Monday, 6 April 2015

Fat-free chocolate cake

"Fat-free", doesn't it sound well-behaved? Not a bit of it, it's packed with sugar, and I'm not going to mention the topping! But it's simple to make and tastes good.
Separate four eggs and whisk the whites until stiff.
In another bowl whisk the yolks with 125g golden castor sugar until pale and fluffy.
Sift in three tablespoons of cocoa and a teaspoon of baking powder.
Fold in the egg whites and 225g of ground almonds. Add a generous teaspoon of vanilla essence.
Put in a loose-bottomed tin and bake for about 30 minutes at gas mark 6.
Keep in the tin until cold.
The ground almonds give a lovely texture. The cake didn't last long!
Family were home for Easter and brought some rather yummy chocolates. (They didn't last long either.)
The packaging was charming.
Talk about building excitement!
And what's better than several layers?!
I've had a really lovely Easter 
and I hope that you did too.

Thursday, 26 March 2015


What an extraordinary story this has been, finding the body of King Richard beneath a car park. They dug where the tarmac had been printed with a letter 'R' and there he was. I consider myself a Yorkist, born and bred as I was in Yorkshire, my parents' house just a few miles up the dale from Middleham Castle where Richard spent part of his childhood.
I have followed the developments and identification of the body with great interest and was one of many who thought that his bones should be returned to York and reinterred there. But today the city of Leicester gave him a right royal send-off. The Bishop of Leicester  spoke of his wish for tribal differences to cease, a good word to use because it is far reaching.

The simple oak coffin, lead lined, was made by King Richard's direct descendant.
The two remaining direct descendants on the female side had provided DNA samples to aid identification of the remains.

Earth taken from Fotherinhay, Middleham and Bosworth, symbolising Richard's birth, life and death, was scattered on the coffin.
The actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who is due to play King Richard in the BBC series, 'The Hollow Crown' read a poem composed for the occasion by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. 
(The actor is third cousin, sixteen times removed, from King Richard.)
Other well-known actors were present, 
the music was beautiful.
It was an altogether fascinating occasion.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Visible Monday

I've been into town, still searching for that elusive red dress. It's supposed to be spring but the weather is cold, too early yet to be parting company from cosy scarves and jumpers.
My battered old velvet coat from Jigsaw is an ideal between weather piece of clothing. (It's looks haven't been improved since a recent meal out with friends when one of our number thought it was a cushion and sat on it. I had placed it carefully over the back of a chair, but that's men for you!)
The cashmere scarf, from Merci in Paris, you must have seen before because, although large, it is featherlight and warm and I practically live in the thing.
Underneath is a Boden waistcoat and a pink button-through jumper.
Yep, purple is my favourite colour!
for Patti's Visible Monday.

Monday, 23 February 2015

I never go out

without first slapping on a bit of moisturiser. I'm not remotely faithful to one brand. My summer choice has long been L'Occitane's very precious fluid because it has a SPF 40 but last year I also used a more economical Olay complete care with a 30 SPF. I've learned that packaging and price don't always have anything to do with the quality of the product, some VERY fancy packaging has contained disappointing contents that have not felt good on my skin. Quite often the description of the ingredients and the claims made about the product make me laugh (I'm a natural sceptic.) So when I was given this rather posh little box
with it's oh, so dainty drawstring interior
and product information telling me that it was Temple Spa 'Skin Truffle for total facial rejuvenation with pure gold, truffles and diamonds' I was still not prepared to be impressed.
What a load of tosh, I thought.
But IT"S FABULOUS. I'll be heartbroken when it's all used up!
I'm going nowhere today, the weather is dreadful, cold, sleeting rain. I'm slobbing about the house in cosy old clothes in various shades of blue; cotton, denim and cashmere.
The Clark's suede shoes have a bit of a bow to cheer me up.
These grey days leave me feeling starved of bright colours and I'm still on the look-out for a scarlet dress.  But I would happily have this suit instead. It was advertised in the Sunday paper.
Pity about the price!!!
Linking up with Patti 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

At the theatre

We've been to Stratford-upon-Avon for a few days to celebrate a friend's fiftieth birthday. We had tickets for a production at the Swan Theatre. It's a lovely space that echoes the atmosphere of the courtyard theatres of Shakespeare's time. There is a thrust stage surrounded by bench seats in the stalls and simple wooden balustraded galleries above. 
I took these photos on the way to our seats and didn't want to use the flash. I hope that you can get an idea of what a magical space it is.

The production that we had come to see had received glowing reviews in the press.

It was a lot of fun.

We arrived at the theatre in good time to have a look around and study whatever might be on display. I enjoy the opportunity to study costumes at close quarters when I visit the theatre or ballet and it's also fascinating to read about the thought processes of the various designers.
From the traditional
To the wildly inventive

and all stages in-between.

You would certainly feel in character trailing all this flotsam behind you!

I rather fancy having an outfit made of Toile de Jouy and denim!