Thursday, 29 March 2012

Crafty Brighton: Port Hall Area

This is basically the area I live in and at first glance you would think it was just houses. Lots and lots of lovely houses. But don’t let it fool you.

Quilty Pleasures is just around the corner from me. As the name may suggest, it sells lots of goodies for quilters (and plenty just for sewing enthusiasts). They run workshops too, both at the shop and other places around Brighton.

Then on the same road, Purl is a shop for those knitters out there. It also runs workshops and sells lots of gorgeous yarn.

Hungry? Then the Chimney House can be found just a few doors down. Seriously this is one amazing road! The menu here changes regularly and uses plenty of local produce.

If that doesn’t appeal, try the Dyke Tavern. It’s stonebaked pizzas and Sunday roasts seems to attract people from miles around.

When you’re bored of the crafty stuff (unlikely I know), the Booth Museum is an interesting distraction. Free entry, it is a natural history museum with a huge collection of taxidermy birds. You can see my post about it here

And if you just need some great outdoors, try Dyke Road Park where you can see the sea in the distance. 

Friday, 23 March 2012

On My Commute

Dracula was awesome, did frighten myself a couple of times. I was that crazy person jumping in her seat on the train…

Feeder is always a favourite of mine, it never fails to cheer me up!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Top Tips: Icing

Icing can make or break your cake prettiness. There are lots of techniques to try and here are some of the most popular types/uses

Butter icing – mix butter and icing sugar together. You can then add colours or flavourings if required. Butter icing can be piped or simply spooned onto your cakes.

Royal icing – roll out to a thin thickness (about 3mm) using icing sugar on all surfaces. Be delicate with it! Can colour small pieces by rolling in your hands with icing sugar and food colouring, but it does get very sticky

Writing with icing – be steady but fluid. Apply a consistent amount of pressure to the icing bag and practice on something other than your precious cake. Try writing down what you plan to write first to get an idea of spacing 
and spelling

GlacĂ© icing – simply mix icing sugar and water. Make it runny enough to flow but still set. Try piping icing to create a barrier before flooding the inside with icing.  

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Bake of the Week: Shamrock Cupcakes

In a very small nod to St Patrick’s Day, I made some shamrock themed cupcakes.

But this could also be a lesson that green icing never ever looks good. Please believe me when I say these tasted a whole heap better than they look. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mother's Day Bakes

It’s mother’s day weekend and I’m kicking off with some yummy bakes. There’s still plenty of time to bake for that special lady.

I was going for a grass and flowers thing with the cupcakes but I'm not entirely sure how much I pulled it off. The cookies are shortbread dipped in coloured icing. They could make a lovely gift, wrapped in cellophane and pretty ribbon. 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Culture Vultures

I’ve known Brighton had a museum since I moved here but I hadn’t actually been.

It’s a lovely combination of Brighton history, and more general history. There’s even an Ancient Egypt exhibit, thanks to local links to an  Egyptologist.

But my favourite exhibit is their fashion exhibition, including outfits donated by Brightonions from important eras.

And obviously you can’t take him anywhere, this was the mister’s headbanging Punch…

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bake of the Week: Birthday Cake

It couldn’t be anything other than the mister’s birthday cake this week.

This also proved to me why I avoid baking after work…

Apologies for the dodgy photos, it was dark before I even left work, let alone baked and iced a cake…

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Walk in the Park

Another sunshine filled day, so why not have a picnic in the park?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Spring Has Sprung

So I (yet again) managed to pick a lovely sunny week to have off work. I just want to relax and recharge my batteries this week so a walk in the sunshine was perfect.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Birthday Time

 Just had a lovely weekend celebrating the mister’s birthday. And I might have treated myself to a little something new too…

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bake of the Week: Mint Choc Cupcakes

More cupcakes, I just can't get enough of them!

These are chocolate sponge with a peppermint butter icing. And they were scrumptious!

I was thinking it would be nice to make some peppermint creams in cute shapes to decorate the top...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Finding Motivation

Sometimes it is the hardest thing in the world to motivate ourselves. But there are ways to help yourself.

First, decide why you don’t want to do the task in hand. Is it just too big to contemplate so you don’t know where to start? Or is it something you have to do rather than want to do? Knowing why it’s so hard to get started usually helps you to get going, or at least choose a tactic.

Then think of a reward for when you’re done. Make sure it’s something you really want, but won’t let yourself have unless the task is completed. I find providing myself with a constant reminder helps keep the end in sight!

If there are several things on the to-do list then try the minutes method. Set an alarm for 10 minutes and start working on the first task. When the timer goes off, re-set it and start on task 2. Repeat again for a third task. Then set the timer for 20 minutes and repeat. If you finish a task before the time is up, get started on the next time segment. I’ve never used this for more than three tasks at a time or I would get a bit confused. It really helps break up tasks, and everyone can deal with just 10 minutes on a task they hate!

Finally, I’m a big fan of to-do lists. Breaking up a large task into teeny little tasks makes it seem so much easier. If times are getting desperate, little rewards for each goal like chocolate or reading  a blog, should definitely get you going. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

London Fashion Week

Work being crazy town recently means I didn’t get to pore over the catwalks at London Fashion week quite as much as I wanted to. But here’s my top 5 looks I can’t wait till Autumn for.

  1. Bow belts – seen at Temperley London and Burberry Prosum
  2. Geometric prints – seen everywhere, especially Clements Ribeiro, Mulberry and Louise Gray
  3. Folk florals – seen at Mary Katrantzou amongst many others
  4. Bold colours – Antoni and Alison, Henry Holland
  5. Tweed -  seen at PPQ and Erdem

In other news, I could wear Orla Keily’s collection forever. I’m in love with all of it! And collars were once again everywhere, I can fuel my obsession for at least another season.
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