Monday, 29 April 2013

New Baking Addition

Recently my kitchen has seen a shiny new addition. I always wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer, and when we were given the chance to have one I jumped at it. Well, strictly speaking the mister jumped at it and I found out when it was sitting in our kitchen!

I normally end up taking endless amounts of photos of everything I bake, from every possible angle. Hilarously for my very first bake with my new mixer I have just one. I barely got that before it was devoured. It was a choc orange cake, that I blogged about here, so we can all just imagine it looked like that!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Crafty Magazine

While I was at the Knitting & Stitching Show I picked up a copy of Crafty Magazine, and it has now been released generally. 

It came with a beautifully presented free gift, calico fabric. And then there were ideas for what you could do with it in the magazine.

As well as some lovely tutorials (the pumps customisations are awesome), there are interviews accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.
 The diary in the What's On section has some cute suggestions. Everyone remember to look on the bright side on the 15th May!
 There were also some great articles on grafitti and vintage cameras, all with beautiful photography.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty cool magazine. There were several projects I will definitely be trying out, books I've added to my Amazon wishlist and blogs added to my favourites. If you're a fan of Mollie Makes (and I struggle to find people who aren't) then you will probably like Crafty too. Although they are perhaps too similar to read both regularly.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show

Last weekend I headed off to yet another craft show. I clearly can't get enough of them! This time it was the turn of the Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show. It had the usual mix of stalls selling all manner of crafty goodies. The dinosaur above was part of the Decopatch display, and yes they are cupcakes on his back. 

There was also a small display of costumes from Jane Austen screen adaptations including Colin Firth's outfit from that Mr Darcy scene.

This show also featured a catwalk show, showcasing design by fashion college students as well as fabrics and patterns available from stalls at the show. I thought this was a great idea, I saw a lot of people heading for the pattern bar to buy straight after the show. 

I couldn't resist this beautiful fabric, it's ridiculously summery!

If I was forced to choose, I think I preferred the Knitting & Stitching Show. There were more stalls there that appealed to me, and it seemed a bit bigger/less busy. But both are great days out, especially if you fancy some pretty new crafty materials or even a brand new hobby!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

What Will I Remember

I've been thinking quite a bit recently about doing things I will remember. Especially when it comes to how I spend my money. I know that I will remember a holiday longer than it takes my tan to fade, or a new camera longer than it takes to edit the photos. I'll certainly remember them longer than I will my morning hot chocolate or a cheeky lunch out.

But making those decisions in the moment is much harder. It's tricky to think of summer sun when Starbucks is calling my name on a chilly morning. So I'm trying to remind myself of what I want to remember, and the answer is not 250 hot chocolates (yes, I did the maths and that's probably how many I drink a year).

Magazines for 1 month = sewing workshop

Hot chocolate every morning for 2 months = return ticket to Edinburgh

Shop brought lunches for 3 months = week in Ibiza

Daily can of coke for a year = second hand DSLR

When I write it out like that it doesn't seem like there's a decision at all. I know I'm not going to give them up entirely but just need some more moderation. So I'm making a concerted effort to spend my money on the necessities and save for those big things I want so much.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Things I Like Tuesday

  • The sun finally shining!
  • Exciting weekend plans
  • Still having Easter chocolate left
  • Pretty fabrics and even prettier buttons

Monday, 8 April 2013

Sare vs the Supermarkets: ASDA

Wandering around a supermarket the other day I realised the crazy amount of baking ingredients you can now buy. Including eggs specifically for cakes, seriously? And I started to wonder how much difference the ingredients made, both for the baking experience and the eating experience.

So I baked two cakes with the same recipe, cake tin, oven, scales. In theory there shouldn't have been any difference between them at all.

First up, ASDA own brand ingredients vs branded ingredients.

 All the ingredients were ASDA own brand, except sugar. Sugar is pretty much sugar so supermarkets don't tend to bother with their own versions of it.
This is the cake straight out of the tin, there was some sticking but generally the cake was cooked evenly and in the expected time.

 The sponge itself was quite crumbly but not so bad that it couldn't be handled.

 The finished article!

 Ingredients used for the branded ingredients cake. These were just what I happened to have in my cupboard, not picked for any specific reason. But they are brands that you can find pretty much anywhere.

This is the cake straight out of the tin, again some slight sticking but not as bad.
The sponge was slightly denser than the ASDA one, and was slightly less of an even bake. 

 The finished article!

Baking wise, I didn't notice a great deal of difference between the two cakes. They both stuck slightly but generally I was happy with both. If I was forced to pick, I would go with the branded ingredients by a whisker. The mister (as my official cake tester) blind tested both cakes for taste, and he picked the ASDA cake as the best tasting. The branded cake felt slightly heavier to eat (although he happily munched away on both!)

For me, baking is all about the taste so I think it's a win for the ASDA ingredients this time!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Easter Weekend

I caught the lurgy in the week before Easter and I was pretty much useless for an entire week. Even eating and moving seemed like too much effort most of the time! But by the time Easter weekend hit I was back and raring to go.

I spent the weekend at home with my family, generally chilling out and eating way too much chocolate! My Mum likes to go to town a little bit with decorating for holidays so I spent quite a lot of time taking photos too.

My only complaint has to be the crazy weather. Snow on Easter Sunday? What happened to Spring??

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Sow Sare: April

Allotment at first

I really don't need any more hobbies, I barely have time to breathe as it is. But I am now the proud tenant of an allotment! We were on the waiting list for almost 3 years before one became available but it was worth the wait.
Allotment after 1 afternoon there

The site was a mess, covered in grass, brambles and random rubbish. But we have worked really hard to get it all cleared out, and we are almost at the point where we can plant some seedlings.
Allotment currently

I'm not going to be nattering on about it all the time, but I thought it would be nice to record our progress. So say hello to a new monthly feature, Sow Sare (see what I did there!). Hopefully in a few months time I will be able to show off what we have grown.

Friday, 5 April 2013

3 ways to wear: Hi-top Wedges

I'm really really bad at taking outfit photos. I normally have no time at all before work, and end up in my pyjamas at the end of the day before I remember I haven't taken any photos. So I apologise now for the slightly tired face in some of these photos, I can't promise that will improve but I'll give it a go!

Anyway, these little beauties are my new favourite things in the world. Super comfortable, I can even run for a train in them, while still giving me that little bit extra heels always give.

Outfit 1: Pretty in Pink
Pink sweatshirt - Primark
Skull earrings - Accesorize
Black skirt - Miss Selfridge(years ago!)
Nails: Nails Inc Shoreditch

Outfit 2
Grey sweatshirt - Primark
Denim shorts - Debenhams
Necklace - Tatty Devine

Outfit 3
Grey t-shirt - H&M
Cardigan - H&M
Jeans - Topshop
Nails - Rimmel Aqua Cool 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

April is for...

  • Best friend’s running marathons
  • Allotment planting
  • Easter fun with my family
  • Slightly warmer days and slightly longer evenings
  • Chocolate! 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Easter Biscuits

So it was raining and I was bored. The obvious answer to this is to bake something. I had seen a recipe in the latest Sweet magazine for chocolate Easter biscuits, all beautifully decorated. Small problem, I didn't have all the ingredients, or many relevant cookie cutters. 

So, the biscuits became gingerbread. I managed to dig out a rabbit and an Easter egg shaped cookie cutter. I found some writing icing in my baking cupboard, although only green and yellow were really left.
And these are the results. Maybe not the best looking biscuits I've ever made but they taste pretty good. As a bonus, it wasn't raining when they were finished!

If you did fancy making your own, I would recommend Sweet for lots of Easter/spring time/pretty recipes. Or buy this gorgeous tin of biscuits from Biscuiteers. I've actually now got my eye on this Bird of Paradise Easter egg as well.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Easter Week!

So I thought I would have a bit of an Easter week here on the blog, usual style posts just with an Easter twist. Very original I know!

Here's a couple of sneak peeks for what's to come.

First things first though, tuck into some yummy chocolate!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Date Night Geek Style: Science Museum

The mister and I are massive geeks so when I discovered he had never been to the Science Museum I needed to change that. And quickly. I must have been there about 1000 times when I was younger, and knew his inner geek would adore it.

This artwork is made up of layers of different materials; wood, metal, fabric, plastics. It looked incredible!
1. Josh playing a game (what's new?) 2. Old school computer tech 3. DNA discovery changing our futures

If you haven't been then basically it's 6 floors packed full of scientific discoveries, some going back to Roman times. Most of it is pretty awesome, although the history of dentistry stuff creeps me out a bit. 
1. Chromosome floor tiles 2. Original Ford 3. Space exhibits 4. Stephenson's rocket

One of my favourites exhibits is the Making of the Modern World. The whole space is packed full of things that have shaped our lives. Some are huge, like cars and trains and space shuttles, and some are pretty small, cutlery and CD's and medicines.

And of course, there's room of lots of sewing related inventions. I spied this Singer sewing machine, and some lovely vintage patterns tucked between a lawnmower and power tools. There were also several looms and other more industrial sewing tech to find. 

Loads of the exhibits are really interactive with games and quizzes everywhere. The Who Am I exhibit focuses on genetics (one of my specialisms at uni), including a series of quizzes on personality and preferences. The pics above are me and Josh built up through our quiz answers. I wish I had also taken a photo of us aged to about 70. Truly hilarious! 
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