Apricots, Reblogs and Eurovision

So I woke up today thinking that I should probably write another blog post. I’ve been down the editing wormhole these past few days, as the final MS of Hills And Valleys has come back to me, so my posts and comments have been a bit all over the place.

Then I saw that the lovely Suzie at SuzieSpeaks had reblogged one of my posts, and that it had then been picked up and reblogged a further two times, which made me really happy – thanks, everyone! The post in question was a bit of a laugh, really, about writing a completely made-up author bio. However, Kristin over at The Pursuit of Another Adventure tried my bio generator using details of her actual life and the format still worked, so maybe I’m onto something.

Earlier this week, the gorgeous girl and I made some chocolate covered dried apricots. We make these fairly often, to be honest – they’re pretty easy to make and yet taste wonderfully decadent. Each batch we make is usually gone within twenty-four hours. I had thought I might write a blog post about making them – I’m not a chef or anything, and this isn’t really a ‘food’ blog, but I thought it might be fun. So we assembled our ingredients and started to take some photos. But they were kind of boring.


Then this happened, in an attempt to liven up the shots. (That’s BB-8, in case you were wondering – apparently he quite likes chocolate)







And then we decided it would be more fun to just make them and eat them, so we did. However, here’s the recipe, just in case you’re interested:

Chocolate covered dried apricots

You will need:

A small saucepan

A metal bowl (I’ve not tried ceramic, which may also work, but I think metal conducts the heat more efficiently)

A plate or tray lined with baking paper

Some water

A bar of good quality chocolate (I use Lindt or Green & Black, whichever is on special)

Some dried apricots


Fill the saucepan to about 2cm depth with water. Put it on to boil. While you’re waiting for that to happen, break the chocolate bar into small pieces and lay them in a single layer in the metal bowl. (Try not to eat too much of it). Once the water has come to the boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and place the metal bowl on top. It should be a tight fit, so no steam can escape. Then set a timer for five minutes. Make yourself a cuppa, read emails, play with Star Wars figurines, do whatever for five minutes.

When the timer goes off, remove the metal bowl from the saucepan (carefully, as it might be quite hot). Your chocolate will be all melted and runny. Yum! Then, using a spoon, drop your dried apricots into the chocolate and coat them on both sides, then remove and place them on the baking tray. Once you’ve used up all the chocolate, put the tray of coated apricots in the fridge for about half an hour to set. Then enjoy!

I think we might make another batch of these today, as we’re all set to watch the Eurovision final tonight and snacks are an essential part of the viewing experience. Steve from Steve Says is at the final in Sweden (lucky!) and Hugh over at Hugh’s News and Views has written a post listing his predictions for the winners tonight. I’m sure Twitter will be lots of fun as well, so am looking forward to a very entertaining night.

However you choose to spend your weekend, I hope it’s a wonderful one!

A Good Weekend

Double rainbow from my back garden...

Double rainbow from my back garden…

This has been a good weekend for a variety of reasons. First is the result from Ireland, where the population voted overwhelmingly to make marriage available to everyone.

When we were married, my husband and I wrote our own vows. However, when we did so we were surprised to discover that we had to include a section from the Australian Marriage Act, which read in part:

‘marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’

This didn’t sit well with either of us for a variety of reasons, and we asked our celebrant if we could change ‘man and a woman’ to ‘two people’. However, we were told that our marriage would not be considered legal if we did not include these exact words and, while she didn’t agree with the sentiment either, if we wanted to be married, we had to say it.

So of course we got married. We’d already booked the venue, started planning and I think had even sent out invitations, so it wasn’t really something we could cancel. And we wanted to be married, very much. So it is wonderful to hear that another country has now made it possible for people who love each other to be married, regardless of gender. Love, after all, comes from the heart and I feel we should all be free to express our commitment to another person.

So come on Australia, get on board!


The other wonderful thing about Saturday was the Eurovision Song contest. I love it and watch it every year, and now my daughter is hooked too. So we got our snacks, pulled out the couch and prepared for several hours of kooky European musical goodness. We had our favourites from the semi finals (Israel, Serbia), and we both thought Sweden was a deserving winner. And we were thrilled to see the Australian entry by Guy Sebastian. But our overall favourite ended up being Belgium’s Loic Nottet with ‘Rhythm Inside’, a hypnotic finger snapping beat with overtones of Lorde – it’s on my Itunes as we speak.

I had a message from my US based sister-in-law just before the show started and, when I mentioned I was watching Eurovision she decided to watch too, even though she’d never heard of it before (and this is a woman who knows a lot about music). We pinged messages back and forth, laughing at it all. Around song 20 I messaged her asking if she was still watching. Her response was that not only was she watching, she had put aside her whole day to watch it until the end.

Such is the power of Eurovision 🙂

Natural History Museum and traditional English Bank Holiday weather.

Natural History Museum and traditional English Bank Holiday weather.

Yesterday brought an impromptu visit to the Natural History Museum in London – we don’t live too far away so it was a case of hopping on the train and going. It was great, though very warm inside. I was thrilled to find that the earthquake room that had so terrified me when I was eleven was still there, though updated to reflect the recent Kobe quake. The gorgeous child loved it all, pressing buttons and answering questions, mesmerised by fossils and rocks and dinosaur bones, while I found myself drawn in by the intricately carved walls and ceilings, the building itself as much of a draw as the exhibits. We stood for ages at a coral reef tank, watching brightly coloured fish dart and swim as prawns hid under rocks, hermit crabs with electric blue legs shuffling across the sand.

Afterwards we sat outside in the soft English rain, finding a bench under a spreading plane tree as we ate sandwiches and drank tea. Children ran around on the grass, one with big dinosaur hands chasing another clutching a stuffed dinosaur, another little girl with binoculars naming everything she could see. And as I sat there with my two favourite people, looking at the beauty of the building, the children and even the misting rain, I felt one of those moments of happiness when all is right with the world.

That was my weekend so far – how was yours?