Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Saying Farewell to Summer









It's that time of the year. Waking up to a chill in the air and yet by mid morning I've needed to discard my sweater having got so warm. The long, hot days of summer are gone, the paddling pool has been packed away for another year and some mornings I have woken to find condensation on the inside of the windows.
The seasons are changing and I am saying a reluctant goodbye to summer.
I've had a busy couple of weeks which began with the end of our summer break and ended with Lily starting back at school.
For the last week of the holiday, the weather here wasn't so great but we kept ourselves busy. Lily enjoyed baking cupcakes and I was happy to ice and eat them. I wrote out the recipe and she loved weighing the ingredients. We've been swimming - a lot! And, of course, we enjoyed some short walks close to home when we had the chance.
At the beginning of summer we booked ourselves a night away which, as well as something to look forward to, would allow us to visit two places we've wanted to see for a while now. So at the beginning of last week, we went to Monkey Forest in Trentham and to The National Space Centre in Leicester. We had such a great time and it was a perfect way to end our summer break.









I've switched the bedding over to brushed cotton and, although it seems quite early for this, as I'm someone who feels the cold easily it has made such a difference.
In the garden, the sunflowers are almost all out now. I think there is just one left waiting to open up. They have kept us waiting this year but have been worth it.
The vegetables in the raised bed have all been eaten (by ourselves or by the caterpillars!) and I need to turn the soil soon, in readiness for the winter months. When it has been dry enough I've been trying to keep on top of cutting the grass and I expect that sometime soon it will be for the last time this year.




With a certain baking programme back on the television, I'm finding it's almost impossible to watch without craving cake and yet cake is something I don't bake very often. Always one to give in to temptation 😊 I fortunately remembered this simple, yet delicious, recipe for plum cake and dragged my cake tin out from the darkest depths of the kitchen cupboard.

150g caster sugar
115g butter
140g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon sugar
Plums

Make the sponge by creaming together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, gradually mixing in the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into a greased and lined 26cm tin, then top with the halved plums, cut side up. I used five for my cake.
Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar and bake at 150° for around 45 minutes.

School finally started back in the middle of last week. Lily has settled in well and is, so far, enjoying what this new term has to offer and I'm enjoying our daily walks through the village once more. I'm currently finding my feet in a different routine but there is a feeling of calm as the seasons start to shift and I acknowledge the new rhythm to my days.

J. X

58 comments:

  1. What lovely and interesting days out you had.
    The plum cake looks lovely, I shall write down the recipe (thankyou)xx

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    1. Thanks, Marlene. I'd been wanting to visit Monkey Forest for ages, then we discovered it was on our route to the Space Centre. X

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  2. Blimey Jules, I thought you were going to write you'd come across a monkey on one of your walks through the woods! The plum cake looks delicious and so do Lily's cupcakes. You know they're growing up when they can bake by themselves :)

    I put the heating on last night. Mark's away so there's nobody to moan at me lol. I must admit the older I get the more I think about the flannelette sheets of childhood. Have a lovely week. xx

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    1. Haha! Now, that would have made an interesting blog post! There's only one monkey around here and she's presently home from school with a temperature :(
      I can highly recommend the brushed cotton sheets. It feels lovely getting into a cosy bed. X

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  3. Trentham is only about half an hour from where I live Jules and we go there all the time. Almost all of the family have been to The Monkey Forest though except me.
    I'm loving the cool starts to the days and the cooler evenings but it's still nice to see the sun during the main part of the day. Today is particularly lovely.
    The plum cake looks so mouthwatering. Thanks for the recipe.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. You should definitely visit Monkey Forest, Sheila. You'd really enjoy it there. The monkeys are so funny, I could have watched them all day. X

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  4. Lovely photos, especially those lovely cakes! John hasn't baked a cake for a while, but he's been busy using up tomatoes and courgettes in quiches. We used to have brushed cotton, but I found it used to pill really badly :/ I'm glad to hear Lily's happy back at school. I always looked forward to going back to school after the summer holidays. Best, Jane x

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    1. Thank you, Jane. It's not often I bake a proper cake. I'm always making flapjack or Weetabix loaf, things that transport well for picnics, so this made a nice change. It disappeared rather quickly, however, so I might just have to bake another. X

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  5. Best, to adapt to the Turning of the Wheel of the Year. :-) We fit into the new season, so much easily, if we accept it. Or so it seems.

    Ohhhhhh that babbling brook! Oh happy sigh!

    And that plum cake! Oh happy sigh! :-)))))

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    1. I love how our seasons change, and although I do enjoy each and every one, summer is my favourite, so I'm sad to see it's almost behind us now. X

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  6. I'm glad that Lily has settled back into school well. How lovely to have your trip away to look forward to all summer, what a treat, Monkey Forest sounds like a place I'd love to visit. A lot of my mum's side of the family live in Leicester and I remember combining a trip to stay with my auntie with a little excursion to the Space Centre quite a few years ago now, we all found it very interesting. My mouth's watering at the sight of those cupcakes, and the plum cake, yum.

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    1. Lily loves school, but there is always that worry when they are settling into a new school year, so I'm pleased it's all going well so far.
      I really enjoyed the Space Centre and could have easily spent more time there. There is so much to see. X

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  7. Love the sound of the plum cake. Will get busy cooking once I return home. I love plums. Can’t blame you changing the bedding in your corner. The mornings are quite nippy up here in Scotland at the moment..

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    1. For a quick and simple bake, it's really delicious. The cinnamon sugar gives it a lovely flavour, especially at this time of year.
      I hope you're having a wonderful time in Scotland. X

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  8. Hi there! Have just tried making your cake.. in the oven at this moment.. I used 4 peaches and ground almonds instead of the cinnamon & plums.. looking forward to trying it this eve!

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    1. That sounds so good! Please let me know how it turns out. X

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  9. As a retired teacher I always think that on the whole children are glad to get back into their routine. Glad Lily has settled in well ain.

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    1. I agree, Pat. I think we all benefit from some sort of routine and by the end of our summer break, we are ready to get back to it. X

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  10. The cake looks delicious. Your photos are beautiful. I visit friends in Leicester sometimes so I will have to suggest the Space Centre.

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    1. Thank you, Jean. We found the Space Centre really interesting and could have definitely spent longer there. X

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  11. Summer goes by so quickly and what seems like yesterday when we planted our gardens was really months ago and now it is time to put it all away. There is some sadness (and work) in that, but new things await. Baking cakes is one of them.

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    1. Summer certainly seems to have flown by this year and, with it being my favourite season of the year, I am sad to see it end.
      Fortunately, the joy of autumn awaits. X

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  12. I like your way of saying farewell to summer! Freshly baked cake and visits to fun places! I hope Lily continues to enjoy school and has a good school year. Hope your transition from summer to fall goes well.

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    1. Thank you, Bless. Cake is always good and I should really bake more often. X

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  13. I could just eat a slice of your plum cake and apart from buying a gingerbread cake when we come up to the cottage or having a birthday we don't really eat it - not even in tea shops. When I first saw your photo with the monkey I did wonder if you had met him on one of your lakeland walks!
    Summer seems a long time ago now although the sun has been shining for us today and we did far too much in the garden - we will just work in the garden until lunch time I said then go out...it was 3.30 when we realised we had even passed lunchtime!

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    1. I do enjoy cake and I've decided I need to put some effort into eating it more often :) Surely, adding the plums must make it good for me.
      The long sunny days seem a while ago now and I need to concentrate on clearing the garden ready for winter. X

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  14. Oh,those cupcakes and the plum cake look so delicious.
    I love how you wrote the recipe on a cute blackboard. :)

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    1. Thank you, Nil. That little board is so useful. I've had it for ages and I often use it to write out the week's menu plan or make a note of things I need to pick up from the shops. X

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  15. Your blog and photos are just so beautiful! I love hearing how you're turning around with the seasons. Thank you for the inspiration today!

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    1. That's really kind of you to say, thank you. X

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  16. Beautifully written, my friend.
    You summed up the changing seasons perfectly.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    And for all the cozy!

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    1. Thank you, Billie Jo. I love how you've decorated your home for the season. X

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  17. The Monkey Forest looks amazing and what a wonderful way to end the school holidays. That plum cake looks delicious too although it's too early for plums here. I might have to bookmark the recipe and try it in another few months. xx Susan

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    1. I really enjoyed our time there, Susan. The monkeys were so fun to watch.
      I hope you enjoy the recipe. X

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  18. As you ease into summer, we Down Under, are officially into spring. Autumn is looking lovely in your neck of the woods

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    1. There are subtle signs of autumn creeping in now. It won't be long before the leaves begin to fall. X

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  19. Glad to hear Lily is settling in nicely.

    I love the transition times, they're the best of both worlds to me, and you have tempted me to investigate the possibility of a cosy brushed cotton duvet cover.

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    1. Lily enjoys school but I always have that worry at the beginning of each new year, so it's a relief to know things are going well.
      Do get yourself a brushed cotton cover, especially if like me, you feel the cold easily. They are so cosy. My only regret is not having bought one sooner than I did :)

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  20. Summer came and went so quickly in a whirl and here we are with Autumn almost upon us. Such a beautifully written post making me too wanting cake, the plum cake recipe is perfect for the season. Stunning photos.

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    1. Summer seems to have flown by this year, especially for you, as you've been so busy.
      The cake recipe is so simple and delicious. I hope you try it. X

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  21. Funny time of year, isn't it? I am cold one moment, then warm the next. Today is dreich day here in Glasgow. Not even the dog wants to go outside. You might like linen bedding, it feels warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have a similar cake recipe and love it. It is good with whatever fruit is at hand. Have a lovely day.

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    1. Choosing what to wear in a morning is far from easy at the moment. I've been going with layers and a waterproof jacket unless a sunny day is guaranteed. X

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  22. Ah yes it is that time of year when you feel like you are packing your entire wardrobe every time you go out, as a just in case......
    So glad to hear that Lily has settled back into school and that she loves it. It sounds like you made the most of the holidays. I have always wanted to go to the Space centre we had friends who lived nearby for years but they have now moved, I rueing the fact that I didn't go when I had free accommodation nearby!

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    1. It's even worse when we go walking on the fells. With so many layers needed, I'll have to get a larger rucksack to fit everything in!
      The Space Centre was great and there are plenty of interactive displays for children. If it's any help, we stayed in a particular purple hotel for much less than our admission into the Space Centre itself. X

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  23. Cake...I've been trying to avoid it...having lost nearly a stone in weight now I do allow myself a little slither now and then. Think one of yours could well tempt me were I given the chance. It's so good to be back able to comment again! x

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    1. Congratulations, Jackie. That's a great achievement.
      I'm sure this cake would be fine for you. After all, it's full of fruit! 😆

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  24. Those monkeys are so cute. They look so peaceful and relaxed. I usually make a plum kuchen once a year, thanks for reminding me. The change of seasons is nice, isn't it?

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    1. The monkeys were so sweet and funny to watch. They appeared to be very well looked after and there were plenty of staff members on hand to ensure visitors didn't approach them.
      I'm looking forward to autumn and the leaves turning. It is such a special time of year. X

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  25. I am in denial.
    Autumn/winter - what are they?
    and as for baking programmes ..... glad I am not the only one who is dispatched off to the kitchen to produce similarly sweet goods to satisfy the after programme nibbles!

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    1. I have been, but I'm almost ready to welcome some autumn days now.
      Watching Bake Off is dangerous and should come with a warning. I can't manage to get through watching a show without the urge to eat cake. X

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  26. I love the transition from Summer to Autumn. Year ago, before children, hubby and I camped in the New Forest in mid September.. We were sunbathing by day, but night times there were thick bedscks and hot water bottles in our sleeping bag! Your plum cake looks delicious, I'll be jotting the recipe down, thanks Jules! Glad Lily has settled back to school well x

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    1. It's a lovely time of year but the weather certainly keeps us guessing. You are to be commended for camping in September. I am definitely a fair weather camper these days - I feel the cold far too easily.
      I hope you enjoy the cake. X

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  27. The seasons seem to be changing so fast this year. I was hoping for the warm, dry September which we are often so blessed with, but it does not look like that will happen. Good to hear Lily has settled into her new term. xx

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    1. We haven't enjoyed a long stretch of hot weather like we did last year, so it feels like summer has gone by rather quickly. Having said that, the forecast looks promising for the next week or two, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. X

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  28. I'll be making that plum cake! Looks fabulous

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    1. It's delicious. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. X

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  29. I'm glad that Lily has settled into her school.
    Despite living down the road from Trentham Gardens, I've never been. It looks gorgeous.
    Love your monkey photos, too. Don't they look contented sitting there, going about their business?
    Autumn seems a long way a way here, I've been in my bikini for most of the week. Long may our Indian Summer last! xxx

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    1. It's really lovely there and if we'd been able to stay for longer we'd have enjoyed a walk by the lake too.
      The temperatures have dropped here, although we're promised some warmer days this week. I doubt I'll be wearing my bikini, however. X

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