Wednesday, April 26

{ my april }

Another month so very nearly over.  This one has fled by in a flurry of Spring blossoms, bunnies & Bank Holidays.  I still have a few things left on my month's to do list, but there is a satisfying number already ticked off.

{ knitting }
The month of March had been all about the planning.  And April was all about the knitting.  It has been both exciting, and scary, ordering lots of yarn and knitting needles, and my first foray into jumbo knitting has been a fun one.  In a way it's taken me back to those childhood days of learning to knit, when the yarn & needles felt a little clumsy and unfamiliar.  And then you settle into that routine;  needle through the stitch, yarn around the needle, make new stitch.  The pile of swatches of different stitches, and different yarns, has grown, and things are slowly starting to take shape.  It still feels too early to reveal much more, though I think this may be the last month I allow myself to say that, but I think there may be a couple of posts coming next month to give you a bit more of a peek into the plan. 

{ reading }
My reading list this month has been a tad impressive, mainly due to being laid low by a virus at the beginning of the month, and reading being the only thing I had the energy, or the inclination for.  Somewhat ironically, I began the month reading Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending a book that has been on my bookshelf for a while, but never read.  A book about memory and history, about re-examining events of the past from a different perspective; "I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time  has deformed into certainty."  

Something a little less serious next, and my next Agatha Christie, The Man in the Brown Suit a book of murder, mystery, intrigue, in the usual Ms Christie style.  Eager to find out Who'd Done It, I was quickly onto the book I've just finished, Anna Hope's The Ballroom.  I've just had a quick read through some of the reviews for this book on Goodreads, and by no coincidence do the same words appear;  beautiful, anguished, simple, slow, heartbreaking.  Set in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, the story is told from three person's viewpoints, inmates Ella and John, and one of the doctors, Charles.  To call it a love story would be to simplify the narrative, as it's so much more than that.  This isn't the book to pick up if you are looking for something to lift your spirits, you are more in danger of being left feeling slightly bereft, but a wonderful read none the less.

{ making }
Easter provided a lovely excuse to make a few little treat boxes to send out to friends.  Unlike previous years, I didn't do a lot of Easter baking this year, but did try my hand at making mini Easter eggs.  A little trickier than I thought they'd be, I have a new found respect for all the chocolatiers of the country.  Slightly easier to put together were these little gift boxes, each complete with their own Easter bunny, guarding those chocolate eggs.

{ watching }
Spring may have officially arrived in March, but I always feel it's April that it really begins to arrive.  Despite the British weather's best efforts to thwart the spring blooms, it seems there's been enough sunshine to bring out all the beautiful blossom, and to start making good in the garden.  Two trips already to the local nursery, with a few more to come I'm sure, though with the temperature having plummeted once again, this box of blooms is safely tucked inside the greenhouse for now.

At the moment the calendar looks very quiet for May, leaving plenty of time for more knitting, more reading, and more gardening I think #slowliving.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, April 24

{ local ♥︎ . meeting makers at the Spring Market }

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

The sunshine on Saturday reminded me of the sun that shone on the April day two years back, when I first visited the Spring Market at the Bond.  Several visits to Market later, it's become a much looked forward to event on my calendar, and even more so when the forecast is for a dry, bright, sunny day.

There were lots of familiar faces;  the very cute Cocktail Caravan, facing off against the Bus Bar, amazingly tempting aroma's from the many food vendors, and indoors an array of delights from local makers and bakers.  I think one of the things I like most about these Markets is realising how much creativity there is happening on the doorstep.  On-Line marketplaces like Etsy, and makers own websites have made it easier to be an independent maker, but there is something so lovely about being able to see, and pick up, and chat to these people in person.

I think I had my favourite five picked out before I was even home.  Those makers whose products linger in the mind, and leave you wishing, "I really wish I'd bought that"!  I have seen Currentstate Studio's before, and love their print work.  On Saturday they debuted a new range, Love Letters, which I fell a little in love with.  Typographical illustrations with a wonderful charm, they were showing the first letters they'd worked on at the Market.  A new discovery was the super cute Bug.  Bug is Ellie, a jewellery designer, who makes the most darling of necklaces, rings and things.  Collections entitled La La Land, Summer Farm, and la Discoteque, adorned with mini boiled egg and spoons, pigs in tea cups, and even mini record players.  Do take a look at her website, which is just as super cute as her jewellery, with product styling to make you smile.

Rolling Roses was one of the makers I featured on my post on my first visit, and I always love having a peek at her stall to see what lovely new things she's been working on.  Her ceramics are beautiful, her signature style the lace imprint, with the delicate glaze of colour inside the piece.  Some of her newer pieces now have a delicate rim of gold added, a beautiful touch and I'm already saving my pennies for the bowl I spotted and can't stop thinking about.

The Peaky Squirrel couldn't be anything other than a Birmingham maker could he? ( Though is it wrong to admit I've never ever seen Peaky Blinders? )  New at the Market, and only making since December 2016, The Peaky Squirrel makes handcrafted items from wood salvaged from the streets of the Peaky Blinders.

My final favourite is Holly of Crafty Bun Studios.  A print maker, alongside her film making and photography, I love the lines of her wood cut printing, the simplicity of colour, and, yes, this was another on my "Why didn't I buy that" list.

I think that is the last of this year's Spring Markets, so time to start saving up, and to pop all the dates for the Summer Fairs in my diary.

Birmingham Summer Market . Saturday 10th June
Derbyshire Summer Market . Sunday 2nd July

{ have a happy day }

Friday, April 21

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Etsy find of the week. RLawrenceHandmade. Beautiful machine embroidered stories.
{ 2 } Hello.  Beautiful vintage room with those marvellous pops of mustard.
{ 3 } Hello.  Lovely lampshades with those fabulous faux flowers. 
{ 4 } A Spring collection, styled with blooms, from Spanish label bonnet รก pompon
{ 5 } Pattern making, by Sally Payne ๐ŸŒผ
{ 6 } A chance to win "The New Paris" over on Khoollect.  But be quick.  Ends Sunday.
{ 7 } Magnolia Dream, by Jackie Diedam ๐ŸŒธ
{ 8 } Actually, I can #believeinyourself
{ 9 } A weekend filled with flowers & knitting is my kind of weekend.
{ + } A slice of strawberry almond tea cake would go perfectly with a cup of tea,
which would be the perfect way to celebrate today's National Tea Day.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, April 19

{ local ♥︎ . Sparrow+Wolf }

Quirky cute stationery from Birmingham based Sparrow + Wolf.

Happiness is shopping for stationery
{ fact }

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of a new notebook, must be a very happy person.  Though that happiness may be fleeting, as the realisation dawns on them, that this new notebook is supremely pretty & lovely, and therefore how can anything be worthy of putting in the shiny new notebook?

I'm trying very hard to get past this dilemma, having a drawer full of lovely notebooks, too lovely not to buy, yet too lovely to spoil with mere trivia such as notes.  But to justify buying more, I need to use more, and browsing through Sparrow + Wolf's lovely range is incentive enough.

Based not too far from me, in Birmingham, Sparrow + Wolf is Cherie Gregory, whose self admitted obsessions include, bright colours, origami, and doodles, all of which feature in her collection of homewares and stationery.  Her pom pom trimmed cushions are adorable, but as it's National Stationery Week next week, it was her paper goods that I was keen to show you.

Quirky cute stationery from Birmingham based Sparrow + Wolf.
Quirky cute stationery from Birmingham based Sparrow + Wolf.

Quirky cute stationery from Birmingham based Sparrow + Wolf.

Quirky cute stationery from Birmingham based Sparrow + Wolf.
Quirky cute stationery from Birmingham based Sparrow + Wolf.

Almost too lovely to use aren't they?  Or lovely enough to inspire that novel you've always wanted to write, or the daily doodle you promise yourself to doodle, to note down those treasured family recipes.  In a way aren't they almost too lovely not to use?

{ have a happy day }

Sunday, April 16

{ happy easter }

{ happy easter }

Friday, April 14

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Etsy find of the week.  Lili Popo. And her charming Spring Bunny girl.
{ 2 } The most perfect party pack for Easter parties, or those days when you need to feel playful.
{ 3 } The most perfect tutu dress for Easter parties, or those days when you need to feel pretty. 
{ 4 } The most perfect tunic dress for Easter egg hunting.
{ 5 } A beautiful Easter basket for grown-ups.
{ 6 } Just the prettiest Easter tree for your table.
{ 7 } Books & art & poetry ♥︎
{ 8 } Happy Easter.  From me. To you.
{ 9 } Follow the Bunny.  He has the chocolate ๐Ÿฐ
{ + } And in case you needed a little more chocolate for the weekend, ta dah, Easter Brownies.

{ have a happy good friday }

Wednesday, April 12

{ easter tweetings }

five cheeky chirpy chicks
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Well, on this blog it was the egg.  But the chicks aren't too far behind, and I've found five of the cheekiest and chirpiest for you ahead of this Easter weekend.

// Super fluffy & super cute chicks.  Hatched by Postbox Party.
// Baby chick.  Hatched by Sharon Montrose.
// Super sweet macaron chicks.  Hatched by raspberri cupcakes.
// Easter chick.  Hatched by The Fox in the Attic
// Super fluffy feather filled chick balloon.  Hatched by Bubblegum Balloons.

{ have a chirpy day }

Monday, April 10

{ a few good eggs }

five eggciting easter eggs

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

The sun is shining, I've just spent most of the weekend outside, and it really does feel as if Spring has finally arrived.  And with the long Easter weekend approaching, I think we're all hoping that this lovely weather holds on just a little bit longer.

As last week I shared some very lovely bunnies with you,  this week I've been on the hunt for Easter eggs.  I've resisted the temptation to share the wealth of chocolate eggs out there, instead sharing lovely ideas for eggs of the non-chocolate variety, though in my opinion they are still just as sweet.

// eggs painted & doodled in on-trend hues of copper, pink, black & white.
// eggs painted & hand calligraphed with happy easter wishes.
// the unicorn trend continues unabated.
// the secret language of eggs.
// bunnies + eggs = super cute easter eggs

So, who's now rushing off to turn their eggs into unicorns?

{ have a happy day }

Friday, April 7

{ happy friday }

10 lovely things that caught my eye this week

{ 1 } New in at Zรผ.  Wouldn't these pins make adorable Easter presents?
{ 2 } A sneak peek at Paade Mode's new Autumn collection.  Fabulous florals for Fall.
{ 3 } In Full Bloom at Children's Salon.  Fabulous florals for Summer.
{ 4 } Just love this picture ๐ŸŒธ ๐Ÿฐ ๐ŸŒผ 
{ 5 } Just love these eggs  ๐ŸŒธ ๐Ÿฃ ๐ŸŒผ   
{ 7 } New Instagram crush.  Melia of contemporary_life.  self confessed crazy plant lady.
{ 8 } Which is ok.  'Cos plant lady is the new cat lady.
{ 9 } Etsy find of the week.  Tusk and Twine.  *pops botanical hoop on wish list*
{ + } Is it too soon to start making Easter Cake

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, April 5

{ inspired#13 . the garden }

. inspired#13 . the garden .
how lovely the silence of growing things
how lovely the silence of growing things
clockwise from centre
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

A midweek mood board, inspired by the garden.  My garden has been a little neglected over the past couple of years, and the only things growing have been a vast amount of weeds.  I'm hoping that with a little more time on my hands this year that it might be a different story.

Tell me about your garden.  Do you love gardening or loathe it, is it a haven of tranquility, order and calm, or a haven of wildflowers and wildlife?

For a little more garden inspiration pop over to my { in . the . garden } pinterest board.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, April 3

{ it's bunny l♥︎ve }

five little funny bunnies
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

This blog post has taken far longer to put together than it should have.  And I'm blaming it all on there being far too much bunny loveliness out there.  Which makes my job of choosing just five, just a little too hard.  Particularly when you're as indecisive as me.

But, as there are many other things on my ToDo list today, here are my favourite few.

// bunnies to brighten up your breakfast from Hop&Peck.
// bunnies to keep your tea warm from Rupert's House.
// some bunny loves you by Giddy Kipper.
// bunny sneakers by Minna Parikka.  ( And yes, they do come in grown-up sizes too! )
// wibbly wobbly wooden rabbit rattles by Kiko+.

I'll resist the temptation to wish you a hOppy day, though as I know you're still thinking about those glittery rabbit sneakers I could have sneaked it past you!

{ have a lovely day }

Saturday, April 1

{ hello April }

. hello April .

{ have a lovely day }

Friday, March 31

{ happy friday }

10 lovely things that caught my eye this week

{ 1 } Simply lovely new find.  1+ in the family.  Simply lovely baby wear.
{ 2 } Dinosaur find #1.  Discovered at KukuKid.
{ 3 } Dinosaur find #2.  Discovered at Little Green Fingers
{ 4 } Dinosaur find #3.  Discovered at My Scandinavian Home.
{ 5 } Skip to my lou!  Anyone else now have a hankering to dig out their skipping rope?
{ 6 } With coffee and flowers, all is well with the world.
{ 7 } Just ♥︎ this shield candle from The Society Inc.
{ 8 } Days pass by so quickly, so this feels like good advice.
{ 9 } Etsy find of the week. 1220 Ceramic Studio.  Just the prettiest platters.
{ + } Double citrus means double VitC, so maybe this cake is the answer to curing my cold?

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, March 29

{ my march }

Planning a new {ad}venture.
Knitters gonna Knit.

Once again at the end of a month.  One of the interesting things about documenting your life through Instagram, is that you realise how much you do.  If you'd have asked, I would have described March as another quiet month, mostly spent at home.  Then I look back, almost in surprise, at what the month held.  

{ planning }
After a few months feeling in limbo with my work, this month was a month of decision making and planning.  lily&Bloom was finally given the makeover I'd been promising it for far too long, and I'm looking forward to seeing what new clients may come forward this year.  The plan, for a very long time, has been to develop something of my own alongside this.  Lists have been made, so many ideas talked about,  ideas I've talked myself out of as quickly as I've talked myself in to.  To the point, where I was, in all honesty, driving myself to distraction.  Until earlier this month, when something, The thing, seemed to fall into place.  It's still very early days, but the month has been full of business planning, research, and most exciting of all, buying things ready to start designing and sampling.  It still feels too early to divulge too much, but safe to say, the knitting needles and yarn just might be a bit of a clue.

Cardamom Knots & some very old fashioned Rock Cakes.
Homemade Granary bread turned into a simple breakfast of toast & rhubarb jam.

{ baking }
Bread, bread, and a bit more bread.  This may have been the month where Spring sprung, but I can't quite break my habit of soup for lunch, not just quite yet.  And neither can I break my habit of a slice of freshly baked bread to go with that soup.  Or with the freshly made rhubarb and ginger jam.  I also tried my hand at Cardamom Knots, which weren't quite the success I was hoping for.  A little more practice needed there I think.

I usually bake something for my mum for Mother's Day, and this year I delved into my childhood baking memories, to bake a batch of Rock Cakes.  A cross between a scone and a cake, not quite one, not quite the other, we'd spotted them in the window of a bakery in Bath the day before Mothering Sunday.  They may not be the prettiest, or most difficult bake, but they are super quick to make, and to bake, and in the words of my Dad, very very moreish.  

My month of currently reading.  Jenny Diski's In Gratitude.

{ reading }
One more month of kitchen delights in Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries.  Somewhat serendipitously he shared a recipe for banana bread, in a week where I happened to have banana's blackening nicely in the fruit bowl.  Sometimes the universe gives you a sign, and that week the sign was to bake Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.  Thankfully, for my waistline at least, this weeks sign seems to be to make his Lentil & Spinach Cottage Pie, a recipe I'd found a few years ago on-line, and have loved ever since.  I think that should help redress the balance of all that banana bread eating.  Well that, and a fair few miles of running!

As one of the things on my Fifty before 50 list is to read all Agatha Christie's novels, I felt I'd better start to make headway on those many many books.  So this month's reading began with The Secret Adversary, the novel is Agatha's second, and the first to feature Tommy & Tuppence.  After reading so many novels written in more recent years, what struck me most reading this, was how the writing, language and general tone, was so of it's time, and so very different from today.  And completely different to my next book, Jenny Diski's In Gratitude.  Written by Diski following her diagnosis with incurable cancer, the book is part diary, part memoir, part musings and thoughts of hers, though is mostly about the time she spent living with the author Doris Lessing.  Whilst not a particularly upbeat read, it's intriguingly honest and has made me curious to read more of both hers, and Doris Lessing's books.

Middleton Hall for coffee and chit chat
Coffee at Gorilla Cafe & the Fabulous Spring Market at the Roundhouse

{ visting }
Catching up with friends I'd not seen in a while meant an opportunity to try a couple of new places.  Middleton Hall, on the outskirts of Tamworth, and Gorilla Coffee Cafe, in King's Heath, saw my friends and I trying to put the world to rights over several cups of coffee.  Gorilla Coffee in particular, is now on my list of favourite coffee shops to escape to / read books in / take my laptop to / just sit and watch the world go by in.

And then, the start of all the lovely Spring fairs & markets.  First there was the Spring Market, hosted by Fabulous Places, at the Roundhouse, and last weekend, the Spring Fair, hosted by selvedge, in Bath. An opportunity to discover new makers, and revisit old favourites, buying a few lovely bits and pieces for me and the house.

Looking forward to a couple more Spring Fairs in April, not to mention copious amounts of Easter bunnies, chocolate, chicks and eggs.  And a little more of that lovely Spring sunshine.  Oh, and possibly a bit of knitting.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, March 27

{ a few more fabulous finds from another lovely Spring Fair }

Five lovely makers from the Selvedge Spring Fair held in Bath, 25th March 2017.
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Another weekend, another Spring Fair.  This time down in beautiful Bath, and this time hosted by selvedge Magazine.  Held at the Assembly Rooms, the fair brought together some of the Uk's loveliest merchant's and makers.  Whilst not as large as the Derbyshire Spring Market, it was still lovely to take a wander around, spotting some familiar makers, and once again, making some new discoveries.

Although we had arrived only shortly after the fair opened, it was super { super } busy from the start.  Perhaps the combination of a beautiful sunny day, and Mother's Day falling the following day, had drawn everyone in.  That aside, we spent a lovely hour or so making circuits of the room, ensuring we'd not missed anything on the first time around, and giving us a chance to make a couple of purchases of things that had particularly caught our eye and were still on our minds!

I have loved Charlotte Macey's work for a long time, and featured her on the post I wrote on the selvedge Fair held in Stroud.  She was at the Fair once again, and once again had some beautiful things to buy.  Her lovely cow parsley design always brings to mind a slightly breezy spring day in the country, and her blue parsley looks particularly lovely on china, enticing my mum to treat herself to a pretty new mug.

Two new discoveries were Story HH { 2 } and Justine Jenner { 3 }.  I would have quite happily of made purchases from each.  Story HH curate ceramics and homeware from makers from around the world.  Their silver lining mugs are still holding a fascination for me, and have a beautiful story behind their making.  Hand thrown by Japanese potter Naoto Tanii, the tea stained glaze on the outside produces a tinkling sound as it cools and cracks, which he calls "whispered music".  Inside there is his signature silver glaze, giving this handcrafted piece a look of luxury.  Justine's ceramics are very different, but equally lovely, in particular her rainbow collection of mugs and her two-tone collection, of which I have a small vase sitting on my window sill, waiting to be filled with daffodils.

Linladan was a small stall of heaven for the many haberdashery lovers that were at the Fair.  I'm guessing there were quite a few, given that by the time we reached it the stall was already two deep.  Vintage buttons, snaps and pins sat alongside skeins of embroidery threads in rainbow colours, both muted and bright.  One of those stalls where you want to buy everything, and consequently leave, regrettably, empty handed.

My last find of the day, is Henri.  Based in London, they make a small range of beautifully handcrafted shirts, and bags, using a fourth generation local manufacturer.  In addition to supporting local business with the making, they use Organic fabrics, most of which are still woven on hand-looms.  Their commitment to reducing waste has become an integral part of their design process, and as such has given them products such as the coin purse, designed and developed in order to use up some of the off cuts from the making of the shirts.

There are several more fairs running through out the year, so fear not that you have missed out.  The next is in Edinburgh, on the 19th August, with ones in Lewes, and London to follow.

But for now, I'm off to buy daffodils to put in my pretty pot.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, March 24

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Hello Spring.
{ 2 } For all you truly Scrumptious Mummy's
{ 3 } For all you mini Frida Kahlo's.
{ 4 } Etsy find of the week. OffOn.  Mummy & Me vintage dresses. 
{ 5 } Take a quiet moment to watch Katy Livings make her heirloom dolls.
{ 6 } These cushions.  
       Because you can never, ever, have too many comfy cushions.
{ 7 } These scissors.  
      Because you can never, ever, have too many pretty scissors
{ 8 } Thank you to my mama for my love of reading, knitting, baking.
      And so much more.
{ 9 } Beautifully curated Mother's Day gifts from Anthropologie.
{ + } And once you've spent all your pennies on gorgeous gifts for your mum,
       you can make these Broke Girl Truffles as an extra little thank you.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, March 22

{ fabulous finds at the Spring Market }

Delightful new discoveries from the Derbyshire Spring Market, presented by the fabulous Fabulous Places.
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

On Sunday I spent a very fabulous day at the Derbyshire Spring Market.  Having visited before I was looking forward to seeing some favourites of mine, plus discovering which new and lovely people would be showing their wares.  Whilst I usually potter along on my own, I had company on Sunday, which was lovely, though meant I was far too distracted with chatting, and shopping, to remember to take many photos of my own.  

On the upside, I think it led to us discovering many more lovely people than I usually seem to.  A few more than I'm showing here today, but I'm sure I'll get around to sharing these at some point or another.  An eclectic mix of jewellery, homeware and handcrafting, which I think exemplifies the diversity of product you'll find at one of Deb's markets.  Now in their seventh year, and held in the very fabulous Roundhouse, they are a wonderful mix of food and drink, flowers, homeware and much more.  With a pop-up Tea Room and a Prosecco Bar, not to mention an array of food trucks parked just outside, there are plenty of opportunities to take a break, eat, drink, and start shopping all over again.

{ shop . tea . chat . repeat }

There were a few jewellery stalls that caught my eye, in particular Amanda Brawn { 1 }, and Jo Irvine { 2 }.  One of Amanda's pebble rings is now sitting on my finger;  she tries to reduce waste as much as possible and all the silver left over from filing gets collected and used for these little pebbles.  Each pebble turns out different, making each one unique.  Jo's jewellery has a very different, but equally lovely feel.  She mixes precious metals in a simple, contemporary way, to produce stunningly simple pieces.

So Satsuma was incredibly popular, mainly with us adults trying on the cutest of bunny hats meant for slightly littler people!  Alongside some beautiful hand knits, were The cutest scissors, and The cutest enamel sheep pins, both of which are now on my ToBuy list.

Also on that ( quite long ) ToBuy list, were these concrete letters, from Koncrete Jungle.  One of the new stallholders at this Market, their stall was a treasure trove of concrete loveliness.

And last, but by no means least, we have Raine&Humble.  After chatting with them, I discovered that Raine&Humble are an Australian brand of home furnishings, originating in Melbourne.  They use colour beautifully, one of the things that attracted me to the stand, this season using a muted palette of charcoal and grey, with pops of peach and sage.  Their style is a mix of geometrics, alongside hand drawn and block printed conversational prints, with products trimmed and decorated with pom poms, large and small.  And how can you not like a product with a pom pom?

If this has made you feel wistful for missing it, fear not.  Deb's is hosting a Spring Fair on the 2nd April, held in The Walled Garden at Beeston Fields.  Nor is there too long to wait until the next market at the Roundhouse, with the Summer Market on the 2nd July.

You can find out more about Deb on Fabulous Places, and she's more than worth a follow on Instagram too { though be prepared for serious flower envy as she always seems to be buying the prettiest bunches for her home! }.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, March 20

{ an intriguingly boozy bake . cucumber & lime gin fizz cake }

When we decided on the theme of Intriguing Ingredients for our latest Clandestine Cake Club event, I'll admit that my selection process was based on choosing the most obscure thing I could find.  In the world of cake making there are some strange and wonderful ingredients that have found their way into cake recipes;  Lemon Drizzle Cakes have been made with mashed potato, Chocolate Cakes have been made with avocado, cauliflowermayonnaise, and even tomato soup, which also lends itself well to a spiced cake, reminiscent of carrot cake.  There is a fascinating article on theKitchn, The Enduring Allure of Tomato Soup, should you be curious as to the origins of this most obscure cake ingredient.

Even though all these choices were fairly intriguing, they didn't feel quite obscure enough.  For a while the Chocolate Cauliflower Cake was a strong contender, but it was whilst browsing through all the other baking delights on Veggie Desserts that I came across her recipe for Lemon and Cucumber Cake with Gin Icing.  Kate's cake was the prettiest pale green hue, three layers of lemon loveliness, and oh, yes, it was baked with cucumber.  On the one hand I can relate to how well the ingredients compliment one another, the botanical flavours of the gin marrying well with the lemon and the cucumber.  But still, this was a cake baked with cucumber.  I'll be honest and admit that I was sure with this cake I'd probably win the prize for most intriguing ingredient.  I wasn't convinced however, that I'd win the prize for most enjoyable cake of the evening.

I made a couple of small changes to Kate's original recipe.  I worried about the cucumber being too wet, so I grated mine and squeezed a little of the excess water out before pureeing.  And whilst Kate uses just lemon juice in hers, I wanted to make a lime curd to sandwich in between the layers, so I used a combination of lemon and lime in the cake, and just lime in that lovely gin frosting.  Apart from that, complete credit for this recipe sits firmly with Veggie Desserts.

Lime curd is available to buy, but I made my own using this recipe from Waitrose, though I used four limes and two lemons to give it more of a lime bias.

Cake // Frosting // Curd // Repeat

doesn't this make you forget this cake contains cucumber?


So I know that you're all dying to know.  What did it taste like?

Well, it was greeted with a polite but hesitant response, and an, ok, lets start with this one, get it out the way, and then we can enjoy the nice cakes! Slices were cut, and shared around.  The cake was such a pretty colour, mine a little more mottled than Kate's, the cucumber not pureed quite as much.  It smelt lovely, fresh citrus and juniper, and yes, undeniably, it smelt of cucumber.  We tasted with a little trepidation, me more so than others, and then with a little surprise we all found that we actually quite liked it.  No, make that more than quite liked it, even my little sister, who has never eaten cucumber in her entire life.

{ recipe credit // Veggie Desserts }

This is possibly the messiest cut slice in the whole of baking blogging world, but it was the only slice left at the end of cake club.  I think only once before have I come away with so little cake.  Seconds were enjoyed by some on the night, and slices were taken away to be enjoyed the next day.

It truly is a lovely cake.  It is light, and refreshing, the cucumber doesn't overwhelm the other flavours, but neither do they mask it to the extent that you question why it's there.  This cake would be perfect on a Summer's day, alongside a jug of Pimm's or a ( large ) G&T, and despite my scepticism, and my choosing it on the basis of it being the most obscure thing I could find, I will definitely be making it again.

By good luck, this cake also fits perfectly into Bumpkin Betty's baking club theme for March.  After welcoming her gorgeous daughter Evie on the 27th February, it was only fitting that the theme for March be Boozy Bakes.  So with a good measure of gin in the frosting on this cake, I think it fits the brief somewhat.  If you would like to join up then pop over to the Baking Club's Facebook page.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, March 17

{ happy friday }

10 lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Hello Posy
{ 2 } Hello Simone.
{ 3 } A House without End.  And a gorgeous giveaway on Mokkasin.
{ 4 } Blooming Flowers.  Bloomin' gorgeous Babiekins.
{ 5 } Etsy find of the week.  Cat's Ceramics. A little in love with the hanging planters  ♥︎
{ 6 } Coming soon.  Ruby Lou's Treat Co. Unicorn Cookies delivered right to your door.
{ 7 } This makes me want to start buying vinyl again.
{ 8 } Happy St Patrick's Day. #wisewords.
{ 9 } A hedgehog that likes coffee is my kind of hedgehog.
{ + } Today's bake has to be an Irish Soda Bread doesn't it?

{ have a happy day }