My chocolate orange cake recipe and other fun things…..

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I love Easter here in LW.  There are a set of rituals and traditions that have been built on year on year that make the extended weekend something of a marathon celebration.  An excuse for a three night / 4 day party with friends; late nights, live music, over indulgent food (chocolate) consumption and so much dancing and laughter my belly hurts.  Tuesday has become a day of recovery.

music beer walkThe Music Beer Walk weekend centred around the Neuadd Arms Hotel took centre stage for much of the weekend.  Friday/Saturday/Sunday evening and even some of those afternoons too.  There was a wealth of communal singing and playing with informal jamming and plenty of musicians and punters just having a good old knees up … there were some ‘proper’ performances too.  Great Irish/Welsh folk music by Pretty in Pink; acoustic folk, pop, rock, blues covers by String Motion; and good old electric rock and blues with Dangerous Dave and Friends.

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Between sessions in the pub were indulgent roast dinners with our boys , their partners and friends;  board games; Easter egg hunts (yes 20 and 30 year old ‘children’ do still want you to hide chocolate around the garden for them to find) .  The only difference is there’s more swearing; harder hiding places and some serious negotiations and power plays when the final bounty is collected and compared!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEaster Sunday always comprises of our friends annual egg rolling and feasting afternoon.  We (friends of all ages from toddlers to retired) gather and colour in our designs on hard boiled eggs over cups of tea.  We stroll to a local hill, scramble to the top and hurl the eggs down.  If yours doesn’t break then its back up the hill for you.  Last one to break or furthest unbroken egg after four or so assaults on the summit DSC_0249wins a prize.  Its then back to their house of a  heavily chocolate based buffet to which we all contribute (this year I made a chocolate orange cointreau cake  – recipe attached); we all help hide eggs around the garden for the little kids and then we pass the rest of the afternoon playing silly games – egg roulette, egg catch, hula hooping the maltesa slide and various other made up games that generally involve chocolate.

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Anyway, here’s me with a rather handsome Easter Bunny….

…and here’s the recipe for my chocolate orange cointreau cake (other orange liqueurs are available)….

Chocolate Orange Cointreau Cake – easy peasy to make

9oz self raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

6oz caster sugar

4 eggs

rind and juice of 2 oranges

1oz cocoa

5oz sunflower oil

2 tablespoons golden syrup

4oz plain chocolate (grated)

6 tablespoons cointreau

place all the ingredients in a large bowl and blend well for a few minutes.

line a loose bottomed tin , pour in the mixture

bake on a gas 3/320F/160C for 45 mins or until risen and away from the edges

cool.

eat!

you can thank me later……

How did you spend your Easter ?

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Positive New Years Resolutions ……

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I’m beached. I am stuck slumped on the sofa, bloated gut, unable to unfurl, and reading some of my fave bloggers. I’m waiting for the excesses of another ‘eating-as-many-left-overs-before-the-diet-starts’ supper to subside enough to enable me to move again. And I’m sitting here trying not to vomit and feeling thoroughly disgusted with myself…. I’ve just eaten half a carton of Madagascan vanilla custard after a huge bowl of pasta with a four-cheese sauce made with a small portion of the remaining Christmas cheeses.

Then I come across this hilarious but oh-so-true poem by the very funny and talented Dawn of Rhyming With Wine, and I think ‘I feel your pain’.  it begins like this ….

Dear Christmas.

I’m sorry to write you this rhyme,
And it’s breaking my heart but I think that it’s time.

…… and if you follow this link you’ll get to the rest of it, plus (bonus) easy access to more of the poems on her lovely blog.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to sit at my proper computer and write my personal plan for 2018 but as I can’t shift my lardy butt at the moment I’ll make do with my phone app.

I never, I repeat, never. Never ever. I never do the resolution thing… especially the ones where you stop things, lose things, give up on stuff.  They’re such negative starts to goals.  If I do anything (and I usually don’t), I set a positive challenge.  …go to at least one live music gig a month; organise date days out with Hubby at least twice a month (that’s this years one); but this year I need to incorporate some of those stop/lose/give up things to my goals.  So I need a way to reword them with more positive phrasing.

This is my positive plan to improve my lifestyle and well-being in 2018

  1. FEEL GREAT in my own body by maintaining a healthier diet and staying hydrated
  2. ENJOY LOTS of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables
  3. TREAT myself to a fresh pineapple every week. Make loads of fresh fruit salad to nibble on
  4. ENERGISE – start the day with a protein rich breakfast – its nutritious, lasts longer and is easy peasy as I have my own hens to provide super fresh eggs
  5. SUPPORT my friend and belly dance teacher by turning up to class every week and practicing my shimmying in between.  Remember how happy I am when I’m dancing.
  6. DANCE- go see all the great local live music that is available most weekends near home, and boogie the weekends away
  7. GET MORE fresh air and exercise by planning better to allow myself the 10 minutes to walk to the village rather than jumping in the car.  also far kinder to the planet
  8. ENJOY MORE date days out with Hubby with ROMANTIC country walks in the gorgeous Mid Wales countryside
  9. PLAY MORE. If I want to play in my garden, i shall play in the garden.  I love my garden.  I love digging, weeding, raking.  I give myself permission to spend more time in my own garden

I refuse to set a weight LOSS goal or an inch LOSS target, but with this little set of POSITIVE actions I’m hoping that I’ll be treating myself to some skinny jeans before the year is out.

How do you feel about New Years Resolutions?

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Birthday cake
WasThis amazing cake was made by the wonderful derful Kate George of Caffi Sosban, Llanwrtyd

To say I milked my 50th birthday might be considered an understatement. Hubby referred to it as my birthday year.

Presents from Hubby arrived sporadically and with excited squeals of delight and surprise from me throughout the year …it was all very exciting.

Then there was the party planning. Although most of it was dealt with by Hubby and his team of delegates, I was privvy to snippets and had access to the private party page on FB so I new who was saying they could come and was able to “e-squeal”, every time I got overly excited thinking about it

I must be the most fortunate woman alive. The amount of love and energy that was poured into that party weekend that overflowed into the whole of the following week, throughout the following weekend and trickled into the next few days. Friends from near and far; loads of live music, laughter, chat, dancing, hugging and drinkng.

Prosecco, gin, toiletries, lush, Dr organics, mohair blanket, handmade pottery
Some of my beautiful birthday gifts… I am very spoilt

I have never ever seen so many wonderful gifts and cards. I love receiving actual cards. I received about 55 of them and I shall keep and treasure them all. The flow of pink gifts was astounding. Pink wine, pink blankets, pink gin, pink gloves, pink hats and scarves, punk vodka, pink balloons…. A beautiful sight. And everyone seemed to get my message about my view on cut flowers. Not one. But I think I have a bit of a reputation for a drink !!! Honestly I need another fridge to house the champagne, prosecco, wine etc etc. (Must add at this point that I am not complaining at all)..

Recovering now at the beginning of my 51st year. Feeling immensely positive about the future.

Someone said to me “here’s to the next half century”, personally I doubt that I’ll make the century the way this body is abused! However, I shall aim to continue to live every day with an open heart and mind and grab every opportunity that presents itself with open arms.

That just leaves me to,  once again,  thank every single person I know and love for helping me celebrate and making my life fuller than it would be if any of them were absent from it. I love you all.


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