Friday, February 26, 2010

The Little Chapel

We have lived in Guernsey for two years and seven months and we still had not been to see the famous Guernsey attraction, the Little Chapel, so one afternoon, while it was fine, we did just that.
The Chapel is believed to be the smallest chapel in the world; being just five metres long and only three metres wide.

B1 kept looking closely at all the broken plates. He was genuinely concerned as he said that they had broken up lots of plates just like the ones I collect and he seemed to think this was not the right thing to do; maybe he thought his Mum needed some more - NOT!
The Chapel was started in March 1914 by a monk called Brother De'odat. Apparently his aimed was to create a a miniature version on the grotto and basilica in Lourdes in France.

The Little Chapel is actually the last chapel in a sequence of three chapels built by De'odat. The first was built in 1914 but demolished almost immediately after its completion.

The second Chapel stood until 1923. In 1923 began work on the Chapel's present incarnation.

In 1939 Brother De'odat returned to France due to ill health and entrusted the Chapel's completion to Brother Cephas. If you look closely at the sides and edges of the spire you can see the famous Guernsey Ormer shells decorating it.

Brother Cephas continued to work on the Chapel until his retirement in 1965.

Broken china, Ormer shells and pebbles cover every conceivable surface of the Chapel.

More Ormer shells and some cockle shells have also been used on the ceiling inside the Chapel.

This last photo is for my Dad. If you enlarge it you can just see the words 'Douglas Isle of Man' under what I assume is the Manx Coat of Arms. This is quite amusing considering the 'friendly' rivalry for Banking business between the two Islands today.

So there you have it the 50p tour. You can find the Little Chapel situated on the grounds of Blanchelandes Girls' College located at Les Vauxbelets, St Andrews, Guernsey. It is open all year round and entry is free.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowdrops at White Gable

On Sunday afternoon we took the Bumble B'eers to see the snowdrops at White Gable in St Saviours. We have gone each year for the past three and they are always worth the trip.

There are a few yellow and purple crocus dotted here and there amongst the snowdrops; such bright and happy flowers.

The trees are yet to bud but it won't be long now. Mr Bee loves going to see the snowdrops as he says it signifies the beginning of Spring to him.

This is what White Gables used to look like in its 'Snowdrop Hay Day' .
There may be a few less blooms these days but it does not detract in the slightest from its lovliness nor the smile it always brings to my face. Sometimes you just need to stand back and apprecaite how wonderful the world can be.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What to do with half price Christmas decorations

The last time we were in Australia (Christmas 2008/2009) I dragged my sister along to the sales and stocked up on pink and purple Christmas decorations. Just between us I think my sister thought I had lost my marbles as I was scrabbling around through all the baskets, boxes and piles looking for the sparkliest, glitteriest, pinkest and purplest ones I could find.

Truth be told it is far cheaper to buy Christmas decoration on sale to use for present wrapping than it is to buy a ready made bow.

I managed to find quite a large bag full but they have not sat idle in the depths of my gift wrapping cupboard (yes, I know, sad but true, I do actually have one of these - with three children, it can add up to quite a lot of parties throughout the year).

Ta da! The little girl who will receive this present (this very afternoon in fact) will love that she can keep this spandangly little number and hang it on her door, drawers, bed etc. Sorry about the photos but the light at the moment, and for the past few months for that matter, has been dull to say the very least so the flash needs to be used. It does show how sparkly they are though doesn't it?

B1 is at a party now (two parties in one day is not uncommon in this house!) but he whisked his present away before I could take a photo. I used light blue paper, overlaid with white flowery doilies and finished off with pale pink ribbon for that one - I didn't have a decoration to match.

I sometimes buy packets of big, rainbow, swirly lollipops and tie them on instead. I have been know to use Matchbox cars (for little boys parties) and I did go through a fairy wand stage (for little girls) as well. I suppose now that B1 is getting older I will have to work our some way to tie a packet of Match Attax cards to the front of gifts :) For my Australia friends, these are Football (which is correctly called Soccer) collector cards which the kids can keep in special books, trade with friends or they can actually play a 'game' with them. They are the latest craze at the Bumble B'eers school and like all good crazes have now been BANNED :P

This second gift is for a party B3 is going to in a few weeks but I was in a wrapping frenzy. What can I say? When a girls got to wrap a girls got to wrap!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pink Princess Party

A few weeks ago B2 told one of my friends about a 'Pink Party' that my Mum had given for B2 and B3 when we went home to Brisbane to visit in Christmas 2008. My friend thought it sounded like a fabulous idea so she decided to have one during the Half Term break. B2 was beside herself with excitement all holidays and would give me a daily report on how many days until the party. Unfortunately on the day B3 was unwell so she spent the day with B1 and Mr Bee but I made sure I brought her home a large piece on pink cake to cheer her up.

I made a Pink, Poofy, Princess cake. Once again I used the old faithful chocolate cake recipe (which you can find in my recipe collection on the side bar).

I also made some chocolate dipped marshmallows. This was the first time I tired to make these and they turned out quite well. Once I worked out the correct amount of chocolate to put on each one the process was fairly straight forward. I did manage to cover myself, the counter top and the floor in white chocolate and sprinkles however.

There was pink food galore. There were seventeen little princesses in attendance; all either dressed in a Princess outfit or something suitably pink. I didn't have anything pink so purple had to do; I did manage to find a purple feather fascinator lurking in the back of my cupboard so B2 informed me that this would pass in lieu of a tiara and ball gown.

There was fairy bread, heart shaped ham sandwiches, flower shaped cheese sandwiches, star shaped nutella sandwiches, pink sweets/lollies, pink rice crispy cakes.....

... a pink Princess cake and somehow a pink fairy cake also managed to sneak in. Both of which are from Marks and Spencers - of course.
The Princesses had their nails painted in all shades of pink, rightly Royal make-up applied, hair styles with glitter spray (two of the servant, helper Mums are hairdressers) and I took along a bracelet making kit. I supervised bracelet making for nearly two and a half hours and was only allowed a reprieve once all the Princess had made three bracelets each; then all the Mums made some too!
I am always on the look out for new and interesting sprinkles for cakes and when these little pink, sparkly cupcakes arrived I was straight over to their creator to ask the all important question - 'Where did you get the sparkly sprinkles?' I knew I was living in a fantasy land hoping for a shop in Guernsey and sure enough they came from mainland UK, ASDA. Fortunately we are going to visit my Aunty Sue in Manchester soon so I already have plans for a quick trip to the mighty ASDA, purveyor of cheap and well washing children's clothes and sparkly, pink and girly sprinkles.

Here is the Hostess with Mostess, the main Princess herself. You should have seen the look on the little girl's faces when they laid eyes on Cinderella; she even had glass slippers, but I forgot to take a photo of those :(

Thankyou your Royal Highness, Princess Nicky, a truly wonderful and magical time was had by one and all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Grandes Rocques Bay

I chopped up all the stale bread left over from the weekend and we headed to Grandes Rocques Bay to find a few Seagulls who might appreciate it.

I love the sound of Seagulls. It is one of the first noises I hear in the morning, aside from the Bumble B'eers squabbling over who ate the last of the cereal that is.

In the early morning light in Brisbane you hear the Rainbow Lorikeets squawking as they flit through the eucalyptus. Now that I come to think of it, maybe the Bumble B'eers squawking does have that same high pitched, ear piercing sound as the Lorikeets. I am glad to say they are still little Aussies at heart, or should that be voice :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Surfer Cake

It was our school's Principal's 60th Birthday and I was asked if I would make the cake. He is an avid surfer so I was requested to make a cake reminiscent of Vazon Bay, where he surfs regularly, and was supplied with the surfing penguin.

The teacher's were unable to get a plastic surfer dude so the penguin had to suffice - it is not some weird in-joke, at least I don't think it is!

I used my Fail Safe Chocolate cake recipe (found in the side bar in my recipe section) but I made the mistake of baking and icing the cake on the same day. When I went to ice the cake it was too fresh so my surf was very crumb filled. I made some of the sea foam swirl around the pier; you can just see it in this photo. The ocean was supposed to be crashing up onto the beach thus causing the largest tidal wave Guernsey has ever seen for our proud penguin to ride to glory on!

The wave was the trickiest part as every time I tried to ice it large chunks of cake would come away. It turned out OK and I was told they all recognised it as Vazon, because of the wooden/chocolate flake piers which dot the shoreline of Vazon's northern end.

I used blue icing gel and edible glitter to try to give the idea of sparkly, board-worthy surf. It was not the best cake I have ever done but it is not the worst either. I will certainly not bake and ice on the same day again - never, ever, ever :P

Monday, February 1, 2010

High Tide at Cobo Bay

Cobo Bay 8.49am
This was the highest tide of the year thus far; 10.6 meters if memory serves.