Monday, 21 July 2014

The quickest homemade gift....

It's almost the end of term and boy, are we all feeling it?! What with that, the heat and the humongous thunderstorm over the weekend, this household is on a bit of a go-slow today. And, of course, that means my best laid plans for teacher's gifts has slightly gone out of the window....well, almost...

I did manage to get the pre-school teachers theirs from from the whole class. No mean feat to attempt to get 45 fingerprints on a mug!! I managed 32 & am pretty pleased with that. 

Not the best photos but they are truly lovely in real life! You'll have to trust me on that. 

Many thanks to Rosie at Crockadoodledo for turning these around so quickly. 

And later, I'm going to string a necklace for my elder daughter's teacher using buttons and beads given by all her classmates.

Hmmm, maybe I haven't done so badly after all....

Some of their other classes are finishing too for the summer & I wanted to give a little treat to their teachers. But it had to be quick since I'm almost out of energy. And ta-dah, je vous prèsente "Citrus Curd"!

It is great on many levels - I got to use up the lemons, limes & mandarins that are hanging around my kitchen (without turning them into a cocktail, although that's quite appealing too!!), it took a total of 10 minutes AND used up some of the jam jars I keep and that drive my husband nutty!!

Wanna know how??

Take your lemons or limes or mandarins (or a combination of all three). 

Juice them to get approx 250ml.

In a separate bowl whisk 200g caster sugar with 3 eggs. Add the citrus juice and 100g melted butter. Whisk all together until well combined. 

Microwave for 1 minute, remove, stir, then cook again until the mixture thickens & sticks to the back of a spoon. I reckon 5 minutes total. 

Give it a good stir then pour into sterilised jam jars. Allow to cool before putting lid on.

Click here for a downloadable recipe.

Yummington! Now to make some labels - and resist eating all of this myself!!

UPDATE: here are some photos (albeit not the best) of the finished necklace. Charlotte's teacher loved it! Hooray!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Run for your life!

Running....hmmm, that really belongs to my life before children. To be honest, even then it was fairly short lived (keep reading for more on that)....And yet, as is my wont every June, I don my trusty Nike trainers and go for a run.

Not just any old run, you'll understand, this is my once a year participation in the Race for Life. It's a 5km run for women organised by Cancer Research UK and there are around 200 of them up and down the country every weekend in the summer months.

(In case you haven't heard of it, or would like to know more, just click here.)

I ran my first Race for Life in 2007 in memory of my friend Lyn. She lost her battle with cancer almost exactly a year earlier. I wore a red shirt (her favourite colour) and tried to remember the fun we used to have together as I ran with 5000 other women, each with their own stories. 

I was cheered on by my mum and then 1year old daughter, Charlotte. Fast forward to the following year and I ran with 3 wonderful friends in memory of my mum. We had no idea at that Race in 2007 that mum had a massive tumour on her kidney & wouldn't survive much after diagnosis. Needless to say I cried most of the way round.

Why did I run? Well, I had a crazy idea one Christmas that I'd like to run a marathon before the next Christmas. My husband's response to that was simply : "D'you think you ought to go out for a run first, to see if you like it?" !!! I went for my first run the day after Boxing Day with a smattering of snow on the ground and, it's quite fair to say, I really didn't like it!! But my mind was made up, I bought a book, devoured it & made a plan. I was aiming for the New York Marathon. The timing was perfect - it takes place at the beginning of November so would give me plenty of time to train and yet could still be done before Christmas! 

Those of you who know me well know that I'm an 'all or nothing' kind of girl. This is an extreme case in point!!

I started walking (I've always walked at quite a pace, so speed walking wasn't a problem). Then I started alternating walking and running. Run to the next lamppost, walk to the next, etc. Gradually I could run past two lampposts, then three. Perhaps this running lark was possible after all!

Over the next 10months I went from running nowhere to running AT LEAST a half marathon every weekend!! And on 2nd November 2002, I ran the New York City Marathon in 4h06m. I'd arranged to meet my husband by a certain tree in Central Park at the end of the race (he ran on ahead since he was much fitter & faster than me). He was genuinely surprised to see me there so quickly!!

And now? Now I hardly ever run. Hmm, in reality, I run once a year! The Race for Life is an important part of my year and I will do all I can to be part of it, by running and asking for sponsorship to raise money for Cancer Research. I still run in memory of my mum, but I also run for all those fighting this horrible disease. There are too many of you for my liking. And this is my small way to help.