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Birthday tea party

A very special person had a significant birthday this week. I know my daughter celebrated in style and, in our more modest fashion, we paid homage to Valentine’s day. Cake is for sharing, isn’t it? And who better to share with than lovely Su.

Virtual Afternoon Tea

Which kind for you?

It’s been a while since we shared cake, hasn’t it? Which kind do you like? Deep lemon meringue pie perhaps. Chocolate slice. Or that ‘oh so gooey’ marzipan confection. My excuse today is Su’s Virtual Tea Party and the need to share a few thoughts.

Here in Portugal a State of Calamity has again been declared. From today group sizes are restricted to 5 (an ‘awkward’ number), down from 10, and restaurant seatings adjusted accordingly. In the Algarve it’s another blue sky day in paradise. Figures are still low here and we’re hoping this is a precautionary measure. A swift adjustment to our thinking means we can still walk today in the countryside, as planned, and dine together afterwards, split between two tables. We are so lucky to have the climate that we do, and the warmth of friendship to share our troubles. Many of us have family abroad whom we struggle to see. But it’s put a brave face on, choose your beverage and slip on over to Su’s place. Even when she’s feeling down, she’ll pick you up. And you know you can always rely on Becky.

Now… about that cake?

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Six word Saturday

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Niestety, mówię tylko troche po polsku

“Unfortunately, I speak only a little Polish” but the language of cake is universal.  Staying in the home of a baker could be ruination for the figure, so it’s probably as well I came home when I did.  Chmurka malinowa (raspberries and meringue) was my undoing.  Sadly, after 2 weeks in Poland I was just starting to get my head around the language and have the confidence to try to speak it.

The photos above are from my cousin Adam’s newest shop, and Dad is there with the family, waiting to sample ciastko- cake. Something which he is extremely good at.  Must be a family trait!  The last is taken through the shop window.  My lovely niece Ula has just finished work for the day.

One of my weeks was spent with family in Central Poland, where feeding one week old ducklings- kaczki– was part of the entertainment.  I was also lucky enough to meet up with Meg in the city of Łódź.  Such joy that gave me.  I’ll be taking her along on my Monday walk next week.  Come with us, but don’t expect to get a word in, will you?

Meanwhile, have a great weekend!  Pop in on Cate if you have six words you want to share.

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Six word Saturday

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Fancy a little Steampunk for Christmas?

Teaparty bookcoverYou may remember, earlier this year, I was privileged to attend a book launch for Steampunk Apothecary?  It was a wonderfully fun occasion for dressing up and eating lots of cake.

The authoress, Jema Hewitt, is a hugely creative and multi-talented lady, who works extremely hard at making a living, and always with a smile.  Today she is at Waterstones in Bradford, signing her books and demonstrating jewellery making.  I wish I could be there, but this post will have to be my contribution.

Maybe you have a daughter or niece who would like something from her Etsy store?  I know there are a few pieces I wouldn’t mind.  And you can buy the book on there too.  The recipes are unique.

Mr. Woppit is adorable! Do you remember him?

Mr. Woppit is adorable! Do you remember him?

Some of the sparkly things Jema collects

Some of the sparkly things Jema collects for her jewellery

The red-haired lady is my daughter!

A page from “Steampunk Teaparty”.  The red-haired lady is my daughter!

Another Jema creation.

Another beautiful Jema creation.

If you ask for the book at your local Waterstones, even if you don’t buy it, the store will register your interest.  Every little helps!  I can claim no credit for the photos. They are all from Jema’s Facebook page.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.  Many thanks to Cate for hosting Six word Saturday.  As usual, click on the links for more details.

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U is for Urszula, Ursulines and “urodziny”

Poland-eagle-150squareEven though I’m a day late, I’m determined to post this today!  I already missed S and T, in spite of having slub. szczesliwy and Sukiennice at the ready, and Theresa, of course!  I can’t be everywhere! (a hard realisation for a lady like me to make)

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St. Ursula, from Wikipedia

In Poland many girls names trace back to a saint, and Urszula is no exception. The photo shown above is actually of an Italian Catholic saint, who was instrumental in the setting up of the Ursulines.  This is a religious order, founded in Brescia in 1535, and now a world wide organisation.

Urszula Maria Ledóchowska was a Polish religious sister who founded the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonising Heart of Jesus.  Doesn’t sound much fun, does it?  Born Julia Maria Ledóchowska on 17.4.65, she entered the novitiate of the Ursulines in Kraków.  She received the name of Ursula at the end of her training, and went on to become Mother Superior.  In Kraków she set up a home for female university students, then travelled abroad with the blessing of the Pope, fighting religious oppression.  She was active in St. Petersburg, Russia, in Finland, Stockholm and in Denmark.  In May 1939 she died in Rome, and was canonised by Pope John Paul II in May 2003.

Her feast day is May 29th, which may well be why my neice, Ula (short for Urszula), born May 28th, takes her name.  You’ve seen Ula before.  She’s the “lady of the cakes” who’s helping to run her Dad’s pieczywo de smakoszy (tasty cake shop) in Kraków.

Sampling the wares?

Here she is with her lovely Mum, Marta, my Dad and more cake (of course!)

Sampling the wares!

Sampling the wares!

There was another Urszula in the family, Dad’s older sister, whom I never met. Over the years I have seen an assortment of photos, but know little of her history, other than that she died early.  Here she is, on her wedding day.

Ursula, with her husband, Ignacy

Ursula, with her husband, Ignacy

And that just leaves us with urodziny– birthdays!  You can imagine how many cards I send to Poland every year, can’t you?

I’m sure Frizz won’t mind that I’m slightly out of sync on his series of A-Z’s. He’s a very forgiving chap, and the letter V which is next up doesn’t exist in Polish. (W is pronounced “v”)  There is no timescale for Julie Dawn Fox’s Personal A-Z Challenge, which I’m sure you’ll agree is just as well.  I’d be very happy if you could check out both, and maybe even join in?

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