Leftover Yummies #cooking #sweets

Great idea.

Jan Edwards

20181222_141429So what do you do with a large chunk of ready-roll icing after you’ve covered the cake?

It always seems such a terrible waste to throw it in the bin – even if it is essentially 100% sugar, which we are all being told to cut down on.

I added a drop of peppermint oil, shape it into small rounds and coated them in chocolate – and voila!  Home made peppermint creams!

The chocolate is Co-op fairtrade dark chocolate and cost £1. The icing was the left overs from a pack of Dr Oetkers ready-roll fondant icing.  Technically free as it would otherwise have been binned, but possibly 50p worth –  £1.50 for 20 large hand-made mint chocs.

You can adapt this with any flavouring essence (strawberry or orange). Or perhaps add chopped nuts or chopped candied fruits, and make a whole box of yummy homemade chocs. An ideal gift or…

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13th Day – for the Winter Solstice #solstice #fiction

A winter story for the shortest night of the year.

Jan Edwards

The King sent his Lady on the Thirteenth dayImage result for The King sent his Lady on the Thirteenth day Three stalks of corn
Three stalks of corn.
Two maids a-merry dancing.
Three hinds a-merry dancing
An Arabian baboon.
Three swans a-merry swimming
Three ducks a-merry laying.
A bull that was brown.
Three gold spinks[1]
Three starlings
A goose that was grey.
Three plovers
Two partridges, and a papaingo-aye[2].
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

(trad. Old Scottish carol to tune 12 Days of Christmas)


A story for the Winter Solstice

Thirteenth Day – Jan Edwards

‘The second day,’ said the Holly-Man. He was rugged. Fragile. A woodsman in a shabby green duster and heavy boots. Behind him stood a boy in an Acorn-hat, waiting in silence.

Kat tweaked a tight smile and went on hacking at the ice-bound soil, hoping they would take a hint and leave. They didn’t.

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What my son has taught me

A while ago I posted a blog about what I had learned from my daughters. At the time it occurred to me that I had missed out another member of the family and one that also had things to teach me. I am talking, of course, about my son.

Posy David and Lucy2


When the kids were small we used to say that in our family was a boy sandwich, girls on either side, the boy in the middle. Research says that a child’s position in relation to their siblings makes a huge difference to their personality: the eldest child tends to be the responsible one, the high achiever and because they like order, the bossy one, the youngest is the charmer and good with people, the middle child the most flexible, the negotiator, the one that goes with the flow.

Looking at my daughters the eldest and the youngest, some of the above is true. Posy certainly was the one that organised the others. Mostly she made them take part in her plays, or contribute to the magazine she wrote and edited. Lucy, on the other hand, has always been a people person, the one in her peer group who counselled her friends when their love life fell apart.Little Manchester pumpkin

As for David, the characteristics he has of a middle child are those traits that have much to teach his over-anxious, eldest born mother.

First and foremost is his ability to go with the flow. When I’m agonising, or ranting over something David’s comment will often be “It is what it is,” and of course he is right. There is little I can do to change whatever it is that has annoyed or infuriated me, but I can change my attitude and view it in a more laid back fashion thus saving myself much angst.

The next lesson from my son is the art of debate and negotiating, something he’s been skilled at since childhood. No temper tantrums just an argument as to why he should be allowed to get up at six am to watch The Open University− no twenty-four hours of TV in those long ago days.

He’s also good at seeing the other point of view and arguing logically, which when dealing with any issue is important and can lead to genuine debate rather than descending into a mere exchange of dearly held positions.

Another thing my son has taught me is the art of giving spontaneous presents. A book he thinks his Granny might like arrives from Amazon and fills a lonely afternoon.

The box of Delights


And I still smile about the unexpected arrival of the “The Box of Delights.” I’d tweeted how much I’d enjoyed watching the TV series at Christmas, but couldn’t do that anymore as we only had it on video tape and a day or two later a slim line parcel arrived from Amazon.




Of course it is great to get presents at birthdays and Christmas but there is something so special and life affirming about these surprise packages, as indeed there is about David and his ability to enjoy life. Another lesson well worth learning.

David in California

Coping with chronic pain – that lonely 3am

Writing my morning pages, more on that later, helps me.

fabricating fiction

Image courtesy of @jontyson

There’s nothing quite as lonely as 3am. The house is quiet; my family asleep. At times like these it’s easy to feel alone. My pelvis is fire, my back screaming in agony each time I shift my position. But I have my blog, words. I can let my pain travel through my fingertips and onto the page. Whether I post this or not, it will be therapeutic to write.

I thought I’d got a handle on my health the past couple years. Along with treatments from a fabulous hospital, I’ve overhauled my diet, take light exercise where I can, meditate daily. My pain had decreased, mobility improved. Lately though there’s been a sense of slipping backwards while trying desperately to cling on to the good days, not let the bad days take over.

Tonight is the worst I have been for a long time. It hurts…

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Pictures at an Exhibition


Yesterday we drove down to Great Rollwright for the opening day of my sister’s Christmas Exhibition. Held in her studio it’s an annual event. We always try to get there, not always easy in December, but this year we simply had to go as it was a real family occasion.

Exhibition5Not only were there paintings and stained glass plaques by Anuk, but also it was the first time our niece Ailsa had exhibited her photographs.Exhibition7 And to add another family dimension Sarah Grindsted was showing her pots, hand-made cards and Christmas decorations. Peter’s books of poetry were also on sale.

Logs burned in the stove, mulled wine and mince-pies were served, people came and went. Some stayed only for a short time, others for longer joining us for lunch in the kitchen by the Aga.

I lingered over paintings of landscape that fed the imagination sparking off ideas for another story, or possibly even a novella and was also drawn in by the vibrant colours of the stained glass, the owl swooping down against an orange sunset, the bright green of fields against a blue sky.Exhibition6.JPG

Ailsa’s photographs were equally satisfying. A lace of branches against a pale sky, a splash of light on a dark background, tree roots, or were they dragon’s claws breaking through the earth.

Sarah’s crackle pots made me want to reach out and stroke them, the warm colours sensual and appealing, making me smile even as I type this.

One of the visitors to the exhibition remarked what an artistic family we are and I suppose that’s true. Where exactly this comes from, I’m not sure, though I would guess there is a genetic component. There is also a family ethos of encouraging and nurturing all kinds of creativity.

What will be interesting to see is whether this will continue through the next generation remains to be seen, but both my grandchildren love stories, both listening and adding to them and so taking the first steps to making up their own.