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Latest Purchases #29 – More Baking Bits

It is our village fete this weekend and it looks like the weather will be glorious for it. There will be farm animals, plenty of Pimms and lots of food…I can’t wait!

My contribution is something for the cake stall. I haven’t decided whether to make a large occasion cake or lots of smaller cupcakes but I knew I wanted to make whatever I made look special.

I picked up a few baking-related items at the weekend which I think will help give my baking efforts a summer-fete style twist and will no doubt come in handy for BBQs over the summer too.

First up, these gorgeous paper windmills.

lp9 lp10

I love the polka-dot and rose prints on these and they make great little cake toppers.

Next, some cupcake wrappers.

lp1 lp2

I have lots of gorgeous paper cupcake cases but they always seem to come out of the oven having absorbed some of the grease of the cakes while cooking. These pretty spotty wraps will make any cupcake or muffin look great and there are some vintage-style rose cake toppers included in the pack too.

These pretty paper bags and stickers are a great way to package your baked goods. I may not use these this weekend but I am always looking for ways to transport slices of cake and cookies for friends so these will come in handy!


Finally, I really liked the prints from this ‘Vintage Tea Party’ range so I bought some bunting in the same pattern. This may go up in the house or the garden…you can never have too much bunting!


Floral Bunting

I have to start this post by wishing my lovely Mum a very Happy Mother’s Day – Ruthie, you’re the best!

mum and me

I hope you have had a great weekend and managed to relax a bit! Last week felt really hectic for me, especially as World Book Day meant I had to spend the day dressed as a witch, complete with a long black wig and hat which gave me a horrendous headache for most of Thursday evening…ahhhh, the life of a teacher!

We headed to the Midlands for a second weekend, this time to see Ian’s parents, which meant time with my favourite pup, George.


Isn’t he gorgeous?!



Whilst there, I managed to fit in a quick trip to the shops where I treated myself to lots of new make-up and beauty buys which I plan on testing out and will then share any really good products on here.

The weather was cold and crisp on Saturday but we wrapped up and took a long walk in the country.


This afternoon has mainly been taken up by writing my class’ reports (they are all done now *smug smile*) but I did find a moment to put up my new floral bunting.


Well, I say ‘new’. I have actually had this lovely floral bunting for ages but I packed it away until our dining room was decorated then forgot about it! Luckily I found it again this week so wasted no time in getting it up!


I bought this from The Works for a couple of pounds. The bunting itself is made of cardboard which I wasn’t too sure about but I love the designs on them so much I had to give them a try.


I have hung them in the dining room so I am hoping the steam from the kitchen next door won’t cause them to curl up or anything!


I know bunting isn’t exactly a new trend but it’s one that I still absolutely love. I adore the vintage twist it gives a room and it is a way of introducing some lovely colours and designs in a very subtle way.

In other news, with Easter getting closer I decided to start another one of my favourite craft projects – a Sequin Easter Egg. Here is the link to the pale green one I did last year if you wanted to try it for yourself.


August Favourites

Not only does this post signal the end of August, it also marks the end of my summer holiday and all those lovely lie-ins! It was my first day back at school today, although the kids aren’t back until Wednesday so we are being very gradually eased back into it!

I have to admit I have LOVED these last six weeks. At first I thought what I expect most non-teachers think; that this long break is a bit jammy and slightly excessive but then I realised how well-deserved and necessary it is. I absolutely love my job and get so much fulfilment and happiness from it, but there is no denying that it is very hard to switch off from throughout the year, so I enjoyed the novelty of not having to do very much for a little while and I feel well and truly relaxed, rested and ready for the new school year. I cannot wait to see my new class and start settling in to new routines…we’re even making cheesecake later this week – I told you it’s an awesome job!

Whilst August has definitely been a relaxing month for me, it hasn’t been the August I imagined in our new home. I pictured spending days in the garden, getting our chicken coop ready and planting a vegetable patch but due to all the rain it has meant a lot more inside fun! On the plus side, we have very nearly finished unpacking, we have decorated another room and are starting on the bathroom this week too!

I have spent lots of time catching up with friends on hen nights, at barbecues and in the sunshine:

Here are some of my favourite meals:

And favourite photos:

Finally, I cannot end this post without mentioning the most fantastic weekend we have just spent watching our best friends get hitched!

The bridesmaid dress zip went up without a problem (my rice cracker diet clearly paid off!) and the whole weekend was just fabulous…no bridezilla strops (hehe!) but just lots of good food, nonstop laughter, dancing and catching up with old friends.

I decided not to spend the day with a camera in my hand for once and just enjoy the moment so I don’t really have many photos to share but here are a select few stolen from others!

Huge congratulations to Hannah and Ben, who are currently jetting off to Italy…I’m only slightly jealous about all the food they will be enjoying!

A Weekend with the Girls


In my last post, a few days ago, I promised my paella recipe was on its way and I have had a few messages wondering where it is. As quite often happens when you have house guests and a lovely doggie staying with you, other things cropped up and I ran out of time for my nightly writing session so apologies for the wait, but I promise it will be up on here soon, along with a very tasty cheesecake recipe!

This weekend saw a rather overdue catch up with one of my best friends who has just moved to London. Despite a part of me hoping she would change her mind and stay so I could see her weekly, I now have the perfect excuse for a girlie weekend away seeing the best of what the capital has to offer, which for me always includes food! Luckily, my friend, Cat, had already scoped out some excellent local eateries so I was not disappointed!

I headed up on the train and made my way across the city, through the crowds of Liverpool and Everton fans emerging from Wembley (nice win lads!), until I was in gorgeous West Hampstead and gasping for a cuppa. Without further ado, we visited the darling Bake-A-Boo café for some afternoon tea.

I love it when a friend chooses a place that you will enjoy and this was right up my street; fairy lights, lace doilies, bunting, paper lanterns, roses, mismatched china…perfection!

However, it wasn’t a case of style over substance and we also sampled two of their delicious cupcakes.

First up was the ‘Charlie’ chocolate cupcake; a cocoa-rich sponge topped with chocolate buttercream.

Next was my favourite; the ‘Bella’, which was a light, blueberry-filled sponge topped with a fresh passion fruit buttercream. This cupcake was actually gluten and dairy-free, although you couldn’t really tell, which I personally think means they have got it spot on!

My only niggle is that we arrived rather late in the day so the café had sold out of a lot of their stock but after looking at the wonderful selection on their website I can see why! If I lived nearby, I would frequent this place a lot with girlfriends and I am contemplating whether to treat myself to their cookbook to recreate some of the recipes at home…the Cosmo cupcake and elderflower tea bread are particularly tempting!

I didn’t walk away completely empty-handed though. Bake-A-Boo has a few shelves offering some very cute and vintage-style kitchen and baking accessories and I just couldn’t resist these very cute cupcake cases:

After a quick change and some red wine, we donned our heels and were off out for dinner at The Wet Fish Café, a lovely seafood restaurant.

We started with a delightful fishy sharing platter which included perfectly cooked sweet scallops, crispy calamari, a pile of smoked salmon and some crayfish dressed in a light lemony sauce. All elements were fresh, well-cooked and really got our taste buds going for what was to come.

My friend Cat opted for a piece of pollock with polenta chips, confit leeks and a tomato sauce which was a really well-balanced dish.

I enjoyed the crayfish in the starter so much I ordered the crayfish linguine, which was a twist on my favourite pasta dish, spaghetti vongole. It was a generous bowlful, with hints of chilli, lemon, garlic and parsley throughout and lovely big juicy chunks of crayfish.

We shared a simple pudding of rhubarb and apple crumble, served with cinnamon and raisin ice cream.

The restaurant had a lovely relaxed atmosphere and very friendly service and I would look forward to dining here again. All of the fish is from sustainable sources and was really delicious and cooked well…all in all a fabulous evening with great company!

I was up and out early the next day and over to North London for a bridesmaid dress fitting with another group of girlfriends. For obvious reasons, I cannot reveal too much about the outfits in question(!) but I can confirm we had enormous fun dressing up in the vintage-style that has been chosen and I got to wear a petticoat for the first time in my adult life!

After some shoe shopping and a long lunch, we headed back to the station and just had time to squeeze in a Krispy Kreme and a latte before it was time to catch our train back to the West Country after what was a very enjoyable and much-needed girls’ weekend.

Despite coming home to discover we had run out of oil and would have a rather chilly house for a few days (ahhhh the joys of living in the country!), it was lovely to be back home again and have a long soak to wash off the grime and dust of the city, as well as catch up with my boy!

I was back to work again today and, although it was painful to hear my alarm go off so early, it was great to be back and it made me realise how much I missed my class and colleagues…although ask me again how I feel about work in a few weeks when the dreaded SATs are looming!

(Not long until my paella recipe, I promise…and totally worth the wait! Ha!) xxx