Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Love Lettuce


I've had a very hard day at work so I'm now relaxing with a Love Lettuce face mask from Lush that was a birthday present from Corinne. I've used it twice so far and I really like it. I'm usually a fan of Mask of Magnaminty because it isn't fresh so lasts a while, but I might treat myself to some more. You have to keep them in the fridge but that makes them feel even nicer when you put them on! Love Lettuce is very creamy and smells like lovely lavender. Yum. Plus you get to look like a funny green monster for 10 minutes!

Tonight I am off for a swim to get fit again.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Jammy dodgers, perfect with tea!


I made these jammy dodgers at the beginning of the week, in a bid to help use up my jam before it spoils. We don't really use that much jam really and I'm not sure how long it will last since it isn't full of preservatives or tightly sealed either, although the sugar should help keep it.

I used the teapot cookie cutter that Emma got me for my birthday and it turned out super cute.

Ingredients

225g self raising flour
100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

(for the buttercream)
150g butter
250/300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3. Rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Mix in the sugar, then slowly add the beaten egg until the dough comes together. Add the vanilla extract with the egg also.

3. Roll out the dough and cut out the biscuits. Cut a small flower or heart out of every other one, so the jam shows through when they're assembled. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

4. Take out when they are beginning to go slightly golden, then place on a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the buttercream. Add the icing sugar gradually until the mixture is at the right consistency.

5. Assemble the jammy dodgers! Spread the buttercream on the bottom biscuit, then spread jam ontop and place the biscuit with the small hole ontop. Enjoy!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lady Heyes


On Tuesday I went to Lady Heyes with Emma. It's hard to describe Lady Heyes exactly, it's a bunch of sheds that sell various things, such as antiques, books, pine furniture, candles, crafty stuff, etc. It's just outside Frodsham so is in the nice Cheshire countryside.

The Cheshire Book Centr
e is also there and it is amazing. The building (which is more of a barn than a shed really) is full from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor, with second hand books. I stupidly forgot to look at my reading list for next semester so I couldn't remember what books I needed and plus sometimes it is just too daunting the sheer number of books they have there. This is just a small selection of the penguin classics they have -

Amazing much? I came home only with this little frame with pinned butterflies in. The yellow butterfly is such a lovely colour! I'm planning on putting up lots of miscellaneous photo frames above my bed to replace the Sigur Ros rasterbation that has been there for about 3 or 4 years now.



Tomorrow I am back in work and after 4 days off and wonderful weather too, I really don't want to go back!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Things I've done lately


Last Wednesday I went to see Death Cab For Cutie with Corinne and they were amazing. Really, really good. It took me back to being 15 or 16 and listening to Transatlanticism and being amazed and emotional. Yesterday I bought the new album and have been listening to it lots, even if I do think 'I will possess your heart' is the creepiest song ever.

I went to watch a Midsummer Night's Dream with Scott on Thursday. It was on at Walton Hall in Warrington, outdoors! It had been raining all Thursday day so we were quite worried...but luckily it stopped raining for us. It was still rather cold but it was really lovely and enjoyable. I love A Midsummer Night's Dream, it was the first Shakespeare play I ever read in school, in year 8. It was put on by Heartbreak Productions and they were really good, the cast was only made up of 6 people yet they managed to pull it off very well!

I've also saw Kung Fu Panda with Corinne and Kathy and it was awesome. I love kids films. You don't need to concentrate very long and they're always very enjoyable. I also love the little jokes kids don't really get much, which I can now appreciate. It was better than Happy Feet, although Happy Feet was cuter really.

Then yesterday it was Scott's graduation! He got a 2:1 in Biology, and now can put Bsc (hons) after his name if he ever felt so inclined. Doesn't he look smart? It was so windy, but the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool is so beautiful. It makes me a bit jealous that I'm just graduating in the Philharmonic Hall next year.

Friday, 18 July 2008

easy homemade jam


I always thought making jam would be really hard and too fiddly to even bother. Just the thought of making jam conjures up images of WI meetings doesn't it? Well I saw Silvana Franco make jam on UKTV Food's Market Kitchen and was really surprised at how easy it seemed to make. No need to buy sieves, funnels, thermometers or any jam making kits! Maybe the Women's Institute just like to make us think it's very hard... It also helped to use up all those raspberries and strawberries I picked on Wednesday!


Ingredients
250g raspberries
250g strawberries
500g jam sugar (not just preserving sugar, you need the extra pectin in jam sugar for soft berries)
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 saucers in the fridge, cooled

Method

1. Place the fruit in a large sauce pan and heat on full until the juices start being released

2. Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil.


3. Boil continuously for approximately 10 minutes, then spoon a little bit onto a cool saucer to test if it's at setting point. Let it cool for a minute on the saucer, then push it slightly. If it's ready, it should wrinkle slightly.

4. Continue boiling if not quite set yet, or spoon into sterilised jars if ready. Seal with waxed discs or parchment paper and cover with fabric or a screw on lid. Cool thoroughly in the fridge overnight and enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

strawberry picking!


Today I went strawberry picking! I've got 2 days off work because the council workers are striking so I couldn't go in even though I don't belong to their union. I'm not that bothered really, I'm quite enjoying my two days off!

It's coming near the end of the strawberry season but we still managed to find a whole kilo's worth. We then picked raspberries as well and then made raspberry and strawberry jam from them, which is now setting. Tomorrow night I'm going to watch A Midsummer Night's Dream which I'm really excited about! We're going to eat scones with my homemade jam and cream.

Now I'm off to see Death Cab For Cutie!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake (or Death by Chocolate)


I didn't show you the cake that my Mum made for me did I?! Usually for birthdays I always make the cakes in our family, but of course my Mum wouldn't let me bake my own. Plus, I was already baking a cake for Scott's sister whose birthday is the day before mine. Well, there it is. Everyone who knows me knows I love chocolate, so of course a chocolate cake was the natural choice. It was actually a recipe from one of my own books, all chocolate recipes! We renamed it Death By Chocolate, we were all so full afterwards! So delicious though.

Ingredients
For the cake
180g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
330g caster sugar
4 eggs, seperated
110g self raising flour
35g cocoa powder
180ml buttermilk

For the chocolate filling
400g dark eating chocolate, melted
250g butter, melted
80g icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4/350F. Grease a 20cm cake tin and line with baking parchment.

2. Beat butter, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks on e at a time, until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk.

3. Beat egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into the cake mixture in 2 goes. Pour cake mix into prepared tin and bake from about 1 hour. Cool in cake tin.

4. Mix together ingredients for the chocolate filling. Split the cake into 3 layers (or two as we did!). Spread mixture onto middle and layer up and spread remaining filling over the outside of the cake. Refrigerate before serving, but allow to return to room temperature before serving.


Enjoy with a drizzle of cream! Don't eat too much though, this is a seriously chocolatey cake.




Things I am rather fond of at the moment


Feist on Sesame Street! So so cute. I wonder if she is their new replacement for the Count? He was pretty awesome but this is just too cute.


Sidney Lo's work which I first saw on I heart photograph, it's like a huge wardrobe remix project, yet with the same pose and background everyday and simple male clothes. This isn't just showing off your favourite outfits, but actually documenting everything he wore, which I wish I had the commitment to do.


My new remote for my D40! It should arrive tomorrow so then I'm going to play with long exposures minus camera shake and of course, self portraits!


Heart shaped sugar which sits on your cup! It would be perfect for a tea party.


Chumby! I noticed this on Apartment Therapy and was amazed by it. Basically it is a little gadget that links in with your wireless network and can be used as a clock, alarm (it can wake you up with your favourite online radio station!), digital photo album (linked up with flickr or whatever) and much more! You can read the news, check the weather, keep up to date with eBay auctions, check emails, facebook, myspace. Except all in a cute little ball instead of having to boot up your computer and take ages looking for it. I so want one. Sadly they don't ship outside the US at the moment.

Little chair project

My sister bought me a chair for my birthday which I did mention here but I've got round to painting it now.



It now looks like this! I'm going to re-upholster it also as the fabric is very dull and ripped. I went to Ikea on Thursday evening and bought this delightful fabric.



Now everyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love the colour yellow! And my room is white so I thought this would be lovely for it. I'm going to buy some gold trimming for around the edge of the seat and think it will make the best reading chair ever. I might also buy some yellow fabric and make a little cushion for my chair. I am quite enjoying this little project!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

recent outfits


I wore this last night to go out with friends into Liverpool. This is my dress of the moment, I've been wearing it so much! I love the shade of blue and the ruffles. It was from Miss Selfridges a few months ago.

I bought it shopping with Emma and hilariously got it stuck around my boobs because I hadn't undone enough buttons! Cue me going 'I'm stuck I'm stuck!' and Emma offering to help but the dress is hitched up around my boobs so I'm flashing my bum so I'm shouting 'But I'm half naked!'. I finally let her in because it was either let her see me in my underwear or have to be stuck in that dress forever.

The corsage was bought in the Topshop sale on Tuesday and I thought it just jazzed up the dress a bit although was a bit conscious that it looked like I'd just been to a wedding. Oh well, you can't beat yellow and blue together



Here is more yellow and blue together! I've been enjoying white vests or t-shirts tucked into skirts lately, worn with heels. These are my current favourite shoes, I love anything yellow! Sadly there is no amusing tale to tell about anything here..

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Cinnamon biscuits

What happens when I'm feeling poorly, have new cookie cutters and Scott is going to Alton towers tomorrow?

I bake biscuits of course! I was really bored and wanted to try out my new cookie cutters I got for my birthday, so I spent forever trying to find a decent biscuit recipe. I don't really bake biscuits very often, so was quite worried. They usually end up too crispy and thin and only good for dipping into tea.

But these were wonderful! I found them in an old Be-ro flour recipe leafet and they were just crispy enough yet soft and chewy in the middle. I adapted the recipe slightly and omitted the lemon and instead added cinnamon, because I am obsessed with cinnamon!



How cute are these jigsaw biscuits?!

Recipe

225g self raising flour
100g butter, diced and straight from the fridge
100g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
Cinnamon
Demerara sugar

(Preheat oven to gas mark 4, 350F, 180C)

1. Mix together the sugar and flour.

2. Rub the butter in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs

3. Add cinnamon to taste, and stri in sufficient beaten egg to create a stiff dough

4. Roll out the dough into a fairly thin layer and cut out your biscuits.

5. Stir together in a little cup 1 table spoon of cinnamon and 2 tsbp of demerara sugar and sprinkle over biscuits before puting them in the oven.

6. Cook for 10 minutes, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Enjoy them slightly hot!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Ms. Kidston

My mother called me 'Ms. Kidston' yesterday. I admit I do have quite a lot of Cath Kidston stuff! Scott bought me a weekend bag and also a passport cover and luggage tag. Then, my friend Corinne told that Tesco were doing Cath Kidston eco bags!



They cost £3.50 and are made from recycled plastic bottles. To be honest, I don't know why I bought one because I don't really do the food shopping. 50p goes to Marie Curie Cancer Care, a charity I recently raised £316 for by doing a Swimathon! So at least it was for a good cause. Coincidentally, I think the eco bag will make a perfect swimming kit bag, as it's slightly waterproof and pretty big!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

birthday breakfast

Today is my birthday! I've had a lovely day so far. Scott gave me his present last night, a huge Cath Kidston weekend bag for our holidays! Then I woke up this morning and opened some more presents off family. I received a new watch off my Mum, a junkshop chair from my sister that I'm going to do up and make fabulous and tickets to watch a Midsummer Night's Dream off Pepe (the dog!).

I went out for lunch with Emma and she gave me some wonderful cookie cutters that I shall have to test out soon. Now I am just waiting for family to come after work and we're going to have a little dinner/buffet thing, with scones and cake!

Monday, 7 July 2008

40's shoes

new shoes!

I received these lovely shoes from Topshop the other day. They remind me of wartime housewives, with victory curls in their hair and floral pinnies. They only cost £35 which is kind of cheap for Topshop now! You usually expect to pay at least £50 for a pair of leather high heels.

Tomorrow I am going shopping with Scott and plan on wearing them in a similar fashion to this Polyvore set I just made.

Except obviously minus the miu miu bag and the Luella t-shirt but hey, a girl can dream right? I am going to save up for a lovely bag though since I am working so much overtime at the moment. Whether or not my budget will stretch to a miu miu bag I am unsure. I like Mulberry Elgin's too. What would be your dream designer 'it' bag?

You can't say no forever (to blogs)

So I have ventured into the world of blogging! I think this will just be a general melting pot of everything that goes on in my head. I thought I would begin with some music I've been listening to lots lately.

Lacrosse - You Can't Say No Forever

I discovered Lacrosse thanks to my last.fm recommendations, as they obviously knew that I had a penchant for jangly, girly Swedish pop! I downloaded a few mp3s and immediately bought the album, 'This New Year Will Be For You And Me'. It is like a little ray of sunshine in this miserable british summer. If you like the Acid House Kings, I'm From Barcelona and other jangly indie pop, you'll love this!



Lykke Li - Dance Dance Dance



I first heard Lykke Li on 6 Music. She is Swedish, but not in the same kind of vein as Lacrosse. It is more mellow, electro female vocals. She is playing in Liverpool in October so I may attend that. She is slightly similar to fellow Swede Jenny Wilson, yet her vocals are higher and more delicate. It's really beautiful anyway. There's also a CSS remix of her current single that I downloaded from the music blog 'I am Fuel, You are Friends' which is pretty darn good.


Yelle - Ce Jeu


Sometimes music just sounds better in a foreign language doesn't it? Yelle is proof of this. I absolutely love french singing! I attempt to sing along but really all I do is make similar sounding noises. This opener from her album Pop Up is fabulous and perfect for dancing around to while getting ready. Scott first introduced me to Yelle, as a Tepr remix of 'A Cause De Garcons' was on the last Kitsune Maison compilation and was rather good, especially because the only words we knew to it was 'na na na na MARIE CLAIRE!' which provided us with great amusement. Others may be more successful at singing along with the French, but either way it is simply great music.
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Now I am sadly having to go into work. This morning Pepe my dog was very ill and feeling sorry for himself. He had a terrible cough and woke me up at 7:30 by jumping on my bed and curling up with me. He then proceeded to cough up phlegm and just wasn't himself. So my Mum and I took him to the vet and they said he has a bit of a chest infection. He had 2 injections there and then will be on a course of antibiotics for a week from tomorrow. I hope he gets better! At least I am off work tomorrow and Wednesday, then Wednesday is my birthday :)

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