Tis the Season to be Jolly !!!!

So where do we start about the last 12 months?

It’s certainly been an interesting time.  Lewis had every intention of posting far more blogs about photography, but since completing his photography qualification he hasn’t actually taken that many photographs.  This MUST change for 2013!!!

Kim sat and watched The Great British Bake Off, oh god what a mistake that was!!!  After watching a few episodes, Kim thought it would be an excellent idea to buy Mary Berry’s baking bible and then choose one recipie a week.  Well what’s the point in setting yourself a challenge if nobody knows about it? This is where Lewis came up with the idea that Kim should blog about her baking experiences and share it with those who were interested and wished to read or follow the blog.  Hence Kim’s account on WordPress was created…….

Has it been a success?  Well we certainly think so and we would both like to thank our new followers, not forgetting our existing ones, this year and hope that this blog has bought some interesting reading as well as enjoyment.

So what about Lewis?  Well in January he required surgery on his right shoulder and even now it’s still not fully resolved.  It was such a re-assurance when the Consultant said to him “oh it can take up to 18 months for a shoulder to fully heal….”   Oh cheers, thanks for telling me after the surgery!!!! :0)

Due to having a lack of function in his arm, Lewis hasn’t really done much, but hopes to be far more active in 2013.  Lewis hopes without a doubt that not only will he be able to take plenty of beauitful images, but that people may even wish to purchase the images created by Lullingstone Photography, better known as Lewis & Kim….

So what else has happened?  Oh yes, we nearly forgot.  Lewis’ parents decided to downsize from what had been his childhood home and so where do they move to?  Well of course it has to be next door to us!!!!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “You can’t choose your parents….”,  well guess what, you can’t choose where they live either !!!!   LOL  :0)

Joking apart after a 16 week re-development project, we both hope they have many happy years in their new home, although we’re still waiting for them to actually move in……

Then of course we have the Olympics and Paralympics!!!  WOW is basically all one can say about that.  Whether you like sport or not, no one can deny that we have had the most incredible year of sport.  The achievements of our various sports men and women in their respective disciplines has been absolutely incredible.  The Olympics seemed to be over in a heartbeat which is something we can’t say about the build up to it.  How many years did we have the media bombarding us with Olympic gems?  Far too long would have been the answer.

BUT….. then the Paralympics Opening ceremony began and slowly people were amazed at how a legless man could run, or how someone with one leg could actually ride a bicycle and STILL whip the butts of your average able bodied person!!!  Sure there were plenty of jokes going around; Some were tasteless and some were just down right hilarious…    On that note, we really have to praise the Australian Adam Hills who presented the programme “The Last Leg” which was incredibly funny.  One can only applaud Channel 4 for allowing such a programme that really did break down barriers between disabled and abled body.  We would urge anyone who missed it to try and download it.  It must be on the Internet somewhere :0)

So the whole of the UK were in awe of the competitors and for very good reason.  They were ALL truly inspirational, whether they were winners or losers…  In our eyes, they were ALL WINNERS !!!!

Generally speaking it has actually been a rather quiet year, until we got to December.  Kim had been having some pain and so goes to see the GP. After some investigations, she finds herself with a rapid referral to the hospital and told that surgery is needed…..

So we’re waiting for a date for surgery on the NHS….  Well that’s likely to be a few months then right?  WRONG !!!!

A letter came through from the hospital a few days ago and the date is…….  Yep, it’s New Year’s Eve!!!!  We certainly won’t forget this year in a hurry.

This obviously means that Kim’s baking blog is going to suffer a hiatus for a few weeks whilst she fully recovers.  We both hope that 2013 brings a better year for the both of us in many different ways……

Bailey & Michka - Christmas 2012There are two things that keep us relaxed and relieve any stress and those of course are our two hairy hooligans Bailey and Michka.  It’s wonderful to say that they have both managed to stay in good health.  Without a doubt they will provide Kim with plenty of comfort and love when she comes out of hospital in the New Year…. :0)

We wish you all a very joyous and Happy Christmas and hope that you have a prosperous New Year.  We hope that 2013 is good to you all and is even better than 2012.

Lewis, Kim, Bailey & Michka  :0)

Week Seventeen – decorating the Christmas cakes

Week seventeen and this week is devoted to the endless task of decorating the Christmas cakes made last week.

These are going to be gifts for friends and family and it’s so close to Christmas that if they read this and see the photos it won’t matter too much.

Kim's Christmas Cake 1Kim's Christmas Cake 2 Kim's Christmas Cake 3 Kim's Christmas Cake 4 Kim's Christmas Cake 5

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank family and friends for the endless support in the last two weeks when I have been to hell and back with a health scare. The news is better than I feared and now I am looking forward to spending the Chriatmas period in the company of those I love and cherish- after all , that is the underlying spirit of christmas.

To all who read this, I wish you a Happy Christmas where ever you are and a peaceful New Year.

Week Sixteen – Mary Berry’s Classic Rich Christmas Cake

As promised, this week is Mary Berry‘s Christmas Cake and I make a few christmas cakes as gifts and usually look for a different recipe each year so this fitted in well. I don’t usually leave making my cakes until the middle of December but I just don’t know where the time has gone!

Mary Berry's Classic Rich Christmas Cake

Anyhow, I wrote a shopping list of all the ingredients that Mary’s recipe calls for and I Lakeland dividing tinhad a good work out carrying all the bags needed for the sizes of cakes I needed to make. I used the chart on the other page of Mary’s Bible to see what size tin I was using and the quantity needed. I had purchased an amazing tin from Lakeland last year ( yes, I just love Lakeland!) which is a massive tin on its own but has dividers so it can make varying size cakes. I used my tin divided into four to make four smaller cakes.

My next workout was weighing out all the ingredients and then mixing them by hand- I found muscles I didn’t know I had! I also had the fun of lining each of the tin sections individually. ( I had left the fruit to soak in the brandy as Mary recommended by the time I did this.)

Finally, after a huge amount of mixing , the cake mix was divided and the cakes went into the oven………for FOUR hours! They have come out a very rich dark brown, and now need to be wrapped in foil and “fed” for the next few days before decorating. As they will be gifts, and some of the people they are intended for read this, I will take photos and post after they are in receipt of their present!

Kim's christmas cakes

Week Eleven – Gingerbread Traybake

My hubby actually asked last week if Mary Berry’s Bible had any gingerbread recipes in it as he fancied some gingerbread……well when I looked, there are several gingerbread recipes so I read each one carefully as my thumb is still out of action and I needed a recipe that I could manage with one hand.

So, most of this recipe involved weighing most of the ingredients into a large saucepan, heating gently, to melt them all together, adding the flour and spices and finally beating in four eggs and some milk. The last part was bit tricky but I managed it without needing hubby’s help and only dropped one egg on the floor and the dogs thought their luck had changed!

This recipe calls for quite a lot of each ingredient and I found at the end of the mix that the tray I used, (the size that Mary Berry recommends in her recipe) there was too much to fit in this so I dug out a smaller round tin and lined that and ended up with a tray bake AND a round bake too………

The gingerbread seemed easy enough to make, loads of treacle in it though so it’s going to be very sweet. It baked well and was ready at the recommended time. I took both tins out and let them stand for a while before turning them out onto the cooling rack.

 

Once they were both totally cool, I made the topping, Mary recommends using icing sugar, a small amount of water and some finely chopped crystallised ginger. This is when my hubby made me laugh, he asked what the topping was made of and when I told him about the crystallised ginger, he said “BLEUGHHHHHH!!” I was highly amused that he asked me to make a GINGERBREAD cake but didn’t want TINY amounts of GINGER on the topping……..MEN!!!!!

Tis the Festive Season!!! :0)

Not long to go till we will be sitting down with my parents stuffing ourselves with Christmas dinner, courtesy of Mr Marks and Mr Spencer!!!

I’m sure it was only yesterday that we were doing the same thing. Maybe it’s only me, but this year seems to have flown by and 2012 is looming just around the corner… Dare I mention the London Olympics?

So what have we been upto this year? Dare I say not much really, or just the usual daily life, although there was one BIG difference this year…. Canada!!!

We’d been talking about this trip for at least 5 years and finally the time had arrived where we’d dare stick me on a plane and pray to god that I didn’t go splat and have some allergic reaction……

Before we come to Canada, there was one other little event… Yes I turned 40!!! Do I feel any different? Hummmm I can honestly say NO and still have the same pains I had at the beginning of the year.

So now to Canada…. Yippeeee!!!! Yes, I know the majority, if not all, of our blog site is about our Canadian adventure and my god what a holiday it was… What a country!!! The hardest thing must have been putting the dogs into kennels and obviously the best bit was landing and going straight to the airport to collect them, but it’s the 15 days that happened in between…

We are just hoping to win big on the lottery now so that we can pack up and permanently leave UK Plc for some remaining, beautiful Wilderness… Yep, we’d probably give anything to up sticks and settle in Canada. Let’s be honest, who can blame us?

Hopefully it won’t be another 5 years, but only time will tell….

We both hope that you have had a fantastic year and made some exciting memories.

Raising our imaginary glasses we would like to make a toast to you all and your families at this festive time of year and wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that you have a peaceful and prosperous 2012!!!

Lewis & Kim Brown

P.S. and not a single mention of a camera or any photography for that matter…. Just watch this space as we’ll try and change that for 2012 :0)