My Top 5 Christmas TreatsWell in light of recent events, I haven’t had time to think about, let alone do anything, about Christmas! I can hardly believe we’re half way through November… already? Christmas is just around the corner and I am wholly unprepared. I’m sure the older you get or the more fun you have, the faster time flies by. Now, of course,  once life gets back to “normal” I’m going to get into the festive fun and blog a couple of new Christmas crackers, but while you’re waiting and while I’m baking, here are my Five Favourite Christmas Treats from the archives! They’re oldies but goodies!

1. Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Tree

This is my far and away favourite thing to make at Christmas. It’s easy, it’s delicious and makes a beautiful gift. “Testing” the candy as you go, is a perk of the job. Making and decorating these babies are as fun as eating them and it’s seriously so simple, that even the small people can get in on the act.

Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Tree

2. Thermomix Fantastic Fudge

Well, fudge is delicious whatever time of year you eat it, but it makes an especially gorgeous gift at Christmas. I love to gift it in festive noodle boxes or even small tins. Fact: Fudge makes Christmas better. Actually that’s not true! Fudge makes everything better.

Thermomix Fantastic Fudge

3. Chocolate Shortbread Stars

These are a Christmas classic at our place.  They’re easy to make, yummy to eat and look fantastic. If you want to whip these up in the Thermie, here’s the Thermomix conversion.

Chocolate Shortbread Stars

4. Renee’s Perfect Puddings

We don’t really like Christmas Puddings in this house, but we love these! Little balls of Christmas pudding mixed with melted milk chocolate, drizzled with white chocolate and decorated with bits of jelly snakes. What’s not to love? These bite size balls are just the bomb!

Renees Perfect Puddings

5. Thermomix Red and Green Christmas Shortbread

I love this festive shortbread. It looks just like Christmas! I love how you can make ahead, freeze and bake these cookies on demand. Winning!


 That’s my favourite five.

What’s your favourite Christmas creation? I’d love to know what  you’re whipping up these yuletide? 

Finding the Flip Side

by Sammie on November 24, 2014

in Blog

We had big plans for our 10 year meet-a-versary. There was to be wining, dining and even a pair of tickets for Cirque du Soleil.  But then this happened. Not quite what either of us had in mind.

Finding the flip sideFriday night’s alright – but not when it’s in Emergency

There are a few things that I have a belly aching fear of; mice, cockroaches, home invasions, to name but a few, but right up there at the top is something happening to David.

And then something happened to David. To my surprise, I didn’t crumble like a cookie, instead I rose like a CWA prize winning sponge. And you know why? Because I found the flip side. One’s imagination can often lead one astray at times like this, thinking of the worst case scenarios, but instead I prefer to channel my energies into finding the flip side. I won’t lie, some flip sides are a bit trickier to find than others but you’ll find them in the end. You might just have to look a bit harder.

I spent a lot of time looking for the flip side this weekend and here’s how I found it.

We spent our meet-a-versary in the Emergency Department.

The Flip Side?  It’s a brand new state of the art Emergency Department with hot doctors and kind nurses.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Exhibit A. (I left my phone charger in the ER and when I went back for it, I found the nurse, packaging it up for me like so!) Doesn’t everyone like their nurses well qualified, big hearted and with a sense of humour?

Finding the flip sideThank you Ed!

David had to stay in hospital all weekend and he’s still there.

The Flip Side? It’s exactly where he needs to be to get the care, attention and tests that he needs. He couldn’t be in better hands. If he had come home, I’d have been constantly standing over him and prodding him to check that he was still alive. And that would so not be cool.

The doctors think  he may have had a mini stroke. That’s not good.

The Flip Side? It’s not good but it’s much better than having a big stroke, right?

We’re won’t really know what’s happening until he has an MRI.

The Flip Side?  He’s already had a CT scan which ruled out some super serious problems.

Finding the Flip SideThe paparazzi perils of having a wife who is a blogger

Seeing someone you love in hospital sucks.

The Flip Side? We’ve spent a lot of time in this hospital in recent years so we’ve totally gotten with the system. We have bucketloads of empathy for each other now that the boot is on the other foot. (Just for the record, I prefer to be the patient, much less stressful!)  

I’ve been up and down to the hospital like a yoyo.

The Flip Side? Lucky for us, it’s right around the corner and thank heavens, for long visiting hours and nurses who don’t mind you visiting outside of them. We’ve had lots of “quality” time together.

Finding the flip side
Happy Meetaversary!

This is very stressful. (So everyone keeps on telling me.)

The Flip Side? I have to keep my own counsel, keep cool and keep everything in perspective. Things aren’t great but they could be a lot worse. The years I spent in therapy have served me well. I am thinking about the best possible outcome. It’s all about the self talk. And stepping away from the computer and steering clear of good old Dr Google. I’ve also been doing a lot of the things I love like eating (there is a direct correlation to my stress levels and the amount of chocolate that I eat,) baking (see below,) blogging (here I am “waves”) and exercising (I’ve been setting a lot of  endorphins free.)

I had to stay home alone.

The Flip Side? I’m not really alone. I have Julius the monkey to keep David’s side of the bed warm.

Finding the Flip Side

Our friends and family are awesome and have supported us by phone, skype and in person.  And don’t get me started on my online friends! David and I have been smothered in virtual hugs, basked in online love and on the receiving end of so much good juju and positive vibes from my friends on the interwebs, (namely Facebook and Instagram.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Thank you for my friends. And of course, rellos that rock.

Life has thrown us  a huge curveball.

The Flip Side? When life throws you a curveball, you can either drop it or catch it. I prefer to catch it where possible, and then run with it.  Even if I don’t know where I’m running to.  I could drive myself nuts second guessing the situation and making predictions but that would be futile. Sometimes, I have to throw my hands up, work with what I know, accept what I don’t and go with the flow. Swimming against the tide is just a waste of energy.

Finding the Flip Side 2


This is so not what I planned. Plans are good. Until they go wrong.

The Flip Side? Anniversaries are all about being together, right? Well, David and I have spent a lot of time together this weekend. Just the two of us (and a heart rate machine.) As a bonus, he’s had his first ride in a wheelchair (it turns out I’m not such a bad driver after all,) and I’ve never had  a better reason to bake. Those nurses are hungry and more to the point, they’re worth it. My new motto is “keep calm and bake on.”

Finding the Flip Side  BakingButterscotch Cookies - all the noms!

But mostly, this has taught me to enjoy life and cherish every moment because you never know what’s going to happen next. My mum is always saying to me “your life can change in 20 seconds flat’  and you know mother is always right, right?! Enjoy the moment, even the el crappo ones, and keep looking for the flip side.

So tell me, where did you find the flip side today?

The Meet-a-Versary

November 21, 2014

So I met David on the internet,  which was hands down the best 35 quid I ever spent. Although we didn’t really “meet” on the internet, we just kind of crossed paths and exchanged emails there. We first met (IRL – In Real Life) in an Irish pub in Leicester Square on 21st November 2004. [...]

Read the full article →

Thermomix Lemon and Blueberry Muffins

November 20, 2014

Makes 12 Sometimes I get a late night baking craving and this is a result of one of those times. I had a pot of sour cream to use up and a lot of lemons, and when life gives me lemons, I do what I do and love best, I bake. So after a perusal [...]

Read the full article →

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Carry the Load

November 19, 2014

It’s about this time three years ago, that I was receiving radioactive iodine treatment. I was in isolation, experiencing word tsunamis, with a mouthful of lemon sherberts and reading off the Geiger counter.  I remember  my therapist and the nuclear medicine team asking me how I felt  about the radiation before I had treatment because [...]

Read the full article →

Change is a-coming

November 18, 2014

Exciting things are happening. The blog is undergoing an extreme makeover. I’m very lucky to have a husband who is also a computer wizard. Not only did he build my site, but now he’s giving it a facelift too. I’ve been nagging, asking nicely for the revamp for what seems like forever, and although David [...]

Read the full article →

The Art of Being Happy and Other Stuff

November 17, 2014

One day last week I went to an event, the theme of which was “The Art of Being Happy.” With a title like that, how could I resist? This was a blogging event organised by Kids Business and was a great opportunity to be inspired, get motivated and try some new products. Of course, it [...]

Read the full article →

Thermomix Minced Lamb Curry

November 13, 2014

Serves 4 Remember Dharish’s Quick Chicken Curry? It was a huge hit at our house, how about yours? That dish was so popular and so delicious that I begged Dharish for another one of her curry creations, and being the lovely lady that she is, she happily obliged! This is in on regular rotation at [...]

Read the full article →

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Be About It

November 12, 2014

Lately, I have been all talk and no action. Or more to the point, all lists and no action. Then I look at the lists, realise how little I have crossed off and get my knickers all in a knot. There’s this scene in the Simpsons (Season 3 : Homer Alone,  if you’re interested,) where [...]

Read the full article →

Byron Bay Bound – Share your top tips, please!

November 11, 2014

So ever since we got back from holiday, my feet have been itchy. Really itchy. The fact is that while we were away I got the travel bug and I got it bad. I’m hungry to explore, go to new places, see new things and eat new food. A change is as good as a [...]

Read the full article →