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Monday, January 27, 2014

Recipe book markers...

I highly doubt that what I'm about to say is going to come as much of a surprise but I've got to get it out there; I. love. food.

I love eating it, I love preparing it, man, I even just love looking at it.

Hence my slight addiction to cookbooks...for me they are perfectly reasonable bedtime reading material. If I have a new recipe book it pretty much goes where I go for the first couple of the weeks, I love to read them cover to cover, mentally devouring each and every recipe.

My problem is that, although I spend a lot of time looking through cookbooks, reading my Good Food magazines, hauling new recipes home from the library and scanning through Pinterest daily...I am somehow always at a loss as to what on earth we are going to eat each week!

It is time to take action! The only problem is that organisation doesn't come naturally to me, as a teen I would refer to my bedroom as 'organised chaos'...yes, I know you might not be able to see the carpet...yes, you might not have a clue where my homework is amongst that huge pile of papers...yes, you might have even forgotten where my bed is for all the huge piles of 'stuff' lying around...but ask me to locate something, anything (I dare you) and I will locate it in less than 10 seconds.

Which was fine. Until I moved into my own house...and lived with someone for whom it was useful for them to also be able to locate things. Since getting married I've tried on and off to find ways to be more organised, with varying levels of success.

One thing I certainly don't mind tackling is organising my magazines and cookbooks :)

I've built up a collection of Good Food magazines and up until now they just sat in a pile. Last week I bought two magazine holders and ordered them chronologically (not exactly ground breaking but hey it took me two years to do this!)

The problem I have is that I try an amazing recipe but then a couple of months later I can't remember what edition it was in! Laura shared a great recipe notebook idea but I really hate cutting magazines up...which is probably something I should get over...but for now I printed out a recipe index to list all my favourite recipes, the edition and page number (although I'm still yet to fill it in!). I can just slot this into one of the folders and refer to it as needed.

I also wanted a way to record favourite recipes in my cookbooks so I printed out small A5 indexes to go in each cookbook, recording favourite recipes and their page number...

Hopefully this way, whenever I have a mental block about what to cook, I can just scan my indexes and wait for inspiration to fill me!

The best bit it took me less than five minutes to make up the tables in Word and print them out (assuming you're not counting the two years it took for me to finally get round to doing this!).

Aaaah it's time for me to go off to make dinner!

Happy Monday :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Today I'm working away at putting together bits for the shop and I thought I should share a little more of what I'm hoping to sell!

For a long time now, I have wanted to open up an online shop. I loved the idea of having my own handmade business but just couldn't decide what to sell...which is kind of an issue :) Since I love so many different crafts my ideas varied massively from stationary and cards to handmade masks and fancy dress to party decor. For some reason I steered clear of the one craft I really feel I know inside out...jewellery making.

I was worried about it being an over-saturated market...I mean, there are so many people selling beautiful handmade jewellery on the internet! But over time I realised that I needed to invest in something that I wouldn't lose interest in..and that this was far more important to me than trying to find a unique niche.

However I had also been toying with the idea of running craft parties and tutorials for some time. I have always loved helping people grow skills and confidence in creating items and crafts...and am a firm believer in the restorative and therapeutic nature of creating things with our hands (after all, I am an occupational therapist!).

So I decided to combine my love of jewellery making with my love of teaching crafts...and I will soon be selling "flat pack jewellery kits" on Etsy! I will be selling all the materials required for the jewellery with a PDF step by step tutorial.

I am SO excited about this new project and I really hope to expand it into craft parties at some point in the future.

So today is filled with shouting at photoshop, falling into my light box and pretending to know about product photography snapping away step by step pictures and putting together the tutorials!

I'll share more once I know the date of when I'll be opening up shop...There will be lots of giveaways and special offers to come!

Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Spotlight : four etsy favourites...

During my time of taking things slow I may have spent a number of lovely hours browsing's such a treasure trove of beautiful creations. I always love hearing about new shops so I thought it would be fun to share with you my four latest favourites. Plus, it has been a looong time since I've done a blog or shop spotlight :)

Beautiful prints by Hello Paper Moon

I love these rose gold dipped earrings by Amoorella

So many pretty creations by The Object Enthusiast

Gorgeous hammered stack rings by NoaNoa Jewellery

Be sure to check out these shops, they're full of so many lovely things!

Happy Friday :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life lately...

Life lately has been much slower than planned. I had grand plans for getting my life and house organised this month as well as opening up shop...and then I got a run of blurgy illnesses. So instead of running around I've been taking things slow, eating lots of healthy treats (and not so healthy chocolate) and have tried to embrace the opportunity to start 2014 off with rest and reflection.

I'm pretty much back to normal now which means full steam ahead with opening up my little online shop! A lovely part of life recently has been all the pretty post I've been ordering from bead shops. I've had so much fun playing around with designs...I just need photograph everything and then I can do a proper announcement!

I'm also thinking about doing a jewellery making series here on the blog to coincide with opening up shop so let me know if there is anything you would like to know about jewellery making!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chocolate goo balls...

This recipe is one that will be passed from friend to family to friend to friend to family and so on. Trust me.

I first experienced these little mouthfuls of deliciousness when my sister baked up a cake feast for my nieces dedication party. It turns out she had got the idea from her sister-in-law who'd got them from someone else. But the best bit about these goo balls (aside from the melt in your mouth cake centres) is that you're not left waiting, hoping that your friend will remember to send you that recipe you are salivating over so politely asked they don't actually require a specific recipe.

Yep, that's right! Simply bake up your favourite chocolate cake (although confession time, I actually use a boxed cake mix to save a little time and it still tastes amazing). Whilst it cools make up a batch of cream cheese icing. Then blitz the cake in a food processor to produce cake crumbs and place in a bowl. Gradually mix in the icing until the mixture comes together and you can form balls of cake. Roll the cake mixture into balls (the size is up to you), then simply melt 200g of chocolate and coat the balls ( as you can see I'm not so great at this!). Leave to set on a tray with greaseproof paper.

It turns out that they're basically just giant cake pops...amazing.

The mixture of cake with icing results in a super soft chocolatey mouthful. I can't recommend these enough...seriously, go make them now!

Friday, January 3, 2014

20 Breads: Olive breadsticks...

I know...the first week of January isn't through and I've already started on one of my goals, please don't, no really, oh okay, stand in awe if you really want to :)

Haha, although I need to let you in on a secret, I actually made these for New Years Eve so I suppose technically they don't count but I'm going to count them because I've never made them before and I did eat one on the 1st January.

These are Olive breadsticks and I've been wanting to try them for ages. They are a Paul Hollywood recipe which you can find over at the BBC food website. Lovely airy dough surrounds whole olives to create these really tasty breadsticks. I found that these didn't crisp up like typical breadsticks, this could have been because I made them a little fatter but the dough does seem much more like ciabatta than a typical bread stick.

One word about these, they aren't pretty and they are messy to make! It's a wet dough and it's almost impossible to move it in any uniform fashion. I haven't worked too much with wet doughs so I could definitely do with practising handling it...any tips are welcome!

You can find the recipe here, I halved the quantities and made 18 bread sticks. These are certainly going into my recipe book, they were so delicious with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you don't like olives you could easily swap them for something else, e.g. sun-dried tomatoes.

One down, nineteen to go!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hey there 2014!

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours has been busy but so great, we got to spend time with both of our families, I'm going to be honest with you...they rock :)

Christmas seemed to creep up on us this year, I think it had something to do with there still being leaves on the trees and having worked outside in a t-shirt in the week before Christmas...cold weather definitely helps to induce Christmassy feelings...that being said, it didn't take us long to embrace it! But if Christmas sped up on us then, my, 2014 has sped up even quicker.

Up until 2 weeks ago I thought I was going to be starting this year in a new job. An opportunity came up at a local charity who work in an area in which I am very interested. My notice was handed in, I was due to finish on Christmas Eve, I even had my leaving do...and then it fell through. Fortunately I was able to stay at my current job, my boss was so amazing in letting me reverse everything. I work in stroke rehabilitation which I also find so interesting so it isn't a chore to remain :)

However, I was looking forward to the New Year as the start of something brand new. Change was in the air, and I love change. I felt invigorated with the thought of doing something different! So, it has been a strange couple of weeks in which I have had to process all that has gone on, but I'm still excited for this new year. January 1st signals a fresh start, it might not have worked out how I expected it to but I know that God has it in hand. I've been thinking a lot about God's calling on our lives and how he wants the best for us. His best for us doesn't depend on circumstance...he doesn't need particular things to happen (or not happen) in order to bless us. My situation really isn't that tough in the grand scheme of things but he is with us even in the roughest of moments.

I'm thankful to be starting this year with that in mind, who knows what 2014 will bring our way but I say bring it on! For a laugh I revisited my 12 things for 2012 list I shared two years ago... it is hilarious how little I have actually achieved from it! But, being someone who is in denial about the fact I'm so bad at crossing off lists, I've decided to set some more fun goals for 2014 :)

1. Open an on-line shop - I am soooo excited about this...I debated when to reveal this plan but here's a little teaser - it's happening. soon. Stay tuned! There's jewellery involved :)

2. The 20 breads project - completely inspired by Elise's bread project. I love making bread but I have totally fallen into a bread rut and also completely out of the routine of making all our bread... so my challenge is to try 20 different bread recipes to keep things fresh! I'm counting enriched dough too... because my sweet tooth asked me to.

3. Learn a tune on the harmonica and play sitting on a pier whilst the sun sets over the lake.... this is one goal carried over from 2 years ago! I can currently play the harmonica badly and slowly, lets see if I can change that this year :)

4. Improve my blog photography - I would love to be able to take better pictures for the blog and I want to try to focus on that this year. I'd say my craft photos have definitely improved but I still have so much to learn...especially when it comes to taking photos of food!

5. Print my photos - another goal from 2 years ago...and I've taken plenty more photos since then which also haven't been printed! But my goal, as it is each year, is to finally print out all my photos from the last 8 years!

I'm going to stop there, I could keep going but it would be nice to look back in a years time and have actually achieved it all (although I don't hold out much hope regarding no.5)! I love having fun projects on the go alongside more serious goals, it's good for the soul to have some fun :)

All that's left for me to say is Happy New Year to you all, I hope that 2014 brings you much joy and laughter!

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