Monday, 11 January 2016

My Filofax diary set up

Anyone who knows me well is aware of my slight obsession with Filofaxes. This post is to show my day to day set up in the Filofax I carry everywhere with me and should be interesting to my friends in the Filofax community. Everyone else may find it interesting, even if they don't admit it :-)

I have Filofaxes for various things, addresses, financial etc but I carry my diary in my everyday Filofax which is my personal, purple, patent original. I have been using this as my main planner for over a year and it still looks good

The front of my planner holds pens, post it notes and a home made flyleaf.

I have a few of my blog cards in a card holder near the front of my planner.

My diary is a week on 2 pages from Paperchase with a half page insert for extra to do notes. This works well for me as some things can be done any time in the week. The Paperchase inserts are clear but also pretty. I use extra stickers to mark certain things. For example, scales for weight, coffee cup for meeting friends for coffee and various other stickers that I make using clip art.

I keep a basic book list of authors and books I want to read in my Filofax so that when I am in the library or a bookshop I can check whether there are books I want to buy. My memory is awful  and I know I won't never keep them all in my head.

In my Filofax there are various pages of information  including local library opening times and also a short list of positive phrases. There is a  place for notes and a small notepad in the back.The superheroes postcard came from Paperchase and I use it as a divider. I also have various diet related pages to track my eating.
I carry only the things I think I need and do need when out and about and can change things as and when I want. The luxury of a ring bound planner system is that you can add and remove whatever you need.
Despite the 1980's comments and jokes I receive regularly, the ring bound planner is perfect for me and also for many others. It is a really good system for keeping organized and in control.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Indulge me..... cakes I have made.

I recently did a blog piece on how to bake a basic Victoria sponge cake. The basic sponge cake is what I have always use as the cake to make birthday cakes. Sometimes I add cocoa to make a chocolate cake but  it is basically a sponge recipe. 

Apologies for the strange layout of the last few pics, my laptop has been taken over by spacing gremlins.
As you can see the execution of my ideas is not always  as good as the expectation. I do, however, have a lot of fun making the cakes and they always taste good. A note of warning  when making cakes which use biscuits and sweets as additions to the cakes........ there are always leftover sweets and biscuits to eat :-)

I am being very self-indulgent as I am going to show you my favourite cakes I have made over the the years.

This allotment cake was one I made for my son. At the time my son and his wife had an allotment. They didn't have a pig but their allotment neighbour did. This is my favourite of all the  cakes I have made so far.
I made a rectangle chocolate cake and used chocolate finger biscuits to make a rustic fence round the outside. The pig pen and  the shed are made of malted milk chocolate biscuits and the logs are made of twix pieces. For the grass I coloured dessicated coconut and the earth is chocolate vermicelli. I used raw sprouts as cabbages ( but they did not get eaten) and sugar flowers as the flowers on the allotment.
Cocktail sticks over a sugar flower and icing and chocolate vermicelli hedgehogs (by the logs) add details in the background and  a plastic pig in the pig pen completed the scene.

The guitar cake, above was my Dad's 60th birthday cake. It was approximately 18 inches in length and made by baking then cutting up various cakes to fit the shape needed. It was covered in home made butter cream and decorated using pink bootlace sweets for all the strings and the circle. ( to represent the hole in the guitar) Dark choc finger biscuits made good frets and glacĂ© cherries were useful as the tuning buttons at the end of the guitar.

The turtle cake was my daughter's 9th ( or it may have been 8th) birthday cake.
I made the basic cake in a pudding basin in the oven. In hindsight I may have been better building up layers. The paws were cupcakes.
The whole thing is covered in chocolate butter cream with chocolate button eyes  and a pattern made in the icing. Very simple but effective and sticky!

For this rock group cake ( another one for Dad of course) I mostly used plastic decorations. I covered a basic sponge in fairly thick icing, put a ribbon round the outside and added the decorations. The Happy Birthday I have had for years and I ordered the other decorations online. The band does not come with a keyboard player so I ordered two sets and made one drummer a keyboard ( not really visible) out of cake.  The records, music notes and instruments were                                                            good finishing touches.

Cupcakes are always a favourite and can be made using the basic sponge mix or chocolate sponge mix.They can be decorated in so many ways but I usually use ordinary icing or butter icing and whatever edible cake decorations or sweets I have to hand.
The Dr. Oetker range of cake decorations is very good and the edible daisies on some of these cupcakes are from that range.

This Ferrero Rocher cake was just the basic chocolate sponge, chocolate butter cream and nicely displayed Ferrero Rocher  chocolates with  a plastic happy birthday on the front. It is simple to make, tasty and looks good.

Both the cat and the tiger were basic round sponge cakes decorated with buttercream with food colouring  added and decorated with sweets.
The cat ears were made from a cupcake cut in pieces and the whiskers were made from spaghetti. Both  animals have jelly sweet tongues and eyes and the tiger has chocolate pieces broken up for is markings.

The chocolate castle cake is made up of several square chocolate sponge cakes covered in various chocolates, chocolate butter cream covered in broken chocolate pieces for the top and biscuit stacks for towers. Dark chocolate chunks top the towers and surround the biscuit turret in the middle.A kit kat and cocktail sticks make an effective drawbridge and the small chocolate bars cover the front as bricks. The three bears were what I used on my son's first birthday cake so I brought them out again for this one. ( in his 20's)

When my daughter was little she loved the Little Spook books and wanted a spook cake. I made this one as a lying down spook and she was happy with my efforts. I lay squares sponge cake together and cut a suitable shape, covered in butter cream and decorated with sweets. Easy  to make and went  down well.

 I wanted to make a snooker table cake but had no one to make it for as no one I know is that into snooker so made it anyway. I made a small rectangle sponge,  coloured icing sugar green and used chocolate finger biscuits to make the table edge. Skittles were perfect for balls and Mikado sticks made totally perfect snooker cues.

Bambi cake
Mini jam sponges
Flowers and champagne
Chocolate car cakes

R2D2 looking flat