Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Me!

Just popping by to wish all my blog readers a Merry Christmas!
I am off for a well earned Christmas rest, the presents are wrapped and my work is done.

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas, see you in the new year!
Thanks so much to everyone who has read by blog and bought my jewellery this year.


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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

shop updates

A quick update of some new jewellery in my shops, stop by in January for my sale!
From the 22nd - 30th December (whilst I am away) I will be offering Free Shipping on Etsy. 

Happy Christmas everyone :)

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Snowed Under!

I feel like I have been snowed under recently, with the weather and with shipping out jewellery orders (thank you to everyone that has given me their custom this Christmas) so my blog has been a tad neglected. Have you made mince pies since I last blogged?

I have made another batch since then, with slightly different pastry, delicious again.

We have had lots and lots of snow over the weekend, about 6-7 inches on the ground which is a lot considering the weather said 'light snow.'

Everyone has probably seen lots of snow pics but here are a few from me, and you get to see my new house a bit too. We are hoping to get away to Kent for Christmas, fingers crossed the roads are ok!

PS - Today is the last day to order from my shops for shipping tomorrow, after that I will be going on holiday til the 30th December.

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Monday, 13 December 2010

Easy Peasy Mince Pies

I love homemade mince pies, shop bought ones are always disappointing, too much filling and horrible dry pastry. Mince pies are also very satisfying to make, they seem like a big achievement but they can be really easy.

I was given a jar of homemade mincemeat which went into these pies, it was much lovelier than shop bought - not too sweet, boozy and well spiced.

The pastry contains no liquid, just butter, flour and sugar. A lot of butter, which is what makes it stick together. The resulting pastry case is very close to shortbread but crisper and sweeter. I think these took me just over an hour to make, most of the time was spent because I had to bake in two batches.

They are not the prettiest mince pies ever, not neat but what I like to call 'rustic'. They taste brilliant though, which is what matters!

I played around with the mincemeat, the first batch had pure mincemeat but the second I added some chopped hazlenuts and grated apple (spotted that tip on Kirstie and Phil's Christmas) which added lovely texture and also meant I could eke out the mincemeat more.

Makes approximately 16 - 18 mince pies
adapted from BBC Good Food

225g very cold butter
350g plain flour
100g granulated or caster sugar
1 jar (about 300g) mincemeat
egg or milk to brush over tops

Add your flour to a large mixing bowl, then grate in all of your butter. Grating cold butter means that you have finer strands in your flour which allows you to incorporate it better. Rub into the flour til you have a texture like fine crumble. Mix in your sugar and start to knead into a dough, the butter will be warmer now and so you will be able to work into a dough. Try not to add any liquid as your pastry will shrink in the oven later on.
Once it starts to form knead briefly and it is ready to use.

Preaheat oven to 200c (180c fan) or gas mark 6.
Lightly grease a nonstick cup tin, you don't have to but I wasn't going to trust my tin entirely after last year!
To form the bottoms you can either form walnut sized pieces of dough, flatten and then spread out into each cup to form a base. Or you can roll out the dough carefully (using plenty of flour) and use pastry cutters. I found the pastry cutters a better method although a little more time consuming. Form tops using pastry cutters or small sized balls squashed out.
You can also go for a lattice effect (which may look neater than mine, I am sure) or top with chopped nuts - both of which are delicious.

Brush the tops with beaten egg or milk, bake for 20 minutes til golden brown.
Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before taking them out of the tins.

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Christmas has arrived in our house!
I have baked a batch of mince pies (recipe coming up in the next bloggage), the tree is up and the cats are very (too) interested in it. We have a real tree this year and it looks so lovely in our olde worlde house.

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Christmas posting dates - USA & Canada & Eastern Europe extended


Just popping in with a quick reminder about last order dates for my jewellery shops.

I have a lovely day off tomorrow (yay) so I'll be able to extend my last order date for USA, Canada and Eastern Europe to the end of today - 9th December. As long as I receive your order by tomorrow morning then it will be posted in time to arrive for Christmas.

Other dates as follows:

Western Europe - 12th December
UK First Class - 19th December
UK Special Delivery - 22nd December (at extra cost, please contact me beforehand).

Thank you to everyone who has shopped with me so far, and those of you who will!


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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

my favourite shops - christmas gift guide

I spend a lot of time on Etsy, and I have to say probably a lot of money too. It is hard being a seller because you find yourself amongst all this loveliness all the time! I have lots of handmade things so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite sellers, just in time for Christmas!

Moo Cow Hand Knits

not only is moo awesome but she also knits the best! I have one of her oatmeal drop stitch scarves, a beautiful purple swing top , rose corsages and a cuddly cowl neck jumper. She also handknitted a beaded purple wrap for my wedding, and I have just ordered some pumpkin coloured armwarmers too! I have more moo things than I thought I did!

Fabulous fabric flowers!

A cute little orange spice flower adorns my windowsill in the living room and some ffflowers nearly always find their way amongst my christmas shopping. I have a tendency to kill every plant that I own, I have so far only kept one alive for about 3 years, with about a dozen being killed in that time, so I much prefer these because they always look fresh and nice. Helen also makes little brooches, ooh and hairpins.

Sweet Treats Bakery

The yummiest foodie shop on Etsy. I have some smoked salted caramels winging their way to me right now, they aren't for a gift, I'm keeping them! I have bought their marshmallows before and they are to die for, the lemon meringue in particular. Go stock up on sweet things, I want to dunk my head in their caramel sauce.

Ink Me Up

Beautiful hand drawings turned into prints, lavendar bags and totes. I have a litle chicky drawing, a wren print and an avocet print, all beautiful! These are really well received gifts for bird lovers and the new kitties, chickens and foxes are cute!

Asking for Trouble

Pure cute! I have bought notebooks as gifts before and the little book marks, and cards. I love the Jammy Dodger mug!

Quercus Silver

I couldn't not include Su, she made my wedding ring! I really ought to buy some more of her jewellery, I love the juicy colours and also the simple silver work. I have my eye on some of her gold work too.

I hope you've found something lovely here and will shop handmade this Christmas, I am! :)

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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

wordless wednesday - 1st December

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes - Gluten Free

These are properly syrupy, sticky and sweet cupcakes with a lovely lemon tang - I didn't start out intending for them to be gluten free but they are which is a great bonus! I made them by replacing the flour for ground almonds - which makes the cakes light and slightly nutty as well as gluten free.

I sprinkled the cupcakes with sugar before baking for an extra crisp top, and then drizzled them with a generous amount of syrup when the came out of the oven.

Makes 12 muffins / large cupcakes

175g unsalted butter
200g sugar
200g ground almonds
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
3 eggs

Cream the butter and sugar together til well combined, then whisk in eggs, fold in almonds, zest and baking powder. You can add a dash of vanilla extract here too.  Spoon into cupcake cases, leaving about 1cm from the top of the case. Sprinkle each cake with sugar, be generous!

Bake in the oven for 10 - 15mins til cooked through, they will be squidger than normal cakes but they will be cooked through. They won't rise to a dome like a flour cake either, mainly cos of the sugar topping too, but the baking powder will help them along a little bit.

for the drizzle:
juice of 2 lemons
approx 3-4 tablespoons of sugar

mix the drizzle ingredients together til you have a consistency like double cream, set aside while the cupcakes cook. as soon as the cupcakes come out prick them a few times each with a fork, and then drizzle some of the syrup over the top.

Leave to cool and then eat! These are so soft and syrupy that they make a lovely pudding with some creme fraiche or ice cream.

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Friday, 26 November 2010

Black Friday Sale - 20% off

I am running a Black Friday sale in my Etsy shop! 20% off all jewellery 
Use code BLACKFRIDAYSALE which runs until midnight (uk time) 28th November!

(Etsy now has coupon codes so you can get your discount straight away by typing it in at checkout - yay!)

I am also running a promotion at All Things Original - 10% off at All Things Original until Midnight tonight.

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Monday, 15 November 2010

Last Posting Dates for Christmas & Moving House

I think the Christmas spirit seems to be in the air now, don't you think?
I have lots of pretty things which would make perfect gifts and I would love for you to shop for a loved one in my shop this Christmas.

Please order early so I can make sure your order arrives in time. All of my orders are gift boxed and tied with satin ribbon. I can also add a tag with a message, free of charge, just let me know when you order.

Last Posting Dates - for ALL my shops (Etsy, Folksy, Dawanda, All Things Original):

3rd December – South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Far East (inc. Japan), Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

8th December – USA, Canada, Eastern Europe

9th December - Western Europe

19th December - United Kingdom (up to 22nd for Special Delivery at extra cost).

You may have heard through the grapevine, or mostly because of my twitter ramblings that I am moving house next week!
My shops will all be open but orders will be delayed by up to 2-3 days between 20th - 24th November, I will be in touch straight away to let you know when you order will be sent.

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Food Blog Discoveries - More Blogs!

A few more food blogs that have been added to my reader recently, hope you find some inspiration like I have :)

Desserts for Breakfast - I only followed this food blog because it had an awesome name (and matches my philosophy in life, clearly), but it is also a really lovely blog with gorgeous photographs.

Une-deux Senses - food but also fashion and music, beautiful photos! she has just been to New York too so some great recommendations if you are visiting soon.

Kitchen 22 - Cambridge food blogger, restaurant blogger. Yummy recipe for Oxtail Ragu.

Anne's Food - blogger based in Sweden, some really interesting recipes here, and if you like Swedish cookbooks then you'll find it very useful ;)

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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

wordless wednesday

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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

autumn colour

Some photos from my walk today, I love Autumn, it photographs so well.

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Monday, 1 November 2010


Can you believe it is November already?!

Nearly Christmas time, one of my favourite times of the year, I might have to start baking mince pies soon...

I have been working on birthstones recently, I am hoping to have a full range of birthstone necklaces available in my shop, month by month.

This month is Citrine, the stone for November, it reminds me entirely of Autumn, perfect. Earrings and a necklace available in all my shops:

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Saturday, 30 October 2010

15% off Jewellery

I'm having a sale!

Maybe time to start your Christmas shopping?

I'll be running a series of discounts in November too, so keep your eyes peeled on my blog, facebook or twitter.

This weekend it is 15% off everything on Etsy! Hurray!
All prices adjusted so you are all set to shop away :)

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Friday, 29 October 2010

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

I have been a bit quiet on the food blogging front lately, I have been baking and making new things but the dark evenings are making food blogging difficult. There have been rhubarb buttermilk cakes, cupcakes, a couple of tarte tatins and the best custard ever, but sadly my camera wasn't a guest at these baking sessions!

These cinnamon roll cupcakes are a little bit different, and I couldn't wait to try them. So I had a day off and the light was good, perfect!

I've never been much of a fan of cinnamon rolls, often they are dry and the cinnamon far too over powering- and also covered in sickly icing which ruins the pastry. I always thought them hard to make because of making a dough and making them cook through just right.

I spotted a couple of cinnamon cupcake recipes whilst googling due to cravings, and they seemed easy and well... ever so cute.
It is not a cupcake as such, it is just cooked in a cupcake tin with liners. This means each roll cooks quickly and you have instant individual portions. Because the rolls are squished up nicely in the cake liner they rise upwards and you have lots of pretty little rolls.

The recipe itself is fairly easy - you need time to wait around for it to prove and rest and you need to make sure you work it to a nice soft dough. After the first prove and the first rest you spread a wonderful mix of cinnamon, lots of sugar and butter onto a rolled out rectangle. Once rolled up and chopped into pieces you prove once more and bake in the oven. The cinnamon sugar crisps up on top and inside it caramelises for a lovely gooey caramel surprise.

You will eat at least two of these in a row when they are still warm from the oven, promise you.

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
Makes about 12 - 14 rolls/cupcakes

for dough
1/2 pack of instant yeast (about 3 g)
1/4 cup of  granulated sugar divided into two
1/2 cup warm milk (whole or semi skimmed)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 egg
pinch salt
2 cups of strong white bread flour
dash of cinnamon

for cinnamon sugar filling
1/2 cup of granulated or brown sugar
1 heaped tablespoon of cinnamon
approx 3 tbsp softened butter / 25g

Dissolve the yeast and half the sugar in the warm milk (whisking helps it combine), leave for 10 minutes til it is foamy.
Then add in your eggs, melted butter, rest of the sugar and the salt. Mix well then sift in your flour and cinnamon. Mix until it becomes more dough like and then knead for a few minutes til you have a soft and smooth dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour to 1 hr 30 mins - until the dough has doubled in size.

After the first prove turn the dough out on to a board, roll it in to a rough rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Leave to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400f / 200c / gas mark 6.

Roll out your dough til it is about 1/2 in thick, you want it to be rectangular so cut off the edges to form a rectangle - you can use the trimmings to make some more rolls after the first batch.

Mix together your cinnamon sugar filling in a small bowl then spread the mixture over the rectangle, leaving about 1 cm from the edge of the dough. If you have any leave over dough trimmings leave some sugar mix to spread on that.

Carefully roll your dough and sugar mix in to a sausage shape, cut in to 12 pieces.
Fit them snugly into some cupcake cases in a cupcake tin, you want big muffin/cupcake sized tin and cases rather than small fairy cake type ones.

Cover the cupcake tin with a tea towel and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
Once proved bake in the oven for 10 minutes til the dough is cooked through and the sugar bubbling away. Keep an eye on it as the sugar can burn quickly - some of mine caught slightly because I got distracted with jewellery things ;)

Leave to cool for a bit before eating, they'll be very hot.
You can also add in a cream cheese or simple caramel frosting, but they are just as good on their own!

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Le Gavroche

After much anticipation and waiting and impatient we dined at Le Gavroche on Tuesday. We were celebrating our first anniversary, we had planned it even before we got married which is kind of silly!

We booked for the set lunch menu which was very good value at £48 per person including half bottle of wine each and coffee and petit fours. Due to the attentiveness of the staff and the rather formal atmosphere I didn't take any pictures of our meal , save for the petit fours, but I can assure you they were beautifully presented!

To start we had champagne and were bought some pretty little appetisers. Some kind of soft cheese with quince jelly and pistachios on a little toasted cracker (I am not sure exactly what the cracker was but I don't think my explanation does it justice!) and celeriac remoulade in a pastry cup with a soft boiled quails egg. Delicious, I could have eaten the quince jelly all day!

After we had ordered our starters and mains we were presented with an amuse bouche - rabbit terrine with olive tapenade on a long very crispy crouton. I am not much of a fan of terrines in general but in a restaurant like this they are always good, the olive tapenade was extremely rich and worked really well.

For started I plumped for the herb risotto with veal belly, the risotto was different to any risotto I've had before. It was flavoured with light herbs and what I think was the roasting juices of the veal which gave it a really amazing slightly barbecued flavour - the fact that I have waxed lyrical about risotto before even going onto the veal shows you how good it was. The veal belly was so tender, small slices- crisp on the outside and soft on the inside served with the roasting juices/ gravy around the risotto - I've never had veal before and what way to start eating it!
My husband had salmon tartare which was served in a light cream sauce with caviar (the lucky sod!) on top. Obviously I had to try some so I could tell you about it, and it was excellent - light but creamy and very different to the usual salmon starters you find in most restaurants.

For main I ordered roast fillet of pollack with lobster jus and crushed potatoes - accompanied by the best cooked broccoli I've ever had, seriously, I think it was cooked in stock and was just right, not mushy but not undercooked. The fish was perfectly flaky, fresh and the lobster jus was really rich, unfortunately I was only treated to a single piece of lobster underneath my fish, more lobster please! Having said that if I had asked I am sure they would have bought a long a small bowl of lobster, damn I should have asked for more lobster.

Pork au poivre served with pomme mousseline, fondant caulifower and mustard cream sauce was the hubbys choice. Fondant cauliflower was something of a revelation, so creamy and well flavoured with a slight crispness on the outside, something I need to try making - which I may fail at. The potato was light as air and the pork cooked perfectly pink.

For dessert we both chose the Apple Charlotte with Calvados sorbet. Not being familiar with it I didn't know it was made with bread rather than pastry, being so crisp, sweet and butter I was sure it was pastry but no it was bread. The apples inside were cooked til soft and flavoured with spices, just right against the crisp outside. The sorbet was very strongly flavoured with calvados, almost like drinking it but with a nice creamy texture!
apologies for the fuzzy pic!

We finished with a cappuccino each, unable to continue drinking the wine, shameful! I'm not really sure how much we drank each as they like to keep your wine at the same level throughout, very precise service.
The petit fours were just lovely, I was aghast when I saw that the table next to us had disregarded theirs and left without touching them - awful!

The petit fours were made up of a delicate peppered brandy snap, praline macaron, toffee cape gooseberry and a mini madeline. The brandy snap was my favourite, the pepper was a lovely surprise. The toffee cape gooseberry was an inspired idea but they were a bit too sour for me, maybe more caramel is required? Or maybe I just have a ridiculous sweet tooth.

We left feeling full, not stuffed, just right, and possibly a little tipsy. I want to go back right away, next anniversary maybe, although we are talking about visiting the Waterside instead, we like to plan ahead with our fine dining....

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Weekend sale

10% off in my Etsy shop all weekend (22nd - 24th) - Happy Weekend everyone! :)

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

wordless wednesday - 20th October

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Friday, 15 October 2010

Folksy Friday Finds

Some little things to brighten up your Friday, all on Folksy.

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

15% off Jewellery- Impromptu One Day Sale!

15% off all the pretties (excluding silly sale) in my Etsy shop today - and I found a really handy website that lets me adjust the prices all at once, so no more paypal invoices - all the prices are set to 15% off already.

Happy Shopping :)

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Monday, 11 October 2010

Freshening Up - New Photos

I recently bought lots and lots of new background papers for my jewellery, so I spent Sunday afternoon retaking a lot of photographs, I am hoping to do even more soon, but after 400 snaps I was a bit lethargic!

Lots of new jewellery in the photography style coming up this week too.


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Friday, 8 October 2010

UK Silly Sale!

Today Etsy sellers in the UK are running lots of special offers in our shops in the name of silliness and bargains!

I will have FREE SHIPPING in my Etsy shop along with a $10 sale section too!

Everything in my shop has free shipping and here is a peek of the $10 sale:

A very good time to stock up on Christmas gifts or to treat yourself before Christmas present buying begin.

All prices are amended and free shipping applied.

You can also search 'UK Silly Sale' on Etsy to find other bargains from my lovely UK friends.

Happy Shopping!

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Saturday, 2 October 2010

handmade bunting

I have been trying lately to actually finish other craft projects rather than buying supplies and letting them linger in my workbox!

I bought some beautiful fat quarters from Callyco in Cambridge recently and I knew I wanted to make some bunting out of them. I looked at a lot of tutorials which involved hemming the bunting and double sided bunting etc etc, but I knew I'd never finish it so I went for a slightly more 'rustic' approach!

I sketched out a triangle flat with a square off top for the trim and cut out all my bunting triangles, 16 in total. I decided to keep the edges raw and not hem, being as they won't be handled a lot. Then I handstitched with contrasting blue thread onto white grosgrain ribbon.

The cutting took about an hour and the sewing an evening in front of the TV - perfect!
I still have lots of fabric left so I think I will make some matching cushions for the bed.

I am currently trying to keep the kitten away from the bunting, she does like bits of ribbon that hang down, cheeky thing!

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