Tuesday, 25 September 2012

We are going to Cambodia!

We have just booked our tickets so it is official... 

We are going to Cambodia!

Our friends Jane and Greg are living just outside Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, for a year.
(I didn't take this photo I borrowed it from facebook)

They are awesome people who among other things have taught us to appreciate board games. (we are geeks and we love it)

They are in Cambodia working for a church and helping to teach English to enable people to get better paid jobs and to help them change their situations.

Amazingly we have the opportunity to visit them.

Neither I or Jamie have ever visited such a different culture, flown so far, had to buy a visa to gain entry to a country, spent Christmas abroad or dealt with the sorts of weather that is normal in Cambodia.

It may be a bit of a culture shock which is why I am so glad we are able to visit Jane and Greg, rather than travelling completely independently. 

We will be spending the first half of our time Living in Jane and Greg's apartment and helping out in the centre. (I have never successfully taught anyone anything so I am a little nervous about attempting to teach English)
And then we are going to go exploring a little further afield.

We are fortunate that Jane and Greg are able to have a weeks holiday whilst we are there.

We aren't exactly sure of our itinerary, to some extent we are going to go with the flow. 

I am beyond excited.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

#ThankfulThursday An Autumn Harvest

Early Autumn is great for free fruit.
For this I am very thankful.
This year I managed to get Jamie on board with the foraging.

We managed to pick many juicy little yellow Plums, Black Berries and 2kg of Elderberries.

 With this haul I made: Apple and Blackberry pie

Plum and Chili Chutney

Apple and Blackberry upside-down cake, obviously inspired by the Great British bake Off. 
Unfortunately I didn't cook it for long enough, I had to  re-cook it before we ate it - it still tasted good, but did not look as pretty.

With the elderberries we are making wine.
 I will let you know how that goes in about a year. 
I have discovered that wine making is not a quick process!

I have also discovered food photography is really not my thing.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

#ThankfulThursday Autumn


This week I am thankful for and looking forward to Autumn
I love autumn, it is my favourite season
Here are 10 reasons why

The trees are beautiful

Comfy Jumpers and cardigans

My slippers
Pies and stews. 
My Birthday (I love it and get very excited, as the photo suggests)

Snuggly bed (couldn't resist this burger bed!)
Crisp sunny walks with friends

An extra hour in bed when the clocks change
Fallen crispy leaves
 Bonfire night and camp fires

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Croquembuche (30 before 30)

Croquembuche- from the french meaning 'Crunch in the mouth' is a desert that consist of Choux pastry balls filled with flavoured cream, piled in a cone shape and held together by caramel.

Before embarking on this challenge I had never even tried making choux pastry and had never made a successful caramel.

Thankfully my friend Alison came to stay for the weekend, Friday we went for a wine tasting, Saturday we ran a sponsored Dog walk in the beautiful sunshine then Jamie and I went to a wedding reception in the evening and on Sunday after church we made the croquembuche. 

A pretty epic weekend! 

Thankfully I own the great British bake off recipe book from last year which has brilliant step by step instructions on how to make a croquembuche.
First we combined the pastry ingredients on the hob, Alison is good at stirring 

After leaving the mixture to cool and adding eggs, I piped little balls on to baking sheets. 
 The cooking instructions for Choux pastry is really complicated We had to wave the door of the oven to let steam out and then had to pierce each ball during cooking. (I sometimes wonder how people come up with this stuff).
It worked.
 We then made the white chocolate and lemon cream whilst the balls cooled.
 It was yummy!
 Piping the cream into the balls was surprisingly difficult, but we managed.

 The first attempt at making caramel didn't go well.
 Neither did the second, but Alison had the right touch with the third batch. 
I can see why they worry so much about it on the Great British bake Off!
Once we had managed to make the Caramel we assembled.

 We both took many photos! We were proud.

 Very proud...
I can happily cross off another one of my 30 Before 30 aims.
I have now completed 5 only 25 left to go!

Monday, 10 September 2012

London 2012 Paralympic games

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm pretty sad that this awesome summer (I'm not referring to the weather) is over. 
First we celebrated the queens Diamond Jubilee.
We went to some great Weddings.
Had some lovely holidays (and this, and this)

And to top it all off we got to go to watch some of the Paralymics!

I forgot my camera so all of the photos (to my embarrassment) were taken on the Ipad.
 I have had some trouble turning them the right way up, but I'm sure you can crane your neck to get the idea!

 Photo taken by an elderly games maker, he took a couple of shots of the floor first!

  We didn't get tickets for the orbit, and i'm not sure we made the most of the Olympic park, we spent all of an hour there after our event had finished. 
But we sat in park live for a few minutes and looked up at the orbit from below.

(above is what it would look like if the Olympic park was in Australia)
But then we did head in to central London for a stroll by the river, through some parks, we viewed Buckingham Palace (shockingly Jamie says he had never seen it before!).

We ended the day with an amazing meal in the Hard Rock Cafe (Jamie is a big fan). 
I'm not that in to burgers so I tried a salad - definitely the way forward!

I have to say a huge thank you to our Friends Hayley and Paul who put us up over night, it is always lovely to see them, and they are good at looking after us- even if we did leave the house before they had woken up!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Dads new sister...

Last weekend Jamie and I drove all the way to Hastings for the second time in a month.
It was for a very special reason.
To meet my Dads, new, older sister- Maureen.

My Dad is 70 next year (I'm sure he doesn't mind me telling everyone his age) and for his whole life he thought he was the oldest and only had one brother - my uncle Colin. 
Until A couple of months ago, when out of the blue he had a phone call from a Lady called Tracy who was trying to get in touch with a Colin Gilchrist. 
She was told that Colin didn't live at the house she had rung, but that his brother Michael does. 
She then told my dad her mothers story.

Maureen was born during the war to an unmarried teenage woman, she was taken into care and adopted into a loving family. She grew up happily and had a family of her own. A couple if years ago her children who are all adults themselves convinced her to try to find out about her mother and to see if she had any other family. 
They contacted a social worker and to cut a long story short they found out my Uncles name and roughly where he lives and started ringing every Gilchrist in the phone book looking for him.

My Dad found it all hard to believe until he told my sister who looked on one of those ancestor sites who give you access to birth certificates etc. and they found Maureen's birth certificate and saw that her mother was definitely my Grandmother.

Dad, my Mum and My sister Carol went and met Maureen a few weeks later and the similarities between her, my dad and my Grandmother (I never met my Grandmother but my Dad says they have the same mannerisms) dispelled any lingering doubts that my Dad has a new, older sister.
We had a lovely weekend, not only did we meet maureen, Tracy and her two children; all of my family were all in one place. (there are loads of us and we only get together once a year or less)

A group of us went to the beach and swam in the sea (have I ever mentioned how much I love the sea?)
This is my lovely Nephew Lewis...

We had a legendary Gilchrist barbeque- we really know how to cook meat outside.
Robert my youngest Brother did some of the cooking...
(so did Keith my oldest Brother but i didn't et a good photo of him)

 Ofcourse we had to have a group photo!