Monday, 30 April 2012

Homemade Bread!

Last night, I attempted my first ever Zan Bread! A nice and easy white bread recipe :)

Loook! They have a Z on them! Yay! :D

It has a lovely smooth texture too! :) Wooo! :)

I have to say, this was an absolute success! The recipe, slightly modified, will be added to my recipe cards as a tried and tested method of making my very own loaf. Wooo! I'm so very chuffed! I think I might have to make a sandwich later to celebrate! Yay for yummy homemade bread! :)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Tomato and a Half!

Remember the giant green pepper I found in the States? Well, the other day, we found a tomato equivalent!

Doesn't it look awesome? It was yummy too! :) Woooo! :) Made me very happy! :)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Home for My Recipes :)

Since I've started baking, I've accumulated so many bits of paper from so many different sources that I keep loosing them and then being sad when I can't find it again. So having spent some time thinking about it, I've decided that it is time! So today, I set about making some recipe cards.

I rediscovered some postcard sized coloured card that my friend Fiona bought be ages ago, and I thought - how handy! :)

I gathered all the equipment that I thought I might need. Forgot my pen though!

Here are my designs! I thought I'd keep them simple, especially because they could potentially get covered in flour the next time I use them. But having that little burst of colour through the white is quite nice!

I wrote my recipes (mostly just ingredients) on the big white bit with reminders about time and temperature. The little white bit was used for the title of each baking creation! Oh, and I used my star hole punch for the corner. Didn't photograph that either. Dearie me.

Here are some of the completed cards. I particularly like my really bad drawings.

And there are some of the cards on the ring thing. I want to say ring binder, but that's not right. Just "recipe card holding hoop". That's what it's called from now on. Anyway - it's quite nice eh?

So there we go. My recipe cards. The "recipe card holding hoop" is very easy to open and close so I can add loads of cards to it if I want! I like the bright colours most. And now all the bits of paper that I had can go into the blue bin, ready for recycling! Hoorah! :)

Friday, 27 April 2012

Freebie Friday - flowers, food and foundation

Fantastic! I have taken alliteration to the max here! Hahaha! It's been a quiet week - stressful for me, but freebies have been a little average. And I also missed out the teabags I got last week, so I thought I'd put them in all my photos for this week so it wouldn't feel bad.

Here is my second Graze box courtesy of my lovely friend Shazia. The first one went down a treat and so did this one. Very happy times. And there are the teabags, hello! :)

Here we have the teabags again, a packet of marigold seeds and a very small sachet of foundation. Wooo! :)

If the freebies dry up, I'm gonna have to start giving them away I think! :) Might be good fun! :) Let's hope that next week is a little more exciting! :)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Homemade Brioche!

My baking adventures has expanded over the last couple of months. I'm quite proud of myself since I've been baking stuff that I didn't think were within my ability! There has always been one ingredient that I've avoided because it was scary and I thought I might do it all wrong. And that ingredient is.... yeast! But yesterday, having taken the plunge and handed in my dissertation, I thought I'd take another leap of faith and try to bake something new. So I decided to make brioche!

This one is in 8 pieces and has little bits of fig hidden inside each segment, like a delicious treasure!

This one has lots of cranberries rolls into each segment - it's like a tear and share!

Here they both are! I'm so proud! They came out of the tin and everything!

Just so you know, I used a combination of Hairy Biker ingenuity, and BBC Good Food awesomeness.

I still can't quite believe that I made loaves of brioche and they tasted good! Mum and Dad both said that it was lovely and soft and not as sweet as the shop bought stuff and better because of it. Uncle has been munching happily since this morning - the loaf one is almost gone!

This is the beginning of my adventures with yeast! Next time: bread! Oh yes. :) WOOO!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Welcome to the World, Little Dissertation!

After months and months of work, I've finally done it. Today, my dissertation was born to the world, I cradled it for about an hour, and now it's in the safe hands of my tutors who will be looking after it for me. Gosh. I am relieved, but I'm also really scared - what happens if they don't like it? What happens if it doesn't make sense? Most of all - what happens if they think I'm just making it all up?! Gah! I don't really know what to do with myself.

Anyway, it's done now. Nothing I can do about it. I just have to sit and wait for my results! SO SCARED!

I decided to have a purple back cover. Best. Colour. Ever.

Just before I handed it in. Nervous, happy, worried, confused as well. There's a form to fill in before the hand in, so don't be waltzing into the tutor's office thinking you're done! :) I totally didn't know that.

So, I guess that's done then. I wish I could say that I'm officially free now, but I'm not. Still have a few mini essays to go, and a presentation or two. Ah well. Not long now. Then hopefully, I will be a Playwork Graduate! Wooo! :)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Earth Week Awesomeness

Pop-Up Adventure Play loves Earth Week. I'm not surprised really because Pop-Up Adventure Play is all about reusing or reclaiming every day materials for play! And if it's not wanted after play, we send all the played materials on to recycling heaven!

In celebration of Earth week, Pop-Up Adventure Play is very excited to announce two different play events in two different cities:

Austin, TX
Día del Niño Verde/ Kid’s Green Day - A Green Festival all about promoting a greener, healthier lifestyle among multicultural Austin families. The plan for the day looks awesome, so if you're in the area on Saturday, you really have to go check it out for me! :)

Westchester, NY
Family Fun Day - An afternoon of creative, fun, eco-conscious play with healthy food too! If there's food promised, I bet it'll be fun! If you're around in the Westchester area this coming Sunday, you should definately go poke around for me! :)

I'm very excited about these events. I only wish they were there to join in! I need a photo to add to this post... erm...

This one highlights cycling as part of a healthier, greener lifestyle as well as playing with a reclaimed wok with bits of cloth, pasta and wooden pegs are joyeous, green activities!

Hope you enjoy Earth Week, and discover many more ways for healthier, greener play! :)

Monday, 23 April 2012

London and Back

I had some business to attend to in London today. I decided that I didn't want to take too much time out for it so I did it all in a day. It's not a bad train journey to be honest. I do have to say, I didn't have as much fun as I'd like. My lovely Nancy made up for it though. She is, as always, a joy to hang out with. It's always good to have a best friend who shares your love of purple. Especially purple frying pans...!

Thank you for making my day better, Nancy. It rained in London today, but it didn't seem to matter cos I was hanging out with you :) Wooo! :)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Shortbread Bites to Go!

We have a food sale at church today to raise money for the annual youth summer camp. I decided to make shortbread bites for the occasion, but I know they're not the best looking things in the world. So, I dressed them up! Here they are!

Here we have lemon shortbread, chocolate covered shortbread, and original awesome shortbread! :) With appropriately coloured ribbons! :)

I thought I'd help the youth out and bring a little basket to put my goods in to save them thinking up a way of displaying them later on at church. :)

It's gonna be a wonderful day at church, but I have to admit that I'm not looking forward to trekking through the rain just to get there. It's raining hard today. Hope that it doesn't affect our fund raising food sale! Woooo! :) I'd better get my pennies ready too - there's always delicious and awesome stuff at these sales! :)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

108 Shortbread Bites

I've been busy baking all evening. And now I have 108 shortbread bites:

They aren't perfect, but they taste yummy! :)

Well actually there were more than 108, but the baker must test her goods. And so does the baker's dad. And also some of them weren't completely presentable. So only 108 of them made the cut. Why do I have so many you ask? You'll find out tomorrow :)

Yay for baking! :)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Freebie Friday - food, toothpaste and more seeds!

It's Freebie Friday again! A celebration of my weekly freebies! It also marks the end of a very hectic week. Wooo! I didn't get lots of stuff again but I have some wonderful acquisitions:

Here is a photo of one packet of tomato seeds and two tubes of toothpaste: one came in the post, and the other one was given to me by my dentist! Maybe he's psychic and knows I like free stuff. But then again, who doesn't? :) I will be growing those tomatoes I think. On my window sill. Where my sweetcorn used to be.

My lovely friend Shazia sent me a voucher (top left of top photo) for two free Graze boxes. I've seen adverts for this around and had never tried one before, so you can only imagine how excited and happy I was when my first one came. It's so awesome. Thank you so much Shazia! :)

So now I have so much toothpaste, I won't need to buy any for a while. I have another Graze box coming in the post tomorrow, so that's gonna be great to look forward to. I'm so chuffed that my friends think of me when they see free things. Hahaha. Yay! A big hoorah for free things and a huge yay for awesome friends! :)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sweet Stuff

I attempted Jaffa Cakes 2.0 yesterday, and had a lot of left over chocolate which didn't have plans for. Happily, I had some strawberries handy, and made some delicious little treats for the family:

They look delicious eh?

Oh, and here are the jaffa cakes. Much better than the original batch! :)

It's been fun experimenting with chocolate! Wooo! :) And they made my parents happy too :) Yay for sweet stuff! :)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A Sweet Book!

The other day when to went to visit Morgan, she took me to a sweet shop cafe. I thought it was the most amazing coincidence ever because I've been reading a wonderful book called Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan and it's all about sweets! A traditional sweet shop that got brought back to life in fact. Those of you in America-land may need me to translate this to "candy store" but I'm also delighted to announce that Reece's Peanut Butter Cups are in this book too and I highly approve!

This got me all nostalgic and stuff about my sweet shop history. The sweet shop I used to go to wasn't technically a sweet shop, it was just the newsagents next door. I'd pop over once a week to hand over my shiney 10 pence piece in return for 10 tiny, sugary morsels which would last me approximately 10 seconds. It was so good. And nice to think about. Filled me with inner fuzziness.

So as I stood in the sweet shop in Gargrave, I wondered what was the sweet of choice that would satisfy my sugary needs as well as fill me with happy happy nostalgia. The choice? Cola Cubes. And wonderfully, the colour of the cubes matched my book perfectly:

I really do like my sweet stuff, and it makes me happy to know what Jenny Colgan also seems to like them too. I'm not the only one in the world who peers into these lovely little shops with awe and wonder, clutching my coins and trying to decide which, out of the gazillion choices, should I eat next.

Hoorah for books, for sweets and for sweetshops! :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

It's Getting There.

I had a nice chat with my tutor about my dissertation today. With the deadline approaching fast, I was happy to hear that, apart from the hundreds of little tweaks I needed to do, my dissertation looked alright! In a bid to prepare for the crazy printing and binding day, a couple of my classmates and I went to visit the uni-approved printing shop where we had a little nosey, asked a few questions and took a very important photo:

Now we can calculate just how much it'll cost to print and bind our dissertations! Woooo! :) I know it seems a little sad, but it was my genius idea of the day, especially because they didn't have a price list to give out or anything!

I estimate that I'll need around £30 to print both copies of my dissertation. I think I might print it there too because they'll use better paper. The paper at my house is slightly yellow and a bit thin - I want this to be awesome looking cos it's the best thing I've produced since.... I don't think I've ever produced anything I'm so proud of.

Just a couple of proof reads needed, some more tweaking, and my precious dissertation will be ready to go public. Argh! Pretty nervous to be honest with you! But it feels good to be near the end. :)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Fisheye Fun! :)

For my birthday last year, my siblings bought me a fish eye lens. I've not really had much opportunity to use it much but I decided to have a mini celebration at my 8999th word today. So I had a little play:

They're not fantastical, but I quite like the idea. It kinda looks like I've made some little planets. Like in the British Gas advert :) Hahaa. Anyway, this was fun! More fisheye fun to follow! Woooo! :)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Simple Little Things :)

I mean, what could be better than a cuppa tea and a fairy cake?

Well, okay, maybe we could get me another cake. Another bigger piece of cake. :)

Zan is happy :)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

There's Always Room for Pudding :)

You may have figured out that I love making desserts. Or pudding, as they're called round here. It's a recent hobby - ever since responsibilities at home asked for a less active pass time. Last night I made jaffa cakes, which turned out surprisingly well and it got me thinking - what other sweets have I made?

Last night's jaffa cakes.

Rainbow jelly

Mini apple pie lattices

Jelly. How can you go wrong with lots of them?

The simple fairy cake

Banana muffins.

These are the photos of stuff you haven't seen. We can't forget that there was that huge apple pie, Mrs Beeton's biscuits, the oreo adorned cakes in purple cases, more fairy cakes in multicoloured cases, and the cake pops!? Can't forget those! Those mentioned are some of the highlights of my baking adventures. Funnily enough, these adventures have not always ended well, but I've learnt so much! And had lots of fun! And surprisingly, haven't gained any weight from these experiments! Haha! Hoorah for making and baking! :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Freebie Friday - popcorn, coffee and hair stuff

It's been another quiet week on the freebie front, but I have another impressive photo to add to my repertoire:

This week we have:
a big packet of popcorn from Blockbusters
2 thingies of coffee (oddly the same as last week)
and thingy of hair therapy nourishing oil.

I was very impressed with the size of the bag of popcorn. My uncle's currently tucking into it, very happily with a mug of coca cola. That's one happy man right there.

It seems like getting freebies still requires some amount of going outside which I have been avoiding in order to do work. No matter - as soon as the dissertation has finished, I'm gonna get myself more free stuff! Hoorah! :)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Rainbow Palette!

I've been browsing through my pinterest boards and I realised that I have a very distinctive colour palette preference. I either like stuff just one whole bold colour, or all of the colours of the rainbow! It appears I may have posted some rainbow coloured stuff on here before. Here are some more rainbow stuff that are making me happy whilst I sit here on a weakly sunny spring day, taking a brief break away from work...

Enjoy the rainbows! :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Zan Goes Exploring: Near Gargrave

I decided that I needed a bit of a break from my dissertation, so I drove up to see the lovely Morgan who had come up to near my end to visit her parents for a little while. I dragged her away from normal-ness to have an crazy afternoon adventure around the countryside with me. Here is what we discovered:

A lovely little sweetshop that had a sweet little cafe.

The best sign I have ever come across to do with children and play.

There was an amazing playground too - complete with wooden, climbable tractor, plane, ship and castle!

Lovely lovely locally made icecream in a tiny little pot. With fake cows in the background.

Some very big, very talkative turkeys.

A majestic looking ruined tower. Very pretty and truly awesome!

We also completely fell in lovely with a flock of tiny lambs and had to help chase some sheep back into a field that they had escaped from. And we had some cake. :)

I had a lovely little adventure with Morgan. It was nice to have a little break and get away as well as have some quality time with a good friend. And who woulda known there were so many hidden secrets near Gargrave? :D Hoorah for adventures! :)