Tuesday, 9 March 2010

On my love of polka dots

friday - shopping & lunch date


39/365


Fridays


today

tuesday


going to the theatre


Yes, I do have an immense love for polka dots. I always knew it, but it came even more obvious to me when my friend was telling me she was describing me to someone who might have known me and she said 'You know, Helen, wears lots of polka dots and red'. Yes, that is how people identify me, through my love of polka dots and the colour red. I can't explain why, but I am enamoured by polka dots. I just can't get enough of them. Below is a mini-wishlist of polka dot items I would rather like to own. 


dotty

1. Cardigan from Dorothy Perkins
2. Playsuit from Miss Selfridge
3. Dress from Dorothy Perkins
4. Cupcake cases from Squires Kitchen
5. Shorts from Topshop
6. Brooch from Miss Selfridge
7. Dress from French Connection
8. Teacup from Dotcomgiftshop
9. Cullotes from Dorothy Perkins

Do you have a love for a certain pattern? I love florals and stripes too, but I don't think my love for them quite matches my love for polka dots. 

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Chocolate cupcakes

I just wanted to share with you the recipe for the Hummingbird Bakery's chocolate cupcakes. I have made these so many times and they never fail. The cake is so soft and moist, and the icing is perfect.

64/365

I made these on Saturday, for Scott to take to his friends. Hence the blue cupcake wrappers and non-girly sprinkles haha. I love that shade of blue though, I think it looks very pleasing next to the deep brown. These cases are my favourite ever, they are from Squires Kitchen. They may be more pricer than regular cases, but they are so much thicker and the colour does not just disappear once the cakes have been baked. They've just started doing mini cupcake cases, something that I am also just venturing into, so I MUST buy some.

chocolate cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles

I have made this recipe numerous times and it never fails. The results are always consistent (the icing may look like different shades, but this is because of using different cocoa or the lighting, the taste is always consistent and beautifully chocolatey)


Cakes
Ingredients


100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml milk
1 egg
few drops of vanilla extract


Method


1. Preheat the oven to 170c, gas mark 3. 


2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt & butter in a bowl and beat together on a slow speed (either using a handheld electric whisk or a stand mixer) until everything is mixed evenly and it has a sandy texture. 


3. Whisk the egg, milk & vanilla together then pour half into the dry mixture and mix together on a slow speed. Then add the remaining mixture and beat on a medium/high speed until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down any remaining dry mixture from the sides, then beat together one final time. Be careful not to overbeat the mixture, as this will make the cake stodgy. 


4. Spoon into 12 paper cases, then bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. They are done when the sponge bounces back when touched, or you can use the old skewer cake test just to check they're completely done. 


Icing
Ingredients


300g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temp. 
40g cocoa powder
40ml milk


Method


1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together in a mixer or with an electric whisk, until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. 


2. With the mixer on a slow speed, add the milk a few drops at a time. Once the milk is all incorporated, turn the mixer up onto high. Beat the icing for at least 5 minutes (the longer you beat it for, the lighter and fluffier it will become). 


3. Pipe onto cupcakes and enjoy!


P.S. For those of you who asked for an icing tutorial, I will try to do one over Easter when I have more time. For now though, I recommend Lakeland's professional piping set and their get a grip piping bags. Definitely worth the small investment


Thursday, 4 March 2010

New handbag ♥

48/365

new handbag

peek inside new bag

A new handbag pleases me so much. Perhaps too much. So much so that it fills me up with guilt. I bought this handbag the other week and instantly felt guilty. It was before pay-day and I was quite cash strapped so felt that it was a bit of an impulse buy. This is despite the fact that I had only said a few days before that I need a new bag for Uni! I am far too sensible for my own good sometimes. However, I was with my sister who will always manage to convince me to buy a handbag or shoes, unlike my Mother, the voice of reason. This bag is an Ollie & Nic bag, but I bought it from TK Maxx for the bargain price of £30! It was supposed to be £70, which would have most definitely been excessive (in my opinion). I've used it pretty much everyday since, it has so many different compartments and is big enough for me to lug everything around in. It also has a really pretty lining.

I love Ollie & Nic though, they make such pretty accessories. They've recently opened a shop in Liverpool and everything is so pretty, even the store d├ęcor.

ollieandniccollage

After a little mooch around their website, I made this collage of pretty things I would rather like, please. I especially love the leather satchel, it's £85 which I think is rather reasonable for a leather satchel, but sadly still too much for my measly budget. In the meantime, I will keep my eye out for it in TK Maxx or on sale. Gotta love a bargain!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Where did February go?

Seriously. I know it is the shortest month but it still went way too fast for my liking. I missed 1 day of my 365 but I jumped straight back onto it. I'm going to try my very best with it in March. I go on holiday to visit family in Valencia on the 21st, so that should produce some interesting photos. February has been interesting - I started running again, gave up, baked lots of cakes (as usual), went on the duck tours of Liverpool, started a new job, read lots of books. It got rather boring and busy at parts (hence why I managed to miss a day). It is hard to keep motivated with project 365 sometimes but I want to complete it so much.

February - 365

How is everyone else's attempt at project 365 going? Better than mine I hope! I missed one day entirely and 2 of the days in February were taken on my camera phone which is the worst quality ever really. Oh well. Gotta keep on going!

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