Archive for July 2012

Dark Chocolate Cornflake Cakes

Today was Emz' birthday and we threw her a kids birthday party because we're cool and do things like that. As part of her present I made her some chocolate cornflake cakes and I thought I'd share the recipe here (but I cannot for the life of me remember where I got it, it's been stored away in the back of my brain for a long time though!).

Makes lots.

Ingredients:
200g dark chocolate
100g butter
8 tablespoons golden syrup
140g cornflakes
mini marshmallows

Method:
Melt everything except the cornflakes and marshmallows in a pan on a very very low heat.
Throw in the cornflakes and mix well.
Using a 1/2 cup measure, make small shaped piles of the mix on a buttered buttered baking sheet.



Place a mini marshmallow atop each cornflake cake.
Put in the fridge to set.
Enjoy with either a cup of coffee or a pint (or half pint) of Guinness (this I haven't actually tried but I know that eating chocolate whilst drinking Guinness is very very tasty).



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Crafty Crafting

Being male means that I should be into football, beer and fighting. At least that's what my facebook timeline and so called targeted ads would indicate. Unfortunately it seems that most of the males in my friends list appear to be Neanderthals but there is nothing I can do about this. Well, other than delete them all.

My Facebook Friends (not really)
Unfortunately that is not the kind of person I am. I'm really quite a friendly peaceful type who loves nature and everything in it (except horrible humans) and as a peaceful type something I thought I would enjoy was crafting.

I've done a type of 'crafting' before. For many years I loved wild camping, just me, a hammock, tarp and nature. Of course being human meant this had to be categorised and it is now affectionately known as 'Bushcrafting' - a name popularised by the near god like idol of the bushcrafting world, Ray Mears.

Ray Mears' Bushcraft
Ray Mears' Bushcraft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
That was then though, back in the days when sleeping out on a cold night wouldn't render me incapacitated for the next week. Don't get me wrong, I still love camping and jump at the chance to go out for a weekend under canvas but I do like some home comforts nowadays (seems getting married has softened me up somewhat).

Now that I have a small person to look after I have a few hours in my week that could be filled doing something useful to keep my brain ticking over (like housework, a baby and a degree isn't enough to fill my time!) so I decided to look into craftfing.

crafts
crafts (Photo credit: Margarida Sardo)
My not so extensive research brought up a few resources but none of them looked like the kind of thing I would be very good at, so off I went to the Shangri La of crafting (well, to the lay person it is) Hobbycraft.

Me and the Munchkin spent a good few hours walking the gilded aisles of  Hobbycraft looking for something that would jump out at us and shout 'Hey you, I'm the craft for you'. Unfortunately none of them did, mostly because it's all just out of my budget (no really, my budget is so tight that I can't spare a few quid to keep us both quiet for an hour a day!).

Then it struck me. Years ago I'd looked into jewellery making, mostly because it seemed like a good way to make a few quid but I hadn't known where to start and I didn't have free access to the internet - oh those heady days of the 90's when we had to make our own fun!

So I eventually ended up buying a few small bits to start making jewellery with, went home and promptly forgot about it for a few days. It wasn't until I stumbled across an image of a nice jewellery design that I actually got my purchases out to play with.

Suffice to say my first attempt wouldn't have looked out of place at Honest Johns Scrapyard. I persevered though and within an hour I'd knocked up the following:

 
My first earrings!
Not a bad effort I thought. It would seem that earrings were the things I was good at so over the course of the next few days, whenever I had a spare moment to run into the study, I made 6 pairs of earrings.



Unfortunately I don't wear earrings and although Emz liked them she doesn't wear earrings unless they are hypo-allergenic so I've put them on ebay. I will keep making them though as it gives me something to do and I actually find it quite relaxing. Oh and our neighbour has asked me to make her some too! 

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Happy Birthday Blog

English: A birthday cake
English: A birthday cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A year ago today I picked up my laptop and typed out the post Introduction Time. At the time the Munchkin was 5 weeks old and staring at me from her cot, something I remember reasonable well considering how bad my memory is.

The Munchkin is now 1 year and 5 weeks old and no longer sleeps in her Moses basket in the lounge. She now sleeps upstairs in her own room and generally allows me and Emz to have relatively peaceful evenings.

The last year has certainly been an adventure and I've learned much, but mostly about parenting and not about Conservation Biology (for those that don't know that's what I'm studying at university). The Munchkin and myself have had a few adventures whilst Emz has been working and we've also had a few trying moments - that I've mostly not blogged about - like yesterday when I needed to call the Dr because she wasn't a happy Munchkin.

Also in the last year I've made a few online friends via this blog and twitter. The 'Blogs I read' list is constantly changing and I highly recommend most, if not all, of those blogs as they are written by some amazing people who are vastly more talented than me.

With that I say thank you for reading so far, thanks also for commenting if you have and I will do my best to improve my blogging over the next year.

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Android Zombies

In a departure from Silent Sunday I thought I'd share the following strip of images which I've shamelessly stolen from www.tourbar.info. Just for clarification this is actually true as I just tried it in a scientific way on my own Android phone.

Enjoy.


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Mobiles for Meals

Waiting in my inbox today was the monthly email from netmums bloggers network which I had a quick scan through as always. This month something caught my eye and that something was the astounding statistic that one million children within the UK don't know where their next meal is coming from. Think about that for a moment.

In the news there are always stories about children in third world countries that are starving but I feel that we've grown numb and tend to be able to block them out. However when you learn that in this country, a supposed first world country, there are starving children it does come as a bit of a shock. The shock is even greater when you learn that there has been an increase in British children turning to charities to be fed. That increase is 233%.

In order to do something you would normally need to put your hand into your pocket and find some loose change or donate with your credit/debit card. Fortunately this time this isn't the case.

Netmums have teamed up with the charity Kids Company and created the Mobiles for Meals campaign. This is a simple campaign that means you can find any old mobile and take it to your nearest T-Mobile or Orange shop where you can hand it in so it can be converted to cash that goes straight to the charity.

Five Mobile Systems
(Photo credit: carnero.cc)
Simple yet effective. So simple in fact that I have a mobile that is sitting in a box doing nothing that I am going to take to my nearest shop to hand in, you should do the same. Click the picture below to find out more.

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The Olympic Post

I may change the title of this blog post depending on a few things.

  • How many more businesses get asked to stop using the word ‘Olympic’ (Little Chef have been selling the ‘Olympic Breakfast’ since before Stonehenge was built. Fact.) as the last thing I need is a lawsuit.
  • The subject matter may change as I write (I once went off on a 3 week tangent.Fact.).
  • If there are any complaints about the facts used in this post (some may be made up).

Today the Olympic flame comes to Northampton and we are expected to ‘Line the streets’. Well, thanks for the offer buy I’ll give that demand a miss thank you, I’ve got better things to be doing.

torch

I have nothing against the Olympic Games themselves, they are an idealistic way of trying to bring about friendly competition, harmony and world peace in a nice two week slot every four years. Ironic when you think that they were originally to show off the strength and might of warriors.

first-olympic-8

Actually that is still pretty much what it’s about, just on a more friendly level. Nowadays a nation doesn’t watch the games and think ‘oooh those Russians have some good shot putters, best not invade them’ or ‘Well, so much for the plans to invade China, their table tennis players definitely put a stop to that idea’. These days it is more an individual thing.

Those athletes didn’t spend years training to be the best at their sports so that they can show the world that their country is the best. No, those athletes trained for years to try to become the best because it makes them look good and proves to them that they can be better. If they win they will probably also make a lot of money out of it too.

coke paralympics

Money is another reason I hate the Olympics. I’m not making money from the games so I should hate them, but also the companies that are making lots of money from the games are not doing so because they support sport or want to help people become better at sport (come on, McDonalds and Coke Cola for gods sakes!!!) but because it makes them money and lots of it.

McDonalds_logo_with_London_2012.gif

Then again I doubt very much that the people that wanted the Olympics in London did it just because they felt the East End of London would be a spot on place to gather the world. I have a sneaky suspicion that they knew there would be jobs in it for them and lots of cash would be passed their way too. All except for David Beckham.

As much as I hate football and despise the amounts players are paid I actually feel for Becks this time. Poor witless fool was doing it for the love of sport and to get funding to get the kids into sports and he was repaid by being allowed to play with the fire for a bit then shuffled off so that Great British people like Will.I.Am could wave the flame around whilst tweeting (He tweeted – “Its nuts here in taurton”. Fact. So he knows Taunton well then!).

Will.I.Am-carries-the-Oly-009

So will I be watching the games themselves? Maybe. It’s not often they have sports such as archery, shooting and sailing on the telly. This is one of the good things that comes out of the Olympics, the large variety of sports shown and made available to us normal people.

Which reminds me, funding.

I’ve noticed over the last few years that funding for sports has been increased and increased to a point of sillyness (for example, the college I studied at recently is an agricultural college and yet the entire place appears to be set up for sports and sports academies.). I’m now wondering what is going to happen after the games. I can see the government pulling as much sport funding as they can, to recoup losses elsewhere, which will leave us with a country full of sports facilities and schools positively overflowing with P.E. teachers.

Not to worry, the government can sell those sports facilities to the highest bidder (probably O2) to turn into the latest music venue. Oh and premiership football does not, in my opinion, constitute ‘local community’ so why is the Olympic stadium going to be used for that?

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