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Christmas gift hampers from Try me! Breads and sweet treats

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Hi guys,

I have designed a scrumptious selection of all homemade products for you to buy for yourselves or for a unique Christmas gift. It will be beautifully presented in a wicker basket, packaging, labels, ribbons etc. Each hamper will include the following:

Mince pies
A selection of shortbread
A jar of port and cranberry sauce
Gingerbread Christmas tree ornaments
A mini Christmas pudding
White chocolate fudge
& a selection of chocolate truffles.

All this for a reasonable £35.

I am open to making little tweaks to personalise your hamper. For example I can make all the products alcohol free, nut free etc. If you have any other ideas to make your gift extra special feel free to message me to discuss it.

You can of course also purchase any of the items separately.

Let’s make this festive season a special one! :)

Claire xxx

Try me! Breads & sweet treats

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Hello lovely people!

It’s been a while! As some may or may not know I have been selling my delightfully yummy baked goods for my enjoyment and yours :)
Below is a list of the things that are guaranteed to be tasty and how little they will cost you. If there is something you want me to make for you I’m willing to give it a try and you get a discount for being the guinea pig. So feel free to send me a message. I will be adding to the list regularly so keep an eye out or visit my Facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/Bakedwithlove.claire where there are pictures.
At the moment I can only deliver locally (near Ilford, Essex) but that will expand a bit once I gain my mode of transport aka a scooter, if all goes to plan.
Thanks guys! Hope you enjoy my goodies :) Get some while they’re still cheap!

White/wholemeal loaf. £1.80
Above with seeds (poppy, sunflower, sesame, linseed etc.). £2.00
Carrot cake (with or without orange icing). Serves about 8. £4.50
Apple & blackberry crumble (serves 4-6). £5.50
Oatmeal & raisin cookies. 40p each, 4 for £1.50, 6 for £2, 12 for £4, 18 for £6.50, 24 for £8, 48 for £15
Gingerbread (in many different shapes) 12 for £3.50, 24 for £6.50
Blueberry muffins. 50p each, 4 for £1.75, 6 for £2.50, 12 for £5
Golden snitch cake pops 75p each, 12 for £7.50
Baileys cookies 75p each, 6 for £4, 12 for £7.50
Gingerbread house £25
Party piece (chocolate cookies & marscapone cream tree) £15
Shortbread Traditional circle of 8 triangles £3, 6 chosen shapes £3, 12 pieces £5
Fudge £5 add £1.50 for gift packaging (box, ribbon and bow)
Truffles £5 add £1.50 for gift packaging
Lemon meringue pie £5
Chocolate chip cookies 60p each, 6 for £3.25
Donuts with glaze or chocolate £1 each, 6 for £5, 12 for £10

A real Tassie farm experience

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As I was at the bus station waiting to head to the middle of nowhere for a real farm experience I asked a fellow backpacker if it was the right bus and he flat out ignored me. Five minutes later he’s making conversation with another traveller who happens to also be male. Really?!? Not only was I insulted but you’re not going to get far with that attitude in one of the friendliest places in the world! Curious behaviour. Another thing I found interesting was when I was stuck on the first farm I was getting sucked into the infamous Aussie soap ‘Home & Away’ but when I tried to watch it again once getting back to civilisation I couldn’t sit through more than five minutes of it. I have always thought most, not all, people that watch soaps only do so to escape the mundaneness of their own lives and I think it’s a pretty accurate assumption. Anyway if you remember Dick Dundee from a previous post, well I called him and ended up spending a couple of weeks on his farm and loved it so much I’m going back again for another two weeks before I sadly leave Tassie and head to a new place. It will be nice to escape the cold though! Perth and I have a date and I can’t wait!

A lot of this is shorthand because I didn’t have much free time here but you’ll get the idea…

Day 1 on the real farm:

Dicks wife is lovely. I’ve already seen quolls, kangaroos, rabbits in four hours of being here. Dick ran the light over the field for me and could see masses of all different animals running for the tress. They have a cat, a dog, a cockatoo and horses and already she said she would take me out for a ride. I feel so welcome and relaxed and had a tasty meal. I’m sleeping in a double bed in a caravan which is warmer than the shack was or its because I’ve been sat by the fire inside all evening. Love it so far. Dick has a great sense of humour and they’ve had interesting lives and are so open and lovely. Was already dark when I got here so I can’t wait to see it in the daylight! They have poisonous snakes here, I’m hoping I don’t see one.

Day 2 on the real farm:

Had a horrible dream last night that I was going around shooting people for fun :/ Saw a mouse, add it to the animal list. Met the horses Nipper and Flo and chooks and of course the cat and dog Chan. Spent part of the day chopping firewood, a tonne of spiders crawled out one of the logs, eek! One of very few things that scare me! I am getting braver, I still picked up the pieces, with gloves on haha. The place is just beautiful. You can see billions of stars and the moonlight actually stops it from being pitch black. They’re keeping me busy which is great and the food is all homemade and tastes so good. Heaven. Turns out the first night was a fluke its very cold in the van at night but that’s the ONLY downside to this place. Don’t have time to miss not having Internet etc. It’s quite a nice break from the rest of the world.

Day out from the real farm – Day 6:
We’re heading out to go shopping which is like a two hour drive and of course when you travel so far you may as well visit some friends along the way.
I found out quite a lot about Dicks life today, I think I’ll leave this for a separate post.
We drove down a road with the same name as mine only in Tassie its a gravel track lined with trees compared to the row of houses in little India in which I live.
Driving along the views are just outstanding, tress and rivers and mountains. Listening to the radio talking about how to grow veggies. Everyone seems to have a dog. Got some lovely pumpkin soup and freshly made bread rolls from people with a lovely dog. Drove around he showed me all the sights.
The farmer and his wife are so sweet and loving. She saw chocolate on the TV and he bought it for her as a surprise. Wish she wasn’t ill cos she’s amazing. She was a nurse and loves riding horses but can’t really do it anymore which is sad.
People in the supermarket don’t know how to take him as he’s quite outspoken and no bullshit. I think he’s an amazing character. His most common phrases are bullshit and dickheads.
Breathing fresh air, eating pure fresh food, sitting by the log fire at night. Looking out the window to mountains and trees and paddocks. Walking ten minutes to fetch the mail at the gate by the road. Walking down in the evening to feed the chooks and the horses and the cat and the dog and let’s not forget Joe the bird. This is paradise.

Day 7:

Dog gets tied up every night and I didn’t know why until today. He hadn’t been tied up yet and it was already dark. We hear him barking and Dick grabs his gun and his torchlight and we head outside. The dog is standing by a tree and looking up it. The light scans across the tree and there staring back at us is a wide eyed possum. Dick aims the gun and pop the possum falls to the ground in an instant. The dog grabs it in his teeth and shakes it violently for a few seconds then already bored with this walks off with fur and blood all around his mouth. This dog is 17 years old. Pretty horrific stuff. Dick picks it up by its tail and drops it on the roof of a shed to sort out in the morning.
He baked two cakes and a homemade apple and rhubarb crumble today. We chopped wood. Ate three big meals and then crumble for dessert. Did some weeding and other gardening bits. Collected tinder for the stoves. They have an Aga in the kitchen. The whole house was built by him, it’s all wood apart from the brick walls. Amazing stuff.

It seems I stopped writing after this. They took me to the big annual farmers show called Agfest. Was interesting getting there as they only have the ute which has a teeny seat in the middle for a child with no leg room. Cramping was common. Dick shoots and skins and cuts up all his own meat for themselves and just for pet food. I watched him skin a kangaroo and it was quite an experience but not something I think I could actually do myself. I would like to know what it’s like to shoot a gun but I don’t think I could kill a poor defenceless animal. Despite finding kangaroo mighty tasty!

In a nutshell living on the farm and being almost completely self sustainable is an incredibly healthy and peaceful lifestyle. Away from stress. Going back to basics really started to make me think how ridiculous a lot of the things city people do are. Their winter is occasional overnight frosts and mild days. Tasmania has the worlds cleanest air. I miss the sun and will most probably come back in the summer because I love it in Tassie! I felt very sad leaving the farm as they took me in and cared for me like their own daughter. They are now friends for life and my mum wasn’t pleased to hear they want to adopt me. I knew I was pretty delightful but didn’t quite expect gaining an adoptive family here :)

This was pretty lazy writing and a rushed post as I have to go catch my bus soon and there is zero reception on the farm. Perhaps you captured a glimpse into the experience though. I would encourage everyone to try it sometime! Well done you if you got the end of this rather long post. Feel free to leave a comment.

The big weekend

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Even after three months in Australia I still feel like I’m on a long holiday. Many people tend to fall into a living feeling and get comfortable after a length of time but that hasn’t happened to me yet. Anyway I find out my favourite artist is playing in Melbourne, just a short flight across the Bass Strait from Tasmania. Flights are cheap compared to most places, the concert ticket not so cheap but I decided it was worth it to see him sing for the first time. Especially as opposed to where he’d be playing in London in a massive arena and I’d end up near the back and he’d look like an ant on stage here I got fourth row tickets in a stunning little theatre. So I decided the expense was more than worth it and I was right!

Due to flight times I had less than 48 hours in Melbourne so booked the nearest hostel to the theatre despite rubbish reviews. I always check reviews before I book hostels over here as if I can’t relax somewhat in a place it tends to skew my opinion of the area a little too. Anyway what a mistake! I was told reception was 24 hours so no rush as my flight landed at 10.30pm. I leave the airport and have to get on a bus into the city then find the tram stop to my destination. Luckily I only packed an overnight back. I find Melbourne trams weirdly confusing and I end up getting on the right tram but in the wrong direction, which I realise about fifteen minutes into the journey. I hop off and cross to the other side to head in the right direction. Getting on the tram there’s a big argument between a clearly very drunk lady and her partner. Something that is incredibly common in Melbourne, especially in St Kilda which sadly is where I was headed. The journey gives me time to think about how I already miss being in Tasmania with its friendly, helpful people and its stunning scenery and general feel good vibes. Culture shock in reverse! Being from a big city you would think I’d get a shock in the wilderness but no I love it and it’s a nightmare having to go back to a big city for me.

Anyway, I finally arrive at midnight and the doors locked so I have to call someone to let me in. 24 hour reception my ass! They seemed clueless as to my arrival despite me having phoned them and told them I’d be late. I get into the room and someone has their stuff all over my bed and another person has stolen my pillow which I had to retrieve. The one girl who was asleep was grunting at me for making noise which actually made me laugh out loud as there was a club right above our heads and constant awful music and people stomping on the floor in high heels until 3am. I’m sorry is my shuffling around the room disturbing your sleep?!? I can’t walk in the room without stepping on someone’s stuff, I’m tired and not feeling that great about being here and I just wanted to rest my head on a pillow. Waking up I had to wait to escape as the girl in the bathroom spent longer doing her makeup than to shower. What kept me going was knowing that I’d be seeing Josh Groban in less than 12 hours.

For the second time in the three months I’d been here I bothered to style my hair and put on slightly nicer clothes. Waiting outside the concert was really bizarre for me as I’d never been to one alone before. I hadn’t felt this excited about anything for quite a while! When I showed the lady my ticket and she took me to my seat my heart leapt with joy as we kept walking from the back further and further to the front weeee. As I took my seat I couldn’t believe how close I was and couldn’t help but chuckle to myself in disbelief. A lovely gay couple came and took their seats beside me and inevitably asked if I was alone. So many people seem shocked by the fact but it has become quite normal for me. It was great though because the guy next to me was almost as excited and shocked as I was at what we were about to witness and I at least had someone to share it with.
The concert was absolutely amazing. His voice is incredible. I almost cried during one song. The band were also really impressive and they all looked like they had so much fun together. I didn’t want it to end. As I was leaving I just wanted to cry and didn’t know why, it was the most bizarre feeling because it was one of the best things I’ve ever done yet I was uncontrollably sad and it lasted for a couple of days. I noticed a big group of people standing around the side door and I felt it was silly to join them so left but regret it as I know they got to meet the main man. Maybe next time! I couldn’t face going back to the hell hole I was staying in after such a fantastic experience I ended up hanging out with a friend at a place I stayed at previously and probably should have gone back to but I didn’t want to risk a reinfestation of bed bugs! It took me weeks to get rid of the bite marks all up my legs. Overall it was probably the best night I’ve had on this trip so far, possibly in my life.

One thing I have discovered along the great learning curve that is this adventure is that I can now brush off the bad times much easier as I know the good times are on their way. This is possibly a long waffle-y uninteresting post to most but I know some of my friends find my musings amusing and I miss you guys!!! Xxxxxx

It’s not all adventure…

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Or is it?

I thought I would give you a little insight into what a normal day might be like on a working holiday inbetween the cool stuff that you all see pictures of!

I feel really good after a swim, despite the fact that the water was cold, I got disturbed half an hour into it by a hundred school kids and I had to bin my swimming costume because it was practically disintegrating.

Australian Indians don’t cook Bhuna! This makes me a little sad every time I fancy a curry!

I find it funny and interesting that there are shops closing down all over the state, possibly the country but everywhere I’ve been there are a few CD shops still thriving.

I had to give in and buy some cheap jeans. Something I don’t like skimping on but I figure cheap jeans that fit will make me look less like a tramp than good jeans that are falling off me teenage gangster style. I just have to hope they survive more than two washes and don’t dye the rest of my clothes. Or even my legs for that matter!

Getting fed up with living off ham, lettuce and cheese wraps and noodles I decided to get myself a Chinese takeaway. Walking home you can see the sympathy in people’s eyes as they see I have take out for one haha.

So my day pretty standard, although ideally it would involve some sort of work in the very near future! Until my lovely roommate decides she wants to practice driving the car she bought yesterday. She admits to having only driven about four times in her life total. It was going great apart from stalling once until we get to the top of a hill and she stalls again. Cars start lining up behind us and as she’s trying to pull away she’s rolling backwards!!! The lady behind us had to back up so we didn’t hit her. Oops! All the cars had to go past us and she made me get out while she tried again and again until she finally made it. Was quite entertaining for a standard Tuesday evening trip to the supermarket. Was also quite nice being in a car again. It’s been a long time! So in a way everyday you can come across a mini adventure, no matter where you are! Enjoy the little things is the way to enjoy life :)

I miss you all!! Xxxxx

The sounds of nature

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The thing I love about Australian cities is the fact that they all have incredible nature right on their doorsteps. Launceston’s masterpiece is the Cataract Gorge which I spent a good five or six hours hiking around today. It’s beautiful like the rest of Tasmania.
One track I was literally in the woods completely alone. At one point a jogger passed me but for the other sixty to ninety minutes it was just me and the nature surrounding me. I got to listen and learn all the sounds. A little rustling on the ground meant I had disturbed a lizard sunbathing on a rock. The rustling in the trees above was the little wedge tail birds with their sweet songs. At one point a beautifully coloured one flew to the branch ahead of me. It flew around me from branch to branch as I stood still to watch it and then it flew at me, if I hadn’t have moved I swear it would have landed on my head! Was incredible. The loud sound a little further off was a wallaby bolting as it heard the jangling of my water bottle. I also witnessed baby wallabies munching away. Three of them, one slightly smaller than the other two. It was so amazing. Australians would just walk past these creatures as they’ve seen so many but any animal will always keep me fascinated for ages. There were also peacocks wandering around, including babies and they were even taking food off the visitors.
I love white gum trees! I also have a fascination with bridges. There were two suspension bridges to walk across today. One of them I did twice, just for fun! I remember when I was a kid I made my dad drive well out of the way on a family holiday so I could see the amazing bridge that is the Humber. I don’t know where my interest in bridges came from, especially those of the suspension kind but I suspect school somehow. Many things grabbed me while I was learning about them at school and I still have the enthusiasm and curiosity about things today but I can’t read about things I have to discover them through doing or listening. I guess interactively. I read all about the history of the Duck Reach power station today on my way around however.
When I was walking out of the reserve and back to the hostel I noticed that everything was more beautiful. It’s almost as if nature teaches you to open your eyes and see the beauty in everything. Although I’m sure the sun helped! I think the day completely refreshed me and its great to have that escape from city life.

I had this post written on my phone and it was much better but i forgot to save it argh. Random thought of the day…I think photography is for people with a good eye but aren’t all that good at drawing.
I’m sure there are lots of things that have changed about me since I left for my trip two months ago but one of the things I am so happy to say is that I am now used to everyone being friendly because that’s what they are rather than sceptical about what somebody wants when they say hello. It’s quite a nice feeling to know that if you came unstuck almost anywhere in the country there is someone around who would gladly help you out.

God bless Australia ;)

The day after I left the farm 7/4/13

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It possibly sounds lame to some but yesterday I had the best experience of my trip so far. I was sat on a bench after naughtily just having consumed a whole small pizza to myself and just about to start writing when I notice some fins wading across the water. I jump up throw the pizza box in the rubbish, chuck my stuff in my bag and run to the rocks to witness at least four dolphins jumping in and out of the water. I’ve tried many boat trips in Australia so far to get a sighting of these amazing creatures. I even had a wild dolphin swim booked when I was in Adelaide and it was cancelled due to RAIN, in AUSTRALIA. What are the odds! I didn’t think I’d ever witness them in their natural habitat and out of the blue on the day I’m not feeling that great and I should probably still be on the farm and there they are right in front of me! It happened so fast I only managed to snap one picture but it was a pretty good one! The major downside to only using a camera phone and not an actual camera on such a trip is the lack of zooming capabilities. The picture was posted on my Twitter account if you wish to view it >>>>>

I think what made it so great was the fact that it was so surprising and unexpected. Even though I’m constantly excited about seeing new things this occurrence really got me pumped for more adventures! The problem, or maybe it’s not such a problem, I have mainly with such a long trip is I’m in such a rush to see everything that I think I’m missing out on valuable experiences in the places I’ve visited so far. However I have another ten months yet so I can always go back!

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