Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Charity shop bargains!

Bet you thought i had fallen into a black hole!!??

Its coming up to that time of year again, sports day, school fates, mums cancer charity do, girly weekend away....yes im cooking up a storm!! lol

Coming up this weekend is my mums cancer charity do which she holds each year. They have food and music and an auction and raffle and loads more - it is huge this year and im so looking forward to helping out again! I missed last years so have some making up to do - im baking cakepops and 2 x 4 layered chocolate cakes with chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries! Did i mention im on a diet??! lol

Here are a couple of goodies ive picked up from the charity shop this week....See the size of those glass plates, i put the 10p there just to show how HUGE they are! Theres 2 of them there!! They will be great for holding a larger cake with lots of small cupcakes around it! Im going to mount them onto the candlesticks which were a complete fluke find as they match the plates perfectly! I now have 2 absolutely huge cakestands for £6 in total!! PERFECT!! I promise i will show you the chocolate ganache cake standing on one in all its raspberry covered glory xxx

Talking of perfect - how perfect is this little pet lip!! When she gets moody it comes out - also when you say wheres your funny face it comes out too - hey ho, shes cute either time!! lol

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Change of venue for our October retreat :)

Meadowbank House is an amazing country house set in rolling countryside 10 minutes walk from Chipping Campden in the North Cotswolds. A large, light and extremely luxurious house, with a special blend of contemporary luxury furnishings and Cotswold details, it sleeps up to 16 in 6 bedrooms. Meadowbank has a heated pool, playground and games room with table tennis, pool and table football, plus a giant TV with full Sky package.

The house is set in six acres of grounds, completely on its own. Yet it is just a short walk down a footpath to Chipping Campden, one of the most beautiful villages in England, with a sophisticated range of restaurants, pubs and shops. From the terraces outside the house there are wonderful views across the countryside to St James's Church.

Meadowbank House has masses of space for everyone to relax in.

The big, sophisticated hall opens through into the Kitchen and Drawing Room. The big, light Kitchen is fitted to an extremely high spec, with an Aga, built in oven and microwave, ceramic hob and American style fridge freezer. There is a large breakfast area with a lovely oak table perfect for breakfast, children's meals or a chat over a glass of wine.


The huge Drawing Room is at the centre of the house, with masses of luxurious sofas, double aspect views, a huge conservatory area and French windows opening onto two large terraces. There is a large Cotswold stone fireplace plus a 50" TV with full Sky package, Apple hi-fi and lots of children's toys, books and dvds.

The Dining Room is another tlarge, double aspect room with views over the gardens. There is a huge oak table with ample room for 16 to dine together.

There's also a utility room with washing machine and second dishwasher - plus a tumble drier in the airing room upstairs. And if you're looking for a games room, it's just outside across the garden..



Meadowbank House is set in its own grounds in open countryside on the outskirts of the village of Chipping Campden in the North Cotswolds and is near the villages of Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh.

It is about 45 minutes west of Oxford and 25 minutes south of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is 2 ¼ hours drive from London and an hour South of Birmingham.

The nearest train station is Moreton-in-Marsh, 10 minutes drive from the house. Trains run from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh in around 1 ½ hours.


As this is only from the Friday until the Sunday the price will stay the same as it did for Woodhill @ £375 for the weekend :) There is no thursday night option unfortunately! Refunds will be sent to the girls who cannot make it but have already paid their deposit.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A busy weekend!

Look at this fabulous bargain i picked up - was £20 now £5 and its massive!! Evie already loves it and has claimed it as hers - however once im finished with it and its pinked, gingham'd and prettied up im wondering if she will let anyone else play!! lol

Talking of little missy, now that she has passed the crawling stage completely (everywhere is walked now) she doesnt get so angry at dresses! They use to get caught under her knees and they stopped her from crawling anywhere at speed - now shes upwardly mobile though shes loving the freedom dresses give her......although i think shes contemplating trouble in that picture! lol

Over the weekend i set about baking again, cake pops this time and they went down a treat! ALL OF THEM! Come monday morning - none left! Its the school fair this friday so im on a mission to make a whole lot more of them :)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Pink & brown fruity layer cake!

Whats better than a bowl of fresh fruit and whipped cream?? Having it all inside of a cake - thats what!!I made 2 pink layers of vanilla sponge cake and 2 layers of chocolate sponge. Sandwiched them together cream and layered strawberries in between the first two sponge cakes, blueberries between the next and raspberries between the last two. Topped it all off with whipped cream and lots more fresh fruit :)
Enjoy xxx

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Toppings and homemade toffee apple sauce!

These toffee apples (are they still called toffee apples when theyre covered in chocolate?? lol) are one way to get the kids to have their 5 a day - albeit not the best, but one of the most fun!!

I coated the apples with Wilton Candy melts - its a delicious vanilla flavoured chocolate that goes really hard with a nice crack to it when bitten. No need to refridgerate! I also coated some fresh strawberries in the chocolate and sprinkled them with sugar crystals :)
My boys cant seem to eat ice cream without having some sort of topping so the best thing to do is save all the bits from decorating other treats - ie.... I kept the remaining sugar crystals from the strawberries and candles, when I level off sponge cakes i keep the 'left overs' in an airtight jar to crumble over the ice cream etc.... there are loads of ideas of what you can 'keep' without having to spend a fortune on expensive toppings!
Here is a topping that is an extra special treat for kiddies and grown ups alike.

Toffee Apple Sauce

100g light muscavado sugar
100g unsalted butter
4tbsp golden syrup
4tbsp double cream

600g Bramley apples (after being cored and peeled)
250g granulated sugar
100ml water
2tbsp lemon juice

For the toffee sauce: Melt the sugar, syrup and butter in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or so until thick. Stir in the cream and remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

For the jam: place the apples, water and lemon juice in a separate pan and cook down until soft and fluffy – this will take about 15-20minutes. Once the apples have become soft, add the sugar over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, then crank up the heat and bring to a simmering boil for approximately 4-5 minutes.
The apple jam should be lovely and thick.

Wait until both have cooled and alternate between adding to the jars - layer of toffee, then layer of apple jam. You can mix both together but it is perfect when you get chunks of both over the ice cream.
I currently have 2 jars sitting in the fridge that will get their debut tonight - can we skip dinner and go straight to dessert please? lol

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Another sneak at some pretties!

I think by now everyone knows my love of birdcages, cakestands and of course owls!
Look at this fabulous little chunky bundle of goodness! Hes around 2 inches tall and an inch wide - hes gorgeous!!This little fella was just begging to be mine on the open day of Vintage Princess Jewellery - inside City Attic in Durham town centre. Not only is this shop well worth a visit for the pretty jewellery but Hayley who owns City Attic is one of the nicest people who will help with anything - I have told her im moving into the shop at some point as its just too pretty to leave!

During an earlier visit to TK MAXX I found this stunning plate in the sale aisle - it was £6 and is pure glass with a bird egg transfer through it (does that make sense?) I can just imagine it at easter with little birdsnest cakes or cupcakes with teeny little spotted chocolate eggs! The nest was from another little boutique in Durham (£3.95) and my gorgeous owl resides in there when hes not round my neck! :)
You know when you imagine Christmas and the reindeers prancing across the sky - theres this far away little tinkle of bells that doesnt sound quite real but also brings an air of magic.....well I found the culprit!! This gorgeous heart makes the most magical tinkle of their little bells.....yes I did get told off for playing with them all the way home! lol
Now this is a new venture for me! I have never played with resin or made anything like this before (ok ive played with plastercine but does that count?) Im going to try and make some buttons for my layouts and i adore the butterflies which i think will look fabulous framed! I promise I will show what I make :)
Last but not least...what do they say are a girls best friend?? Heck even if theyre fake ones, as long as they sparkle and look pretty we can be friends yes?!
I picked up a packet of gems at Dainty supplies in Washington - I have a zillion table decorations but none that are actually cut like real gems! I adore the way these catch the light and when i got home and worked out how many were in the pack I was even more happy - theres 18 large and 28 small gems.LOOK at the price!! Super Bargain!
OH and you know those milk bottles I had in my virtual basket and couldnt wait to check out?? That will teach me to hang around - a whopping out of stock sign on them now! Get things while you can ladies!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

From charity shop to cake stand...

I love a bargain and have wanted to have a go at making my own cake stands for a while. No im not pretending to have invented the wheel and know they have been around for ages - every shop seems to have 'reused' cups and saucers as cakestands etc. I just wanted to show you a quick way of making a cheap charity shop find into something a little bit more pretty :)

Take a pair of candlesticks - any colour - so dont be freaked out that they are pepto bismol pink or sewer green. (I bought mine from a local charity shop for £1.99 for the pair! Mine were an awful mix of blue and white pattern - typical i forgot to take a pic before i sprayed them!)Take them outside and sit them on plenty of newspaper before spray painting them with Rustoleum - I used gloss white, the array of colours these sprays come in are enough to set you off on a spraying frenzy!! lol Leave to dry completely before applying a second coat.
Using a very strong adhesive to attach a plate to the top of one of the stands - use Pinflair glue, this one seems to be highly recommended! You dont want it collapsing when you remove cakes from one side!
You could always use a dinner and a tea plate to make a 2 tier cakestand.
Or just keep them seperate for 2 different size cakestands - one for a victoria sponge and the other for little matching cupcakes!
Of course you could go simply for the all classic white - the whole point is when youre making it yourself you have free reign to either go all out and design something thats a complete one off....or something classic that you can use again and again.
Please link back to me if you give this a go - i would love to see what you make! :)

Monday, 6 June 2011

How grown up!!

Its scary how grown up Jake looks in these pictures! Hes only 8!!The were taken the other day when it was red hot, he was just wearing shorts and most annoyingly all the kids tan really quickly just like daddy!

The brown skin, dark hair and deep brown eyes are only going to cause trouble when hes older - a mummy can tell!! lol

He is still my little boy though so when he said 'do i look like a vampire with blood dripping' I just had to play along and act all scared! Mummy is scared all right son - mainly because im going to have to keep the girls away with a long pointy stick!!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Display goodies!

Its all about the staging right??

Im constantly on the look out for pretty and practical bits to stage candy displays and photographs etc....Ive been out of the loop so long though that when I walked into TK MAXX the other day I almost keeled over!! Be still my heart!! TOO MANY beautiful lovely goodies to drool over - and yes if i could have fit the 5ft metal painted cream and shabby chic'd bike complete with basket planter on the front and pedal into the trolley i would have!! lol (though i think it might have had more to do with what hubby would have said then whether it would fit in the trolley!) lol

Here are some of the goodies ive picked up since last time i posted - and its been a while!
Im in love with duckegg blue place settings and im going to turn one of these plates into a cake stand (pics to come soon). I love the white and blue together and that flutted cakestand is just divine - exactly what ive been looking for for so long!

The birdcage has an air of gothic about it but swirly and dreamy at the same time. I can just see a pastel plate in the bottom with a birds nest filled with sparkly goodies as a table centrepiece. The vase with the ornate silver swirls is for part of an elaborate candy bar - again pics to follow.

I have has a long lived desire for those lemonade bottles you use to see in the movies, combine those with paper straws and Ive gone to heaven!! lol How cute will these look filled with pink lemonade and fastened with a little ribbon label....sweet! The straws I will use in the little mini milk bottles - so far i have found 1 (see above pic for how cute they are!) but i have since found a supplier for plain mini milk bottles so im just waiting until another payday rolls around before I can indulge!

Here is the finished project for above Evies cot - Its filled with pretties and little bits and pieces that make me smile......just like she does.....how cute is she with her little hair clip!! *sigh - who knew being mummy to a princess could make your heart hurt in such a good way*

Friday, 3 June 2011

TFI Friday!!

And thank the heavens too! This week has been so long, so warm and so tiring that im rather pleased its almost over! lol

I actually finished stripping the woodchip from Jake & Bens room (yes its taken well over a fortnight!) Oh the joys of trying to decorate the house on a shoestring! Tomorrow I commence putting the new wallpaper up, curtain pole and finish off the cupboard doors (which in my infinate wisdom I decided to redo!) lol

I have been baking again, this time Raspberry 'Ripple in the middle' cupcakes. Now, dont get me wrong...these are really nice....BUT

The chocolate around the raspberry ripple sweet all but disintigrated and the coconut baked again which turned it less moist and more 'sweet' like in the centre.
I would def make them again but possibly wait until the cupcake mix is about to set and then add the ripple!Make up your frosting as usual and add a little red food colouring until you achieve that 'raspberry' colour.....I just adore this shot - its like a baby pink egg!! :D
Decorate with chocolate chips or chocolate stars etc....something to offset the pink and bring the chocolate from the centre back to life! lolEnjoy xxx

Lots to share tomorrow including some new display goodies, bargains and a diy cake stand! :)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Oreo Cupcakes......Im in Love!!

A little bit of indulgence!

Have your cake AND BISCUIT and eat it!

To make these Oreo stuffed cupcakes simply make up your vanilla cupcake mix as you usually would then drop an Oreo into the mix. Press down until its completely covered - it will pop back up so dont do this bit too far in advance!Bake for around 20 minutes and leave to cool completely before decorating with cream cheese icing and crumbled Oreos!The biscuit centre stays crumbly but not as hard as Oreos usually are which makes them even nicer!!Enjoy with a glass of milk!