The final post

This is my last post. I haven’t blogged for some time and although there has e been a couple of times when I’ve thought about writing, I just have wanted to keep enjoying myself without trying to think up a good post title.

2013 is already looking like it will be good. I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday in February in South Africa as I’m taking myself away on a safari to celebrate.

I hope you have a great start to 2013. Thank you for all your comments and support over the last few years.

Pru xx

Baker Days Cakes

When Baker Days contacted me to ask if they could send me a cake to review I jumped at the chance.  Baker Days let me pick the flavour – vanilla madeira, chocolate, carrot or fruit (gluten free or not).  I picked fruit.  Then it was time to pick the design of the cake.  Knowing that mum, dad and I would be devouring the cake I thought it would be fun to go for a Christmas themed design with a personalised message.

Baker Days sent us one of their Letterbox Cakes – a little cake serving 3 to 4 people in a box with a Christmas cracker and note card and the tin is so pretty and cute.  I think it would be great to receive a cake in the post for Christmas or a birthday.

We all admired the cake, and having never had a cake with a personalised message on it, mum and dad thought it was fascinating how this was achieved.

The cake was great.  Its about one inch think and reminded me of the Mr Kipling Manor House cake which is always a firm favourite in our house.  There was a lot of fruit in the cake and I loved finding cherries inside.  If I hadn’t already baked the Christmas cake, I would certainly be purchasing one of the Baker Days cakes – and finding a decent photo of us all too!

~ Pru

Child Sponsorship Week

I know that lots of you see this post through a reader and I urge you to read on and at least think about child sponsorship and how a little money can make a great difference.

~ Pru

Charity has been on my mind a lot over these past couple of weeks.  Richmond, the town where I live, is home to the Poppy Factory where hundreds of thousands of poppies are made each year to commemorate Remembrance Day and it seemed that wherever I went there were people selling poppies.

It’s easy to remember and think about something when it is right in front of you.  I admit freely that Myanmar hasn’t been at the front of my mind.

Since becoming a Blogger for Action Aid I try to stay more informed about the work that the charity is doing. ActionAid is asking people across the UK to celebrate Child Sponsorship Week and make a huge change to all the people who have endured decades of struggle and uncertainty in Burma/Myanmar and elsewhere in the developing world.

There are 1,600 children in Burma to sponsor but worldwide there are nearly 5,000 children that need sponsorship in 17 countries.

My decision to start sponsoring Gift in Malawi last year through Action Aid at first seemed like quite an undertaking.  £15 per month seemed like a lot of money and I was thinking of all the Starbucks I would be foresaking!  But the truth is, I spend money ridiculously.  £1 for an avocado the other day to top up a lunch that I had already purchased in M&S for £3.  That’s eight days of sponsoring Gift to give her the opportunity to go to school and be clothed and fed.

For just 50p a day sponsors have the opportunity to change a child’s and community’s future not just for today but forever. For information on how to get involved and transform a child’s life visit www.actionaid.org.uk/child.

I love sponsoring Gift.  I like thinking about a stranger in another country and what she is doing and her how family are and what she is learning at school.  I also like that I am in the privileged position to be able to help someone else have a better change at life.  And I reckon that most of the people reading this blog have the ability to sponsor.

What does 50p buy nowadays anyway?

~ Pru

Saturday Morning at Wisley Gardens

Mum and I last visited Wisley two years ago on a very hot summer day, this time it was on a cold but sunny day that we went for a wander around the beautiful gardens.  Despite Wisley being about 10 miles from where we live, we save this place for special visits, fearful that if we come too often then it won’t be special any more.

Feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after a night at The Brooklands Hotel, off we headed into the gardens filled with autumn colours.

I’m thinking a trip in the spring is a must for next year!

~ Pru

A Night Away at The Brooklands Hotel

I thought it was really funny how I had only been to the Surrey town once in my life until October when I visited twice for two different occasions.  The first was to see a dear friend of mine get married and the second time was a night away with mum at The Brooklands Hotel.

Mum and I booked a deal through Groupon and it was a good deal – one night for two people with afternoon tea, use of the spa facilities and breakfast.  We had such a good time.

Brooklands is famous for having the first racecourse and it is now a Mercedes Benz where you can test drive their cars on the track.

Although the beds here were sitting next to each other we did pull them apart (they were two singles).  Such comfy beds with squishy pillows.  We both had really good night’s sleep.

I have to mention the bathroom as it was excellent.  This is the second time this year I’ve stayed in a hotel with no bath, just the shower, and although we don’t have a bath at home and usually I love nothing more than having a bath, the shower at the hotel has had me dreaming of returning for another shower every time I’ve had a shower at home!

Off we went for our afternoon tea where we were seated in the bar area.  The staff were so polite and friendly.

And then it was off to the hot tub and spa.  Its a miracle that I’m actually here to type this post as I was tempted to take up lodgings in the spa.  Sitting in the hot tub and then coming indoors and wrapping up in a dressing gown with a blanket draped over me is my idea of heaven!

We had dinner in the restaurant where we did experience a few problems, namely a huge wait, but this was dealt with quickly by the manager and we were given complimentary drinks at the bar afterwards and money off the food bill.  I would visit the restaurant again for the food that did arrive was excellent.

This was the halloumi with roasted tomatoes:

Breakfast in the morning was great.  Fruit salad, cereals, yoghurt, continental (cheeses and hams), croissants and pastries and of course, a full English breakfast which set us up really well for our day ahead at Wisley Gardens (post coming soon).

~ Pru

Lucinda’s Orecchiette

I often think of baking as being therapeutic, but I think it is the end result that makes me that happiest.  There is something about displaying a pretty cake or cookies that makes me very pleased and of course, the praise helps too.  So when Lucinda Scala Quinn in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living wrote about making pasta as a way to reduce stress I figured she was on to something.

Turns out pasta making – or maybe having to mold tiny pieces of pasta on to my thumb – is not for me.  This drove me mad and I resulted to using a small spoon to shape the pasta although they never turned out as well as the ones in the magazine.

I changed the pasta sauce recipe as I had planned to make this a few days before and when I went to use the brocolli it was out of date.  So I just cooked onions with garlic and tomatoes and added some herbs.

I might make pasta again at some stage for I do own a pasta machine but I won’t be making this again, it was just too time consuming and with the great pasta available now I just don’t think its worth it.

But I can’t wait to see what the other Martha Monday girls made of it.

This was Sara’s pick for Martha Mondays.  If you fancy joining in next month (its my pick and its a good one!) then head over to Brette’s blog for details.

 

~ Pru

A Weekend in Paris

I went a bit mad last week.  On the Monday I booked a trip to Paris and on Friday lunchtime I had arrived in the capital of France.  I realised that week that I have lost my spontinaity, the ability to abandon thoughts of what a weekend may hold and throw things in a bag and go and explore.  I miss the old me.

But there was a great reason to visit Paris and I am so pleased that I went.  Having friends over from Australia for a holiday has seen me wanting to spend as much time with them and their two adorable children.  They hired an apartment in the 17th in Paris and I booked a hotel in the adjacent street -close enough, but not too close!

And I managed to do quite a bit on this jaunt – Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Couer (in the evening for the view of Paris), Eiffel Tower – arrive before it opens to avoid queuing for too long, bistro lunch, boat trip along the Seine, Notre Damme, Eiffel Tower at night for the light show, flea markets and the Luxembourg Gardens.  I could have done more but this was the perfect weekend for seeing things but relaxing a little too, and spending time as ‘Aunty Pru’ makes me very, very, happy!

This was my first time visiting Paris and I am still wondering why I hadn’t been before.  It takes just over two hours from London.  I will have to return, soon!

~ Pru