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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Are Good Deeds A Good Idea?!

Nan started this one off….. When we visited her last week she was STILL talking about the time, two Christmases ago now, when she went shopping in her local shop to buy biscuits for her carers. The lady who was helping her reach them down from the shelf took the biscuits and other things she’d picked up to the counter while she picked up one final item. When nan got to the counter and got her purse out to pay she was told that she owed nothing as the man in the queue before her had paid for all of her shopping as his good deed of the day.

As this event, given she’s still talking about it 2 years later, obviously meant so much to nan, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to try and do as a kind of new year’s resolution?

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions as a whole. I’ve Googled some lovely definitions of them though –

“A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.” (Ahhh, can you imagine spending the whole year hanging out by doors in the hope you can open them for someone?! Slightly nice!)

or

a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year: “Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?” “Yes, I’m going to eat more healthily and give up smoking.

If you ask me these should, on the whole, be redefined as a brilliant idea at the time (especially if you’ve had a new year’s bevvie or two) that might well set you up for a fall either sooner or later and make you feel worse about yourself and/or fatter/unfitter/smoke-ier when you comfort eat/sit watching tv/smoke to get over your remorse! (All power to those who do make resolutions and manage to stick to them though!)

Anyway, I decided that I would try doing a good deed every day.

How long do you think I lasted?

Well, someone took the mickey on day 5 which made me feel exceptionally bad tempered. However, that instance might have been classed more as a favour rather than as a good deed as I was specifically asked to do it, rather than finding something nice to do and doing it off my own back. So really it wasn’t my fault when a further 4 caveats were added to the favour after I’d agreed to do it, leaving me feeling pretty put upon and generally growly rather than light, fluffy and full of favourfulfillingfluffiness (yes, that is a thing).

However, that grumpiness carried on to yesterday when my good deed was “Didn’t have a hissy fit when the ignorant man in the queue at the bank pushed in front of me even though he and the cashier knew I was there first and despite the fact that I was trying to get to work on time when he was obviously just dossing around and had nothing better to do than stand behind me in the queue or, as it happened, blatantly push in front of me completely underminining the purpose of having a queue “. It’s not going so well is it?! It’s just as well I was such a rubbish Brownie as doing a good deed every day at the age of under 10 years old may just have set me up for a lifetime of therapy!

Then there are the people who don’t actually want you to do a good deed for them. A few years ago now I was in a local shop and the lady in front of me was 2p short for her shopping. The guy behind the counter was obviously not going to help her, just sitting there staring at her and she was getting flustered and trying to find an item to return to the shelf, so I stepped in and handed over the 2p, as I’m sure most of us would. She was grateful, he was very grunty and I felt pleased I could help. However, next time I went back there he handed 2p over to me as the lady had gone back and given him the money to give back to me. Perhaps it was just her very good manners that made her do it, but it left me feeling a little sad that she felt the need to do it.

One of my friends posted the following on Facebook recently, and I’ve seen it posted before on other peoples pages in the past too:-

“To start this year off in a loving way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. …These five people must make the same offer in their FB status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile, so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2015,without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love filled year.”

It’s a really lovely idea and I wish I’d got there within the first 5 people to have a go…which left me wondering how you’d feel if the first 5 people weren’t those that you’d have chosen if you’d wanted to do nice things for 5 people? Or what if these people went back on their word and didn’t make the same offer on their own page? The Pay It Forward idea is great though – did you see the film about it?

So, rather than have a complete nervous breakdown before the third week of the year by trying to do good deeds, I’d like to think that I’m the kind of person who would do a good deed anyhow if it needed doing (ie picking up the woman out of the road outside the pub on 4th January when lots of other people were walking straight past, assuming I guess that she had been drinking when in fact she’d turned her ankle stepping in a pothole) or when I felt like doing something nice for someone. Hopefully that way I’ll be making some people out there happier this year, making myself feel a bit better at the same time and not risking my health by feeling obliged to go into my daughter’s room to tidy it as I can’t think of anything else good deed-y to do today! Although, perhaps the advice I’m giving you in the photo below could be my classed as my good deed of the day?!

 

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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!