Why I love my puppy

I should probably begin by saying, he technically isn’t my puppy, officially he is the boyf’s puppy and unofficially our puppy, but I thought calling the post “Why I love the puppy I sort of own but is really my boyfriend’s” was a bit long-winded and less catchy. I had to add this disclaimer in case he decided to kick up a fuss ๐Ÿ˜‰
Anyway, the pastย  3 and a half weeks while the boyf has been away, the puppy has been here with me, and we’ve been looking after each other.

His name is Alfred, Alf for short, he is around 19 months old and we rehomed him 14 months ago from a rescue shelter.
He is such a good dog, apart for a few separation anxiety issues, he doesn’t bark much and he is really very obedient and good with tricks. But these aren’t really the reasons why I love him.
I love him for his joy and exuberance. I find it hard to look at his little face and not smile. He seems to enjoy everything; he gets excited when people come to visit, he gets excited when you re-enter a room, he loves the sunshine, he loves other dogs, he is equally happy with a stick as an expensive toy, he chases things in his sleep. He will run around smelling things like it’s the best thing in the world. He has such an infectious joy about him that you would have to be a cold hearted so-and-so to not appreciate and be touched by.
He has been my most constant company these past few weeks. He’s been good for a cuddle when I’ve been feeling low and he curls up next to me when I am sleepy. He even eat my cakes that go hideously wrong and appreciated them.

I had always been a cat person before we got Alf, but I have been converted. The only thing that would make him better would be if he purred when you stroked him.

Best Wishes,
Betty
x

On Wednesday, I made the long journey into London for work reasons. Now while the train journey from where I live to London is only around an hour and a half, as I was visiting my parents in North Wales, my actual journey was closer to three and a half hours. The only plus point was that the train from North Wales went into Euston, and the meeting I was attending was in the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road, therefore removing the need for any hectic tube travel. It was also fortunate that my event was not due to start until 1pm, so I was able to get a train just after 9, rather than at some in-human hour of the morning.
The train journey wasn’t actually too bad. I got to enjoy some lovely views of the North Wales coastline and did some reading, and, all-in-all, the journey went really rather swiftly.
Euston station itself actually looks a lot more like a small shopping centre than aย  train station, with a WH Smith, Boots, Paperchase, Bodyshop, Accessorize, Pret a Manger and a Nando’s, amongst other things. Outside there was a stand, manned by eager young sales people, trying to get people to but electronic cigarettes. One of said sales people tried to engage me in conversation and apparently was not put off his sales pitch by me announcing that I do not, and never have, smoked, therefore giving me absolutely no interest in an electronic cigarette.
Further along the two minute walk between the station and my destination, there was a woman holding a number of clear plastic bags, offering them to passers-by with the phrase “Free Lunch?”. My instant reaction to someone offering me things on the street is No, as it was in this case. Within a second of saying No I scoulded myself for being so sceptical of people’s intentions. I know they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but why was my first thought that there would be some inherent catch in accepting the lady’s free lunch. In fairness, I expect the catch was that the free lunch was a form of advertising some new food product, which isn’t really that big a deal, unless you’re some kind of extreme, anti-branding, Marxist type. Which I am not. I’d almost convinced myself to take a free lunch by the time I reached the second girl handing them out, until I remembered I was attending an event with a lunch put on, so a free lunch was likely to be of more use to someone else and if I took it and ate it, that would simply increase the potential for wasted food. So, cutting a long story short, I did not accept a free lunch on the street.
After arriving at the event and seeing the lunch that had been put on, I kind of wished I had accepted the promotional free lunch. The selection of dolphin-friendly tuna, ham and mustard, beef and cheese sandwiches was not exactly thrilling. I was left with only the one option of tuna, given I don’t eat beef, find cheese sandwiches disgusting and, while I like ham, absolutely cannot stand mustard. It was only after I’d had two tuna sandwiches I realised I was going to be required to meet and converse with people, so fish breath probably wasn’t a good idea.
The event itself was ok, I’ve certainly been to longer and more boring ones, but there also isn’t much worth passing comment on here.
I got a train home just after 6, although there was a track related delay, and I didn’t get back in to the station near my parents until around 10. Having been up since 7, I was so very, very tired. I also made the mistake of grabbing a quick dinner in Burger King, which left me feeling incredibly sick the whole way home. I don’t know why I did it, I strongly dislike Burger King chips and the Chicken Royal I had was so full of mayonnaise and lettuce I barely noticed the actual ‘chicken’ content. Even thinking about it makes me feel ill now. I won’t be making that mistake again soon.

I have a number of other things I wish to share with you, including the most incredible tea pot that my mum has given me. Being sans camera (due to the boyf being in Europe) I am going to have to mess around trying to get a good shot using my web cam. It’s not a very high quality camera and the light in the flat is very poor, so I’ll need to rig something up with a lamp to get an image that you can actually see!

Anyway, thank you for reading, I’ve been feeling lousy and this has suitable distracted me for a time.
Hope you are all well,
Betty
x

Brownie

I intended to post this a couple of weeks ago, but as with all my best laid plans, time scales slipped a bit. Oops.
I had to photograph this brownie when it arrived infront of me at Ceno’s Restaurant in Southampton. My sister, mum, boyf and I were out for a pretend Mother’s Day lunch, as we wouldn’t all be able to get together on actual Mother’s Day.
I’m pretty sure I’d ordered the brownie here before (part of their Sunday Lunch menu), but I don’t remember it being so large. I can usually rise to most dessert challenges, but after the huge main I had, I just couldn’t manage to finish.
My overall assessment is that it was a pretty decent dessert, not a perfect brownie, nowhere near gooey enough, much more like a dense chocolate cake, I like my brownie to be crisp on top but definitely sticky in the middle. I also don’t like nuts in a brownie, I think these were walnuts, not that it makes a difference, nuts are nuts and I would never choose to have them in a brownie. They weren’t so prevalent that they ruined it, but it would have been better without.
As much of a chocolate fan as I am, I can often recognise a choc-overload, and this was just that. Vanilla ice cream would have been a better choice in my mind, and the sauce could have been hotter, I love hot choc sauce and vanilla ice cream :p

The remains of the cake didn’t go to waste. The boyf happily polished off both my and my mum’s leftovers. He normally doesn’t eat things containing dairy, but always makes an exception in the case of food that would otherwise be wasted. I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you have all been enjoying some good weather ๐Ÿ™‚
Betty
x

Oreo Cakesters

I recently discovered a shop just 10 minutes walk from my flat that sells a huge variety of American food stuffs and candy. I’m a huge sucker for indulgent treats as it is, but there’s something about American offerings that is so much better than British snacks. Maybe it’s the novelty factor, that these things aren’t in every corner shop, supermarket and petrol station. Maybe it’s the fact that if there’s one thing the Americans know how to do, it’s indulge (often to excess).
I first saw Oreo cakesters on the American Sweets website, by usual source of imported treats, but had never bought any. As I love Oreo biscuits, the idea of a cake version was rather exciting. So when I happened to be passing the shop, and found myself inside, with the cakesters right there by the till, I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity.

They were a little bashed and messy, but so would you be if you’d been shipped across the Atlantic in a box. As much of my baking testifies, presentation is not always my primary concern :p To be brutally honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with the actual product though. The cake wasn’t dry, but it was a bit dense for my liking. No complaints taste wise, the cake tasted convincingly like an Oreo. The cream was the main disappointment, it was a bit thin and just lacking, not what I expected. I suppose I was hoping for something thicker and richer, not neccessarily sweeter, but maybe just of a higher quality than what I actually got. As I say I wasn’t exactly impressed, I see know reason to choose these over an actual Oreo, if you want something a bit more than a standard Oreo, I’d probably suggest a Double Stuff before the cakesters. They’re not bad, and if you don’t have as high expectations as me then you might find them more satisfying, but I won’t be rushing back for more.

Maybe I’ll try making some Oreo theme cupcake, chocolate cupcake cut in half with a layer of thick vanilla buttercream in the middle. Yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy eatings,
Betty
x