Lately, I've been a teeny bit obsessed with posting on Instagram... so today I thought it might be nice to share a few of my personal Insta highlights, alongside the stories that accompany them! 



A quick puppy update. 

If you've been following me for a while now, you'll know that Penny is pretty much not a puppy anymore. Sob Sob. At just over nine months old, she's almost a fully-fledged Sprocker Spaniel and every time she tries to squeeze herself onto my lap for a cuddle I'm reminded of just how much she's grown!

Recently, we've been able to let her roam around the garden by herself (in the Winter she was just too little and it was really too grim to have her wandering about outdoors all day) and she's really been loving sniffing around and exploring the grounds!

This picture makes me smile... she's such a nosy one :)



Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

A bit of a recommendation here - read. this. blooming. book.

A couple of weeks back, I had a bit of a low ebb. It sucked. If you've ever been there, you know how impossible it feels just to be able to leave the house... let alone walk into a Waterstones, pick up a book and then actually go through the process of purchasing said book. But (somehow) one day in the midst of all that dreary crapness, that's what I did.

And I'm so glad I managed to get my bum out of bed and seek out Haig's book that day- because as soon as I got back home, I read it in one sitting. It's honestly THAT good. For someone feeling as lost and as stuck in a rut as I was those few weeks back, it was like someone had handed me an owner's manual to my mess of a brain and said..."yep, me too- don't panic." I can't really put into words how much that helped.

Since reading it, I've lent it to my Mum and it's proved to be the best way ever of explaining to her how I might feel from time to time. She just gets it now, and that's wonderful.
 


My new camera. 

I've been having a lot of fun with my new camera recently! Actually plumping up the courage to splurge on such a pricey bit of kit was no mean feat, but now I'm so glad that I've finally got something to start making decent videos with :) This has been a goal of mine for a good while and it's great to feel like I'm actually starting to accomplish it... in a small way, at least.

You can check out something I shot using the M3 here... and there's plenty more like it on the way soon!



Secret bluebells. 

A few weeks back I was on A Mission.

I just had to see a field of bluebells before the weather changed! So after a bit of research on the best places to find them, Mum and I headed off to Lanhydrock- a National Trust country estate in close-by Bodmin- on the hunt for a wild crop or two...

Buuuttt, it turns out that our online guide had failed us :( Lanhydrock does have a wonderfully wild field of beautiful bluebells- it's just, from all we could see, the field is stuck behind a fence and off-limits to the public. Rubbish. I tried to snap a couple of shots through some breaks in the fencing but they all came out a bit half-hearted. All in all, it's safe to say I was royally hacked off with our little trip out!

However, a few weeks later, my parent's and I decided to go out for a spot of lunch in Bude. After eating at the lovely Weir bistro, we took a little stroll down the Bude canal walkway and- taking a detour up the canal banks- came across the crop of wild bluebells you can see above! Hidden away and well and truly open to the public (!), this unhampered bank of flowers was the most beautiful thing I have seen in a really long time.

It felt like we'd stumbled across a little patch of paradise :)    





And those are my Insta highlights! If you're not already following me over on Instagram, I'd love to have a few new pals :)


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x         


Instagram Lately

Tuesday, 31 May 2016




Lately, I've been a teeny bit obsessed with posting on Instagram... so today I thought it might be nice to share a few of my personal Insta highlights, alongside the stories that accompany them! 



A quick puppy update. 

If you've been following me for a while now, you'll know that Penny is pretty much not a puppy anymore. Sob Sob. At just over nine months old, she's almost a fully-fledged Sprocker Spaniel and every time she tries to squeeze herself onto my lap for a cuddle I'm reminded of just how much she's grown!

Recently, we've been able to let her roam around the garden by herself (in the Winter she was just too little and it was really too grim to have her wandering about outdoors all day) and she's really been loving sniffing around and exploring the grounds!

This picture makes me smile... she's such a nosy one :)



Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

A bit of a recommendation here - read. this. blooming. book.

A couple of weeks back, I had a bit of a low ebb. It sucked. If you've ever been there, you know how impossible it feels just to be able to leave the house... let alone walk into a Waterstones, pick up a book and then actually go through the process of purchasing said book. But (somehow) one day in the midst of all that dreary crapness, that's what I did.

And I'm so glad I managed to get my bum out of bed and seek out Haig's book that day- because as soon as I got back home, I read it in one sitting. It's honestly THAT good. For someone feeling as lost and as stuck in a rut as I was those few weeks back, it was like someone had handed me an owner's manual to my mess of a brain and said..."yep, me too- don't panic." I can't really put into words how much that helped.

Since reading it, I've lent it to my Mum and it's proved to be the best way ever of explaining to her how I might feel from time to time. She just gets it now, and that's wonderful.
 


My new camera. 

I've been having a lot of fun with my new camera recently! Actually plumping up the courage to splurge on such a pricey bit of kit was no mean feat, but now I'm so glad that I've finally got something to start making decent videos with :) This has been a goal of mine for a good while and it's great to feel like I'm actually starting to accomplish it... in a small way, at least.

You can check out something I shot using the M3 here... and there's plenty more like it on the way soon!



Secret bluebells. 

A few weeks back I was on A Mission.

I just had to see a field of bluebells before the weather changed! So after a bit of research on the best places to find them, Mum and I headed off to Lanhydrock- a National Trust country estate in close-by Bodmin- on the hunt for a wild crop or two...

Buuuttt, it turns out that our online guide had failed us :( Lanhydrock does have a wonderfully wild field of beautiful bluebells- it's just, from all we could see, the field is stuck behind a fence and off-limits to the public. Rubbish. I tried to snap a couple of shots through some breaks in the fencing but they all came out a bit half-hearted. All in all, it's safe to say I was royally hacked off with our little trip out!

However, a few weeks later, my parent's and I decided to go out for a spot of lunch in Bude. After eating at the lovely Weir bistro, we took a little stroll down the Bude canal walkway and- taking a detour up the canal banks- came across the crop of wild bluebells you can see above! Hidden away and well and truly open to the public (!), this unhampered bank of flowers was the most beautiful thing I have seen in a really long time.

It felt like we'd stumbled across a little patch of paradise :)    





And those are my Insta highlights! If you're not already following me over on Instagram, I'd love to have a few new pals :)


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x         



The other day it was my little brother's birthday and, as he was coming back down to Cornwall after a long old (stressful) stretch away from home, I thought I would make this occasion a bit more special than usual! 

So I lined up a few celebratory makes and bakes to mark the day and, as they all turned out to be quite simple to accomplish, I thought it might be a really nice idea to share my chosen DIYs with you :)

First things first- CAKE

My brother is a huge chocaholic so, when searching for the perfect recipe, I knew this cake had to involve at least a little touch of the The Good Stuff. After trawling through all the usual cookbooks and coming up with nothing more original than a (rather spectacularly decorated, I might add) chocolate fudge bake, I deviated from the Chocolate Chapters of said books and stumbled across something altogether more exciting- A Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake. 

One chunky slab of vanilla cheesecake sandwiched between two cocoa-y Red Velvet sponges, topped off with chocolate swirls and cream cheese icing? I'm in

I know I've got you slavering at the mouth so, without further ado, here's the recipe:

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake



For the Cheesecake:

400g/14oz full-fat soft cheese
85g/3oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
100ml soured cream
1 tbsp cornflour 

For the Red Velvet cakes:

200g/7oz plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp cocoa powder
175g/6oz butter, softened
200g/7oz caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150ml / 5 fl oz buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp red liquid food colouring

To decorate:

Cream cheese frosting (recipe I used: here)
40g plain chocolate, melted 

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160c/325f/ Gas Mark 3. Grease an 18cm/ 7-inch round springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Wrap some foil around the bottom and up the sides (this prevents tinged sides!) and place on a baking sheet.

2. Get started with the cheesecake- place the cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together until smooth. Then gradually beat in the eggs, add the soured cream and cornflour and stir until smooth.




3. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and gently level the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 mins, or until just set. Switch off your oven and allow the cheesecake to cool on the shelf with the door ajar. When it's completely cool, cover the tin with baking paper and pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. 



4. To make the red velvet cakes, preheat the oven to 180c/350f/ Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the base of two 18cm/ 7-inch round tins. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.


5. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until pale and fluffy. 


Gradually beat in the eggs, then beat in the buttermilk, vanilla extract and food colouring. The mixture will look super gross at this point- do not panic!


Fold in the flour mixture with a metal spoon.



6. Divide the mixture between your prepared tins. Bake in the oven for 30mins or until just firm to the touch.


Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.


Whilst you wait for the sponges to cool, whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting. 


 7. Unclip and remove the springform sides from the cheesecake. Place one red velvet cake on top.


8. Invert the cake and cheesecake onto a cake stand/plate and carefully remove the base of the tin and the lining paper. Gently place the second cake on top.


9. Spread a thin layer of your cream cheese frosting around the sides and the top of the cake. Place in the fridge to set for 30mins.



Whilst you wait, melt your chocolate and (once cooled) pour it into a piping bag.


10. Spread the remaining frosting all over the cake, smoothing it lightly with a palette knife. Snip off the end of your piping bag and pipe whatever design you fancy on the tip of the cake. Chill the cake in the fridge, removing it 30mins before serving.


And that's it!


All you need now are some cute little DIY cake toppers!



To make this birthday bake into a real showstopper, forego the candles and try your hand at making some of these...

DIY Flag Cake Toppers

You will need: 


You can use plain white paper and sticky tape for the flags, but already-sticky labels make the job so much easier!






Now the cake is looking spectacular, it's time for the presents!

Personalised Wrapping Paper


If you've done the brown paper and twine thing to death (guilty!) but are looking for a way to ensure your gift-wrapping is still on point, wrap.me offer a refreshing way to make your presents look just that little bit more original.


Simply choose thirty of your favourite pics (direct from fb/insta or uploaded through your computer) and wrap.me will automatically create three sheets of personalised, collage wrapping paper for you! Perfect!

For my brother, I selected a mix of a few recent selfies and a couple of old family snaps- just to reinforce the bespoke, elder-sister-style embarrassment I pride myself on. 

I have used wrap.me's service before, with absolutely zero trouble. HOWEVER, a word of caution here- this time round, a website error automatically generated four further orders for me... orders that I did not need and orders that I had paid for without my knowledge.


Previously, their website has worked perfectly for me and I've been able to place my required orders quickly and with ease. However, this time round the website seemed to crash when I entered my card details. Thinking my order had failed because an 'oops, something went wrong- try refreshing the page' message popped up, I went through the whole uploading pictures thing once more and attempted to click 'buy' again. Without realising my three further 'failed' attempts were actually registering automatically as orders, I kept trying again and again and finally managed to place what I thought was a legit order (with email confirmation) through PayPal. 

Perhaps it was my computer failing and not the website itself, in which case I would highly recommend you try wrap.me's service as the results are fab. However, I have a funny feeling I'm not the only one this has happened to (check their fb page for more pour souls) so I can only recommend that you try this service in a rather cautionary manner. Be really careful when placing your order and do check the 'My Account' section of their website if you're unsure if an order has gone through or not. Wrap.me's customer service is not excellent and, although I have since been offered a refund for my unwanted orders, it took a really long time for me to even find someone to talk to about the situation.


I wanted to be honest here, as my experience using wrap.me was not brill the second time round. BUT my brother loved his wrapping paper and even said it would be great to frame it... so if you're tempted to get some paper for yourself, just proceed with caution on wrap.me's website- that's all I can say!

Anyway, anyway, anyway- last but not least of our birthday treats...

Slogan Balloons


This one is less of a DIY and more of a recommendation but I thought I would pop it at the end of this post anyway as it is ever-so birthday related :)

Recently, I was lucky enough to win a collection of exclusive balloons in an Instagram competition! Of course, when I heard that my brother would be coming home for his birthday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try these bad boys out! 


So, I bought myself some helium, suppressed my genuine phobia of inflating balloons (!) and blew up a selection from the packets I had been sent. I chose colours that I thought my little bro would appreciate, and I can honestly say I was really impressed with the quality of the balloons when they were all inflated! The (slightly sarcastic, love it) slogans looked so cool and the variety of colours to choose from made such a change from the standard packs of Blue for a Boy and Pink for a Girl. 

I have quite a soft spot for the grey balloons in particular... kind of a weird choice of colour for a birthday celebration but they looked so damn edgy in reality! Woo #hipsterbirthdays forever!


This bunch of balloons was a genuine hit with my brother, who felt the hilariously 'snarky' slogans were rather reminiscent of a certain sister. Ahem.   

I can't wait for Summer and further opportunities to whack these balloons out again! They certainly create a talking point and I think they'd be really great fun to have at a teenager's/twenty-something's birthday bash... you know, for when you're going through that snarky stage!  



And those were my four birthday makes and bakes! I really hope you've enjoyed this special birthday post! If you're after some more ideas, why not take a look at a few of my party boards on Pinterest?


We had such a lovely, quiet day celebrating down here in Cornwall :) I'd love to know, how do you like to mark your birthday? Do you prefer quiet, calm and cosy get-togethers or big old birthday do's? Let me know in the comments below!  


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Birthday Makes & Bakes

Saturday, 21 May 2016


The other day it was my little brother's birthday and, as he was coming back down to Cornwall after a long old (stressful) stretch away from home, I thought I would make this occasion a bit more special than usual! 

So I lined up a few celebratory makes and bakes to mark the day and, as they all turned out to be quite simple to accomplish, I thought it might be a really nice idea to share my chosen DIYs with you :)

First things first- CAKE

My brother is a huge chocaholic so, when searching for the perfect recipe, I knew this cake had to involve at least a little touch of the The Good Stuff. After trawling through all the usual cookbooks and coming up with nothing more original than a (rather spectacularly decorated, I might add) chocolate fudge bake, I deviated from the Chocolate Chapters of said books and stumbled across something altogether more exciting- A Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake. 

One chunky slab of vanilla cheesecake sandwiched between two cocoa-y Red Velvet sponges, topped off with chocolate swirls and cream cheese icing? I'm in

I know I've got you slavering at the mouth so, without further ado, here's the recipe:

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake



For the Cheesecake:

400g/14oz full-fat soft cheese
85g/3oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
100ml soured cream
1 tbsp cornflour 

For the Red Velvet cakes:

200g/7oz plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp cocoa powder
175g/6oz butter, softened
200g/7oz caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150ml / 5 fl oz buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp red liquid food colouring

To decorate:

Cream cheese frosting (recipe I used: here)
40g plain chocolate, melted 

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160c/325f/ Gas Mark 3. Grease an 18cm/ 7-inch round springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Wrap some foil around the bottom and up the sides (this prevents tinged sides!) and place on a baking sheet.

2. Get started with the cheesecake- place the cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together until smooth. Then gradually beat in the eggs, add the soured cream and cornflour and stir until smooth.




3. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and gently level the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 mins, or until just set. Switch off your oven and allow the cheesecake to cool on the shelf with the door ajar. When it's completely cool, cover the tin with baking paper and pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. 



4. To make the red velvet cakes, preheat the oven to 180c/350f/ Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the base of two 18cm/ 7-inch round tins. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.


5. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until pale and fluffy. 


Gradually beat in the eggs, then beat in the buttermilk, vanilla extract and food colouring. The mixture will look super gross at this point- do not panic!


Fold in the flour mixture with a metal spoon.



6. Divide the mixture between your prepared tins. Bake in the oven for 30mins or until just firm to the touch.


Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.


Whilst you wait for the sponges to cool, whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting. 


 7. Unclip and remove the springform sides from the cheesecake. Place one red velvet cake on top.


8. Invert the cake and cheesecake onto a cake stand/plate and carefully remove the base of the tin and the lining paper. Gently place the second cake on top.


9. Spread a thin layer of your cream cheese frosting around the sides and the top of the cake. Place in the fridge to set for 30mins.



Whilst you wait, melt your chocolate and (once cooled) pour it into a piping bag.


10. Spread the remaining frosting all over the cake, smoothing it lightly with a palette knife. Snip off the end of your piping bag and pipe whatever design you fancy on the tip of the cake. Chill the cake in the fridge, removing it 30mins before serving.


And that's it!


All you need now are some cute little DIY cake toppers!



To make this birthday bake into a real showstopper, forego the candles and try your hand at making some of these...

DIY Flag Cake Toppers

You will need: 


You can use plain white paper and sticky tape for the flags, but already-sticky labels make the job so much easier!






Now the cake is looking spectacular, it's time for the presents!

Personalised Wrapping Paper


If you've done the brown paper and twine thing to death (guilty!) but are looking for a way to ensure your gift-wrapping is still on point, wrap.me offer a refreshing way to make your presents look just that little bit more original.


Simply choose thirty of your favourite pics (direct from fb/insta or uploaded through your computer) and wrap.me will automatically create three sheets of personalised, collage wrapping paper for you! Perfect!

For my brother, I selected a mix of a few recent selfies and a couple of old family snaps- just to reinforce the bespoke, elder-sister-style embarrassment I pride myself on. 

I have used wrap.me's service before, with absolutely zero trouble. HOWEVER, a word of caution here- this time round, a website error automatically generated four further orders for me... orders that I did not need and orders that I had paid for without my knowledge.


Previously, their website has worked perfectly for me and I've been able to place my required orders quickly and with ease. However, this time round the website seemed to crash when I entered my card details. Thinking my order had failed because an 'oops, something went wrong- try refreshing the page' message popped up, I went through the whole uploading pictures thing once more and attempted to click 'buy' again. Without realising my three further 'failed' attempts were actually registering automatically as orders, I kept trying again and again and finally managed to place what I thought was a legit order (with email confirmation) through PayPal. 

Perhaps it was my computer failing and not the website itself, in which case I would highly recommend you try wrap.me's service as the results are fab. However, I have a funny feeling I'm not the only one this has happened to (check their fb page for more pour souls) so I can only recommend that you try this service in a rather cautionary manner. Be really careful when placing your order and do check the 'My Account' section of their website if you're unsure if an order has gone through or not. Wrap.me's customer service is not excellent and, although I have since been offered a refund for my unwanted orders, it took a really long time for me to even find someone to talk to about the situation.


I wanted to be honest here, as my experience using wrap.me was not brill the second time round. BUT my brother loved his wrapping paper and even said it would be great to frame it... so if you're tempted to get some paper for yourself, just proceed with caution on wrap.me's website- that's all I can say!

Anyway, anyway, anyway- last but not least of our birthday treats...

Slogan Balloons


This one is less of a DIY and more of a recommendation but I thought I would pop it at the end of this post anyway as it is ever-so birthday related :)

Recently, I was lucky enough to win a collection of exclusive balloons in an Instagram competition! Of course, when I heard that my brother would be coming home for his birthday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try these bad boys out! 


So, I bought myself some helium, suppressed my genuine phobia of inflating balloons (!) and blew up a selection from the packets I had been sent. I chose colours that I thought my little bro would appreciate, and I can honestly say I was really impressed with the quality of the balloons when they were all inflated! The (slightly sarcastic, love it) slogans looked so cool and the variety of colours to choose from made such a change from the standard packs of Blue for a Boy and Pink for a Girl. 

I have quite a soft spot for the grey balloons in particular... kind of a weird choice of colour for a birthday celebration but they looked so damn edgy in reality! Woo #hipsterbirthdays forever!


This bunch of balloons was a genuine hit with my brother, who felt the hilariously 'snarky' slogans were rather reminiscent of a certain sister. Ahem.   

I can't wait for Summer and further opportunities to whack these balloons out again! They certainly create a talking point and I think they'd be really great fun to have at a teenager's/twenty-something's birthday bash... you know, for when you're going through that snarky stage!  



And those were my four birthday makes and bakes! I really hope you've enjoyed this special birthday post! If you're after some more ideas, why not take a look at a few of my party boards on Pinterest?


We had such a lovely, quiet day celebrating down here in Cornwall :) I'd love to know, how do you like to mark your birthday? Do you prefer quiet, calm and cosy get-togethers or big old birthday do's? Let me know in the comments below!  


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


As it was such a gorgeous day today, I thought I would get out and about in the sunshine and record a quick little video in our garden! I don't really record videos that often but, now I have my new camera, I might start filming little bits and bobs from my travels around Cornwall. Let me know in the comments below if you would like more of these kind of vids!

Anyway anyway anyway, here it is- enjoy :)





'Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.'

Ralph Waldo Emerson


I hope you all had wonderful, sunny days too. What's your favourite way to spend your time in the sunshine? Let me know in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Out and About in the Garden

Thursday, 5 May 2016

As it was such a gorgeous day today, I thought I would get out and about in the sunshine and record a quick little video in our garden! I don't really record videos that often but, now I have my new camera, I might start filming little bits and bobs from my travels around Cornwall. Let me know in the comments below if you would like more of these kind of vids!

Anyway anyway anyway, here it is- enjoy :)





'Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.'

Ralph Waldo Emerson


I hope you all had wonderful, sunny days too. What's your favourite way to spend your time in the sunshine? Let me know in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



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