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First off, apologies for my lack of activity here recently, the past month has consisted of illness going round everyone in our house so I haven't baked at all but I do have a couple of bakes lined up over the next few weeks so should have something to share soon.

Onto the net reason for my lack of baking, decorating! The last journal I wrote I shared my living room make over.  Today my dad and I finished my garden shed make over and I could not be happier with it.
At the beginning of the year I was clueless on how to make the monstrosity pretty so I turned to a Facebook gardening group for suggestions and my goodness they delivered! Thanks to all the lovely gardeners on there It wasn't long before my plan for my very English county cottage shed idea came to mind, which to be honest didn't take much planning as I live in a very small town which is surrounded by villages. Today, many months on and a lot of painting later, the final piece, the window box went up, completing the transformation, my monstrosity is now my sanctuary.
Graden Makeover by claremanson
Ever since buying our new house at the end of 2014 I have been rather quiet here on DA.  The house needs a lot of updating and improvements but finally after just over a year we have finished our lounge and dining room.
It has taken a lot longer than expected, taking on two rooms together as the layout downstairs is fairly open plan meant it has taken even longer.
We stripped and painted the walls which had never been painted before so took a great deal of time, paint and poly filler to make smooth and even.  We took out the old internal doors, fixed door frames and skirting boards.  After six months tore out the gas storage heater which was one of my highlights of decorating the lounge as it was such an eyesore! My dad then knocked through to reveal the original hole inside the chimney where we added an electric stove and mantel piece.  Ripped up the carpets to reveal underneath that half the floor boards was already painted black, if anyone knows their history, before carpets were invented people would have one large rug in the middle of the room and just paint around the edges black so we just painted the rest black until we get the flooring sorted after the rest of the house is done. The final touches, making this house really feel like my home was when we got the shelving and photos up.  All my ornaments and photos had been in boxes for 3 years so felt great to get it all out again.Decorating! by claremanson
Now after being here almost a year and a half, I'm currently decorating my eldest daughters room, bathroom and sorting out the garden.  Last year we did my youngest daughters room but now that needs re painting as the cheap white paint we used has changed colour. 
I have learnt a great deal since moving house, I was nervous when we first started decorating as I hadn't decorated since I was a kid bit now I'm really enjoying it with the help of my dad doing the more tricky parts. I have no idea how much longer it's all going to take, it will probably be an ongoing thing but I still love baking, photography and making YouTube videos so still fit that in as much as possible.

  • Listening to: David Bowie Best Of
Have you ever heard the sound of your own voice? It's really weird!
Up until now I've paid little attention to my voice or my accent but listening to it back I sound like a 12 year old with a hint of regional accent coming through in certain words, it's so funny! What do you make of your own voice? What do you make of my voice? Especially those of you not from the UK, can you understand me alright? I've decided to voice over my videos instead of using text as it is a lot easier (when I'm not getting all tongue tied and having to record the same line over and over that is!) and a lot more enjoyable for me to make.

  • Listening to: David Bowie Best Of
January has been a bad month! With February just two days away, I need a good laugh so why don't you share with me your favourite funny YouTube videos? (preferably family friendly!)
  • Listening to: David Bowie Best Of
I don't really have any words right now, I just can't believe it.

I did wonder why, after such a long break he made a new album, turns out that album, Blackstar released on his 69th birthday just two days before his passing was his parting gift to us.  Beautiful, just beautiful.

  • Listening to: David Bowie Best Of
Hello everyone! It's been ages since I wrote a journal so I thought I'd catch up with everyone before the chaos of Christmas starts!

 I have been really busy the last few months with decorating the house which we have now been in a whole year already!
Gardening club at the school has been great, I got to go in and do a baking session with the kids a few weeks back using some of the veg we grew in the school vegetable patch. They loved baking so much they want to do it again, which is great!
I have also been making more baking videos for YouTube which I am really enjoying.  After a few months of making and editing videos it would seem I have found my style so to speak, it's rather basic but hopefully is clear and easy to follow. I have one, maybe two more photos and videos to make and upload on here and YouTube before the Christmas holidays start where I will go AFK again for a few weeks while the kids are off school.  So far I have made three Christmas themed recipe videos which you can see below if you haven't seen already. 

At this point I would like to say, there are a few of you that regularly comment on my videos (you know who you are!) I thank you all very much for the feedback and support, it is very much appreciated and thank you to all my patient watchers here on DA, I know I am not as active and talkative as I used to be, but when I do come on here and post something it's like seeing an old friend you haven't seen in a while, it feels like I haven't even been away and still feels like I belong which is great.

Onto the title of this journal! What is everyone baking for the holidays this year? I always love to hear what other people and countries do, their traditions and passions.  I've made raspberry jam as gifts for the picky eaters and chocolate orange fudge for everyone else.  For Christmas day dessert will probably be a no bake strawberry jam cheesecake as I can make it a couple days ahead which is great as I am the one in charge of cooking the Christmas meal.

So in case I don't get a chance before the big day, Merry Christmas and happy baking everyone!

Claremanson Bakes on YouTube!

Mon Sep 14, 2015, 4:17 AM
A shameless plug for my YouTube channel I began a few weeks ago for my recipes, tips and making ofs.
I'm still finding my style of video making so all the videos vary a lot at the moment but, the more I bake and record, the more I will get the hang of it and find my preferred recording style and format.

Here are some of my favorite videos I've enjoyed making so far.
If there are any videos you would like me to make, I'm more than happy to hear your ideas.

Skin by SimplySilent
Firstly, thank you to everyone who took an interest in my contest and included it in journals to spread the word. Thank you especially to those who took the time and made the effort to enter.
I love holding baking contests, I love people baking, I love people trying out something new, baking something they haven't made before, giving food photography a go.  I especially love people taking my recipes, using their imagination and personal tastes to make something completely different and truly theirs.

Onto the winners.
I had six entries with three prizes up for grabs in three different categories. 
All the entries were so good in their own way however, that I found picking three winners too difficult so decided to split the categories up further and adjust the prizes accordingly.    


Contest Entry - Happy Birthday, DevArt! by StargazeAndSundance


1st place: 100 points
 A Raspberry State Of Mind by Mischx

2nd place: 75 points
Cupcakes! by Asprika

3rd place: 50 points


1st place: 75 points
Chicken Strips and Bacon Roast Potatoes (Snail) by Bittersuesz

2nd place: 50 points
Chocolate Vanilla Cherry Cake by ChoIzanami

Finally, a special thank you to all those who have donated points over the years, without you I couldn't hold these contests in the first place. This will be probably be the last of my contests for a while due to running low on points and lacking a lot of free time at the moment, but who knows, watch this space!

Skin by SimplySilent

Claremanson's Baking Contest

Tue Jun 30, 2015, 7:09 AM
Contest is now CLOSED!
I will try to judge and reveal the results as soon as possible however, we currently have a problem with our new house (we haven't had any hot water or heating for over a week!) which is going to be worked on all this week so, with workmen in the house things are going to be rather hectic. Sorry for any inconvenience caused to those who have entered.

Thanks to the generosity of some lovely Deviants over the past couple of years since my last contest, I have saved up enough points to hold another baking contest!
I didn't mean to leave it so long between contests but moving house twice last year and now updating our new house means I have had very limited time here on DA of late.

To bake ANY of my recipes, sweet or savory! I have recipes for cookies, cakes, truffles, meringues, cheesecake and more!
There will be three winners.  Overall best bake, most creative entry and best photography.

Example bakes!
 Neapolitan Cake (+Recipe) by claremanson
Blueberry Cupcakes (+recipe) by claremanson Chocolate Truffles (+Recipe) by claremanson
Raspberry Cupcakes (+recipe) by claremanson Pistachio and dark chocolate shortbread (+recipe) by claremanson
1. You must use one of my recipes (this excludes recipes I posted photos of from recipe books) for the base of your creation however, you can change up the flavour to suite your taste.
Recipes can be found >>>>> HERE <<<<< in my recipe folder.

Most of my bakes I submit to DA are made from the basic recipes of those listed in the folder above so, for more inspiration on how you can mix up some of the flavours of the recipes, visit my food photography folder here

2. All entries must have been baked between the start and ends dates of the contest.

3. All entries must link back to this journal entry in your submissions description (the more people that enter the merrier!)

4.  When submitting please give a brief description of what you have made, how you made it, what flavours you used etc as it is not always obvious from a photo and also if you had any help.

5.  Once you submit your entry, let me know via this journal or by inbox message. I will acknowledge I have received your entry once I favourited it in THIS FOLDER Do not worry if I do not acknowledge your entry straight away, my children will be home on their summer holidays for the most part so I will not be on daily. 

6. Once entry per person.

Tuesday JUNE 30th 2015 - Sunday 6th SEPTEMBER



If you have any further questions about the contest or a recipe give me a shout.  If it is a question that you would like answering more quickly it's best to ask over on my Facebook page as I always have my phone on me.

Happy baking!


Skin by SimplySilent


Sun Jun 28, 2015, 8:04 AM
Sometimes I worry I haven't added enough food colouring paste when adding to a cake mixture (paste is so much more reliable than gels and liquids as it keeps it colour beautifully. It can be found in little pots on Amazon and eBay if not locally) but the brightness of the red and blue came out just as I wanted.
Ignore the very odd colour combination, I ran out of red and blue so practiced my piping with orange and green for the design on top.
This was a practice cake for something I'm working on next week which will be a three layer cake, each layer being one of the three colours with the design on top. There were a couple areas I wasn't confident I had the ability to do so wanted to put my worries to rest, which I have, turning my nerves and uncertainties about how I'm going to make and finish off the cake into excitement.

Basically what I'm saying is, if in doubt, practice! Whether it be baking,  photography, making a speech or anything else in life,  it does a great deal for your self confidence and nerves knowing that you do have it in you to do/create something you are really proud of.

embedded_item1435503840307 by claremanson

Skin by SimplySilent
I got my first Pop a year or two ago from my best friend.  For my birthday this year I got some more from him. Now 5 months on my husband and I are becoming obsessed with them! This is our collection so far. Can anyone guess ny favourite? I got it yesterday from our first Pop In A Box (a subscription where we receive two random Pops a month from a list of those you've ticked that you want)
embedded_item1434782810491 by claremanson
Today there was a fundraiser in my small town with a sci-fi theme.  I got to meet Virginia Hey who played Zan (sp?) from Farscape. She was such a lovely, kind, friendly lady. I took a lovely photo of my family with her, my husband sucks with photography though so this was the best I got! And yes I felt as awkward as I look! I have never met a celebrity before so had no clue how to pose with her.
embedded_item1431792941012 by claremanson
The Christmas holidays are over and the kids are back at school.  This would normally mean getting back to baking but instead it means getting back to decorating our new house. 
The whole house which we moved into a month ago needs a complete make over, head to toe.  We started the first rooms last week, the living and dining room.  Gone with the 20 year old discoloured wallpaper that was peeling off the walls and on with the paint.  We have chosen a colour called Muddy Puddle for the main colour, trust me it is a lot better than it sounds! A light browny/malty chocolatey colour that compliments the feature colour we are using either side of the chimneys called Teal Tension which is a very dark and rich teal. We probably have a couple more weeks left until it is all painted as not only did the walls need a lot of work (it was bare concrete and plaster under the wallpaper so never painted before so needed a lot of smoothing down and filler) but all the skirting boards, coving and ceilings need painting.  We are decorating the living and dining room together as they are joined by an archway and currently look silly being decorated differently so we feel they need to flow.

I really fancy doing a bit of baking next week.  Last week I made my first ever coffee cake (I don't like drinking coffee) so I really want to bake something else I have never baked before but I really can't think of any.  If anyone has any ideas, they have to be quick, simple and use mostly basic ingredients mind please do let me know. What do you like to bake after a long stay away from the kitchen?
  • Listening to: Slipknot
  • Watching: Battlestar Galactica
  • Playing: Minecraft
Hello! How is everyone? Long time no speak!

As a lot of you know my family and I moved house on November the 29th so have been without the internet for a couple of weeks.  On Friday we got it back. yay. 

The move went well, we are kind of experienced at the whole moving thing by now, it being the second time we have moved house in seven months.  We have been here for a couple of weeks now, we are all starting to settle in nicely although it still doesn't feel quite like home yet and probably won't until we have decorated the house which we have started in the dining and front rooms by stripping off half the wallpaper.  Those of you who follow my page on facebook will know I also bought a new cooker for the house and was really excited to started baking with it.  Well, I have to say I am not disappointed, I love my new oven.

The Christmas holidays begins here in a few days so I will be pretty much offline again for a couple of weeks while the kids are home until after the holidays unless of course I make something I get particularly over excited about and can not wait to upload it beforehand.

Merry Christmas everyone.

As some of you already know, six months ago we moved to a rented house while so we could sell our house and buy a new one.  In September we were able to start house hunting.  After just five days of actively looking and three different house viewings we found our house.  My husband was shocked, I was also to be honest to find a house I liked so quickly, we thought it may take months as I am very picky but this house ticked most of the boxes and the rest were things I could compromise on in the grand scheme of things.  My dad always said since the start we may be in a new house by Christmas, I just laughed at him, I never thought that would happen but he was right.

We are moving just two minutes away from our current rented house.  For the first time we get a grassed garden, we have always have paved courtyard gardens which the kids and I hated so as soon as I told them we have grass they were so happy.  Next I told them even better news, they get their own bedrooms.  Up until now they have always had to share, being so very different from each other they are going to love their own space, especially my eldest daughter. 
For the first time ever I have a nice U shaped kitchen, I have always had gallery kitchens which make things very tricky when you have kids trying to run past all the time while you have the oven door open.  The kitchen is the room that is going to need the most work as it's over 20 years old, very dated and really not to my taste but that won't be done straight away.  It does have a fun little hatch in the wall to the dining room which I may make bigger to let more light into the dining room. I do need to buy a new cooker straight away though as it doesn't have one which is going to be a big decision as it really needs to be good for baking and withstand me cooking once, twice, sometimes even three times a day so lots of research will be required.
The front room has a huge bay window which I love so much and the whole place really has lots of character being built in the 1920-1930s.

Next week I will have one last baking photo to share with you before we move house the following week. I will probably have no time to bake at all during the upheaval and maybe without the internet for a little while also. Fingers crossed though I will be back in the kitchen before Christmas so I can baking some homemade Christmas gifts I have planned.
Hello everyone! How are you all doing?
It's been a while since I've done this so I thought I would get you up to date with everything and why I am still only semi active here.
Well, my youngest is now full time at school since starting in September, I thought that would mean more time for DA but it really hasn't turned out that way so far.  On Tuesdays I've started counseling for my anxiety and depression, I know a lot of people who don't like to talk about and admit things like that but I think it's important to get it out there to show it's fine to ask for help if you need it, which I really have. Also for the past 4 weeks I have been going to a 10 week Positive Thinking group course on Fridays which has so far been really good and I've met some great people (I even took in some cake and cookies for them today which they loved, yay)
Destiny came out last month on the PS4 so I have been glued to playing that, though it's getting a little boring and repetitive now.
Even with all that going on I am still baking, at least once a week in fact but apart from the recent shortbread I have posted on here I have just been baking the usual stuff so nothing new to photograph just yet though I am planning to try out something new soon though I will not be doing any Halloween themed baking this year, I did loads last year though which is in my gallery if you need inspiration. 

I am totally stunned by the news of the passing of Robin Williams.   I don't normally get very emotional about celebrities but I really am upset and shaken by this, lots of tears today.
He was and will always remain a legend in so many ways.  I grew up watching him in one of my favourite Disney movies as a kid, Aladdin and of course Jumanji, Hook, Mrs Doubtfire and so many other movies, he was so diverse I loved his comedy and serious roles.  Even if I didn't like a particular movie he starred in very much he would always be awesome and would make it worth watching as he had such a great and unique voice and wonderful energy and talent.
This morning the kids and I watched Robots, the first movie of his I could find as our little tribute to him.
R.I.P Robin Williams, you will be sorely missed.
That's right! Back on August 10th 2004 I joined Deviantart after an online friend showed me the site.  At first I joined to submit my sketches and poems, most of which have long been deleted because they were so bad! Over the years I have tried so many art genres (some still remain in my gallery in various folders) before falling in love with baking and food photography a few years ago. 

I know I have been rather quiet on here over the past year, I'm still battling my demons of depression and anxiety, which has got so much worse since losing my Grandma in May. I have now got to the point where I am considering medication as I feel so ill all the time, the physical stress of anxiety and depression on my body makes me so tired and lightheaded all the time which means I have no energy or interest in baking or doing anything that involves a lot of walking around or being on my feet as it's just so exhausting.

On to something a little more uplifting. Some of you I have been chatting to for years, others are brand new watchers (Hi there!) So, why don't you copy and paste the following into the comments or your own journal with your answers so we can all get to know each other a little better.

Name: Clare

- Single or taken: Married

- Sex: Female

- Birthday: 13th Feb 1985

- :Sign: Aquarius

- Hair color: Brown with a blonde streak at the front and going grey!

- Eye color: Brown

- Height:  5'8" - 5'9"

- Are you straight/bisexual/gay?: Straight

-What is your username about?: My first name and Marilyn Manson (Had this username for ten years I was and still am a huge fan)


- What kind of shampoo do you use?: Coconut for my eczema

- What are you listening to right now?: Slipknot

- Who is the last person that called you?: Dad

- How many buddies are online right now?: No idea


- Animal: Lion

- Colour: Black

- Drink: Hot chocolate

- Food: Chocolate

- Game: the elder scrolls : Oblivion

- Movie: Independence Day

- Song: Dead Memories by Slipknot

- Subjects in school: Art

- T.V. show: Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Startegate SG1 and Farscape at the moment.

H A V E | Y O U | E V E R

- Given anyone a bath?: My kids and our bearded dragon

- Smoked?: Once

- Bungee jumped?: Hell no

- Made yourself throw up?: Nope

- Skinny dipped?: Hell no

- Ever been in love?: Yes

- Made yourself cry to get out of trouble?: No

- Lied: Yes but nothing major

- Done something you regret?: Always


- Clothes: Slipknot t shirt and pj bottoms.

- Desktop picture: Smaug, our bearded dragon

- CD in player: Stone Sour House of Gold and Bones Part 1

- DVD in player: Supernatural series 2 disc 2.

- Game you've been playing: Fable 3

- On TV right now?: Kids show called dino dan.

L A S T | P E R S O N

- You touched: Just got hugs from the kids

- Hugged: ^

- You kissed: ^

- Talk to online: Emma

A R E | Y O U

- Understanding?: Yes

- Open-minded?: Yes

- Arrogant?: No

- Insecure?: Yes

- Random?: Yes

- Hungry?: Sometimes

- Smart?: In certain ways

- Moody?: Yes

- Organized?: Very

- Shy?: Extremely

- Difficult?: I have my moments

- Bored easily?: Oh yes

- Entertained easily?: Yes

- Obsessed?: I have OCD!

- Lazy?: I can be

- Angry?: Yes

- Happy?: Sometimes

- Hyper?: Rarely

- Trusting?: No!

- In the morning: Do not talk to me for two hours until I've woken up!

- Love is: Family

- I dream about: Zombies!

- What do you notice first in the sex you're into: Eyes


- Makes you laugh the most: My kids and :iconshaami:

- Makes you smile: My family and the smell of a fresh morning

D O | Y O U | E V E R

- Sit on the internet all night waiting for that someone special to IM you?: Nope

- Wish you were a member of the opposite sex?: I do wonder what it's like sometimes

- Wish you were younger?: Yes

- Cry because someone said something to you?: I'm more likely to get angry than cry


- Of Cd's: Last count a couple hundred, haven't counted in a few years!

- Of scars on my body: No idea, I have lots of chicken pox scars and a scar on my wrist from a Helter Skelter ride when I was 6.

- Of bones I've broken: 1, my wrist.
The six weeks holidays will be starting at the end of this week, that means I will be going rather quiet again on DA as I will have both kids at home with me so will have less time for DA.

Everyone have a wonderful summer, keep up the good work and I will be back properly again the beginning of October once everything is sttled down with the new school year to catch up on everyone's uploads and messages.  If you have any baking questions head on over and ask them on my facebook page where I receive notifications of messages on my phone so can get back to you a lot quicker as the kids will probably be hogging the laptop most days watching videos of Frozen on YouTube constantly.

Hello Internet!

Wed Jun 4, 2014, 8:22 AM
As the title suggests, after 3 weeks being offline due to moving, we have the internet back.

 We pretty much settled in straight away, the kids love the new house and we managed to unpack everything fairly quickly, mostly due to a lot of our stuff going into storage, only taking essential things to the current house.  My dad has almost finished work on the old house so we will be putting it on the market over the next couple of weeks.  After that it will be a waiting game to sell so we can then look for a bigger, better house.

Our current kitchen is tiny, as is the house.  We have the fridge, tv, computer and dryer all next to each other in the living room.  We also had to get rid of one of our sofas and do a lot of rearranging to get everything to fit in.  Apart from that and some random problems with the house the landlord needs to sort out we really like it here.  It is very quiet and has has all the essentials so makes for perfect temporary accommodation.

The size of the kitchen has meant though most of my baking and photography stuff is in storage so only basic baking and photography is all I can do until we move again,  I started baking again last week to test out the new built in oven which has turned out to be a very nice oven and easy to adjust too. 

I have yet to check any messages here or do much online since getting the internet yesterday as I am still very busy with other things but I should slowly be becoming for active over the following weeks.

I hope you are all well and enjoying your hobbies, it sure is great to get back to doing mine again.

Skin by SimplySilent