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


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