These days, however, I find myself travelling more and more. Partially for fun, partially for work. I made eleven trips abroad last year, mainly in Europe but also as far as parts of South East Asia. This year looks like it's going the same way. I came to the conclusion a while back that despite my best efforts I am never going to be carbon neutral unless I plant a rainforest in the backyard.
It took me twelve hours yesterday to get from Frankfurt back to the UK by rail and bus, including the obligatory wait at Brussels and the UK traffic. I like travelling by ICE train, they are smooth, clean and fast. I could have spent the time working, but I admit I played GTA for four hours straight, gazed out of the window a lot and slept for the rest of the journey. Trains are so much more relaxing than planes and the time for me just evaporates. No stress, no panic, no rush. Just calm.
One of the reasons I like travelling is that I often find wonderful things that I can't get at home easily. My craft boxes are a melee of random objects; fabrics from Korea, felt from Germany, beads from Italy, metal from Spain, ribbons from China and buttons from Hungary are staring at me as I type this. At the moment I'm trying not to bring back things until I've used up some of this stuff, so this time I didn't (for once) bring back any art materials.
A couple of weeks ago an American work colleague commented on how much her family liked Haribo and how difficult it was to get that range in the US. We do see a fair amount of the stuff here, but it's nothing like what you can get hold of from the country that invented the stuff. She didn't believe me, so I took some photos and nearly got asked to leave a German supermarket.
I love Haribo. I know it's full of sugar, I know what it's made from and yet I'll still eat it until I feel ill. I love the colours, the sheer variety and the shapes. It does what no other confection really does for me - it makes me feel like a kid in a sweet shop.
I managed to find over twenty different sorts in one supermarket alone. Some of it is now destined for the US, but I am still left with quite a lot of it; which I will take to work for our morning coffee time. I can't really just dump kilos of sweets in the kitchen though, but maybe I can build something.
The last time I made a "sweet cake" it was a smallish effort for a birthday of a vegan friend who doesn't like chocolate. Getting hold of vegan sweets wasn't a particularly easy task at the time, so the end result wasn't as impressive as I would have liked it to be. I used curling ribbon to hold my last effort together, but this time I want it be made entirely from jelly sweets. This might cause some difficulties given the wierd shapes you get in bag of this stuff and the fact it's really really squishy. So some structural compenents first - Haribo marshmallows tied up in groups of three with strawberry laces.
I've stuffed the inside with some twisty sugar rolls because they are heavy and rigid and are helping to hold my marshmallow towers in place.
Foam safari animals next...
More spirals, then some more rigid berries. I actually don't like these berries, but they are nice and solid, so help with the weighting. I've added some liqcorice between the marshmallows for a bit of colour.
Sugar mice and easter bunnies for this layer...
Then finished off with sweet pasta, more liqcorice and easter shapes.
Hmm... It doesn't quite look like the picture in my head, but it will do for the time being. Maybe I shouldn't be such a purist and break out the wooden skewers for supports next time. Watch this space...