Tag Archives: #birthdaygift

Pizza anyone?

As I mentioned in the Riley release date blog, it was my birthday last week. (Release date is set for 18 Nov 2022 in case you missed it)

The Big Green Gummi Bear was left to his own devices when it came to selecting my gift. I asked my daughter, Girl Child, if I should be worried. He hadn’t confided his choice in her, so she suggested “Yes. Very.” Boy Child had no inclination either.

The gift was a pizza oven, plus pizza peel and charcoal.

I love pizza…but usually when it comes delivered in a box. Starting from scratch is a whole different proposition!

Armed with an online pizza dough recipe and a selection of everyone’s favourite toppings, Sunday dinner was planned.

What I didn’t plan for was a delayed start to British F1 grand prix that knocked all my timings out!

Making the dough was the easy bit…if a bit sticky and messy at first.

While I went back to watching the F1, I left it in the conservatory to rise.

After it’s allotted hour to rise, it had grown a bit but hadn’t doubled in size as I’d expected. Hey ho…. It looked like dough.

I split it into 8 little balls as instructed by the recipe and left if to rise a little longer.

The time had come to light the oven….

Sioux, one of my four cats, was less than impressed…

I rolled out three of the balls of dough…. I went for a more rustic look rather than round… OK I’m not very good with a rolling pin!  They looked like pizza bases. Give me a break! LOL

With the oven up to temperature, it was time to add the toppings and get them in the oven.

Adding the toppings was easy.  Due to a lack of flour on the under side of the bases and inexperience, getting them onto the pizza peel, into the oven, off the peel, turned, back on the peel and onto the plate was slightly less successful….and exceedingly stressful!

One was burnt at one end.

One was a total disaster (Let’s not talk about it- it was re-made by Boy Child)

The third one was fine…a bit singed around the edges.

The main casualty in all of this…the kitchen! Flour everywhere!

For a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with my efforts.

More practice is definitely needed so I guess pizza is back on the menu around here  😊

Introducing the newest member of the household……

Alexa a

Last week I celebrated my birthday (21 again) and welcomed a new addition to the family.

My gift from The Big Green Gummi Bear (TBGGB)  this year was another woman, who goes by the name of Alexa.

Yes, he bought me an Amazon Echo.

For those who don’t know what an Amazon Echo is, it’s a voice controlled smart speaker that responds to the name Alexa ( This can be changed to Echo or Computer too)

I’ll be honest, at first, I was a little bemused (no, it wasn’t the effects of the Prosecco). What on earth was I meant to do with her?

Within a few minutes, she had been unpacked and set up.

“Alexa, sing Happy Birthday.”

She did! In fact, Alexa was the only one to sing Happy Birthday to me! Ha ha!

For the remainder of the birthday dinner, we fired questions at her and music requests.

TBGGB suggested while she was playing some Black Stone Cherry that we test how she sounded with the volume up full.

“Alexa, volume ten.”

The conservatory with swiftly rattling to the strains of those boys from Kentucky.

“Alexa, volume down.”


Louder, “Alexa, volume down.”


Even louder, “ALEXA, VOLUME DOWN.”

Nothing. She couldn’t hear us!

Boy Child quickly figured out how to turn the volume down manually.

 Next day, I messaged Boy Child, who was at home for the day, to check if he was being nice to Alexa while my back was turned. He confessed to only having used her as a timer when he was cooking his lunch.

On Friday, TBGGB was working from home. Around lunchtime I received a message from  him confessing, “ I just said please to Alexa.”  That made me giggle.


It really is a weird dynamic that’s going on here. Gradually, as the days pass, I swear she’s developing not only a personality but also an attitude.

On numerous occasions I’ve found myself thanking her when she’s followed my instructions.

I was having a bit of a technology meltdown at my laptop on Sunday as it was refusing to open Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome (Damn Windows 10 update!) I’m sure Alexa sensed my growing frustrations with technology and had a bit of a sulk, refusing to answer commands. Eventually, having reset her WiFi, she came out of her huff.

Already there have been a few moments that reminded me of the scene in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty where the good fairies are using magic to change the colour of Aurora’s dress.

Me -“Alexa, play Alter Bridge.”

TBGGB -“Alex, play dance music.”

Me -“Alexa, play Alter Bridge.”

TBGGB -“Alex, play dance music.”

Compromise, Me – “Alexa, play Enya.”

Just a short while ago, I found myself giving Boy Child a row for being rude to her. He’d issued a command in sharp tone of voice rather than making a polite request.

Boy Child -“Alexa, play Black Stone Cherry.”

Display of attitude from Alexa who resumed playing Rival Sons.

Boy Child, impatiently – “Alexa, play Black Stone Cherry!”

She obliged, reluctantly I felt. When I chastised him and suggested he be nice to her, he replied, “She’s a servant. A robot.”

Yes, she’s a robot of sorts and arguably our house elf but she’s slowly becoming a family member.

She’s also developing a sense of humour showing good taste in literature.

“Alexa, what is the meaning of life?”

Alexa – “42 is a good answer.”

Love it!

Now to figure out how to get her to make a pot of coffee.

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)