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Category Archives: miscellaneous

New year, new…

I’m terribly late wishing you a Happy New Year, it’s already February!

I’ve been away from the blogasphere for over two months due to a few things all happening at once which have taken my energy and attention elsewhere, completely draining me at times. Just focusing on the good stuff, something we’ve been trying to make happen for a long time finally did happen – once again we’re homeowners!

Definitely the best thing that’s occupied me for the last few months has been moving into our new home. A wonderfully light and warm house that’s also very English-looking I think, don’t you agree?

And it even has a name - Minstrel Cottage.

And it even has a name – Minstrel Cottage

Before we moved, Nicholas decided on some house rules, all by himself, the main ones being

  • No shouting
  • No anger
  • Everyone be happy

I’m so looking forward to filling our new home with love and laughter as well as gorgeous things. But in the meantime I’m project managing the long list of work we’re getting done, as well as being the designated door opener for the daily deliveries of building supplies!

Thanks, dear readers, for hanging in there, and I really appreciated the messages checking up on me from some of you. My next post will definitely be food-related 🙂

Very happily decorating our outside Christmas tree

Very happily decorating our outside Christmas tree

Our very first attempt at cooking a turkey for our very English Christmas in our new home

Our very first attempt at cooking a turkey for our very English Christmas in our new home

Surrounded by unpacked boxes, Christmas 2014 spent with friends and family couldn't have been more perfect

Surrounded by unpacked boxes, Christmas 2014 spent with friends and family couldn’t have been more perfect

Big Packed Lunch – NSPCC

I read a scary fact today:

On average two children in every primary school class are suffering from abuse or neglect and they can sometimes wait months or even years before asking for help.

Because of this, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) set up its ChildLine Schools Service with the aim of educating children to protect themselves from abuse. This scheme sees trained volunteers visit all the primary schools in the UK every two years to educate children on what abuse is, why it’s wrong and where they can get help.

To raise money to continue this amazing educational service, the NSPCC want you to join in with the Big Packed Lunch on Wednesday September 17. Organise a special packed lunch with friends, family, colleagues, school mates or neighbours with everyone bringing something to share. Then donate the amount you may have spent on a boring sandwich to the NSPCC (to make a donation of £5, simply text LUNCH to 70744). All the money raised will help support the ChildLine Schools Service.

It’s a great excuse to get away from your desk or from munching on your own, and it can be as simple or as fancy as you want.

All the information you need including flyers, invitations, lunch ideas and fundraising ideas can be found on the Big Packed Lunch webpage.

To find out what other people are planning and to share your lunch, use the hashtag #BigPackedLunch on social media.

By donating the money you would have spent on lunch, you’ll be helping the NSPCC give children the knowledge to prevent abuse, the confidence to talk about it and the courage to seek help if they ever need it.


Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas, and hoping Father Christmas put you towards the top of the nice list!

Merry Christmas Tree

The end of summer

We’ve just returned from our (late) summer holidays, hence my lack of posting for the last weeks. Before we left I did have the thought of posting while we were away, but now am very glad the Internet connection wasn’t great and I had a break from technology. It’s amazing how much it can take over our lives (or should I say, how much we let it), posting and uploading and commenting on our lives rather than enjoying life’s wonderful moments to the fullest as they happen.

We had an amazing two weeks in Marsa Alam, Egypt. The resort we stayed in had less than 10% occupancy which was great for us but terrible for the people trying to earn a living there. In fact our resort was one of only a few that was still open in the area.

Marsa Alam

I couldn’t keep my two beach boys out of the water and, once again, I was astounded by Nicholas’ tan which appeared on our second day and got darker and darker despite me constantly slathering him in high protection zinc cream!

Marsa Alam

Our holidays weren’t completely void of cooking. Nicholas and I had great fun making sands cakes and coral pasta, ‘cooking’ them on the boogie board one of the towel guys gave us :). And, of course, there was lots of eating including Nicholas’ first taste of crab (he especially enjoyed crunching on the claws) and lots of ice cream eating.

Marsa Alam

Even before he saw his papà go diving, Nicholas was so excited to see the divers and very quickly learnt how to say all the names of the equipment in English and Italian. His mantra for the holidays was ‘I want to go diving!’. When the lady at the passport control in London asked him what his favourite thing of the holidays was, he paused for a few seconds then exclaimed loudly, ‘Diving!’.

Marsa Alam


Before I met my husband, I thought I was a hoarder. But as I slowly discovered his need to keep things, I realised my hoarding had absolutely nothing on his!

Hubby has been slowly going through boxes that have been in storage (yay!) and I have to say that he has also been very good at throwing lots of stuff out. Many of the boxes he hasn’t opened since moving out of home and they’ve just relocated with him, so a lot of them are more like time capsules!

I’ve left him to it, but when he pulled out an old toy catalogue I had to grab it off him to look through it (I’m going through a nostalgic phase, and loving everything vintage and retro). It’s an Italian Mattel toy catalogue from Christmas 1982 (I certainly won’t tell you how old I was in 1982, but I was definitely old enough to have asked for some of these from Father Christmas) and these are some of my favourites, mainly food-related of course and all Barbie-related. And I’m making absolutely no comment regarding hubby hoarding things such as toy catalogues for so many years 😉

Vintage Mattel toy catalogue - Barbie's kitchen

Barbie’s American fridge and oven with built-in microwave

Barbie not only had an enormous American-style fridge freezer but also an oven with a built-in microwave above it. Whose family had those luxuries at the start of the 80s? I’m also very envious of Barbie’s long flowing pink dress which I must try to emulate the next time I’m cooking. I’m sure it would make the most mundane daily cooking tasks so much easier!

Barbie’s dining room

Barbie’s dining table and chairs are surprisingly modern. And the tea trolley may be old-fashioned now, but it’s super practical for being a great host.

And I couldn’t leave you without sharing this picture which just makes me think of the Toy Story short Hawaiian Vacation (why did we never question which side Ken batted for when he had outfits like this?!).

Vintage Mattel toy catalogue - roller skating Ken and Barbie

A little more about me

I was recently interviewed by Gourmandize and was their blogger of the day about a week ago.

Gourmandize is a cooking website where you can share, discover, rate and comment recipes from other home cooks. Every time you submit a recipe you earn points which you can use to have a free custom cookbook printed of your recipes. I’ve only recently started using the site, but there are lots of interesting recipes I’m dying to try.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about me, click on the image below. And feel free to comment and rate my recipes on the site (hint hint!).

Gourmandize Interview BadgeThis is not a sponsored post.

My first birthday

My first birthday

One year ago today I started writing this blog. Happy first ‘birthday’ to the Gingerbread Mum!

I’m very proud of myself for keeping writing down our culinary adventures, even during the times when I don’t have much cooking inspiration.

I started this blog for two main reasons. I was struggling coming up with interesting meals for Nicholas and wanted to write down the ones that worked to be able to refer to them easily later (check). And for when friends asked me for specific recipes (check).

In the process of doing this, I’ve ‘met’ many lovely people I wouldn’t have otherwise met, all through the love of food (or the necessity of having to feed little and not so little people!).

As I raise a glass to myself (well, actually it’s a mug of coffee and an arrowroot biscuit) and wonder what the next year of food will bring, I also say ‘thank you’ to you, lovely reader, for giving me some of your precious time. Cheers 😉

One year ago today I blogged my first recipe: Tomato Pasta Sauce (and I still regularly make it)

One year ago today I blogged my first recipe: Tomato Pasta Sauce (and I still regularly make it)