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Trip down memory lane

I spent many hours as a child with my nose in a book, quite often that book was one of the Babysitters Club series by Ann M Martin. Whilst browsing for films on Lovefilm Instant I was amused to come across the film adaption of Babysitters club. Although I am now 20 years too old to be watching the movie which is aimed at kids/ pre-teens I couldn’t resist the trip down memory lane. Having just finished watching the movie I think that was 90 minutes spent! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the BSC series it is about a group of seven 11-13 year olds who decide to respond to the demand for babysitters in the fictional town of Stoneybrook which is set in the state of Conneticut. They form the Babysitter’s Club with Kristy the original founder of it as the President, who leads meets in Claudia’s bedroom.  The idea is that parents looking for a babysitter can call and make a booking instantly since they keep a diary detailing availability.  Of course as well as loving children and babysitting they are young entrepeuners who charge for their services and seek to cover overheads as well make a profit. Stacey who is gifted at maths was the Club treasuser,

This movie adequately captures the essence of what the BSC was for me. A group of 7 young girls whose main thing in common was the fact they were children and loved babysitting but apart from that they were 7 very distinct individuals. Jesse, was a budding ballet dancer, Mallory was an aspiring writer, Dawn was known as the “health food addict” whilst Claudia despite having amazing skin was the opposite and her room was crammed with chocolates and sweets. Stacey loved shopping and happened to be diabetic and Kristy who was the main protaganist in the movie was a tomboy.

This movie chronicles their attempts to run a successful summer day camp and avoid the wrath of one of the neighbours who did not like to be disturbed by the clarion tones of excited children every day as well as successfully thwarting the efforts of their rival Cokie to sabotage their summer camp.he  Running alongside this storyline was Kristy’s attempt to keep a secret from her mum and step dad about her Dad’s arrival.  Apart from Mary Ann her best friend, she did not tell any of the BSC members and this caused friction and tension with her family and friends who did not understand why she became so distracted and unreliable and knew they were hiding something from them.

It sent a very important message to children about not telling lies or covering up for anyone even if the person who is putting you in that difficult position is your Dad. We all know that many adults manipulate children into keeping things to themselves which should be revealed by engaging them in “secret keeping” so I felt it was an invaluable lesson for children to learn.

At the end they all came through for Kristy when her well intention but flaky Dad let her down yet again at the end. Seeing her friends surrounding her on her birthday with the cake they had got her,  when her Dad had broken his promise to her and was nowhere to be seen was really touching. In a society where things like honesty, true friendship, hardwork and imagination have fallen by the wayside in favour of quick fix success, superficial friendships and lazy thinking I feel a movie like this is just what the younger generation need to see, and be inspired.

I have many fond memories of reading about the adventures of the  BSC and it surprises me how much I still remember about each of the characters who were brought to life by Ann M. Martin and other writers. The movie did an excellent job in taking these characters from the pages to our screens and it gave me a huge dose of nostalgia for the 90’s and my childhood!

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Gluten and Dairy free Vanilla Sponge

So last night I decided a perfect end to a lovely restful weekend would be to bake a sponge. It’s also part of my natural health drive to reduce the amount of hidden fats and unwanted additives/ chemicals in my diet; the rule  is f I didn’t bake it I don’t eat it as far as cakes go. I felt like something sweet but wanted to avoid buying it from a bakery or supermarket..

So anyway; this is the recipe which makes one small-medium cake if you want to make a sponge sandwich cake obviously double the amounts and put into 2 separate tins.

1 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup of dairy free spread

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1 and 3/4 cups of All purpose gluten free flour

1 and a half teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Xantham gum (this really helps to improve the consistency and reduce the crumbly texture which gluten free cakes can take!)

3/4 hemp milk (or rice milk)



1. Preheart the oven to 175 degrees celsius

2. Grease one small or medium rmound cake tin

3. Cream dairy free spread and sugar together for 10 minutes manually or 5 minutes with an electric mixer.

4. Add one egg at a time beating well into the  mixture until light and fluffy then add vanilla extract

5. Sift all the other ingredients into a seperate bowl (except the milk) and add half at a time beat a low speed until combined then mix half of the milk in.Repeat the same process for the other half of the dry ingredients and milk.

6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes and leave to cool before


Again it’s a very simple easy to follow recipe and it turned out wonderfully. I got a bit lazy with the measurements only because the recipe I was following were giving the amounts in cups whereas I had scales with no measuring cups. If you find yourself in this situation just google a cups to gram conversion table and chart; there are many of them out there. I was  being a bit hasty so I did a lot of gestimates and I can say that having the right amount of milk is particularly important in this recipe as I didn’t put enough milk in it was a bit dry. I think the milk would give it a nice moist texture! I also did it by hand but I think if you have an electric whisk it’s best to use that.

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Gluten and Dairy Free Banana cake

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve spent today singing,cleaning, NOT making “new year’s resolutions”, reading, writing aaaand baking!

I found this recipe for banana cake online and it suited me perfectly as I am not on a strict gluten and dairy free diet but I do try to avoid it. This is the second time I’ve tried it and I have to say I think the first time it turned out better in terms of consistency. I tweaked the recipe slightly and put in less bananas; 4 instead of 6 and they were not as ripe as the ones I used the first time. So perhaps that is the reason for the difference.

It is a simple recipe and you will probably have most if not all the ingredients in your baking cupboard already. You will need;

250 grams gluten free flour

1 teaspsoon baking power

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

120g dairy free sunflower spread or butter

100g demerara sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

6 ripe bananas


Step 1-Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius. Grease loaf tin.

Step 2-Mix  flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs, maple syrup and mashed bananas until well blended using an electric whisk, hand whisk or wooden spoon.Combine the  banana and  flour mixture ; mix until batter is just moist. Pour batter into preprepared tin.
Step3 3-Bake in preheated oven for  30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into centre of the loaf comes out clean and voila…
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