Friday, 20 February 2015

A strange kind of facial!

Hello Dear Followers

I had such a strange time on Sunday afternoon I felt I really had to tell you about it so here goes:

In the past, I have been know to cook up a reasonable meal, whip up an edible cake and make a very spreadable preserve or two. When I saw the box of Seville oranges in my local shop I just knew I had to buy them and turn them into pots of lovely marmalade  That was almost three weeks ago so, come the end of last week,  those Sevilles were not quite as ripe and juicy as when they came home. However, the idea of making marmalade would not leave my head so I forced myself to buy some more.

Next, I was looking in the fridge for a banana for breakfast and saw two over ripe, black skinned bananas and discovered the one I ate was also a bit over ripe - a vision of banana and walnut cake arrived so the ingredients I needed got added to the shopping list.

Late on Saturday afternoon I washed my Sevilles, scored the peel into quarters and produced lots and lots of those thin strips of  peel for the marmalade.  I squeezed the oranges and two lemons into the preserving pan, added the necessary volume of water and the pith and pips (in a muslin bag), covered the pan and left it in a cold place - the garage - until the next day.

Come Sunday afternoon and I had hatched my plan :
  • Stage 1 : put the marmalade on to boil
  • Stage 2 : weigh the sugar ready to add
  • Stage 3 : weigh the ingredients for the cake straight into the mixing bowl
  • Stage 4 : add sugar to boiling marmalade, reduce heat etc.
  • Stage 5 : make cake and put in oven to cook while skimming marmalade
  • Stage 6 : cake from oven, marmalade at setting point
  • Stage 8 : marmalade in to prepared jars
  • Stage 9 : cake cooled, ready to eat
  • Stage 10: make the coffee!!!!  Eat cake and drink coffee!!!
Too perfect - something had to go wrong :

All was well until I had to weigh the sugar for the marmalade.  My little bear brain got very confused about how much sugar was required and I ended up using every gram of sugar in the house.  My marmalade contains caster sugar, granulated sugar and light brown sugar.

The result of this little brainstorm - no sugar left for the cake.  Never mind, I could concentrate on the marmalade, which was probably just as well.

You may all know that, once marmalade reaches a rolling boil, a scum forms on top. This scum needs to be removed as it will make for cloudy marmalade if left. This required me to stand for what seemed an extremely long time, with my spoon going constantly around the edge of the pan, skimming, while orange smelling steam came up to my face.

The only time I steam my face is when I have a cold which has blocked my sinuses and that usually smells of Olbas Oil, so you can imagine how luxurious it was to have this gorgeous smelling steam wafting upwards while I was looking down at this bubbling liquid which was getting darker and thicker by the minute! Probably the longest steam facial I have experienced since the last time I made a preserve!

My marmalade reached setting point, I had to leave the pan and sort the pouring into jars :

: now stored safely in the cupboard for use on the morning toast. I had a little over which is in a bowl in the 'fridge, ready to be used in a brioche and marmalade pudding at the weekend - yum!

And the cake ?
I bought the sugar on Monday morning - it, as well as the other cake ingredients, are still waiting to be assembled!  Maybe this Sunday, if I'm not otherwise engaged with my new grandson who will be coming to meet us.  More on him later!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

It's February already!

I can't believe we are almost half way through February and this is only the second time I have got to the computer to give you a catch up.  No excuses worth mentioning, so I won't tell you about them!

I am going to donate most of this blog to giving a really big 'shout out' for something which takes up some of the half of me which plays at Lily Maud Vintage - The Pretty Nostalgic Society.  Yay!!!!!!!

Here's a couple of pics of the Society leaflet which I hope you can read but I'll tell you all about it anyway!!!


The Society is a group of like minded people, vintage loving souls, crafters, bakers, growers, upcylcers and more!  We love sharing our skills and knowledge with others, but having skills is not an absolute must - the love is all we need! 

Seriously though, we are not about giving up on technology - many of us could not do what we do or be involved, if we gave up modern technology - and we don't want to time warp back to the '40s or any other previous era, unless you want to that is!

We strive to find a balance between our modern lives and the possibility of a less commericalised  existence. We are all committed to supporting independent, British makers, small, independent shops and businesses and those who make or supply vintage, antique or upcycled goods.  If we spend our hard earned money on something modern, sensible then it's because we value it as a long term purchase for use often.

The pictures show both sides of the leaflet - I have paraphrased the first side because it is quite difficult to read here.  The second side contains the The Pretty Nostalgic Pledge.  In a nutshell, the Pledge urges you to think about - Spending Wisely, Waste Less and Appreciate More.  What does this mean ?  Well, it's asking you to think about :

  • Paying a fair price and using local suppliers and makers 
  • Thinking creatively about recycling, re-purposing what you have to meet changing needs, creating things yourself, learning new craft or skills, looking after your possessions
  • Respecting skill, quality and effort over quantity and price, supporting British, handmade and upcycled goods wherever possible
  • Buying only things I really need or genuinely want

If you are doing lots of these things already then you are probably already a member - if you're not a member then why???? Think about joining us now!!!

So, to help you with your decision, here's what's in it for you :
  • Membership costs £40 per year and for this you will get:
  • 4 copies of the Pretty Nostalgic Compendium (RRP £12 each) posted free.
  • The Compendium has 144 pages of original features, vintage images, illustrations and stunning photography and artwork.  All contributors are members - here's your chance blow your own trumpet about your passion!
  • A discount card for use with our business members
  • members competitions and special offers
  • The chance to meet like minded members in your local area via Pretty Nostalgic Gatherings.
I hope this little bit of information has inspired you to find out more then to join us or get involved, so here's how you do that :

  • VISIT :
  • TWEET: @prettynostalgic
  • EMAIL:

If you would like to see the quality of the publication then order a back copy of its predecessor - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine - £8 each from

I believe in Pretty Nostalgic - come and join me soon!
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