Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Blog Heaven

My mobile phone died this week - I have to admit to being rather pleased...

...it's shiny new upgrade is just what the blog doctor ordered...

Steve Jobs - THANK YOU SIR! 

The iphone is my super dooper new way of always being able to access blogs..

...I'm pretty sure that wasn't his original raison d'etre...

...but, YIPPEE! anyway!

Who needs Twitter when you can have the real thing?

Now I just need to figure out how!!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

We don't really live in the middle of nowhere...it justs feels like it!

This email was sent today...

Dear Waitrose,

From time to time I check our postcode to see if a wondrous thing has happened...to see if Waitrose has a care for those living in the no mans land between their stores?

We live between Bath and Cirencester...yet we aren't covered by either home delivery service - if you put in our postcode into your online store this is what you get -



Abergavenny...that's actually in Wales...not just a different county, but a different COUNTRY!!!

Who writes this stuff? Who sits in one of your offices, and dreamt that one up? I hope they had a good laugh, I jolly well did - for it may well have said Outer Mongolia!

I really like shopping in Waitrose, but I have to say it really tests my brand loyalty. Our nearest store is Bath, but in order to shop there I have to drive a 2o mile roundtrip, then pay £2.20 to park for the half an hour it takes to do the shopping.
Over a year this means spending at least £115 - just to park...and in the years that we have lived near Bath we have spent well over a thousand pounds...just in parking fees!!

(Can you feel the steam coming out of my ears?)

It has to be the only supermarket that does this? I understand the situation in Bath (the parking is not owned by Waitrose)...but this is 2008 - and I am still astonished that there is no online facility covering the surrounding area. 
Bath only delivers in Bath - an oxymoron if ever there was one.

There are plenty of nice little villages surrounding Bath which are inhabited by Waitrose shoppers, although you are losing them - you've almost lost me a few times!

Then there's Cirencester - Ciren is a great store and they have a lovely manager who would love to deliver to our area...but isn't allowed to, and frankly Cirencester is too far away to be practicable for our weekly shop.

So, there we are - where does that leave us? Still spending lots of 'dead' money on parking...just because I really can't 'do' the other supermarkets, which always look grubby, I can't find my way round and stuffed to the rafters with 'stuff' I'm not the least bit interested in buying (like clothes made in far flung sweatshops or boring electrical lumps of plastic).

And the reason for this email....well we all had flu this week...and it made me realise more than ever, that to have home delivery would have been a saviour...so Dear Mr Tesco, he won the day....and Mr Tesco (who we call 'the dark side' in our house due to them being omnipresent  (second only to Starbucks)) is perfectly happy to drive all the way from the nether regions of Bristol....

So....like Martin Luther King...."I have a dream..."

...is it too much to hope for....I don't seriously have to drive to Stroud....do I???

Kind foodie regards,
The Hen

Maybe I still have a temperature?

Friday, 7 November 2008

Cupcakes, Magnolia Style.

I got very excited a few weeks ago...it was the day the children broke up from school for half term... they were incredibly tired, and I thought, in need of a treat. As I wandered through Bath doing my shopping I spotted a new flower shop, and my interest peaked when I saw that she had sublet to another company making very pretty cupcakes. I'm such a magpie, I couldn't resist buying the children a box!

I had dreams of NY's Magnolia Bakery and gorgeous Sarah Jessica Parker glamour...
...sadly these were more old apple than Big Apple!
Dry, flavourless sponge...I thought rather wistfully of the Magnolia legend, and hit google!

Wow! The wonders of Cyberspace, within seconds I had been transported to NY and had the precious recipe....YIPPEE!

With no food colourings in the pantry, just some leftover Christmas cake decorations, my cupcakes weren't going to look quite as pretty, but I hoped they would be light and fluffy...

HURRAH - cupcake heaven

Her recipe makes a really fluffy sponge, and the vanilla comes through really well. The frosting is desperately sweet, but the children LOVED it!

So, for the price of a couple Bath cupcakes....we made 24!

A word of caution...I suspect the little silver balls would take out a loose filling!

Now excited at the prospect of being a cupcake diva, I have spent the GDP of some distant foreign state ordering a Wilton wire cupcake stand...and lots of the pretty decorations...BF has also found where to find the butterflies.....where would we be without Googledom?

I wonder how many calories might reside within a Magnolia cupcake? 
Mmm, on second thoughts, perhaps it's better to eat in ignorance!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Rare Birds

On my last post I received comments from some  'regular' commenters I am terribly fond of...there are quite a few of them that I would love to meet in the 'real world', but I also received a comment from a new (to me) blogger...lovely to see a fresh face, fresh ideas...so I toddled over to her blog to take a peek.

There Polly was talking about spending time with old friends vs strangers, and whether the Old Friends always win over.
I have to say, I think she's right, the friends we have through all our life's little ups and downs (sometimes big ups and downs) know us the best, and there is real comfort in being close to our special friends.

Though while we are on the subject, good girl friends are jolly hard to find - not all women make good friends, and sometimes through my life I have discovered that some friends do not have your best interests at heart. Perhaps as we age (it's got to be the only upside) we learn how to sort the wheat from the Chav?

In my life now there are two women who I think of as my dearest friends, you know, the ones you could ring in a crisis, the ones you trust to keep a secret, the ones who will give you their honest opinions and bring you back down to earth if you are being too princessy!
This special sort of friend is a very rare bird indeed... even rarer if they are the kind you can have a spat with, get over it, and resume normal service again afterwards.

My BF, there's lots I could tell you about her. I ought to hate her - blonde, tall, intelligent, witty, glamorous and exceptionally thoughtful...but she really is impossible to dislike. 
We share our highs and lows, we console each other about our children's misdemeanours (and discover all children are the same). We have the occasional whinge about our lovely Husbands (we do appreciate them really!). We compare notes on life's little challenges...most of all we get laughter, huge compassion and support...unconditionally.
I do wish BF was the sister I never had... she's a gem.

Then there's my dear friend P, how she manages to sync being spiritual, beautiful and incredibly funny I don't know? 
She is one of those people who radiates loveliness and calm...I would like to be more like her...but often my behavior is less admirable!

Sadly this is the real world, and rare birds like BF and my lovely friend P are endangered species! 
Too many women are spiky to other women, or gain perverse pleasure, by putting the cat amongst the pigeons.
Why they get a kick from this is a good question...and without too much psychoanalysis I think the answer lies in their own confidence - so does that mean that our best friends have to have chutzpah?
Perhaps the answer lies with my Mother in Law's favourite phrase...she always says with a grin "I am growing old disgracefully!" She doesn't care about her age, she just wants to have fun, and be close to those around her - she genuinely wants to make them happy too.

So thank you, lovely rare bird bloggers, for there are a good few of you out there in blogworld who are 'virtually' friends! It never ceases to amaze and delight me that so much empathy and support is spread across the oceans via cyberspace. You are fun and insightful...and as I said at the top - I would love to meet a good many of you in real life, for I suspect you are the kind of women who make really fabulous friends.
Although I do wonder - does not meeting in real life make it easier to be a good friend, and if so how much of that is as a result of writing? 
Perhaps thinking about what you are writing to someone, as opposed to opening ones mouth and engaging brain afterwards (a trick done too often by me) is a easier way of having friends?

Whichever way - I am a lucky old bird.

BF, P and pals, and all you fabulous cyber-gals...thank you for being you!