Thursday, 28 April 2011

Chocolate Fondant Cupcakes...

I am practically a baking professional. As my 2nd attempt to bake something other than Blueberry and Almond Muffins (my fave!) has resulted in total and utter success...I feel euphoric. I used the hummingbird bakery book again and it was relatively simple, it did take me a while, 1.5hrs to be exact, but it was worth the patience and I actually found the process quite therapeutic. Rob will be so excited when he gets home and sees a cake stand full of chocolate fondant cupcakes...lucky boy!

Process in pictures:

Dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, chocolate powder, sugar

With the eggs and milk

Ran out of matching muffin cases

Left in a tad too long ;-) I wasn't deterred

Chocolate cream: Dark chocolate and double cream

Make a hole and fill with chocolate cream

Pop the lid back on

Cover with cream and hey presto delicious chocolate fondant cupcakes!

I'll just have the one...YUM!

I think I'll half the ingredients next time, 18 muffins is a bit much for a family of 3!

Style hero...Mad Men's Betty Draper

I heart Betty Draper. Her outfits are so charming. It helps that actress January Jones is a beauty, but it's definitely Betty that I adore. I missed the Mad Men craze, in fact I'd say most of the UK missed it, but what a delight it is. I have only watched season 5 and am waiting patiently for my mum and dad to finish the season 1 & 2 boxset I bought them for Christmas so I can borrow/steal it and settle down to a Mad Men marathon.

I think I might use Betty as my muse for my hen party outfit, not sure I'll manage setting my hair in rollers but I can definitely do a floral dress nipped in at the waist, red lippy and maybe a sneaky ciggie (I'll be in character after all!).

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Treasured family photographs...

I have a whole bunch of old family photographs that I treasure, I have a few displayed at home and the rest I keep in a vintage vanity case, because they deserve a good home. I look at them a lot, I show them to LV and I tell her about her family, those who are still with us and sadly those who are not. She's a bit young to understand who's who but it's fun and one day I hope she'll treasure these photos as much as I do now. I love that they represent a moment in time that is lost but never forgotten.

Grandma Renee, Grandad James and Auntie Elsie - 1950's

Aunt Christine, Uncle Phil, Mum, Nan (Edith) and Cousin Math - 1970's

Nan (Edith), Grandma Renee, Grandad James - 1970's

Bryan & Lynda (my lovely mum and dad) - 1971

Bryan & Lynda - 1971


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Pretty wedding vases...

I have been collecting vases for my wedding for the last four months, my search criteria:
1. Must be lovely
2. Must be under £5 each
3. Must be able to find 12 vases fitting the above description before the big day in June!

10 so far...nearly there and aren't they lovely?! They'll be even lovelier filled with white and pink chrysanthemums. We went to Church this morning to hear the calling of the banns, so exciting, not long to go now!

Happy Easter. xo.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

A proud pair...painting project?

I picked up this proud pair in a charity shop yesterday, I don't know why I like them, I just do.

My sister has a metal bird that a friend of hers had powder coated for her which looks great so that made me wonder about painting this pair. I checked it out online and decided to go for a plasti-kote spray paint in a vibrant colour. I quite fancied turquoise (as that's what my sisters bird is and looks great, but they didn't have any so I chose a bright purple). While LV was having her midday nap I set up paint shop outside on the patio. I applied two coats:

and waited for them to dry. Two hours later and here they are:

I love them!

and here they are in context:


Now, what can I spray paint next?! xo.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A day in the life of busy bee LV...

A snail hunt:

We only found one and unfortunately it was out ("gone shopping" according to LV).

Delivering some post:

A snack - scone with jam:


A picnic in the garden:

A splash in the paddling pool:

Followed by a trip on the scooter into town:

For an ice cream:

Home to water the garden before tea:

PJ's (with heels and rucksack!) ready for bed:

Goodnight LV. xo.

Baking saviour...

After the collapse I wondered whether I'd even bother applying the frosting, I slept on it (not the cake, the thought) and woke up re-energised and feeling positive about the whole baking disaster.

Collapsed Chocolate Guiness Cake, but I remained cheery...

and here you have it!!!

The light cocoa powder dusting turned into more of a plonking, but it was my first time and practice makes perfect.

And it tastes incredible!


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Garden Glory...

I'm sure these weren't here yesterday...


Cake baking disaster...

I bought the Hummingbird Bakery book from The Book People this week and have been super excited about giving one particular recipe a go: the Chocolate Guinness Cake, mainly because we've had four cans of Guinness in the fridge for the last six months following a phase Rob went through. I'm a hoarder, there's also a jar of pickled onions that has set up camp in our fridge. So, back to the baking. It started really well, it was relatively easy, I was feeling pretty confident, it smelt amazing and I started to feel a bit like how I imagine Nigella feels when she's shimmying around her fairy light lit kitchen.

At this point I was feeling pretty smug, it looks fabulous, not bad for a first Chocolate Guinness cake baking attempt....unfortunately from there it was a slippery slope. The problem was my lack of patience, I whipped the tin surround off and gazed adoringly at my creation....and then when I couldn't wait any longer I tried to remove the bottom of the tin by flipping the cake onto a plate, this is when half the top of my cake fell off! I tried to stick it back on and then the side collapsed! Not ideal, but I'm going to plough on (tomorrow, because I can't stay up all night watching it cool) and I'm going to frost it and then I'm going to eat it and despite it looking a bit of a mess underneath once it's frosted I'm sure it'll look great. Will post a picture of the finished product tomorrow.

Baking Hint 1: Patience is a virtue.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

2.5 is a pretty funny age...

LV has started to really amuse us, I don't know whether it's genuinely funny or funny because I am her mother but she tends to say the funniest things first thing in the morning.
Yesterday, 6am: LV  "My Mummy, GET ME, I have been good all night" reasonable enough, so I go into her bedroom and she says "It's cold and it stinks!" oh right, ok then, we best get you up!

Yesterday, 7am: Me "So I was thinking that this weekend if the weather's nice we could go on a snail hunt, do you fancy that?" LV "Ummm ok, we find crabs and turtles as well?" Unlikely, but we could try.

Today, 5.30am: LV " I want a piece of cake" Me "No way, it's 5.30am go back to sleep" LV "No way" Fair enough and so we got up (I didn't give her cake, mainly because she didn't say please).


Monday, 18 April 2011

Easter bunny party fabulousness...

The big day finally arrived, LV's Easter bunny party. This party has been months in the making, 8 2 year olds, their mums, a dad (of one child, not all 8 obviously!) and Aunt Sal and Uncle Tom.

Luckily the weather was gorgeous, we hunted for eggs, ate a few and then we picnicked on sarnies (no crusts) and strawberries and for the mums scones with clotted cream and jam (thanks to Sal and Tom for coming to the rescue on this one, it would have been cucumber sticks for the mums otherwise!). After the picnic the little ones ran wild...Vicks told me she'd never seen anyone eat a chocolate egg so quickly (the egg was the size of an orange) after witnessing LV devour one...I felt proud and quite worried at the same time. My main concern is that she lives in fear of me or Rob stealing her food, not ideal and it really only is chocolate related and it's mainly Rob doing the stealing, neither of us are bothered about stealing her actual meals...thankfully.

Where to next...

Uncle Tom - children's entertainer, notice Buzz Lightyear in the crowd?haha

Bubbles with Jenson

Maybe we'll have a summer party.....a summer bumble bee party!xo.