Monday, July 28, 2014

Lavender fields and a bumpdate...

On Saturday morning Ciaran and I decided to walk in my cakes footsteps and visit the beautiful Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey! It was so lovely to be amongst the fields of pretty purple flowers and breath in their lovely, calming fragrance.

39 weeks today you guys! Remember how I said I was going to be really busy and productive during my maternity leave and was going to get loads of stuff done? Yeah... turns out it's too hot to sleep and although my bump is pretty compact, the (now fairly frequent) Braxston Hicks contractions make walking anywhere pretty uncomfortable so I've decided to shift my goals more towards putting my feet up, sleeping in and sitting in the garden reading fun and cheesy novels (I'm currently reading this and it's brilliant). I hope you're having a sweet Summer so far!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prima Makes Magazine

Have you picked up your copy of the latest Prima Makes magazine yet? Issue 3 features an excerpt from Selina Lake's fabulous new book 'Outdoor Living' - Selina commissioned me to make the cupcakes, wedding cake and layer cake for this gorgeous photoshoot set in Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey! I love the way the white vanilla buttercream contrasts with the beautiful purple flowers. The lavender at Mayfield Lavender Farm is in full bloom right now - I'm hoping to squeeze in a visit before baby arrives!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweetpea and strawberry picking...

Flo and I went sweetpea and strawberry picking in the Summer sun on Tuesday - it was loads of fun! These beautiful blooms were only 10p a stem, can you believe it? They smelled absolutely amazing - though they only lasted a couple of days they were worth it. We're so lucky to have Garson's Farm on our doorstep - at this time of year you can pick every type of Summer berry imaginable as well as all kinds of fruit and veg. It works out super cheap too compared with buying them from the farm shop - I'm planning on going back for more tomorrow though it doesn't look like the weather will be on my side this time!

Yesterday I turned 29 which feels like a good age. Our little baby could be with us any day now - I've got a huge stack of tiny white babygrows next to me waiting to be ironed so I think I better put the kettle on and get started! Have a wonderful weekend whatever you're doing!

Edited 15.09.14: White babygrows. WHITE babygrows. Why did no one tell me baby poop is bright yellow?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

DIY Liberty Print Ballet Pumps...

Here's a fun and fresh DIY that's sure to put a spring in your step! With a tiny piece of Liberty print fabric you can perk up an old pair of ballet flats in the space of an afternoon. These pretty pumps are perfect for Summer afternoons spent cycling about town, stopping only to buy coffee and flowers (and perhaps the odd bit of thrift store rummaging too!).

Materials & Equipment:

An old pair of ballet pumps
Liberty print bias binding (I made mine from a 10 inch by 10 inch square of Liberty print fabric using this fantastic tutorial from Coletterie!)
Stitch unpicker
Needle for hand sewing
Matching thread
Thimble (not essential but recommended!)

Top tip: Due to the tiny surface area on show, a smaller scale print will work best for this project. I chose a slightly abstract, micro floral which might be one of my favourite Liberty prints to date! The smaller the piece of fabric the better it seems to look and the more detail I notice. I think Tiny Poppytot, Ella and Libby or Clarisse from Liberty's new season fabric collection would work just as well!

Step 1: Take a look at your pumps and you should see a thin strip of tape running around the outside edge. Using your stitch unpicker simply cut the thread and whip off that existing edging!

You'll be left with a raw leather edge conveniently perforated with evenly spaced holes.

Step 2: Take one end of your bias tape and open out the folds. With the wrong side facing you, fold the end of the fabric back on itself to create a neat hem and then re-fold the tape.

Step 3: With the wrong side still facing, open out your bias tape. Starting at the inside edge of one of your pumps, line the top edge of the bias binding up with the top of the shoe and hand stitch into the crease of the bias binding all the way round, fixing the fabric to the shoe.

Top tip: Easing the tape around the curve of the toe is tricky, but you can do it! Take it slow and have a tea break if you need to. Try holding the fabric in place using paperclips to make it easier!

Step 4: Once you've sewn the bias binding in place all the way round, re-fold the tape and wrap it round onto the inside of the shoe.

Step 5: Slip stitch the bias binding in place by sewing into the lining of the shoe and the crease of the fabric - this way your stitches will be invisible!

You're all done! Wear those Liberty print pumps with pride!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Nearly finished knitting...

Happy Monday! I've so nearly finished this sweet baby blanket - all I need to do now is weave in all those loose ends and block it! It's made using Rowan Wool Cotton DK (in brolly, misty and antique if you're interested!) which should in theory be machine washable at 40 degrees - I think I'll chuck my gauge swatch in the machine first of all and see how that turns out before risking this beauty, wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A trip to the seaside...

Hello there! Can you believe it's July already? I'm officially on maternity leave and so excited about it! Ciaran and I had tickets for Glastonbury this year but decided to forgo it this time because baby so instead of sharing photos of festival goers covered head to toe in mud on this bright and sunny morning, I'm showing you photos of beautiful Hastings old town!

I think Hastings is my spiritual home, I could seriously imagine us living here one day. The antique shops are second to none and there's an awesome bakery - so that's me pretty much sorted.

Roberts Rummage is the best place for thrifting - this time I picked up some pretty glass bead necklaces, a little ceramic ring holder and a glass candle stick that is the exact match for an odd one I picked up in the New Forest last year so now I have a matching pair!. 

Boulevard Books is a proper old fashioned second hand book shop with shelves running floor to ceiling and lots of little nooks and crannies. In the evenings it turns into a Thai restaurant and we stopped by on the Saturday night to check it out! The food is really beautiful - hot and fresh just as Thai food should be. I had the hot and sour soup to start (made extra hot naturalment) and a king prawn Thai green curry which was wonderfully rich and delicious. Also it's bring your own bottle which is handy (my bottle was a litre of carrot juice!).

We also visited the Shirley Leaf and Petal Co. and I finally checked out the museum downstairs! Here they produce thousands of different varieties of artificial flowers and leaves onsite using gorgeous vintage 1930's velvets and these beautiful fabric cutters that are over a hundred years old (they reminded me of old wooden printing blocks!). They have one for every type of flower under the sun, in every size too! The flowers are mainly commissioned for film, TV and theatre work these days but back in the 1900's women would work them into their dresses and hair do's. It's so lovely to see a business so niche as this thriving - I love how over the last hundred years the customer base has completely changed but the materials and tools have stayed the same! Needless to say, if you're planning on making yourself a DIY flower crown at any point this Summer, this is the place to go - if you're in need of some inspiration check out this tutorial I made a couple of years back!

The sky looks pretty stormy in all of these photos but it was actually a lovely weekend with plenty of gaps of blue sky and sun. We went for sausage rolls at Judges bakery, rode the funicular railway to the top of the East cliff and drank rose lemonade in the sun and had a bonfire in the back garden. One of the absolute highlights though was hearing my good friend Lauren playing the accordion! She's only just started learning but can already bust out a Yan Tiersen that will make the hairs on your arms stand on end! Clever lady. Thank you for having us Lauren, until next time!

P.S if you're hungry for more Hastings check out my post from last years Jack In The Green festival here!