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Further Adventures in Baking (Or, A Really Delicious Rhubarb Cake Recipe)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

When the garden is full of deliciousness like this, there's nothing nicer than raiding it for ingredients. I don't have green fingers but even I can grow easy stuff like herbs and rhubarb.

You may have seen my recipe for the best apple cake in the world. If not, go and read it, then bake it.

When it comes to summer baking I like to adapt the recipe and make it rhubarbtastic instead. I won't retype the recipe here as it's the same ingredients and same quantities as the apple cake. Just swap the apple for rhubarb, the almond essence for vanilla extract and leave out the sultanas and flaked almonds.

Wash, trim and chop your rhubarb, then pop it in a saucepan with a splash of water and a sprinkling of sugar to simmer for a little while. When it's softened, lay it on top of half the cake mixture like so.

It could probably take double the amount of rhubarb but I didn't want to decimate the crop in the garden.

Put the other half of the mixture on top, bake as per the recipe and then scoff.

Here's a super handy tip for you. Before you do the washing up, go back to the pan that you used to cook down the rhubarb. There should be a nice amount of pink syrup in the bottom. Put it in a wine glass, add Prosecco and enjoy.

But wait, didn't I promise you some cake decorating updates as well? The rhubarb cake isn't the only thing I've made recently. Using my trusty Victoria sponge recipe rather than a sickly sweet cupcake recipe (bah, I loathe the c word), I whizzed these up and then gave into my childhood fondness for colourful decorations. Baby steps and all but behold!

Baking Mad kindly supplied some of the ingredients for this baking session.

Ahoy There

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Oh this weather is deeply frustrating. A couple of days ago the sun was cracking the flags and I wore this deliciously summery outfit. Today it's freezing, chucking it down with rain and I'm in jeans and a big jumper. I mean, I like the chance to vary my wardrobe but it'd be nice if I could actually pack away my winter clothing for a few months instead of still requiring it at the end of June.

Still, let's focus on the positives. We had at least one day this week where I could don a pretty frock, sandals and have almost-bare legs.

Pockets! Yay!

I love Joules dresses. There's always a high chance of finding something among the range that fits in nicely with the #wardrobezoo but this time I wasn't swayed by animals. Oh no. I found myself drawn to the lovely, cheerful boat print frock instead. Isn't it cute?

It reminds me of Rosie. It's the jaunty nautical theme methinks.

Yes, I've had my hair chopped. Yes, it's too short. I specifically said it needed to be long enough to tie back in a ponytail. Guess what? Those shorter layers are not long enough to tie back in a ponytail. Grrrr. Plus it makes me feel matronly. Hurry up and grow.

Dress - Joules 'Sennen' c/o Surfdome
Cardi - Matalan
Shoes - Irregular Choice via ebay
Bracelet - charity shop
Necklace - Sunday Girl
Ring - can't remember

I must admit I hadn't heard of Surfdome before they got in touch with me about doing a product review but their website is well worth a browse - they stock over 800 brands and have a fab range of products. Obviously the Joules frock stuck out for me but I could have chosen about 347987 other items. So much choice! I'll definitely be shopping with them again. Lovely clothes, free delivery and free returns are the way to my heart.

I'll leave you on an amusing note. I have no idea what I was doing here. Recoiling in ladylike horror from the camera? Playing invisible basketball?

Hideous Frocks: The ASOS Edition

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Here I am again, taking one for the team and bringing you the very worst of the frocks section of the ASOS sale. I can't resist an anti-wishlist post.

This is by far the worst. I can't get my head round it. I wouldn't ever recommend going on a night out in your bra and pants and this "dress" is essentially the same thing.

*snorks to self* I..I just...I have no words...

This is undoubtedly very pretty fabric and you're probably all "Whuuuut? Why has she picked it?" Well, it's because this frock is so smocky that they haven't dared to take a photo of the model wearing it normally. Because it looks like a complete sack no matter what they do.

Cheapy cheapy cheap cheap. Also v.low cut at the front and back. Not a good idea.

PINK FRINGED BOOBS! You know you want them.

You too could pay £88 (and that's the sale price!) to look this tacky.

Those of you who harbour Carrie Bradshaw/swan fantasies will probably love this. I think it looks ridiculous. And what's with the shoes??

Want to see two of the vilest maxi dresses I've ever seen? Course you do!

Why? Just why? Also, why those minging shoes with it?

She looks about as happy to be wearing this as I am to be looking at it. Literally nothing about it is nice.

I can't subject my eyes to any more torture today, so I'll have to leave you with that selection of dresses. But before I go, check out this pair of monstrous shoes that Char found.


All The Stripes

Thursday, 20 June 2013

I came across this frock at a fab blogger event held by Swimwear 365 last month.  They had rails of goodies to admire and although my heart was temporarily lost to a red polka dot swimming costume, when I was asked if I wanted to review a product, there was only one real choice for me. There are no beach holidays on my horizon so a pretty costume would have been daft (I do swim a lot but that's exercise and so I have to have a proper sports cozzie for that). A dress though, that's a sensible choice, right? I can wear a dress all the time. Yay!

And you know what? This is a brilliant dress. I was initially sucked in by its magic monochrome appeal but I didn't realise it would be so flipping flattering.

The even better part? It's made from mediumweight jersey and totally doesn't need ironing! I now completely understand why a swimwear site are stocking it: it's perfect for taking on holiday. Shove it in your case, pull it on and it'll look ace.

I dressed it up a little bit today, just cos I wanted to do the black and white thing in style but it's going to get worn all summer long with pretty much any combination of cardi and sandals that I want to chuck together with it.

Striped jersey dress - c/o Swimwear 365
Blazer - Warehouse via charity shop
Earrings - New Look
Pearls - can't remember
Ring - Dorothy Perkins sale
Court shoes - Irregular Choice Bowtiful 

Picnics, Tents & Horses

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Catton Hall (in the top photo) is rather beautiful, isn't it? We were volunteering at the British Eventing competition there this weekend and the owners, being the super nice people that they are, let us camp in the grounds. Such a treat!

I fecking love camping. The tent held up exceedingly well to Friday night's heavy rain and Saturday night's wind and we were v. cosy inside.

Horsey bag by Cath Kidston, Bambi washbag by H&M, camp blanket by me.

Saturday saw us in a woodland clearing at the top of a massive hill. Alas, there was no real opportunity to take photos as I was too busy doing the normal fence judgey things as well as operating a video camera thingy for someone else. Still have no idea how it worked but I had to hit the big pink square on the iPhone when a horse was coming and it spoke to the video camera and did the rest itself. Very clever!

This is my fence judging face.

I am shit hot with a radio, whistle, stopwatch, clipboard and red flag. Read this post if you want to know more about why you need all those things for a day of fence judging but carry on with this one for epic picnic photos. And grey horses.

Our Sunday fence was also in the woods (a different part - Catton is very woody), where the midges promptly attacked me. I now have a HUGE insect bite on my arm which is all red and revolting. Wish I wasn't so attractive to the stupid things.  Other than that, it was lovely! Hurrah for being able to sit and watch fantastic sport all day, especially whilst eating a giant picnic. I'm all about the picnics.

We did have proper food too. It didn't consist entirely of gluten and dairy free millionaire's shortbread and sweets. Honest.

Look, I made g/f d/f scones too!

And we had mini wine. Mainly cos the bottle made me go "HAHAHA" in the middle of Morrisons but it does taste quite nice.

As we weren't needed for the final couple of classes on the Sunday, we ambled down to the water jump on our way home and I took a few splashy photos.  I'm still saving up for a better lens for sports photography but I'm pleased with how this one turned out.

One day we'll get to fence judge a water jump. The wellies remain in the car on the off chance...