GBBO Bake Along (Week 3)

Bread bread bread bread bread bread bread

If you say it enough, it just becomes an utterly nonsensical word that sounds like a seagull having a bit of a moment. Try it, go on.

Anyway, yes. Week 3 was bread week and so, armed with a hastily scribbled recipe, I headed out to the supermarket for ingredients. What I came back with, was this..

That’s right. My name is Lisa and I cheated at the GBBO Bake Along. Let’s face it, we all knew it was going to happen at some point so better to get it out of the way early. Plus, I was busy so shut your face you’re not my mum!

Ahem.

Cheating or not, bread was made and wasn’t actually too bad. It could’ve done with longer in the oven and maybe I should’ve actually made it from scratch but Pfft! 

Cue Montage! 

Sometime soon, I might be brave enough to try actually making bread. You know, from scratch and all. Kinda like Kerri did (the show off).

Oh and uh.. I guess I quite like Lipstick woman and Benjamina from the actual show. 

Next week: Batter … or maybe doughnuts. Who knows. 

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GBBO Bake Along (Week 1 & 2)

Ah, the Great British Bake Off.

I remember a time when I would’ve openly scoffed at the idea of being so enthralled by a show where people made cake. I mean, where’s the fun in that? It’s not like I could eat the cake. Of course, this was also during the years when I was utterly uninspired by cooking. Convenience was my friend and stir fry was as exciting as my repertoire got. 

Now, as an older but no more wiser woman, I am hooked by its twee British charm. I quickly adopt my favourite baker and Marvel at their creations.  So much so that this year, I decided to bake along with the show. 

It started so well. 

Week one: Jaffa Drizzle Cake. 

Armed with the required ingredients  (an orange, some flour, butter, sugar and cohoclate), I cleared a space and began to bake.

Incident 1: discovering you don’t own a large enough bowl to make cake mix in. 

Incident 2: realising that “zesting an orange” is incredibly time consuming and grating your fingers really hurts.

Incident 3: eating too much cake mix/drizzle mix/melted chocolate and feeling very sick.

The end result:

Gaze upon its drizzled awesomeness but remember how pride comes before a fall…

Week 2: Biscuits

Dear god. How wrong this went. There were several factors working against me and I ended up making 2  batches from 2 different recipes. 

Incident 1: In an attempt to cut corners, and running late from an exercise class, my first attempt used only 3 ingredients – peanut butter, sugar and an egg. It was terrible.

Incident 2: Seeing how badly the first batch turned out, I tried a different recipe. It was 10pm. I was tired. I was stressed. The second batch taste of nothing. Just.. nothing.

The end result: 

The left hand side is the 3 ingredient, sticky almost brittle mess. The right is the tasteless but texture-perfect failure. I was not built to make biscuits. 

Next week: Bread. 

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Buddy Box Lite

Last month, on one of those ridiculous-and-becoming-far-too-regular days where i foolishly decide that i have money to burn, i ordered myself a Buddy Box Lite from The Blurt Foundation.

I’ve ordered one of their regular Buddy Boxes before and, impressed by the contents, chose to treat myself to a little post goodness.

 

Unlike the regular box, the Lite box only contains around 3 items (as well as the standard postcards).

 

The box arrived on Sunday – or rather, I picked the box up from the nearest sorting office on Sunday after our postman chose that weekend to decide that ringing doorbells was clearly beneath him.. For shame!

 

Here’s what was cosied up inside, all based on the theme of “The Seaside”:

 

A Mug



Hm, ok so it’s just a plain, white tin mug. Not amazing but not the worst thing I’ve ever received. I guess this is related to picnics and camping.. at the seaside.. maybe. In a coincidence that I now suspect was planned, my work mug recently met its untimely end so this will definitely get some use.

 

Stickers


Definitely seaside related but not something that I’m likely to use. My niece, however, is going through a BIG sticker phase so she’ll love these.

A Sheet Face Mask


No. I’m out. I’ve got no idea how this relates to the seaside but it’s definitely a great self-care item. It’s also something I’ve been wanting to try for a while but haven’t got round to buying. Good work, Buddy Box!

The Postcards

 

What Buddy Box would be complete without the standard postcards. They include helpful advice, one specifically for committing a random act of kindness and a great seaside themed one.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this box. The selection might seem a little random but it’s all stuff that I’ll use and definitely helped cheer me up a little.

7/10 – would order again.

All images used are taken by and the property of AStarFellOnHer, unless otherwise stated. The use of any image from this blog without express permission is strictly prohibited

Driving and Me 

There are few times that I am more at peace than when trundling down a motorway, the sunset in my rearview mirror and some decent music on the stereo. 

This is not to say that I am a calm driver. Oh no. During daylight hours I can road-rage with the best of them. Cut me up and I will curse your entire family. Get too close to my car at traffic lights and prepare to be slaughtered at the alter that is my steering wheel. 

And yet still, driving is my happy place. 

I passed my test at 18, a necessity due to the remote locale of my childhood village. However, with less than a year under my driving belt, I disappeared off to university and my 1984 Nissan Micra was sold to help pay my rent. (Note: my beautiful car was sold to another new driver who wrote her off within 4 months by driving straight over a roundabout island. I’m not bitter, just very disappointed.)

It would be 12-years and several refresher lessons before I scooted my butt behind the wheel of a car again. 12 long, public transport filled years in which I quickly learned the best walking routes around my city just to avoid having to take a bus. Urgh, city buses. 

In June of 2015, after much panicked calculations, actual panic attacks and crying fits, Slug joined our family. This shiny blue Fiesta has absolutely changed our lives. A bold claim that she more than lives up to!

I had forgotten how calm driving makes me, especially nighttime driving. When there is nothing but me, the street lights and some music I am perfectly happy. For all her flaws, my car is my temple of Mindfulness, the place where my head empties and is filled with satisfying silence. It’s my form of meditation. My own personal brand of Self-Care.

When I am alone and in need of a break from the relentless noise in my head, it’s not unusual for me to go for a destination-less drive. In the past year, I’ve driven to empty beaches, headed for the hills only to be distracted by driving along endless country lanes and discovered parts of Wales that I’d never heard of. Yes, it is an expensive way to find peace but it is my favourite way.

So, here’s to Slug. My beautifully flawed hunk of metal that has opened up a whole world of serenity and adventure. Long may you surprise us with your habit of cutting out the engine while going round corners and being a haven for spiders. 


Mindfulness Monday: Coping Mechanisms

I’ve been having a bit of a tough time of late, mentally speaking. It’s not unusual but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. 

I’ve overstretched myself and my mental wellbeing has taken the hit. I’m peopled out. I have no socialising left in me. Any fellow introverts and social anxiety sufferers will know what I’m talking about. 

Other the years, I’ve built up a small repertoire of helpful things to keep me sane(r) when out and about to minimise the fallout afterwards. You’ll find them below.

1) Breathe.

That’s right, remember to breathe. Obvious, non? Often when I’m in a social situation and can feel the panic rising, the first thing I notice is that my breathing becomes rapid. If you notice this happening, try to concentrate on slowing it down. Breathe in and out evenly, counting each breathe as you do. 

2) Listen.

Distraction is one of the most used tools in my mental health toolbox. When in a group of people, the best way to calm that inner whine is to concentrate. Focus on what the person you’re talking to is saying. Not only does it make you an awesome friend but it may stop you from dwelling on intrusive thoughts. 

3) Ask questions

You’ve upped your friend game by showing yourself to be actively involved in the conversation so why not step it.up a notch? BAM! Engage in the conversation. It might be the last thing.you even want to try to do but it will help.

4) Take a Break

Pop out for a smoke or a “vape” (ugh), nip to the loo or just say you need to make a quick call. Taking just 2-3mins to yourself can be enough to ground you and get yourself back under control. Make sure to use this time wisely though, with breathing exercises and the like. Try not to spend it obsessing over everything that’s been said.

5) Avoid Caffeine & sugar

Having given up alcohol for the year, this is one that I often struggle with. Most pubs will have a variety of soft drinks avaliable but these can still be quite expensive. Cola and lemonade, while the cheaper options, do come with the downside that you’ll be awake for hours afterwards.

I know these all seem super obvious but they’ve helped me in the past and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simple things. If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

Laters xx