T is for …. Tulips

Why I didn’t just call this blog “and then it all went wrong” instead dodging the true facts with A Good Day To Dye (NOT!) I don’t know. It must have been obvious from that title that things weren’t going to go my way, and then most of my blog posts do contain a confession that things haven’t gone to plan….and here’s another of those posts!!!!

Pinterest, I have to say, seems to set me up for a fall every time. The people who do craftiness on there must be perfect and I’m not. By putting the bar so high I’m bound to jump and just slide on under it I think!

So, this time I saw an idea for growing tulips in glasses with just glass beads (or treasure as Holly used to call it when she was little) for the roots to grow around rather than growing them in soil. On the Pinterest photo they looked amazing and, as my sister’s a big fan of yellow tulips and has a young son who is eager to learn things, I thought I’d give it a go…..

The “and then it all went wrong” starts right now!!! I was completely in the wrong season to buy tulips, I couldn’t find any tall, narrow necked glasses or any glass nuggets/beads. You’d have thought I’d give up then wouldn’t you? But no. I went down to mum’s and asked if she had my old marble collection (just to prove I hadn’t lose ALL of my marbles), picked up some plastic beads, found a narrow necked vase in a charity shop…. and then enlisted my husband’s help for the rest. We picked up some glasses from the supermarket which, in all honesty, weren’t tall enough. Kev then convinced me to buy…..tulips that were already growing in soil and extract them….. Yes. You can stop cringing now. And I’d skip viewing the next photo altogether if I were you….

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Um, yeah…. I really did un-pot them, split them and…..wash off all the roots :/ Are you ready to contact the RSPT yet?

IMG_2649As a result, they didn’t look tooooooo bad. Of course the marbles and plastic beads wouldn’t mix together as they were different weights which made me even more ratty (oh, didn’t I admit I was very grumpy by this stage yet?!). The one in the vase, which I’d already earmarked for my sister, really did look much better than those in the too short long glasses (if you see what I mean).

Once I was convinced it wasn’t going to shrivel up and die with the shock of it’s “robust” treatment, I turned up on my sister’s doorstep and thrust it into her waiting hands with a “here this is for you, sorry it’s gone wrong”. My poor family…..

Fortunately the rest of the tulips thrived and moved into the front room and onto the top of the new fireplace. Only one, to be honest, has been completely successful, and it isn’t really as yellow as I had been led to believe it would be but, from disaster, comes tulip. Will I try again? Not sure. Has anything positive come from this experience? Yes, I realise I am probably too honest for my own good!

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No new toy for the kitchen :(

At this point I was hoping to tell you about my marvelous new find which I couldn’t live without, but instead I’m here having a good old moan as I reload it into a box and shove it in the car boot sale pile!

This is the offending item – if you have one and have found it to be fabulous, I apologise for my moaning but it’s left me a bit “narked” (to be polite about it!).

IMG_2638Looks great doesn’t it? I bought it in the sale (thank goodness!) at Lakeland. I ordered it online. I don’t think I’d have bought it if I’d seen it in the shop and read the back of the box. Of course I took it out of the cupboard the minute I intended making bread….and then read the care and use instructions. Here we go, ready for this (I might have been a bit naive not to expect this…)

1. Immerse the form completely in clean warm water allowing to soak for 30 minutes (okay, can go away for half an hour and then make bread.)

2. Rub veg oil onto inner surface to coat it entirely.

3. Place in a cold oven and increase the heat to 220 degrees c.

4. Bake the form for approx 25 minutes or until oil has dried completely (hmmm, an hour before I can get the bread in the oven….but then with proving etc that should still work).

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely and naturally.

6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 again.

Grrrrr. No bread today then. But I carried out all of the instructions (twice!) and put off the bread making until the following day.

IMG_2644So, up with the lark (ha,ha!) the following day and bread made and in the oven.  One of the attractions of buying this was that it came with two recipes and I’m always happy to try something new. I decided on the Cheddar & Red Onion Flavour Bread. It turned out to be very odd as only the middle roll had any of the onion filling, making it very strongly flavoured, and the others just had a sprinkling of cheese inside and on top.

When it came out of the oven it looked pretty good….but then I tipped it upside down so I could tap the bottom to make sure it was fully cooked….and it wouldn’t move….. After some prising not a lot was happening still…. It was well and truly stuck. Nothing for it but to rip and hang the consequences of pretty unappetising bread – although I guess with hindsight it had been called Tear and Share!

IMG_2647As the form of the rolls had disappeared during cooking I did wonder if my mixture had been too wet and perhaps I had caused the sticking problem? Not wishing to condemn it and never use it again I decided to give it another go the following day using a bread mix, with the thought that if it was “user error” making it stick, that might solve it. The result was exactly the same. I know I followed the prep of the form to the letter (twice!) so can only conclude that me and the flower form are not going to get on. Just to prove to myself that I hadn’t lost any bread making skill I might have ever had, I went ahead and made bread rolls the following week, free forming them into a flower shape and baking them. The results are far better. Erm, so good in fact that the sixth roll mysteriously disappeared before I could take the photo! This is how I will go from now on.

Roll on car boot sale season….unless anyone else fancies giving it a go to prove me wrong?!

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A-Z Foodie Challenge – E is for Egg

Something a bit different this month … we decided to buy a kit, just add an egg and see how different thIMG_2090e experiences of the three of us Foodie Challenge(d!) Feasters turned out to be.

We decided on a Green’s Dreamy Lemon Meringue Crunch kit which Frances had tried before, but Linda and I had never attempted. I think the choice of kit to use was probably my fault as I’d said I’d like to try to make a meringue for the egg challenge but had never made one before. I must have looked at a particularly complicated recipe which described the process as taking 2 days (yes, honestly) and decided I couldn’t possibly commit to that (dahhhhling). This seemed a quicker and easier way to tackle the challenge, just to see how I got on and whether I could find another, none 2 day taking, recipe some time in the future. To be honest, I’d only ever eaten lemon meringue once before too (I know, shockingly deprived!).

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It’s not that flat Frances!

So, Frances tackled the challenge first and said the results were very well received by the family who declared it to be delicious. She did also say she thinks she should have beaten the meringue for longer as it was a bit flat and frothy – but it looks great to me!

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Linda’s Mountainous Meringue

Linda went second and wasn’t too impressed with the lack of satisfaction she gained from the whole experience. Her meringue looks great and you can see what she thinks on her blog.

As for me, well, I’m blaming the equipment!! What should have been a really simple, quick and tasty task turned out to be a bit of a nightmare when my greaseproof paper decided to take my meringue captive and refuse to release my soggy biscuit base! I can only conclude that my measuring of the butter which was added to the crunchy base was wrong. I used old fashioned dial scales rather than electronic and think, given that this was my second baking balls-up of the week, it’s time I joined this century and got myself a new set of scales. Having said that, I did enjoy cooking the meringue, won’t be as scared to have a go at the real thing in the future, have bought another cake kit (red velvet cake) to stick in the store cupboard for “emergencies” and will be using a kit for next month’s flour bake too!

Greaseproof gripped soggy biscuit base!

Greaseproof gripped soggy biscuit base!

 

Quite interesting that we had 3 such different results from 3 identical kits.

 

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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A Good Day To Dye? Ha!

Okay, so if you’re here looking for something Bruce Willis and Die Hard related….I’m very sorry, you’re in the wrong place! Although, of course, either of those things may appear at a future time, but at the moment I just want somewhere to whinge about my disasterous new hair colour!!

I really did think it was a good day to dye when I got up – having said which, I do usually dye when the family aren’t around so I have peace and quiet and a spare eye to watch the clock. This day they were home and I may have got distracted….leading to my “natural brunette” dye actually turning out to be VERY dark brunette/black in places 😦  What a mess! It’s all very odd – the front is FAR darker than the back. The colour at the back I don’t actually mind, but this front bit, ick. I did try cutting bits off (stop it, I can hear you groaning at my stupidity from here!) but, as my hair’s naturally curly, it’s just sproinged up and makes things even more noticeable.

My husband’s immediate reaction was “it’s fine, looks nice” but then 5 minutes later I catch him singing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”, which is something that’s not in his usual repertoire! My daughter said “Oh mum….it’s lovely……Do you think if you put a blonde dye on top it would go back to normal?” PAH!

I was VERY relieved that it didn’t go green when I braved the swimming pool, and that I didn’t leave a brown/black streak of dye in the water behind me. I DO wish I’d left dying it a couple of week and then I could have at least blamed it on Comic Relief and raised some cash!

My Avon customers have been a bit alarmed, despite me telling them that it DEFINITELY wasn’t one of Avon’s (marvelous, available from me!) hair dye. They’re sending very “sympathetic” texts, including “If the chlorine/wee in the pool hasn’t washed it out, you’re stuck with it” and “I’m on my way up town, I’ll keep an eye out for you, I’ve heard you’re hard to miss at the moment”!

My sister did hold up a strand right at the back in the middle the other day and say “oh, I like the colour of THIS bit”. Helpful!

You can stop laughing now if you’d like?! This is a VERY serious matter. Now that I’ve been told it looks better with the light on it, I WILL be walking into every room and switching on the lights – sorry Global Warming…

Don’t expect me to blog a photo, but here’s one of Bruce just to cheer me up. I can see he’s not going to have my problem at any time soon….

Brucie - no, not that one, this one!

Brucie – no, not that one, this one!