Sunday, 7 February 2016

My Week...

I didn't really intend to disappear for quite so long but you know how things are sometimes and life just gets in the way.... And it has been one of those weeks. Up and down. Fortunately, I think there is starting to be a greater awareness of mental illness than there once was, although there is still a long way to go, but while much is written about living with the illness, which I know is a living hell, living with someone who suffers is no walk in the park either. And no one seems to speak about it because we are not the ones who are ill. I want to make things better but know I can't, all I can do is be there to offer tea and hugs and to listen when necessary. Sometimes I get shouted at or worse, I often lie awake at night worrying but still all I can do is be there with the tea and sympathy. It's not easy and I'm tired... Very tired. Some weeks are just harder than others and then I get cross because I end up feeling sorry for myself which is absolutely no use to anyone, least of all me. And I didn't even intend to write all this because I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me either and I don't want to whinge... So I almost deleted it all. But then I stopped and thought again because there are lots of people out there suffering from mental illness or supporting someone who is suffering and we don't always know who they are... So be kind to everyone. It is easy to believe that others have a lovely charmed life but we all have our crosses to bear and they are not always obvious. So just be kind....

Anyway that was a very long winded and round about way of getting to what I was going to write about. I was just going to tell you that Gill and I had another day out at Backstitch for a day sewing... Except I got half way there and realised I had forgotten my sewing machine. Like I said... One of those weeks when my mind has been elsewhere!

But I did manage to cut out another Viola reversible skirt and use Gill's machine to get it started.

And then when I came home I finished it off. I still can't get the hang of this Selfie lark but I'm sure you get the idea...

Another skirt made of "baking" fabric... My third!

But they are such lovely fabrics! And I do enjoy wearing them!

And in other news this week... I have joined in with Penny who writes a lovely blog called The Homemade Heart for her Cookery Calendar Challenge. Like Penny I have a rather large collection of cookery books, some of which I hardly use. Even though I cook a meal from scratch virtually every night I mostly stick to tried and trusted favourites, sometimes trying something new I've seen in a magazine but mostly being quite boring and sticking to what I know. So the idea of the challenge is each month to pick a book from the bookshelf and cook two new recipes from it. I happened to mention I didn't have any Mary Berry cookbooks a few weeks ago and Mum bought me this new one... "Mary Berry cooks the Perfect". As I've only tried one recipe from it so far I thought it would be a good one to start with for February... So watch this space!

Of course, I never have any problem experimenting when it comes to baking and I love trying out new recipes. This week I have been trying out new Brownie recipes to find the best gluten free recipe I could. There were no actual disasters and everything was gobbled up in no time but the best ones were these below, adapted from a tried and trusted recipe but with gluten free flour. Thirty two Brownies eaten this week... Although to be fair Joe was working on a roof over the road and was popping round for his tea breaks with his work mates so I didn't eat them all myself.

And for the business I've launched "Cupcake Friday" in an attempt to get people buying cake... January was a bit quiet if I'm honest! Last Friday was my first day trying it and the Sticky Toffee cupcakes were a big hit. I've now got to decide which flavour to offer in two weeks time.

And today there were some peanut and chocolate chip cookies... just because I fancied them. I might share the recipe one day but I've already written a much longer post than I intended and I'm supposed to be going out in five minutes.

So that was my week ... the coming week is very busy with plenty of baking orders so I might be away a while. Catch up with you soon xx


  1. I've only got a a few cookery books - and I don't use any of them.
    Gorgeous pretty skirt, and lovely cakes. Hope you have a better week matey, you deserve it xx

  2. I'm glad you wrote the first part of your blog, my friend has a son with mental health issues and I fully recognise what you are saying. I'm going to show it to her.
    Your skirts are absolutely gorgeous. I bought one when we were on Brick Lane, London last year. A young textile student had a fabulous range. I've got some vintage curtains I'm hoping to get made into wrap skirt and top for summer.
    Nice to see you back on my reading list
    Lynn :-)

  3. Well said Gina, the carers need remembering too!
    Love the baking skirt and of course all the baking!
    V x

  4. Mental ill health is definitely something that should be discussed. It is tough no matter which side of it you are on so I'm glad you didn't delete.
    Now, those cakes look delicious. I hope this week has more ups than downs for you Gina. BTW, those skirts are cute.

  5. It's good to get things off your chest sometimes. My mother was never diagnosed with dementia but was definitely confused and depressed some days. I could never get her to talk about it so felt I couldn't do anything to help, or comfort her. It was very difficult and I used to struggle at times.
    Love your 'baking' skirts - so appropriate. All the bakes look delicious and I would be such a willing taster!

  6. Interesting post. wish I was slim enough to wear your skirts, and the baking looks yummy but is a no no unfortunately.

  7. It can be hard to get through the unpredictable tail end of winter and I'm sorry to hear it's been a challenge for you. I hope things take a turn for soon. And good on you for sharing the hard stuff as well as those little things that lighten the dark. Good luck with your recipe challenge. I've lost count of the number of times I've promised myself that I'd try some new tastes, only to return to those familiar dishes. You've inspired me.

  8. Hi Gina, I understand what you mean in the first part of your post my husband had a breakdown 2 years ago and it's hard on the outside too when you just want to make them better. I feel for you both, looks like you enjoyed a break making the skirt, it looks fab. Yummy cakes

  9. Hi Gina, I understand what you mean in the first part of your post my husband had a breakdown 2 years ago and it's hard on the outside too when you just want to make them better. I feel for you both, looks like you enjoyed a break making the skirt, it looks fab. Yummy cakes

  10. Those who live with persons with mental health issues are often forgotten. I am grateful you are bringing this topic up because we all need a reminder sometimes that those living with ill partners and children need looking after, too. No doubt many show their strong side, keeping their own sorrow and stress a secret.

    Your skirts are fabulous. I am a bit scared of skirts for some reasons. It is probably my body shape but I hope to tackle this 'fear' soon. Your baking business will get much busier soon, new year's resolutions of healthy eating and abstaining from what we love are wearing thin :-)

    Wishing you a more manageable week. x

  11. I think you did the right thing keeping the first part of your post in. Mental illness is an invisible disability. If a person is physically disabled, it is visible, and they are (I hope/assume, perhaps I am wrong) generally well received and supported by the public at large (I am aware that many physically disabled people have strong views on how they are treated and I am not in any way pretending to be very knowledgeable in this area) but, my main point is that those with mental illness or disabilities are generally not cut the same slack. Depression, Aspergers, Autism, and probably many other conditions that I am not aware of, don't show up in an easily recognisable way for the general public. Those with these conditions and disabilities can come over as odd/unfriendly/uncommunicative/aggressive and in a thousand and one other unattractive ways. I so agree with you, Just Be Kind. And being the mum/wife/sister etc is really tough. Good on you for talking about it.

    Also! Great that you are joining with the Cookery Calendar Challenge, the more the merrier! . I am delighted, and look forward to reading about your chosen recipes. I will be opening the next linky on 1st March, and it will run for 7 days ( the current one is now closed).
    Great skirts! I could never wear that style (sigh) as I am way too curvy, but you look really fantastic in them. X

  12. Definitely better out than in! It's very very hard, feeling like you are treading on eggshells, desperate to help but not wanting to downplay it, or make it seem like they could simply solve everything if only they tried X, y or z. I think we've all experienced or brushed up against mental illness at some point, and it definitely needs talking about more often, so bravo. Meanwhile, looking very trim in that skirt Ms Ferrari - how do you do it after all those brownies?!

  13. You did right to air out your frustrations, especially here on your blog because everyone is so supportive. It's a tough thing worrying about how someone is going to manage on their own. My sister-in-law has been dealing with this since her teen years. I feel for her parents as they get older because the difficulties she gets into are really wearing them out now (although they live separately, they are only around the corner from each other). Their own health is at risk from the stress. So take care of yourself too Gina. I know everyone tells you this, but just stop and carve out some time where you can just relax in front of the TV of something. I'm getting better at not worrying about things so much, and trying to do things that make ME happy (a new concept around here). Take care, big hugs and much love to you,

  14. Your baking skirts are fabulous! They can me your business 'uniform' :-)

    Trying to help a friend or relative who is struggling with a mental illness is so hard, especially when kindness seems to be rejected. The comments from others show how many of us have experienced this first hand - me included.

    Take care, hoping this week includes less worry, more cake and more smiles xx

  15. So glad you kept your first paragraph and didn't delete it as we need to talk about mental health and the effect it has on the sufferer, their family and friends. Mental health issues tend to treated like cancer was many years ago, kept hidden. We have learned to be much more open about cancer today with great strides in improving treatment and supporting patients and their loved ones. I hope the same happens for mental illness sooner rather than later. Hope this week will be a better one Gina. Your baking looks fabulous as always.

  16. I am always amazed how much you do - particularly when your family life is so busy. How lucky they all are to have your love and support.

    I can highly recommend that cookbook which Angela Nilsen contributed to. Angela used to work for Good Food and I will buy any book with her name on.

  17. Lovely cakes and skirts - I have the pattern and fabric but haven't yet managed to combine the two!
    The secrecy surrounding mental illness puts an even heavier burden on both the sufferer and those coping around them. My husband had a breakdown in the 1980s which coincided with the need to make a complete lifestyle change, sell a house and a way of life we loved and keep this as normal for a 5 year old child. We survived but life was fragile for many years. Some of the treatment was frightening and changed us both. Some people were kind but some found it incomprehensible. I do think things are improving but I'm always very slow to judge and slow to envy -who knows what other people might be going through.

  18. Well done you for sharing! It is not an easy thing to do, but trust me, there are many out there in your position and talking about it is good and the more that we are then aware of it the better. Being open and honest will help us all. I am so sorry that you are dealing with these problems, I hope that all will be as well as it can be for you and the person concerned. Big hugs and all good thoughts to you. xx

  19. Supporting someone with mental health issues is really, really hard and you were right to tell us about it. Everyone needs to be more open about mental health. Some of us are born with mental health problems and others acquire them under the onslaught of life so everyone should be kind and understanding. Who knows when we might be in the same boat or have been?

    Your skirts are beautiful. I wish I enjoyed wearing skirts. I buy them or even make them and they stay in the cupboard! Hope you have a good week. xx

  20. Not quite the same but my husband had chronic fatigue a few years ago, while our kids were still on the younger side. I remember listening to a song with the line "So don't mind if I fall apart
    There's more room in a broken heart" and I knew when my reaction was "I do mind actually" that I realised I was tired and needed to take care. So be good to yourself.

    I am so jealous of your cake baking, I have had to severely limit myself due to blood sugar spikes. The good news is that potatoes seem to have a worse effect than a cake, but still I have to watch it. I am hoping that by getting my weight down I might be able to handle the sugar better at a later date, meanwhile I have to bake the cakes for hubby, who needs the calories :D

  21. I never wear skirts but those baking fabrics must make your heart sing each time you wear them!

  22. I love your skirts, particularly the fabric. Yes I might join in with the cook book challenge. I have so many but lots of untried recipes...the problem is which one to choose. I'm glad you shared your thoughts about caring for mental health issues. Most people I expect come into contact at some time, definitely with the elderly. Thinking of you. Barbara x

  23. Your little skirt is fab - beautiful fabric and just right for the clever baking lady that you are! Yes - it's high time that mental health was talked about and highlighted. x Jo

  24. You are right about mental health problems being difficult to talk about. When I used to suffer, my husband had absolutely no time for me whatsoever so I suffered in silence. What worked for me was going on long walks with my daughter in her pram.

    What a feast of cake, it all looks marvellous; I like your new skirt too!

  25. Be kind. Wise words indeed. And yes, mental ill health can be bewildering, frustrating, exhausting, and the rest, for all concerned.

    Love your skirts and was about to say 'Respect!' for eating those 32 brownies. I'm sure I could have managed to demolish them single handedly, though!

  26. Yes it is so difficult with mental health issues, I think it's best to talk but the right people aren't always there to listen; as with cancer, carers need support. I often think of you coping, having been there it is exhausting and a constant worry. Cups of tea always available here, just call if you need a little break.
    Love the skirt and I'm so glad you didn't eat all those brownies on your own!!!

  27. Hang tight Gina - and look after yourself too. Those baking skirts are so you - love them!


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