Saturday, 29 December 2012

chocolate lava cupcakes

j's birthday cake request this year was simply "something super chocolatey" so i set off to pinterest to try and find something awesome and came across this recipe.
because the recipe only made 6 ramekins (or muffin cases in my case) worth of cake, this seemed like a good option, as making one huge cake would only result in us both eating the entire thing. however, the recipe is also measured in cups, which i don't work in with baking, so i spent way too much time faffing and converting and basically panicking that it was all going to go wrong!
thankfully, they turned out bloomin' amazing, so i thought i'd share my converted recipe with you so that you can give them a go too. i'm even contemplating making them again as a new years day dessert!

180g dark chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
60ml double cream
120g unsalted butter
40g caster sugar
30g self-raising flour (i always use dove's farm gluten free flour)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

to make the lava centres:
melt 60g chocolate and 60g of double cream in a bowl over a pan on a low heat. whisk gently to blend, then put in the fridge for about 2 hours. once firm, use a teaspoon to mould the chocolate into 6 balls and place back in the fridge until needed.

to make the cakes:
preheat oven to 200ยบ and line a cupcake or muffin tray with 6 muffin cases. melt 120g chocolate with 120g butter into a bowl over a pan on a low heat.
in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract for about 5 minutes on a high speed until thick and light. fold the melted chocolate mixture and the flour into the egg mixture until just combined.spoon the mixture into the cases and then pop a chocolate ball into the centre of each.
bake for 10-13 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch. leave to cool for 5 minutes, remove from the cases and serve immediately (maybe with some ice cream or fruit!)

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

to everyone and anyone who reads my blog, comments here, tweets me, and to everyone who i know in the blogging world <3


Thursday, 20 December 2012

it's that time of year

i always get sentimental around this time of year, and amongst many other reasons -mainly family related- is the fact that another 365 days have passed (scary right?!).

i love looking back through my diary and this blog to see what i've been up to, and how much has changed. i'm so grateful to be able to document things this way, who knows all the amazing things i'd forget otherwise!
i'm also getting excited about things to achieve next year, and whilst some goals are pretty boring (driving, yawn) i love having a blank page to fill up with new things :)

you might have noticed that my filofax has magically transformed; i was gutted when the amazing teal leather started peeling off of my original one and even more so to find out it couldn't be replaced. however, filofax sent me this pocket malden instead and even though it isn't teal, i really am loving it and it's now jam packed with all manner of to-do lists and ideas.

is anyone else using a diary to start planning for 2013? i know a lot of people only use them for 3-4 days at the start of january (!) but if you're a long term diary user, what have you been jotting down so far?


Saturday, 15 December 2012

diy christmas chocolates

this year j and i wanted to make some homemade foodie christmas presents, and being chocolate fiends, decided on chocolate truffles and popping candy brittle. 
both recipes are super easy- you can find the truffle recipe here and it is brilliant- you could come up with endless flavour combinations for these!

the popping candy brittle was a random experiment but turned out so well- simply melt your chocolate in a bowl over a low heat and once melted, pour onto a baking tray. we then sprinkled over lots of strawberry flavoured popping candy, left it to set in the fridge, and then cut it into chunks. i forgot how fun popping candy is- these chocolates will definitely put a smile on your face :)

i think it's pretty clear how obsessed by packaging i am, so i spent a lot of time thinking about how to present the chocolates. there are so many ways you could do this (my original plan was mason jars) so these are just my own little versions.

for the labels, j made these cute little merry christmas templates, and then we printed them onto sticker paper, cut them out and placed them on the front of the jars. 
the jars themselves are amazingly from poundland and come in a set of 2, so this is another budget friendly project! i wasn't sure if they would be too small, but they've ended up being perfect. 
the finishing touch was to add tags- the same ones i have used for my wrapping paper- and join two jars together with string.

i'm so happy with how these have come out and they've been so fun to put together, i really hope our families like them!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

diy map wrapping paper

after using old books as part of my christmas wrapping paper, i started thinking about how i could take the idea further. the thought of using whole book pages as wrapping paper was tempting, but the pages are generally pretty small, and would take too long to stick together to create a decent wrapping sheet. 
atlases on the other hand, can come in pretty big sizes, so when i found an a-z of the united kingdom (another 30p charity shop bargain!) i thought i'd give it a go to make j some birthday wrapping paper.

i chose certain locations for the wrapping paper that are relevant to j (current hometown, family hometown, uni hometown etc.) and because the atlas was so big, i only had to stick a few of the sheets together. to do that i just chose a double page spread, pulled out the two pages and then used sellotape to align them back together. 

what do you think? i'm really happy with how they've all turned out, and am definitely going to use this idea for future birthdays. it's also a really nice contrast to my christmas wrapping paper, so i can pop all the presents under the tree and not get confused :)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

diy advent calendar

one of my many crafting goals is to make an advent wall hanging or cushion (made from fabric and possibly quilted). i remembered this goal about a week ago, realising that i was again too late to have it finished for the start of december. oops. so instead, i thought i'd compromise and make a 12 day advent calendar for this year instead.

this project is a great way to add some festive decoration to your house and is also really easy to customise, i actually kept changing my mind on how to do it! the board i have used is a white board on the reverse side, but you could use a pin board, or even an empty frame as your starting point.

what you will need:
pin board (i covered mine in book pages left over from my diy wrapping paper but you could use christmassy wrapping paper!)
pegs- 100 for £1 at poundland
paint- i used white, gold and silver
felt tip pens
brown paper money envelopes- 100 for £1 at poundland
pva glue
sweets/treats for your envelopes

also, if you like the number templates i have used, i've made them available for you to download here and here.

if you decide to give this diy a go, let me know or tweet me a photo as i'd love to see :)

Sunday, 2 December 2012


cardigan:charity shop (laura ashley) jeans:fat face boots:h&m (& falling apart!) bag:the cambridge satchel company hat:hand-made

another piece of clothing to add to the "j hates" collection! as soon as i saw this cardigan i knew i would be buying it, and i also knew that j would despise it haha (does anyone else have a boyfriend like this?!) there is something so perfectly old fashioned about it, and i think it reflects the old school laura ashley knitwear to a tee.

i wore this today to go on a little ice skating date at the royal pavilion, it's been such a good day! i am completely terrible at ice skating, but i managed a whole lap around the rink by myself (with j hovering behind ready to catch me!) and didn't fall over once :)

it feels like an age since i had a little catch up on the blog, but i guess that's what happens when life takes over. i've been having so much fun at work which is incredible considering what my (non-existent) career was like this time last year, and i am loving every minute of it. i've also been feeling super festive for christmas, and i always end up reflecting on life more than usual around now; as corny as it sounds i am feeling so happy and thankful at the moment.

i've got a few more christmas diy's in the pipeline which i'll be posting about soon, and have also been busy doing a few knitting jobs for people which has made me realise how much i have missed it! i definitely need to get started on some new knitting projects- this hat was one of my first pieces actually, and i still love it 3 years later. 

i hope everyone has had a fab weekend and that you're all starting to feel festive- i'd love to hear how everyone gets into the christmas spirit :) 
also, if anyone has instagram then let me know, i use it far too much and would love some more lovely people to follow. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

season's greetings

just a little post to say that i have some new christmas cards available in the shop; perfect if you're looking to send something a little more personal to your loved ones this christmas :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

diy christmas wrapping ideas

wrapping presents has always been part of the fun for me (i know a lot of people hate it!) and i love coming up with new ideas each year. last year i found some old traditional wrapping paper, the year before that i hand stamped tons of tissue paper, and the year before that everyone had their own coloured ribbon to identify their presents. 

this year i decided to go back to (reclaimed) brown paper which i have always loved, though i don't think everyone appreciates it; a few years ago i used brown paper and string which led to one family member rudely asking if i was broke!

anyway, i decided to try and work a few ideas together- the first being using old books to create name labels (i'm sure you've seen this kind of thing all over pinterest!). a charity shop round the corner from me currently has an offer for 5 books for £1, so i picked up some of my favourite classics to use. i have to admit it was quite horrifying cutting into books, but i made sure i picked up particularly battered ones so i didn't feel too bad! i then printed out some letter templates, traced around them and cut them out- easy! 

i bought the red and green butchers twine after sophie did a blog post about it and i really love it. i bought it here, and i think it adds so much to the feel of the presents. i also bought some gold ribbon from tiger (my new favourite shop) which was 250 metres for £1, total bargain!

the brown luggage tags can be found here, and the merry christmas stamp and ink pads are from paperchase. the stamp fits perfectly onto the tags, and i then used my typewriter to write little messages to people on the back. 

so there we have it, this years festive wrapping! all of these ideas have also been pretty thrifty, coming in at a grand total of £9.79. it's not until i see wrapping paper etc. on the high street that i realise how much money you can spend on it all, so these ideas are perfect if you have a strict budget.

i hope it's inspired you or at least made you a little more excited to get wrapping this year- let me know if you try any of these ideas out!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

nutella hot chocolate

if you're looking for an easy to make and yummy drink perfect for winter evenings, then look no further! i made this on a whim last week and it is honestly one of the best hot chocolates i've ever had; if you're a nutella lover, then you seriously need to try this out.

the only thing missing from these drinks was of course some mini marshmallows, but i'll be stocking up on those along with more nutella very soon :)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

#i'm a piece

on friday, i went along to the amazing super+super headquarters to take part in a pretty cool crafty charity event. the night was organised by fran (who did an amazing job!) so that we could all take part in the campaign put together by craftivist collective; you can read more about it here.

it was an awesome evening, and being in such a creative venue with crafty people was great. the whole night was so good that it really hit home how important this campaign is, and it made me really think about the puzzle pieces i was making and how they could help. there were sheets of quotes that we could choose from for our puzzle pieces, and i chose the following: 

"no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

this is definitely the quote that stood out to me the most, and i think it should be remembered in all aspects of life. 

these are my three finished pieces, one for me to keep, one to send to my local mp, and one to be used in the installation for the campaign.  

you should definitely check out the details for this campaign, and if you can get involved in any way, please do! you can also sign the petition here. it's amazing to see how many people are taking part, and to see how many talented crafters there are out there.

thank you fran for a brilliant evening, and to everyone i met- you are all amazing :)

(p.s. thank you fran for some of the photos!)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

winter light

striped top:topshop/second hand long sleeved top:hand me down belt:mum's skirt:fat face snood:hand-made

bleached morning light and the little one. snapshots by j. <3

Monday, 5 November 2012

snail mail

i'm spending more and more time getting back into letter writing lately. over the last year, kate and i have written to each other a lot, and her amazing letter sets have made me start to appreciate mine again. i have a pretty vibrant collection at the moment, and even though usually i'm into more muted colours, i love the thought of these brightly coloured envelopes landing on people's doorsteps. 
also, one of my very best friends is about to go travelling for a year, so as a little going away present i bought her this set from paperchase so that we can keep in touch in a more interesting way than facebook!
another recent pen pal is my granddad, and seeing how neatly and naturally he writes makes me realise how much i've come to depend on a keyboard. i used to write everything by hand at school, and i didn't realise how much i missed it- minus the hand cramp!

i still, (and probably always will) maintain that the feeling of coming home to exciting post is one of the best feelings ever, and it's so nice to keep in touch with people in such a personal way.

if you're a letter writer, let me know! i'd love to hear from other snail mail fans and also find out about the best places for pretty letter sets :) 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

diy tealight jars

here's a super simple diy project perfect for the darker evenings! i was collecting some jars for a project that has since been abandoned, but thought that this would be a great way to recycle them and add to the flat. they are also great because pixel can't try and attack the flame! 

so if you'd like to make your own diy tealight jars, here's how i did it :)