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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Signs of Spring

snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house

Can you feel it?

It's still pretty cold and wet out there, and I mean...it's still February, so that's not real surprise. However, spring is most definitely on the way. Made abundantly clear by the appearance of these pretty little white flowers.

We spent our Sunday afternoon walking around a beautiful old estate, just outside of Edinburgh. Hopetoun House close the grounds are over winter, but they open them for one day around this time of year. At which point, everyone flocks to enjoy the first signs of spring. It was a pretty perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday. A nice walk, a few pictures, followed by lunch and coffee to warm up afterwards.

snowdrops-hopetoun-house

The grounds are beautiful, and just as lovely now as they are in summer. Paul and I realised that although we've been a few times, we've never walked around as much of the estate. I can't tell you how much I'd love a garden with huge trees, and stone walls covered in moss! We even found out that they have a little area where they've buried all the family dogs over the years. So lovely.

We watched deer grazing, and played with all the dogs that were actually 'walking' around, you know...how dogs are supposed to. Sookie has decided that she isn't one for walking in the wet, cold or mud, so she was carried the entire time. She also spent lunch on my knee. I ate delicious carrot and lentil soup, while she sat there looking very pleased with herself.

I won't go on too much more, I'll just let you enjoy these pictures, and share the promise that there will soon be warmer weather. Not that our parkas and boots give that impression.

snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
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snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
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snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
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Sunday, 17 February 2019

The End of The Polaroid Project

The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project

Last year was a good one! There was a lot going on with the wedding and New York trip, but we also did a lot of fun things at home. One of my favourite things about the year was my Polaroid project. It captured a snapshot of every day, and as I mentioned recently, I was a little sad when it stopped.

I still now, two months after finishing, just before bed think "oh no...I haven't taken today's picture!", only to remember that I don't actually have to. It's a sad feeling, because it was such a huge part of last year. There wasn't a day or occasion that wasn't documented with those little pictures.

When I started it, I only had one rule...to make sure I didn't miss a day! I'm pleased to say, I managed just that, I didn't miss any...not one! Even we were travelling, I got one of us all on the plane, and a sad one of our feet and luggage, in the airport on the way home. Special days were captured too, birthdays and other occasions. I even started to plan certain shots, to plan what would work and be a good picture if I knew what we were doing that day. There were certain days of the year when I could see the picture in my head, like the day on the plane, when we left for New York. I knew I wanted a picture of us all in our seats. Or the day we got married, I knew I wanted a picture of us kissing, in our hotel room.

The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project

Taking the picture became such an important part of the day, and I started to take the camera with me everywhere we went, just in case the moment presented it's self for the perfect shot of for that day.

I also made the decision very early on, to date and number them. I knew, that when looking back, I'd want to know what number the picture was, but also the date, so I didn't have to try and work it out myself. Some even ended up with little doodles. Things like balloons on birthdays, hearts on anniversaries, or a pumpkin for Halloween.

As the year grew to a close, I started to consider carrying on, just making it a permanent part of everyday life, but chose to let it end as it was meant to capture 2018, and all the important wedding things. Also...because it would be quite an expensive habit to continue permanently. The year before I started, I stock piled some Instax film. Also, because everyone knew I was doing it, I got given quite a lot of film for my birthday, so I had plenty! Which was lucky as I wasn't only using the camera to take the 365 pictures of the year, I was still using it as I normally would. So, as you can imagine...I made my way through a lot of film!

The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project

At the beginning of the year, I kept the pictures in an old Dior highlighter box. They are pretty small, and I couldn't envision how big the pile would be after 12 months, so for a while that did the job. Three months in, I transferred them to a brown kraft box from Paperchase. I love brown paper, we wrap most of our gifts in it, and the look of it with label maker labels makes me very happy. The twelve months fit perfectly in the box, and at the moment they are still in their little piles, month by month. I've had a few people say to me, why don't I tie them together, or put bands around each month? I don't know, I kind of like the idea of them becoming muddled together overtime.

So that's it, it's done and 2018 is now in a box. It's definitely something I'd do again, probably over another year when we have a lot going on, as a fun was to document it all. I really did enjoy the whole process. Numbering each one, and changing the Sharpie colour with the seasons was also very satisfying!

The-Polaroid-Project

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Thursday, 14 February 2019

Little Love Letters

Love-Letters

Happy Valentines Day!

Do you have plans today, are you celebrating?

We aren't big on Valentines day, it's nice and all, but we never do the fancy dinner out, or bother with cards and gifts. I'm just going to make a nice dinner tonight, something a little more interesting than the usual Thursday night dinner. Plus, it gives me a chance to use the heart shaped dishes in the cupboard, and make a unnecessary dessert. I'm thinking really gooey dessert brownies and extra thick cream.

After that, I think we'll just spend the evening on the sofa, watching a film or series on Netflix. So, if you're going out, staying in, spending it with someone, a bunch of people, or on your own...I hope you have a lovely time.

And just because it's the day dedicated to love, here are some little love letters from me...


Dear Giant New York mug...
I love you for your ridiculous size. I love that you remind me of one of my favourite places on earth, and the first time I ever got to visit. I love that a cup of tea made in you, can last twice as long so I don't have to move on cold days. I don't know what I'd do if you broke! Please never do.

Dear Working Boiler...
After spending three days without heating, I appreciate you so much more than you could know! It was so cold without you, and although it gave me the chance to live in cosy clothes and blankets...I'm glad you're working again.

Dear Loreal Mascara...
You are oh so special to me! On those mornings when I'm leaving the house still basically sleeping, you somehow manage to make me look alive and awake!

Dear Sun...
You have returned and it's glorious!! You're making it feel like spring and I'm here for it!

Dear Kurt Geiger Boots...
I've been in love with you for as long as I can remember, but you're currently out of my price range. Please go in the sale, I promise I'd wear you all the time!

Dear Sketchers Trainers...
While you are most definitely the most comfortable shoes I own, I'm just not wearing you enough right now. I'm sorry about that. I will start exercising again soon! It's just been cold outside, so I haven't felt like getting out as much.


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Monday, 11 February 2019

Ready for Valentines Day? Raspberry Sugar Cookies

Valentines-sugar-cookies
raspberry-sugar-cookies

I've said many times before on here, that Paul and I don't really do anything for Valentines Day.

We might end up cuddling up, watching a film, or making a nice dinner together, instead of just having the usual, but we don't buy gifts or do anything crazy just because it's February 14th.

However! I do always love an excuse to bake, and anything themed is always fun to do. So, bring on the ridiculous heart shaped, pink food stuff!

I have a cupboard in the kitchen that I like to keep stocked with essentials in case I feel like baking. Things like sugars, condensed milk, different chocolates, lots of flour...stuff like that. There are also a couple of bags of sprinkles and some candy canes left over from Christmas. I was having a clear out of this cupboard recently, just to make sure nothing was out of date, or anything that needed used up and I found that my freeze dried raspberries were reaching their best before date. Now, I know that doesn't mean they have to be used up right now, as they're freeze dried I'm sure they'll last forever. But! It was an excuse to bake something using them.

I had a little look online for inspiration, and I found a few people using them not just for the flavour, but for the colour too, and it gave me a great idea for Valentines day.

Of course, it had to be something heart shaped, so I went with sugar cookies. They are the tastiest little biscuits, and they always go down a treat with everyone. Instead of the usual royal icing, I thought cream cheese frosting would be a nice change. Cream cheese frosting and raspberries is one of my favourite combinations, and it does not disappoint in the recipe either!

heart-shaped-sugar-cookies
raspberry-cream-cheese-frosting
raspberry-heart-sugar-cookies

I stuck with my old faithful cookie recipe, you can find it here, here and here! 

For the frosting...

Ingredients:
75g of room temperature butter
125g of room temperature cream cheese
425g of icing sugar
4 table spoons of freeze dried raspberries (crushed into powder)

- whisk the butter until pale and fluffy, add in the cream cheese and continue to mix until combined.

- slowly add in the icing sugar and keep mixing until it is all incorporated and you have a smooth icing.

- separate in to four separate bowls, and add as much or as little raspberry powder as you like.

- spread the cream cheese frosting on your cookies, and enjoy!

I cannot explain how good these are! Freeze dried raspberries give you such strong flavour, a flavour you just wouldn't get from fresh, and it's a great balance with the sweet cream cheese frosting.

If you give these a go, let me know what you think of them...I'm away to have another!

raspberry-heart-sugar-cookies


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Monday, 28 January 2019

Hello There...

Chatty-Post

Well, this feels odd. I feel almost like an impostor, being somewhere I most certainly don't belong. It's been a while, hasn't it? (understatement of the century).

I wanted to get back into the swing of things by having a little chat - so, how have you been?

January's been a tough one for me this year. I mean, nowhere near as bad as it is for some, but much more difficult than I've experienced before. I like to keep things happy and positive, and that's because I really am that sort of person. There's nothing that can't be sorted, there isn't a mountain that we can't climb, and even when the the to-do list is longer than your arm and leg...I always think you find a way. But this month, I seemed to lose my spark a little.

I know we're coming to the end of it now - thank god!!, but I thought I can't pick up this blogging thing again without speaking on it.

January as a month, has the reputation of being a little bit rubbish in general. Cold, dark, no money from Christmas and New Year. So the usual stuff, but this year there was more getting to me. I think it comes down to a few things. First of all, and probably the biggest one of all, was the wedding. Or more so, the fact that it was over. Paul and I had the most crazy, wild, mad, dream like year in 2018. We were so busy planning, organising the trip and the wedding, and making the most of all the appointments we had. We really enjoyed every last second, knowing that it's not something we'll ever do again. We didn't find it stressful, it was just all so much fun! Then came the trip, the wedding, the being there with the people we love most in this world, spending 10 days walking around New York. Spending a whole day running around in a wedding dress, in a vintage cab, having photos taken, it still feels crazy to think it even happened at all.

Then we came home, and we had a weekend of plans. We had Bon Fires night, we had a few days out, we then had a party to celebrate with everyone, then Paul's birthday at the start of December, and then it was Christmas. There was no lull, no drop in excitement. There wasn't a chance to sit and feel like "oh, it's over now". That didn't come until January. Also, at the same time, my polaroid project ended. A whole year of taking an Instax picture a day had come to an end. It kind of felt like everything was ending, all at the same time. Leading to that feeling of "now there's nothing".

I understand that could come across to some as  little dramatic, it's not meant to be. I simply mean that there was so much going on, and then -all of a sudden, there wasn't. It all stopped, and as we spent so much money last year, we knew this year was going to be quieter. Saving had to happen, so there's nothing big planned for 2019. So without anything to look forward to, and with those things getting to me, I just found it had to pick my mood up again.

So all of that, topped off with the fact that I haven't posted here in months, well...it left me feeling really rubbish!

Basically, I've just found it hard to feel motivated or inspired this January, and I've been working had to change that because it's not a great feeling.

However, we're coming to the end of it now and I'm feeling much more like myself again. I'm excited for the year, I'm looking forward to things we have planned. Smaller things, like dinners with friends, birthday's...the slightly warmer weather. All those good things. And being back here! It's an odd thing, but I've been tapping away my thoughts, recipes and anything else, here for so long, that I miss it when I stop.

One other thing before I go. We live in a world where speaking this way can be seen as moaning. Where expressing how you feel can be seen as moaning. I'm not moaning. I love my life, I love and appreciate everything Paul and I have, and all that we've been able to do. But I think it's important to remember, that no matter how good and wonderful everything is, you can always feel a little down. Isn't it better to talk about these things that let them grow and get worse? Of course it is.

Happy Monday!!!

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