Friday, July 29

. hAppy fridAy .


. 1 . wishing Beatrix Potter a hAppy birthdAy . with a new display at the V&A .
. 2 . loving these lovely retro jigsaw puzzles . personalise them at TinyMe .
. 3 . aahing over this pretty picture . & . the cutest matching siblings .
. 4 . loving the simplicity of this . & . wishing it came in my size too !
. 5 . getting organised would be something to look forward to with planners as pretty as these .
. 6 . loving the look of the new IKea catalogue for next year . something to look forward to !
. 7 . crushing on this print from Heart Vintage . oh hellO to you too .
. 8 . loving this quote from Tove Jansson . {  creator of the marvelous mOomins } .
. 9 . another wonderful woman . Freya Stark . Explorer . & . Writer . 
. & . finally . blackening bananas in the fruit bowl = a weekend of baking banana bread .

. have a hAppy dAy .

Wednesday, July 27

. cElebrate { All } the little things .

jUly has been a blur . a fun filled blur of baking . cocktails . & . dancing . but a blur non the less . but the blurry month is nearly over . & . thinking ahead to aUgust which brings with it celebrations;  of birthday's . of summer . of holiday's . of { hopefully } sunshine & sunny days . 

at the moment i am down in lOndon most weeks & walk past Liberty on my way to the office . a beautiful building on which i seem to notice something different each time i pass by . last week i spotted . for the first time . the quote under the clock at the Kingly Street entrance . which reads ' no minute gone comes back again . take heed and see ye nothing do in vain ' . words that have stuck by me . & . words i remembered when choosing this months quote . so in the same spirit . this month . lets celebrate all the little things . the happy moments . the sunny days . the simple pleasures .

. celebrate the little things .


. have a hAppy dAy .

Monday, July 25

. sydnEy squAres . smAll cake No.28 .


when Bumpkin Betty announced that this month's baking theme was to be Family Favourites i had a feeling that it was going to be an interesting bake . i asked my family { mum . dad . & . little sister } what they thought our family favourite had been and everyone had a different answer which made me realise that a) as a family we are fairly fickle . b) our memories of our childhood years are all very different from each others .  & . c) it would appear that baked goods in general were our favourite . which answers the question of where i get my sweet tooth from .

i reached the conclusion that our true family favourite . the one that has remained a constant through the years was actually my mUm's Christmas Pudding . but . it's jUly . as much as i love christmas . & . as much as i love christmas pudding . i couldn't quite bring myself to start baking that just yet . 

i had a look through my mUm's lovely recipe books . the ones she collated & wrote in & stuck clippings in out of magazines . the ones that brought back such lovely memories of learning how to bake . the familiar sponge cakes . the lemon drizzle cake . caramel squares { two recipes for that ! } . my favourite cheesecake made with Philadelphia cheese that was topped with tinned apricot halves that we only ever seemed to have when people came to tea .


then i remembered the recipe box . Margueritte Patten's box of recipes . { published by Paul Hamlyn way back in 1967 } . my sister & i would spend hours flicking through this box . especially the Small Cakes & Biscuits Cards . & . one recipe in particular jumped out as one that we've talked about quite often .


Sydney Squares . my sister & i have long reminisced about this recipe . one that we remember firstly my mum, then as we learnt to bake, we would bake them too . but each time we go back to this recipe we aren't quite sure why we liked them so much . a slightly strange combination of a sweet pastry base . with a sultana filled sponge filling . topped with grated chocolate . i was convinced that we had been lulled into viewing this cake through those rose tinted glasses that you often remember your childhood through . however . it did seem that this might be The recipe for this months baking club . was this going to be as good as we remember . or . was it something that we'd finally put to bed as something best left in the 70's ?

i resisted changing too much from the original recipe . but . hadn't any sultana's { not my favourite } . & . decided to soak the raisins i replaced them with in a brew of chocolate & vanilla rooibos { not something i think you'd have found in my mum's pantry but there you go . . . } . but apart from that i made it as the original recipe .


so what did we think ?


i was so expecting to taste these & go . it's ok . but . i'm not sure why we liked them quite so much .

but .

they are so very oddly lovely . & . tasty . & . moreish . & . well . i ate two . &  then very quickly drove them over to my sister before i scoffed the lOt !



and her verdict ?


the same .


p.s. i'm still a little bewildered how a seemingly strangish combination of things should be as good as they were . but . they were !

it's been so lovely reading about everyone else's family favourites . & . the stories behind them . & . how many of us have such fond memories of baking with our mums .

. Jaclyn { aka . Bumpkin Betty } made a classic Chocolate Tiffin .
. Angela from Only Crumbs Remain baked a delicious looking Date Slice .
. Jennie of Scarlet Scorch Droppers made Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake baked in her mUm's kitchen for added nostalgia .
&
. if you pOp over to the Baking Club's facebook page you can also drool over Catherine's Millionaire Shortbread . Nadine's Chocolate Hob Nobs . Linda's Battenburg . Caitlin's Peanut Butter & Honey Cake . Helen's classic Scones { with lots of lovely cream & jam } . Virginia's Blondies . & . Chloe's comforting Rice Pudding .

if you love baking & would like to bake along in aUgust then you can join the club here . & . you can read Jaclyn's lovely write up of last months " Free From " theme over on her blog .

. have a sweet and hAppy dAy .

Saturday, July 23

. hAppy weekEnd .


. 1 . still wondering about watermelOns . with this wonderful wallpaper by JimmyCricket .
. 2 . under vAnilla skies . sparkly . whimsical . shoot for Poster Child Magazine
. 3 . beautiful details make beautiful clothes . beautiful collar by Son De Flor .
. 4 . beautiful bows . & . beautiful bag . shared on the beautiful blog Atlantic Pacific .
. 5 . lOve this rOcky rOse mural . perfect combination of industrial beauty . by MrPerswall .
. 6 . lOve this tiny whisk necklace . perfect for those of us who like to cook . by Food52 .
. 7 . Alright Bab ? I am ta Seven9Signs .
. 8 . on a sunny day like today this quote is particularly apt .
. 9 . how incredibly beautiful are these nature inspired tattoo's by Pis Saro ? very !
. & . finally . feel inspired to return to my childhood for a bit of retro baking this weekend .
with . hOmemade wagOn wheels . retro recipe by Milk and hOney .

. have a hAppy dAy .

Wednesday, July 20

. yOu're One in a melOn . { twelve ways to make . eat . & . party . with a watermelOn } .


last friday i took a short vacation to Kellerman's . courtesy of the Secret Cinema . there were a lOt of watermelOn's in the shape of beachballs . dresses . hats . bags . & . a few real life watermelons . given that the watermelon has only one small reference in the film { the film being Dirty Dancing if you hadn't already realised } namely the line spoken by Baby { I carried a watermelon } . just shows what an iconic line that has turned into .  & . it's also the line that i haven't been able to get out of my head since . it was an incredible night, one i'm hoping to be able to share a little more of in the coming weeks, but for now i'm sharing a few ideas to make . eat . & . party . all inspired by those infamous watermelOns . 

. 1 . 2 . 3 .
{ isn't that umbrella just the sweetest thing ? }

. 4 . 5 . 6 .
{ lovely limeade . chocolate bark . cutest cookies }

. 7 . 8 . 9 .
{ party . party . party }

. 10 . 11 . 12 .
{ pretty plates . party props . pinatas } 

. have a hAppy dAy .

Sunday, July 17

. hAppy weekEnd .


this week . it's all about . dirty dancing .
. 1 . this tee .
. 2 . this onesie .
. 3 . these pencils .
. 4 . the poster .
. 5 . the cinema
. 6 . lOts of dancing
. 7 . Oh baby !
. 8 . this quote .
. 9 . this cocktail .
. & . finally . enjOy the sUmmer sUn with this wAtermelOn icecream .

. have a hAppy dAy .

Thursday, July 14

. cAfe lOndon . { brunch . lunch . coffee . & . cake } .


a few weeks ago i was asked by Lynn of the Clandestine Cake Club to review a book that was shortly to be published . Cafe London { brunch . lunch . coffee and afternoon tea } . highlights the best places to go & eat & i'm not sure Lynn would have realised how perfect a choice of book this was for me . one of the things i love when visiting a new place is to search out all the newest coffee shops . & . lovely independent cafes . usually ending up with a list far longer than i need for the meals & coffee stops i'll need . which is indicative of how many new & independent places have sprung up over the past few years .


beautifully broken down into chapters for different eating;  brunch, lunch, coffee, cakes & bakes, afternoon tea, culture & shopping, & the unusual and alfresco .  although i don't live in lOndon it is somewhere i visit quite regularly & thought i was familiar with most of the best coffee shops & cafes around . how wrong i was ! there were places that i knew and whose names were familiar; The Ritz for afternoon tea, The Hummingbird & Primrose Bakeries, and some that i'd been to; Sketch for brunch, The Breakfast Club for lunch, and Bea's of Bloomsbury for afternoon tea, but so so many that i didn't know . 


each review is accompanied by beautiful photography . showing each place & their food off to their best . the reviews are short & sweet but give a lovely snapshot of the feel & the vibe of each eatery . there's also an enticing list of Other Places to Try at the end of each chapter { as if the ones already listed weren't tempting enough ! } .


i love the fact that they cover so many different areas of lOndon . & . there's a handy map at the back of the book so wherever you are exploring in the city you can look up & read up on the best places to eat . one little tip from me;  read this book with a cup of tea . or coffee . & . a little snack . & . a pile of post-it notes to hand . it's impossible to read this book without feeling hungry . & . without thinking * i must try there * .


one lovely place that's listed that was already on my * to visit * list was Violet Cakes in Hackney, owned by Clare Ptack, who also has a column in the Guardian . & . as luck would have it on the weekend i was reviewing this book she had a lovely recipe for gooseberry oat crumble bars . which just sounded the perfect sweet treat to accompany the reading of the cakes & bakes chapter . they were . just yUm .


since i've had the book i've had chance to try a few new places . one that caught my eye was Foxcroft & Ginger on Berwick Street . by chance . just around the corner from the office i work in when down in lOndon . the pictures & the review in the book are spot on . you are welcomed by the most tempting array of baked goods as you enter & the brunch & lunch menu's are equally as tempting . unfortunately the service . on the day i visited . didn't live up to the expectation of the food . & . a mix up with my order meant that my lunch was just a pot of tea . such a shame . but i'm planning to pop back there as the cakes looked too good not to give it a second go .

i had a little more luck with the second bakery on the list . the Nordic Bakery on New Cavendish Street is a lovely scandinavian bakery who are known for their cinnamon buns . again, the book delivered on it's review, though happily it did have one thing wrong;  their predictions of those cinnamon buns selling out by 11.30am proved unfounded & i happily bought one to take away & enjoy at home . { & . yes . they are deserved of their reputation } . 


cAfe lOndon is a real gem of a book for those who live in the city or go there often & like to find out the places that are a little bit different as well as those places whose reputation is a little more longstanding . i'm looking forward to working my way down my { very } long list of places to try .

a very big thankyou to both Lynn at The Clandestine Cake Club . & . also to Quarto Publishing for being kind enough to send me the book to review . if you fancy a gander at the book you can find more details here & here .

. have a hAppy dAy .