Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A lunchtime walk: Leazes Park

One of my "promises to myself" for 2013 was to try and GET OUT of the office at lunchtime, and enjoy a nice stroll around one of the green spaces near my office, and I'm not talking about Old Eldon Square. Lunchtime errands to the shops don't count.

Three weeks into the new year and I've been for a walk twice. That's pretty poor.
Must try harder next month.

But what was nice about today was that Leazes Park was really quiet, no one wanted to be out on such a blustery afternoon, so I took advantage of this and took some snaps of the Bandstand on my mobile phone using a free app called RETRO CAMERA (android) here are the thumbnails but you can view (& download) them from flickr too (Creative Commons)

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Sunday, 27 January 2013

Clandestine Cake Club gathering, Mon 21st Jan, Pink Lane Coffee

Thirteen bakers braved the harsh elements to join the first gathering of the new year in Pink Lane Coffee Newcastle.


Pink Lane Coffee on Pink Lane.
The best place to go when you get off the train at central station and you need a real cup of coffee, not plastic sh*** that they sell as "coffee" on the train.
Real coffee made properly by people who are passionate about what they serve, how it's sourced, brewed and served.


Walk out of central station, cross over the pedestrian crossing, veer slightly left up the street besides O'Neills Irish Pub and you'll find Pink Lane Coffee here. It's deceptively spacious, and was the perfect spot for our gathering.  It's handy for the city centre, spitting distance from central station and friendly!

The Gathering

We had 17 bookings but after a couple of weekend cancellations and a few unable to travel in due to weather conditions (it was pretty treacherous; horizontal sleet turned snow turned rain, icy and slushy streets) I was thrilled that we had 13 bakers (plus guests) on the day.

Our theme was "what's new with you?" and what better way to start than by welcoming five new members to the group: Iona, Emma, Lauren, Leanne and local stand up comedian Seymour Mace

Everyone worked their cakey magic and baked up with a tasty assortment of cakes based on the theme of new, be it the recipe, an ingredient, a piece of equipment or just inspired by the word NEW.

Most cakes were new recipes never baked by our bakers before, and most of the attendees had never tried them before.

One of the things that makes cake club so great is that you get to try a wide range of flavours and textures.  Bakers take inspiration from everywhere, including the Great British Bake Off and countries/cities of the world...Not that you have to eat them there and then, no no no no no no, it's not like that - it's all very relaxed, you eat what you want, as little or as much as you want and leftovers are shared, which is how I managed to try every cake (by taking pieces home)

This month we had these delicious cakes baked for the occasion: Japanese roll cake, peanut layer cake, lemon chiffon cake, flourless chocolate orange cake, Red velvet cake, Brazilian Roll cake a rocambole, Raspberry & Blueberry lime drizzle cake, Sutemeny Rigo Jancsi (Hungarian Chocolate Mousse Cake), Banana & walnut loaf , Gingerbread latte & White Chocolate frosting Cake, grapefruit olive oil cake, Spicy sticky Ginger cake.

And they couldn't be enjoyed without the generosity of Pink Lane Cafe and their staff for looking after us for all evening.  If you've not been there - then do something about it!!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Coffee room chat: jamming on phone apps

Before Christmas we had this 'coffee room' chat at work about musical instrument phone apps and we decided that we were going to download an instrument and then just all jam together in the coffee room.

Coffee room chats are a bit like pub conversations; they could be about anything/everything, but are caffeine induced instead of alcohol induced. The results are pretty similar in my opinion.

We didn't do our jamming session unfortunately, but I did learn some basic beatbox skills from Steve, apparently you say "boots and cats" over and over...

Meanwhile ChrisT, not to be mistaken with Christ, found this little gem for me on YouTube, which appeals to my appreciation for both my cake baking and beatboxing. It's pretty amazing what he does...enjoy

'Beatbox Chef', YouTube (FILIPeeek)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Get back to Netball

I wore the Centre bib ONLY for the photo
If you asked me in November last year, "when was the last time you played netball?" I would have said, "20yrs ago at secondary school".  Ask me today and I'll say, "last night"

In November I fancied going back to netball, and once you start again (whether it's after 3, 15, 20 years or more, like me) it all comes back. It's like riding your bike really, you never forget.

There's about 10 classes around Newcastle at different sports centres and all called, Back to netball. The groups are aimed at people who've not played for years or never played at all and want some fitness, fun and low commitment you pay as you go, on your 5th visit its free, you don't play in a league against other teams.

The one I go to is held at Gosforth Academy (if there was one nearer the coast I'd go there), 7-8 pm on Wednesday. The evening consists of warm up, short (3min) games which could involve passing/marking/shooting skills and then we have a big game at the end, taking whichever position on any team, and swapping every 7 mins or so, then a cool-down and that's it.

You can have a slurp of your drink as often as you like.  You get a good work out, depending on how much effort you put in, but all in all it's a good laugh.

I used to play Goal Attack (a shooting position) but will happily play any position apart from Centre and I'm quite a vocal player, I'll shout "have a shot" and "good pass" and call for the ball.

The funniest rule in netball is that if you foul a player from the opposite team, you have to stand beside them, whilst they take their free pass (or shot if you fouled in their shooting area) like you've been told off, "stand there and think about what you've done..."

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Last night I dreamt a slug was crawling up my bedroom wall

Last night I dreamt a slug was crawling up my bedroom wall, behind the bed-head (is that what you call it)?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 Review

2012 was a pretty amazing year....I did loads of new stuff, got involved in new things, tried things, ate new foods, asked for things (shy bairns get nowt), went to new places, met new and interesting people (things I find quite difficult) and ignored the doubts in my head saying "what if..." and "but you can't..."

I had the support of friends, family, colleagues, and my husband, Carl Vincent and when you've got that anything is possible.

You just have to get stuck in, have a go, take the leap, get your hands mucky, and don't take yourself too works for me, anyway.

Enjoy 2013 :)