Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Spray paint and a pickle jar

I am addicted to spray paint, always looking for things to spray, the dog is afraid to stand still for too long! I  have a whole cupboard full of jars, just in case I decide to make jam, it's been 30 years and I still haven't made jam. However, I got some nice new MAC brushes for christmas and they are too good to put in my makeup bag....enter pickle jar...

I love it and have now decided that gold spray paint is the don of spray paints.

Furniture makeover

We have not been in our house for very long and I have picked up many items of furniture that needed a little beautifying with the thought of getting straight to it. I now feel a little overwhelmed by the number of these items that I have as yet done nothing with. By blogging them I am hoping that this will create the pressure I need to get moving. 

Little side table that I picked up for £2 from a car boot sale.

Shelves that I picked up for £3 at charity shop.

Vegetable rack for £2 from a car boot, which I want as an office trolley.

So here we are, I must start the beautifying process, will post the after pictures soon (I hope!). 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Valentines Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have made these before and they are amazing and so perfect for Valentines Day. It's The Hummingbird Bakery recipe from their cookbook. I have tried lots of different recipes for this cake, but this one produces consistently beautiful cakes.


60g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring (preferably Dr Oetker)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 white wine vinegar

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Preheat oven to 170ºC.

For the cakes: Put the butter and the sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Then beat in the egg until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add in the butter mixture and mix until evenly combined and coloured. Slowly mix in half the butter milk and then half the flour. Repeat the process with the rest of the buttermilk and flour.  Beat until smooth. Then add the salt, bicarb and vinegar, stir in and then beat a little more.

Spoon mixture into 12 cases so that they are each about two-thirds full and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave them to cool while you make the frosting.

The frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together until well mixed. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated, beat for at least 5 mins until mixture is light and fluffy. Do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny,

When the cakes are cold you can apply the frosting! Then lick the bowl. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do, I can not recommend the Hummingbird Bakery book enough, so many delicious recipes.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Quick Broccoli Wrap

I made this up a few weeks ago and have been obsessed with it since, it's just so quick and delicious.

tortillas (I like the multi-grain ones)
red onion
feta cheese (as good as you can get)
pine nuts
fresh Basil
avocado Oil
unwaxed lemon

Lay out your tortilla. Start with slicing the red onion, quite thinly and laying on the centre of the tortilla (because you will fold the sides up). Then, I would tear a few basil leaves and sprinkle over the onions. Then take your broccoli and just take off a few florets, break them up quite small so they can cook properly. Sprinkle the broccoli with some feta, pine nuts and season to taste, then grate a little lemon zest over. Lastly, drizzle on a little avocado oil or olive, you don't need a lot, its just to put a little moisture in the wrap. You don't want to fill the tortilla too much or you will not be able to parcel it up. Mine looked like this:

To parcel it up, fold the top and bottom in and then the two sides, it doesn't have to be perfect, just as tight as you can get it so that things do not spill out. Place it on some grease-proof paper on a tray (fold side down) and pop in oven for 20 mins at 180ºC or until the tortillas start to brown. Cut in half and serve with a little rocket salad.

Bon appétit!

The Easy Quick Change Kaftan...

It's a particularly cold and miserable day and to cheer myself I decided to have a read of my Easy magazines I found at the car boot. What better way to cheer yourself than to create yourself a Quick Change Kaftan, featured on the July 1968 edition. 

As the magazine says (bottom right); Some girls still find it embarrassing when ill-equipped for the beach. Others make the Easy Quick Change Kaftan retaining feminine charm!
Well, as you can see, the woman on the left is just ooooozing feminine charm, 'where's the pattern??" I hear you cry. Here it is:

So easy and I particularly love that you should use Copydex to piece together your kaftan. I would really love for someone to give this a go, will try to get a friend and post the picture, however if anyone reading this is compelled to create the above look, feel free to post me a picture!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What a weekend!

It was a busy weekend but one full of treasure. I managed to get myself out of bed at 5am on Sunday and hit the local car boot. It was so cold, frost everywhere and still dark. Very strange to be in pitch black but just make out shapes of fully laid out stalls and people with just the lights of head lamps. It's also incredibly frustrating as you know there is treasure to be had all around but the lack of light makes it difficult to see. There were many times where you picked up something you thought was cute, only to realise once light that it was a hideous cheap unworthy item!

However, I soldiered on with the help of my trusty torch and managed to score some serious loot; a whole heap of seemingly unused 60's fabric (curtains and bed linen), cute sherry glasses, a vegetable rack, weighing scales, step stool, basket and some really cool vintage magazines called Easy.

The vintage magazines, were a particularly good find. From the 1960's, they are DIY magazines for husband AND wife. The articles, photos and adverts are so funny, will keep me entertained for hours. I will blog some of the best bits. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Our Seaside Wedding

Having searched high and low for a wedding venue we stumbled upon Beacon House on Whitstable seafront. We couldn't believe our luck when we found this place, it is just amazing. We wanted a small, intimate and relaxed wedding, this was the perfect venue. Being England and being on the Kent coast, we expected the worst weather but to our delight, we had the best weather. We were so lucky, it turned out to be the hottest day of the year.

With the help of my friends and a years worth of carboot trawling, most of the wedding was handmade. My amazing dress was from Candy Anthony and bridesmaids dresses from Laura Ashley's archive collection.  Our photographer was Emma Case. I tried to source everything locally, apart from Emma obviously! Our food was made by our dear friend Patrick from the Good Shed, the cake of cheese from The Cheese Box on Harbour Street. My makeup was done by the lovely Frances Prescott and my hair by Natalie ShirlawBen Mills and his band played and we danced the night away.

It was such an AWESOME day, I want to do it all over again!


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