Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

Now I know lists like these are all over the blogosphere but I'm in a good mood so why not share? So without further ado, the list of things I'm loving this week

  • Olympic fever 
  • James Bond, the Queen and David Beckham in a speedboat
  • Super tidy houses
  • Summer finally arriving (and then disappearing again)
  • Rediscovering old music loves
  • Lunches in the park with a good book
This little list was slightly spur of the moment, next time I will keep note of my favourite things during the week! 

Friday, 27 July 2012


So technically, this isn't a Friday Dress of the Week. But it is a cool new brand about to hit UK shores that I wanted to share.
Gwynedds is a German brand, that's known for its comfy but still cute designs. All in lovely colours, and with simple graphics to add a bit of fun.
I'm a big fan of this stripey tee, and the handwritten logo is a nice touch.

I'm definitely got my eye on one of these cropped sweatshirts. I want to say in the dark grey, but do I really need yet another grey jumper? Maybe I'll branch out with a pink one instead.
Gwynedds is currently available online here and here but it will be available in the UK in August. 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Everything Oz

I'm a massive fan of my Everything Alice book, so when I heard they were bringing out a Wizard of Oz version I knew I would have to buy it. So here's Everything Oz!

The book is crammed full of so many great ideas. Some of them are variations of ideas I've seen floating around the internet, like tin can lanterns. But every project has a great Oz twist. There's something in the book to please everyone, from rainbow cakes for the bakers, to patchwork aprons for the sewers, down to a Toto-inspired doghouse for the more ambitious dog lover. I really can't wait to make the glow in the dark Emerald City, or the balloon mobile. And what girl doesn't want some ruby slippers?

Mixed in with the projects are the great page designs, quotes and photographs that the authors do so well. Even someone who had no clue about the Wizard of Oz (do those people even exist?) would get a feel for the magic of the story through this book. As the projects all fit together so perfectly, they would make a great party theme. In fact, I'm trying to think of an excuse for a party already, maybe my housewarming? After all, there's no place like home! 

I don't want to spoil too many surprises from the book, as half the pleasure is oohing and aahing over every page as you flick through the book. But if you're only going to look at one idea, check out the special witch-themed cupcakes...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Torch Relay

There seems to be a rather large event happening in London this summer...

So the other day I managed to sneak out of work early to see the torch relay go through Brighton. I'm a bit of a sports fan so I was looking forward to it anyway, but I underestimated how exciting (and slightly emotional) it would be.

The crowds were impressive despite the constant drizzle, and everyone seemed very enthusiastic. Even the tourists buying overpriced flags to wave!

The flame was staying in Brighton overnight. I didn't get tickets to the celebrations but I could hover outside with my camera! So I managed to get a glimpse of the cauldron being lit. 

I'm super excited for the Olympics to start now, although I have a funny feeling it's not going to make the commute any easier...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Cheese and Onion Sharing Bread

I don't often make bread, I really don't have the patience to wait while it proves. But I spotted this recipe in the Great British Bake Off book and thought I would give it a whirl.

It was pretty straightforward and came out pretty well. Mine's not the nice shape they used, I couldn't get it to fit on the baking sheet otherwise. It doesn't look that clear in my photo but it's lots of small balls of bread that you can tear off and share.

The cheese melts beautifully across the top and the sweetness of the onions is a nice surprise as you eat it. I used chilli oil to cook the onions to give it an extra kick. I would definitely make this again, maybe to go with a pasta dish?

Monday, 16 July 2012

Nails, Nails, Nails

I've gone through a big phase recently of painting my nails various colours and patterns so just a quick post to share some of them.

 It's my little way of feeling summery especially when I'm stuck at work. I can just see the flashes of colour as I type away.

 They are definitely not always the neatest nails though. I'm in complete awe of people who can turn their nails into little works of art.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

It's kinda like Brighton but sandy

You would think I would get bored of beaches, living by the sea and everything. But nope, I can't get enough of them and a sandy beach is an irresistible lure. Which is how I ended up on a day trip to Bournemouth...

For once the weather behaved itself, although it was a little windy...
This balloon wasn't open because of the winds but the views from it must be amazing.
 As apparently a 12 mile bike ride isn't enough exercise for one week off work, we thought we would do an 8 mile wander around Bournemouth too. Thank goodness for Google maps though, by the time we got to the Coy Pond we had no idea how to get back to the station! 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Classic British Pudding Muffins

I've been baking quite a while now but had never tried making muffins. Until now. It's hard not to find inspiration in Britain at the moment, what with the Jubilee and now the Olympics coming up. So I thought I would try classic British pudding flavour muffins. 

First up is an apple crumble muffin. I have seen similar recipes all over the place but in the end I sort of made it up as I went along. Chopped apple mixed in with the muffin mix, and topped with oats and a crumble topping. 

Then I tried a cherry bakewell inspired muffin. Cherries are inside the cake itself and it's topped with almonds and icing.

These muffins are sticky toffee pudding flavour. You can't really tell from the photos but they were sticky and moist. I added a brown sugar topping to give them a bit of crunch too.

Finally, I made an Eton Mess muffin. Raspberries in the muffin and topped with crumbled meringue. I think they would have looked great with a meringue swirl rather than the crumbled meringue, but I've never made my own meringue!

Considering I was limited to what I could find in the cupboards, I'm pretty pleased with how they came out. I keep thinking of little improvements and changes I could make though, so don't be surprised if these appear again.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Dress of the Week: Anthropologie Polka Dot Dress

I genuinely can't justify spending this much money on a dress, but I adore the neckline.

It's £128 from Anthropologie. I'm gonna need an amazing excuse to splurge on this one!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Finally Finished: Friendship Bracelets

I probably haven't made friendship bracelets since I was about 8. And even then I don't remember making that many. But when I saw this tutorial from Honestly WTF, I knew I had to have a go.

My first attempt looked a little like this, so I knew I had my work cut out! Seriously,  I have no idea how I made such a mess of it.
Once I got into the swing of things it all came together much better. I finished the diagonal stripes one last, and you can probably tell the earlier ones aren't as neat. 

The pink and purple stripe was just a bit of an experiment but I quite like how it turned out. It's quite short though so I'm thinking of adding some chains to it make it bigger.

I love the studs on them, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be making a lot more of them. I'm thinking birthday presents?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Not quite the Tour De France

I have a poor history of cycling. Most of my family and quite a few friends can tell you hilarious stories of my cycling mishaps. So it was strange to find me planning a bike ride...

But bikes hired there was no going back. I had never been to the Undercliff Walk, that takes you out to Saltdean and beyond. But it was the perfect, and most importantly flat, route for me to get cycling again.

The weather looks overcast here, but it was pretty warm and humid all afternoon.

Anyway, I loved it and actually managed to stay on the bike and in one piece (which is more than can be said for my other cycling adventures). I'm still not quite brave enough to venture on to 'proper' roads, and probably not the seafront on a busy Sunday morning. But hey, practice makes perfect.  

Monday, 2 July 2012

Chocolate Ganache Cake

I'm a self confessed chocoholic. Seriously can't get enough of the stuff. But I tend to just eat chocolate as it comes, rather than baking with it. But I had an urge to master chocolate ganache icing.

The sponge is just a basic chocolate sponge. I've seen lots of recipes for chocolate and something such as chilli or raspberry, but for this I wanted to go simple.

I've made chocolate ganache before, and I used it when making truffles. I'm really pleased with how the cake  iced, as I perhaps left it to firm up a bit too much.

I couldn't resist adding a few sprinkles!

Now I've started I don't know why I haven't baked with chocolate. I'm slowly collecting some chocolatey recipes to try (read: frantically searching every recipe book I own) so expect lots more soon.

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