Monday, 20 September 2010

Back again

It's been a bit more of a break from my blog than I intended; going back to work after a holiday is always busy, and last week was only a short week owing to a hospital appointment and a final hurray of the summer with two nights at the seaside to celebrate my fiance's birthday.

Here's the cake I made for his birthday - it's the gilded chocolate cake with ganache from Fiona Cairn's Bake and Decorate. Fiance was suitably shocked at the extravagance; it is quite expensive and some of my sheets arrived slightly crushed, the combination of reasons why the cake features an abstract design rather than being covered completely.

I've also been doing an awful lot of swimming. Unfortunately the Great North Swim was cancelled due to poisonous blue-green algae which developed just before the swim. As regular readers will know, I had been raising money for Mind, the mental health charity, so I needed to do something to fulfil the challenge that I had asked people to sponsor me. Not being one to do things lightly, in recompense I've signed up for a challenge that requires me to swim 125% further...I won't be swimming a mile, I'll be swimming 2.25 miles, which will take me about an hour and a half. That's quite a challenge! As such I've been putting huge miles (literally, one before work each day) in to try to get my stamina up. If you'd like to sponsor me, then please do here...and thanks to the extremely kind people who read this blog who have already donated money to this fantastic cause. If it won't bore you, I'll let you know how I get on after 27th September.

I have been popping into some other people's blogs, but now it's time to do a bit more blogging of my own. Tomorrow I'm going to share some literary pictures from our holiday, as I was able to visit the locations of one of my favourite children's books. I only purchased one book on holiday which was a little pamphlet of Favourite Lakeland Recipes, and I look forward to baking a couple of things from that in due course (maybe not the Kendal Mint Cake which I tried whilst we were away and which I thought tasted like toothpaste, but perhaps the Lakeland Sand Cake (although the Lakes aren't too full of sand...) or the Windemere Spice Biscuits or one of two sorts of gingerbread.

I'm on a bit of a book buying, in fact, anything buying hiatus, from here until Christmas, and probably beyond, as I try to save up so we can meet the rest of our wedding costs. It'll be fun (!) to see if I can wear out some of my clothes and really beat the TBR into oblivion (I did quite a good job on my break and finally read White Tiger - it was good!). Less fun drinking instant coffee in the staff common room than having a nice decaff Americano in Pret but I shall try to view it stoically.


  1. I am impressed by how much you can swim. That is one hell of a task,you have set yourself, so well done for training so hard.
    The cake looks lush.

    I am on a book buying ban now until Christmas too. I have far too many I haven't read yet.

  2. I think the cake is lovely and you wouldn't know the design was thanks to crushed gilding--completely stupid question, but can the gilding be eaten? Good luck on the swimming--it's very cool you are doing that! And I am also on a book buying hiatus and have been for most of the summer (though I admit I did go to the last library sale for a binge).

  3. Well done on the swimming - will love to hear you how you get on.

    Good luck with not buying books - I think I may have gone the opposite way.

  4. That cake is so gorgeous! Also, I'm impressed with all of your swimming. :)

    I find book buying bans much easier than clothes buying bans...there's no library for clothes! lol

  5. Sorry to hear about the algae, but good luck for the new challenge :-)

    I've never heard of sand cake before - I'll have to go and see what it consists of!

  6. That is one seriously decadent looking cake you have there...very lucky birthday boy!

    My goodness, swimming for an hour and a half...that's impressive!

  7. Welcome back! That is a beautiful cake!

  8. Ooh, lots of lovely responses - thanks for popping in everyone!

    Vivienne - I'm almost up to date with my TBR so it is going to be library trips now. I did 1.5k before work again today, I didn't actually find it tiring just very boring.

    Danielle - yes, it is edible gold leaf! It didn't taste of much though :(

    Jo - hi - nice to see a new face, I will have to come and see your blog.

    Eva - yes, but I have a TBW pile that is bigger than my TBR; if I wear out some of my clothes then I'll have wardrobe space. I hope.

    Jackie - it seems to involve cornflour - I will make it soon and report back.

    Darlene - I think swimming for that time is going to be not a little boring.

    Dot - yes, I was pleased with it! and so was the birthday boy.

  9. How nice you're back, Verity. That cake is gorgeous. I like the 'abstract' design :)

  10. Welcome back! The cake is gorgeous... you're very brave to work with the gold sheets. Good luck with the swim.

  11. I notice that the swim had been cancelled and though of you. Must have a great disappointment. Well done you for signing up for something else though. Good luck!

  12. Good luck on the swim! 2.25 miles is such a long distance to swim!

    And that cake looks gorgeous. Every time I visit your blog you make me want to learn to bake better..

  13. I am imagining you staring out of a window at a bleak, grey sky stoically drinking your instacoffee ;) Maybe you can make some less expensive cake to take to work to compensate (I like the design on the birthday cake btw, it looks kind of like a leaf pattern).

    Yes please let us know how it goes with the swim (close now). And good luck in case I forget to emntion later.

  14. Thanks Miranda! it looked quite good.

    Juxtabook - i was surprised how widely the news spread. Still, I get to do bigger and better things.

    Iris - thank you, and thanks again for sponsoring me.

    Jodie - luckily today it is sunny in Oxford. Unfortunately I can't eat cake...well, only gluten and dairy free cake and I'm yet to find a good one of those... I can eat rice cakes - what a misnomer and definitely designed to make one feel more stoic.


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