Nothing says how much you care than a homemade present – and these Florentines are so quick and easy. Make them look really professional with a celophane bag and some ribbon.

Makes 12 biscuits

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes


25g (1oz) butter

25g (1oz) light brown soft sugar

100g (3½oz) Carnation Condensed Milk

2tsp plain flour

150g (5½oz) mixed dried fruit and nuts such as apricots, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, toasted flaked almonds, desiccated coconut etc.

85g (3oz) dark chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 180C, (160C for fan ovens) or Gas Mark 4.

2. Melt the butter and sugar in a non-stick saucepan stirring until combined.

3. Add the condensed milk and heat until just bubbling.

4. Stir in the plain flour and mix until smooth.

5. Stir in the dried fruit and nuts.

6. Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for about 12 minutes until turning golden brown at the edges.

7. Leave to cool on the tray.

8. When cool, melt the chocolate and spread a small amount on the flat side of the Florentine then drag a fork through the chocolate to make wavy lines.

I am joining in with Kate Takes 5’s Listography blog hop type thing.

The challenge this week is to share with you 5 random things that I like.

One thing I do very well is random. So if you challenge me to talk about dates or crushes, I will struggle but if you ask me about things and quirky ones at that, I am all yours.

1. Lighthouses

I think the first lighthouse I ever saw was probably Flamborough. If we were on the East coast at all, Dad always seemed to include a visit to Flamborough. Funnily enough, Him Indoors has exactly the same habit. What is it about lighthouses that appeals to me? That they stand tall and proud. That they are isolated. A psychic once told me I have a bit of the hermit about me and I do think I could spend a long time in a lighthouse alone surrounded by books and objets d’art. A old college acquaintance once gave me “The Bone People” to read and interestingly the main character shares my name and lived in lighthouse. Is it that the lighthouse casts light and guides people against hidden dangers? Who knows? All that is clear is that I see anything with a lighthouse on it I find it hard to resist.

2. Buddhas

I like Buddhas and I also like anything really that is connected to spirituality, Eastern mysticism or whatever you want to call it. I don’t actually know that much about Buddhism and the like. I dabble with my reading on the topic although maybe if I ever find my lighthouse, I can study it all in depth. My first interest in Buddhism probably stemmed from a rebellion against Catholicism and a wish to be different. At the very least I find mystical figures calming and the Buddha cute and amusing.

3. Kitchenalia

I suppose this is a bit of a cheat as it neatly enables me to include several favourite things in one place. I like old-fashioned country kithens with terracotta tiled floors. I like old-fashioned weighing scales, retro jugs, herb jars, cake-stands, rolling pins and so on. Is it because my late Mum was a cook by trade and a mistress of the kitchen? Is it a flashback to simpler times? Dunno but I like kitchenalia even if Him Indoors swears I made the word up.

4. Picnic Hampers

Am I just into food and greedy? Strange how I move straight from kitchenalia to picnic hampers. I literally want to buy every picnic hamper I see whether in posh shops, charity shops, car boot sales, wherever. I love the wicker and I love the old-fashioned shopping baskets too. I like hampers that are empty and I like those that come fully equipped or partially equipped. You get it by now then, I like hampers.

5. Fifties Fashions

If I had to be young in any era unless the Eighties, the Fifties would be it. I like the swing music loads. I like the fact that this is the time that rock and roll was born. I love that the fashions would suit me (well me as I was at my best) with the pulling in of the waist and the celebration of boobs and bums. I like the idea that women sort of knew were they were back then. Despite probably being a feminist or at least having very strong views about women and rights, I do think that wanting it all has led to a generation of women who walk around with a sense that they fail a bit at everything. In the good ol’ days, so long as you could produce a Victoria sponge and wear your pinny with pride, you were OK. If only life were so simple these days. (And yes I do realise that the image often covered a multitude of abuse, half-truths and the rest but for now I am enjoying my Fifties bubble).

So basically, if I ever get my groove back, you will find me living in a lighthouse with a marvellous kitchen full of that blue and striped crockery dressed in a floral frock with a pinny on baking muttering “Om” and hoping Mr Perfect turns up to whisk me away on a picnic.

Now hurry over for some more random things on the Kate Takes 5 blog.

The rather wonderful Caroline Flack who blogs anonymously as MishMashMum has tagged me asking 10 deep and meaningful questions.

She tells me these are the rules of the game.

1) Answer the 10 questions
2) Tag someone to do the same
3) Come back to my original blog post and comment that you have done so in order for us to find out who has been tagged and therefore find out more about our fellow bloggers!

1: Describe yourself in seven words:

Shy, warm-hearted, passionate, moody, driven, creative, witty

2: What keeps you awake at night?

As a teenager, it was listening to my radio under the covers. At college and in my twenties, it was lustful thoughts of various crushes. Since becoming a Mum, it is children. Even though I am way past the babies and toddlers stage, my children do like their cuddles. I enjoy them too so have no problem if they creep into bed with me (don’t tell the parenting police!) It is fine unless two get on either side of me and fall asleep at which point I end up crushed in the middle. Him Indoors also keeps me awake when he puts on the light to read in the middle of the night or when he snores. Sexual shenanigans.

3. Who would you like to be?

A confident version of me with a meaningful role in life. An author that can write well about issues of concern to women.

4: What are you wearing now?

Jeans and a glittery top under a black jumper. Trainers. Knickers unlike many mums tagged apparently. And a duvet when I have finished this post.

5: What scares you?

The idea of losing a child or children.
It also frightens me how you can be really close to someone and not know them at all and be very badly let down. This has happened to me twice or maybe three times and leaves me with issues around trust.
I am not great with mice, rats and snakes.
Public Speaking is a bit of a fear although I have got over that to an extent.
I also worry about not fulfilling my potential although a big part of me probably thinks it is too late now. I really don’t want my epitaph to be “She was mediocre”.

6: What is the best and the worst thing about blogging?

Blogging is a sanctuary where I can be myself, warts and all. My blog always accepts me as I am and the great thing is that an awful lot of people out there seem to like what they see too. For someone very lacking in confidence, that is a real boost and has changed my life for the better.

The worst thing about blogging is that it distracts me from pursuing other writing and trying to make money from my skills (assuming I have some)

7: What was the last website you looked at?

Netmums where I was looking at the Nearly New boards and arranging a collection of something rather lovely which I am sure I will reveal in a future post.

8: If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

7 weeks ago I would have said to lose weight but hey, that journey is a successful work in progress with one and a half stones gone already. What I would love to have is charisma and more confidence.

9: Slankets Yes or No!?

Yes as you might have guessed from a previous answer.

10: Tell us something about the person who tagged you?

Mishmashmum is a blogger who tells it like it is. She is a thinker and a feeler. She listens, she questions and she challenges. Like many of us, sometimes she struggles and sometimes she celebrates. She is all that and Olly should consider himself a very lucky man. Her blog is rather superb so give it a visit http://mishmashmum.com/

Right, time to pass on the baton to






Will leave it at 5 so that there are others left to tag.

Well, what about my answers? Did you like them?

The theme for the Gallery is T

T is for Time and it is running out.

I wanted to post this picture last week but time or rather the lack of it got in the way.

The week’s events make this post that much more poignant.

What can you and I do with our time?

Make memories and make them Today.