Wednesday 16 December 2015

Wanderings Lately :: December

Well... turns out it's been more than a fortnight since my last update so I wasn't able to keep it up every long! This month has been packed full of wanderings. I completed a challenge of mine to make a two tiered cake, decorated with roses and biscuits for my friend Macey's 30th birthday, zipped away to Istanbul for the weekend, had many, many dinners with friends, celebrated St Nicholas and my first Christmas lunch at my new job!

I read recently that British people cram 44% more social occasions into December. I have certainly managed to do that myself this year. Although it's absolutely wonderful to be busy and to have many people to socialise with, it has also left me feeling quite worn out! I'm definitely looking forward to Christmas and spending a few days just watching all the Christmas shows that I'll be recording at my parents'!


I've never decorated a cake any further than buttercream icing, or stacked two tiers together, so I was very proud of this creation. I based the cake on this one by Juliet Sear, but as Macey likes yellow and Snoopy I changed the decorations accordingly. I actually wish I had followed my own normal sponge cake recipe, because although the one from this recipe tasted fine, it took a couple of hours (!) to bake which is ridiculous for a plain sponge! Her cookie recipe was a little weird as well, so I probably would stick to one I have tested before if I were to do this again, but I have to say her directions for making the roses was fab and very simple to follow.

Below is May attempting to cut through both tiers, and failing because the top one is sitting on a cake board!


I nipped off for a weekend in Istanbul at the beginning of December to take in the delights of the city, and all the sugar I could manage from the food! More to come on that!


I had an end of training day, exploring two of London's museums (Museum of London and Imperial War Museum) with a couple of my London based colleagues, which was wonderful!


During the season of crackers and decorations, I've been stuffing my face full of delicious food. Highlights have been this warm punch and beef pie from Mr Fogg's Tavern - even though it came on a very small plate and looked rather stingy for £12! The place was cool, very busy last Thursday evening! The waitresses were dressed in old 'wench' outfits - long skirts and corsets, which was a little bit strange but I think I would go back to the pub again.

I also attended the AIFS Christmas lunch this week, which was good fun. I got to meet a few people who work in other departments and buildings to me which was really nice and we are set to head off for departmental drinks and nibbles tomorrow as well!

A few of the girls from the team. This is Debbie's I don't like selfies but I'm pretending smile! 
AIFS Customised faculty-led team (and Sir Cyril Taylor)!


When I got back from my Istanbul adventure, I had two lots of chocolate gifts waiting for my in my kitchen. As two of my housemates are from Europe (Netherlands and Germany) they were celebrating St Nicholas and so I got a chocolate R (Dutch present) and a chocolate Santa (German)! Very welcome and greatly appreciated (Thanks girls!)

I also bought and read Giovanna Fletcher's Christmas offering - 'Dream a little Christmas Dream'. I read the main novel earlier in the year, and although it was no work of literary genius, it was a nice easy read. This one wasn't quite a good as 'Christmas with Billy and Me' from last year, but I enjoyed a little Christmas story one evening to add to my excitement!

::We're in the party season, are you still enjoying them all, or are you ready for a lie down in a dark room? ::
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