Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Blooming Heirlooms: My Heirloom Bouquet

OK I admit it, when it came to wedding planning I was 'putting off' a visit to the florists. I can't put my finger on why, but every time I turned around I'd found a new alternative to using actual flowers. So when the first florists quote for the shower bouquet I'd had my eye on came back as something extortionate, I was reminded of the new trend adorning every Wedding Magazine this year: Heirloom bouquets. Recycling old buttons and broaches into a lovely lasting display that I will be able to keep forever and maybe hand on to my daughter one day.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Opening Ceremony : Cupcakes and Pizza

As it's the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympic games, so I went a bit Olympic ring crazy with a little batch of cupcakes this morning :)

We're letting the kids stay up to watch the ceremony - hopefully they'll crash out before we do but as they're currently hyper running around waving Union Jacks I suspect they may last longer than us!
Even tonight's pizza got the Olymic treatment, with red, yellow & green pepper, olives and red onion (tinted blue with food colouring).

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cards: Happy Birthday Olivia

A quick update to wish my friend's little girl a happy 3rd Birthday, haven't had much time to make card lately so was great to get stuck back in.
The card basically designed itself organically as I went along, had I planned this layout from the begining I might have gone with a fancier font and lower placement but it turned out pretty and girly just right for a lovely 3 year old girl.

Cranberry and Pumpkins Seed Flapjack

With this beautiful weather you may think I've gone a little crazy for making this comfort food snack in the blazing sunshine, but after experiencing a 'cranberry and seed slice' at a little cafe on site at Pendennis Castle while on holiday I just had to try and replicate the sensational taste.
I took my basic flapjack recipe and played around with it to make these lovely slices, I hope they do the original justice.
250g/9oz Butter
85g/3oz Light Muscovado sugar
175g/6oz Golden Syrup
350g/12 oz Porridge Oats
½ tsp Baking Powder
50g/2oz Sunflower Seeds
25g/1oz Pumpkin Seeds
25/1oz Dried Cranberries
85g/3oz Pumpkin Seeds
85g/3oz Dried Cranberries
2 tbs Golden Syrup

Preheat oven to 170°C (350°F, gas mark 4, non fan 180°C).

Butter and line a 9 x 9 inch baking tin.
Melt butter, Sugar and syrup in a pan on a low heat.
Stir into the Oats and add the baking powder, Cranberries and Pumpkin seeds.
Tin into the baking tin, pushing down into the corners and smoothing down with a spoon.
Baking for 20-25 mins or until edges start to brown.
Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out onto a chopping board, dividing into 8 long slices. Leave to fully cool on a wire tray.
For the topping, mix the golden syrup, into the cranberries and pumpkin seeds, coat well, and scatter over the cut flapjack.
It turned out beautifully, here it is in the tin, out in the sunshine.
With the green and red colours I think these would be perfect at Christmas but taste great all year. And for all the added nutritional value from the seeds, oats and cranberries I probably won't be working out the calorie count on these ;)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wedding Stationary: Placenames

One of the 'surprises' we had in store for our wedding guests on the big day were these personalised place names.

Yup, it was a crazy idea to try to find a photo of all of our 64 adult guests, but somehow we managed it - thank goodness for facebook!

We also bought 101 purple napkins and had the venue pocket fold them around individual menu cards, and as the theme colour was 'cadbury's purple' we couldn't resist cadbury's miniatures for our favours.

{as we couldn't take our own photos on the day photo credit here belongs to my dear friends Laura & Claire}

Wedding: First photos

The first of many wedding posts. Thought I'd share a couple of photos taken by friends at the wedding.
 It was such a fabulous day, surrounded by our dearest family and friends. And it was so satisfying to see all the planning and projects come together to create a truly unique and personal day.

And a sneak peak of the finished heirloom Bouquet on the way down the Aisle with my Dad.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Farewell Ladybugs :: Ladybird Cupcakes

Today was the last day of our playgroup, and I was sad to see it close. But we went out on a high with a teddy bears picnic (indoors due to this damp 'British Summer').
We've barely unpacked from the wedding, but somehow I found an hour yesterday to make this appropriately themed cupcakes.  

The base is my basic sponge recipe, with strawberry icing (adapted from Claire Ptak's perfect strawberry cupcake recipe) and these cute sugar paste ladybirds.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Here comes the Bride Biscuits!!

As I can't actually share any of the wedding prep with you for fear of spoiling the surprise for all our guests, I'm quite pleased to able to share these biscuits - A little favour I've made for my pre-wedding family dinner tonight.

Originally I quite fancied the idea of using biscuits as place names, but with 80 guests I didn't think I've have the time or the patience.

I used my basic 'cookie cutter' biscuit recipe:

250g plain flour
125g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
2. Add the egg and vanilla little by little.
3. Sift in half the flour, mix, and then add the rest.
4. Knead the dough until smooth.
5. Wrap the bowl in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.
6. Pre heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/4 (170ºC fan).
7. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, to about a 5mm thickness.
8. Use your cutters to cut out shapes (intricate shapes may transport better if you lift the cookie with the cutter on your pallet knife).
9. Put your shapes on trays lined with baking parchment.
10. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Leave to cool on the trays.
12. Ice Once cooled.

I opted for a few different icing styles (the pink are my first attempts at drop-in icing), but for the majority I used my cutter to cut white regal icing to the exact shape, which I attached with royal icing, I then made flower impressions on top using my daisy cutters, and brushed some regal icing on the tips of the petals for detail.
They aren't perfect, but they were cathartic to make and look lovely now I've bagged and ribboned them.

Happy Birthday Alex : An Eric Carle inspired card

Yesterday was my friend's little boy's birthday. He just turned 1 and has a smile that could light up a room :)

He (and his Mummy) love The Very Hungry Caterpillar books so I created this Eric Carle Inspired card just for him. It has raised dots on top of the dotty background and I even punched a hole out of the corner where the caterpillar might have taken a bite.

I loved making this card, not made any for a while with the wedding preparations ... and on that subject, I can't believe I'M GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW!!!