PLEASE HELP! Raise money for Breast Cancer Research Foundation

This is a really simple competition from Wineweaver – make a Cork Buddy and they will donate money to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  As the end date is 31st October, I’m just going to link details in the hope that some of you may be able to, or want to, enter – the more entries they get the more they will donate to Pink Month.

Hoping we’ll have time to go ourselves so I’ll update this post as and when. If you have a go I’d love to see your photos. If you’re able to share this info with your blog followers, Facebook, Twitter or any other friends, I’d be REALLY grateful!

Wine Weaver Donate to Pink Week Link!

This is their example!

corkbuddy

UPDATE!

Nearly got in SERIOUS trouble with husband’s you-must-not-touch-this-as-you-will-get-stuck-to-it-do-you-understand? glue today. Can kind of see what he’s going on about now as I was at one point stuck to my cork. Then it was stuck to the dining table. I have now stuck, quite possibly literally, a placemat over that sticky bit on the table, so hopefully no-one will notice…or want to move it. Anyhoooo, here’s the result!! Our Wineweaver #corkbuddies. Friends will not be surprised to hear that I think we have fairies at the bottom of our garden…..

"We live at the bottom of Rachel's garden!"

“We live at the bottom of Rachel’s garden!”

Mum’s having a go too, so will hopefully post her buddies soon 🙂

Mad MAOAM Mummified Moggie!!

Okay – RIGHT at the start, no kitty was hurt during this process….!

Those very nice people at MAOAM raised a challenge on their Facebook page and, as you may have already guessed, if there’s anything I enjoy it’s a challenge, a chance to be creative and…maybe….a little bit of madness on the way!

MAOAM’s instructions were “Send a photo of MAOAM sweets or packaging in a Halloween setting in an image which is fun and where you have used your effort and imagination to create the image” – FUN!!!!!!!

Well, naturally, the first idea that popped into my head was to mummify the cat….. Before I hear the howls of protest, I did have our cat doorstop in mind.  Here’s the poor guy before the process started

Bare, naked kitty doorstop

Bare, naked kitty doorstop

As my daughter’s a big fan of Decopatch we thought that perhaps we could eat lots and lots and lots of yummy MAOAM sweets (yes, you can see why we like a challenge can’t you?!) and then Decopatch (or stick on paper in bits to you and I) the empty wrappers.  Here they are!

HOW many MAOAM did we eat?!

HOW many MAOAM did we eat?!

They look good just like that don’t they? The Decopatch glue is great as you glue under and over the object you’re sticking, as normally you’d use smaller pieces and layer them slightly,  and then your finished work has a nice shine afterwards too, without the hassle of varnishing.

I have to say that I’ve never really done much of this before, whereas my daughter’s a bit of an expert, especially at being frugal with what she does with her glue. As a result her sheets were dry within hours, whereas mine were still a bit damp and sticky several days later!! I had wondered how that little pot of glue had lasted her years with the amount of sticking she does!! She’ll need some new now though!

After the sheets were, eventually, dry I cut them into strips and then “bandaged” up kitty….and here’s the result! For people who are still a bit freaked out about a covered cat LOOK, I left a space for him to breathe through his nose, even though he’s an inanimate object – I’m not a complete monster!!

MAOAWWWWW!

MAOAWWWWW!

But, but, but….that’s never enough once you start an idea is it?! After that I thought I’d make a sign to go behind kitty for our final display. I hand drew this, and whilst drawing the “M”‘s realised they looked a bit mouth like….. Okay, so bring on a MAOAM pumpkin then!

I really like the M shaped eyes and mouth – they work very well

Please see below for a recipe to make your own ectoplasm!

Please see below for a recipe to make your own ectoplasm!

I think! However, that was a bit dull for us really wasn’t it?! Why not have the pumpkin’s brain’s dripping out in some ectoplasm?! Why not indeed! As our usual ectoplasm supplier is currently busy with other Halloween duties, we decided to make our own. We melted some MAOAM in the microwave (BE CAREFUL if you try this, it only takes seconds and the results are MOLTEN hot – don’t stick your fingers in it!). To this we added some green food colouring and some of the pumpkin seeds. It’s a pretty icky result isn’t it?! Absolutely ideal!!!

We decided that, as well as offering trick or treat callers MAOAM from the handy skull called Ozzle, which we borrowed from my mother (you see, it’s hereditary!), we’d make them up some cupcakes too! I’m VERY pleased with how these turned out. We wrapped the cake cases with more of our decopatch style paper, used unwrapped MAOAM as eyebrows and then a Cyclops style eye in the middle!

Eye spy MAOAM!

Eye spy MAOAM!

You’ll be pleased to hear that we really did think it was time to stop after all this crazy creativity, and put the whole scene together (before Halloween was over and done with!)…… so here’s the final result….. Hope you like it!

HAPPY MAOAM HALLOWEEN!

HAPPY MAOAM HALLOWEEN!

…and by night…..!

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That Channel is Swimmed!

Well, yes, I’ve made it – 1416 lengths of our local pool, the equivalent of the length of the Channel, and fortunately well within the deadline of 6th December. It’s been a good challenge, which I’d recommend for anyone who wants to get a bit of discipline in their exercising life! The only downside was the lack of duty-free available once I’d finished!

The most lengths swam in one go was 96 – believe me I couldn’t have made the extra 4 lengths to make it to 100, but then I wanted to count in 8’s (never my strongest timetable!) or 16’s….or 4’s or 2’s on desperate days, so that was fine. The most done in a day was probably when I went twice and did 88 both times.

I’m now wondering whether I’ll miss swimming so often, whether I’ll keep it up on a regular basis or whether I’m  happy to hang up my suit and not smell like a swimming pool!

Here’s my Aspire Challenge page so you can see how I’ve done, and just on the off-chance someone would like to get a sneaky last minute donation for this very good cause, for which I’d be eternally grateful…. http://www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk/RachelJames

Funniest moment in the pool over the last few weeks was the elderly lady who stopped swimming as we were part way through a length. I stopped too worried that she had a problem to which she replied “I’m stiffening up dear, I need some of that UB40”!!  I think she probably meant WD40 but we decided between us that UB40 was perhaps a better idea – Red, Red Wine ought to work wonders on stiffening joints hadn’t it?!

The friend who encouraged me to take up this challenge has also finished. She’s now saying that she’s considering doing there AND back next year. As for me, I’m considering…..looking for new, more sensible friends!

Wow, that pool's cold today....

Wow, that pool’s cold today….

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Oh, you Mug!

So, have you heard of Cakes in a Mug before? Using a microwave? Yes, really! If you’ve not been initiated to this AMAZING art yet, then read on dear friend (if you already know all about it, read on anyhow, you might learn something, or be able to comment and teach me something!).

I’m not sure how long microwave mug cakes have been around – when Googling in an effort to find out I did come across an article entitled “Magic Chocolate Mug Cake Microwave Recipe” dated 2008….and I think the concept is every bit as magical today.

Bringing up right up to date, those terribly clever people at Whittard have decided to celebrate the magic with a Cake in a Mug Blogger Carnival. As they say in their article, cake in a mug is a perfect solution for someone who really fancies a little cake without the time and effort involved in baking an entire cake. So, with this spirit in mind, here’s my recipe. Some of the ingredients may seem a little “different” but I PROMISE you that they make a wonderful cake.

The ingredients are in such small amounts that I’ll just run through them as part of the method:-

Optional for decorating purposes later……melt a little dark chocolate in a small bowl, dip in a strawberry and place it on a plate in the fridge to cool (now melt the rest of the chocolate and eat the rest of the strawberries…..if you’re me….).

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter into your (microwave-proof) mug (if you’ve never melted butter in the microwave, please be aware this only takes seconds – my poor nan tried to soften butter in the microwave once, setting it for a minute, then had to try to harden it back up in the freezer!)

Mix in 2 tablespoons of sugar until well combined, then stir in a medium egg.

Add 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt (yes, really – makes it tasty!).  Then add 4 tablespoons of self raising flour together with a little bicarbonate of soda (I use just less than 1/4 teaspoon).

This is the point that you should add any other ingredients that you fancy. For this particular cake I added a tablespoon of Whittard Luxury White Hot Chocolate Powder and some chocolate drops. You could add cocoa, vanilla or any other flavour essence…whatever takes your fancy.

Pop in the microwave. I blasted my cake for 1 minute 30 seconds in our 850w oven. If that doesn’t seem long enough and your cake looks a little underdone put in for a while longer – but only go 10 seconds at a time as you can really ruin the texture if you overcook it.

Put on the kettle and make a lovely pot of tea. Take your cake out of the microwave and decorate as you wish…… And here’s one I made earlier!

Choco-Strawberry Micro Cake!

Choco-Strawberry Micro Cake!

I recommend eating it immediately, from the mug with a spoon, while the chocolate drops are still hot and runny…. Then do the brilliantly little amount of washing up that you’ve created, have a meal ready for your family when they get home from work/school and eat a tiny portion, claiming to be on a diet….. Go on, I’ll keep your cake eating a secret!

This post is an entry to the Whittard of Chelsea Cake in a Mug Blogger Carnival

UPDATE!

Delighted and absolutely over the moon to say that I was a runner up in Whittard’s Mug Blogger Carnival! The results are online and I’m most definitely going to have a go at some of the other entries – they look lush! Please let me know if you’ve had a go at a cake and how it came out!