“O, for a Muse of Fire”

I walk the same routes without even thinking: up by the common, round the village pond, to the corner shop, the bakery on the high street, back via the cricket pavilion, the old horse-chestnut tree to look for conkers, down behind the tennis courts… I feel like a ghostwalker in my own home- loving the paths I know like the back of my own hand for their nostalgia and childhood memories, but tired of their innocent familiarity, longing for change and new challenges…

Today was my little sister’s 16th birthday, which makes me feel old. It also makes me feel like wrapping her up in cotton wool and locking her in the cupboard under the stairs (my baby sister, 16?!).

To celebrate the occasion, as well as it being National Cupcake Week (http://bakeryinfo.co.uk/) and Roald Dahl Day on Monday (http://www.roalddahlday.info/), I transformed our kitchen into a Willy Wonka- meets George’s Marvellous Medicine- meets Matilda’s Bruce Bogtrotter stealing- chocolate fudge cake making factory. I.e. a mess! See evidence below. However, they say that the proof is in the pudding, and as we haven’t eaten any yet I can only say that it smells and looks highly calorific!

Update: I can indeed confirm that the chocolate fudge cake IS as calorific in taste as in smell and sight. We have all put on a combined weight of about three stone from consuming it (totally worth it!)

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“If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On…”

Gifts. That’s what I’m pondering today, after my recent talk about home-made pressies. What gifts really are the best? Big flashy expensive ones? Rushed, panic-bought bath salts? Fail-safe store vouchers? A poorly composed love poem (from Twelfth Night, perhaps?!)? I’m firmly of the opinion that it’s the home-made, “it’s the thought that count”, “made with love” gifts that mean the most and are the best. But maybe I’m wrong. Please do dispute me. And obviously, if someone wished to buy me a big flashy piece of jewellery, or a car, or a designer handbag, then I probably wouldn’t decline…

To prove my point, here are some gifts given to myself and my family recently. My dad was recently in an accident, and so a work colleague thought to send him a gift. But what? Men are difficult to buy for at the best of times. The perfect answer: homemade Welsh Gower brownies. Perhaps not the most obvious choice, but these brownies were so delectable and melt-in-your-mouth-y that no brownies have matched up to them since. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to eat them all, but believe me if I could’ve I probably would’ve. I heartily recommend them to everyone as the proof that all the best things in life do in fact come from Wales. Check out their website and I challenge you to not let these snaps make your mouth drool! http://www.gowercottagebrownies.co.uk/index.html

Now the Gower Cottage people do say why send flowers when you can send brownies, but I still love a good bouquet. I recieved a bunch as a leaving present last month and I think they’re beautiful. Perhaps the novelty of flowers wears off after a while. I can’t say I’ve got to that stage in my life just yet. Happy gift buying, people!