Charity Event – “Time for Tea”

Join us for a late morning / early afternoon of tea, coffee, juice, cakes, games and more. We’re raising money for two amazing charities, and we’d love you to be a part of it.

Homemade cakes and biscuits, including:

Monkey Bread!
Lemon Drizzle!
Cupcakes!
Shortbread!

Tea, coffee and juice will also be available.

If you’re in the area, please come on down…

Tarbock Village Hall, Netherley Road, Tarbock Green nr. Prescot, Merseyside, L35 1QG

Time for Tea 2

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Hi. My name is Barbara, and I am a coffeeholic.

Ever since I can remember, I have been a coffee drinker.  My dad used to give me tiny cups (no exaggeration – my mum made me my own little cup in her pottery class – smaller than an espresso cup) of coffee when I was a child (no, there’s no age limit on drinking coffee in the UK).

I can remember waking up on a Sunday morning by the smell of freshly percolated coffee, coming from the kitchen.  Shortly afterwards, the smell of sausage and bacon would follow.  That was my indication that dad was up, and a hearty, full-English breakfast would soon be on the table.  Now-a-days, even though I still love a full-English, it’s known as a ‘heart attack on a plate’.

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So yesterday, I visited a beautiful place called Inglenook Farm (in Rainford, Merseyside) with a friend.  As soon as I stepped out of the car, the distinct smell of lavender hit.

There are a few shops at the farm –

  • African Dream, which sells ‘fair trade’ items such as ornaments, hanging decorations, jewellery and clothes.  The lady that runs the shop visits Kenya and South Africa regularly, and purchases the items directly from the people who make the items.  That way she ensures all monies are going directly to supporting the creators.
  • Boonric Gallery, where beautiful, original paintings and drawings are displayed and sold.  We met one of the artists there, and had a bit of a chat to her whilst admiring her work.
  • The Makery.  Unfortunately this was closed, but it had a sign in the window that stated it had arts and crafts for kiddies.
  • The Farm Shop.  Now, this was a bit of a “bank breaker” for me.  If I had the money, I probably would have bought everything in there.  From fresh, organic fruit and veg grown on the farm, to chocolate and cakes made there.  From handmade, cold-compressed soaps to pure essential oils…  All were made on the farm.  This is where I bought the coffee.
Image courtesy from the Inglenook Farm website

Image courtesy from the Inglenook Farm website

On a shelf, towards the exit of the shop, it was there.  Jars of coffee beans, each with their own distinct flavour, were available to open and smell.

The two coffees that I recall had unusual names…  “Witches Brew” had a coffee strength of “4”.  It smelled strong, but to me, it was more of a Columbian scent of a bean.  Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of Columbian coffee.  The second coffee that I recall was “Devil’s Delight”.  This had a strength of “5”, and a beautiful smell.  I think I could have just eaten the beans directly.

Two options were available for the Devil’s Delight.  Whole beans and ground, for a cafetiere.  I had to purchase the latter, as I am not privileged to own a percolator.

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I did intend on trying the coffee last night, although with having a little Donut around, I thought it best for me just to go to bed instead, ha ha.

This morning, hubby dearest had made me my usual Kenco coffee, but a fussy Donut meant that it had gone cold before I actually managed to drink it.  I was then offered a fresh cup…  I asked him to make a batch of the Devil’s Delight, as I wanted to see what it was like.

The packet was opened, and the smell leaked out of the bag.  Hubby pulled a face, exclaiming “that’s potent!”

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The cafetiere was filled enough for two mugs, and left to stand for a little while.  It was thick – just how I like it…

I’ve always joked, saying that I like my coffee strong enough to stand a spoon up in it.  Looks like I got what I like.

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Well…  I’ve finished my cup.  Yep.  I think it was strong, but I can’t comment.  I’m still feeling as ‘alert’ as I did before.  Which was half asleep.

So now I’m left with an even more grumpy Donut:

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and an incredibly skanky cup to try to clean…

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I’m starting to think that I am immune to the effects of coffee.

Day 6 – I almost forgot

With only 20 minutes to go before day 6 is over, I had only just remembered to make this post, so I almost didn’t keep up my end of the bargain.  To which I have already failed one of my 40 day challenges, so I’d be rather annoyed if I failed both.  So, let’s see…  I gave up coffee and said I would blog once a day.  Guess which one I failed on?

To be fair, even though I have broken my ‘no coffee’ pact to myself, I can at least take comfort in knowing that I have already cut back a lot.  Where as I was on several cups a day, I had one yesterday, and one today.  Already a huge improvement.

I had my first physio session today, to try to see what on earth is going on with my shoulder.  My physiotherapist thinks that the pain and discomfort that I am suffering seems to be related to the muscles on the right side of my neck rather than my shoulder, so I can ‘resume normal activities with my arm’.  Like I had stopped doing what I normally do anyway…  Ha ha.  I was sent on my way with some exercises to do at home, and in the workplace, and with an appointment for some ‘hands-on’ therapy.  I would love to say that I’m getting massages for free, but it’s not quite like that.  I’m going to have her manipulate my neck and surrounding muscles only.  I guess I’ll have to pay for a full Swedish/Aromatherapy massage myself then.

Eek!  15 minutes before this post has to be published…!!

Mr. Gning is staying at his grandparents tonight.  He does near enough every Monday.  It all started off because hubby and I used to do our training on a Monday evening, so Gning had to be minded by my parents, so it only made sense that he stayed (seen as we never got home until 9pm, and my ‘rents would drop him off about 9.30pm).  Now it’s deemed the norm for all of us.  He gets to spend the night in ‘grandads bed’, gets to play with nanny, and hubby and I can be as lazy as we want.  Then, on the Tuesday, Gning is taken out for the day (somewhere different every time, like the park, the zoo, the forest, etc.), and I stay in bed until lunch time!!  Unless we have something we need to do.

At the moment, hubby is ‘playing’ on the xbox one.  He’s trying his hand at creating worlds and games on ‘Project Spark beta’.  It looks pretty good, although not my thing.  I’ve wasted 90 minutes in the Interpals chat room…  A couple of people in there who I normally talk to, but nothing interesting going on.

I’ve just looked up to the TV to see what hubbys’ ‘world’ is like, and have just witnessed a murder!!  He’s just beaten a cartoon squirrel to death!  Oh my.  This is just too much…

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Then again…  It does look evil.

There you go…  4 minutes left of day 6!!  See you tomorrow ❤

Day 3 – Let’s try this again, shall we?

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Day 2 – To dye, or not to dye

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Day 2 of my coffee rehab is almost complete.  I’ve not been at all bothered by my lack of coffee today, although I did look at the machine when I was on my lunch in work.  I was good though.  I turned away and didn’t look back.  If I’m going to do the non-coffee, I’m going to do it properly.  Afterall…  I’m getting used to the taste of tea.

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If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve never been a tea drinker.  Tea was just for the elderly…  Or for when I was ill:  But even I can’t deny that tea tastes so much better when served in a real china cup, and it makes you feel all posh.  Someone pass the cucumber sandwiches.

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Drinking tea out of a mug, like I have been doing, just isn’t the same.

I went to Asda (again) last night.  Wow.  Anyone would think that I had a bit of a thing for the place…

Anyway, I thought that I would have a quick look at the hair dyes, mainly to get a price on any ‘super bright’ ones that I could use to ‘dip dye’ my hair.  Last time I bought an auburn cherry coloured dye, which looked ok but not great, and I’ve always wanted to dip my hair again.

Normally, nothing catches my attention, and it’s just various blondes, reds and browns that line the shelves, however this must have been a sign.

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Excuse the nails.  I am in desperate need of a manicure.

These three caught my eye.  All three are semi-permanent, and according to the box, usually last between 8-12 washes.  Because of the colour of my hair, this would probably mean that it would last about 3 months in mine, until it gradually washes/fades away.

Shocking pink, raspberry and electric blue.  I liked the blue and the pink, although the more I starred at them, the more I wasn’t convinced.  The blue wasn’t enough of a statement, but the I thought the pink was too much.  Hence, I bit the biscuit (so to say), and I bought the raspberry.

Here’s the dye in action…

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It wasn’t until it was already on that I read the instructions…

You normally always apply a permanent dye to dry hair.  One of the differences between semi and full is that you’re supposed to apply a semi to damp hair.  Oops.

Anyway…  I think it would have only made a big difference if I was going to be having the dye all over.  As I was only having it ‘dipped’, or in this case ‘painted’, I didn’t think it would make much of a difference, and may even be more vibrant.

45 minutes later, I was out of the shower, and hair was wrapped up in a towel.  As with any big change, I was rather anxious as to what it had turned out like, but I was patient, and only dried my hair 20 minutes after having it wrapped up.

This morning I straightened my hair (hubby dearest did the back for me), and here’s the result:

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Not the best picture in the world, but it didn’t come out too badly, huh?

Day 1 – 40 days of posts

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 was Shrove Tuesday within the Christian community.  It’s known all over the world under different names…  I learned yesterday that it’s called “Fat Tuesday” in the USA.  Here in the UK, we call it “Pancake Day”.

pancakes picture

I didn’t realise what day it was until it was too late.

I headed out to my local Asda to pick up some pancake mix.  Nothing.  The shelves were empty for the batter mix, nutella, golden syrup and maple syrup…  So I thought, ‘ok, let’s do this the real way.  I’ll buy some flour and I will make my own batter!’ So, I headed to the baking aisle…  What?!  The shelves were empty of both plain and self-raising flour!!  Slightly upset and annoyed at my forgetfulness, I returned to my car carrying treats for my little man and a few bits for the house.

Outcome of the day?  No pancakes 😦

That brings us up to date.  Today, Wednesday, 5 March 2014 is Ash Wednesday.  Today is the first day of Lent in the Christian Church.  Lent is when Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting in the desert.  The more modern tradition is to either give something up for the 40 days and nights, or to take something honourable on (such as volunteering, etc.).  Many people choose to give up chocolate, or alcohol.  It may seem so pitiful, however, that can be a big deal for some people.  I have never participated in Lent before.  However, last night I decided…  ‘I’ll give up coffee…’  

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So, today is day 1 of my coffee rehabilitation.  I have had no coffee what-so-ever, yet I have had 4 cups of tea (which, even though doesn’t have anywhere near as much, still has caffeine in it).  It was rather amusing this morning in work, as I was rather jittery, and I did get the giggles at one point.

Oh, I feel that I must make it known at this point that my regular consumption is anywhere from 6 – 15 cups of coffee per day.

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This afternoon, things died down, and I felt like normal.  Thinking about it, I don’t think I am going to have a problem in giving up coffee.  Sure, I miss the taste already, and my colleagues’ freshly brewed coffee smelled so scrummy today, but in the long run, this will benefit my health.

On the way home from work I had also made the decision to make a blog post every day for 40 days.  I honestly don’t know what I’m going to blog about on a daily basis, as if I blogged about my life I would surely bore you to tears.  So, I will try to keep you (and myself) on your toes by making little quips here, photo’s there…  Even if I just post a one lined joke, I will count that as a post.

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Giving my history of “I promise to post more often”, would you like to make a bet as to how long I can actually keep this up for..?

Coffee Sponge Cake with Bailey’s Butter Frosting

This was made for my dad’s birthday.  It is a recipe that I’ve used before, but previously it was only used in a large batch of cupcakes.  The larger cake, however, has turned out wonderfully.

Ingredients – Cake

8oz butter

8oz soft light brown sugar

4 large eggs

50ml strong coffee

8oz self-raising flour

Ingredients – Frosting

15oz icing sugar

10oz butter

4 tbsp Bailey’s

Method – Cake

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens) and grease 2x20cm baking tins.

2.  Cream the sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each is fully blended before adding the next.

4.  Add the coffee (I used 4 tsp coffee to 50ml boiling water) and mix throroughly.

5.  Sieve the flour in, holding the sieve as high as possible to allow a lot of air to join the mixture.

6.  Spoon the mixture evenly into the two greased baking tins.

7.  Bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes (or until cooked).  A trick I have learned here is not to open the oven door until at least 30 minutes in to the cooking time.  This ensures a thorough cooking right the way through the cake without disturbing it too much.

8.  Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for approx. 5-10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling wire.

Method – Frosting

1.  Cream the butter in a mixing bowl.

2.  Add the icing sugar gradually.  I took 7 ‘helpings’.  Ensure each ‘helping’ is mixed thoroughly before adding the next part.

3.  Add the Bailey’s (don’t forget to pour a glass for yourself!).

Method – Putting it together

1.  On one of the cakes, cover the top with some frosting.

2.  Add the second cake on top.

3.  Use the rest of the Bailey’s butter frosting to completely cover the cake.

Enjoy!

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