• Well, in honour of the Queen’s jubilee I decided to write a series of posts about what being British means to me. Of course being British is different for everyone, depending on background, culture and whereabouts in the British Isles you live or come from but for me there are some things which go towards ‘Britishness’ and without which I feel our nation wouldn’t be quite the same.

    The first of these, without which I don’t think I could survive a day, is tea. Now don’t get me wrong I quite like coffee but it just isn’t the same is it? Even in the hot days of summer, few and far between as they are, a cup of tea is the perfect drink. It refreshes and hydrates you much more than coffee, it contains only half as much caffeine and it tastes so much better! Of course, in winter it warms you up and much comfort is to be found with your hands wrapped round a steaming mug of tea.

    I am not a great connoisseur of tea, I enjoy just a plain old tea with a drop of milk but I do think it’s quite healthy, with its antioxidants, flavanols, flavonoids, and polyphenols which will apparently help to protect me from heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. The benefits being even greater if you drink green tea! It even contains fluoride, so it’s good for your teeth!

    This isn’t the reason why tea is so popular though, and it has been drunk on an everyday basis in Britain since the 19th Century, it is associated with many rituals and most of us have grown up drinking tea. A cup of sweet tea is a traditional remedy for shock and putting the kettle on when you get up in the morning, get in from work or a visitor calls is still as normal a part of everyday life as it has been for many years.

    I love the tradition of afternoon tea and have a collection of well-loved china cups, saucers, plates and cake plates, some of which belonged to my grandmothers. Whether you prefer dainty sandwiches, cupcakes or scones with jam and cream they are all so much better accompanied by a cup of tea.

    I seriously think the great British cuppa is one tradition we really couldn’t do without.

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  • Family, Reading 20.10.2011 4 Comments

    “If I could have ONE whole day to myself, I would…

    This blogging prompt from BritMums caught my imagination today as I actually have a day to myself. Well, not, strictly speaking, an entire day, but from 8.30 till 4 so not bad.

    The trouble with a day to myself is that I actually like spending time with my family! So an entire day with one or more of my daughters, my son or my husband would be a real treat but a day on my own, not so much. Today also happens to be my Birthday so really I would prefer to share it with the family! I have some college work to do but I’m going to leave that till tomorrow and have a day off.

    My husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday so you can probably guess how the day is going! Firstly, I got it charged up. Then I downloaded a book, just because I could. It was actually some short stories by Michael Connolly just to try out the download process. The first story has been read and I am now thinking about which full length book to buy. I could happily spend the rest of the day choosing and reading a book, accompanied by fresh coffee at intervals. In fact, that is exactly how I will spend the day and, as it is my birthday, I will even put the heating on, plump up the cushions and settle myself down on the sofa. Bliss!

    Later, I may do a little baking. Mmm… I can already smell the cake in the oven and the coffee brewing and my Kindle saving my place for me in a good book. The perfect day.

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  • Baking, Family 08.09.2009 3 Comments
    Fairytale Castle cake

    Fairytale Castle cake


    I made a cake last week for my daughter’s 18th. I do not profess to be an expert and this was probably too ambitious for me but it was made with love and turned out  just fine. The main thing was she loved it.
    I have made many cakes in the past for birthdays and weddings. I have made icing roses, marzipan figures, a pirate flag, a desert island, a lady in a crinoline dress! Many others too numerous to mention. When you have four children making birthday cakes happens fairly often. Somehow this one seemed important although we have had two eighteenths and a 21st already. I had icing towers hidden around the house drying out for several days, made the cakes the day before and spent several hours assembling and decorating on the day. I had to resort to short cuts and I panicked a bit. I had to provide food for the party in the evening too. As usual I thought I wouldn’t get it all done and as usual I did. Not perfectly, maybe, but well enough. She had a lovely evening and so did all the family.
    These occasions when the family get together can be hard work and stressful but it is all worth it when you see the people you love enjoying themselves. Memories are made up of happy occasions like this and photos of her growing up and with several other birthday cakes brought back many happy memories.
     It may not be the greatest cake in the world, and certainly not the greatest photo, but she loved it and will remember her 18th Birthday for many years to come. Me too!

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