Jamaican Fruit Cake

Good Friday 2019 has brought back so many memories of mum and dad. I didn’t have fried fish and bun and cheese but I decided to bake. I wanted to capture all the aromas of my childhood. Strangely enough I wasnt a fan of fruit cake as a child, it was always in the house. I suppose I didn’t appreciate the time and skill that it took to make these little pieces of heaven. Mum never shared her recipes but she never weighed anything it was all intuitive. So here’s my version.Ingredients500g Stork Margerine500g Dark Brown Sugar500g Self Raising Flour5 Large Eggs1 bottle of Port1kg Mixed Fruit5 tsp Baking Powder5 tsp Cinnamon5 tsp Mixed Spice2 tsp Nutmeg5 tsp Vanilla EssenceMethodPreheat the oven 180cBlend mixed fruit and portBlend sugar and butter.Add 5 eggs slowly.Add blended fruit, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg to the sugar, margerine and eggs.Add flour and stir until all ingredients are folded together until the spoon stands up in the mixture.Divide the mixture into cake tins. 2 10 inch tins and 2 9 inches.Bake for 50 mins until firm to touch.

10 Reasons to try bereavement counselling

Bereavement Counselling! Why Bother?

  1. You need to take time for yourself.

After all the hospital appointments: registering the death; collecting the death certificate and the funeral arrangements you realise you haven’t had a minute to think.

2. It’s good to have someone who allows you to talk.

It might seem a tad self indulgent but it’s an opportunity to talk without being interrupted or diverted to another subject.

3. It takes the pressure off your family

When things get on top of you, you have a safe place to explore your emotions.

4. It’s great to be listened to.

In this world of blah blah blah; Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter etc. You can speak to someone face to face who gives you empathetic nods; sharp intakes of breath – nothing beats that human touch.

5. It helps you to help others.

You are in a better place to help others going through bereavement. You have experience of articulating that indescribable pain.

6. Can be more effective than taking medication

Some doctors if you mention depression they are offering sleeping tablets or anti depressants (which are fine if you need them) but I have found talking about my loss more effective.

7. Helps you to deal with the loss

Helps you to realise that you can take baby steps during the healing process. There are no quick fixes; just time and patience to get back to feeling normal.

8. Freedom to be honest

You don’t need to perform; you can let the mask slip that hides the unbearable pain inside.

9. Focus on the present and the future

Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Counselling allows you set yourself goals both short term and long term. Take a class; take up a hobby; change jobs; go travelling, all these ideas can be explored.

10. You don’t have to face the grief alone

Taking one hour out of your busy week to talk about your grief removes the feeling of isolation. You can begin to untangle the complex feelings that come from losing a loved one in a safe space.

Upcycle Ikea

I love the brightly coloured fabrics in IKEA. The colours are so vibrant and excellent for children’s soft furnishings especially if you want to avoid the stereotypical blue and pink.

Level of difficulty – Simple

Time to make – 1 hour

Materials

2 reasonably priced double quilts

5 metres of lightweight wedding.

Sewing machine

How to make a cot quilt

  1. Divide each quilt into 4 equal rectangles
  2. Turn the fabric inside out and attach the wadding to the fabric on the sewing machine.
  3. Leave a wide enough space in one seam to turn the fabric on the right side.
  4. Use an embroidery stitch to edge the quilt.
  5. To add more detail to the quilt embroider around the flowers.

Great gift for baby showers, birthdays and Christmas.

Mother’s Day

2019 will be the year of many firsts. Around the corner will be the first Mother’s Day without my mum. In the shops there are adverts for meals, presents and cards.

The day started with a visit to the cemetery. Looking around at the bewildered relatives trying to make sense of their loss.

Gathering at the graveside I reflect on Mother’s Days in the past. One year we bought mum cooking utensils. She thanked us kindly and she said next time buy me something for myself. Every year after that perfume or flowers, but her favourite gift was money. Strangely enough she was a shopaholic and a saver.

Mothering Sunday was always special it was a time to say thank you mum loved cards with lots of words telling her how amazing she was.

Everyone called her mum whether they knew her or not. If anyone was having problems with their parents, husband, wife, friends mum took them in and gave them sound advice to help them move forward.

She loved to cook; nothing gave her greater pleasure than feeding someone who’s hungry and offering more.

It was always the Saturday before Mother’s day we’d ask dad ‘have you bought anything for mum?’ The response was always the same. ‘Arrr..no.’ We would have to take him to the florist or to Boots to save the hysteria from mum.

Back to a cold day in March you’ve moved from your warm armchair to a cold grave. Dead flowers are removed replaced with fresh ones. Sleep on beloved, sleep on.

Cheese and onion crisps

20170825_160256.jpgWhat would you give a packet of cheese and onion crisps? Well my brother was willing to risk his life. Every year my mum would buy a big box of crisps for Christmas. Well mum realised that they wouldn’t last so she hid them in a high cupboard above the stairs.

My brother didn’t let that stop him; he rested one foot on the banister and the other one on the post. He managed to release the catch and open the door to a blue and white box holding hidden treasure. His younger siblings stood below in eager anticipation of those rustling packets. He was their hero.

As Christmas approached; he did not let his conscience bother him he continued his escapade.

Judgement day came Christmas morning – ‘bring down the box of crisps!’ The opened box rustled with its much depleted contents. Mum peered inside to see two lonely packets of crisps.

‘Who ate them?’

‘We did,’ the youngest confessed.

She was pushed and shoved in the back and called ‘supergrass’.

Looking back she must have known she cleaned the house and emptied the bins.

Homemade Friday

Put down the gadgets and start to create. I don’t work on Fridays but I need to be creative or I feel the day has been wasted. Whilst scrolling through Pinterest I saw lots of recipes for homemade lip gloss. I’m always buying the ingredients but I never found the time to make it.This Friday was different I had my beautiful assistant my daughter to motivate me. We gathered the ingredients, petroleum jelly, coconut oil, peppermint oil and lipstick.Ingredients

  • Coconut Oil
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Pink or Red lipstick
  • Glass/plastic container with a lid

Method

  1. Melt the Coconut Oil in the microwave for 30seconds.
  2. Add the Petroleum Jelly stir the ingredients together until both are liquid ready to pour.
  3. Add pure essential oil – I chose Peppermint Oil.
  4. Add the lipstick to add colour and stir vigorously to make sure there are no lumps.
  5. Pour the lip balm into glass container with a lid.
  6. Place in the fridge for half an hour and voila you have home made lip gloss.

Lip Gloss Second AttemptIngredients1 tbsp Coconut Oil1 tbsp Shea Butter1/2 tbsp Beeswax Granules10 drops vitamin E oilLipstick for colourStrawberry jelly crystals (for scent)Method

  1. Melt Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Beeswax until they become a clear liquid.
  2. Add Vitamin E to melted oils.
  3. Add lipstick for colour stir until melted in the oil. Reheat to get rid of lumps.
  4. Add jelly crystals.
  5. Pour into metal containers
  6. Cool in fridge or freezer the mixture should be solid.
  7. Place the lids on the containers.

Great gifts for friends and family.

Bereavement Counselling

My first session exploring the loss of mum and dad. I sat in the car for 5 minutes running through my head. Where do I start to unravel the pain of loss of both parents. I walked up to the gates and pressed the buzzer. ‘Hi, I have an appointment at 6pm.’ The gate buzzed and I was inside. ‘Take a seat. Would you like water?’

I took a seat in the waiting area surrounded by red and beige sofas. Out came my counsellor same height and full of life who led me into a small room.

As soon as I started talking the tears started to flow. I found myself firstly talking about the illness that took my mum’s life. The same questions were foremost in my mind was the cruelty and unfairness of PSP. It’s bad enough that old age takes away your youth and vitality but this disease takes away the essential building blocks to life – mobility, speech and independence. She asked me ‘Are you angry?’ I was shocked because of all the emotions I’ve experienced, guilt, self pity, loss etc. But anger it didn’t make sense until I remembered mum’s refusal to have the operation that could have sustained her life. I begged and pleaded with her to try and when it didn’t work I had to go outside to the car park because the full weight of its significance struck me. We were at the end of all the struggles against this merciless disease.

I shared stories from my childhood and when I thought about mum and dad as a team I couldn’t help but smile. They were both so stubborn and they rarely admitted that they could be wrong.

The time went so quickly my younger self would have called it ‘self indulgent’ but age is telling me it’s a necessity. Anyway after an hour of releasing my ‘anger’ I was ushered out into the waiting room to be greeted by more wounded soldiers anticipating their opportunity to be listened to – a precious commodity in this busy world.