Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Mother-In-Law's Christmas Cake Recipe

Now let me start by saying my mother-in-law's christmas cakes are awesome! She's ok too ;) I've added the cup measurements to this for my "over the pond" followers - enjoy!


All purpose flour
2 ¼ cup
Baking powder
2 tsp

½ tsp

Brown sugar
1 ½ cup
Mixed spice
1 ½ tsp

1 ½ tsp

1 ½ tsp

1 ½ tbs

Ground almonds
¾ cup

1 cup

1 ½ cup
1 ½ cup
1 ½ cup
1 ½ cup
Glace cherries – halved
¾ cup
Cut mixed peel
¾ cup
Brandy - Rum
4tbs plus feeding

Makes enough mixture for some christmas buns - that don't take all that long to bake - about 20-25 mins - just keep checking them

Soak fruit in brandy/rum for 24hrs - you can use any combination of liquor just use what you like!

Heat oven to 275f

Prepare the tin – grease and line with brown paper – make a double paper band for the outside of the cake when baking

Sieve together flour, spice, nutmeg and ground almonds  

Beat eggs with milk

Cream butter and sugar together (I get Martyn to do this as it requires some muscle!) and stir in the molasses

Stir in flour mixture and egg mixture alternately, a little at a time

Add fruit and mix thoroughly - this is the point when you make a wish - usually mine is to wish that the cake turns out ok!

Place mixture into prepared tin. Cover with paper to stop it browning too quickly

Bake for 3 to 3 ½ hours until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Feed cake with additional brandy/rum once a week until Christmas.

Enjoy with slices of cheese ( a UK northern thing - weird I know!), a scoop of vanilla ice cream or just a cup of tea!

Sunday, 24 February 2013


There has been some serious stuff happening lately regarding my health and wellbeing which, although I will get into on here at some point, I don’t want to drag us all down so soon into getting back online!   

So, on a lighter note I want to tell you about a challenge that I’m participating in at the moment. It’s from Fat Mum Slim and it’s her Photo A Day challenge. She provides a prompt for each day (for the whole of 2013!) and the idea is to take a photo that day to capture the essence of the prompt, for example some prompts so far include; myself, something yellow, shadow and love is...  As you can see they are very varied and sometimes really random! 

If you have me as a friend on facebook or instagram you may have seen some of my photos, I’m going to print them all in one of those glossy photo books you can order so I will have a year in review!  

Check out all the details of the challenge at>>

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

We're back!

Hello! It’s been awhile hasn’t it?!?  Sorry for that but after the first year we started to get busy and blah, blah, excuses, excuses!  Well the original purpose for this blog was to document our journey to living in Canada, well we’ve done that and still doing it but sometimes there just isn’t much going on or it’s the same stuff that we would be doing back in England (albeit in a more picturesque setting!) So I’ve decided to change this blog up a bit and still post about what we are getting up to but also use it as a bit of an online journal - somewhere where I can ponder on the meaning of life and why Creme Egg’s are so bloody good and bad all at the same time!

So enjoy the new look and speak to you soon!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Holidays are Coming!

We know it’s been a while since our last post but now our first (honeymoon period!) year is over we still have to go through the day-to-day grind, only difference being its against an amazing backdrop.

Anyway since our last blog my (Martyn’s) family visited in Sept. We really enjoyed showing them around where we now call home. The weather didn’t start off too well and was a bit blustery down at the beach in White Rock, but it didn’t take too long to improve. The highlight was a drive up the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler village and a trip on the recently installed peak to peak gondola. This was especially exciting as we not only saw OUR first wild bear but 6 wild bears, luckily from the safety of the cable car. We think they enjoyed their visit… you’ll have to come back during the winter though and see the other side of Vancouver.

Halloween is a big celebration over here. This year we carved our own pumpkins and took a journey on the Stanley Park Ghost Train (the latter being a slight disappointment compared to their Christmas Train). But in saying that what made it was the family behind us. At the beginning their young son was so excited to get on the train but only seconds into the ride said it was too scary and wanted to get off. For the rest of the journey his mom (not mum anymore) was trying to point out how ‘nice’ everything was even to the point where we could see some dolls coming up in the distance. “oooh look at the dolls coming aren’t they nice”, she said, only when we got closer you could see some where on stakes and others were being hanged ‘oooh yes they're nice’ we thought… hilarious!

In Nov we took our first trip across the border and into the states (that was after 20 questions, finger printing and mug shots taken by the border guards). Our destination was Seattle, only knowing this city from watching Fraser and the scene from Sleepless In Seattle but enough of that! Having prepared my famous ‘itinerary’ we started our whirlwind tour as soon as we dropped our bags at the hotel. Typical Seattle weather is rain and this didn’t disappoint. From the Space Needle to the Music Experience home of Jimmy Hendrix, the Underground Tour of old Seattle to the ‘flying fish’ of Pike Place Market and the very first Starbucks, we did it all. We woke on our last day to blue skies and the sun shining, so it was back around all the sites again to retake all the photo’s…Hayley was so pleased….not!!!

Now winter is well on its way and the snow has returned to the mountains, opening up the ski slopes (we’ll be there soon). And the buzz of the upcoming winter Olympics is picking up pace.

Writing this we have just returned from an amazing night at the top of Grouse Mountain where we had our first touch of this years snow and fantastic clear view of Downtown at twilight, at -6 degrees was a bit chilly but well worth it. On our return we stopped off at Capilano where they have currently switched on the ‘Canyon of Lights’. Lights are strung across the suspension bridge and around the treetop and lake walkways.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Martyn & Hayley

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Summer Happenings!

I can't believe its been so long since we updated the blog. Time out here must go more quickly! I don't mean to rub it in but for a few weeks now we've had wall to wall sunshine, with the odd cloud and one thunderstorm breaking it up. We've been spending our free time at the beach, in the sea or by the side of lakes with awesome backdrops of mountains, some of which still have snow on top!

Since our last post, Hayley has passed her driving test (first time - hooray!) but now hasn't driven since! She also changed jobs, still working at the same company but now off the phones and is in the underwriting dept as a junior underwriter, which she much prefers.

We went to the gee gee's in June (Canadians have no idea what this means!) with some of Hayley's work colleagues. We didn't win a right lot but as you look over the racecourse you have a view of the river and the mountains beyond.

I have purchased a used set of golf clubs and am considering golf lessons as there are no end of golf courses over here set in beautiful landscaping. Hayley is also considering joining me: we have both been to the driving range a few times and just need to hone our technique before hitting the fairways.

We spent Canada Day (July 1st) down in White Rock by the beach where in the evening we watched the fireworks from the pier

Hayley's Mum and Brother stayed with us at the end of July. They have been to Vancouver before but had concentrated more around Downtown. On our free days we took them to explore further afield. We went up into Golden Ears Park to Allouete Lake for a BBQ picnic, walked along Capilano Suspension Bridge and through the tree tops walkway. We also took a trip up Grouse Mountain seeing the captive orphan bears they have up there. One day we took a trip along the sea to sky highway stopping at Horseshoe Bay, Shannon Falls and Squamish. I think they really enjoyed themselves, although the heat was a little unbearable at times and they may be glad to be back in England in the cold and rain (still don't mean to rub it in!)

Clouded over a little while I'm writing this but we have been promised more sunshine to come. We are currently looking forward to my Mum, Dad and Sister coming over beginning of September (hopefully the weather will still be good).

Bye for now
Martyn & Hayley xxx

Friday, 22 May 2009

Yee Haw!!

As you can see from our new profile pic we had great fun at the Cloverdale Rodeo last weekend! The weather was fab…really hot and sunny. The rodeo is the 2nd largest in Canada and there was a country fair, fairground and the rodeo shows themselves. We had to buy a couple of cowboy hats as the sun was so strong, everyone was wearing them and come who doesn’t secretly want to be a cowboy/girl!!

Well after the motorbike show a few months back Martyn decided we were going to go to the Classic and Custom Car show! Oh well, I suppose it keeps him happy when I want to do things scrapbook related!! There were some really cool cars and not that many car babes much to Martyn’s disappointment!! I don’t know much about cars so here are some pics instead!!

Last time we mentioned we had some tickets to an ice hockey game – it was our first game and it was great! The Vancouver Giants won 6-3 (I think that was the final result!) The atmosphere at ice hockey games are great, it’s really family orientated and there’s so much going on in the intervals – mascots running around giving out freebies, mini blimps flying about dropping vouchers down into the audience!! The Giants are in a lower league to the Vancouver Canucks, the Cunucks are in the NHL which is the equivalent of the English premier league of football. The Cunucks had been doing really well and got to the playoffs! So it was hockey fever here for awhile! We even bought some jerseys to wear whilst cheering them on! Unfortunately they didn’t get past the 2nd round but hey ho there’s always next year! As you can see from the pic below, we enjoyed the games in true Canadian style, beer, BBQ and wearing our shirts!!

We have been getting our apartment ready for summer; we have plants and a BBQ now on the balcony ready for the hot weather! We have decided to rent here for another year as it’s really handy for transit and our apartment is nice, big and quiet!! Its coming up to the one year mark and we both can’t believe just how the time has flown! We are still loving it here and can’t see us moving back to Blighty, of course we really miss our family and friends but by what we have heard from people and the news we have seen we moved at the right time. Canada has been hit by the economy problems too but not to the extent that the US or UK has as Canada has a different banking and credit system…basically you can’t get it!! Let’s just hope things start to get better soon.

We are still finding our feet but are starting to get used to the little differences that totally threw us at the start! Still can’t get decent bacon, fruit squash or bisto gravy but we have family coming over soon so hopefully will get some supplies!! We have just bought some inline skates (!) so watch out for some pics next time of us probably falling over or smacking into trees!!!

Take care
Hayley & Martyn xxx

Friday, 20 February 2009

Finally an update!

Hi Everyone! Sorry it’s been too long since we updated the blog – have been busy working and just getting to grips with life as Canadians!

Well as you know we had snow over Christmas and in the New Year…a lot of snow!!! We took full advantage of it and as being new residents and it being a bit of a novelty we bought a sledge! It was really good fun and this picture of Martyn has to be one of my finest action shots ever!!

We heard about the snow back in England a few weeks back…hope you enjoyed our second hand white stuff!! Tee hee!!

At the end of January we went to a local motorbike show…I initially thought I would rather stick pins in my eyes than walk round ohhing and ahhing at a load of bikes but I have to be honest I really enjoyed it as they let you sit on the beasts!! I have to say I think I suit a big chopper!! Ha ha!! Martyn has fallen in love with some of the 2 wheeled machines and is now planning on taking his test so he can ride us around British Columbia in true easy rider style!

I also want to take this opportunity to introduce you all to a new member of our family…Martyn’s new goatee beard! He thought by growing some facial hair would help him integrate into the local community!?! What with drinking beer and watching ice hockey it won’t take him the normal 3 years to become a Canadian citizen!!

Well we finally got round to going skiing! We have even bought our own gear (thanks to the UK’s Inland Revenue – we got a tax rebate!!) We did try and go a few weeks back but got turned away at the bottom of the mountain as we didn’t have any snow chains for the car – well we’ve got some now! So this last Wednesday we donned our thermals and headed up Mount Seymour. Now not to rub it in or anything but within about half an hour from home we were pulling into the car park! After paying about £25 for a full days lift pass (that’s about 2 hours at xscape!) we got down to some serious whoosh whooshing down the mountain – well Martyn did…I took my time!! After lunch Martyn started on some of the more difficult runs and tried out a few jumps (and wiping out too!) We called it a day once my knees gave out but we had a good 5 hours and we loved it! This isn’t going to be our one and only trip!!

Martyn in action!

Have just got some free tickets to watch an ice hockey game next month so that will be another “Canadian” thing to do struck off our list – will let you know how that goes next time.

Take Care
Hayley & Martyn xxx