Sunday, 15 March 2009

Fairy cake-tastic

After a hugely exhausting and highly entertaining, in many ways, week, we raised a brilliant £470.13 for Comic Relief. We are all delighted with the support we have received from our fabulous No.9 Team and customers, who have all been so very supportive.
And Mr Wogan? Well, he gave us another mention on Friday morning!! This time it was a general update with how much we had taken so far from the sale of fairy cakes, the Silent Cake Auction (which in itself raised £140) etc.etc. Cue much cheering in the middle of the cafe when we heard it!

We really are so amazed at peoples generosity-one person bid nearly £30 for one cake! Customers were stuffing notes into our Red Nose bucket, and the whole atmosphere all week was totally brilliant.
Oooh, and as Columbo would say, 'Just one more thing' - To the very nasty ahem 'lady' leaving me vicious emails, you might want to brush up on your computer skills and learn exactly what 'Anonymous' means-it's not as secure as you had obviously hoped... I know exactly who you are, and if you feel the need to keep emailing me, maybe we can get together and I can share some 'home truths' with you as well? Get a life, concentrate on your own business, and stop making up rubbish about mine, you saddo.
To everyone else-thankyou! You make blogging such a pleasure. xxx

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Do Something Funny For Money

To gain as much cash as possible for such a great cause, we decided to have a Comic Relief week instead of just a day this year. I am so aware that I don't want to turn the cafe into the sort of place that is constantly asking people for money for this that and the other. I think we shall stick to Macmillan Coffee Mornings and Comic Relief for now. And The Poppy Appeal. And National Chocolate Cake Day. Never heard of it? What do you mean?!

So anyway, I digress. We have several things going on if you are in the area. And before I go further, a big HELLO to Victoria and Claire, both who have come a-visiting in recent days. Both fellow bloggers and readers-of-bloggers!
Right, so, we have made several billion red nose topped fairy cakes for sale, of which all proceeds are going in the bucket. Very popular with small people in particular. One of the girls who works with us has a sneaky habit of asking small people (in her very best small people sing-song voice) if they would like a 'special cake' with 'a special cherry on top' No child (or parent) has been unable to refuse. Naughty yet effective. Well they are only small, and it IS for charity.
Secondly we are holding a 'Silent Cake Auction'. If any of you are Terry Wogan fans you may have heard him giving our humble cafe a mention this morning.....

For some reason I am struggling to link you directly to the relevant piece, but if you can be bothered, we are mentioned at approx 8.30am( or one hour and seven minutes on iPlayer, just to be specific! just after Girls Aloud!
Now the weirdest thing of all was that five minutes later the door opened, the first customer of the day walked in and announced that she had to come in because she had just heard Terry talking about us! And then her mobile rang and it was her husband saying "You know that cafe we keep meaning to go to, well Terry Wogan has just mentioned it on the radio!" Much laughter excitement and jumping up and down was had. Cue second customer of the day, Marton, a regular and a very nice chap indeed. "Have you heard Terry Wogan this morning?" I joked.
"Yes, I have, here you are" and he thrust a poster at me that he had made. There, in full colour, a picture of Sir Terry and a write up,
'Silent Cake Auction held here, and Mrs F's legendary Guinness Cake, as mentioned by Terry Wogan'. What a lovely lovely thing to do. All splendid stuff.

The Silent Cake Auction, by the way, is where people make secret bids on a cake of their choice (off a list supplied by us) pop it in the bucket with a donation, and then on Saturday we see who has bid the most for each cake. Those people then pay the money pledged and we make the cake whenever they want. So if they have a special occassion, people coming to stay etc. then they can have a freshly made cake for the event. We have had lots of very generous bids, which is fabulous.

Now, moving on, Cheltenham Race Week. Great excitement descends this time of year. The streets are full of happy smiling people soaking up the atmosphere that seems to rub off on everyone. Lots and LOTS of Irish folk come over for Race Week. I thought it only fitting to make Guinness Cake. The first Irish customer of the day was offered a slice.
"Eurgh, God no! Get me a tea cake, will ya? In fact, what the heck's a tea cake? Is it like a scone?" Hmm. How to make friends.....He got his tea cake, and ate half of it. Such a waste. Should have had the Guinness Cake.
Thankfully lots of other people(including Irish!) did sample said cake and LOVED it. Oh, it really does taste so very good. It's a Nigella recipe, I believe, but I just googled Guinness Cake many moons ago and came up with the recipe that I use. I made a second one this afternoon, ready for tomorrow.

And here it is, the finished article. Can of Guinness, anyone? God no, me? Can't stand the stuff...Give me a teacake any day.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Simple Pleasures

Evening All.

Good grief, it really has been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about that. 'Normal' life just seems to take up so much time though, doesn't it?

I am still doing extremely well when it comes to arriving home and collapsing on the sofa of an evening. I can just about manage to lift cutlery and eat whatever meal has been lovingly prepared by the husband. And I am highly skilled at soaking in a hot lavender scented bath whilst my pj's are warming on the radiator.

Such simple things bring me the most enormous pleasure. Freshly laundered bedding, in which I climb into by half past nine most nights. The crocuses that are blooming rather beautifully in the herb garden. Our beautiful new/old antique teachers desk, at which I am sitting right now. I have had great fun arranging things on it so they look just so. A jug of roses here...a lamp artfully placed pile of books in that corner...our old fashioned red telephone in the other...drawers full of paper and envelopes and pens in all colours of the rainbow. I love sitting here and watching people walk past. It makes me feel most creative! (when in actual fact I am being most nosy)

New cake recipes are bringing HUGE pleasure, of course, and the latest creation is Nigellas Victoria Sponge, which i pilfered from someones blog. Apologies that I can't remember whose though! It really is verrrrry tasty indeed. Cherry jam and chocolate sponge. It's really a re-vamped Black Forest Gateau, is it not?

Speaking of simple pleasures I have jars of daffodils everywhere at the moment. Loads of customers have commented on how cheery they are, and the instant reminder that Spring has arrived. Apparently.

I wouldn't say no to a teeny weeny bit more snow though.

Just a little?


Photo at the top of the page (because for some reason I am unable to move it to the bottom of the page) is of myself and my brother, who is back in the UK for a while. He saw the caff for the first time yesterday and said lots of lovely things about it, so he is now allowed to stay for a while longer.

This week I am mainly going to be teaching myself to use my new (ahem) sewing machine. Yes indeed, I have finally decided it is time to teach myself to make the things I covet so much on everyone elses blogs. Whether I will manage it or not is another matter. All suggestions for a complete sewing beginner will be VERY gratefully received!

Obviously next time I post I will be showing off patchwork quilts, a living room decorated in home made bunting, cushions and loose sofa covers. Hmm.