Making marmalade!!!

Ages and ages ago, my dad mentioned how much he liked homemade marmalade…and so I jotted this down in my phone under Christmas Present Ideas, and left it there for much later in the year…then, when Christmas came around I decided I would make said marmalade as an extra gift!!! My granny makes marmalade alot, and i know she uses the product below to do it…it’s a bit of a cheat…so I thought I would give it a go…

You will need 

Marmalade oranges (I bought mine on Amazon

1.8kg of sugar 

Water 

Various jars, I just kept collecting them over a few months as I knew I’d be making this 

Wax discs ( I used these

A huge pot

An oven 

Method 

1. Clean all your jars and lids. This, whilst boring is essential!!!

  
2. Turn upside down on a clean tray, and put in the oven (I followed this tutorial) 

  
 3. Follow the instructions on the tin of oranges…open tin,  

  measure out insane amounts of sugar,  

  put this and the water in the giant pan,     

 

 Heat, stirring constantly, bring to the boil, then turn it down a bit, but keep it boiling, wait till it looks something like this …

  
4. Wait for it to cool a little, then place/pour/dump into jars which should still be warm  – this was kinda tricky with boiling hot sugary marmalade but I managed to avoid getting burned!!!   

  5. Place a wax disc, shiny side down into the surface of each jar, this helps seal the marmalade and helps avoid mould getting in.  

 
6. Put the lids on whilst still hot, this will, once cold, hopefully create a vacuum and suck the little pop button on the top down!!! 
7. Add labels and then cut out squares or circles of fabric, place on top and secure with rubber bands. 

   
    
   
 This comes with a small health warning – these jars, when grouped together and carried home on the train will feel like you’re carrying 10kg weights around!!! My arms have grown an inch I think!!! 

 
 

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Christmas Wreath 

    

My lovely friend Ruth did some work for this lovely magazine and I was totally inspired by the cover image to make a lovely wreath for my for door…I made it into a little tutorial although I made it up as I went along 

You will need 

  • Cardboard 
  • Felt – different colors – I used white, red and 2 shades of green 
  • Hot glue gun (or pva would work)
  • Fabric marker pen 
  • Thin card 
  • Scissors 
  • Ribbon or ric-rak 

 1 – First take the cardboard, draw round something round, and then something smaller inside…I used this pretty awesome circle cutter I’ve had for years…it doesn’t get much use but it’s very helpful when I need it!!! Cut out so you have a ring. 

   
 
2 – Take some card and cut out 2 leaf styles…mine aren’t that different but I think it added some texture….

 

3 – Take the felt and draw round the leaf shapes over and over again, then cut them out.I made 22 dark green and 8 lighter green.  
   
   
4 – Next cut out some tiny little red circles for the berries. 

  
5 – Next take some white felt,draw round ½ the ring, cut it out, and glue it on to cover around half the ring.

   
 
6 – Work out an arrangement you’re happy with, I tried to alternate the leaves, ensuring I was covering the remainder of the ring. Once your happy take them off, and then glue in place. Then glue the berries in place. 

  

7 – Glue on optional extras, I had some cute little snowflake type buttons so I glued them in place. 

8 – Then cut your ribbon or ric-rak, and glue it to the back.

  
9 – Then hang it in place. I used drawing pins into the top of the door.

   
 
TA DA!!! What do you think? I do like it…although I think I should have made it slightly bigger??? Anyway, I’d love to know what you are making for Christmas!!!! Let me know in the comments below!!! 

Makeup Brush Cleaning

So, I appear to have been away from this blog for over a year, but I’ve felt the need for a creative outlet and thought I would come back here before trying something else. I have a thought percolating in the background but it’s not fully formed yet!!! For now… Let’s see where this goes… 

Today I thought I would share my routine for cleaning my makeup brushes, they haven’t been done for months (I know, I know!!!) so it was definitely needed!!! 

  
This was the state of my brushes before I got started!!! ( My brushes are a random mix of Sephora, Real Techniques and Lancôme, a mix of real hair and synthetic) 

I used this brilliant product from Sephora which is designed specifically for cleaning brushes and will condition the brushes too. 

  
It’s super easy to use, simply run the brush under water

   
Then you swirl it onto the soap block.

 
Then you use the silicon dimpled pad, which helps generate foaming action.

   
 
Loads of old makeup comes off, it’s kinda scary , but oh, so, satisfying watching it all wash away down the sink. I had to repeat this quite a few times with some of my brushes!!! 🙈

   
Look, all shiny and new!!!

 
Ta da!!!  Love it!!! Can’t wait to do my makeup tomorrow once they have dried!!! The whole process probably took me around 5-10mins. If you want the Sephora cleaning block you can pick it up here but you will have to pay international shipping. Surely Sephora have to open a UK store soon!!! I think this is the most similar I can find in the UK.

Life in the last few weeks…

So I haven’t blogged much cause I’ve been so busy…so I thought I’d post a few things I’ve been up to…here goes…

Saturday in Notting Hill

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I met one of my oldest friends, Naomi and we spent the afternoon wondering down Portobello Market, and made our way to Pizza East, man it was EPIC!!! You NEED to go!!!

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We chose a few things of the menu, I was going to take more photos but it was all so delicious we just dived right in!!! Along with the Pizza we had meatballs and a massive plate of roasted polenta, cauliflower, broccoli and chilli!!! I’ve made the polenta dish since and it’s delicious!!!
We also bought hats!!! There were loads being sold, and so we jumped in and got a deal on 2, what do you think?!?

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It was such a fun day!!!

My niece was born!!!

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This is Isabella Grace, she arrived quickly and safely and is gorgeous, I’m heading out to meet her in 2 weeks!!! Yay!!!

Weekends away!!! (yes 2!!!)

I had one very calm and restful 24 hours away with my lovely friend Hannah, although I didn’t take many photos it was beautiful…we went for a walk round a boating lake!!! So chilled and peaceful!!!

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Then, the week after I went to Brighton, and again had a great time, I walked 10km in 1 day!!!

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I stayed with my lovely friends Anna and David, and their beautiful girls…it was so fun, except for the CRAZY weather!!!
Anna and I went to dinner at Moshimo, it was ALL delicious and it was so fun!!!
I went to coffee with some other friends and had THE BEST EVER Caramel shortbread!!! So so so delicious!!!
And on Sunday morning I made this apple tart with Esther and she did so good!!! She’s a great little chef and just loves learning how to cook!!! She Laid out almost all of these apples!!!

Well, i will try hard to keep on top of my blogging and will get back to being creative and cooking more now things seem to have calmed down a bit!!!

Gluten Free Granola!!!

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So, I’m totally Obsessed with 2 things…
1 – peaches
2 – crunchy things…
I love crunchy food literally cannot eat food without texture or I really don’t enjoy it!!!
So, I decided to make some crunchy granola to go on top of things, especially breakfast/dessert.
So….

Gluten Free Granola
Ingredients

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1 1/2 cup Gluten free oats
1/4 cup of Selection of nuts – I used sliced almonds and walnuts
1tsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Brown sugar
1 tbsp Maple syrup
1tbsp Oil
Water

Method
Preheat the oven to 180’C
Basically mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then add the water until it’s all mixed and wet. It needs to be wet enough to all be mixed, but not so wet that it’s liquidy at the bottom of the bowl…

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Place on a baking sheet, with some baking parchment…flatten it out so it’s evenly spread out, but keep it kinda grouped together.

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Bake for about 15mins, then take it out and give it a mix and then pop it back in for another 10mins or so until it’s crisp and dry…
Eat straight away or place it an air right container and eat at your leisure!!!

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Customised Necklace

It was my birthday back in May, and my lovely friend Pippa said she’d treat me to something special, but didn’t know what…and then I got an exciting text saying to be free this Saturday, and that I needed to wear a dress and heels…well, I was pretty excited!!!!
So, I headed to town this morning, and after trying on MANY different outfits, chose a skirt/top combo…

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And I wanted something to add a bit of bling…so I got the above necklace in River Island, for a £6, down from £18 in the sale!!! It was kinda long and it had no gold in it, and as I wanted to use my gold leather handbag I recently made.
So, anyway, back to the necklace…

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It had this black backing which was kinda sewn on with invisible thread, so 1st job was to cut this off…

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Once I cut it off, I used the the pieces as a template and cut the same shapes out in gold leather.

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Then, using my hot glue gun, I glued the back of each piece and stuck the leather on, then trimmed it down where needed.

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I thought the front of the necklace needed some gold too, so using some gold nail varnish I have I painted some of the stones.

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And that was it, took maybe 20 mins and I was really happy with the outcome!!!

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The necklace in action!!!
LOVE IT!!!
Oh and what was the surprise? An amazing afternoon tea at Sketch in Mayfair!!! More on that to follow!!!

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

So, I’m waiting for some results but it’s likely I am gonna need to be gluten free from now on…and I miss cake soooo bad!!!!
So, today I made my first attempt at a gluten free cake!!!! And it didn’t turn out to bad!!!

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And whilst it isn’t quite like the real thing, it’s pretty yummy!!!
So the recipe is as follows

Ingredients
300g of fresh carrots ½ grated roughly and ½ grated finely
200g ground almonds
200g sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 teaspoons of baking powder (gluten free)
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger

Method
1 – pre heat oven to 180C
2 – put grated carrot in a bowl and pour over sugar, mix until all the sugar is combined.
3 – Mix in almond powder cinnamon, ginger and baking powder
4 – Add in the eggs, and mix until combined
5 – Pour into a well greased loaf tin, and bake for about 40mins or until the centre is firm to touch.
6 – Cool completely before taking out of the tin.
7 – Either sprinkle with icing sugar or make some cream cheese frosting using cream cheese, butter and icing sugar.

Hope you enjoy it, and find it yummy!!!

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Today I covered a lampshade!!!!

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So, the last weeks have been all kinds’a crazy, I was in Cancùn for 10 days, then came back to an exam a week later, then 2 crochet lessons and a presentation at a conference, leaving little or no time for creativity…
However, I finally got back to creating, and from my beautiful new desk!!!

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(I got my desk from a lovely neighbour who was selling it cheap (£30!!!))
Anyway, back to the lampshade, I got it super cheap, £1.75 from Tesco’s, I’ve been meaning to update my bedside lamp, but haven’t found the right thing, at the right time, but this seemed great!!!

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(Old on the left, new on the right) The old one was all cracked and tatty.
Anyway, the new one was crying out for some colour, having tried out a few options, I went for this fabric…

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So, I then just made up how to covered it…

Instructions
You will need…
Fabric
Hot glue gun
Scissors
Iron
Fabric pen
Fabric spray adhesive

1- Iron fabric.
2- Lay fabric out, and draw round the edges as you roll the lampshade across the surface. Then cut out.
3- Use the spray adhesive to coat the lampshade quickly in a light coating, and then put the fabric on.

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4- Heat up the hot glue gun, whilst waiting, trim the edges of the fabric, they need to be long enough to wrap over the edges and not long enough to be seen once wrapped over and lit up.
5- When glue gun is hot, put some on the edge of the the rim and then wrap over the fabric, trying to avoid burning your fingers…

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6-seal the seam up by fooling the raw edge in, and then glue this flat too…

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7- You’re done!!!

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!!!!

The other day I had my lovely friends Ruth and Bruce over for lunch and I hadn’t planned any dessert – I pretty much always focus on mains, puddings are nice but always an after thought!!!
So, Bruce went to get some nice juice and I asked him to grab a tin of pineapple…and quickly made this dessert…

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Ingredients
Large tin of pineapple rings
Glacè cherries
1-3tablespoons brown sugar (not essential)
6oz butter
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
6oz plain flour
1tsp baking power
Pre-heat oven to 180*C

Method
1 – Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a round cake tin, and then add in the brown sugar and shake the tin until it’s evenly covered the bottom.
2 – Arrange the pineapple rings, and pop a cherry in the middle of each…this isn’t essential but makes it look lovely!!! I filled up the gaps with extra bits of pineapple just to use it up.
3 – In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4 – Mix in the eggs
5 – Fold in flour and baking powder, then gently dollop it out into the pineapple rings, and spread out trying not to disturb the pineapple underneath!!!
6 – Bake in the oven for around 20-30mins, until golden and the top is springy. (Or until a knife comes out clean)
7 – Serve with cream or icecream!!! Yummmmm!!!

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Hope this works for you guys, let me know if you make it…have a great weekend!!!

Easter Lunch

My mum was away over Easter, so I took it upon myself to do the cooking…although I fancied something different and have ALWAYS wanted an excuse to cook this lovely lamb dish from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It uses breast of lamb (which I have discovered is quite difficult to get, but is pretty cheap), I used 2 and it came to around £7, which easily fed 4 and could do 6.
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The stuffing is easy to make, and is spread on the trimmed down lamb.
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Then it's rolled (this was a bit tricky, as it meant a bit of stuffing fell out)
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Once it was rolled, you then tie it with string…and roast it…fairly easy really!!!
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And it came out pretty good, although we were kinda late eating so it was a bit tougher then perhaps it should have been..but it should have had another 30mins in the oven!!!

I also decided to do a nice table lay-out…I had a day of procrastination on Saturday (I was meant to be cleaning, but making things for the table was FAR more appealing!!!)
I had some old eggs which I was going to throw out, but decided to empty them and use them for decorating!!!

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I googled how to do this as I haven’t done it in years, but the general idea is, make a bigger hole in one end, turn it over, over a bowl, make a smaller hole in the top and then you need to stick something inside to break up the yolk…once you’ve done that you simply blow through the top hole until it’s empty. N.B. Wash the eggs 1st.
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I added some washi tape and stamped each persons name using water based inks, they dried really fast as the eggs are porous.
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I added them to everyone’s plates and added lovely white daffodils, I got for £1 from Tesco’s!!!
It was all lovely and lunch was DELISH!!!!
What did you do for Easter lunch?