Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Clandestine Cake Club, Inspired by History at The Knit Studio on 22nd July 2013

Melanie's Edwardian Recipe: Kitchen Garden Cake
This was my last Clandestine Cake Club (as organiser) so I was filled with mixed emotions, will I be able to keep away? will I be able to hand over to Iona thoroughly enough for her to be able to do it? Will I cry when I do my little 'welcome' speech?

Hannah's French Revolution Cake
For this last gig I'd decided to take advantage of my position as organiser and chose my favourite venue, so I picked The Knit Studio at Blackfriars.  The Knit Studio (shop, workshop, meeting place, magical treasure trove of all things 'knit') welcomed us for a third visit and we were well looked after by Anne and her 'helpers'.

And as always The Knit Studio proved to be the perfect place for us, a large table for our cakes, space for us to gather (around the table), and sofas to chat, all surrounded by nooks and crannies filled with amazing colours and textures of materials, yarns, books, equipment, clothes, and  things to inspire you to have a go...

The theme for the gathering was, Inspired by History because of the history of Blackfriars - and our cake bakers took up the challenge (as always).

So let me take you all on a journey through time presented through the medium of cake (click the baker name & cake for a picture):

A Jurassic Ginger Cake baked by Iona
We began our journey as far back as prehistoric times with a Jurassic Ginger Cake (baked by Iona) with a reenactment of the decline of the dinosaur era (FACT: Dinosaurs died out because their gingerbread bodies couldn't cope with the hot weather & their gingerbread legs buckled in the heat).....Then our time travels moved (very) swiftly on several hundred (million) years to celebrate the Chai Spice Trade (baked by Kate) and the French Revolution (baked by Hannah).

We stopped for a bite to eat (only a thin sliver of cake from each) a cup of tea and headed back onto our journey of cake...

Battenburg Cake baked by Lisa
We took another sliver of the brightly coloured & marzipan smothered Battenburg cake, circa 1898 (baked by ME) followed by our full daily complement of fruit and vegetables in a traditional Edwardian Kitchen Garden Cake (baked by Melanie)

We stopped somewhere in the 70s to sample  an Upside Down Peach Melba & Coconut Cake (Nelly), A sophisticated coffee cake (Val), a Cheesecake (Rose) and a Carrot Cake (Lauren)  
Sorry Rose I didn't get a pic of your cake, but it was the perfect palate cleanser

Orange & Poppyseed Cake baked by Catherine
Our final decent into the present day saw our bakers take snippets from recent cake-histories, recipes from families, friends, travels, and previous CCC events, sampling Armenian Orange & Almond Cake (Lauren), Orange & Poppyseed (Catherine), Banana, Cherry and Chocolate Chip (Claire) and Cinnamon & Walnut Soured Cream Cake (Seymour)

Until we crashed - full of cake, stuffed happy and educated in the history of cake!

Thanks again to our bakers - you did the theme proud, I hope I've told the history how it was ;)

Welcome to new CCC member Catherine, who successfully pulled off her mum's Orange & Poppyseed cake - even though her scales broke!! And Chloe from Living North Magazine - I hope we've inspired you to bake a cake for the next gathering!

Thanks again to Anne for letting us use your wonderful space in The Knit Studio .
And good luck to Iona who'll be running Newcastle Clandestine Cake Club gatherings - all members will be notified of any changes via emai, and I'll be along as a baker - don't you worry :)

View all of the photos from the event in my Flickr account

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Last night I dreamt I was pregnant & my sister was a backing singer.

Last night I dreamt I was pregnant (1st time I've dreamt about pregnancy since my miscarriage) it felt so real, I was 7 months pregnant with a girl and she was moving around in there, all alive and real and healthy.
It did really upset me when I woke up today.

I went back to sleep again and had another dream that my sister was doing the backing vocals for The Duckworth Lewis Method for their album tour, I was quite shocked because I always thought she was a terrible singer. The show was very participatory, the audience were given instruments to play and asked to clap along. It was a good gig, apart from my sister (I was just jealous).

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


When i was a kid i was told that these were fairies.
Thistle seeds
Image from

I don't remember who told me but i believed they really were, and If you caught one you had to hold it carefully between cupped hands, make a wish and let it go.

I now know that they're thistle seeds.

It gives me a warm happy feeling inside thinking that someone might have caught it, wished on it and released it thinking it was a fairy like i used to.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Last night I dreamt about nappies

Last night I dreamt I was trying to pack a 3ft square multi-pack of nappies into a massive suitcase (or boot of a car) and couldn't get it to close properly, I kept trying to click the lock closed but it wouldn't shut.

Note: I dreamt this on the eve of my baby's funeral, so it's probably symbolic of closure, packing things away or something like that.  And the first baby-related dream I've had since before 25th June.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Saw-It-Made-It: Embroidery Sampler

Color Wheel Sampler by Dropcloth on Etsy
I saw this Colour Wheel Sampler a while ago on Pinterest (& Etsy - where you can buy one) and I decided that I wanted to try and make one.

I was also off work recovering from a miscarriage and wanted to do something that required focus and concentration- something I could pick up and put down and take my mind off what had just happened.  I began on Monday 1st July 2013.

I felt that I could and should be able to do something like this, I've been on the Embroidery done cool workshop at the Made Cafe, Whitley Bay - so I know a handful of stitches, and the ones I couldn't work out, I'd just learn a new one. 

I had a selection of embroidery threads, some plain fabric and needles.I bought myself an embroidery hoop for about £3 and a washable fabric pen.


I wanted it to be as close to the one on here as possible (I kept telling myself that), so I drew it all out on paper, a big circle, divided into 12 equal segments, wrote the stitches and colours against each segment and looked at my threads, planned which colour and which stitch would be where and made a start.


I didn't have any red thread, I don't know how come but I didn't.  I decided to use something else, instead.  Then I didn't have that melon-yellow either, so in the end I'd work out the colours I did have and work from there.

I then went through and tried to work out each stitch, zooming into the original picture until I could read what it was.  There were at least 4 stitches I'd never done before - and hoped that I could find something to YouTube to demonstrate how to do the stitch, and another one that I couldn't read or work out from the stitch what it was, so decided to choose a different stitch - that would be a revelation, a bit daring and a bit too scary (I'd leave that one to the end).

Then looked at the state of my running stitch and chain stitch and decided that I should probably draw some guidelines to stitch over.  I might have done embroidery before, but my straight lines were a bit skew-wiff.


My practice area
I still had my original  practice material, stitches and notes from the workshop I went on last year, and so before I began each segment I practised.  And if I needed a refresher I'd return to the notes I had, and also found Needle 'n Thread website, which seemed to have videos of nearly all the stitches I used and found it really really helpful.  I'd watch the video, practice on my practice material and then go for it.


Once I'd started I just got stuck in, I don't know how many hours I put in, all I know is that it kept my attention, gave me a challenge to work on but something I could achieve in a fairly short space of time. 
I felt I was getting better as I went along, and each segment was a mini-goal in itself.  It sounds a bit daft, talking like that, but I think I needed that - otherwise I would have just got bored or lost interest. 
As each segment was done I could see it building up and see that it was turning into something that I quite liked.
My scruffy chain stitch (orange), short of green thread & don't even ask about the lazy daisies!


I ran out of green half way through my silk-stitches and decided that I wanted to have red in the design (I'd originally picked orange, but decided that I must have red!) - and my lovely (& very generous friend Nelly, who writes Nelly's Cupcakes) provided me with a massive selection of reds and greens for me to have!  I found a perfect match to my green and was pleased that I did go with a red, because once done - it looked fab.
Jeannie from Made Cafe, Whitley Bay shared some tips and advice about the lettering for the centre, and once I'd finised this (along with a cuppa and a bit of cake) we talked about how I could mount/frame it and I think this would finish it off nicely.  I just need to convince Mr Lisa that a trip to Ikea is absolutely necessary to complete this project.
The finished (but unframed) article -yes I know it needs an iron.

Pause for thought:

Now that I've finished it (well apart from the framing bit) I'm pleased - okay, really pleased.

I know it doesn't look exactly like the original I based it on, but I'm actually pleased that it doesn't look like a clone. 

I'm also glad that I didn't put any extra writing on, I could have embroidered her name on, but didn't need to, the date is enough.

Having this to do has helped me, especially in the first few days.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Last night I dreamt about our hoover

Last night I dreamt that Carl gave someone our Dyson hoover because he said that we didn't need it, and we'd buy a new one when we needed one.  Then later someone spilt sugar (or something like that) on the kitchen floor and we needed a hoover.
We had to use one of those school carpet sweeper things

Image from:

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Last night I dreamt I was in the shower

Last night I dreamt I was in the shower and people outside could see me, although I wasn't made aware of this until after my shower

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Last night I dreamt about toilets and a note from the post man

Last night I dreamt....

The toilets in our offices were broken, broken in the sense that they were all blocked and full of seweage.

There was a piece of cereal box posted through our letter box with a note saying "parcel left at number 4"  - in our street there isn't a number 4

Friday, 5 July 2013

Last night I dreamt (5 dreams)

I was at work, working in our old offices and I couldn't find the ladies toilet.  The old toilets were occupied by a man at a computer desk and the next cubicle was only for people who had an Apple Mac.  I was cross because no one had sent an email round to say that the toilets were going to be made into an office.

Dream 2:
I dreamt that Carl was in Amsterdam and was bringing 6stone of hash back into the country, he was going to talk to someone down one of the side streets to get a better deal. Note: I've never done/will never take drugs - so I don't know where this came from

Dream 3:
 I dreamt that instead of a fence separating the gardens between our house and our neighbours there was a hedge, which was flat on top.  The neighbours had a dog that would line up it's squeaky toys on the hedge and then routinely take them all off, but at the end of the day, all of the squeaky toys would be lined up on the hedge.

Dream 4:
I was waiting for a lift from Carl, I was walking along the street and he was going to pick me up along the way.  But instead I got into someone elses car, I don't know who they were and they drove past the point that I wanted dropping off at, so I had to ask them to stop and walk back.

Dream 5:
I was trying to buy tickets to a summer festival, and that was all.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A week ago today, I found out

A week ago today I found out that my bump was no more, but only 3 days since it actually left my body.  I've removed my watch today because I don't need to know what time it is, because I know where I was, the time it was and how overwhelming it was last week.

My eyes stung so much that day, I looked old and tired and ugly.
My head ached.
I didn't want to look like I had a baby up my jumper I just wanted to hide it under baggy shapeless tents.

My days are measured on how many tissues I've used up.
I'm getting better. Only 2 today, but it's only 11am.

I thought I'd want to be back at work this week, to distract me, but I know it's not the right thing to do.  I forgot something yesterday, I'd said to Carl, right I'm going to do this, this and this next.  But when I went to remember the 3rd thing, I forgotten it.  It was just gone from my mind.  I got upset, thinking that I was losing it and that I'd never get back to work.
Today I'm writing things down, so that I don't forget.

We've been listening to a lot of music, or rather I've been sticking music on (sometimes a random mix of songs, other times specific albums).  It has highs and lows.  Lyrical songs make me think too much and I get upset about the words, what they mean, and what they mean now.  Then there are other songs that make me sing along, and I don't take much notice of the words; Oh, everything is average nowadays

One in particular has been played on BBC6 Music, and it's got to me so much now that I'm not sure I want to listen to it (the radio station) for now.  It's by a band called Empire of the Sun, and the song's called Alive.  The song reminds me of how I felt about being pregnant; Loving every minute cos you make me feel so alive, alive. It's a lovely uplifting song, but it's just reminding me about how I was feeling at the time, laid back, relaxed, happy, healthy and full of baby.

Empire of the Sun 'Alive' - which is a really lovely uplifting track

I can't talk about the baby as she.
I talk about it as an it.
I say mine wasn't a real baby because a real baby comes out alive at the end, after 9 months and not 5 and a bit months.
We looked at her. But only the day after.
It didn't look like a baby to me. She didn't look like the baby I wanted to have.
She just wasn't big enough.
We are getting as many tests done as possible to find out what happened and why.
I just want to fill my belly full of baby again, as soon as possible.

I can type emails, but prefer to refer to the blog post I wrote last week rather than have to write it all again.

We have decided that it needs to be called something other than Baby Vincent so we have to now think of a name for it. For her.  We had only just started looking at names and seem to keep putting it off, or rather avoiding it. Avoiding the inevitable.

I'm still bleeding. Maternity pads are all pitched at New Mum.  Not me. Not yet.
My breasts are hard and tender, engorged with milk like I should doing what a new mum does. Not me. Not yet.

I've been potting up vegetables, I suppose my allotment is getting some benefits out of all this. Everytime I find a dead plant I look at it and think, you didn't make it this's another one that didn't make it and I feel a certain sadness, like I know how it feels.

I'm also typing up thoughts an feelings in a separate blog, which I began when I found out I was pregnant - it's interesting to read back, but it's not a public blog, it might have been, but it's not going to be now. Sorry.

But this is The Wonderful World of Loopygirl and not a place for sadness, maudling and despair.  It's a place for reading about my crazy dreams, childhood flashbacks, things I do, things I think and places I go.  I'm not into whinging about how this is shit, how life is shit and how the world owes me a favour - that's not the way I roll.  I pick myself up, say well that was a bit fucking shit, wasn't it? I crack an inappropriate joke and move on.

I know there are always challenges in life, and when you get smacked in the face with one it's about choices.  You choose to sink or swim.  I'm a pisces - I'm a swimmer - you're not sinking me yet.

I won't be posting anything else to this blog about this.
Thanks for reading, whoever (& wherever you are).
Onwards and upwards - yes?
(Just onwards for the time being I think)