16 June 2015

Back Home

A few weeks ago I had to leave my new home in Glasgow quite suddenly and move back to my mum's. Since then I've been surrounding myself with roses, peonies and bluebells to cheer myself up whilst I get everything else back on track. For months I had been eager to start making paper flowers under the guidance of Livia Cetti's "The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers", and I finally got round to making a few during all the extra hours I've had on my hands. I've mastered begonias, tree peonies and foxglove, and honestly I can't say how happy I am with the results. They are so life-like and beautiful, and I'm pretty excited about arranging an entire bouquet that will last forever. Also, bleaching tissue paper is my new favourite thing.

Isla and Miss Cicely Alexander. 

Layers of tissue waiting to be bleached. 


Real v Paper: poseys, ranunculus and peonies on the left, poppies and begonias on the right.

Foxglove throats in the making.

26 May 2015

West Yorkshire

Last week I went on potentially my only holiday of the year to Haworth in West Yorkshire. It's the village associated with the Brontës, who lived in the parsonage at the very top of the hill where the town ends and the moors begin. I had high expectations for Haworth, built up not only by the gothic mansion serving as the local YHA, with stained glass windows and William Morris wallpaper throughout (oranges and lemons in the lounge, honeysuckle in the dining room) but also by Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush, etc etc. In short, I wanted a dramatic landscape and some really decent walks.  

On another note, it was mine and Tasha's last chance to go on a trip together before she started a new job in Bath. 


The good news is that the hostel went above and beyond anything I was expecting. For £15 each a night we got our own private room, a full english for breakfast, unlimited fussing over and petting of the hostel cat Toffy, and the entire run of the building.

The main walk was from the Brontë parsonage to Top Withens- the farmhouse ruin which is believed to have been Emily's inspiration for Wuthering Heights. We made the pilgrimage on the final and sunniest day of our trip. It might have been more atmospheric on a drizzly and cold morning, but in the sunshine we could really appreciate the beauty of the moors. The colours of the path changed from greens to a more rugged and wild palette of browns and purple heather as we got closer to Top Withens.  

We also got a trip in to Hebden Bridge, a town Tasha had been wanting to visit for some time. We saw Sylvia Plath's grave and then spent the rest of the day searching for a location in an 80's pop video. We found it too!

21 May 2015

Summer Dreamin'


Some things you flutter over in the beginning, but gradually you begin to forget and the desire fades. Other things you save to your computer, and no matter how much time passes, you keep going back to look at them and feel the same love you always did (if not more.) These two summer lust-worthy pieces are just that, and if I could afford to investment buy I would be investing in these beauties right this second! The sandals by Whistles balance the perfect amounts of clunky and delicate, and I love flowers so there's not much more to say on this top by Topshop....other than that the pattern looks like a psychedelic wallpaper from the 70's (in  a good way) and its 100% silk. The sandals are pure fantasy but if I can cram-save in the next couple of weeks the top is a maybe. Maybe! :)

6 May 2015

Dark Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Rosewater Icing

Hello! This is the second time I've made this chocolate-rose chiffon cake recipe from sweetapolita, and since it has turned out great both times (it tastes really good and I can always rely on the cake to come cleanly out of the tin), I think it has been tested enough to now confirm that this cake is a winner! I especially wanted to make it a second time after (finally) finding these wonderful dried rose petals in Waitrose, which I knew would be beautiful for decoration.  They are edible, although in this case they are primarily for aesthetic purposes. I think you could also incorporate pistachios into this recipe, in the batter itself but also how lovely would it be for the pink icing to be flecked with those little green gems? Rose and pistachio is after all a really classic combination. The chiffon cake itself is so light yet rich and dense, almost pearly in colour. I'm slightly camera-less at the moment, but I'm quite impressed with the quality of these photos using my old smashed iPhone 4s.


For the cake:
130g plain flour
90g cocoa powder
300g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 egg yolks 
6 egg whites 
120ml sunflower or vegetable oil
120 ml warm water

For the icing: 
114g butter, at room temperature
250g icing sugar
60ml double cream
A few drops of rosewater
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pink food colouring 
Dried rose petals 

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter and flour a large bundt cake tin, using a mixture of plain flour and cocoa powder, Sieve together all the dry ingredients (saving 100g of the sugar) in a bowl and place to the side. In another large bowl, whisk together the sunflower oil, water, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside. 
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 100g sugar until stiff and glossy. Add 1/3 of the meringue mixture at a time to the chocolate mix, making sure you fold it in and don't knock any air out. Transfer mixture into tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 40 mins (my cake took closer to an hour) or until it has risen and the cake springs back when touched. Insert a skewer to make sure it comes out clean. Leave cake to cool and after about half an hour turn it out onto a cake stand. Leave to cool completely. 

To make the icing, mix together the butter and icing sugar until combined. Add the vanilla extract and the double and whisk for a little while longer, Finally, add the rosewater to taste and the pink food colouring until it reaches a pastel pink colour. Using an electric hand whisker, beat the icing until fluffy and light. Spread over the top of the cake and delicately scatter over the rose petals. 

5 February 2015

Christmas and New Year


A few nice photos from Christmas that I only just got round to developing. We spent Christmas day itself at my friend Oliver's house (which felt way more christmassy than any I've spent at home) featuring a wood-burning stove and sleepy cats. Already so many positive changes are happening this new year; I've handed my notice in to my crap job and fingers crossed I'll be back in Glasgow by the end of February!