Sunday, 26 January 2014

Polka dots

Searching for the perfect navy polka dot dress is some inspiration..

Liv Tyler (glamour magazine)

Tilly - 

Erin -

Erin -


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Quick cookie recipe

Chocolate cherry hazelnut cookies
Ingredients – to make 12 BIG cookies

- 125g butter

- 100g light brown soft sugar

- 30g caster sugar

- 1 egg

- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

- 50g flour

- 25g cocoa powder

- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

- 130g porridge oats

- 75g chopped hazelnuts

- 100g chopped glacĂ© cherries

Heat the oven to gas mark 3. Whip the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then add egg slowly, followed by the dry ingredients - add the nuts and cherries last. Shape into 12 balls and put on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 15 mins. Leave to cool completely then enjoy this chewy chocolaty treat!

I made these cookies last night when I fancied something sweet. They turned out pretty tasty but I think if I had some dark choc chips in place of cocoa powder they would be another level!

In other news my sour dough starter has come to life! After a couple of days it smelled pretty bad and I was tempted to give up on it. I persevered and now it smells bready and looks foamy.. just need to keep it going now til the weekend so I can make sour dough loaves.
If they turn out ok I will post the instructions I followed soon!


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Homebaked Crusty Bread


One of my goals for this year is to learn how to bake real bread. I love cooking and baking and somehow never tried to make bread. I decided to start with an easy no knead recipe. I remember seeing a recipe on Sandra's blog a while ago and a quick google search found it and clicked 'in english' to get the instructions!

You mix 3 cups plain flour, teaspoon of yeast, salt, 1.5 cups water, finely chopped rosemary in a bowl the day before you want to bake and leave it to prove for at least 12 hours in a bowl covered with cling film - the mixture was VERY lumpy and sticky but it is no knead so I didn't stir it too much.

The next day heat the oven - I have a gas oven so I set it to gas mark 8 and put a pyrex dish with a lid on to warm for 30 mins (Sandra uses a lovely le Creuset oval pot which we don't have so used next best thing in the cupboard!). Then flour the big mound of sticky dough and shape into a round (I used lots of flour at this stage). Very carefully drop bread into the heated dish and put the lid back on. I baked it for 30 mins with the lid on then 15 mins with it off as in Sandra's recipe. This did not look so done so I baked it for another 10 mins with the lid off. Then I put the mini loaf on a rack to cool completely.
I was pretty surprised how it turned out - it was delicious - crusty outside and soft inside.

My next goal is to make a sour dough loaf so I'm off to make my own sour dough starter!


Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 in review

5 events that have been the best this year?

Travelling to California and going on an amazing road trip, celebrating special friends turning 30, going to more gigs, spending lots of time with family, wild swimming taking me to new unexpected places like Lake Tahoe above.

5 events that have been the worst this year?
Nothing terrible really but my partner gave up work, went travelling and is now retraining to become a teacher and that has been tough financially but we just celebrated our 6 year anniversary before Christmas. My parents moved house and saying goodbye to the old family home was a bit sad.

What have you learned this year?
Don't be scared to try new things alone - in the past I would always seek a friend to go with to things but they haven't always been around so rather than miss out be brave and go for it. I did a jewellery making course at the ministry of craft in Manchester which I really enjoyed - it has inspired me to do more.

Was it the year you had in mind?
I had hoped to find a new job/career but many applications and interviews later that hasn't happened - I have learned lots and maybe the right thing is just around the corner...

What clothes did you wear the most?
To be honest gym/outdoorsy clothes and stripes :) I've been doing lots of running, pilates, rock climbing, walking and my job involves a lot of gardening so it's fun to dress up on the weekend and get the red lipstick out!

What music did you like the most?
In 2013 my goal was to see more live music - I live in Manchester so there is something on every night! Highlights have been going to see Goldfrapp at the newly renovated Manchester Albert Hall, The National at the Apollo, Laura Viers at Manchester Academy and HAIM at the Manchester Ritz. I also went to Ramsbottom Festival to see Richard Hawley and my old faves The Unthanks :)

What have you watched?
With a lovefilm account lots of films - I enjoyed a bit of a Wes Anderson season earlier this year and watched The Royal Tenebaums, Moonrise Kingdom, The Life Aquatic, Rushmore! Still love the Great British Bake Off and any cooking programmes on TV.

What have you read?
Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let me Go
Benjamin Wooley - The Queens Conjuror
Sue Townsend - The Woman who went to bed for a year
Levitt & Dubner - Freakonomics
Jonas Jonasson - The 100 year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared
Beth Lisick - Everybody into the pool
Helen Dunmore - A spell of winter
Carol Klein - Grow your own veg (almost daily!)
Nigel Slater - Eat (almost daily!)

Best meal?
All the great food I ate in California, especially a delicious meal at NOPA in San Francisco.

Did you do anything this year you had never done before?
My goal was to do more exercise - I signed up for a trapeze course with a friend and enjoyed it until I had a month off when I went to California and didn't go back after that - ha!

Ice climbing in Saddleworth was also a new experience - scary and exhilarating.

Did some of your friends become parents this year?
A few of our friends have become parents which has been pretty amazing.

What was your biggest achievement in 2013?
Turning my 2013 new year goal into a regular lifestyle - eating well and exercising. Keeping an exercise diary really helped and I realised I have run 5km at least once per week. I also set up a food growing site in Rochdale, passed my Assessor qualification and Minibus Driving Test.

Best bargain?
Everything haggled for and won at the Stockport Vintage Village feels like a bargain it's such a fun day out to come home with treasures is a bonus.

What did you spend the most money on?
Travel - not only a fantastic holiday in USA but my family and friends live so far apart so every other weekend I'm driving or getting on a train somewhere.

What do you wish you'd done more?

Less worrying, more enjoying the moment, more crafting time.

What did you do on your birthday in 2013?

My birthday weekend was fun - had a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park and dinner at my favourite pub The Church Inn at Uppermill. Also went to see the 39 Steps at The Manchester Opera House.

How would you describe your style in 2013?

As I'm soon to be 30 (in March this year) I've been trying to dress more grown up/ladylike, I guess pretty classic pieces with lots of vintage thrown in! Heels/smarter clothes for work etc. I love the style of Erin from calivintage, Kerry of Yours Truly, Samantha Pleet, Dusen Dusen, Lady Moriarty.

List of questions borrowed from happy honey and lark It's been good to reflect on the year with this list and to think what I hope to be able to say at the end of this year :)