Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Second Cara Box

Well this month there were only two of us in the lovely UK who had signed up to do the Cara Box exchange so I was paired with Rachael  and I was sending to her and she was sending to me. I enjoyed exchanging emails with her because it seemed we had a lot in common, the best being a shared love of the amazing Fleetwood Mac. We were both such busy bees but we finally got the parcels out to each other and I was really curious as to what I'd get in my box. I found the theme really hard again this month so I felt my box that I sent wasn't the best it could be but Rachael and I have been matched up for next month too so I'll make it up to her!!!

I love how we had both wrapped our items in brown paper! I really love brown paper because I feel lit makes the present look like it's from the war-time (I am a fan of all things vintage). Rachael had wrapped all the items so carefully (I personally am terrible at wrapping, it looks like a goldfish wrapped mine) and had attached a lovely little note to each item. She'd thought of all different kinds of festivals/fairs such as a beer festival and thought of different stalls you can get at a fair such as a craft was so imaginative! 

I started opening each item really carefully and I was so happy with each item. So much thought had been put into each gift and I was so grateful. She'd obviously listened to what I'd told her about myself.

I adored the cupcake cases with the pawprints and the edible cupcake toppers with 'I <3 Cats' on. They were so me! To be honest I'd stick them on my face every day if it was socially acceptable :P I also received a lovely bar of handmade lavender soap because in Kent where Rachael is from they have lavender festivals. I also received a lovely nail polish which was called 'carnival'.

Then I had a tub of gorgeous fairground rock which I must admit is half empty now because we've all been munching away on it because it's really yummy. A cute little duckie (which I thought was an excellent idea) because of the hook the duck stalls and I absolutely adored the beer glass with cute paper straws. I have to say I adored my Cara Box and I am very thankful for the time, effort and money put into it. So, thank you very, very much Rachael! <3 

I also have to thank you for starting the love affair between Mr Ducky and my cat Beau! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My beautiful herb babies!

For once I decided I was going to be creative rather than destructive and I channeled that into deciding I was going to have babies. Okay, not actual human babies but herb babies!

I bought some seeds from my local shop and filled up a box that had previously held cosmetics in a gift I was given at Christmas. Don't you think it looks perfect to hold herb babies though? So I filled it up with compost and then added the seeds. It took a few days but then my herb babies started to show up!!

Oh my, they grow up so quickly. I've been watching over them lovingly and getting all excited when they grow and watering them. They now look like this...

As you can see the basil is growing really quickly but the coriander is taking a little longer to get going. No worries though, I am finally beginning to see some action.

It is so much fun seeing something grow. Go make some herb babies of your own! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Spending an afternoon eating free's a hard life.

My name is Laura and I'm addicted to cake. Making cake, eating cake, talking about cake....I love it all. About two months ago I went to a Cake & Bake show in Manchester with a few friends and I discovered a lovely thing called the Clandestine Cake Club

The Clandestine Cake Club is a wonderful idea where people from the same city meet in a location and share cakes they've baked themselves. There is a theme that changes monthly and the location is only revealed a few days before the meeting. The location also changes monthly and often is held in independent bakeries/restaurants. This month the theme was 'leave it out', whereby we had to exchange an ingredient we usually use in our baking for something unusual. I made a lemon & almond polenta cake, which substituted flour for polenta. I've never used polenta in baking before so it was an experience! Thankfully it turned out okay, a little crumbly but incredibly flavorsome (well it did have four lemon's worth of juice in it!!). The location was a local bakery in the city centre which gives formerly homeless people a chance for work experience and to help them get back on their feet. 

I took the photo before all the cakes had arrived so this is just a taster! Everyone was so imaginative and baked such great cakes. My favourites were a vegan toffee apple cake & a vegan carrot be honest though they were all yummy. Well apart from one but that was simply because I'm not a fan of coconut. I met a lot of lovely, friendly ladies (it was my first meeting) and I got to eat a lot of amazing cake! The way it worked was we set up the cakes and then everyone could dig in! There were in total 15 cakes and I completed the marathon of trying every single one. It was hard but I did it!! haha. Then we just sat and chatted. In a way I was really pleased I attended, for a few reasons. One, I'm really shy and have to force myself to do social things so going to this meeting was a huge challenge but I did it and I was so proud of myself. Two, I am not the best baker and I was wary of exposing my baking to people because I'm so overly critical. However I realised that it's just a bit of fun and I was exposed to lots of new recipes... Oh and eating cake...yeah that was pretty amazing. I also discovered a new bakery that bakes really cool cupcakes AND helps homeless people re-start their lives. So overall I had a great time!