I've been crazy crazy busy with work the past couple of weeks, so apologies for the serious lack of blogposts recently! It feels like Christmas is approaching far too quickly for my liking this year and I'm beginning to get a bit behind in the preparation stakes... Thankfully, this past weekend I had two whole days off work (huzzah!) which meant I could take some time to really knuckle down, dust off the baubles and the board games and get the festive planning well and truly underway :)



The Christmas preparations chez moi started (of course) with the buying of the Christmas tree. This year, we plumped for a real one and I have to say we may have gone a tad overboard as he certainly is a big old boy! We had to sacrifice half the seats in the old Land Rover and properly strap him down to prevent any serious crushing incidents as we drove back home through all those twisty turny country roads!!



Here's my Dad attempting to get the tree secure in its (possibly) insufficiently-sized stand. However, with the help of a few coasters off the table and bits of old firewood, we had a perfectly propped up Christmas tree! Manly industrial efforts over, Dad left the decoration side of things to Mum and me...so, armed with a couple of glasses of Baileys, we set to work! All I can say, in the cold light of day, is that perhaps the Baileys wasn't such a great idea when the fine art of bauble placement is concerned...

As I have been put in charge of Christmas breakfast slash general entertainment for the day, I also spent some time at the weekend going through all our old board games and having a quick flick through Nigella's Christmas book. I think I've decided we're going to have either cinnamon rolls or spicy clementine muffins for our breakfast this year, although this decision could easily be overruled by both my brothers...who will expect a full and fatty fry up regardless of the general dietary onslaught that is Christmas Day!

At least I can say I've tried xD

I will certainly be keeping you updated with any other festive plans I might make, including (perhaps) a recipe for some teeny tiny gingerbread houses that I'm planning on putting together...as well as some creative gift wrapping tips and techniques!  

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Starting to Feel Festive!

Sunday, 6 December 2015



I've been crazy crazy busy with work the past couple of weeks, so apologies for the serious lack of blogposts recently! It feels like Christmas is approaching far too quickly for my liking this year and I'm beginning to get a bit behind in the preparation stakes... Thankfully, this past weekend I had two whole days off work (huzzah!) which meant I could take some time to really knuckle down, dust off the baubles and the board games and get the festive planning well and truly underway :)



The Christmas preparations chez moi started (of course) with the buying of the Christmas tree. This year, we plumped for a real one and I have to say we may have gone a tad overboard as he certainly is a big old boy! We had to sacrifice half the seats in the old Land Rover and properly strap him down to prevent any serious crushing incidents as we drove back home through all those twisty turny country roads!!



Here's my Dad attempting to get the tree secure in its (possibly) insufficiently-sized stand. However, with the help of a few coasters off the table and bits of old firewood, we had a perfectly propped up Christmas tree! Manly industrial efforts over, Dad left the decoration side of things to Mum and me...so, armed with a couple of glasses of Baileys, we set to work! All I can say, in the cold light of day, is that perhaps the Baileys wasn't such a great idea when the fine art of bauble placement is concerned...

As I have been put in charge of Christmas breakfast slash general entertainment for the day, I also spent some time at the weekend going through all our old board games and having a quick flick through Nigella's Christmas book. I think I've decided we're going to have either cinnamon rolls or spicy clementine muffins for our breakfast this year, although this decision could easily be overruled by both my brothers...who will expect a full and fatty fry up regardless of the general dietary onslaught that is Christmas Day!

At least I can say I've tried xD

I will certainly be keeping you updated with any other festive plans I might make, including (perhaps) a recipe for some teeny tiny gingerbread houses that I'm planning on putting together...as well as some creative gift wrapping tips and techniques!  

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x




Christmas markets are one of my most favourite things! I love the festive mixture created by the glorious combination of stalls selling everything from yummy foods and boozy hot chocolates to those offering pretty jewels and hand-crafted cards. So trekking up to London to visit some of the best, most Christmassy markets is always an absolute must for me as we get closer to the Big Day itself! This year, being so far down the country, I decided that my trip up to London would also have to involve a big ol' get together with family and friends...so my brothers, their girlfriend's, my best bud Shan and myself all set a date to meet in the city and go shopping! 

Shan was kind enough to let me stay at her place the night before, so we even managed to squeeze in a yummy meal out with an old uni friend and a trip to the cinema to see the last Hunger Games film! I had such a wonderful couple of days and even managed to film a few snippets from my little adventure up town...

Below is my little vlog, if you'd like to take a look :)  





In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


A Little Trip to London

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Christmas markets are one of my most favourite things! I love the festive mixture created by the glorious combination of stalls selling everything from yummy foods and boozy hot chocolates to those offering pretty jewels and hand-crafted cards. So trekking up to London to visit some of the best, most Christmassy markets is always an absolute must for me as we get closer to the Big Day itself! This year, being so far down the country, I decided that my trip up to London would also have to involve a big ol' get together with family and friends...so my brothers, their girlfriend's, my best bud Shan and myself all set a date to meet in the city and go shopping! 

Shan was kind enough to let me stay at her place the night before, so we even managed to squeeze in a yummy meal out with an old uni friend and a trip to the cinema to see the last Hunger Games film! I had such a wonderful couple of days and even managed to film a few snippets from my little adventure up town...

Below is my little vlog, if you'd like to take a look :)  





In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Winter is certainly on the way and I've been busy lining up a few gifts for my nearest and dearest :) However, whilst perusing my favourite shopping sites for the perfect presents, I often can't help but stumble across a few irresistible items that I'd much rather get myself!

So here are a few things that have caught my eye, if you'd like to take a look...

  1. I'm obsessed with the scent of the small White Company Orange Grove Signature Candle I bought the other week- so much so that there's only an inch or so of wax left in the burner! We've had visitors pop by the house whilst this candle's been burning away in the lounge and they've all wanted to know one thing... exactly what is that gorgeous smell??! It's safe to say I need to upgrade to the larger version of this scented beauty to last me through the darker months, so I've put The White Company's Orange Grove Botanical Candle at the top of this list! 
  2. Bed socks are a must most winters but these light grey lovelies from ASOS are a particularly special treat because they're made from cashmere. Massage your feet with a little bit of moisturiser, pop these bad boys on and you'll be in hosiery heaven for sure.   
  3. I'm having such trouble organising all my bits and bobs from my university house and making them fit back into my bedroom at home! With both my birthday and Christmas around the corner, I'd love a couple of these John Lewis Croft trunks to stow away a few knick knacks in. They come in light grey, blue and marshmallow (!) shades and would make tidying and organising all those extra things a real treat :)
  4. A little bit of Christmassy sparkle is always a good thing in my book and I just love the charm of these copper cookie cutter lights from Not On the High Street. I think they'd look lovely draped across a mantlepiece or along a windowsill and I'm seriously considering getting some to pop around my dressing table mirror for the festive period! 

And those are my top wintery picks! Are there any self-indulgent treats that you enjoy at this time of year? I'd love to know :)

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


My Winter Wishlist

Thursday, 12 November 2015


Winter is certainly on the way and I've been busy lining up a few gifts for my nearest and dearest :) However, whilst perusing my favourite shopping sites for the perfect presents, I often can't help but stumble across a few irresistible items that I'd much rather get myself!

So here are a few things that have caught my eye, if you'd like to take a look...

  1. I'm obsessed with the scent of the small White Company Orange Grove Signature Candle I bought the other week- so much so that there's only an inch or so of wax left in the burner! We've had visitors pop by the house whilst this candle's been burning away in the lounge and they've all wanted to know one thing... exactly what is that gorgeous smell??! It's safe to say I need to upgrade to the larger version of this scented beauty to last me through the darker months, so I've put The White Company's Orange Grove Botanical Candle at the top of this list! 
  2. Bed socks are a must most winters but these light grey lovelies from ASOS are a particularly special treat because they're made from cashmere. Massage your feet with a little bit of moisturiser, pop these bad boys on and you'll be in hosiery heaven for sure.   
  3. I'm having such trouble organising all my bits and bobs from my university house and making them fit back into my bedroom at home! With both my birthday and Christmas around the corner, I'd love a couple of these John Lewis Croft trunks to stow away a few knick knacks in. They come in light grey, blue and marshmallow (!) shades and would make tidying and organising all those extra things a real treat :)
  4. A little bit of Christmassy sparkle is always a good thing in my book and I just love the charm of these copper cookie cutter lights from Not On the High Street. I think they'd look lovely draped across a mantlepiece or along a windowsill and I'm seriously considering getting some to pop around my dressing table mirror for the festive period! 

And those are my top wintery picks! Are there any self-indulgent treats that you enjoy at this time of year? I'd love to know :)

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


My birthday (as you know, if you've read my seven facts about me!) is Christmas Eve and, at the moment, I'm trying to come up with a few ideas for how I want to celebrate it. Having a Winter birthday is both a blessing and a curse- it's great because everyone is always in such high spirits around the festive period :) ...but it also sucks because the weather at this time of year can be very unpredictable and, therefore, making solid plans is quite some task.

I usually have to organise something that can take place indoors... so here are three ideas for some weather-proof, indoor Winter birthday parties that aren't a complete washout or too similar in theme to, you know, Christmas.


1. Host an Indoor Winter Picnic.

Cosy and informal, this party idea favours close friends and cups of tea over sit-down meals and fine china. I love the thought of spreading a big picnic blanket out in the middle of the living room for you and your friends to sit on, surrounding yourselves with lots of yummy snacks and just chilling out together in front of a warm fire. The dress code should be big jumpers and thick socks and the menu should contain plenty of tasty treats from salty popcorn to roasted chestnuts... all washed down with lashings of your favourite hot chocolate (of course)!    


Bring out the board games and settle in for a snuggly evening with your bestest friends, lots of larks and, best of all, lots of laughter :)


2. Throw a glittering Sparkle and Shimmer Soiree.

If you're in more of a glitzy party girl mood, then this theme is bound to appeal to you. Embellish your walls with curtains of glitter-dipped feathers and drape fairy lights over every available surface to create the setting for this shimmering soiree...


...I love the thought of serving these sparkly glasses of pink Prosecco and those sweet little gold-flecked meringue kisses! A soiree is typically an evening party of the more formal variety, but you can make this one as fun and informal as you like- just take the opportunity to get dressed up to the nines with all your nearest and dearest!          


3. Put on a glamorous Dark and Decadent Dinner Party. 

If you love this season's warm yet moody colour palette, make your birthday a stylish affair by throwing a very-grown-up-feeling dinner party! I'm obsessed with this dark, rich plum colour as it feels very appropriate for this time of year (think winter berries, sugarplum fairies and figs...) but it doesn't immediately shout Christmas- it feels much more subtle and grown-up and therefore perfect for a glammed-up Winter birthday dinner!



Dress code should be red wine lips all round :) and the menu should definitely include a tipple made with the appropriately-coloured Chambord black raspberry liqueur!!


& There you go! Those are my three Winter Birthday Party Ideas! Of course, these themes aren't limited to birthdays alone...they'd be equally amazing as little Winter gatherings for friends and families or even for a quiet New Years in :)

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my ideas! I certainly have my favourite...which one would you choose?

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

 

Winter Birthday Party Ideas

Saturday, 7 November 2015

My birthday (as you know, if you've read my seven facts about me!) is Christmas Eve and, at the moment, I'm trying to come up with a few ideas for how I want to celebrate it. Having a Winter birthday is both a blessing and a curse- it's great because everyone is always in such high spirits around the festive period :) ...but it also sucks because the weather at this time of year can be very unpredictable and, therefore, making solid plans is quite some task.

I usually have to organise something that can take place indoors... so here are three ideas for some weather-proof, indoor Winter birthday parties that aren't a complete washout or too similar in theme to, you know, Christmas.


1. Host an Indoor Winter Picnic.

Cosy and informal, this party idea favours close friends and cups of tea over sit-down meals and fine china. I love the thought of spreading a big picnic blanket out in the middle of the living room for you and your friends to sit on, surrounding yourselves with lots of yummy snacks and just chilling out together in front of a warm fire. The dress code should be big jumpers and thick socks and the menu should contain plenty of tasty treats from salty popcorn to roasted chestnuts... all washed down with lashings of your favourite hot chocolate (of course)!    


Bring out the board games and settle in for a snuggly evening with your bestest friends, lots of larks and, best of all, lots of laughter :)


2. Throw a glittering Sparkle and Shimmer Soiree.

If you're in more of a glitzy party girl mood, then this theme is bound to appeal to you. Embellish your walls with curtains of glitter-dipped feathers and drape fairy lights over every available surface to create the setting for this shimmering soiree...


...I love the thought of serving these sparkly glasses of pink Prosecco and those sweet little gold-flecked meringue kisses! A soiree is typically an evening party of the more formal variety, but you can make this one as fun and informal as you like- just take the opportunity to get dressed up to the nines with all your nearest and dearest!          


3. Put on a glamorous Dark and Decadent Dinner Party. 

If you love this season's warm yet moody colour palette, make your birthday a stylish affair by throwing a very-grown-up-feeling dinner party! I'm obsessed with this dark, rich plum colour as it feels very appropriate for this time of year (think winter berries, sugarplum fairies and figs...) but it doesn't immediately shout Christmas- it feels much more subtle and grown-up and therefore perfect for a glammed-up Winter birthday dinner!



Dress code should be red wine lips all round :) and the menu should definitely include a tipple made with the appropriately-coloured Chambord black raspberry liqueur!!


& There you go! Those are my three Winter Birthday Party Ideas! Of course, these themes aren't limited to birthdays alone...they'd be equally amazing as little Winter gatherings for friends and families or even for a quiet New Years in :)

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my ideas! I certainly have my favourite...which one would you choose?

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

 

" Fall, leaves, fall; die flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree..."

from 'Fall, leaves, fall' by Emile Bronte


A few snaps from my long weekend:

1. The last of the Autumn leaves carpeting our garden
2. Horses stretching their long legs at Widemouth Bay
3. Rustling up a quick dinner of feta, pesto and spinach puff pastry tart 
4. My favourite tree, getting a bit sparse!
5. One soggy doggy :)
6. Baking a few Halloween cookies (recipe here!)
7. A view through the trees
8. Higgledy-piggledy pebbles on the beach at Widemouth Bay


I can't believe October is over! Where did it go? Everything around here is still looking very autumnal but there's just a touch of the wintery weeks to come...

Are you looking forward to November? I'm really excited for bonfires and fireworks! I think we might even celebrate some sort of bonfire night in our back garden... eeek! Definitely going to be needing a good recipe for toffee apples anyway :) I'll be sure to keep you posted!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Some Snaps from the Weekend

Sunday, 1 November 2015


" Fall, leaves, fall; die flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree..."

from 'Fall, leaves, fall' by Emile Bronte


A few snaps from my long weekend:

1. The last of the Autumn leaves carpeting our garden
2. Horses stretching their long legs at Widemouth Bay
3. Rustling up a quick dinner of feta, pesto and spinach puff pastry tart 
4. My favourite tree, getting a bit sparse!
5. One soggy doggy :)
6. Baking a few Halloween cookies (recipe here!)
7. A view through the trees
8. Higgledy-piggledy pebbles on the beach at Widemouth Bay


I can't believe October is over! Where did it go? Everything around here is still looking very autumnal but there's just a touch of the wintery weeks to come...

Are you looking forward to November? I'm really excited for bonfires and fireworks! I think we might even celebrate some sort of bonfire night in our back garden... eeek! Definitely going to be needing a good recipe for toffee apples anyway :) I'll be sure to keep you posted!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Happy Halloween weekend! 
I hope you have plenty of plans to celebrate this spooktacular holiday in style :)


If you want to bake something a tiny bit more terrifying to tantalise your friends with, look no further than these spooooky cookies! They're really easy to bake and a lot of fun to decorate if you have the time. This recipe can be used to create whatever shapes you like at any time of the year but, as its Halloween, here I've opted for the classic bat-ghost-pumpkin trio.

Aaand as I'm a total child when it comes to any kind of festivity, obviously I had to give my bat, ghost and pumpkin-shaped cookies names...


...I had far too much fun with these, clearly!

Anyway, here's the recipe, if you want to give them a go :)

For the cookies: 

This is a wonderfully fuss-free recipe from Nigella that guarantees splendid-looking biscuits (that keep their shape!) every time. 

Makes around 20 large cookies (like mine) or 25-30 smaller ones.

- 90g soft unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

Recipe slightly adapted from this one

- 450g icing sugar
- 6 tablespoons of warm water
- 3 tablespoons of meringue powder/powdered egg
- gel colours of your choosing!

Method:

1. Cream the butter and the sugar for the cookies together until pale and almost mousse-like in texture, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the butter and the eggs, and then mix gently but surely. If you think the dough mixture is too sticky to be rolled out at this point (as I did!), add in a little more flour.
3. Bring the dough together with your hands, form into a fat disc and then wrap it in clingfilm and whack it in the fridge for at least one hour. Preheat your oven at this point to 180° (350° F). 
4. Once it's been suitable chilled, roll out your dough on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about 1/2cm. Cut out your shapes and place the cookies a little apart onto two or three lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12mins until the edges of the biscuits are tinged with a lovely golden glow! Don't panic if they look a little soft and pale in the middle- they will set while they cool :)

When the cookies are fully cooled, you can get on with icing them!

5. Start by beating all the icing ingredients (bar the colouring) together until the mixture forms peaks. In a sturdy, stand-alone mixer this will take about 7-10mins at a slow speed...if you're using a hand-held it will take about 10-12mins at a high speed. Getting the right consistency for the icing is tricky but, at this point, you want something stiff enough to outline your cookies but not too stiff that it won't go through a piping bag! Aim for a pre-cooked meringue type of consistency- that's what worked for me anyway :)
6. Split the icing into separate bowls for adding different colours and then transfer whatever colour icing you plump for first into a piping bag.
7. Outline your cookies with a border that will act as a 'dam' to prevent your 'flooding' icing from spilling over the edges. Shaky hands didn't help me at this point and I must admit, I got quite frustrated with the whole piping sitch here BUT stick with it- it gets easier with every cookie, I promise!
8. Once you've outlined all your cookies in their different colours, add 1 teaspoon of warm water to each batch of icing to loosen it out and create the 'flooding' icing you want to fill the middle of the cookies. You can add more than 1 tsp of water to your icing if it's still a little stiff- what you're aiming for is icing with the consistency of thick honey.
9. Dollop a teaspoon of icing into the centre of each cookie and then spread it up to the outline with a small knife. I found a toothpick was helpful for getting into the all the tricky corners of each design... you can also use it to pop any small bubbles that might cheekily appear in your icing!
10. Allow the cookies to dry before adding additional decorations on top with any leftover icing you might have...

I did smiley faces on a couple of bats and even attempted some writing on the pumpkins (waaayy harder than Mary Berry makes it look) but you can decorate these beauties with whatever takes your fancy! Let those creative juices flooooooww xD


And that's it :)

Let me know if you decide to give these a go! And also let me know what you're Halloween plans are in the comments- I'd love to hear what you're all dressing up as!

In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x


Spooky Halloween Cookies!

Friday, 30 October 2015


Happy Halloween weekend! 
I hope you have plenty of plans to celebrate this spooktacular holiday in style :)


If you want to bake something a tiny bit more terrifying to tantalise your friends with, look no further than these spooooky cookies! They're really easy to bake and a lot of fun to decorate if you have the time. This recipe can be used to create whatever shapes you like at any time of the year but, as its Halloween, here I've opted for the classic bat-ghost-pumpkin trio.

Aaand as I'm a total child when it comes to any kind of festivity, obviously I had to give my bat, ghost and pumpkin-shaped cookies names...


...I had far too much fun with these, clearly!

Anyway, here's the recipe, if you want to give them a go :)

For the cookies: 

This is a wonderfully fuss-free recipe from Nigella that guarantees splendid-looking biscuits (that keep their shape!) every time. 

Makes around 20 large cookies (like mine) or 25-30 smaller ones.

- 90g soft unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

Recipe slightly adapted from this one

- 450g icing sugar
- 6 tablespoons of warm water
- 3 tablespoons of meringue powder/powdered egg
- gel colours of your choosing!

Method:

1. Cream the butter and the sugar for the cookies together until pale and almost mousse-like in texture, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the butter and the eggs, and then mix gently but surely. If you think the dough mixture is too sticky to be rolled out at this point (as I did!), add in a little more flour.
3. Bring the dough together with your hands, form into a fat disc and then wrap it in clingfilm and whack it in the fridge for at least one hour. Preheat your oven at this point to 180° (350° F). 
4. Once it's been suitable chilled, roll out your dough on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about 1/2cm. Cut out your shapes and place the cookies a little apart onto two or three lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12mins until the edges of the biscuits are tinged with a lovely golden glow! Don't panic if they look a little soft and pale in the middle- they will set while they cool :)

When the cookies are fully cooled, you can get on with icing them!

5. Start by beating all the icing ingredients (bar the colouring) together until the mixture forms peaks. In a sturdy, stand-alone mixer this will take about 7-10mins at a slow speed...if you're using a hand-held it will take about 10-12mins at a high speed. Getting the right consistency for the icing is tricky but, at this point, you want something stiff enough to outline your cookies but not too stiff that it won't go through a piping bag! Aim for a pre-cooked meringue type of consistency- that's what worked for me anyway :)
6. Split the icing into separate bowls for adding different colours and then transfer whatever colour icing you plump for first into a piping bag.
7. Outline your cookies with a border that will act as a 'dam' to prevent your 'flooding' icing from spilling over the edges. Shaky hands didn't help me at this point and I must admit, I got quite frustrated with the whole piping sitch here BUT stick with it- it gets easier with every cookie, I promise!
8. Once you've outlined all your cookies in their different colours, add 1 teaspoon of warm water to each batch of icing to loosen it out and create the 'flooding' icing you want to fill the middle of the cookies. You can add more than 1 tsp of water to your icing if it's still a little stiff- what you're aiming for is icing with the consistency of thick honey.
9. Dollop a teaspoon of icing into the centre of each cookie and then spread it up to the outline with a small knife. I found a toothpick was helpful for getting into the all the tricky corners of each design... you can also use it to pop any small bubbles that might cheekily appear in your icing!
10. Allow the cookies to dry before adding additional decorations on top with any leftover icing you might have...

I did smiley faces on a couple of bats and even attempted some writing on the pumpkins (waaayy harder than Mary Berry makes it look) but you can decorate these beauties with whatever takes your fancy! Let those creative juices flooooooww xD


And that's it :)

Let me know if you decide to give these a go! And also let me know what you're Halloween plans are in the comments- I'd love to hear what you're all dressing up as!

In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x



A couple of days ago, my Dad and I took the pooch to a little coastal bay near to where we live called Crackington Haven. I took a few snaps as we strolled down the beach, if you'd like to take a look... 


It was such a gorgeous day and the light was so beautiful that I couldn't resist whipping the ol' camera out and taking a few shots of our rather formidable surroundings.




The beach is tucked away between two more popular and well-known seaside towns, which makes it feel like a delightful little secret to those who come across it.


Oh those little puppy paw prints!


Penny was a little unsure of the water at first as the tide was coming in quite fast.


I must admit, even I got caught out by the strength of the waves! It was a water-over-the-top-of-the-wellies moment!


But then Penny made a larger furry friend...


...who encouraged her to take a dip!


And before we knew it, she was splashing about and bounding through the water like one of the bigger doggies!


It was such a lovely day out and Penny had a whirl of a time running about like the little nutter she is! I really hope we take a trip back to Crackington Haven soon- it seems to be a popular picnic location for dog walkers, as you can park yourself against the cliff wall and just let your dog roam about a bit, so maybe that's what we'll do next time :)  


In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x

     

A Little Stroll Along the Coast...

Saturday, 17 October 2015


A couple of days ago, my Dad and I took the pooch to a little coastal bay near to where we live called Crackington Haven. I took a few snaps as we strolled down the beach, if you'd like to take a look... 


It was such a gorgeous day and the light was so beautiful that I couldn't resist whipping the ol' camera out and taking a few shots of our rather formidable surroundings.




The beach is tucked away between two more popular and well-known seaside towns, which makes it feel like a delightful little secret to those who come across it.


Oh those little puppy paw prints!


Penny was a little unsure of the water at first as the tide was coming in quite fast.


I must admit, even I got caught out by the strength of the waves! It was a water-over-the-top-of-the-wellies moment!


But then Penny made a larger furry friend...


...who encouraged her to take a dip!


And before we knew it, she was splashing about and bounding through the water like one of the bigger doggies!


It was such a lovely day out and Penny had a whirl of a time running about like the little nutter she is! I really hope we take a trip back to Crackington Haven soon- it seems to be a popular picnic location for dog walkers, as you can park yourself against the cliff wall and just let your dog roam about a bit, so maybe that's what we'll do next time :)  


In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x

     



Thank you so much to the very kind Sam over at momentarily dreaming for nominating me for this award! I always think these things are such a great way not only to share & discover new blogs, but also to find out a bit more about the bloggers you already follow :) so here goes!


Award rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • State seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-10 bloggers for the award and leave a comment on one of their posts to let them know.

Seven facts about me!

  1. I recently graduated from Royal Holloway University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. (My choice in uni was in no part influenced by the fact that Royal Holloway looks a tiny bit like Hogwarts. Nope. Not at all.)
  2. I have a frighteningly strong obsession with anything remotely post-apocalyptic in theme. 
  3. I really really don't like coffee.
  4. My fave song ever is 'Atmosphere' by Joy Division. 
  5. When I was seven, I wrote a 'novel' that I was determined I was going to get published. I even rang up publishers I'd found in the Yellow Pages! (no Google in them days kids)
  6. My birthday is Christmas Eve- which was pee-yourself-with-glee exciting when I was little but is now a bit of a drag.
  7. I hate small talk with a passion but I love being engaged in weird, deep conversations...even with strangers! 

& now, My Nominations:
These blogs are ones that I either read on a regular basis, or have stumbled across recently and fallen in love with. 
Thanks for reading & thanks again to Sam for nominating me :) I hope you find a new blog to get your teeth into here! I know it's such a lovely feeling to stumble across something new that excites and inspires you!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x 



The One Lovely Blog Award

Thursday, 15 October 2015



Thank you so much to the very kind Sam over at momentarily dreaming for nominating me for this award! I always think these things are such a great way not only to share & discover new blogs, but also to find out a bit more about the bloggers you already follow :) so here goes!


Award rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • State seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-10 bloggers for the award and leave a comment on one of their posts to let them know.

Seven facts about me!

  1. I recently graduated from Royal Holloway University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. (My choice in uni was in no part influenced by the fact that Royal Holloway looks a tiny bit like Hogwarts. Nope. Not at all.)
  2. I have a frighteningly strong obsession with anything remotely post-apocalyptic in theme. 
  3. I really really don't like coffee.
  4. My fave song ever is 'Atmosphere' by Joy Division. 
  5. When I was seven, I wrote a 'novel' that I was determined I was going to get published. I even rang up publishers I'd found in the Yellow Pages! (no Google in them days kids)
  6. My birthday is Christmas Eve- which was pee-yourself-with-glee exciting when I was little but is now a bit of a drag.
  7. I hate small talk with a passion but I love being engaged in weird, deep conversations...even with strangers! 

& now, My Nominations:
These blogs are ones that I either read on a regular basis, or have stumbled across recently and fallen in love with. 
Thanks for reading & thanks again to Sam for nominating me :) I hope you find a new blog to get your teeth into here! I know it's such a lovely feeling to stumble across something new that excites and inspires you!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x 




Recently, I discovered something rather special...


If you ask very politely, a lot of well-known coffee shops will be prepared to make you one of their extra special and (sort of) secret 'off-menu' drinks. I found this out, after a verrrry long day at work, when I popped into a nearby Costa Coffee that had gone to the trouble of writing out, on a separate blackboard, all the extra drinks they could offer weary customers such as myself. The barista, noticing my rather frazzled appearance, pointed the board out to me and kindly suggested that, as I looked a bit stressed out on this soggy October afternoon, perhaps I'd like to ditch my usual Earl Grey (as I work practically next door, they know me quite well in there now!) and try their newest concoction: an orange hot chocolate. 

The staff in this particular Costa are always super-duper friendly and very keen to improve their customers' day- even by just a little bit. So, I took the barista up on his suggestion and ordered myself the orange hot chocolate...with extra marshmallows and sprinkles :) 

It did not disappoint. Within seconds of taking my first sip, I felt my shoulders relaxing and my face un-screwing itself. The warmth of the hot chocolate mixed with the rather christmassy aroma of orange and cinnamon was enough to make the stress of my day melt into nothingness... this drink was a much-needed change from my usual cuppa. Nuff said.    

Safe to say, as I've not had the chance to nip into my fave Costa for a bit, I've been craving that yummy orange hot chocolate ever since! So, this weekend, I decided I would try and make my own. 

You don't need a lot of ingredients for a mug of this chocolatey perfection, just a few yummy flavours that you can mix and match as you like. 


So here's my recipe, if you'd like to give it a whirl :)  

To make one mug of hot chocolate,
In a small pan, warm together:
  • around 500ml of milk
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • a good splash of orange extract
  • a pinch of cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice
  • two teaspoons of Nutella 
  • three teaspoons of cocoa
When everything has melted together nicely, pour the mixture into a teacup and then give it a good swirl with a cinnamon stick. You can top your hot chocolate with anything you like- cream, marshmallows, sprinkles...just go for it! I actually prefer to drink this one plain, as its incredibly rich and thick as it is, but if you're all about the extra toppings then don't hold back :) This is meant to be a serious, self-indulgent treat!   


I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did! It's a perfect antidote for those chilly, windswept days we're enduring at the moment. Let me know if you decide to give it a go, I'd love to know what you think of my recipe :)

In the meantime...

All the love,
Sian x



Spiced Orange Hot Chocolate

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Recently, I discovered something rather special...


If you ask very politely, a lot of well-known coffee shops will be prepared to make you one of their extra special and (sort of) secret 'off-menu' drinks. I found this out, after a verrrry long day at work, when I popped into a nearby Costa Coffee that had gone to the trouble of writing out, on a separate blackboard, all the extra drinks they could offer weary customers such as myself. The barista, noticing my rather frazzled appearance, pointed the board out to me and kindly suggested that, as I looked a bit stressed out on this soggy October afternoon, perhaps I'd like to ditch my usual Earl Grey (as I work practically next door, they know me quite well in there now!) and try their newest concoction: an orange hot chocolate. 

The staff in this particular Costa are always super-duper friendly and very keen to improve their customers' day- even by just a little bit. So, I took the barista up on his suggestion and ordered myself the orange hot chocolate...with extra marshmallows and sprinkles :) 

It did not disappoint. Within seconds of taking my first sip, I felt my shoulders relaxing and my face un-screwing itself. The warmth of the hot chocolate mixed with the rather christmassy aroma of orange and cinnamon was enough to make the stress of my day melt into nothingness... this drink was a much-needed change from my usual cuppa. Nuff said.    

Safe to say, as I've not had the chance to nip into my fave Costa for a bit, I've been craving that yummy orange hot chocolate ever since! So, this weekend, I decided I would try and make my own. 

You don't need a lot of ingredients for a mug of this chocolatey perfection, just a few yummy flavours that you can mix and match as you like. 


So here's my recipe, if you'd like to give it a whirl :)  

To make one mug of hot chocolate,
In a small pan, warm together:
  • around 500ml of milk
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • a good splash of orange extract
  • a pinch of cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice
  • two teaspoons of Nutella 
  • three teaspoons of cocoa
When everything has melted together nicely, pour the mixture into a teacup and then give it a good swirl with a cinnamon stick. You can top your hot chocolate with anything you like- cream, marshmallows, sprinkles...just go for it! I actually prefer to drink this one plain, as its incredibly rich and thick as it is, but if you're all about the extra toppings then don't hold back :) This is meant to be a serious, self-indulgent treat!   


I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did! It's a perfect antidote for those chilly, windswept days we're enduring at the moment. Let me know if you decide to give it a go, I'd love to know what you think of my recipe :)

In the meantime...

All the love,
Sian x




"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

 from Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery



A few snaps from my October so far:

1. A warming cup of chai tea from Bill's in Exeter, where I took my parents for brunch 
2. My wellies, crunching about on all the newly fallen leaves in our garden
3. Writing a must-do list of Christmas activities (is it too early?! I don't care!) 
4. Veggie brunchy breakfast at Bill's (yum yum yum)
5. Bellatrix the chicken, in all her brooding glory
6. Apples in the garden, just waiting to be picked

Are you as big a fan of October as I am? I always think it's such a gorgeous time of year- earthy and crisp, with all the promise of Christmas just around the corner :)

If not October, what's your favourite season? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Hello October

Saturday, 3 October 2015


"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

 from Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery



A few snaps from my October so far:

1. A warming cup of chai tea from Bill's in Exeter, where I took my parents for brunch 
2. My wellies, crunching about on all the newly fallen leaves in our garden
3. Writing a must-do list of Christmas activities (is it too early?! I don't care!) 
4. Veggie brunchy breakfast at Bill's (yum yum yum)
5. Bellatrix the chicken, in all her brooding glory
6. Apples in the garden, just waiting to be picked

Are you as big a fan of October as I am? I always think it's such a gorgeous time of year- earthy and crisp, with all the promise of Christmas just around the corner :)

If not October, what's your favourite season? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



In our garden, we have five apple trees that, year after year, never fail to produce a seriously gluttonous glut of fruit. It's a wonderful treat to be able to frolic about the garden, basket in hand, picking dozens and dozens of these crazily chunky apples and marvelling at the difference in shape and size between them. No supermarket-pretty apples here I can assure you! They are each so gloriously gnarled and ugly in their own right! 


Anyway, this year I decided to use a couple of our keenest and ripest to whip up a scrummy tart that makes a perfect pudding for those chilly Autumn evenings on the way. I've popped the recipe below, if you'd like to check it out- it's slightly adapted from a recipe in this month's Waitrose food magazine :)

Apple & Honey Tart
Ingredients
For the topping:

- 2 apples, halved and cored
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1 tbsp honey, to glaze
- 1 tbsp apricot jam, to glaze

For the pastry:

- 1 cardamom pod
- 150g plain flour, plus a bit extra for dusting
- 50g spelt flour
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 egg yolk

For the frangipane filling:

- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 75g caster sugar
- 50g honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp plain flour


Method

1. To make the pastry, open up the cardamom pod and crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar; discard the pod. Mix into the flours with the icing sugar and a good pinch of salt, then whizz together in a food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tbsp of ice-cold water, add to the processor and whizz until it all comes together. Remove, knead briefly and gently until smooth, shape into a fat disc, wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for 30mins.

2. Preheat your oven to 200°C/ 390°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to around 0.3cm thick and use this to line a 23cm fluted tart case. Trim the edges and prick the base.


3. Line the top of the pastry with a layer of baking parchment and fill with baking beans: chill for 30mins. Next, blind bake the tart case for 20mins, then remove the parchment and beans and cook for a further 5mins. Set aside to cool. 


4. For the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then beat in the honey and then the eggs, one by one. Beat in the almonds, flour and a pinch of salt until just combined. Spread the frangipane mixture evenly over your tart case.

5. To decorate, slice the apples as thinly as you can and pop them in a bowl filled with the lemon juice mixed with a bit of water (enough to cover the slices). Microwave the apples for around 3mins, until they are soft and pliable, and then take them out of the bowl and dry them on a sheet of kitchen roll. Twist and twirl the soft slices of apple around each other to create flower shapes (this is easier than it first seems- stick with it!) and then push them as deeply as you can into the frangipane. 


6. Reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F. Bake the tart for 40-45mins, until the frangipane is golden brown. Finally, heat the honey and apricot jam in a small pan until warm, then brush over the tart to give it that sweet autumnal glow! Allow to cool, then serve :) 


Don't panic if you feel like the tart has a slightly tinged look about it- I can assure you it's meant to be like that- well, the one in the magazine looked the same! 



And there you have it :) a gorgeous apple and honey treat to warm your cockles as we move into the colder months. It's delish served warm with a good splodge of custard and the cheekiest sprinkling of brown sugar!

I hope you give this one a go. If you do- be sure to let me know how it goes!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


A Very Autumnal Apple & Honey Tart

Sunday, 27 September 2015


In our garden, we have five apple trees that, year after year, never fail to produce a seriously gluttonous glut of fruit. It's a wonderful treat to be able to frolic about the garden, basket in hand, picking dozens and dozens of these crazily chunky apples and marvelling at the difference in shape and size between them. No supermarket-pretty apples here I can assure you! They are each so gloriously gnarled and ugly in their own right! 


Anyway, this year I decided to use a couple of our keenest and ripest to whip up a scrummy tart that makes a perfect pudding for those chilly Autumn evenings on the way. I've popped the recipe below, if you'd like to check it out- it's slightly adapted from a recipe in this month's Waitrose food magazine :)

Apple & Honey Tart
Ingredients
For the topping:

- 2 apples, halved and cored
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1 tbsp honey, to glaze
- 1 tbsp apricot jam, to glaze

For the pastry:

- 1 cardamom pod
- 150g plain flour, plus a bit extra for dusting
- 50g spelt flour
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 egg yolk

For the frangipane filling:

- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 75g caster sugar
- 50g honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp plain flour


Method

1. To make the pastry, open up the cardamom pod and crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar; discard the pod. Mix into the flours with the icing sugar and a good pinch of salt, then whizz together in a food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tbsp of ice-cold water, add to the processor and whizz until it all comes together. Remove, knead briefly and gently until smooth, shape into a fat disc, wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for 30mins.

2. Preheat your oven to 200°C/ 390°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to around 0.3cm thick and use this to line a 23cm fluted tart case. Trim the edges and prick the base.


3. Line the top of the pastry with a layer of baking parchment and fill with baking beans: chill for 30mins. Next, blind bake the tart case for 20mins, then remove the parchment and beans and cook for a further 5mins. Set aside to cool. 


4. For the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then beat in the honey and then the eggs, one by one. Beat in the almonds, flour and a pinch of salt until just combined. Spread the frangipane mixture evenly over your tart case.

5. To decorate, slice the apples as thinly as you can and pop them in a bowl filled with the lemon juice mixed with a bit of water (enough to cover the slices). Microwave the apples for around 3mins, until they are soft and pliable, and then take them out of the bowl and dry them on a sheet of kitchen roll. Twist and twirl the soft slices of apple around each other to create flower shapes (this is easier than it first seems- stick with it!) and then push them as deeply as you can into the frangipane. 


6. Reduce the oven to 180°C/350°F. Bake the tart for 40-45mins, until the frangipane is golden brown. Finally, heat the honey and apricot jam in a small pan until warm, then brush over the tart to give it that sweet autumnal glow! Allow to cool, then serve :) 


Don't panic if you feel like the tart has a slightly tinged look about it- I can assure you it's meant to be like that- well, the one in the magazine looked the same! 



And there you have it :) a gorgeous apple and honey treat to warm your cockles as we move into the colder months. It's delish served warm with a good splodge of custard and the cheekiest sprinkling of brown sugar!

I hope you give this one a go. If you do- be sure to let me know how it goes!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Working full-time means that, these days, I rarely get a chance to just put my feet up and reeelllaaaaxx- so that's exactly what I prioritised on the couple of days off I had this week! I slumped about, make-up free (gasp), in my favourite big jumper and took some time to catch up on all the bits and bobs that had fallen by the wayside during my working week. Here are some snaps from my time spent relaxin' to the max, If you'd like to see... xD


It was lovely to just enjoy the simple things and settle down on the sofa with a mug of tea and a few magazines :) I caught up with a few bits of admin and even started collating a bunch of ideas for my small business! The weather was unexpectedly gorgeous for a spell, so I also spent some time in the garden with Penny- who was delighted to see that the warmish weather appeared to have brought out the rabbits and the chickens too!

All in all, it was some well-needed time off from the world and I feel so refreshed and ready to roll again now that it's over!

What do you prioritise on your days off? Do you like to get out & about, or are you all about the spa day and Netflix life? :) Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

   

A Couple of Days at Home

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Working full-time means that, these days, I rarely get a chance to just put my feet up and reeelllaaaaxx- so that's exactly what I prioritised on the couple of days off I had this week! I slumped about, make-up free (gasp), in my favourite big jumper and took some time to catch up on all the bits and bobs that had fallen by the wayside during my working week. Here are some snaps from my time spent relaxin' to the max, If you'd like to see... xD


It was lovely to just enjoy the simple things and settle down on the sofa with a mug of tea and a few magazines :) I caught up with a few bits of admin and even started collating a bunch of ideas for my small business! The weather was unexpectedly gorgeous for a spell, so I also spent some time in the garden with Penny- who was delighted to see that the warmish weather appeared to have brought out the rabbits and the chickens too!

All in all, it was some well-needed time off from the world and I feel so refreshed and ready to roll again now that it's over!

What do you prioritise on your days off? Do you like to get out & about, or are you all about the spa day and Netflix life? :) Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

   



So...this little one is not so little anymore! At eleven weeks old, Penny's really become quite the podgy doggy- so much so that I can't really pick her up for a cuddle anymore :( Buuut, yesterday she had her last set of injections, which means that she's now ready to hit the outside world and can finally start to socialise with all the other doggies! She has her first training session (or 'Puppy Party', as they call it) this evening, so hopefully she'll soon have lots of new friends to play with :)

In the meantime, her fave thing to play with has to be a cheeky pinecone or two. I'll leave you with this short vid entitled 'Penny vs. The Pinecone'...



All the love,

Sian x


Puppy Update!

Thursday, 17 September 2015




So...this little one is not so little anymore! At eleven weeks old, Penny's really become quite the podgy doggy- so much so that I can't really pick her up for a cuddle anymore :( Buuut, yesterday she had her last set of injections, which means that she's now ready to hit the outside world and can finally start to socialise with all the other doggies! She has her first training session (or 'Puppy Party', as they call it) this evening, so hopefully she'll soon have lots of new friends to play with :)

In the meantime, her fave thing to play with has to be a cheeky pinecone or two. I'll leave you with this short vid entitled 'Penny vs. The Pinecone'...



All the love,

Sian x


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