From Where I Cook

I am always intrigued by other people’s kitchens.  I love articles on kitchens, their organisation and I like thinking about other people cooking in their kitchens, like the Martha Monday’s girls.

So, I thought it would be fun to show you where I cook and maybe you might like to come here and show everyone where you cook and bake from (leave a comment if you are interested).

So, here is my kitchen.  It is open plan and needs to be renovated but at the moment, this is what its like:

I took this photo from the stairs so that you could see the general size.  The box on top of the fridge holds all of my baking supplies (and will be the subject of another post soon). 

Everything was moved around a couple of weeks ago and having the kettle and tea and coffee here (above the cups) and next to the drawer with the cutlery is making a lot more sense – I’m wondering what took us so long to make the change.

My little baking section.  The Kitchen Aid has changed the way I bake (for the better) and the recent addition of canisters for flour (the big one), icing sugar (the one on top) and sugar (big glass jar with metal top) make things so much easier.  The other jars contained brown sugar and ground almonds.

All the utensils right next to the cooker.  And two lots of measuring cups now (Martha Stewart ones and Kitchen Aid ones), and the BEST measuring spoons – down to 1/8 teaspoon.

And with spring here, the seeds have appeared – the herb basket was a present for my birthday and it has been such fun watching them grow – basil, parsley, chives and rosemary.

The view from the garden whilst standing at the sink is one of the best places to watch time tick by.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this litle tour.  I’m thinking of showing you the baking box, and the cupboards where everything is kept and also where the pots and pans are kept too.  I’m hoping that you may have some ideas on how better to organise everything.

Oh!  And if you fancy showing off you kitchen here, please contact me.

~ Pru

Writing to the child you sponsor

From Pinterest and Tara Adams’ board

Recently, a lot of searches have been about how to write to a sponsored child.

When I first started sponsoring I trawled the internet for ideas and found a few things, but not much.  The one thing that did stick out was that you should write.  Send a card or a postcard from your holiday or a letter.  But for goodness sake, send the child something so that when letters are delivered she has something to open.  An article I read detailed how two siblings were sponsored and one child received letters and the other didn’t.  The child who didn’t receive letters didn’t excel at school and felt as though they had done something wrong.

Disclaimer:  I am no expert.  I have learnt a few things along the way and I thought that I would share them with you:

Write regularly

I aim to write once a month.  I find it easier to carry on with my letters that way rather than starting afresh each time.

Look at the Calendar

January you can write about Christmas and New Year and your resolutions.

February is Valentines.

March or April will be Easter.

May and June the warmer weather has arrived and there are pretty flowers in the garden and in the park.

July and August are perfect for showing photos of any holidays.

October is Halloween

November if Guy Fawkes Night.

December is Christmas.

And round and round it goes.  Also, there are birthdays and outings which you go on.  These all add to any letter that you write.

Themes

For my February card I sent a Valentines card (with a big glittery heart) and some heart shaped stickers.

This past year I have sent postcards with the royal family and a little bit of history on them.

At Christmas I send a Christmas card.

A letter on plain white paper is great, but a letter on coloured paper or a pretty postcard or card is so much nicer.  Think about what you would rather receive.

Mix it up

I like to include photos (either an actual photograph) or a digital photo which I print out with my letters.  If I am writing about my favourite flowers in the garden I take a photo so that Gift knows what I am talking about.  I include photos of Violet my dog and of me and my family.

Also, I sometimes type my letter, sometimes its a card or postcard.  I write with a green pen (which smells of peppermint) one month, and then a pink pen (which smells of strawberries) the next.  I do different fonts of the computer and try to make sure that no two letters look the same.

Remember who you are writing to

In my case, I write to a ten year old girl.  I hadn’t realised at first, but her age is not representative of ten year old girls in the UK.  No Justin Beiber or Facebook and iphones.  Simple things, write as if you are writing to someone a few years younger than their actual age.

Is it boasting?  Will they understand?

I struggled with this at first.  If I showed a photo of my garden with pretty flowers was it going to suggest that I had a huge amount?  What if I showed photos of going out and eating ice cream?  Would she know what this was?

Stop.

Here’s the thing.  Don’t go writing about receiving hundreds of presents for Christmas or how every night the butler brings you cocoa in bed.  Write about Christmas and what you did and include a photo of the tree, just don’t show the huge pile of presents.  Don’t over-think these letters too much either.  You may have more material things than the child you write to, but there is nothing to say that their life isn’t richer than ours.

Simple letters with words about you and this will work well.

Gifts

Until recently I was never sure about sending a little present.  What I have learnt is that stickers are acceptable – I try to make them go with my theme and only send them every now and again.  For Valentines I sent 60 stickers with hearts to Gift.  In the letter I explained that she should share these with her friends and siblings.

With the Olympics around the corner I am putting together a pack all about London.  Paperchase had these great stickers on London and I will be putting those in with my letter.

Turns out that letter writing isn’t that hard.  It doesn’t have to be pages and pages, but something fun and creative is always going to be nice to receive.

I am sponsoring Gift through Action Aid.  Find out more details here.

Pru

What’s On My IPod

When I saw Gemma’s tweet I was a little bit scared.  Actually very scared.

See, I like all the corney music.  I have some of the ‘classics’ but alot are songs that I hear once on an advert or in a film or programme and then have to have on my ipod (although currently new songs I just put on the iphone – alot easier).

So, I hit shuffle and this is what happened:

1.  Teeth, Lady Gaga.  I would actually be pressing the forward button on this one.  I don’t like this song.

2.  Dancing Queen, Abba.  I knew this would happen, I even mentioned on Gemma’s blog that Abba would pop up.  I admit it.  I LOVE Abba.  Have seen the tribute band twice, seen Mamma Mia on Broadway and love the film.  And I sing along to Abba at any given chance and I just don’t care!

3.  Doctor PressureMylo vs Miami Sound Machine Oh, I love this song. I can play this over and over again.  I love this version and the Gloria Estafan version, but this version more.  It was one of the songs I walked to when training for the Moonwalk.  The Gloria Estafan video is cool too and so very old.

4.  Everybody Wants to Rule the World.  Tears for Fears.  I used to jump around to this song when I was a child and I know all the words.  Am at my happiest shouting singing this song whenever it comes on.  Love it.

 

5.  Honestly OK, Dido.  It’s not my favourite song, but hey, it came up on shuffle.  And thats all I have to say about this song.

I had such fun writing this out and listening to the songs whilst writing this post.  Such great fun.  Turns out that I am quite a mover balancing a laptop on my lap, typing and listening to the songs on You Tube!

Thanks Gemma!

~ Pru

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The Post That Haunted Me

Did the title get your attention?  Good.  Do you feel my pain?  Have you ever known that you need to do something but you just don’t know how?  This is what this post was like for me. I was haunted by it.  I put it on my blogging to-do list and my normal to-do list and my weekend to-do list, but each time, I never crossed it out.  And it took me ages to write and then re-write as I didn’t want it to come across as ‘preachy’.  I hate preachy.  I stop listening when it becomes preachy.

But enough is enough.  I’m even being chased by people for it.

The other week I took the day off from work, I had a well needed lie in and then applied my makeup properly – powder, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara – and then I straightened my hair and got on the train to Waterloo.  Turns out that I don’t read a tube map as well as I thought, and went the wrong way and then in the wrong direction before finally making it to Farringdon.  I had aimed to arrive early and look around Farringdon but there was no time.  Hot and flustered I arrived at Action Aid’s central office, but was quickly welcomed and offered tea and water and cake.  Such gorgeous cake too, put some of my offerings to shame!

Now I knew some of the names of people attending, I had been part of a couple of Twitter conversations and that morning had been woken up by someone tweeting me, but I didn’t know them.  And I admit that nerves got the better of me.  I sat at the back and listened but didn’t interact that well with other bloggers instead I spoke at length with Debbie who works for Action Aid.  She too sponsors a child and we had great fun swapping ideas and she was so kind to give me tips on what to write and more details on the charity.

The reason for taking the day off and attending the tea party was to learn more about Action Aid.  Mark Watson the comedian spoke but he was well and truly trumped by Lynn and Spencer (and I was so pleased that he was), a couple who don’t blog but who do sponsor a 13 year old boy called Malafani in Lesotho.  They had a wonderful slide show of photos that they took when they went out to Lesotho, and it was the small things from their chat which stuck with me.  How they love the boy and his family and their village so much, how they had been amazed by the welcome that they received on their visit, but how things were very basic, with the school at the top of a hill and catering for 90 children ranging in age from 5 to 15 in one tiny room.  The people in the village had very little but were being helped by Lynn and Spencer and other sponsors through Action Aid to make life better.

Whilst Lynn and Spencer (and I) have the name and photo of the child we sponsor, the money is put towards the community rather than to the individual child or their family.  And Action Aid aren’t going into their village and deciding what the village needs.  No.  Action Aid speak with the community to find out what they need.  A more personalised service if you like.  Need the school moved from the top of the hill (where at times it is inaccessible and teachers won’t work there) to the bottom of the hill?  Yes, Action Aid can help with that.  Need a well?  HIV & Aids awareness and assistance programmes?  Action Aid can help with that too.  In Malawi, the community needed a house built so that the community could retain a teacher to teach the children.  Some of the time its basic stuff that we take for granted that others really require.

I left the tea party with lots of ideas and safe in the knowledge that for me, sponsoring is a very good idea.  The money is helping the community where Gift lives and as far as I see it, any help to anyone who wants it can never be a bad thing.

I’m putting up a link to Action Aid here.  I’m no expert but if you ever think about sponsoring a child and want some advice from someone that does, then please contact me.

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  It would make my day, possibly my week too!