Monday, October 31, 2011

P365 - Day 304 - work shoes

Apparently I have three pairs of work pants.

I say apparently, because this morning when I got up at stupid o'clock to get ready for work I couldn't find any of them. Not a single pair of work pants. Out of three pairs!

I could have worn a skirt instead . . .

. . . not bloody likely!

So I wore jeans.

I keep my rather flash shoes with the highest heels I own at work because I'm never going to wear them at home. So when I got to work I put them on to show that I wasn't doing Casual Friday on a Monday.

I'm not sure that the hole in my jeans went any way to convincing anyone of this.

But I had my Work Shoes on.

Therefore, I was wearing a Work Outfit.

End of story.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

P365 - Day 303 - spice jars

I've been gradually buying new jars to store the random packets of spices and spice mixes that are lying round in what might loosely be described as our spice cupboard.

I've also been replacing some of the old jars (jam jars, tomato paste jars, coffee jars) with the new ones for no reason other than that I quite like the idea of all the jars being the same (or at least similar).

And finally, I took great delight tonight in emptying several jars that contained completely unidentifiable spices or spice mixes into the bin. I have no idea what these were, and have a feeling I've had them for more than five years. I figured if I've had no need for them in that time, I'm not going to now. Plus they're going to be well past their best-by date.

Into the bin!

The re-jarring project will continue for a bit longer, but after that the next step will be to create some steps or something in the cupboard so I can actually see what I have and find what I need without having to pick up every jar. I'm thinking labels on the jar lids as well as the jars themselves might help here.

So that was my well-spent Sunday night. How was yours?

P365 - Day 302 - a pirate? or a worm? .... a boat? or a car? (29/10/2011)

Part of Juniordwarf’s ‘pirate uniform’ is an eye patch.

He puts it on and walks around saying he he’s only got one eye. A bit like the Wonky Donkey

He actually has two eye patches because one got (ahem) misplaced and he needed it for his birthday, so we had to procure another one at short notice.

Of course the other one turned up, as most things do – after you need them.

Now that he has two, Juniordwarf wears both the eye patches. He says he has no eyes, because his eyes got chopped off.

Sounds painful.

He asked if there was anything that didn’t have eyes, and the only thing we could think of was a worm. So when he’s wearing the eye patches, he says he’s a worm.

He also has a story book where the character play a pirate game, and use an upside down table as their pirate ship. Today he decided he wanted to do that, so he brought his little table into the lounge room, turned it upside down, loaded his favourite teddies onto it and off they sailed.

Except somehow the boat turned into a car that had run out of petrol, so I’m not sure where they were. I thought that maybe they’d sailed down the River Derwent and got stuck at the Bridgewater Bridge. 

In any case, they were lucky the boat is able to be transformed into something else at the drop of a hat.

Friday, October 28, 2011

P365 - Day 301 - waiting in the car

The view from the car while Juniordwarf and I were waiting for Slabs to finish his errrands.

Also, I wrecked my journal a bit more today. And these were ideas I came up with myself - not instructions from the book.

Backing the car over it

Pigstabbering it

Thursday, October 27, 2011

P365 - Day 300 - the big 300

Another instalment in the occasional series on what pastpresentfuture is all about. You might also like to read Part 1 and Part 2.

This is Day 300 of my Project 365 photo project. 

Does anyone know what/where this is?

That means I have taken at least one photo every day since 1 January and posted it here on my blog. That’s 300 photos – actually more - since a lot of my posts have included multiple photos.

As well as the photo a day concept, I’ve found the blog space a good space to put my thoughts about things I’m working through n my personal life. Most times I can manufacture a photo for the day to fit what I’ve been thinking about. Or I can write a post and wait for the right photo opportunity. Whatever works.

I was discussing how much to share on a blog with a friend a while ago. I was saying that if I was having a really hard time about something and feeling really low, I didn’t really want to put that ‘out there’ in any great detail, because I’m sure no one wants to read about me moping around and moaning about things, which I do a lot*.

On the other hand, exploring some of my personality traits, insecurities or frustrations (which I’ve done several times on here) is something I feel more ok about doing.

When people leave comments on those posts or say something on one of my social networks where I share my blog, I feel reassured that I’m not the only one dealing with those issues. It also helps a lot when people comment from an outside viewpoint, and look at something in a way I wouldn’t have thought to look.

I suppose the main problems for me are firstly figuring out where the line between exploring and moping is, and secondly in deciding how much of that exploration I want to make public. Or, if you like, deciding when it ceases to be an exploration and turns into a counselling session.

I could fill up a post or more every day with subjects as diverse and fascinating as how I’m dealing with being an unhealthy perfectionist (I love that term!), why I’m terrified of talking to people, what I need to do to turn off my ‘inner critic’ and so on. (It’s a very long list, and I already have written on many of the subjects on it in more or less detail.)

In fact, I can see myself dwelling on these issues so much that I’d spend my entire life ‘analysing’ myself and not actually living. In other words, failing to appreciate the difference between thinking I have to wait until I’ve ‘fixed’ everything before I can start to relax and live life, and realising that there will never be a time when everything falls perfectly into place, so I need to get out there and live my life right now.

I know, I’ve said it before (more than once), and it’s a message I really need to get through to myself, so I’ll probably keep on saying it.

Life is now.

But it’s so easy to get caught up on the things that I need to ‘fix’ to create myself a better future and to think that everything will fall into place when that magical time comes, that I forget about the here and now. And that isn’t exactly consistent with the central premise of my blog, which is ‘present’. And I know that the magical time will never come. (Life is now.)

Past – well that’s a whole other post, and there’s some stuff I might want to write about later, or might want to leave well alone.

For now I’ll just say that I feel like I’m making some small but important changes in my life and my way of thinking that are – overall – having positive outcomes in my life. 

Sure, sometimes it’s two steps forward and three steps back, and I have my fair share of days where everything is too much, but there are other days when it’s three steps forward, one step back. But because (cliché alert) life is about the journey not the destination, that’s all perfectly fine. Overall, I feel like things are getting better within myself. (Life is now.)

I’m sure that this is due – at least in some part - to writing this blog, and getting support and encouragement from so many people, even people I don’t personally know, who take the time to leave me a comment or respond on Twitter or Facebook. It means a lot to me that you care and that you’re willing to put yourself out there and tell me that I’m not the only one dealing with this stuff.

Thank you all. 

* No I don’t. I have a tendency to keep the moan-y things inside and dwell on them. Or write them down in unintelligible handwriting. Or get all passive aggressive about them and deny that something’s wrong, even when something clearly is. Or post them in an obscure way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

P365 - Day 299 - wreck this journal

Earlier this year I bought a book called Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.

The subtitle of the book is ‘To Create Is To Destroy’. Bascially it is, as the name suggests, a book that you are supposed to wreck. Each page has an instruction for something you’re supposed to do to the page or to the whole book in order to destroy it.

A couple of examples are ‘poke holes in this page using a pencil’, ‘sew this page’, and ‘create a non-stop line’. You are also supposed to cut through the book, take it for a walk tied on a piece of string, and take it in the shower with you.

The point of the book is to let yourself go a bit crazy, do things to a book that you simply don’t do to books, have fun, and get over the ‘blank page syndrome’ that people like me often face when we sit down to try and create something. It’s an attempt to get yourself unstuck from your creative rut.

I’m sure the concept of destroying a brand new book doesn’t appeal to everyone, but for me it’s been a bit of fun. I’ve been putting off some of the more destructive tasks, and also some that require a bit of thought, but I’ve noticed as I’ve been working through the book – not in order, of course – that I’ve started to get a bit more reckless with it and am happily making more of a mess than I did when I started.

Today I decided to drop the journal from a high place. The highest place I have easy access to (other than my work building, where I understand dropping things off the roof is strictly forbidden) is a second storey balcony, so that had to do.

Dropping it didn’t cause as much damage to the book as I’d hoped, but it was kind of cool to see it flying through the air for a couple of seconds.

The instruction. It doesn't say how high!

Ready . . .  set . . . 



Safely landed.

I wonder what I should attempt tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

P365 - Day 298 - yeah! cookies!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember that Juniordwarf and I cook biscuits every Tuesday so that he has a treat to take to school for the rest of the week.

Usually we make ANZACs, but we’ve also made shortbread and sometimes even choc-chip cookies. Last week he said he wanted to make choc-chip cookies, but we didn’t have any choc chips, so I told him we’d have to go to the shop before we baked.

Well the thought of that didn’t appeal to his sense of routine. 

We go up the street after lunch, which we have after we’ve baked. So he wasn’t keen on that idea at all, and decided he wanted to make ‘the oat ones’ instead.

When we finally did go up the street last Tuesday (after lunch, of course), we bought a bag of choc chips so that we’d be prepared for today.

The cookies really are very yummy.

I got the recipe from an American guy called Mike, who was an exchange student at the same time I was, and who had impressed everyone with these cookies. Naturally everyone had wanted the recipe.

This is it – with my own variations as necessary.

¾ cup raw sugar
¾ cup soft brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
230 grams soft butter
2 ¼ cup plain (wholemeal) flour
Yeah! 1 bag choc chips

What you do
  • Mix sugars, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a large bowl until creamy.
  • Add baking powder and flour gradually and mix well.
  • Add choc chips and mix.
  • Roll into small balls and place on baking tray.
  • Bake in preheated oven (about 170 degrees C) for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, October 24, 2011

P365 - Day 297 - stationery stash

Waiting for me at the Post Office this morning was my latest stationery order from the lovely people at NoteMaker.

My diaries for 2012 and a mini Delfonics pen. I am totally in love with these pens. I want more!

I have a vague plan for keeping myself more organised, and these particular two diaries fit the bill for what I think I need to do.

Fortunately they both start in October 2011, so I have time to get used to them and work out exactly how I want to use them before next year. And really, if I already know what I want to do, why wait two more months before putting the sort-of plan into action if I have the tools all ready to use now?

Just get on with it!

While I'm on the subject of stationery, several weeks after breaking my ruler at work by running my chair over it, I decided it was time to get another one. I thought rulers would be in plentiful supply in the stationery cupboard, but how wrong I was.

The only one I could find was this one.

I have no idea how it got there, since we are not a Commonwealth Government department, but it looks like it's been around for quite a while. An antique in the world of government office supplies.

I think it goes pretty well with this handy little device.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

P365 - Day 296 - find your passion

Go directly to the garden. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

I’m one of those people who never knew what they wanted to do after they finished school. I was the career guidance teacher’s number one nightmare, and my parents despaired that I was never going make up my mind.

As a result, I changed my mind about what university course I was going to do basically on the strength of a throwaway line from a friend, dropped out of the course after one year and four weeks, and did a degree I would never in a million years have seen myself doing two years previously.

Then, having absolutely no idea what I was going to do next, I somehow landed a job in the public service in Canberra. While the prospect of moving to Canberra was less than appealing, the prospect of earning more money than I’d ever had in my life was somewhat attractive.

So I took the plunge, packed up and moved, with the intention of staying for a couple of years and then coming home and doing what I really wanted to do, whatever that was.

History will show that the ‘couple of years’ lasted a bit longer than that. It will also show that I have no more idea about what I want to do now than I did then. But all the time, I was convinced that all I had to do was find what I was passionate about, and then I’d find a way to make that a part of my working life, then I’d be doing work that I loved so much that it didn’t even seem like work*.

Only what was my passion?

I dabbled in many things. I wanted to like things. I bought stuff. I started reading books. I did career inventories. I shelved stuff. I bought more stuff. I stuffed books onto bookshelves. I assessed my Myers Briggs Type for clues. I tried to remember what I loved doing as a child. I tried to imagine my perfect job. I made plans. I ditched plans.

None of it worked. There was too much out there. How could I possibly find the one thing or the couple of things that I was truly passionate about when there was so much stuff to do? Was my gut instinct telling me what I really wanted to do, or what I thought I wanted to do, or even what I thought I wanted to want to do?

How was I ever going to know what I REALLY wanted to do?

What am I passionate about? Am I passionate about anything?

I remember reading some time about in one of the zillions of “Find out what you really want to do and go out and do it” books that I started reading (and mostly never finished) that a good clue is to find the activity that puts you into what I think they called “the zone” – that is the place where you so immerse yourself in what you’re doing that you lose track of time, forget to eat, forget to go to bed . . . and no, I don’t think they were thinking of chatting online all night.

It occurred to me today – as it has at other times – that the only time I really get that completely lost is when I’m in the garden. When these authors described this zone, they were describing what happens to me when I’m gardening.

When I’m gardening I’m in my own world. I tell myself stories, I dream, I replay incidents that didn’t work out so that I get the result I want, I have conversations with people in my head. The real world ceases to exist.

Back in the days BJ (Before Juniordwarf), I’d think nothing of spending the whole weekend in the garden. If I didn't have to eat I wouldn’t have.

But even so, it’s not something that I jump out of the door to do first thing on a Saturday morning. It is a huge effort for me to get to the point where I’m actually working in the garden and, from there, to that state where I get lost in it. It’s very easy to find something else to do, see something that has to be done, get distracted by something, and then it’s too close to lunch time or we have to go up the street, or we have to go out, or Juniordwarf wants me to do something with him, and then it’s too hot, or it’s raining or I don’t have the seeds I need or . . . .

So despite the fact that I love it, I find it incredibly hard to get motivated to do it.

It seems like a complete paradox. If I love it so much and it gets me into this other world, why then am I reluctant to get out there and do it?

The other factor that comes into the equation now, that I didn’t have before, is Juniordwarf! I want him to get more involved with the garden, but I don’t want to force him, so I just let him do pretty much what he wants outside, show him things that might interest him, let him plant seeds, do some digging and whatever else he is interested in, but most of the time he’s more interested in hanging out with Sleepydog. And the good thing about that it is it keeps her out of my way – she’s a very ‘in your face’ dog.

But getting into the “zone” is harder when I have to spend time with Juniordwarf. Not that I don’t enjoy doing stuff with him in the garden – I do, I love it – but it’s not the same.

And then if he wants to go back inside and do something else, my well-honed sense of Mother Guilt kicks in, and I feel guilty that I’m outside doing my own thing and leaving him to his own devices - despite the fact that he's probably having a great time inside with his Dad! 

This is a combination of (a) guilt that I’m relying on Slabs to spend more than his fair share of time with Juniordwarf, (b) guilt that if Slabs is also doing his own thing, Juniordwarf has to entertain himself and leaving him to his own devices for too long isn’t fair, (c) guilt that I don’t have as much time as I used to with him and that I should be spending more of the weekend with him and that spending time in the garden isn’t as important as spending time with him . . .

However . . .

If I hung out with Juniordwarf all day and did no gardening, then the jungle would continue to multiply at a crazy rate, we’d have no home-grown vegetables and every time I looked out the back window I’d feel guilty about not being out there and getting stuck into it.


For goodness sake!

I wonder if other parents struggle with this sense of guilt no matter what they do? Is this one of those things that no-one ever talks about before you have kids, and even if they did, you as a child-free adult would scoff and tell them to get over it?

Now that I’ve actually written it down, I can see how ridiculous it all seems. 

Where the hell does all this guilt come from? And that’s only scratching the surface. What purpose does any of it serve, except to make me anxious and feel bad - and for no good reason? Surely there must be better things I can put my mind to than making myself feel rotten.

It’s that nasty inner critic at it again, this time attacking me with its little arsenal of “shoulds”.

And I “should” ignore it.

Well, for a post that was just going to talk about how much I got done in the garden today, this has turned into something completely unexpected.

What can I take from this?
  • I need a big push to get me started on anything, even if it’s something I love doing. This can only come from me. There are no excuses. I can either take the easy way and procrastinate, do nothing and continue to feel bad about that, or I can push through the pain of the resistance barrier, do something and end up feeling good about what I’ve achieved.

  • I want to be able to get out in the garden for periods of time that will let me get a reasonable amount of work done without feeling like I’m abandoning my family. I need to talk to my family about how we can make this work – what’s reasonable, what I need and what they need. How they can help.

  • I still don’t know “what I want to do”, but that’s OK for now, because at least I know what I am passionate about.

And today I had a great morning ripping out weeds, cutting branches off a tree and giving myself some hope that I might still get the vege patches under control in time to grow a few veges this year. I even found some veges growing in amongst the weeds. Yay!

* Before you tell me that this is complete piffle, and that very few people are ever able to find that work-passion balance, and that actually working with your passion can end up killing your passion, remember that I was in my early 20s when all this happened, and I really didn’t have much of a clue about anything! (Some would say I still don’t, but I choose to ignore them.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

P365 - Day 295 - stickyweed hell

Back in March, I wrote about my battle with the dead stickyweed in what is supposed to be my little piece of paradise.

Well I haven’t learned my lesson, and seven months on, the stickyweed is back in full force.

I spent a lot of today paying for this laziness, and removed most of it from my little patch and what was once the vege patch.

One day I will learn that I should wear long sleeves for this task. But at least ripping the evil stuff out now, before it seeds and dies, means that I’m not going to end up covered in the filthy sticky seeds.

Chances of me keeping it under control?

P365 - Day 294 - camping day 2 (21/10/2011)

After a night of very little sleep, courtesy of a range of factors, including the ever-so-comfortable single air mattress, the party music and late night outbursts from our fellow campers and, quite possibly, some members of our party being rabid snorers*, it was nice to wake up in the fresh air to the sounds of happy birds.

Slabs suggested that at least one of these factors could be eliminated by camping** in the actual bush. (Reference to yesterday's post.)

Coffee was necessary.

Serious camp coffee!

Today was a day of packing up and fishing before heading home. We decided that it really would have been better to have stayed the extra night. It’s a lot of trouble to go all that way and set up the tents only to have to take it all apart again the very next day.

We went back to the same spot we were in yesterday, and had as much luck as we had yesterday.

Nive River near Wayatinah

Power line - hydro country

Wayatinah Lagoon

Wayatinah Lagoon

Juniordwarf had fun. He fished

 He paddled

And he practised blowing bubbles like he does at swimming. 


By the time we’d had enough of fishing, we were too late to get any lunch on the way home.

We’d planned on going to the Two Metre Tall Farm Bar later in the afternoon anyway, so we ended up going there for a very late lunch and a few ales.


Jack fell down and broke his crown . . .

Picking up the spent spelt

Off to feed the spent spelt to the beef.
Does anyone else see the Pied Piper resemblence?

A lovely end to a great couple of days.

*Lil Sis has often recommended that I adopt the practice of using ear plugs at night since I find it so hard to get to sleep when it’s noisy. I’ve constantly rejected the idea because I find them so uncomfortable that I can’t get to sleep anyway. She tells me that it’s easier to get used to the discomfort than it is to get used to the noise. I have a feeling I might have to give in . . .

** We've decided that "camping" is what you do when you are in the bush and there are no actual facilities. So what we did was "tenting".

P365 - Day 293 camping day 1 (20/10/2011)

Slabs and I had been talking about going camping* for a while, but we weren’t sure when we wanted to go or where.

Today was Hobart Show Day holiday, and like a lot of other people, we decided to take advantage of this by taking tomorrow off work as well to give ourselves an extra long weekend.

Since the weather has warmed up, we thought it would be a good time to go on the much-discussed camping trip. We asked Lil Sis and Mr Tall if they wanted to come, and they were keen to try out their new tent, so they were in too.

Originally we’d thought we’d go for two nights, but then we did the nappy calculation and realised that tonight was going to be Juniordwarf’s last nappy. The thought of dealing with a wet sleeping bag in the middle of nowhere if he had any accidents filled us with enough dread to make us opt for only one night.

We decided to go to Wayatinah, which is about half-way between Ouse and Tarraleah on the Lyell Highway. It’s the site of the Wayatinah Power Station, and the caravan park and camp ground  is right next to the Wayatinah Lagoon on the River Derwent.

The camp site is a lovely big area, bordered by the bush, and we picked a relatively secluded spot right at the end.

Much entertainment was to be had as the tents were erected, with Juniordwarf attempting to go inside at every opportunity before the tent was actually up. He was very excited about the whole deal, as it was only his second time in a tent, the first time being last year when we ‘camped’ in our friend’s backyard.

He decided that he was going to sleep in between me and Slabs, so the only decision to be made was who was going to sleep on the queen airbed with Juniordwarf and who was going to sleep on the single one. Hmmm, I wonder who drew that short straw?

Can you guess which is the three-person tent and which is the two-person tent?

Once the tents were up, we settled into the serious business of cooking lunch – only to find we’d left the gas bottle at home, so we needed to find a public BBQ to use. Luckily there were a couple near the lagoon, so while lunch was being prepared Juniordwarf headed off to make friends with a local dog and her owner.

 The lady insisted that Juniordwarf wasn’t being any bother, but I hate to think what she made of his stories about various previous budgies staying in the cage when the door was left open, dying, flying away and dying yet again. ‘You haven’t had much luck with them,’ was her comment at one point.


After lunch the boys went off to get a new gas bottle – as Lil Sis and Mr Tall needed one anyway, they figured they might as well get one now and then they'd have one for themselves.  They ended up having to go back to Ouse. Lil Sis and I stayed at the campground in the rain.

Once that had been sorted, and we'd played the obligatory game of Qwirkle (which I lost), we went for a drive to the other side of the lagoon for a fish, which was the main purpose of the trip. 

We had no luck, although I understand a stick was caught, which Juniordwarf was very excited about, because he thought he heard someone say that they’d caught a fish.

Never mind. There’s always tomorrow.

* I am yet to be convinced of the merits of camping in the actual bush where there are no ‘facilites’, so our discussions focused on which campgrounds had which facilities and how much it was all going to cost.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

P365 - Day 291 - goodbye nappies?

If there is one phrase to strike fear into the parent of most toddlers, it’s ‘toilet training’.

Slabs and I had a really horrible time where we wanted to tear our hair out and scream in frustration and man it was awful and why won’t he just go to the damn toilet and why didn’t we start this sooner or why don’t we wait a few more months and is this ever going to end and no we are not going to give in and put a nappy back on him even if it would make our lives easier for now few problems when we started this process with Juniordwarf.

But he got the hang of it, as he was always going to, in his own time.

Except for night time.

So a few months ago, we suggested to Juniordwarf that it might nearly be time to stop using nappies at night.

At first he was a bit reluctant. He suggested that he might like to wear nappies to bed forever, but we were able to convince him that this wasn’t really a good idea.

Then he said that he’d stop wearing nappies ‘when I get five’.

Sounded good to us.

About three weeks ago we looked at the nappies that were left and decided that this was going to be the last box we bought. We counted them, and there was enough to last until this Thursday coming up. So he knows that Thursday is his last night in nappies, and we’ve been talking to him about what that means and what he’ll have to do.

What was left this morning. Now there's only two.

We bought him a torch so he can find his way to the toilet in the middle of the night once the nappies are gone (presuming he wakes up in time – we are expecting accidents), and have set up the night light.

The other day he woke up, got out of bed, picked up his torch and turned it on. I asked where he was going, and he looked at me as if I was completely stupid – um Mum, what did you buy the torch for? – and said, ‘to the toilet’.

Well, at least we know he’s got the idea of what to do. How long it will actually take until we get the desired dry nights is anyone’s guess. Perhaps I should run a book on it?

We’ll see how we go on Friday night.

Actually, on reflection, this is probably not a good time for the washing machine to be making dodgy noises . . .

Monday, October 17, 2011

P365 - Day 290 - birthday festivities continue

My other birthday present from Slabs arrived in the mail today – a gift pack from Disaster Bay Chillies

With a name like that, what’s not to like?

The gift pack includes Chipotle Sauce, Chilli Wine Jelly, Spicy Kasoundi and (wait for it) Hot Chilli Wine – made not from grapes, but from chillies. 

Apparently the wine is best served chilled. According to the website:

the rich fruit flavours will enliven your palate, whilst a distinctive silky sweetness balances the heat of the chillies to leave a warm inner glow. A perfect accompaniment to cheese or natural oysters. Once opened, Hot Chilli Wine can happily remain in the refrigerator for several months.

It all sounds divine!

We also tried the cake after dinner tonight. Very yummy.

And for the final picture for today, it was so cold overnight it snowed. Lucky Lil Sis and Mr Tall went up the mountain to play in the snow, while I got to look at it from my window at work.

By mid-afternoon the day had warmed up and the snow had all gone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

P365 - Day 289 - flourless chocolate and orange cake

I was going to make a cake on Thursday, but I couldn’t be bothered. I had so much more stuff to do!

Today was wet, raining and cold, so it was the perfect opportunity.

I made this cake last year (yes, I only make one cake a year), and it was divine, so I thought I might as well try it again.

The oranges - before and after

Melting dark chocolate and butter

You need 8 eggs!

Beating the eggs & caster sugar

A lot of almond meal

Beating in the almond meal, oranges and chocolate

Into the pan
The baking time is meant to be about one hour and 25 minutes. I lost track of time after about two and a half hours. I remember it took a similarly long time last time I did it. 

But it's worth the wait.

I realise that this post isn't going to be complete without a picture of the finished product, but as with most things I cook, it is not a particularly beautiful cake to look at. 

So there might be an update later in the night when the cake's cut. Or there might not. If you want to see what it's supposed to look like, go and look at the recipe - that one looks pretty much perfect.