Monday, 8 November 2010

It's Bonfire night - time to eat parkin cake and treacle toffee

I made a start on my Christmas shopping this week, before all the cheap, good stuff sells out.  I ordered lots of cool things from the Artbox website.  I got loads of stuff for only £20, so that's already a few people's pressies crossed off the list.

I got myself a cool sticker, and the picture changes depending on which angle you look at it from.

I've made Venetia and Matilda a wooly hat each for Christmas and I had lot and lots of fun making pom poms to sew onto the hats!  I absolutely love making pom poms, and my cat Steve loves them too.  He already loves watching me knit, and he loves the smell of real wool, but the pom poms fascinate him.  I think I'll make him a special big one for Christmas.

I ordered Chris Andy Goldsworthy's 'Wood' book off the Amazon Marketplace as part of his birthday present.  It costs £50 new, so I got a 'like new' copy for only £10, bargain.

I ordered an 'Eye clock' for my friend Andrea's birthday but I think I want to keep it for myself.

I ordered Matilda and Venetia a 'Hot dog' each, which are soft toys/pillows with microwaveable wheat bags inside which heat up.  I think they'll like them.

For myself I ordered a Canadian cookbook called 'Looneyspoons' off Amazon, I tried to get the book with the Rockin Morrocan Stew in (Crazy Plates) but I couldn't get hold if it, so I ordered book 1 in the series instead.

On Friday afternoon I baked 2 batches of parkin cake to take to my friend Leah's bonfire party.  I made one batch with flour and one with gluten free flour, for my friend Caroline who doesn't eat wheat.

I also made a double batch of treacle toffee which I left to set, then chopped into pieces.  Unfortunately when I checked the toffee on Saturday it had melted back into one large piece again!  So I had to chop it up again, but this time I wrapped each piece in greaseproof paper.  It tasted delicious.

Those are Chris's hands not mine (in case anyone thought I'd got very masculine looking hands!)

I got both recipes from the Coronation Street cookbook - Deirdre and Tracey's bonfire night spread. It's actually a pretty decent cookbook - lots of Lancashire recipes!

It was Bonfire Night on Friday, but Leah rescheduled her party til Sunday because of the wet weather.

I volunteered at the shop all day on Saturday.  It was quite busy with customers but we still managed to do the Traidcraft, Natural Collection and Created Christmas gift orders.  We've ordered lots of lovely items for the shop.

On Sunday we went to the flea market and I bought some more retro Christmas gift tags.

I got a toy that brings back happy memories from my childhood called a glo worm for only 20p.  The glo worm glows up in the dark.  I decided I want to get my nieces a glo worm as part of their Christmas pressies.  I loved mine as a child and even had a glo friends bed tent that I won in a competion in the News
 of the World Sunday magazine, it glowed up and completely covered my bed.  It was soooo cool!  I think my nieces will like the glo worms too, especially as you can't buy them in the shops anymore (they originally came out in 1986, but you can buy used ones on eBay).

I also got a nice gingerbread man for the Christmas tree.

In the afternoon we went to the allotment and refilled the bird feeders.  The sky looks very moody on this photo.

We took down the bean canes.  I'll dig it over next week.

We saw a stripy caterpillar on the shed.

Keith has finally knocked his old dilapidated shed down.

There are lots of berries on the trees at the top of the allotment.

The sprouts and cabbage are coming along nicely.

I took a photo of the allotment path covered in autumn leaves.

It's quite a contrast to how it looked back in May when the trees were covered in pink cherry blossom petals.

Then it was time to set off for Leah's bonfire party with the treacle toffee and parkin.  She'd built a huge fire.

My friends had made black peas, pumpkin soup (using one of my pumpkins) and more toffee.

Caroline's Dave and Dave's sister carved the pumpkin.

Then we had a fireworks display and had fun playing with some sparklers, and took it in turns to make wishes upon the rockets!

It was a lovely calm evening, and it was so warm next to the fire.  Who'd have thought a few hours later the wind would be blowing a gale and it would be pouring down?  I think winter might finally be here.

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