Saturday, 23 November 2013

Turning Wintery

While I have been off work looking for a new job I have been able to make the most of the lovely autumnal days and head out for some brisk walks.  I tend to just head along the seafront but I thought it might make a nice change to head up the hill and along the racecourse.  

There are some really fantastic views from up here and it's nice as it feels almost a bit countryside!

I saw some gorgeous red and orange colours as the different plants were turning and now a lot of leaves have fallen it definitely feels wintery.

Bring on the chilly weather, burning fires, crisp frosty mornings and the wintery Christmas season.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Impromptu Weekend

What a fantastic and social weekend we had.  Friday night we popped over to friends for pizza and Children in Need, on Saturday we headed over to lovely Lewes for a coffee, and on Sunday we drove to Chichester for a Thai Dinner for our friends 30th Birthday.

That was the plan anyway...but Saturday ended up turning from a lunch time coffee into a whole 12 hours of lovely conversations, copious amounts of red wine, a walk around Lewes castle and several pubs.

It is so nice when days like Saturday happen and that you end up having such a lovely time that you just end up spending the whole day together.  My friend Harriet and I had decided to have a coffee and then, realising our other halves had never met, we invited them along.

We headed to the Pelham Arms for lunch where I indulged in a very tasty burger and some wine.  After lunch I made the executive decision that not drinking wasn't fun at all and that leaving the car in Lewes for the night was the best idea!  It certainly was!

After lunch we wandered to Lewes Arms, a gorgeous little pub hidden behind the castle for some wine and to meet friends, after which we headed to the lovely Kings Head for more Merlot.

As if we hadn't eaten and drunk enough we shared a lovely Dinner with Harriet and Ellis at Pailin Thai Restaurant, Station Street, and then headed back to theirs for some late night board games and popcorn!

What a wonderful weekend, and I'm very much a believer that the unplanned, impromptu weekends are often the best.

Merlot at the Pelham Arms
Harriet and Me at the Lewes Castle Gates
So many lovely hidden gems to discover in Lewes 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Recipe: Lactose free Carrot & Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I've been lactose free now for the last 2 and a half weeks and I am definitely feeling a lot better for it.  It does however mean that when it comes to baking there is a LOT of stuff I can't eat due to the vast amounts of butter and milk that are used for the tasty little cakes and treats!

I am delighted to say that I have now finally got a new oven so baking was top of the to do list yesterday but I needed to find a lactose free recipe.

I adapted this one from BBC Good Food (it was only really the icing that needed changing) and these turned out amazingly!

With all the tasty spices I have to say - it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Cake mix:
175g Muscovado Sugar
200g self-raising flour
200g carrot grated
1tsp bicarb of soda
1tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp cinnamon
zest 1 orange
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil
100g soft cheese (lactofree)
100g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flours, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and orange zest. 
  • Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients with the grated carrot. 
  • Divide the mixture between cases and bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.
  • For the icing, beat the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. 
  • Use a palette or cutlery knife to swirl the icing on top of the cakes, then sprinkle with decorations.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Pretty Vintage

Back in September we threw a fantastic Vintage party for Bean's 30th.  We went for 1940's themed party with bunting, tasty finger food from M&S, a Gin Bike and a dance session.

We hired the local village hall and brought in a fantastic dance teacher/DJ for the evening, Salsa Dance Parties, who lead us in a brilliant charleston, jive and lindyhop dance session before cranking up the tunes for some cheesy party dancing.

The absolutely stunning photobooth from The Vintage Photobooth Company was probably the highlight of the evening.  We hired in the 1920's Vintage booth which was so beautiful and the double prints meant that Bean got to keep a memento from the event.

We decided to dress up a vintage bike that we have and make it into the Gin Bar for the evening, with pretty paper cups, stripy straws and a collection of Gin accompaniments.

We all dressed up in Vintage 'get up' with G and me donning our best and really getting into the theme.

When planning a theme for a party it's often the little things that can make the difference.  
  • Think about the venue and how it matches your theme - village and church halls work well for vintage, whereas a room in a manor house would work well for a masquerade ball or a cocktail party.
  • Ask guests to dress up as this will automatically bring the theme to life.  Providing a few props for guests to use is a nice way to help guests out if they struggled with an outfit.
  • Continue your theme through to your food and think about the type of food that you have been eaten in that era, country etc.
  • Think carefully about your music - an ipod playlist with well selected tunes will set the theme just as well as a DJ.
  • Make your own decorations - thinks like paper bunting, paper pompoms and balloons are a really cheap way to dress the room.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Pretty in Pink

I do love a bit of Mac and since experimenting over the last 3 or 4 years I have realised that definitely pinks suit my skin tone better than reds, browns or corals.  

I love the range of Mac lipsticks, and I especially love the fact that once you have 6 empty Mac containers, you can take them back to the store and get 1 lipstick for free!  When you use a specific product nearly everyday it doesn't take long to accumulate 6 empty containers.

My 3 go to lipsticks are these three shades of pink.  Creme d'nude and Snob are my go to every day choices and then Pink Nouveau is saved for evening and dressed up looks.