Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Fun

 This is what all the cool kids wear to go running nowadays. Or not. Anyway, I decided that a 5k fun run in the dark, without a running partner, would be a cool way to spend an evening. And it was!
Once you got past the fact the race was started by a zombie clown, and the stewards mostly had axes embedded in their heads, or an extreme amount of hair, the whole event was lots of fun. It was all to race awareness (and some pennies) for the Stroke Association. So by the end of the evening, my fancy dress had an extra accessory...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

  • Lots of visitors to our new flat
  • Perfect excuses to sit under blankets and duvets all day
  • Eveywhere starting to look even more festive
  • Plans and adventures finally starting to come together

Friday, 26 October 2012

Dress of the Week: ASOS Mini Prom Dress

I'm still on the Christmas party dress theme. I remember last year not being able to find a single dress I liked when I tried in early December, so I'm a little concerned all the good dresses are already out. But if I buy too soon, I might miss out on a complete beauty. Oh, the silly dilemma!

This week's new favourite contender is from ASOS, for £45. It comes in black and cream too, but the jewel tone of the green feels a little more festive.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

National Novel Writing Month

Generally I'm a pretty busy person. Full time work, a hefty commute, blogging, crafting, baking, socialising. It's a challenge to fit everything in at the best of times. For November, I should probably mention my birthday and all the extra events that go with that (not that I'm complaining!). Oh, and I'm running a 10k.

So of course it would make perfect sense for me to take on a major challenge that most people would find tricky to manage in a completely empty month. I'm talking about National Novel Writing Month, the crazy idea that people should try and write a 50,000 word novel just in the month of November.

Somehow I need to write 1666 words every single day in November.

I'm not for a second saying it will be easy. But I can't resist a challenge, and I've always had a slight hankering to be an author! I'm not going to be sharing my novel with anyone, I'm 99% sure the circumstances it will be written in will mean it will be pants. But (hopefully) by 1st December I will be able to say I've written a novel!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Things I Love Tuesday

  • Planning fancy dress outfits for Halloween
  • Getting excited for my birthday (as long as we don't mention the age)
  • Sorting ridiculous amounts of adventures to see out the rest of 2012
  • Blog related inspiration
  • Work related progress

Monday, 22 October 2012

Shortbread Snack

Despite telling myself I should just try and perfect the recipes I have already tried, I seem to be drawn to trying new things out. And this time it was shortbread.

It all worked out pretty well, it tastes nice which is always a good start.

 I'm trying to practice any recipes I can use at Christmas, and this seems to be a good contender. I would be tempted to put chocolate chips in though, or maybe dip the shortbread pieces in chocolate. But that might just be my obsession with chocolate! 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Dress of the Week: Miss Selfridge Feather Prom Dress

I'm completely undecided on whether I like this dress. It caught my eye while browsing new bits and pieces this week, and I thought I quite liked it. And then I looked again, and I wasn't a fan. And now I just don't know!

I think it's the feathers that are throwing me off. It probably wasn't the greatest sign that one of the first things I thought was Halloween?

Anyway, it's £95 from Miss Selfridge if anyone decided they are a fan...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Homesick for where I am

Is it possible to feel homesick for where you live right now? I'm pretty sure it's not but it's also how I sort of feel at the moment...

I love living in Brighton, I've been here 5 years now and it's gone in a flash. But recently work has been crazy and I've had lots of other stuff going on. So I haven't really been in Brighton for much of the time. It almost felt like it would be easier to not live here at all. Last weekend was probably the first time I went into town, and did some of my favourite Brighton-y things to do.

And now I miss everything about the place! I miss the sea, and getting blown along the seafront by the 'sea breeze' and the lovely little coffee shops, and both sets of lanes, and, well I think you get the idea.

So I'm planning right now to spend some of this weekend soaking up some proper Brighton air, and reminding myself of absolutely everything I love about the city! Some good old fashioned nostalgia is exactly what I need right now.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Dress of the Week: Phase Eight Print Dress

I went on a little shopping expedition last weekend, my Mum was on the hunt for a dress to wear to a christening. And this meant I had a nose around some shops I probably wouldn't normally look in.

This beautiful printed dress from Phase Eight didn't catch my eye straight away. It's one of those 'doesn't look as brilliant on the hanger' dresses. But then I saw it featured on the in store visuals and went looking for it.

It's £150 so once again, I would need something special to wear it to but I'm a little bit in love.

An honourable mention needs to go to this dress from Monsoon. This is another serious Christmas party dress contender.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Crochet Blanket Progress

If someone had told me there would be any progress towards a crochet blanket at the beginning of the year, I wouldn't have believed them .I couldn't crochet despite several attempts at it. I had no idea how to go about starting a blanket. I was considering just giving up and buying my dream crochet blanket.

But now I have a small but steadily growing pile of granny squares. The more I make, the more I fall in love with the yarn and colours I have chosen.

I've gone with simple, and my blanket will just be made up of hundreds (and I think it really will be hundreds) of basic granny squares. There's a long way to go but I think the tricky bit is over already!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

  • Shopping expeditions with my family
  • Amazing cocktails and even better burgers with friends
  • Christmas catalogues appearing the shops
  • Christmas shops opening everywhere
  • The fact that Christmas is coming generally!
  • And the fact my birthday is only a month away!!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Great British Bake Off Showstoppers

I know I'm definitely not the only one completely obsessed with the Great British Bake Off.  Settling down to watch the next episode is currently my favourite treat of the week. For each series so far they have also released a book to go with the show. The previous two have been more focused on learning the basics, and improving your baking skills. This year's is slightly different. As the name might suggest, it's about creating your own showstopper bakes.

They don't throw you completely in at the deep end though. Each section has three levels of showstopper: easy, takes a little time and needs a little skill. You could build your way up through the levels, or just stick to the easier recipes. Every section has plenty of recipes to try that haven't been seen on the show.

But there's also the technical challenges featured in the show such as the tea cakes they all struggled with in the summer heat, the doughnuts and the plaited loaf. And as with all the previous books, plenty of 'best of the bake off' recipes, including Ryan's Key Lime Pie the judges adored.

There are still sections intended to teach you new skills such as layering cakes, using royal icing and piping meringue swirls. Many of these focus on making your bakes look amazing rather than baking the actual cake/pie/biscuit in the first place, but there are plenty of other places to find those tips.

My only small gripe would be the lack of photos of the bakes. They found space for images of the Bake Off kitchen and all the contestants but many recipes don't have any images at all. Personally I find it easier to make something when I have an idea of what I'm aiming for! But the recipes have always been super clear so it shouldn't be a huge issue.

The Great British Bake Off has once again convinced me I could be star baker, even if that will only ever be in my own kitchen!

Sunday, 7 October 2012


I can't believe I'm writing my 200th blog post! It took me almost 2 years to get to my first 100 and then only 9 months to complete my second 100. And I'm probably 100x happier with my last 100 than the first.

Anyway I'm taking this opportunity to say thank you again to anyone and everyone who reads my blog. It's sometimes easy to forget that there are people out there reading my ramblings; sometimes just once, and sometimes over and over again.

If I keep this up, post 300 should be around July 2013. See you there?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Some Recent Purchases

I'm actually trying pretty hard to not buy lots of new things at the moment. But a few things have made me open up my purse and I thought I would show a few things off!

I've been eyeing up these magazines from the creators of Mollie Makes for a little while. And they didn't disappoint. If you're a fan of Mollie Makes then I would suggest these for a good read. I'm considering doing  a seperate post on these so watch this space...
After my crochet course a few months ago, I've been keen to start my granny square blanket. And I finally got round to buying the yarn I needed. Choosing colours had turned into a crazy decision that meant many many lunch hours wandering around haberdashery departments.

And then I found this lovely little set of crochet hooks. I technically only needed one, but it worked out as cheap to buy all of these as it would to buy two of them individually!

This weekend I went to City Books in Hove to meet Clare Balding. I thought she was amazing during all the Olympic and Paralympic coverage, and had already decided to buy her book. And then I found out she was doing book signings near me, so thought I would go and meet her. She really is as lovely as she seems on the telly! 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Cupcake Decorating at Angel Food Bakery

In an attempt to pack my week off with loads of fun things I signed up for a cupcake decorating class at Angel Food Bakery.

I've never really tried icing my cupcakes 'properly' but I was getting tempted by so many amazing designs in magazines/blogs/books. So the time had come to learn something new.

The class kicked off with some sugarpaste work including making a rose and using silicone moulds. We were shown how to make buttercream icing, and how to adjust the flavours and colours.

We were all shown some key piping techniques and then the fun began! Everyone was provided with 12 cupcakes in 3 different flavours (vanilla, chocolate and red velvet if you're interested!), and could use any of the sprinkles and extras available to decorate their cakes. As well as the sugarcraft pieces we made earlier.

While we decorated, we were also shown how to mix different colour icings and some palette knife icing techniques.

Then the only problem was carrying them home in one piece! I had a great time learning some new decorating techniques, and having a chance to try out some new ideas. I've since made and decorated cupcakes at home, and while they didn't look professional they have definitely improved!

This is the second class I've taken at Angel Food Bakery, after the Cake Pops class last December, and I highly recommend them. I've now got my eye on the French Macaroons class!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Things I Like Tuesday

  • A growing pile of granny squares
  • The countdown beginning for my birthday and Christmas
  • Getting to learn new things at work and being so busy the day flies past
  • Convincing myself I do have time to sew and bake after work
  • Brand new books and magazines
  • Meeting people I've always thought are awesome

Monday, 1 October 2012

Mollie Makes Christmas

At Renegade a few weeks ago Mollie Makes were selling their new (and first) book, Mollie Makes Christmas before its general release.

It's everything you would expect from Mollie Makes; beautiful photography, cute design details and of course amazing makes.

Some of my particular favourites include the felt wreath and the finger puppets. But there's plenty of things to try for sewers, crocheters and papercrafters.

The use of vintage looking Christmas designs on each page is a great touch, I want my presents to be wrapped in this stuff this year!

I'm trying not to get over excited about Christmas too early. But I'm keen to handmake a lot of presents this year, so the pressure is already on! I have a feeling this book is going to come in very handy.

The book is released generally on Thursday, you can read a little bit more about it here.
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