My place to share lots of photographs of my random crafty, makery, bakery and cookery projects, as well as random thoughts that might strike me and are too long for Twitter...

Monday, 28 October 2013

Is Pumpkin Really THAT Great, Charlie Brown?

America. Every September.
56 sleeps 'til Christmas! :D

Sorry. Now that you all hate me...Let's move on.

For the past few years, I've been signed up to emails from 100 Days To Christmas. It's a great site, with some useful hints, tips and recipes. But it's also American, and largely Autumnal, and thus, pretty obsessed with pumpkins.

I'm going to confess right now. I don't get it. Pumpkins are fun. You can carve them, decorate them, light them up, maybe even coat the seeds with delicious things to mask the taste of pumpkin seed and roast them in the oven. Beyond that? I fail to see the attraction. Pumpkin to me tastes a bit like turnip. Even cooked, they taste a bit like turnip. They also smell a bit like turnip. I actually read on the Disney Parks Blog that:

"One of the most fun things about fall is all the pumpkin-scented goodies."

Really? Autumn is fun because things smell like root vegetables?! OK then. You know I love my candles. Even they're at it with the pumpkins. By my reckoning (and I have extensive collections of candles, I'm practically an expert right here), Yankee Candles "Fall" range (what's wrong with "Autumn"? Too many "u"s for you? Why isn't Winter, when everywhere is covered in slippy ice, called "Fall", since that's what everyone ends up doing? Anyway...) includes the following:

Double Pumpkin
Super Sweet Pumpkin
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice
Vanilla Pumpkin *
Apple Pumpkin
Pumpkin Cream
Pumpkin Buttercream
Pumpkin Wreath
Pumpkin Patch Swirl
Harvest **
Harvest Welcome **

** Main scent listed...Pumpkin.

But it's not just the smell. I get emails from various craft and food/beverage places which I won't list (some of which may or may not pay their taxes...), and they are ALL about the pumpkins. Pumpkin chocolate cookies. Pumpkin Spice lattes. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin Pumpkin icing. Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin Stew. Pumpkin Pasta. Pumpkin Cheesecake. I would imagine they are all very interesting. But really? You are not enjoying the pumpkin at all. You are actually enjoying the spice, which, from what I can tell, is basically this:

  1. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  2. 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
  3. 1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice or ground cloves.
  4. 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

So I thought "You know what? I'll give it a try!" Not wanting to recreate The Starbucks Gingerbread Debacle of 2012 (I decided to try the new flavour when I saw it advertised as "Coming Soon", but between then and it actually arriving in stores I'd built it up to be totally delicious and wonderful in my head and, when I tried it, it tasted like lebkuchen not English gingerbread and I really hated it and I'd wasted £3.50 on something too gross to drink) I searched for some nice recipes, and found my spices, and asked lovely husband to pick up some canned pumpkin (as recommended by numerous people, because apparently the pumpkins in the UK are grown for size rather than taste)...And this is where I hit somewhat of a snag. No. Canned. Pumpkin. Apparently we really are all about playing with our food when it comes to pumpkins, and the idea of actually eating them is somewhat alien. So, it was back to the original purveyor of pumpkin product OCD in the UK: Starbucks.

I have to confess, I have mixed feelings about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice range. Pumpkin Spice cake is basically just very expensive parkin with pumpkin seeds on the top. Sorry America, this is nothing new in Yorkshire, we've had it for centuries. Delicious as it is, it isn't worth the money when I can get nicer, and cheaper, from elsewhere.

Fortune and incompetence smiled on me with regards to the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I hit up Starbucks and ordered a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. By the time I got back to work and took a sip, I realised that whatever was in my cup, it definitely wasn't a SCHC. The lovely Barista who replaced it for me free of charge informed me that I had just inadvertently tried a PSL. Thanks Starbucks! :) Mission accomplished with zero effort/expense. Which was a good job, because it was pretty gross.

I have to say, I didn't like PSL at all and I still don't understand the hype. Maybe it's because I don't drink coffee. Maybe it's because it's a little gross. Either way, I will be sticking with my SCHC until the Toffee Nut Hot Chocolate comes back for Christmas (or, traitor hat on, Costa's Black Forest Hot Chocolate).

Happy Halloween, and enjoy your PSLs, or whatever other seasonal goodies take your fancy (and make some parkin, it's way better than the Starbucks version).

* Here is where I got bored of writing the word "Pumpkin" and started copying and pasting it in.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Trout River Pond, Gros Morne, NFLD.
Jealous as I am that you get an extra day off and I don't, I thought I'd share a few of the things about Canada I'm thankful for...

♥ The seemingly never-ending stream of hot men. Bryan Adams. Michael Buble. Ryan Reynolds. Michael J Fox. Mike Fisher. Patrick Sharp. I could go on forever if we go on to hockey players, so I won't. You get the idea. :)

♥ Tim Horton's. Particularly hot chocolate and Boston Creams. OMG. Screw you, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme, Timmy Ho's is where it's at.

♥ Great friends. :) I know, I know, The Canadian Stereotype is all nice nice nice, but most of the ones I've met have been, and then some. And the ones that aren't are just the exceptions that prove the rule. :P

♥ Poutine. I know we get chips, cheese and gravy over here...But it's just not the same.

FYI...That's a Medium portion. There was a Large. I would have died.

♥ Newfoundland. It's the only holiday place I feel homesick for, so it's fortunate "we" (royal "we" - the in-laws) have a house over there. Damn those expensive flights, or I would love to go more often!
Who wouldn't want to go here more often?!

The views from our back deck.


♥ Maple Syrup. Need I say more? I don't think I do.

♥ The finest Winter Olympic ceremonies...EVER. Bryan Adams, flying moose, and giant inflatable beavers. That can never be beaten.

Chris Hadfield. What an awesome man.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Weird Question Tag

1) A nickname that only your family call you? My Great-Grandma used to call me "Sunbeam"...That's about it!

2) Weird habit? Erm...I should probably ask other people about this. I have an OCD about checking things. Anything. All the things. That's probably my worst habit, not sure if it's weird.

3) Weird phobia? I can't eat chicken wings because they have tiny little elbows.

4) Song you blast when you're alone? SO many. Most of my music choices are pretty shameful to the general population. I do love the Dapper Dans' boy band medley though. That includes One Direction and barbershop, so that's probably the most conventionally shameful (but check out how they make 1D almost bearable).

5) Biggest pet peeve? Ignorance, in all forms.

6) Nervous habit? Biting my lip.

7) What side of the bed do you sleep on? As you look at the bed from the bottom, the left hand side. However in hotels, etc, the door/window arragement may demand otherwise.

8) First stuffed animal, and it's name? A little pink chick, usually known as Little Pink Chick. Dad brought it to the maternity ward for me, so that was my very very first toy ever.

9) Drink you always order at Starbucks? I have three regulars: skinny hazelnut (or Toffee Nut, preferrably) hot chocolate, berry hibiscus refresher, or skinny chocolate cream frappe.

10) Beauty regime you preach but don't practice? I don't really have a beauty regime, or talk about them. I buy a lot of exfoliators and don't use them, does that count?

11) Which way do you face in the shower? Away from the water, usually.

12) Weird body skills? I can write with both hands, do the splits, how weird are we getting here?

13) Favourite comfort food? Depends what mood I'm in. Pasta, cake, chocolate...It's all good.

14) What is the phrase or exclamation you always say? Erm..."We'll have to see..."/"Maybe..." when I run out of responses on the phone.

15) What do you wear to bed? Varies, usually pyjamas of some description.

I know there's been a lot of hoo-ha about this site, but hey, I'm an adult, I know how to delete an account, and I assure you I'm not going to kill myself. So, if you have any more weird (or non-weird) questions that weren't in the tag, ASK ME and I will answer a few of the best in a future blog. :)

Thursday, 10 October 2013


I mentioned a little while back that I have had numerous past blogs...So I thought I'd dig back through the archives and share some of the non-teenage-angsty-drama-ridden bits.

"Declined offer of an umbrella to get to work. Hence, got wet walking to bus stop, waiting for the bus, and walking from the bus to work. The bus driver looked like Frasier (if Frasier ever looked irritated about ppl dripping on his bus), and I spotted an apple segment on the floor of the bus, which made me think...for a while. Having also spotted (whilst crossing the car park to get to work) grapes and an orange peel, I've come to the only logical conclusion:- I'm being stalked by fruit."

"You join me 1/2 way through a very claggy Pot Noodle. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, noodle. Don't think I used quite enough water, so the noodles were all nice and as they should be, but there was no sauce."

"I discovered tonight that my leg-hairs are immune to "Veet", the newest incarnation of "Immac". Kind of annoying after spending £3.99 on a can. Plus I now have an unpleasant stinging sensation on certain patches of leg. Hmmmm, never happened under the old name. I sense more than the name has changed :S"

"Found my Spanish phrase book lurking under my desk, and have tried to extend my vocabulary beyond "buenos dios mono" (good morning monkey). After extensive studying (well, 15mins) I can now say "buenos noches mono" (good night monkey), and "Que hay mono, que tal?" (hi monkey, how are you?). Hopefully soon I will work up to other species."Por Favor, mantengase alejado de las puertas, mono!

"Was reminded during a discussion at work of the fact that I once had organ lessons in a class with a girl called Felicia who only had one foot, but I did find a number of people who, like me, thought that the Saturday morning orchestra ("..and this one time, at band camp......") teachers' warning that if you eat sweets during break your instrument would go green (maybe a logical warning to prevent wind instrument players eating sweets, but I went to a strings one, and they said it there too) was a LIE!!!"

"I also got quite excited at the idea of watching "Goat Rush" on TV tonight after checking the TV Guide on the net, only to discover that it was actually "Goal Rush" that had met with a large piece of dust stuck on the screen. Though...I do now have inspiration for a cool new TV show."

"I sometimes think the caffeine in my moisturiser sinks in further some days than others!!"

"As a strange point of interest, I had toast & strawberry jam for my tea."

"I also bought another notebook for my collection whilst I was on my break. I have a worryingly large notebook collection. I even, as I was leaving the shop today, wondered if I should go back in and buy another identical notebook, so that I could use one, and save the other. Primarily because it's an unusual one, when you read it with one side to the front, it says "Notes" on the cover and has lined paper inside, and when you turn it over it says "Scribbles" on the front (that was the back), and has un-lined paper inside. However, I also debated buying another one because before the reason of it being unusual struck me, I was just going to buy another one because it seemed a shame to spoil the one I'd just bought by using it."I do have two of those notebooks. I also have duplicates of a couple of other favourites. So sue me.

"I just made the most geeky hot chocolate in the world, with weigh-scales, and a measuring jug, and everything. I'm a nerd."I still do make hot chocolate that way.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September Favourites

I know a lot of people do this these days and, much as I would like this to be a regular thing, to be fair by the end of next month I will probably forget. But here are my favourites for September:


Image from rubiconexotic.ca

Lychee juice!! Seriously. If you have never tried lychee juice, where have you been?! Rubicon also make lychee ice lollies which are amazing. I am completely on lychee juice.

Also, less exotic, Cup-a-Soups. Sorry. Chicken and Vegetable, to be precise.


Let's take it as a given that I LOVE Subway. Because I do. Sandwiches, salads, cookies, pretty much everything (apart from that weird guy who never gives me enough salad in my salad...It's in the name, I want it in the bowl). I especially love their Mango Chicken. Again, sandwiches, salads, hot, cold, it's all good. Subway, if you can hook me up with a few tubs for this stellar review, I would be most grateful.

Apples. Thanks to my friend and her apple tree, there is an abundance of stewed apple in our house right now, ready for cakes, pastries, and just, well, spoons. You know that one food that every time you go in the fridge you have to pinch a little bit? Stewed apple. Yum!


Luke Bryan "Country Man". I love Luke Bryan anyway. This video is particularly adorable. He dances with a piglet. ♥


xojane.com I can't remember where I found this website, I know it was a linked article on another site (sorry, other site). But they tend to have some pretty interesting stuff on there, some of which makes you think quite a bit. I enjoy that. :)

The Shaytards I know some of you are now going "How did you only just find out about the Shaytards?!" Well, I guess I was a little slow on that one. I did find out about them before the "Bow-ner" video episode, so at least I've been around longer than those fans. I'm not sure what led me to their channel, but I love it, and them. They're my new daily soap opera. I LOVE that they are Mormon too, is that weird? But that they are also just regular crazy people like everyone else. Personally, I think the world needs to see more of that (from all religions, get on it world leaders), just regular, everyday people who are also religious in whatever way they choose to be, and are still normal. If I was more interesting, I would vlog. Also, if I used the internet more in regular clothes and less in my pyjamas. And if my house was more show-homey more often. Can we just talk about how they have FOUR kids, and their house is always immaculate? No, let's not talk about that. It makes me a little irked and more than a little curious (How, Mommytard?! HOW?!!!!).


I really don't buy clothes every month...Or every 3-6 months usually. In September however I did buy clothes, and I can now officially say that it's OK, JT, you can take a well-deserved break. I shall be the one bringing sexy back from now on.

Yup, that would be a James P. Sullivan onesie.
I don't buy clothes often, but when I do they're freakin' awesome.