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*Sigh* (not actually sure of the point of the additional ** but it sort of looks better and more meaningful - like in a comic). You would think that by now my kids are old enough to fend for themselves when I am out. But they clearly still feel the need to pretend that they are not. I have had this week off from work to spend time with them, but today I had to go in for various meetings..... SO. I left this morning having put a chicken in the oven in manner of proper mother who is capable of looking after her childrens wellbeing at all times even when not in the house. I left strict instructions for it's removal from oven. Didn't realise I should have gone beyond that. Disaster. Before I'd even left the house the oven was smoking profusely and I smelt of smoke. It was a little worrying to leave the building as all the kids were still in bed and I could barely find the door - even though I'd sorted out the drama and put on the extractor fan, I couldn't be sure that anyone would wake up in time to take the chicken out of the oven two hours later when cooked. You can, however, always rely on my youngest to be the responsible chef. He was up before I left the house and of course took it out in time and left it to cool. When I came home this evening it was still on the side with a couple of chunks taken out of it and all three kids were complaining that they were hungry. Truly it's pathetic. I shouldn't have to feel responsible for the fact that they are rubbish at fending for themselves and if I was my mother I'd spend all day every day telling them that I was married with two children at their age... Apparently, because nobody had the foresight to cover the chicken it was attacked by one or more cats and they then refused to eat it. Hardly surprising, but frankly I just don't know why I bother. That sort of thing doesn't happen in households where the mother is a domestic goddess. It's not fair.
My 11 year old was immediately on the case. The minute I mentioned I'd found a rather delicious looking toffee recipe on a friend's blog he was off out the door buying ingredients. It's easy. Tastes delicious. Not sure it's cooked enough. Might have needed a teeny bit longer to set properly. But here it is. I think he might have to roll the squares up into balls and wrap them individually - what happened to those toffee sweets we used to have like that? In a red packet with each one wrapped in greaseproof white paper? Where have they gone? His brother and sister obviously like it - look what a mess they've made. He's going to kill them:- Check out the recipe here on Are We Nearly There Yet mummy's blog. Yummy.
It's Sunday. I'm a bit bored. Which is ridiculous. This is the first time I have been home alone for ages. I have had a spectacularly good and a spectacularly bad week for various reasons. Can't talk about all of it. Owing to my blog being under surveillance, it's just not worth it. STILL on a positive note I haven't been decapitated for being a blogger - unlike the female blogger in Mexico who was writing anonymously about the drug wars...(touches wood, nervously). Instead then, I will write about some of the bits in the middle that happened this week:- Saw my son's friend for the first time since he came back early from their inter-railing adventure of cheap beers in dangerous places. His scar is healing very well, which is a huge relief. Now I feel I can show you what he looked like immediately after being stitched up after the fight they got into in Krakov. Disappointing really that no doubt every single parent had taken it upon themselves to warn their man-child of every possible pitfall imaginable. This was presumably in the hope that by mentioning stabbings, muggings, drive-by shootings, drug dealers, prostitutes, becoming addicted to heroin and befriending serial killers they would become statistically less likely to happen. Silly me, I forgot to mention getting glassed in the face. But it wouldn't have made any difference anyway - when on the brink of an adventure, most parents voices blur into a muffled white noise that teenagers drift in and out of consciousness during. This photograph, by the way is not for the faint hearted:- So what else have I done this week? Went to a sale of Trinny's second hand clothes - but frankly couldn't afford them even then - her old shoes were being sold off for approx £200! Still it was all going to a good cause so I hope she made a lot of money (I didn't get a chance to talk to her about it in the end so don't have much information apart from that it was for an addiction charity):- Then we popped next door to visit a friend who owns a fabulous antique shop - he takes his dog to work with him and she clearly has delusions of grandeur as a result:- Our cat:- Daughter doing her art homework - one of those spray paint art pieces that required a straw. This was the only one she could find:- On closer inspection it's that hideous one my son brought back from his Ayia Napa holiday which I tried to hide:- I've grown a new baby coffee plant!! Very excited. My big coffee plant grew some beans. Four to be precise. I didn't know what to do with them? Roast them? Flame them in Sambucca? Sell them? My mother suggested I plant them - hadn't thought of that and look - little helmet head - very top heavy - how is it going to get out of that straight jacket I wonder:- Didn't go out last week at all - apart from on Friday night when a friend invited a few of us to go and see a recording of "That Sunday Night Show" which bizarrely is filmed on a Friday and they all pretend it's Sunday. How ridiculous. You can't have a weekly news round up only 5/7's of the way through the week I don't think. Richard Madeley KEPT making reference to the Sunday night thing which seemed entirely unnecessary. Alan Johnson, Jenny Eclair and Richard Madeley were the main guests with brief appearances from some mad trader and Robert Lindsay. It was good. Interesting to watch and amusing. I enjoyed it. They were all relaxed and having a laugh and I was surprised at their language and subject matter - it's only a half hour show that took nearly two hours to film so I suspect that most of it will come out. Adrian Chiles, the presenter, amused me with his dry sense of humour, apologising at the beginning for all the "arsing about" that was likely to happen. Desperate to get to a pint of lager by the end. He did a pretty good job of involving all the guests, but should have stopped Richard from talking so much and let Jenny talk more. It was all worryingly sexist when the world's largest knitting needles were handed straight to Jenny although she did come back with "I can do anything, I'm a woman" and when they tasted the camel icecream Alan Johnson described it as the "shit of the desert". Better not tell you any more. I'm going to have to watch it now - listen out for a mobile phone that goes off for ages as my friend frantically tries to find her phone - picks up one only to realise it's her blackberry and her friend had changed her personal ringtone to "The Charge of The Light Brigade". Yesterday I was meant to be meeting up with one of my best friends and her sister to find her an outfit for an important event coming up in her calender. Unbelievable really. Not just any event. She is quite possibly about to become the world's most well known artist. She has been invited to do the next installation for the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. She's in the Financial Times Magazine this weekend having been described by Simon Schama as "one of the greatest living British artists". Spectacular. Anyway, it didn't happen because she's just too busy getting it all finished. Understandably. Good grief. Imagine her stress level at the moment. Went to an AMAZING thing last night. Just at a friend's house. I listened to some talented young artists singing their songs. I'm going to do a separate post on them when I've found their Youtube stuff. I am immensely proud of of my youngest son this week for a number of different reasons. He's definitely happier at school this year and playing lots of sport, standing up for himself when he needs to (and even me when required) and trying really hard to lose weight and although I'm not watching his football match this weekend, last weekend he had a cup game of football that finished at 1-1. They went into extra time and finally penalties. PENALTIES??? AT THEIR AGE. OMG. The parents were literally hyper-ventillating at the thought of their child missing their goal. One mother was actually crying. My son came on second (or maybe third) can't remember. Anyway, cool as you like - HE SCORED!!!! WOOHHOOOOO.....and they won and you have never seen a more puffed up team at the end of it. My son grew a few more inches that day:- He's a little bigger than this now - which was his first weigh in at nearly 11lbs!! "Ouch" is the understatement of the year:- He also made a brilliant cake which I've done a separate post about all in aid of the Royal British Legion and Remembrance Day. Lastly - very strangely and a little worryingly because I think they must have made a mistake this email arrived the other day: "We are delighted to advise that you have been nominated in the Travel Blogger of the Year award category. The next stage is to submit examples of Work that can be put before the Judging Panel. To view the criteria of this category and see also key information that you will need to submit an entry please click here. Just place the cursor over the award number and this will open the criteria for this category but please note other general information on that the screen page. The British Travel Press Awards, created in 2009, is an exciting national awards programme to recognise excellence and achievement among travel writers/journalists, broadcasters and photographers with entries encouraged and welcomed from a wide range of travel writing disciplines including print, online and broadcast. If you have any questions about the criteria or the British Travel Press Awards please let me know. Good luck and we look forward to receiving your submission". I am very surprised. Definitely won't get into the finalists list. But keeping a low profile on the whole matter thus far in the hope that they won't notice their mistake.
A friend of mine has been involved with the production of a book of family-friendly baking recipes (with Flossie Crums) on behalf of the Royal British Legion. It's a pocket sized book of recipes for children to cook to commemorate Remembrance Day. All profits from the sale of the book are being donated to the Royal British Legion to help all those people who have served and continue to serve this country. My son immediately got to work. Got me to drive to the specialist cake shop for icing. Got me to pay for it all. Got me to find all the equipment and buy all the other ingredients. Got me to relinquish my kitchen to a creative artist who has no idea about a system or control of mess. Got me to help with the tidying up. But apart from the above, I take no responsibility for the fabulous outcome. He measured, whisked, poured, timed, rolled, cut out shapes, iced and shaped. Impressive stuff from an 11 year old and dare I say it - his cake looks better than the one in the picture and what's more it tasted delicious. Go on - buy the book - give it to a child and get them to bake a cake for someone who remembers.....it's only £2.50. "And they called it Poppy Love" (sorry):- Here's the one in the book alongside:- Other tempting recipes we will no doubt be testing out soon include an 11 0'clock Remembrance Day Victoria Sponge Cake (which this year must be eaten on 11/11/11 at 11:11 precisely:- Here is the book - you can order it on poppyshop.org.uk and flossiecrums.com