Sunday, 29 January 2012

Coffee & Walnut Birthday Cake

Recently my dad celebrated his birthday (I won't tell you the age!), and with him being a huge coffee lover, I made him this coffee and walnut cake from Nigella's 'Kitchen'. Funnily enough, at first the only coffee I could find was his extremely fragrant Starbucks coffee I bought him as a present, so I had to use some of that! Thankfully I found a cheaper brand to use in the icing.

Regardless, the icing turned out totally gorgeous and thick. Ironically, it was the cake itself which didn't taste quite coffee-ish enough... but the walnut chunks in the sponge added a lovely touch.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My new obsession .

Jeans aren’t often my first choice when it comes to bottoms. Recently however I have discovered the beauty of a perfect fitting pair of jeans. They not only flatter, but are warm and go with almost anything. I have had fun re-discovering what works well with jeans – and my favourite combination is a simple (and new!) leopard print cardigan. I love to wear it done up with jeans and boots. No fuss, no complication just easy style. I’ve also recently bought a new lacy crop top from topshop. I love the intricate details of lace, and although I like it with these jeans I think a pair of high-waisted jeans would compliment it perfectly. I now know the next investment piece for my closet!

Kisses .x

Leopard print cardigan; Next.

Lace top and Jeans; Topshop.

Putting together all my new favourite key pieces!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Highland Fling

One big trend for A/W11 was that folksy highland moors look; checks, tartan, fur, wool, pom poms, tassels, the lot. Wearing tartan always reminds me of when I was younger, as I had a little red cardigan and tartan skirt I used to wear which were adorable. To this day, I am drawn to the print - plus the deep red reminds me of Christmas, my favourite time of year.

This January I teamed it with a foxtail-look collar (possibly the cosiest scarf EVER), a beautiful pendant (a birthday present from my dear friend Eliot, featured in our menswear post last year), new chunky fur-lined boots and my only designer piece - my Unique mittens.


Dress and collar, ASOS; pendant, Topshop; mittens, Unique @ Topshop; boots, Blink @ Zigzag; tights, unknown. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lemony Birthday Cake

Publishing this delicious cake is long overdue, as I made it last September! Nonetheless, here it finally is - the birthday cake I made my dear friend Charlotte. The lemon sponge and frosting recipe was taken from a cupcake recipe in The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, but the two sponges were sandwiched together with lemon curd and whipped cream, as advised in Nigella Lawson's recipe for lemon meringue cake in her fabulous book 'Feast'.

This turned out to be one of those rare cakes that is delightfully light, and thus extremely moreish. Both Charlotte and I have a love of lemon and this was just another wonderful use of the flavour to the max.

My next target? Lemon meringue pie...


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

My new coat.

Okay, so I'll admit, my coat isn't really that new any more. I bought it back in October, however due to our funny English weather, I didn't really get the chance to wear it until recently. It is only this week that I have woke up to a cold morning frost, and this morning was the first time I really needed to snuggle in my coat. I love the style and fitting of this duffle coat, it hangs perfectly (and it is the perfect shape to pose in!) and the 80 percent wool really keeps you warm. Practical and stylish.

kisses .x

 Coat: Topshop, Scarf: Hat: River Island
Side view of coat.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Ok, so maybe they came under the Christmas section in The Hummingbird Bakery's book 'Cake Days'... but gingerbread is delicious any time of year, as far as I'm concerned!

The recipe suggested using tiny gingerbread man shapes, but we happened to have a box of little gingerbread men in the house to use up, which looked equally adorable. My friend Ray and I didn't have enough to cover them all though, so we added crushed ginger nut biscuits.

These went down massively well; the only problem for me was the overpowering lemon in the frosting. We decided adding a little more zest than advised probably wouldn't do any harm, but for me, it masked the warm spicy flavours within the cake itself.

Or maybe I just dolloped too much frosting onto my ones...


Weighing out black treacle

Frosting the cupcakes

Ray and I, icing away!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Marchesa Spring 2012 Collection

Just like Blake Lively, I have fallen head over heels for Marchesa. (She has recently been seen wearing Marchesa at the BAFTA’s and at the gossip girl’s 100th episode celebration).  If I could, I would get married in one of their gowns. Marchesa’s Spring 2012 collection is full of fairy-tale gowns in pale pastel colours, decorated with sparkling beading and dreamy ruffles. They just scream to me good old fashioned glamour, and who doesn’t love a bit of glamour?

Can you guess which one is my favourite? And which ones are yours?

kisses .x

Okay, so I couldn’t keep it a secret, I absolutely love this dress, my favourite by far!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A look ahead... S/S 2012

I have been reading, people. I have been silently searching, subtly browsing the new collections, investing in a bit of research. And I have a feeling I know what's coming next season.

Sorry to say, from what I've seen so far, there doesn't appear to be anything massively revolutionary. There are hints at that sports luxe trend - new ways of wearing heavy materials when trying to be practical. Hmmm. Sparkles are still big, but teamed with brights as opposed to all that black, making last year's summer wardrobe come in useful.

What has seen a sneaky return is the print. From garish to minute, floral to paisley. Stella McCartney has a penchant for both dogtooth and tropical flowers, and on the high street, I was pleasantly surprised to see some extremely edgy printed pieces from River Island. Topshop, of course, is doing me proud.

Here are some of my favourites from those two stores.

What are your S/S 12 predictions?


Topshop, £30

River Island, £20

River Island, £20

Topshop, £28
River Island, £20

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Divine Caramel Slices

I once made caramel slices several years ago, but I became impatient waiting for the middle to solidify, and added the melted chocolate too soon. The tops of the slices became a sticky (but still yummy) mess. However, having made these, I must tell you - it is worth waiting!

These ones were taken from the book 'Blissful Brownies' published by Marks and Spencer. I admit I was skeptical as to how well they would turn out - it takes a while to simmer the caramel mixture and I was worried I had overdone it. But I need not have feared.

What made this tearoom favourite so divine was the thickness of each layer. I could have eaten that caramel on its own! The only change I would make would be to melt milk chocolate for the topping instead of dark. Then, for me, they would have been completely irresistible.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Christmassy Candles

Happy new year! I am pleased to say I finally have some time on my hands - for baking, making and most importantly posting! Sorry for all the non-posts recently, I didn't realize quite how hectic teacher training is! Thanks to this I struggled with Christmas presents this year, however hobbycrafts idea web page easily sorted some of them out. I made these Christmassy candles using inexpensive church candles and some cinnamon sticks. They were very easy to make, you just elastic band the sticks around the candle and put it all in the microwave for about 30 secs. Then you take the bands off and decorate - creating a very simple, home-made but elegant Christmas present. Did you make any home-made gifts this year?