Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

I really enjoy baking. It’s an exact science plus, as an adult, I get to lick both the bowl & the beaters without sharing them with my pesky siblings. So any chance I get to bake, I’m gonna take it. We went to stay with some friends last night for a long overdue catch up over a take away & a (few) glasses of wine. Vintage Tala Icing Set As a thank you, my OH suggested I bake some cakes. Brilliant, I thought, a perfect chance to practice my icing skills. One of my other vintage Christmas gifts was a wonderful icing that is an original Tala one. It’s so much easier to use than a piping bag and is being remade & available at Lakeland. I couldn’t believe it when I went in to my local Lakeland shop & saw the new version of the Tala Icing Syringe Set available for a mere £22.99. Mine is an original & I got it for free! Even better.

I know that my cupcakes are good, but I really want to make them look professional. I don’t imagine that I can give up my day job & become a Chocolate Cupcakes cupcake baker anytime soon, but I would like them to look really professional. Armed with my syringe set & some fancy sprinkles, I had a go. I knew that both the mixture of the cupcakes & the frosting tasted great (obviously!) but can I get them to look great? Well, what do you think? Do they look professional or do they have a ‘homemade’ feel about them?! I did do them in a real rush, as we were running late for our friends, but I think they turned out okay. They were met with lots of ‘mmmmmm’s’ so I’m taking that as a good sign! I think practice makes perfect, so if you fancy being a taste tester, then just let me know!

Buttons

Crafty Buttons

I love buttons. Always have. I like the different materials, colours & sizes. I like new & vintage. So imagine my joy on Christmas Day when my OH’s mum gave me her mother’s button collection! I was overwhelmed. Not only that, my mum also gave me the ones that were filling up her sewing box. I also inherited my Nana’s buttons when she passed away last year. This all means that I have a very awesome button collection & I love the fact that it’s from collections spanning three generations.

So how was I going to make sure I used these wonderful buttons? I was worried that I would just pack them into a box in my cupboard and forget about them. But then I had a brainwave. I’d seen pictures of people putting them & ribbons into jars. Genius, I thought, I can do that so that I can keep them out. So I ransacked the kitchen cupboards to find as many jars as I could & managed to get enough to start colour co-ordinating my beautiful buttons. (Words cannot express how much joy I had doing this!)

They are now all displayed in my study on the bookcase & look amazing. It is definitely the start of a crafty relationship!

Crafty Buttons

Crafty Nana

Nana Oil Painting

As you may have seen from my previous post, I was lucky enough to go to Cirencester last weekend. While walking around, we stumbled onto a fabulous shop called Sorted. It has a wonderful mix of new & vintage; clothes & furniture; art & jewellery. Just my kind of place! There were certainly plenty of things to spend your money on, not many of them cheap as they really are vintage pieces. They range from Victorian to 1960’s but all have clearly been chosen because they will sell well. And at least two of them sold well to me! 

Nana BroochMy paternal Nana died last year & left me a small sum of money. I wanted to buy something specific that would remind me of her & that she would approve of. I spotted the flower brooch first. I think that this would definitely have been something that Nana would’ve worn ‘for best’. I knew I couldn’t leave it in the shop because I got ‘the feeling’. This is the feeling that I get when I’m going to buy something that I hadn’t planned for! It was very reasonable at £50 and not something that you buy everyday. 

Nana Oil PaintingThe second thing that caught my eye was this beautiful floral  oil painting. I’ve never painted with oils, but Nana & Grandad always had very colourful oil paintings in their house. I used to touch them as a child because I was intrigued by the lumps! This was a bit more at £130 and really is vintage. It adds some brightness to my study & makes me smile whenever I look at it.

My purchases definitely reflect the style that my Nana had & I’m very grateful to Sorted as I’ve been looking for something for a while.

An interview with the owners of Sorted can be seen in the February edition of Homes & Antiques magazine.

Green Thumb

Green Thumb Orchid

Green Thumb OrchidI think I need some gardening help! I bought this beautiful orchid & it’s lost all it’s flowers. I’m concerned that I’ve not watered it enough & then watered it too much. If anyone has any tips or pointers about how to rescue it, I would greatly welcome them.

I love orchids. They grow such a graceful looking flower that always makes me feel calm. For me, though, their delicacy & grace is always their downfall as I’m not graceful or delicate enough to get the balance of water right!

Although it could be that it didn’t get enough light in the study & that caused it to lose the flowers.

I hope I haven’t killed it 🙁

It’s not like I kill all plants. I can keep some alive & I can even grow some from seed. I received a ‘Grow your own chives’ kit from my OH’s mum for Christmas. Brilliant, I thought. I can start to practice my gardening skills before I’m let loose in the garden.

I followed all the instructions in getting the plant ready & was very impressed when I saw little shoots sprouting through the compost. I even managed to remember to move it off the windowsill, away from the single paned window when it was really cold during the night, just in case the cold managed to give the chives the kiss of death.

Chives But now I’m worried. Have I watered them too much? Have I not spoken to them enough? Has the cold somehow got through & hurt my little baby chives? Who knows! They seemed to have stopped growing for the moment. Should I eat them? Would that encourage them to grow? If anyone has any chive experience, I would very much appreciate the help! I don’t want this two examples to be an omen – I don’t think my poor garden would cope with that.