Monday, 7 March 2011

It's the little things.

Don't you think that sometimes we focus on all the wrong things?
In society today it is all about who has the latest gadget or the fastest car. Is my house as nice as yours, I can buy better things than you.

I really don't understand how people can be so caught up in spending money and showing off. I live a quiet, simple life and have never had the luxury of wealth in a monetary form, and to be frank I don't think I would enjoy it. Yes I do like nice things, but not at the expense of essentials and certainly not just because I can.
There is something rewarding about saving and planning to buy something you value. You take better care of it and have a feeling of satisfaction when you know you have worked towards something and have no debt from doing so.
I was talking with a friend the other day and we were agreeing on the sad fact that children today really do not seem to know the true value of money. With the cost of living rising rapidly, and pay freezes for many public sector workers, a lot of people will have to tighten the purse strings to make ends meet.
I often think of my Gran and her generation, who held things together at home during the war and all the difficulties that brought them. A few years ago, I remember things being tough at home and having to scrimp to buy simple things like bread and milk. How often I would be frustrated if the kids didn't want to eat the meal that was for tea, upset at food getting wasted and unable to offer anything else other than cereal or toast. Thankfully they are older now and not so demanding.....well maybe still as demanding, but in a different way!
The other week a friend on facebook published a picture and it helped spur me on to make something I have fancied trying for a long time - Battenburg.
After looking at Julies blog and reading the various recipes in my collection, I made the decision to go for it, it also helped that I had all the ingredients at hand and the fact that we were having a coffee morning at school sealed the deal.
I followed my trusty Mary Berry's Baking Bible recipe, and armed with tips and a lovely decorating idea from Good Food off I went into my teeny kitchen to create my mastepiece.
I was thrilled with the end result and hopefully it will go down well with the staff and parents at the coffee morning.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Technology a great invention or a complete pain?

I must admit I am a bit of a gadget person. I have always been amazed by new technology, from the first games console we had as kids to the latest smartphones.
There is no doubt that the advances in the past 20 years have been huge, but at what cost overall?
The first bit of tech I really remember was my personal stereo, by todays standards it was bulky and clumsy to use, but at the time I thought it was fantastic. I remember recording the sunday night top 40 onto cassette so I could listen to the songs over and over again.

One day my Dad brought home a new games console which allowed you to play various games on the TV and all you had to do was change the static overlay screen to go from tennis to hockey. It kept us entertained for ages with a blip, blip, blip of a cursor shooting across the screen. I don't think it would keep my family entertained for 5 minutes compared to the wii, ps3 and x-boxes of today.
Imagine then how they would cope with spending ages trying some BASIC code into the super duper ZX81 with its hi tech touch pad keyboard, only to find they had made a typo, or the book was wrong in the first place. What about the high pitched whining of loading up your favourite game by tape......yes kids games came on cassettes in the dark ages, waiting for the game to load, only to find it had been chewed up by the player.

I suppose that is where my love/hate relationship began, and I guess it is one that will last a lifetime. Now we have technology everywhere, apps on your phone whether it is apple or android. We can travel the world in seconds with google earth, and with street view you can see exactly where an address is. Maybe we can have too much of a good thing, but for me, keeping up with technology is something I look forward to for a long time.

We had a coffee morning at work a while back and since I rarely bake now unless I can give most of it away, I took the chance to make these fantastic Rocky Road Bars from the Hummingbird cookbook, deliciously decadent and dangerous, but oh so worth it.