Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Hello... Long Time No See

Hello Everyone,

Well it's been a while... That is an understatement. I want to apologise for leaving my little blog world in the lurch. Things have been busy, stressful, things have changed. In the time that has passed I have thought about coming back to blogging as I have many fond memories of it. However I have struggled to find the motivation to do so and other things have gotten in the way.

But here I am... I find myself back and I am hopeful I will return to enjoying blogging. Where to start?

Almost a year and a half has passed since my last blog post, which in itself was a brief 'return' from a far longer hiatus.

As I said things have changed. I have moved house, I have been married for two years. But I think I am basically the same person with the same loves and hopes. So I think I will continue as I did before... sharing things from my life as simple as they may be.

So here goes...

My husband and I recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary (I can't quite believe it's been that long already) and he bought me the most amazing present. A beautiful candy pink kitchenaid...


I think my not so subtle (*ahem*) hints had finally ground him down, but I was thrilled. Today I have finally used it for the first time, to bake some goodies for an 'away' day at work on Friday. Here it is in action...

video

And the result...


Some delicious smelling chocolate cheesecake bars. The recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book - a favourite of mine. This is the first time I have tried the recipe and the pictures in the book look far more refined than my version. I will let you know what my colleagues thought - although anything homemade tends to go down well.

Until next time...

Love Jewel


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Time To Craft...

Hey Everyone...

I hope you're all well? I'm still getting back into the swing of blogging so please bare with me...

One of my new year's resolutions was to craft more! I love crafting, I really, really do. I feel such a sense of achievement when I finish something and can say - I made that! But what always stopped me was time - there is always something more important to do, more pressing, and usually more mundane. But this year I vowed to make more time to craft.

So far the resolution is going pretty well! And last Sunday was a perfect opportunity to get into the swing of it. I met up with the lovely Gem of Little Gem's Diary for a spot of tea and crafting at a gorgeous North London cafe - The Haberdashery...


I had seen this little place mentioned in various places before and was browsing through my 'Tea & Cake London' book when it caught my eye - nice and local for the two of us - and as I was trying to visit everywhere in the book this seemed like the perfect opportunity.



The place didn't disappoint! It was already packed when we arrive and there was a lovely hum of people. The place was decorated with bunting, gorgeous china and some lovely gifts including a gorgeous canvas bag I may have to return for! Take a look at Gem's blog for some more lovely pictures, mine were a bit rubbish as I was too focused on getting crafty...


Gem wanted to learn how to crochet a granny square - so after filling up on some delicious food and ordering lots of tea - we got started! Gem was a very fast learner and dealt with my confusing instructions very well - soon she had her very first granny square!


Teaching Gem also gave me a great excuse to finally start my granny blanket - for which I had bought some gorgeously soft wool in some sweet ice cream colours from Hobby Craft with some Christmas money...


This was my progress whilst out with Gem...


We both had our first granny squares! Of course I couldn't stop there so as soon as I got home I had to carry on...


I was so excited that I got carried away and used the wrong colour - so had to start the round again. But soon I was back on form.

And by the end of the evening it looked like this...


I was determined to keep crafting and so I decided to be brave and finally attend my WI's craft club!

I had been attending the WI meetings for a few months and had been involved with them for a year or so - but I was always too shy to join the craft club - I always felt they would be way out of my league.

Well that was still true but the ladies were all so lovely and welcomed me into the group.

I took my granny blanket but also a scarf that I had started for The Husband back in the summer of last year. I started knitting it - but as a first time knitter and being self-taught I struggled and kept making it too wide and having to frog the whole thing.

Just before Christmas I finally got the hang of it and had made it this far...


But I decided the craft club was the perfect opportunity to really get into it and by the end of the evening the scarf looked like this...


And I even added another round to my granny blanket too...


So there you have it - my post Christmas crafting so far - and I am determined to keep it up!
Wish me luck!

Love Jewel xXx

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Cottage Christmas...

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for all the lovely welcome back messages and I'm chuffed so many people want to join in with the Happiness Jar - I will be emailing you all very soon!

As so much time has passed since my last blog I wasn't sure where to start. But I thought I would share with you our Christmas...

This year was our first Christmas as a married couple and we had decided we wanted to spend it just the two of us. Usually we split ourselves between family, seeing both on Christmas day. This year we wanted to avoid the stress and get away from it all and so we decided to spend the week away...



We found a gorgeous little cottage in a village just outside of Bath, with a real fire, and country charm...


Of course our families were disappointed but we arranged to see them the day before Christmas Eve by going to see the husband's sister in panto in Cardiff...

We spent the rest of the week relaxing and having quality time together - which was well deserved and needed!

Breakfast in Bed

And pretty china and gorgeous spoons!

We bought our first real Christmas tree and decorated it with some choice decorations...



On Christmas Eve we spent the morning at the fantastic Thermae Bath Spa - where the husband treated me to a massage and we swam on the rooftop pool, before heading to The Pump Room for a delicious afternoon tea...





In the evenings we relaxed by the fire... and opened our presents by it on Christmas morning...




I had time to sit and cross stitch and we took long walks through the valley, walking the 7 miles into Bath along the canal...






It really was blissful - but of course it all ended too soon! Back to reality eh!

Love Jewel xXx

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A New Year...

It is a new year, a time for new beginnings, starting a fresh and making things right.

2012 was an amazing year - so much happened I don't think I can capture it all.

The biggest highlight was our perfect wedding day and an amazing honeymoon.

And so 2012 will never be forgotten.

However, things were also hard this year and that's why I am making resolutions for 2013...

One of which is to start blogging again, I have missed it so much, but I hadn't felt able to for a long time. I was putting too much pressure on myself...

I mentioned some resolutions, well here they are...


The first day has been a cracking start - I just have to believe in myself!

The second half of last year was tough and I have struggled to stay positive, so I am also making a resolution to be more positive and to help me reflect on this I have decided....


...To fill this jar with everything good and positive that happens over the year - to be opened next New Years Eve!

A few IG friends of mine liked the idea and wanted to join in, so I have decided to post our progress on my blog to help us all keep on track and not forget!

I'd be delighted if you wanted to join in too! I will remind everyone every now and then to send me a picture of your jar so far!

If you would like to join in please email me at prettylittlejewels@hotmail.co.uk so that I can keep track of everyone!

So just one last thing to say!

Happy New Year everyone!


Love Jewel xXx


Monday, 17 September 2012

A Blooming Great Tea Party...

Hey Everyone...

I am sorry I have STILL been so quiet - the nights just seem to disappear into a mountain of things I need to do and blogging doesn't get a look in! I promise I will try harder - and soon I will try to be more up to date! But tonight I really wanted to blog about a special day all the way back in July! Yes July - doesn't that seem so long ago?

Last year I had seen a charity campaign that was right up my street! It combined baking, tea and pretty china - what's not to love. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and so this year I was determined to join in! And although it meant cramming it in at the end of July with short notice, I was not going to miss out.

So I hosted a Blooming Great Tea Party in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care! It was a fantastic day, with lots of generous family and friends joining in and giving money and eating cake!

I decided to go the whole hog and bake a huge array of cakes! Unfortunately on the day I forgot to take many pictures - we were all having so much fun! But here is what I have...


First on the list was a request from a work friend - marble cake!


Next it was some colourful sponges...


Then another request and my first attempt at Pain Au Chocolat...


Then some pretty shaped biscuits...


And plain vanilla cupcakes for decorating...


And some piped meringues for sandwiching...


I iced the biscuits with pretty pink and purple icing...


Covered the marble cake in chocolate ganache...


Sandwiched the meringues with raspberry cream...


And whipped up some rocky road (with malteasers!)...


One of my lovely friends arrived early bearing gifts - it was so lovely of her...


Gorgeous flowers and a London tin she just knew I would fall in love with!

Thank you Marian!


Th spread was amazing... even if the rocky road fell apart and had to be put in little cupcake cases...


Those colourful layers were stacked to make a red, white and blue cake with cream cheese icing!


There was sooo much cake!

Ooo I forgot I made blueberry cheesecake macaroons too which you can see below!


My lovely friend Marian also went to the trouble to make some gorgeous looking cupcakes...


My vanilla ones were used for the cupcake decorating competition!

This was our best man's entry - a stegosaurus! 
(Can you spot me and my niece?)


And another...


Funnily enough my nieces won! But the stegosaurus came second!

Andrew's sister also made some delicious cupcakes and savoury scones - all of which were gluten free!

We had a fantastic raffle with prizes donated from Andrew's mum, a lovely facebook friend who I have never met (The Lovely Jen), one of Andrew's lovely cousins (who sent it in the post) and a freecycler who donated lots of lovely chocolates!

There was so much cake everyone took some home...


And I enjoyed the leftovers!

SUCH A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME & DONATED SOMETHING!

We raised a lot of money for a fantastic cause!

Love Jewel
xXx