Archive | February, 2012

365 days of Victoria Sponge charity

23 Feb

Photo courtesy of Bruce Adams

A teacher from Cheshire named Cath Webb has pledged to give away a Victoria sponge cake every day for a year!

The idea came about when she had found out a friend of hers had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As a gesture of support, she made her friend a sponge cake.

She said: “I didn’t know what to say to her so I made her a Victoria sponge, left it on her porch and drove off. On the way home, I got a text saying ‘You can feed people with love’. It was so moving.”

Her aim is to give one of her cakes to family, friends and strangers for the simple reward of getting them to smile. Having already started last year, she is only (at time of counting) 85 cakes away from completing her goal.

Cath is far from excited about reaching the end of her challenge, as she has so enjoyed bringing smiles to people’s faces. She says, “It’s incredible how happy baking makes people.[…] My children must be sick of cake, and my husband has done all the washing-up for 280 days, but I will be so sad when I’m done.”

Biochemist’s cake quest

18 Feb

Maria Michael is mother to a son who – like an increasing number of children his age – has multiple food allergies. These allergies can take many forms, from an intolerance of multiple food groups, e.g. dairy or seafood, to a life-threatening potential for food-induced anaphylactic shock.

Most mums would settle for the inevitability of preparing specified allergy-free food for her son for the rest of his childhood. Maria, however, is a Biochemical Engineer, so to her it seemed a relatively straightforward process to find an alternative solution.

She said: “My son has allergies to four or five food groups and the cakes I found looked different, so I just tried making him something.” She was keen to make her son’s cakes just as fun looking as the ones most parents could buy for their children. Once she’d created her cakes, her next step was to go into business for herself and start up a catering business for all occasions. The difference in Maria’s cakes is that they are free of eggs, dairy, nuts, soya and sugar. Past designs have included a hotdog, burger and a running shoe, but she is also producing more traditional cakes.

She added: “My vision is to have a universal cake which anyone can eat, whether you are a vegan, allergic to egg and dairy or allergic to nuts, and for it to taste the same as conventional cakes.”

Its inspirational to know that in these hard times, a noble idea can develop into such a lucrative business!

Starbucks music video

17 Feb


An interesting music video by John Wesley Harding, a solo artist with a unique way of writing songs. This video was filmed in front of twenty-eight different Starbucks locations in New York city in less than five hours.

Harding said about the song: ”Starbucks isn’t the real target. To me, its a song about gentrification. It could be Starbucks, it could be The Gap, it could be Barnes and Noble. It could be anyone. It just happens that Starbucks – its like saying ‘God’ or  ‘the Devil.’ People know what you mean.”

Harding has a sort of split-personality in that his other job is as a novelist. He says, “I think that novel-writing is kind of taking care of a lot of the fictional impulses that I have. Now, when I think of an idea for a song, I often think, ‘Oh, no — that’s a terrible idea for a song. But it’s a great idea to put into a novel,’ ” It has changed the way he produces music too: “Suddenly, I find myself writing rather more personal material — which, of course, is what a lot of people do use music for. I’d just never really used it in that way.”

Hertfordshire Council topped LGBT-friendly Workplace Poll

16 Feb

Image courtesy of adderfilms.co.uk

Hertfordshire County Council has been recognised as one of the most gay-friendly workplaces in the country.

They were listed in the top 60 of the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which also included MI5. Companies featured in the index were graded on employee policies, staff engagement, learning and development support and external and community engagement.

Cabinet member for Equality and Diversity Councillor Derrick Ashley said “We are delighted to be recognised as a top employer for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Our place on the index acknowledges the hard work the county council puts into its equality policies.”

Stonewall is a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity that was founded in 1989, and which has grown to become one of the leading LGBT rights organisations in the UK. They started the index for Workplace Equality in 2005.

UK’s first LGBT Adoption Week launches countrywide

16 Feb
A whole host of events are being planned across the country this week, as organisations get ready for the country’s first LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week.For some years, LGBT families were considered a ‘last resort’ for placing children, but recent research has proven that lesbian and gay families can provide these children with a great new start. Individuals growing up with the social divide of being ‘different’, as many LGBT people still do, often develop a skill set which can be beneficial when bringing up a child who has been in care.

Hugh Thornbery, of Action for Children, says “Over the years, our LGBT foster carers and adopters have helped to transform many children’s lives. We welcome more applications from LGBT foster carers and adopters; the main thing is [giving] children and young people the care and support they need to be happy and fulfilled.”

In a survey conducted by organisers of the week, round three-quarters of social workers considered the “amount of energy and enthusiasm” LGBT adopters bring to the process to be a significant strength and agreed that “openness to difference, and supporting a child with a sense of difference” was equally important.

Andy Leary-May, Director of New Family Social, said, “The fact that so many agencies want to recruit from the LGBT community show just how far things have come in the past 5 or 6 years.  Social workers are becoming more aware of our strengths, and we are being treated more fairly, and are being matched with children more quickly”.

The LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week includes eighteen official events around the UK hosted by local adoption and fostering agencies, with the aim of getting more LGBT individuals to apply. As more LGBT families look to create families by adoption or fostering, the events aim to help prospective parents to see how much advice and support is on offer.

Attendees will hear talks from local LGBT adoptive and foster parents about their
own experiences and be able to obtain information on how to start the process.

Click here to find an event near you. As well as the eighteen events on this list, there are others taking place independently – if you know of an event that’s not on the main list, please comment to let our other readers know!

News: Cake beats Chicken to top spot in BBC food search

15 Feb

The word “cake” has replaced “chicken” as the UK’s most searched for food term. According to the BBC’s Good Food website, more people are now searching for cake recipes than chicken ones, ousting our main-meal staple from its top spot.

This new trend appears to have been caused by the recent rise in popularity of TV cooking shows like The Great British Bake-Off and Baking Made Easy.

Pizza also moved up the list to forth place from tenth in 2010, and pasta has moved up into the top 10 for the first time.

Editor of the Good Food Magazine Gillian Carter said: “It’s not surprising that in tough times we reach for comforting food. One of the ways we keep calm is with cake and a cuppa – or our imported national favorites – pasta and pizza.”

With the economic climate as it is, as well as comfort food, people are leaning towards cheaper meals as a way of saving the pennies. Shows like The Great British Bake-Off are showing how easy it is to bake a good cake on the cheap!

Stupid Cupid?

13 Feb

If you’ve forgotten to buy your loved one a card this year, or have left it too late to post to your chosen Valentine, why not send them an e-card? Instead of the usual cheesy online offerings, CCK has a number of arty images from our online gallery which you can send with your own personal message. Let the newest object of your affection know how you feel, or bring a smile to the face of the long-term partner in your life. Send a free CCK e-card!

 

Click here to go the free e-card gallery!

The most romantic places to smooch

11 Feb

We’ve all got places we remember fondly. The town we had our first kiss, our first ‘dirty weekend’, our biggest romantic surprise. But where is the most romantically named place you’ve ever been to. Here at CCK, we’ve been looking for the cute, romantic spots to take your date this February the 14th. Why not head to Sweetheart Abbey (near Dumfries) for the beautiful architecture, or walk along Cupid’s Hill in Gwent. Here are our top three in pictures:

 

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Have you been to a place with a memorably romantic name? Or perhaps a slightly kinky one? Send us your pics at newsandfeatures@coffeecakeandkink.com.

Don’t say we never give you anything!

10 Feb
As Valentine’s is creeping up on us, and everyone is feeling the pinch from the economy, we thought a One Day Sale at CCK’s Kinky HQ would be the perfect antidote to any wintry grumbles. Come and visit the people behind the site, and grab a bargain for your Valentine while you’re at it!

We’ll have a tasting table laden with scrumptious chocolates, and a cornucopia of sale items to purchase at a significant discount – up to 75% off!. If you’d like to make your valentine’s day even more indulgent, pop in and checkout the Coffee Cake & Kink One Day Sale. Find directions & contact details here.

As Alana says, ‘Everyone deserves to feel special’.

Valentine’s Inspiration: Sexy Photoshoot

8 Feb

If you feel like splashing out this year, you could book yourself a photoshoot. Treat your partner to a day out, capturing happy memories on film and leaving you both with some fabulous images to look back on.

Alternatively, why not go alone, and surprise your partner with some professional sexy shots, making the most of your hired photographer’s skill.

For a more personal experience, or for those of you on a budget, why not take your own camera into the bedroom (or anywhere else for that matter)? Break out the satin sheets, the candles, the sexy lingerie. Try using the timer function on your camera to capture some shots of the two of you together, or if you have filters, have a go at taking some vintage-style pics.

If you’d like to make a day of it, why not take it in turns to be the professional camera man or woman? Stand behind the camera and instruct your partner on the poses you’d like them to adopt. Try on a wardrobe’s worth of costume changes, or crack out a new thong to surprise your lover when you disrobe.

Ultimately, you’ll have a great time and create some lasting mementos – whether you choose to have a sexy photo shoot or not, remember: Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spend some quality kinky time together.

If your photoshoot is a success, why not show us? Email your most artful photograph to newsandfeatures@coffeecakeandkink.com to let us know how you got on.