Anyone need a charity photocopier?! (Exeter area)

I mean a photocopier FOR their charity of course, not a photocopier of charities….!

Sharing this message from the very nice people at Exeter Cleaning Company, who I follow on Facebook, just in case anyone knows of any Exeter based charity who could benefit from their very kind offer…. Hope it helps someone!

Exeter Cleaning

We need your help!

We have a working photocopier that we no longer need and we would like it to give it away to a local, Exeter charity. Photocopiers aren’t cheap but, rather than flog it, we’d rather a charity got some use out of it.

So, please could you share this status update so that as many people find out as possible and, if you are a local charity that would like a photocopier, please contact us (Like this page and then message us – there should be a message button at the top right of this page (just under the cover pic)). Once we’ve had a couple of requests, we’ll pick someone! 🙂

Thanks everyone! 🙂

(Facebook – Exeter Cleaning.  Tweeting as @exetercleaning.  Website – http://www.exetercleaning.com/)

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Woohoo! PANCAKES Ahoy!!

When I say I’m a pancake monster, fortunately I don’t mean this…..

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….but how cool is that?! I’ll put up my hand and confess now…. we’ve never, ever, ever had fun making pancakes as a family before. I’ve always been soooo nervous about the whole flippin’ flipping thing that we’ve always had normal, everyday, singed around the edges pancakes …. until NOW!!!!  This year we decided to go for it in a big and FUN way! I’m not saying we didn’t have “ordinary” pancakes too. Our favourite normal pancakes this year were leek and goats cheese for a lovely lush and tasty savoury version and Choccie Philly (yes, we’re silly!) with mandarin oranges and ice cream (messy but LUSH) for sweet. Then things got a little crazy…..

My daughter’s just starting to enjoy cooking and we had lots of lovely left overs from cake pop making the other day, so we got decorating…and then found food dye, and madness just ensued! We used the standard recipe:-

  • 110g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk with 75ml water
  • 2tbsp butter

We sifted together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl (we did our best Mary Berry and held the sieve high (messy!) so that the flour was well aired (and very attractive it looked all over the cooker hob too!). Having made a well in the middle of the flour, we added the eggs then whisked. To this we added the milk and water mixture a little at a time – good job because we did have a little left over that we didn’t need (probably because of the hob top flour!). Now….what we did next, the first time around, was wrong – we added the butter without melting it first and ended up with little chunks floating in the mixture rather than ending up with the smoothness as we should have had. So, our TOP TIP is to make sure you do melt the butter! Once the pan was nice and hot we added the mixture a little at a time…

Hooooowwww cute?!

First off my daughter had a go at making a baby owl – relatively simple on the shaping of the pancake for this. We were going to add the wings into the pancake shape but then she had the idea of doing them in chocolate buttons and there was no dissuading her, naturally!

Crispy Duck Pancake (d'y'geddit?!)

Crispy Duck Pancake (d’y’geddit?!)

We then thought back to the fun meal we had at Chinese New Year and decided on a tongue in cheek….Crispy Duck Pancake pancake!  We had fun with left over squirty cream and food dye for the water, left over mandarin orange segments for the beak and wings and butterfly sprinkles in the sky. We had a good high five to celebrate our cheesiness at this one!

(blue insides!)

(blue insides!)

Then the now infamous Rainbow Fish! Who knew that blue food dye in pancake mixture would be so…..ummm….vivid?! Smarties, jelly tots, mandarin orange and banana all came in handy for this one! My daughter absolutely loved her creation. It’s a good job that the photos came out okay first time around because by the time I’d come back from checking them on the computer, Rainbow Fish was no more! I did do a quick “oh dear, her insides are now that colour!” but what the heck, it’s just once a year!

So, while she was finishing licking the plate after Rainbow Fish she happened to say “aren’t pancakes far more fun than ordinary cakes?”, which gave me an idea for the last little bit of mixture. So, here’s my pancake cupcake – as you can see, I was more impressed with myself than my teenage daughter, but that is going to be a great photo to show boyfriends in years to come – Kevin the teenager eat your heart out!!

Oh go on kid, give me a smile, pleeeease!!!

The Generation Game

We’re having a lovely half term so far – cold as anything, but glimpses of the sun and we’ve been able to get out and about every day. We’ve also managed to see the family quite a bit, which is lovely. My sister had her first baby back in September so he’s still new and shiny (and a bit smelly, dribbly and all other lovely baby things of course!) and we’ve managed to spend some time with him. He’s just started sitting up….well, when I say sitting up….he’s a bit like a sack of spuds! If you ensure his nappy is flat at the bottom when you plonk him down and put his hands on the ground in front of him, he can sit for short times by himself, before collapsing forward between his own legs and lying quite contentedly licking the floor when he can reach it (so easily satisfied and SO bendy!).

All this has of course got me quite nostalgic and looking through photos of my own daughter when she was young. This photo of four generations of our family was the one which sprang immediately to mind.

Generations

When I was 9 years old my parents decided that we’d move from the Midlands to Devon for a better, closer family life. Trouble is, whereas it was closer for our immediate family as my parents now worked and lived in the same building, it moved us away from all the rest of our family – aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. From then on visits were quite rare, although we kept in touch by letter (I’m SO old!) and phone. This photo shows a rare visit from my grandparents back in 1999 when my daughter was born. This was the first time they’d met her. Although all the girls in the family (apart from my daughter the poser!) hate having their photo taken, when we realised there where now four generations of us under the same roof, we just had to let grandad take a photo.  Now, I know it’s not the greatest photo ever – we’ve all got daft expressions on our faces (think grandad was on about take 15 by the time he got this, the shot he wanted, so heaven knows what the rest were like!) and nan’s holding my daughter a bit like a bag of flour with a good deal of nappy showing but WHAT THE HECK?! The girls are all together; the generation gap may have been huge years wise, but at that moment it was shrunk down to zero.

Poor grandad passed away last year. Nan’s health is failing and she has the beginnings of dementure. Now I’ve managed to find this photo in amongst all the others, I’m going to have it printed out so we can all have a copy of it this coming Mother’s Day. This is a great time of year to be thankful for the lovely ladies in our family, to cherish them and to remember that we’re always there for each other.

This post is Rachel’s entry into the Printerpix Photo competition.

Pop Goes The Cake!

My daughter’s currently working on the Baden Powell Award with her Guide group and as part of that had to show that she was able to fund raise (didn’t tell me until after the event that this is because she’ll be going away on a trip…!).

What better to do than make cakes she decided….AHA! Make CAKE POPS, that’s what’s better! I’d seen a book on making cake pops before – the old fashioned (although of course this is a fairly new phenomenon) way was to use stale cake, break it up and then goo it back together, which leaves me a bit shivery. I was then browsing through the Lakeland website and came across their Cake Pop Maker. What a good investment I thought!

Cakepop forest in the fridge!

Cakepop forest in the fridge!

It duly arrived and my daughter invited her friend around for a Sunday afternoon making session! We watched the handy video on the website and off we went…..or rather, off they went! This really was simple enough for the two girls (both 13) to get on and use themselves. The machine comes with recipes and easy to follow instructions to save you having to re-watch the video every 5 minutes.  They had spray oil which made things very easy and soon got used to the amount of mixture they needed to use each time. The only really fiddly bit was the chocolate dipping and topping plopping! One great TOP TIP from the video was to use the poly packaging inside the cakepop maker box to stand up your cakepops to allow them to dry (I was well impressed!). The only thing that didn’t really work was the popping candy that they put on the cakepops. As the candy had to be spooned onto the pops it soon went soggy and the pops had to go into the fridge to cool down meaning even more sogginess. The girls said they were still a little crackly the following day, but they’d probably not use them over sprinkles next time (next time?!).

Mmmm, doughnuts! Hands off Homer!

Mmmm, doughnuts! Hands off Homer!

I think the only downside was that the girls decided to make up another mixture and make mini doughnuts straight after a couple of hours intensive cakepop making and they did get a bit bored by the end (“mum, Annabelle’s in the middle of my new hair do…could you get out the doughnuts, put them in the sugar, take the other ones out of the sugar and…..”) but they had been going at it for HOURS by then so really I should be admiring their stamina instead of moaning!

The results looked pretty good, even if I say so myself!

Half Term Happenings

Me and my revolting coloured hair actually got out and about on Sunday, when the weather was absolutely glorious if not a little on the freezing cold side!  We took all day to get there, meandering around Burton Bradstock, Lulworth Cove etc on the way, but ended up at the breathtaking Corfe Castle where those very nice people at the National Trust are allowing you to zip wire your bear!

Of course you must make sure that your bear is willinImageg and brave before allowing them to even consider this (and not leave her in the car – darling daughter!!) ….but having said that, if they do have last minute collywobbles, the National Trust have enlisted the services of their own style SAS in the form of brave teddies (tho we did spot a snake too!) who will make the jump for you.

Fortunately we had taken our ever brave bear, Lady Penelope Poshly-Paws (thanks to my hubby for running back to the car for her – darling daughter!!), who was more than willing to have a go and had even made sure she had on her Hello Kitty undies to save embarrassment as she zipped (very good job as one little boy and his dad did comment on this as she came down!!).

This is only a small part of what was going on at Corfe Castle that day so do check out the National Trust website to see what’s going on there or somewhere closer to you this week.

Happy Half Term – let me know if you get up to anything as zippy as Lady P P-P!!

Dye not believe your friends!

Okayyyyyy, so why didn’t I Google “does baby shampoo take the dye out of your hair” or something similar before going out and buying some?! Because a FRIEND recommended it, that’s why. Should have questioned it from the very second the words left her mouth, given that her hair was a rather strange purple. Perhaps she’s some sort of rep from baby shampoo trying to drum up business because SURELY a real friend wouldn’t let you do that?!

So, I did Google AFTER I’d given it a go and can confirm that it doesn’t work and baby shampoo’s of such a consistency that you’ll be able to do absolutely nothing with your strange coloured hair and you’ll end up looking even more of a crazy banana than you did in the first place.

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