Blueberry Pancakes

Our oven is broken. It stopped working on the 19th January, at the end of a bad week. We had hoped that it would be mended, but it transpires that it’s not really possible to do so. Like all many of the problems that arise with this house, there isn’t a simple solution to the problem. The solution here is “get a new oven”, but things get in the way: the kitchen is quite literally falling to pieces and needs replacing but the roof isn’t watertight and also needs replacing. No point replacing a kitchen when the room isn’t watertight. No money to fix the roof. We don’t want/can’t afford to buy another oven (it’s a freestanding gas cooker) the same because we don’t intend to keep that style when we replace the kitchen and there are issues with the gas supply pipe and access to that. And again, money.

When the oven first broke my motivation for cooking and feeding us well went kaput. My inspiration for food just disappeared and I couldn’t think of a single meal to cook despite the fact that I cooked more meals on the hob than I did in the oven anyway. All I wanted was pizza and jacket potatoes! That is slowly coming back to me now and I’m no longer relying on baked beans to feed us ;-) (Just as an aside: TTB’s diet hasn’t suffered and he has not been relying on beans.)

One of the things I had been trying to do, prior to the oven breaking, was to learn more cooking skills and to feed my family better: making more things from scratch for the benefit of eating better and also becoming better at baking. That’s why I wanted to make pastry and bake a quiche. It was really nice, by the way, but very ugly and I never posted a photo because it was ugly! I had actually been planning a post about my new baking skills and what I’d made – quiche, pasties, banana bread … and then suddenly I wasn’t able to bake anything at all. It’s rather overdramatic when you think about it but I was so frustrated and cross that I couldn’t do any baking, couldn’t even do an easy meal of jacket potatoes! I felt like I couldn’t make the house feel homely.

It also put paid to the things I had been planning to do with TTB – making simple biscuits and fairy cakes with him. Very frustrating.

Today I really did feel like baking. And I didn’t feel so miserable that I couldn’t bake something “proper”. Just a batch of blueberry pancakes: simple, but still something that I’ve only really started doing in the last six months or so. Making something myself from scratch rather than buying a packet in the shop feels right and wholesome and just a little bit smug. I’d been really enjoying that little bit of smug feeling when doing my pastry and things!

I don’t think we will have an oven for a while now, but that’s ok. We’ll manage. I’m glad I made something, it might sound daft but it felt quite freeing to lift the mindset of “I can’t do this” and just do something close enough. I might try making crumpets next, they don’t need an oven :-)


Don’t forget, you can enter my competition to win two tickets to the Country Living Spring Fair: click here for details.

Country Living Fair Competition


Hello and Happy Weekend to you all! It’s sunny here today (wahoo!) and that definitely means it is a happy weekend. Would you like me to make it even better? Ok! I have two tickets to the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair to give away to one of you lovely people. How fab is that? I would love to be able to go, there are some great things happening there this year including talks from Emma Bridgewater and contestants from the Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee. Country Living have given me some photos from previous fairs, and the full texty details of the Spring Fair 2014:


The Country Living Magazine Spring Fair is the perfect way to start the new season and get inspired with lots of ideas for your home and garden with an array of carefully selected exhibitors, from small producers to craftspeople from across the British Isles. The magazine has a long standing tradition of supporting British designers and makers, a tradition that is reflected in the exhibitors you will see at the Fair. Our Spring Fair takes place from 19-23 March in the Business Design Centre, London.

Treat yourself to exclusive pieces from the jewellery and fashion collections, sample delicious regional fare and discover furniture, fabrics and accessories to add country style to your home. Alongside a unique shopping experience, you’ll be able to see the pages of the magazine come to life in a range of seasonal features. From lively talks and hands on workshops, to lamb feeding and a beautiful Spring Garden with experts on hand to give you advice, this year’s Spring Fair promises to be a wonderful celebration of the season.

Crafting Workshop: With knitting, stitching, needlework and papercrafts. These interactive sessions from talented craftspeople will bring out your imaginative side and you’ll be able to take your finished item home with you. This year speakers from the UK Hand-Knitting Association and the TV programme The Great British Sewing Bee will share lots of handy tips and give you great ideas during their workshop sessions.

Garden Feature and Theatre: Our beautiful Spring Garden returns this year to bring you the delights of springtime. Designed and built by the award winning team at Horticolous, in partnership with Wilstone, this stunning display will feature spring florals and show you how to plant flowers, fruit and vegetables so you’re ready for the start of the new season. You will also be able to pick up tips from a range of experts at the various talks and demonstrations taking place in the Spring Garden throughout the Fair.

Lifestyle Theatre: Featuring talks and demonstrations to help you pick up tips to try at home, including Emma Bridgewater, the BBC’s Jules Hudson, and the contestants from The Great British Bake-Off and The Great British Sewing Bee.

We have a late night Gala Evening on Thursday 20th March where the Fair is open until 9pm and you can shop whilst enjoying complimentary wine. It’s a great opportunity for an evening out with friends and a perfect way to start the weekend.

For more information about the Fair and all our features, please visit our website:

Book tickets now using the special discount code Blog09 and save! Tickets are available by calling 0844 848 0150 or online at at £12.

So, if you would like to win two tickets to the Country Living Spring Fair, please leave me a comment below telling me what you’re most looking forward to at the fair this year. Please make sure you put your name and email address in the comment details so that I can contact you if you win. The competition will close at midnight (GMT) on Friday 28th February 2014. Competition winner will be announced on Saturday 1st March, and the tickets will be sent to the winner by Upper Street Events Limited (Not by me personally!)

In addition to this, you can use the code Blog09 to book tickets online at the discounted price of £12.

These tickets have been provided by Upper Street Events Ltd/Country Living Spring Fair in exchange for me posting this article on my blog. I have not been paid for this article, I just thought that offering two tickets as a giveaway would be a nice thing to do :-)