Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 January 2013

What's on your list?

Photo credit: Typography Served

Happy New Year! I know we're a bit late to the party, but January is not over yet!

I'm not really one for making New Year's resolutions - I'm all about under promising and over-delivering - vague things like, "I should exercise more" and "I'm going to try and be punctual" mean I almost always reach my goal! However, the past few weeks have got me thinking about what I really want out of this year and my list goes a little something like this...

1. I will bake more

I adore baking and get a lot of joy out of it, but I don't do it often enough. This year, I'm going to aim to bake two new things a month (be that biscuits, cakes, tarts, desserts - as long as it is something I'd like to eat, it qualifies!).  Husband, get ready to take treats in to work!

2. I will commit to 3 work-outs a week

Now this is a scary one for me - as much as I try, I can't seem to enjoy exercise. I like the idea of it and the way I feel afterwards, but I count down the minutes/seconds/nano-seconds until it's over. Mostly, I just like the idea of having a toned bod. So for 2013, my aim is to do some form of exercise at least 3 times a week (it can be a walk, run, DVD, exercise sheet - as long as it gets me moving). I'm dreading it already... if I can't learn to love it, hopefully I can learn to tolerate it!

3. I will read more books

I love reading and I'd like to broaden my reading horizons in 2013. I'm going to choose 12 books to read before the end of the year (the only criteria is that they can't be chick-lit - my standard go-to read!). As this is my list, I also get to decide what constitutes chick-lit... :)

4. I will be more creative

I am a Pinterest addict. I can spend hours poring over ideas and crafts which lead me to new websites and blogs. There are so many clever and talented people out there and I am always so inspired by what I come across. Last year, I made a Christmas bauble wreath. I had wanted to make one for a long time and throughly enjoyed it. So this year I would like to put a bit more of the 'Oooh, I'd like to make that' into action. I'm setting myself a goal of creating something new every month, using Pinterest as my inspiration. I'll be sure to document my successes (and those that aren't so successful!) on the blog. 

5. I will relax more

I want to stress less in 2013. Last year was a busy and emotional one for me. This year will be more about me finding time for myself, saying 'no' when I need to, spending quality time with my husband and friends, appreciating life and living in the moment.

What's on your list for 2013?


Monday, 28 May 2012

Jubilee Garden Party Part 3

What is a party without a puffy paper pom pom? 

When I was planning my own wedding I spent many, many hours poring over inspiring blogs with creative ‘how-to’s’. It made me want to DIY everything – stationery, food, décor, my veil. I was constantly amazed at the perfect Martha Stewart-esque weddings created from nothing but tissue paper, coloured card and double-sided tape! 

Of all the DIY tutorials I came across, the tissue paper pom poms were my favourite – so light, so fluffy, so dreamy.

Sadly I didn’t end up making these for my wedding (the most I DIY-ed was the labels for our favour table – my brilliant mum and mum-in-law did the rest!). 

Our Jubilee Garden Party has given me the perfect excuse to make them. The best bit? They’re easy peasy lemon squeezy! 

Note: Please excuse the fuzzy iPhone pictures - I can assure you that these look spectacular in real life!

How to make: Tissue Paper Pom Poms 

Step 1: 
Lay 12 sheets of tissue paper flat on the table (most tutorials suggest eight, but I think 12 gives you a fluffier result!). Make (roughly) 3.5cm wide accordion folds, creasing with each fold (so it looks like a fan). 

Step 2: 
Cut a (roughly) 30cm piece of steel wire or florist’s wire (I used garden wire because that’s all I could get hold of!). Then fold your accordion-folded tissue paper in half (to find the centre). Wrap the wire around the middle and twist it to secure it (tightly, but not so tightly that it rips). Wrap the ends of the wire so it creates a loop. 

Step 3: 
Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim the ends of the tissue paper stack (into either round or pointy shapes). I personally prefer pointy. 

Step 4: 
Lay your pom pom on a flat surface and very gently separate the layers – the tissue paper tears easily, so be patient. Pull it out from the bottom, as near to the wire as you can get. 

Step 5: 
Tie a piece of clear fishing wire or ribbon onto the hook and hang it from the ceiling. Ta da!

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Friday First

Fridays are our absolute fave and this Friday is no exception. 

Today we are so excited to present you with a little sneak peek of our very FIRST real wedding post from the lovely Michelle. Yes we are officially doing a happy dance!

Surrounded by their favourite people, our beautiful bride walked down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams, in their hometown of Harare in Zimbabwe. 

Michelle created this adorable Love Story for each guest to read in the chapel - which we absolutely love. Keep a look out for Michelle and Marc's wedding post (and lots of planning tips and details) which will be online soon! We can't wait to share it with you!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Jubilee Garden Party Part 2

"After all, what is your host's purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." - P.J. O'Rourke

This week we created our guest list (hand-picked for their scintillating conversation and general loveliness - but mostly for their photogenic features... they are going to appear on the blog after all!) and sent out our invitations.

We've included a few of our favourites below if you are still looking for some invitation inspiration:

Above left: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tea Party Invitations (free printable) via the lovely Lyndsay at All Things Handmade
Above right: Bunting Party Invitations via
Bottom left: Jubilee Modern Vintage Designs (Iris Art Designs) via Folksy
Bottom right: Prepare to Party (Really Good Card Company) via John Lewis

And finally, the "green" version we sent out using Paperless Post. Fit for a Queen (or at the very least, a Duchess)!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Good treats come to those who wait...

Tonight I bring you another recipe from my lovely mum. 

This is a true labour of love - it took me a good few hours to make these babies on Saturday. The actual recipe is a breeze and you can mix up the dough and make the icing in half an hour - it's the rolling of the dough into 170 (yes, 170!) little balls that is time consuming.

But believe me when I tell you that these melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are worth the effort. If you've got a bit of time on your hands (and have a few episodes of Smash to catch up on), then do yourself a favour and get rolling!

I think these are a great idea for gifts and they would make sweet party favours (if you can possibly allow yourself to share, of course!).

Custard Biscuits

340g (375ml) butter
100g (200ml) icing sugar, sifted
5ml vanilla essence
325g (625 ml) cake flour
175g (350ml) custard powder
20ml baking powder
Pinch salt

Butter icing:
250g icing sugar
125g butter
5ml vanilla essence

Biscuits method:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Cream the butter and icing sugar together.
  2. Add the vanilla essence and mix well. Sieve dry ingredients together.
  3. Mix in with the butter and sugar mixture and knead to a smooth dough. Shape dough into even size round balls (slightly bigger than a big pea). 
  4. Place on a greased baking sheet and press down slightly with a fork. Leave enough space between dough balls for biscuits to spread and rise.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until straw-coloured and crisp. 
  6. Remove from oven and leave to cool on baking sheet.
Butter icing method: 
  1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. The longer you beat, the lighter and fluffier the icing will become.
Sandwich biscuits with butter icing and enjoy. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Scrumptious Sunday

The delicious smell of baking always reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons at home. My mum is an incredible baker - puddings, cakes, biscuits, tarts - you name it, she can bake it! For as long as I can remember, she has spoilt the family with yummy treats and I loved nothing more than helping her in the kitchen.

When I was 10 years old I entered a baking competition. I made an orange cake with orange icing (original, I know); but more surprisingly, I won! The prize was a bag full of baking goodies and R100 in cash (about £10 in those days) - how cool was I? I was ridiculously pleased with myself and so the baking bug had bitten...

Fast forward a few years and I still get great enjoyment out of baking. Luckily my husband has a sweet tooth and is only too happy to taste-test my efforts!

On Sunday I decided to try the Hummingbird Carrot Cake (with the addition of pineapple) and I think it's possibly one of the tastiest cakes I've eaten!

Cake kisses,
Nicky x

Carrot cake ingredients:

300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon (plus extra to decorate)
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
200g carrots (grated)
100g pineapple chunks (crushed) - the recipe doesn't include this but i
100g chopped walnuts (plus extra whole to decorate)

Cream cheese icing ingredients:

400g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter (at room temp)
200g cream cheese, cold

Cake method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF).
  2. Mix the sugar, eggs and oil together with a hand mixer.
  3. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in the walnuts, pineapple chunks and grated carrots by hand until they are properly mixed.
  5. Pour the mixture into three greased and lined tins and smooth with a spoon (make sure you line the tins as the cake tends to stick). Bake in the pre-heated oven (170ºC) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning onto a wire rack. 
* I only have two tins so washed and re-used one of the tins once the first batch was done.

Cream Cheese icing method:
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter with a hand mixer. Add the cream cheese (in one go) and beat until completely incorporated.
  2. Continue beating on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Take care not to over beat as it can become runny quite quickly.
Assembling the cake:

When the cakes are cool, place one on a cake stand and spread about a quarter of the icing over it. Repeat with the other two layers. Spread the remaining icing over the sides. Decorate with chopped walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.