Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Spring Favourites...

These are a few of my favourite things.

Hi, I'm back! So I haven't blogged in almost one month. It hasn't been through choice, just by being a tad busy. I seem to come out of hibernation in Spring and have a calender full of things to do, people to see etc. 

Everything is fine and dandy here, lots of lovely things going on... the annual trip to Cornwall, gardening, birthdays, flowers, flowers flowers... Yup, all good. 



I thought I would do a bit of different post to what I have done in the past. No baking, no sewing, no house renovation but a post about some things I've been loving during the past month away and a few things I've been up to. You might find some ideas for how to make your home more 'Spring Ready' or maybe a couple of items you might like the look of. 

So, what do I love at the moment...

All things Cornish (surprise, surprise). I think I'm still on a bit of a holiday come down but this one seemed to be a really good year. The weather was a-maz-ing!!! I'm pleased I bought a few (a lot of) trinkets back home with me to remind me of just how special that place is.


First stop, of course, had to be Poppy Treffry. This has become a bit of a tradition for me in recent years. Within hours of arriving, I have to get to St Ives and stock up on goodies. This year I came away with (more) tea towels, an iPad cosy, a pad and this lovely candle which I have come a bit protective over and don't want to light in case in runs out. I just love love love this shop so much! I have one of the tea towels framed in my dining room. If you're ever in St Ives you must go and visit the shop in the magical Fore Street, you won't be disappointed. I can't say the same for your wallet though! ;-)




Next up, Saltwater sandals!!!

If you know me, you'll know how much I love these sandals and I am so happy they're back on my feet again. I bought my first pair a couple of years ago and still love them as much now. I'm on to pair number 3 and already eyeing up pair number 4! It's the colours, they're too pretty and I think they have 17 different types. Go and have a look at Mini-Mi to get a pair with free delivery. Plus the lady behind Mini-Mi is super helpful, especially with sizes because they're a little unusual. 

I've also been loving...




...my home. I always love my home but it feels different this spring. Last spring I think the dust was still settling from the renovation but this year we're done (almost) and it just feeling lighter and brighter then ever. I particularly enjoying the light nights when I come home from work. I forget what the house looks like in daylight during winter. 


And what is spring without flowers? Flowers in vases, pictures of flowers, floral prints! You name it they're out. I've put an Emma Bridgewater carrier bag into a picture frame, (is that the prettiest carry bag you've ever seen?!?) and I've tied scraps of pretty fabric around jam jars. You can never have enough of flowers around you, of any kind... in my opinion!


And last, but definitely not lease, blossom. Oh blossom, I heart thee! The blossom tree in the garden is filled, with what seems like, tons of pink paper pom poms and they make me smile every time I look outside. 

Ah spring... you're wonderful.

I think you might be my favourite of them all.

Amy x

Thursday, 2 April 2015

An Easy Peasy Carrot Cake Recipe...

...because I heard it's the Easter Bunny's favourite. 

Happy Easter! I love love LOVE this weekend, normally because we're either on our way to Cornwall (or on our way back, not so good) but also because it really feels like the worlds waking up. I'm not a religious person but I definitely like to enjoy a weekend which is all about celebrating all things new... and chocolate eggs, can't forget the chocolate eggs. 

* Oh, also I'm aware this blog has been "all about the bake(ing)" recently, not sure why, I've just been enjoy cake, and why not?! I'm sure they'll be more variety soon. * 

On with the cake...

I am going to give you a step by step guide this time, as I've put a few recipes together so you don't need to go anywhere else...

Ingredients

For the cake...

175g unsalted butter
175g soft light brown sugar
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 medium eggs (beaten)
100g chopped walnuts
350g peeled and grated carrots

26 x 16cm tray-bake tin lined with greaseproof paper

For the topping...

300g cream cheese
2tbsp icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 packet of orange ready to roll icing
1 packet of green ready to roll icing 
(you could make your own icing but this stuff is cheap and easy)




What to do

1. Cream the butter and the sugar together until smooth and slowly add the 3 beaten eggs to the mixture. 


2. Next, fold in the flour until well combined and then add the cinnamon, walnuts and carrots. Before you add the carrots, your mixture may seem a little drier then normal cake mix but the carrots add a lot of moisture so don't worry about that. 

3. Once everything has been mixed together and the walnuts and carrots have been evenly distributed, pour your mix into your tray. 

N.B I have no idea why I didn't cut the paper out and line the tray (greasing the sides) but you should. 
4. Bake the carrot cake at 160 degrees c for around 45 mins - 1hr. Check your cake is ready by popping a knife or chopstick into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean your cake is baked.

5. Allow you're cake to cool for 10 mins and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. This cake will be very crumbly so please do allow it to cool before you handle it too much.



6. Whilst the cake is cooling you can start to make the carrots. You could make your own fondant icing at this point but I cheated with this stuff...

... it was only £1.50 and just too easy to resist.

Start by rolling a small piece of the orange icing into a ball and then shape it into a cone. Score lines across the carrot with a knife or tooth pick. Next make a hole at the top of the carrot with a chopstick. 


7. Next you will use the green icing to make the leaves. You have to make a really small tear-drop shape. Pop the pointy bit into the hole you put at the top of the carrot and then make two snips, in the green icing, to form 3 leaves. 


      
   
8. Once you have prepared 15 mini fondant carrots, it's time to make the frosting. This part is really simple, you just need to put the cream cheese, lemon zest and icing sugar into a bowl and mix. 

9. When the cake is completely cool you can spread the cream cheese frosting all over the top of the cake. 
 








10. To finish, place your fondant carrots on top of the cake, imagining where the slices will be and then slice your cake into 15 pieces.


And you're done! 15 lovely little slices of Carrot Cake, perfect for an Easter treat. If there was a tradition of leaving something out for the Easter Bunny this is what I would leave him. 


I hope you all have a restful Easter weekend. Here's to Spring and here's to too many chocolate eggs!

Amy x