Wretched Wednesday!

Did not get any sort of sleep to write home about last night.  Was crazy busy at work today (with things still needing to be finished tomorrow).  Got home to find out that the oven is out of commission and will, quite possibly, need replacing.

Things can only get better!

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Foot-in-mouth-disease

Sometimes my irritation and annoyance just gets the better on me.  I open my mouth and out comes a snarky comment.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ― Benjamin Franklin

My Lola always said tactful is as tactful does, and I’ve always tried to follow my granny’s advice.  But it has been difficult to learn this particular lesson.  I think because my parents encouraged us to speak our mind.  My parents encouraged us to state our opinions and to verbalise our reasons for feeling the way we feel.  I am finding out that verbal diarrhoea whilst very Bridget Jonesy is never good.

In the same way I’ve tried (and more than often failed) to always have my verbal edit button available and thought before I spoke, I must learn to learn to pause before my hands start typing! 🙊  Because these days, it’s difficult to take it back what you release in the internet ether because whilst there is a delete button, as we all know, the delete button on the internet isn’t really a delete button because somehow, somewhere whatever you put out is still out there!

Yes, I can see the disapproving look that angel is giving me!

Telling my cooking story

I was a card carrying member of Del Monte Kitchenomics Club.  Now declaring this might be revealing my age, but I did join it whilst I was still in 6th grade (which is now probably equivalent to middle school in the States and Year 7 here in the UK).

Most of what I call my specialties were learned from the back of those Del Monte canned food labels.  My pineapple crumble was learned from a can of Del Monte pineapple chunks label, and this recipe started me on my baking and cooking journey.

I have a dish that I call skillet paella or arroz con chorizo which is a one-pot rice meal that is sort of like a short cut version of the popular Spanish rice dish.  This was also a recipe I got off the back of a Del Monte label, this time a tomato sauce can.  I’ve done and redone the dish and I probably can cook this by sight and still have it taste exactly how I want it.  I think it’s because I’ve been cooking this for more than half my life.

I wrote about the dish in an earlier blog entry and called it Arroz con Chorizo, because it, to be honest, it sounded fancy!

It was this dish that did on Instagram stories last week.  If you missed it, you can always look at the link above and try the recipe I’ve written down.

I’ll update this entry as soon as the tech cooperates with me and I can upload my photos properly!

I still have to resume the cookbook project that was put on hiatus because, well, life got really busy.  But the moment I allowed life to get busy, I lost my balance.  I think I need to get back to creating yummy things through baking!  I need to regain the equilibrium.

The struggle is real!

I’ve always maintained that my blog needs to be conversational.  That when you read my blog entries, it feels like you’re having a conversation with me and I’m just chattering away.  By the way, please take this as an invitation to initiate conversation in the comments section! I’d love to hear from all my lovely readers!

The trouble with working in an office environment and a technical one at that (I work for a chartered accountants firm) is that the language is so different.  The language is filled with technical jargon.  I’ve been typing a lot of technical documents this week so I’ve found it terribly difficult to switch the syntax off.  So I’ve been struggling to write something that “sounds like me”.  I’ve started 2 blog posts and I found myself rolling my eyes after reading the drafts!  I know I trained in education but I know I don’t normally sound so abstruse and professorial!

So today, I am parking the blogging.  Well, okay, except for this post.  I am, instead, getting my hair done and I am catching up on reading and domestic goddess duties (cooking for the weekend, cleaning the flat and tackling my ironing chair – which is probably a blog post in itself!).  You never know, the writing muses might choose to make an appearance and I can finally finish the blog entries I’ve pushed onto the back burner!

If the haircut goes well, I might post a photo on the blog to show the “new” mop.

So I baked a cake!

I’ve always loved giving gifts.  I won’t usually settle for just a gift card (unless they ask for it specifically) because I like knowing that when the person rips open the wrapping paper and opens the box, the gift is something they know was made or purchased especially with them in mind.  I also love gift-wrapping presents.  I need to make the present look pretty, even if it’s just a present plonked into a gift bag – I have to have tissue wrapping in the gift bag!

Lately, I’ve taken to baking my gifts to friends.  I like to think my skill as a baker has moved forward and my bakes are delicious and decadent enough for people to feel special they received cake or pastry baked by me.

I baked a chocolate Guinness cake and cupcakes for a birthday celebration that we attended during the weekend.  It was a get-together we had planned with our Filipino friends ages ago to celebrate the July birthdays and the early August birthday.

I needed to test frosting colours to so I made extra cupcakes to try the colours out.  I was trying for a marbled effect but it didn’t quite work for the cupcakes so I’ll have to look at more YouTube videos and figure out a better technique for the particular effect I was going for.  It was a good thing my batch did 2 dozen cupcakes.  The leftover batter filled about 9 mini bundt pans but they stuck to the cake moulds so they stayed home.

Photo © Teddy Sardua

I iced 22 cupcakes (mostly because that was what fit in the box!).   With the disaster that were the rainbow marble cupcakes (they mostly looked very Rastafarian!) I tried for a fuschia-y pink shade but the first try turned out more lavender than pink (it kind of suited because some of the birthday celebrators went to Mayfield Lavender Fields on a day trip to take fabulous pictures).  I knew where I went wrong but daren’t add more food colouring because I didn’t want the frosting to taste too artificial!

Photo © Teddy Sardua

I was quite pleased with the way my large cake came out.  It was very detail-heavy because it had swirly roses, piping all around it and silver dragèe balls.  Once I finished icing the cake, I moved it to the box I was going to carry it in and OH MY GOODNESS!  It was quite a substantial weight.  I think I weighed over 2.5 kg!

Photo © @chic.wanders.in

I was pleased that my friends and Alan loved their cake.  They loved the flavours and the loved the cake enough to take photos and style the cake before they shot the photographs.   Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting your photos on Instagram.  I’m so…tickled pink (Sorry! It had to be said!)!

Photo © @chic.wanders.in

I might be on to a good thing!

*Thank you to @mutyyyaaa and @chic.wanders.in for letting me use their photos of the cakes on this blog post. Mucho appreciated guys! Love you!❤️

 

 

Immersing myself in inspiration

I have been wanting to revamp the blog and start blogging properly again.  But I needed inspiration – and probably a huge kick in the behind to get me off the proverbial couch and get to it.

I have been fangirling on Sara Tasker ever since I read an article on Stylist about how she quit her job and carved a lucrative career out of Instagram.  I thought, “Oh my gosh!  This girl!  Her photos!  How to be her?”  So it was because of Sara Tasker that I started seeking out women who inspired me, women who were brave to forge careers out of things that they were passionate about.

As with everything, I am easily distracted.  I completely forgot about improving the blog and allowed myself to be completely immersed and obsessed with Instagram.  While it was a creative outlet, it wasn’t what I was good at.  I did get quite a few likes on some of my photos though!  The photo below was actually liked 1,224 times!

Now that is a revelation because I knew it had a lot of likes but I don’t have a lot of photos that go over 200 in the like category, so when something gets 500+ or 700+, it is a major achievement.  It means my photo was interesting enough for people to look and click on that little heart icon.  Thank you to every single person who has liked my photos and posted comments!

Instagram is a lovely distraction, but I’ve always thought my writing was more sound than my photography skills.  So I searched for inspiration.  I read books – lots of books about blogging, writing. food writing, making money from my blog…I’ve read so many articles and was this close to buying an expensive book that “guaranteed” they would get you blogging and making a huge success of yourself and your blog after you read their book.  Nope, I didn’t buy the book – but I was tempted.

A friend of mine wanted to start a blog and helpful soul that I am, I said I’d help them set it up.  But I felt an awful fraud offering to help someone start a blog when my blog was right there, languishing in the corner!  I needed to brush up on inspiration basics, blog inspiration and tips!

Because Sara Tasker was my inspiration, I went back to her website.  I wanted to find inspiration.  I wanted to find social media tips.  I discovered she had a podcast – HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?!?  So I quickly made room for the podcasts and started listening to her a few days ago.  The first 2 podcasts were mind-blowing.  It was an inspiration fest.  When I get excited I write – and one thing I’ve learned from working in an office is, if you want to remember things, WRITE IT DOWN.  It’s something to do with your brain remembering things better when there is an action related to the act of remembering (I read that in a magazine in high school, it suggested studying for exams by walking!).

I’m still listening to Sara and the wonderful group of creatives who join her on the podcast episodes.  I’m still writing down what I now call my Hashtag Authentic buzz words.  Because that is what they are – they give you a buzz and inspire you to create!

When her website is back up, I’ll post a link to the podcast and the podcast notes (which I thought was a clever way of making you come back to her website!).   You can also download the podcast on iTunes.

Be prepared though, because you will be inspired into action – action that focuses on authentic engagement.