictured, not because the others flopped or weren’t as pretty, but because I didn’t have a lemon, so couldn’t add lemon juice to the buttercream, which meant that the buttercream didn’t go as far as it perhaps should have.  Also, I shared one with Beth before I took a picture, so there were two plain cakes left over.

They tasted pretty good too.  Not bad for my first time making fairy cakes.

Nicola, there will be some left for Tuesday, I promise, I hid some 😉


Man V. Food

Posted in Food, TV with tags , on 28/08/2011 by Jen Healey

I thought I’d give my favourite food show it’s own mini blog post today, as it has been a Man V Food weekend on the Good Food Channel – Genius!

Images nabbed from Google.

How he’s still single I’ll never know!  I’d love to go round America visiting all the places featured in this awesome programme!



Posted in Journal, Musings, TV with tags on 28/08/2011 by Jen Healey

I’ve just finished watching the last, maybe ten, minutes of John Bishop’s Britain on the subject of friends, which was hilarious!  It did get me thinking about friends though.  It is funny to reflect upon the friendships that I have lost and gained during my life.  I have come to the conclusion that, of course, quality is a lot more important than quantity, and in that Mr Bishop had a point – the older you get the fewer friends you have.

I have to make the distinction here as to my meaning of the word friends.  I am not talking about the hundreds of thousands ‘friends’ that people make with others all around the world or celebrities that they have never met on the dreaded social networking sites.  I don’t really consider that these are actually your friends in the traditional sense of the word, more cyber-friends, an updated version of a good ol’ pen-pal, which I actually think is lovely if it is a supportive or intellectually engaging exchange.  I’m also not talking about ‘school-gate mates’ or work-mates, which are all quite lovely too, but are unlikely (although not always) to remain your friend when your children no longer go to the same school or you leave the work-place.  This is not a criticism of these relationships, merely an observation that I don’t think I’m alone in noticing.  They are not inferior friendships either, just a different flavour.

Here’s a bit nabbed from Wikipedia which may help in the distinction point I’m making –

Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
  • Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
  • Enjoyment of each other’s company
  • Trust in one another
  • Positive reciprocity – a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.
  • The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.

Here I am talking about the personal friendships that you form with people you have met and know well.  The ones you believe/hope will always be in your life.  The people who you feel, after time, understand and know you, and that you also know them.  People that you let in to your life, share special occasions, laughs and tears with.  You lend them your books, dvds and cds.  You go out (or stay home and invite them round) for lunch.  You go to the cinema with them, out shopping or out for coffee and a cake.  Call, text and email them at length.  It’s all good sharing stuff.

However, when you spend a lot of your time watching programmes like ‘Friends’ and ‘Sex and the City’ I think that your expectations of such friendships can be a little skewed.  You get to believe that life is really like that, or worse, it should be like that and because it’s not you wonder why not.  Or maybe that’s just me?

Okay, even these scripted relationships aren’t always a bed of roses, but there is usually a satisfying ending where the issues are resolved and the friendships remain intact.  This is not always the case in real-life.  Not that I wish to be overly cynical, but in my experience, the older you get, the more life-changes you experience and the further away people move, relationships strain, buckle and usually break.  Or sometimes you just drift apart.  This never seems to happen to groups of friends who live in New York…

Obviously I am not stupid enough to view television programmes and fiction books as actually providing any kind of reliable reference to life.  But such media can exert varying levels of influence on the perspective of the consumer.

Oscar Wilde
            “Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
Oscar Wilde

Comedy seems to be the opposite, at least the majority of stand-up that I catch on TV, their art is usually the comedian’s perspective on real-life exaggerated.

For myself, I do have fewer numbers on my phone now that belong to people I consider to be my friends than I used to.  Which is no bad thing in truth.  Yes, it is (nearly) always sad when a friendship/relationship ends.  But, invariably, when one thing comes to an end, another begins.  I prefer this new chapter, it’s far more interesting and engaging, it’s written better and the characters are a much more genuine.

It’s 1am so I’m off to bed, to be up in 4 1/2hrs!

Over 1,000 Views!

Posted in Journal with tags on 25/08/2011 by Jen Healey

Today my humble little blog has racked up over 1,000 views over the past 7 months!  Hooray and hurrah!  Whoop whoop!

I know that this seems like a small thing, especially to some of the ‘big hitters’ out there, but I think it’s fantastic!  Thanks guys, for visiting my dark little corner of the tinty-net, subscribing via email, leaving great comments and making my day!

You all have great taste.


I love America

Posted in Journal, Reviews, Supe-para-natural, TV with tags , on 24/08/2011 by Jen Healey

I’ll begin with saying that I have never been to the USA, but I watch plenty of TV and films that were made there.  Also, I have read a fair amount of books, written by Americans, that are set in America (mostly in Maine courtesy of Mr Stephen King).  I don’t know what it is about the place and the people that I find so interesting and appealing, but I desperately want to visit every single state… one day.

I am not, however, completely blinded by adoration that I am immune to their insipid soppiness and sentimentality, as expertly showcased in the movie I am putting myself through as I type this – Battle: Los Angeles.

It is… awful.  I like guts, guns and aliens as much as the next person who is not a fan of chick-lit or rom-com, sorry but that stuff is rarely tolerable in my humble opinion, but this is just bad!

The line from this movie that will stay with me, for at least a couple of weeks, is “You’re gonna have to be my little Marine”.  This is not a euphemism, it was spoken to a little boy who’d just lost his father.  It was delivered with all the emotion and drama of a vomit-inducing cringe-fest.  Sorry if you disagree, but you don’t have to read this blog post.

Awww no!  The follow-up to that corker of a line was – “You’re the bravest Marine I ever saw”, to the same child.  Bleugh!

You expect some degree of this (very American) icky sentimentality at or near the end of some films, but this one has been relentless!  From the very beginning it has been trying to evoke some kind of emotional response, but has succeeded in only inspiring disgust I’m afraid.  We have been rooting for the aliens to explode every single human cast member from early on.  Even Jim Parrack, who plays the sweet Hoyt Fortenberry in my beloved True Blood, can bring no credibility to the film and is on our list for a good splattering by the aliens.

Hubby says he’s ‘had more enjoyable sessions of constipation’.  I agree.  It was an hour and forty-six minutes of my life we will never get back.  But then, we didn’t have to watch it.  We certainly won’t be watching it again.

On the plus side, the other dvd we rented from Blockbusters was Insidious, which was much better and is certainly worth a watch.  It was decent.

(Images pinched from Google)

Here we are again

Posted in Astronomy, Food, Journal, TV with tags , on 24/08/2011 by Jen Healey

It’s 6:15am and I’ve been up for nearly an hour already.  This is not an isolated incident either, it has been this way since I have stopped feeding my little boy in the mornings.  Yes, I’m weaning him off breast milk finally, he has had a couple of weeks longer than Beth did after all.  It appears that when the sun gets up, so does my son (yawn).  Previously, I’d stumble through to his room and take him back to bed with me, where I would feed him and read until my body and brain decided that we were ready to get up.  But, obviously he is not going to tolerate me trying to wake up this way without a feed.  Therefore, so that he doesn’t wake the rest of the house and I don’t succumb to his demanding my milk, we are up.  This is the lot of a parent, you don’t get to sleep when you want to, you sleep when your children let you.  Sleep deprivation, as I’ve said before, is a form of torture.  Ok, it’s nothing like the early days, when they wake you every few hours, but I like to sleep in the mornings and get up gradually…  I miss it.  I’m a bit grumpy when I’ve not had much sleep, and today this is compounded by my sore throat.

I think that I’ll treat myself to a lovely sit-down when Jakey takes his nap later, rather than do my usual ‘what-can-I-do-with-this-time’ mad rush to get some job or other done.

That said/moaned about, I actually like spending these (relatively) quiet couple of hours just me and my little boy.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not one of those moms who wishes away the school holidays, I love having my daughter at home everyday and I really treasure the 1:1 time I spend with her (at least once a day – bedtime story time).  However, when both my lovely children are up, I can sometimes feel that, when giving attention to one, the other one is feeling left out.  That thought makes juggling the day a bit tricky and I can’t help but think that, since Jakey arrived in our little family, Beth must be feeling a bit like she’s having to get on with doing things on her own a lot more.  But, I guess I have to learn to let go a bit more, as I can’t be there for her every second of every day for the rest of her life, however much I might want to be, for both my children.

The other benefit to getting up with Jacob, is that he doesn’t dictate the television channel that we watch, so I’m free to watch Ken Hom with his ‘singing oil’ and Ace of Cakes, or if I’m not too sleepy, the Universe.  I would be in trouble if I had to try to find something to watch early in the morning without my beloved sky box!

Well I’m off to play with Beth, as it took me until nearly 10am to get this post finished.  Another hazard of being a parent – you often don’t get to finish what you started, in one sitting at least!

So much for having a nice quiet sit-down, I’m so full of it!


I Done Baked me a Cake!

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Homemade, Journal with tags , , on 22/08/2011 by Jen Healey

For the first time in over ten years I have today baked a cake!  It is a Malteser cake and I am so proud of myself!  I had to share the fruits of my labours here, look what I did!

Then I swirled the buttercream on top a bit, but the pic is a bit blurry –

I’m super proud of the cake and I thoroughly enjoyed myself making it.  I’m going to be doing much more baking (I hope) in the future.  Although, next time I plan to be a bit more patient and let the cake cool a bit longer before I do the frosting, as it was still a bit warm.  It tasted really good though…

There is a large slice still left untouched in addition to these leftovers, honest!

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