Blogs to Love

Blogs to Love

In my last post I vowed to fulfil my duty as a nominated “Inspiring Blogger” and nominate 15 other bloggers for the same award.  I have said before that I am not much of a ‘net-surfer.  I don’t sit for hours in front of the computer looking at blogs and Pinterest and all the other wonderful things on the internet.  I don’t have time and I have issues with my neck and back so I’m more of a sit-down-and-do-what-I-have-to-and-get-out kind of person.  I stare at a computer screen for most of my day at work so I don’t really want to do it when I get home, so I limit my time doing it at all after work.  That’s not to say I haven’t discovered lots and lots of lovely blogs.  I have.  So here’s a few that I feel inspired by or cheered by or made jealous by.  There’s a couple that just make me laugh.  I’ve included video bloggers too – not sure if that’s allowed but I figure in this day and age, everybody is welcome.

The Feathered Nest   Oh such pretty, pretty things!  And you know I love anything with birds or speckled eggs…

Eat Drink Chic  More pretty things and foody things and things I want to make.  There’s some lovely wooden bunting on here I want to steal the idea from…

A Story Of    I recently attended a mini-market with some friends and A Story Of had lots of lovely things on display.  I was supposed to blog about it but my camera didn’t perform very well and the pictures were no good.  And I’m lazy.  So apologies to Candice whom I talked to on the night and promised to “spread the word” about her gorgeous goodies.  I am a bad blogger *slaps wrist*.  I can make up for it now.  Go to the website and check out all the cool stuff Candice makes including hand-painted creatures (owls, deer, bunnies) on vintage china, embroidery and jewellery.  I did get one photo that night that turned out ok.  Look at these adorable mittens!

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Someone else snapped these up before I could get my butt into gear and nab them for myself.  Candice also promotes and supports Fair Trade organisations and other worthy causes so you should definitely stop by her blog and learn all about her and her work with women in places like Thailand and India, helping them to build lives for themselves.  I’m not explaining it very well so you should just visit her website already!  She’s doing good work 🙂

Something Special   I have been buying perfumes from Something Special for years.  They are just so yummy smelling and I always get compliments on what I am wearing.  My favourite one is “Butt Naked” which is a dreadful name but smells deeeee-lightful.  I wear it all the time.  The products are not tested on animals which is a huge selling point for me – it is so hard to get cosmetics or perfumes that are cruelty free these days.  But I don’t want to be stinky.  So I buy these perfumes.  They have literally a bazillion different scents and you can buy teeny little sample bottles to try them first.  Two thumbs up.

 Grav3yard Girl    Bunny makes me laugh.  A lot.  Plus she goes thrift shopping all the time (my favourite thing to do when I’m not crafting) and she just has a unique outlook on life.  She’s a bit crazy but heck, who isn’t?  Check her out.

Kate’s Creative Space  Lovely, lovely things and inspiring ideas!

Lia Griffith  Printables and more

Tilda’s World  If you don’t know about Tilda Finnanger, where have you been?  Her fabrics and papers and STUFF are just gorgeous.  My Mum is in love her with I think.

La Belle Brocante  I think I may have mentioned this one before…so I’m cheating and adding it to this list because I can’t find where I linked to it before!  Lovely stuff on here…

CreartfulDodger  Every time I visit this blog I want to curl up inside it and stay forever.  Just wonderfully inspiring collages and vintage-inspired artwork and mixed media pieces.  Love, love, love!

There, how many is that?  I think I failed the “Nominate Fifteen Bloggers” bit of the rules.  Oh well.  I hope you do have a look at some of these blogs, websites and vlogs and feel inspired.  Or that they just make you smile or laugh or whatever.  It’s all good.

Now it’s freezing cold and I need tea and I should get in my PJs (I’ve just come home from my evening walk and it’s nearly 7pm and I’m still dressed!  What?!!).  Hope you’ve all had a good day – mine was hectic and busy with lots of little jobs to get finished and horrible traffic to wade through.  Time for dinner and some catchin’ up with the hubby.  Have a great evening 🙂

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Nominations and Green Soup!

Nominations and Green Soup!

Hi there – thanks for stopping by.  It’s so nice to have all these lovely new friends from all over.  I appreciate all your comments and “likes” and “follows”, I really do.  I am excited each day to see who’s written to me or how many followers I have.  I also worry daily about whether I am posting anything decent or if I’m posting enough at all (which I know I’m not).

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I’ve been nominated for an “Inspiring Blogger” Award by the lovely Audra of Joyosphere and you should definitely have a look at her blog too.  She has some great posts about all things to do with the home and family life, plus she’s a fellow librarian so, you know, she gets extra points for that.  🙂

There are some rules for the award acceptance….

  1. Link back to the blogger who so kindly nominated you! 
  2. Post the image of the award…. I think I’ve successfully done that, I hope…
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself…I am pretty random in general so there’s lots of things I could list, but I’ll stick to the following seven:

1.  I used to be a lot bigger than I am now.  I once lost about 25-30kg.  I was basically a big round ball on legs.  Fat, stumpy legs.  I live in fear of returning to that state.  It is a constant battle.

2.  I once sold dog food door-to-door.  I only lasted one day.  I hated it.

3. I used to collect pigs.  Not real ones, just ornamental piggies.  It started when my brother bought me a gorgeous piggy bank and went from there. I had hundreds of them but then one day just got fed up and didn’t want to collect them any more.  Most of them ended up in op shops and garage sales.  I hope they found happy homes!  Other things I have collected – erasers, stickers and stamps.

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4.  I have had the same best friend for 32 years.  It’s a miracle she isn’t sick of me yet.  I should be careful to hang on to her…she knows too much about me!

5.   I love the ocean on dark and stormy days when the sky is black and the waves are angry and crashing about.  I love storms in general.

6.  I’d really like to dye my hair purple but I am too chicken.

7.  I can’t stand coriander (also called cilantro).  It is gross and smells like vomit to me.  Yuck.

So there you are.  Not very exciting but definitely random!

I also have to nominate 15 bloggers for the same award.  I plan on doing a special post on that so I will keep you posted (pardon the pun).  I am particularly bad about this last rule – I just always seem to forget to do it so I will try extra hard to not put it off for too long.

Gotta go and serve up some dinner for me and the hubby.  It’s a cold, miserable night again and soup is the order of the day.  I’d eat soup for dinner every night if I could.  Especially Green Soup.  I make this about once a week and have it for lunches too if there’s enough left over.  I just saute some onions until they’re translucent, chuck in some chopped celery (about 4 stalks) and let that cook a little bit.  Then I add in some chopped zucchini (one whole one) and some frozen baby peas (about a cup or so).  Add enough stock to cover and let it simmer away until all the vegies are soft and ready to be blitzed.  In the meantime, blanch a handful of snowpeas in some boiling water for about a minute.   Drain them and let them sit in some cold water (this helps them keep their colour and flavour).  Chuck them into the rest of the soupy mix when you’re ready to blend and blitz until smooth.  Season as necessary.  I usually sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on top and just a little bit of black pepper.  Yummo!  Serve with some nice warm bread or cheesy scones.  Delish!

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Whatever you’re having for dinner tonight, hope it is exactly what you’ve been wanting all day and that you can share it with some good company 🙂

My Sunday in Pictures

My Sunday in Pictures

I went over to my Mum’s today with the intention of doing some crafting with her.  Epic fail.  We ended up just spending the day talking and having tea and admiring the cat (it’s what we do).  We looked at some craft magazines so I like to think that counts but really, we didn’t actually do anything constructive.  I think sometimes you just need a day like that.

Mum is trying to get her tiny little art/craft room organised and kitted out.  She doesn’t have a lot of room and so she has taken her time getting furniture in there and deciding on what kind of storage unit she wanted.  She’s making it look really pretty though and a lot more inspiring than my craft room (which is basically a mess all of the time).  She’s good at arranging things and grouping “like” things together in an attractive way (instead of my method of just cramming stuff wherever it fits).  She uses bought pieces and items she’s made to decorate and create charming little nooks and spaces.

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We visited a local scrapbooking store because I needed some glass slides to use with some memory frames I bought.  I came out of the store $47.00 poorer and still with no glass slides.  Oh well…I needed more paper and stamps and embellishments, didn’t I?

During my visit, Alexander, the very spoilt and gorgeous love of our life was a cheerful and attention-seeking companion, never far from where we were sitting.  He does, however, enjoy a nap in his “boudoir” which is actually Mum’s spare bathroom.  He has a whole set up in there.  A bed fit for a king in the bath tub.  Mum worries that he gets cold but he goes in there by himself and looks perfectly content to  me.  He gets to sunbathe as the sun filters through the big window and he feels safe and secure within the confines of the bath tub.  Sure, it’s a little bit odd but he likes it.  He’s 16 years old so we figure he can do what he likes.  Although he is a naughty boy and will scratch at Mum’s brand new couch.  He gets away with murder because we love him.  It is impossible to get photos of him – not just because he camera-shy but because he is very black and the camera doesn’t pick up his features very well.  He is the sweetest-natured cat we have ever had.  Never bad tempered or spiteful.  We raised him and his siblings from when they were only a few days old so I guess we brought them up “proper”.

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The “King” in his “boudoir”.  Comfortable much?

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I don’t know what he was saying here.  Most likely “Get that camera away from me!”  Look at those perfect teeth!  Not bad for an old man.

Mum showed me a couple of the things she’d been painting this week.  She thinks her painting is getting “terrible” as she is getting older.  I think she’s crazy.  If I could paint half as well as her, I’d be happy.

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Pretty little country scene on a Christmas bauble.  These are big sellers for Mum at our Christmas craft sale every year.  She never has any left by the end of the day.

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This “Frosty” bauble not finished yet but he’s cute.  I like the little robin too.

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This is going to be a brooch – it’s painted on a wooden “slice” from a tree branch.  I’m going to do some brooches with these too but Mum beat me to it.

So, not the most productive day (and of course, now that it is late, I am suddenly filled with creative spirit and want to do something…) but a nice, chilled one and no stress.  Back to work tomorrow.  Had an awful time at work this week just gone so I am hoping this week will be better.  Hope your week is great too 🙂

Coconut and Pistachio Barfi

Coconut and Pistachio Barfi

I am off work today with a cold.  Not a terrible cold or the flu – just sniffly and snuffly and couldn’t get out of bed-dy.  I always feel guilty about taking time off work but I really didn’t feel well this morning and so when hubby asked me if I was gonna stay home, I said “Yep” and went straight back to sleep.

I’m not feeling well but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna sit around and do nothing.  I have to be really sick to just lie on the couch all day watching TV or sleeping.  So I’ve been re-organising my jewellery supplies.  When I say “re-organising”, what I should really say is “organising” because they were in a pretty bad state and nothing was even remotely organised.  At all.  I want to put all my silver findings in one box, copper findings in another and so on.  So I can find stuff when I need it.  Which will certainly be a novelty for me.  It is going to take me the better part of one whole day I think.  I’m culling as I go as well because there are beads and findings that I just won’t use. Lots of plastic beads and stuff that I’ve just acquired over the years.  So many boxes and cases to go through…it all looks so much nicer when it’s all neat and tidy and colour matched though:

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As I said in my last post, I have a “Bollywood” themed fundraiser at work tomorrow so my department had to make Indian foods for a staff banquet.  I said I would make some sort of sweet thing.  I chose Coconut Barfi because it seemed pretty simple to make and didn’t have lots of ingredients.  I altered mine a bit to include Pistachio because it’s just such a pretty colour and I love the flavour.  So, here’s the recipe, provided by my lovely library assistant, Bhavni:

Coconut & Pistachio Barfi

Should make about 12 – 15 pieces depending on how big you roll them

Ingredients 
2 Cups Desiccated coconut ( I am a bit of an idiot and accidentally used shredded coconut but it still worked fine)
Condensed Milk -1 Can (300 ml)
½ tsp Cardamom powder
100g ground pistachio
Extra desiccated coconut for coating

Method
1.Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame and add the coconut.
2. Saute until the you can smell the coconut, making sure it does not brown at all (it takes 5 to 10 mins).
3. Add the condensed milk and cardamom powder and ground pistachio

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4. Saute for 5 mins continuously until everything rolls out to a ball.
5. Add some food colour if you like (the pistachio was green enough for me) and mix it.
6. Switch off the stove and let mixture cool down so you can handle it.
7. Roll into small balls and roll in extra coconut.

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8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Voila!  Pretty easy really.  Thanks Bhavni!

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Hopefully people at work will like them.  I should point out that I washed my hands continuously throughout the making of these little gems.  I didn’t want anyone getting my germs as a special surprise in their Barfi.  I’m not coughing so I hopefully kept my plague to myself.  I had some ideas for dressing up the dish and making them look all blingy and Indian-inspired and colourful but I’m not feeling that well.  I’m just glad I got something made, despite my ill health.

Have a great week everybody.  Why not try some Barfi?  They don’t take long and you could make some to take to your own workplace and share around.  Let me know if you do 🙂

PS The Barfi can also be pressed into a tin (buttered, the recipe suggests, or, as I would suggest, lined with baking paper) and when set, cut into diamonds.  Pretty!

If wishes were horses (I’d be in the middle of a stampede!)

If wishes were horses (I’d be in the middle of a stampede!)

What would you wish for if you were given twenty wishes, guilt-free and with no nasty consequences? Excluding money and health for yourself and everyone you know, what would you ask for? Let’s just say curing cancer and creating world peace were off the table. What does that leave you? What, in your wildest imagination would you really want to ask for? Come on, you can be completely selfish, silly and self-absorbed here….
My wishes change on a daily basis, depending on what frustrating or annoying circumstances surround me at the time. But here’s a few things I would pretty much like at any given moment.
1. Beautiful shoes that look amazing but are super comfortable and vegan-friendly and that I can walk in without looking like a disabled duck. And I want them in every colour. And they need to be able to turn into any style of shoe at my command. Yeah, transformer shoes!

2. A live-in hairdresser. I cannot “do” hair. On any given day my hair is an uncontrollable mess. I am lucky to have thick, healthy hair that grows in record time and never seems to get split ends, but I cannot style it. So someone that just appears in a puff of smoke each morning and turns my mop of curls and knots into something gorgeous and magazine-worthy would be lovely. It’s not vanity – it would just be one less thing to worry about every day.

3. A driver. I don’t mind driving but I do get very stressed if I have to drive on the freeway or in the busy city area or anywhere I’m not familiar with, especially at night time or in the rain. A chauffeur would be pretty awesome. Or a talking car, like K.I.T.T. Back in the 80’s I would have said maybe a driver that looked like David Hasselhoff (just to complete the Knight Rider set) but I think those misguided days are well and truly over.

4. A perfect body. Well, come on! I’d settle for looking good in a pair of jeans really. A fit body, one that can run for hours and look great doing it.

5. The ability to change my eye colour. That would be excellent. Imagine changing your eyes to glowing red orbs when someone pushes in front of you in the line for a movie ticket – awesome! You could match them with any outfit – the ultimate in colour co-ordinating! I know I could get contact lenses but I don’t like the idea of having to poke about with things in my eyes.

6. A personal organiser. I don’t mean a Filo-Fax or a diary or Blackberry. I mean an actual organiser person. Someone who would file all my stuff and manage my mess. They would be invisible and not tut at me when I leave stuff lying around.

7. A substitute for chocolate. A magical foodie substance that mimics the taste and texture of chocolate but that isn’t chocolate and contains no potassium or fat or sugar or anything bad. It would actually be good for you and you could eat as much as you liked. It could be the new super food. Maybe it will be discovered in some rainforest somewhere. People with bones through their noses will survive on it and live to be 200 years old. It will be so plentiful that it will never be overfarmed and it will make millions of women happy.

8. A transportation device. I hate flying – I’m not scared of planes or air travel, I just really hate being stuck in one spot for hours on end and it’s painful and noisy and boring. So I’d like a “Beam-me-up-Scotty” kind of device. Just imagine being able to go to New York or Bhutan or London or anywhere, without having to ever set foot in an airport. No passport required!

9. On the topic of flying, I’d like to fly. Like, actually fly. Like Superman. It would be so amazing. I would probably end up deranged and unemployed because all I would ever do is disappear to go fly somewhere. Awesomeness.

10. Singing. I’d like to be able to do that. Not to be a pop star or something – just to be able to sing beautifully and confidently. Without going squeaky in the high bits or sounding like a foghorn in the deep bits. Without scaring small children and animals. I’d like to sing, that’s all. In real life I sing constantly in the car and when I’m by myself, but nobody needs to hear that. I’d like to be able to whip out a guitar and strum away and amaze people with my musical talent. I want birds to alight on trees near me just to hear me sing. I want the whole Disney princess thing – bluebirds circling around me and fawns lying contented at my feet. I once dreamt that I saved the world from Alien invasion by belting out some 80s pop tune. It was so cool.

11. Invisibility. That’s in my trifecta of awesomeness. Singing, Flying, Invisible-ing. My whole life would be so much easier if I could be invisible. I have social phobia so being able to disappear but still be there would be so ace. I’d never be frightened or self-conscious again. I could go out in my PJs ALL THE TIME. I could sneak into concerts (but knowing me I would feel guilty and end up leaving some money at the ticket stand) and sample food off people’s plates in restaurants. Actually, I wouldn’t do that. That’s kinda gross and not very hygienic.

12. I’d like to be sure-footed. I am a super-mondo klutz and I fall over very easily and without provocation. I’d like to be graceful and elegant and not clumsy.

13. Dancing – I would love to be able to dance. I don’t mean anything special or super-talented. I’d just like to be able to do it, especially in front of people. It looks fun but it is terrifying to me. I would rather stick a fork in my eye than dance in front of people. I would like to be able to go to concerts and get my groove on instead of sitting there like a limpet.

14. A channel on TV that plays music videos ALL DAY LONG. Without commercials or annoying VJs or interviews with random celebrities. It would have the best music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s up until now and it would a-mazing. And it wouldn’t repeat the same ones over and over and it would never, ever, ever play diva-esque ballads (I’m talking to you Celine Dion and Mariah Carey). I call that kind of performance “Hooting”. There will be no hooting on my watch thank you very much.

15. I’d like all the cosmetic companies in the world to suddenly stop testing their products on animals. I’d like to buy any lipstick, eyeshadow, shampoo or hairspray in the world and know that it’s cruelty-free. It takes me an absolute age to select cosmetics or body-care stuff because I have to read every bloody label. Every time I buy them. Because cosmetic companies are sneaky – they can change their policies at any time, without notice. It sucks.

Wow, I actually have more wishes than I thought. I could probably keep going for ages, which either makes me greedy and ungrateful, or creative and imaginative…I’m not sure which. All jokes aside, I would of course want a more peaceful world and a cure for all diseases and an end to famine and terror. I’d like to give the Save the Bears Foundation a bazillion dollars so they could save every single bear in the world that is suffering. I would make whales harpoon-proof and give pandas an appetite and digestive system for something other than bamboo so they would be able to survive better and in wider areas. Possibly I would make people stop destroying their habitat in the first place. I would make SIDS and meningitis and asthma and cystic fibrosis disappear. I would give every lost and lonely child a family to love and to love them. I would it make it compulsory to tell bedtime stories. I would make the working week shorter and the average wage bigger (with an economy to withstand it).
I’d abolish dementia. I’d make nursing homes into places people wanted to go to and they’d be free and staffed by happy, caring people of every sex, creed and colour and no elderly person would ever be hurt or neglected again.
I’d wish myself a picture-book pretty house complete with white picket fence. I’d live near the ocean and have plenty of land for gardens and horses and geese (I miss my geese so much). I’d have five dogs and 3 cats and a cow or two. I’d have pigs and chickens and grumpy old goat called Fergus.
I’d have an amazing craft/art/creativity studio that would be light and cheerful and would have a place for everything and everything in its place.
So, I guess you could say that the usual three wishes ain’t gonna cut the mustard with me. I’d need a few extra. Just to be on the safe side. Dream big, I say.
I wish you all happiness and love and peace and good health, today and always 🙂

Frosty & the Egghead

Frosty & the Egghead

Had a lovely day at Mum’s today, crafting and chatting.  Endless cups of tea, smooches with Alexander the Magnificent (our remaining beloved and very spoilt cat – he’s 16 now and looking great for his age) and lots of silliness (why is it no one understands me like my Mum?).

Mum’s been working on this little snowman for about two years.  Seriously.  She started his head ages ago and then he kept getting put away again and never finished.  She was determined to complete him today but secretly I think she will probably keep editing and adding to him over the next couple of days. I left it a bit late to take photos today, as always, so it’s not the best shot of the little guy.  He looks better in person though…

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I faffed about making cards and some pendants.  I was having a bad-back-and-neck day so I was feeling not so great which makes me, in turn, not so good at being creative.  All I want to do is curl up in a big ball of painkillers and a hundred heat packs.  But life goes on and so must the creative muse.  I hate wasting a day so even if I’m in pain (which I have been, a lot this weekend) I try to make something.

I’m having a bit of an egg/wings/crowns moment currently, hence the following offerings (again, apologies for crappy photos – they’re blurry and at a weird angle…)…

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Wasn’t at all happy with this one but it was glued on and about as good as it was going to get so I gave up…

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Was going to collage this one but I actually liked it with just the one bit of paper on it…

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My favourite item of the day!

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I don’t know how “masculine” this one actually is…

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Was a bit concerned about the “new skin” wording…then I figured that new skin and rebirth and all that kinda goes with butterflies and metamorphosis so I let it go…

Now it’s time for dinner and ironing (ugh) and possibly a very hot shower (my back, oh my aching, stupid back!) and ignoring all the boxes of crafting stuff I brought home with me and piled up on the floor.  I had a nice afternoon, let’s not spoilt it with housework and tidying up!  Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend 🙂

Cheese Pull-Apart Scones

Cheese Pull-Apart Scones

As promised I am posting the recipe for my cheese scones pull-apart thingies.  I have no idea what to call them.  If you cut them out and space them apart on a tray, I guess they’re scones.  If you put them squashed together in a pan or dish, I guess they could be considered a pull-apart.  Whatever, they taste nice and make a yummy change from bread rolls.

They’re really easy to make (they have to be if I am to have any success with them!).  You need :

3 Cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
45g Butter or Margarine
1 & 1/4 Cup Milk
1 Cup Grated Cheese
Parsley (dried or fresh & shopped)

Rub the butter through the sifted flour and salt (and some dried Parsely if you like) until it resembles fine bread crumbs.  Make a “well” in the centre and add milk and half of the cheese.  Stir through to combine and when it starts clumping together, begin kneading with hands.  Don’t over-knead or it will become heavy and tough.  Just bring it all together then roll out gently to about 1/2 inch thick.  Sprinkle with some of the cheese and then roll it up into a sausage shape.  Cut into 1 inch sections and put into a round cake tin or oven-safe dish.  The sections should be squished up against each other with a bit of room for spreading.

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Sprinkle with remainder of cheese and a bit of chopped or dried parsley.

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Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 20 minutes.  Serve whilst still warm.  Enjoy!

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Should be nice and cheesy and crispy on the outside whilst soft and fluffy on the inside…

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Be warned : they are moreish!

Oh, and if you want them to be more like individual scones, just roll the dough out flat and cut out with round cookie cutters.  Bake on a tray with plenty of space around them for spreading so they come out as single little sconey goodness-es.  Either way, easy and yummy.  Sorry, those directions were pretty basic but I’m typing this up super quickly as it is FREEZING in my office and I need to get this done before I get some sort of frostbite injury to my fingers 🙂