Friday, 31 October 2014

Eight & Sixteen in October

Happy Halloween! This month has been all about the spooky holiday over at Eight & Sixteen and you could still whip up a few of our DIY's to celebrate the evening and weekend. I hope you all have a fab evening whatever you're doing - I'm gonna be settling down to my old favourite films, starting with Hocus Pocus!

If you're interested in submitting any of your creative makes to Eight & Sixteen then feel free to email or tweet us!

Thursday, 23 October 2014


Phewf, it's been a busy few weeks! I haven't been able to sit down and blog for far too long, so thought it was high time for a nice rambling post. Here goes...

Last week J and I headed off for our annual visit to his mums out in Sardinia. We've never been this late in the year before, but luck was on our side and we had a beautiful week of sunshine and relaxing. Holidays always go so quickly, but I'm super grateful that we were able to go and I also got to catch up on a bit of reading which was good. I'm still miles behind on my Goodreads challenge, but hey ho.

Since coming home I've had a horribly stressful week (sods law yes?) though there have been a few highlights including an insane reductions shelf in Sainsburys where I went a little o.t.t on Udis bagels reduced from £2.30 to 59p. It may seem sad, but those kinda prices just aren't seen on GF products so I made the most of it!
I also took J for the best hot chocolate in Brighton. I kid you not. I discovered Chocaffinitea when my bestie came to stay a few weeks ago and we stumbled across it after a day wandering the lanes, and I am truly smitten.

Other random happenings of late include visiting "The Cornershop" by Lucy Sparrow which is currently on show in Brighton. It's such an amazing idea and so well executed - definitely check it out if you haven't seen it yet!

I also (finally) learnt to weave when aforementioned bestie came to stay. We spent a morning making cardboard looms and raiding my wool stash; perfect morning if you ask me. I definitely get the fascination with weaving now, it's a classic therapeutic craft and I'm looking forward to experimenting more with it.

And finally, it's much sooner than I expected, but there are already signs of life in my cactus terrariums! I am insanely excited by this, although now that the initial "what if nothing happens?" panic has faded, I'm now left wondering about how successful the growth of the little guys will actually be. What if they all grow in one cluster? What if only one grows out of them all? Etc. Etc.
Obviously there's nothing I can do about it now, but I have become rather obsessed with checking their progress.

...and there we have it. That's me up to date for once, though I'm sure the feeling won't last! Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans - right?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Making Truffles at Chocoholly

Last Saturday I was invited along to Chocoholly to spend the afternoon making truffles. How. Cool. Is. That.
I've made truffles before (last Christmas in fact!), but I had a feeling that this class would be on a different level, and it really really was.

Lauren and I headed to the Chocoholly shop which is on the Hove end of Western road in Brighton, and settled in to what was probably the tastiest class I've ever been to.
Holly started the class off with a tasting session in which we sampled pure cacao nibs and 100% dominican republic, 80% ugandan, and 64% peruvian buttons and I really think I could get used to chocolate that dark - especially now that I know how much better it is for you (the wonderful words "it's good for you" were used!).

Holly then moved on to showing us how to make the ganache for our truffles and explained the ways that you could customise the filling. I found this really interesting and even more so when instead of pouring her chocolate chunks into the heated cream to mix, she poured the cream over the chocolate instead and left them to sit for a few minutes before stirring them together perfectly. Sounds like a small detail, but it definitely made a difference!

Making Truffles class c/o Chocoholly

After a demonstration from Holly on ways to decorate the truffles (I particularly loved the penguin) it was time to start decorating our own truffles - with set ganache made earlier Blue Peter style!
This really was so much fun - albiet messy - and I loved every minute of it. I attempted a cat truffle that looked a little demonic, made a few lollies and marshmallow sticks and then tried a few simpler designs using rose petals, orange peel and raw cacao nibs for toppings.

Overall this class for me was pretty much perfect. Holly was so welcoming and really made the class special, and I loved the opportunity to have fun with baking and learn new skills. The shop itself is also full to the brim with beautiful chocolates all made by Holly, there is definitely something for everyone and I thought the Halloween bars below were super cute!

I would recommend Chocoholly 100% and though it's still too far ahead to plan, I'm already considering one of the classes for my hen party; I reckon all my special girlies would love it. A huge thank you to Holly for inviting me along to the class, and if you're local to Brighton or planning a visit then make sure you stop by Chocoholly :)

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Handmade Fair

Unless you have been living under a rock, you've probably heard about The Handmade Fair that took place a few weeks ago at Hampton Court.
The weekend was chock-a-block full of crafty workshops, talks with awesome makers, tons of handmade sellers and some pretty tasty food stalls - all in all, a crafters dream!

I was lucky enough to be given a ticket by my friend Sarah of the wonderful Shark Alley Jewellery. I didn't take part in any of the workshops, but was perfectly content wandering around the site and drinking it all in for a few hours.

I took so many photographs but I thought I'd share just a few snaps of my favourite stalls.

Shark Alley Jewellery has recently undergone a makeover, and I love it! I've been watching in the sidelines as Sarah has made these changes, and I'm so proud of her! I've always had a soft spot for her beautiful creatures, now if only she'd make a cat necklace to join them ;)

The blankets and throws on offer from So Cosy were to die for - if I could have come home with anything indulgent, it would have been one of these!

Punto Belle caught my eye thanks to their gorgeous fabrics which are all designed by Lois and her cute make up pouches and bags would be perfect for Christmas pressies (yes, I went there!).

The wire works by Lucy Elisabeth are so delicate that I spent a fair bit of time studying each one. I was particularly drawn to the keys and would love to have a collection of them on the wall.

I'm slightly annoyed when I look at my photos from Victoria & Abigail's stall - how I left without buying anything I don't quite know. From muted ceramics and bags to dyed eye masks and lampshades, I pretty much loved everything on offer!

Ros Shiers proved to be another firm favourite of the day - her drawing style is amazing! I absolutely adore the animal portraits and have been arguing with myself about whether enquiring for pet commissions would be taking my crazy cat lady status too far...

I was super duper excited to find the TOFT stand and got slightly flustered when I got to meet Kerry Lord herself. Having worked with TOFT before on the trusty Beehive Hat, it was brilliant to chat with her about her new book Edward's Menagerie (you can find a review & one of my attempts over on Eight & Sixteen!) and I think the setup of the stalls was my winner for the day.

After all the browsing, I was pretty hungry and chuffed to find the No.G cart from which I bought possibly the best gluten free quiche I've ever had in my life! I had a chat with the guy who served me and apparently they will soon be stocked in Sainsburys - yay! It's so great to see savoury gluten free options starting to take the front seat.

I also got the chance to spend some time at the Yumbles tent which was full to the brim of more foodie goodies, but I'll be talking about them in more detail soon - stay tuned :)