Montreal

Montreal
Cute Houses of Montreal

cocktail

cocktail
A Winter Cocktail

Life changing magic

Life changing magic
The Life Changing Magic

Sampling



The lovely people at The Box Bakery brought in some free cakes for my team to taste last week after I wrote about their site the other week. There are a lot of the team partaking in some giving up of treats for lent, but it was deemed rude to overlook FREE cake. {So easily swayed!}


Can we just take a minute to look at how amazing those cake look. The camera can't begin to do them justice. We didn't even start eating them until we'd looked at them for a good 10minutes. 


So left the right we had;

  • Mrs Mocha - MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE FILLED WITH DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS TOPPED WITH A CREAM AND COFFEE BUTTERCREAM, CHOCOLATE WAFER STICK AND DUSTED IN COFFEE.
  • The Limelight - TASTY KEY LIME CAKE TOPPED WITH TANGY LIME CURD AND TOPPED WITH A SWEET CITRUS MERINGUE
  • OMG - DELICIOUS & MOIST VANILLA CAKE TOPPED WITH A STRAWBERRY AND PINEAPPLE BUTTERCREAM WITH A SPRINKLE OF POPPING CANDY...ITS CRAZY!

In the interests of making sure this was a fair tasting we cut the cakes into quarters and sampled a little bit of each of the cakes. 


The OMG's were the first stop, and I wish I had snapped a picture of the inside of them- there was an amazing swirl of purple, but they were eaten way before I thought to take a picture. The popping candy is a super fun touch too. 


I have to say 'The Limelight's were my overall favourite. Not only were they an ace luminous colour {just look at this-and it was just a iphone pic} but I love the taste of lime and they were super tangy. 


The boys in the office seemed to like the Ms. Mocha's the best though. Maybe that's because the girls swooped in and they didn't get much of a choice in their tasting, or maybe because they're a bit more conservative in their eating tastes and the fun colours scared them. 


So, the conclusion - super tasty, fantastically coloured and beautifully presented. I think if you're ordering cupcake in Leeds, the The Box Bakery ought to be near the top of your list - if just for the wow factor of the way they look. 



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You know when things are playing on your mind and it makes everything confused. 
Well, that's my mind right now. 
I cant seem to string the right words together. 


There are good developments to tell you about, but then other things are taking over. I can't even write a post about free cupcakes right now, that's how my jumbled brain feels!


Fingers crossed the weekend will sort me out. 
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Committing to

{Erm, it would appear my scheduling didn't quite work - so here are this weeks commitments that were meant to make an appearance yesterday.}


I started Beth's Do What You Love e-course last week. It's not something I think I'll be posting about en-masse but it is making me think about the world around me which, as it's changing so much in the next few months, can only be a good thing can't it? I have a daily task to complete, but with work and life it can be hard to make the time for it. Especially as I feel guilty if I don't spend time with the housemate in the evenings. I get the feeling she needs interaction at the moment. But i am trying to make time to at least THINK about the questions posed, even if I have to come back to them another day. 


But as a commitment this week I want to;

  • continue to make the time to at least think about the lessons. 
  • chill the fuck out about the moving I am about to do. Yes, it wont be a nice place to be for the first few months. But I am going to have deal with that if I want to live with the boy. done. 
  • do the 30 day shred at least 5 times this week. 
  • have another wardrobe clearout. I must have more stuff that doesn't need to be there and I can charity shop/ebay.
There we go. 
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Building a new life

With the move to Sheffield looming ever closer, and becoming more real as we discuss the logistics of living together, the furniture we need and the changes that we'll need to make,  I am starting to realise that I really am picking up and moving my life. I know it's not far, but its going to be a big change for me.  


And something that is becoming increasingly important for me is that I want to be able to build myself a friendship group outside of the 'SVC' {the pet name for little group we have at the moment}. The boy has a pretty full life with his football/tennis/playing fifa{?} and so I dont want to just be sat at home with his housemate whilst he is doing these things. 
And yes, I have friends in Sheffield, but they have lives themselves so I don't want to be reliant on those people to build my life. I always think it's harder to make friends as you get older though, so I know it won't be as easy as it used to be. 


There are things I want to start/carry-on doing. There are things I want to learn about. And I have a feeling that by joining groups and getting out it'll be my best bet to meeting people. 
So if you are in or around Sheffield {I know from my stats that I have some readers in Shef} and might be able to point me in the right direction then please shout up;


I want to find; 
  • A yoga studio. I want to get back into yoga. I used to love the feeling of lightness after a class - so any good places for classes in S7 or nearby, please let me know.
  • A buns and roses style group. I know of the Seven Hills group but it appears they are super full. I have emailed to ask about them, and they take guests, but not many. 
  • Somewhere I can learn to use my sewing machine and follow patterns. Any clues?
    • And does anyone know where there are haberdasheries in Sheffield? Obviously Coles have their bit, and Ish on Sharrowvale have amazing fabrics, but there must be some others! 
  • I would quite like to get involved in some 'geek girl' activity too. I will definitely need to keep up with this stuff for work, and I find it interesting too. Googling has not thrown much up, besides a website that's not been updated since last year. So, whats the crack? Someone must know about it. 
And whilst I am at it, I need to find a good hair dressers in Sheffield. This has nothing to do with the move - I would quite happily  travel the length of the country to go to my regular hairdressers - but inconsiderately Beccy is pregnant and I am not sure she'd be too happy about cutting my hair on her maternity leave......

So, can anyone help? 
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I want a bike

Bike Pinboard
Forever I have wanted a bike. {I think you might get the idea what sort of bike I want.} 
The boy has said that I should get one when I move. I am not sure if he quite understands the type of bike that will eventually be sat outside his house, but he's agreed to it now. hehe. 






I have blogged before about this bike from Electra - and after much pinning I am pretty sure that it's the one of my dreams. Now just to find a spare £500. {oh why oh why do I have such expensive tastes?}
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Committing to

My DWYL Notepad
A few weeks ago I signed up for Beth’s Do What You Love course. It seemed like right now, with the move approaching it might be helpful to think about this. It’s a 6 week course and I know to get the most out of it I ought to be following it through every day. I have the note book, the camera and bits that I have been told I need and I have some willing to try and figure out what it is I love.

And then this weekend the boy and I did our first day on level 1 of the ’30 Day Shred’. In his front room we donned some shorts and t’s and jumped about and did some exercise. I have never done a exercise video before, they have always seemed to me to be ex celebs showing you how they supposedly lost their weight - but in the absence of being allowed to do the exercise I want to do I felt I should give it a go. It was way harder than I expected it to be and this morning I woke up to aching legs and a weird feeling in my back – not akin to the feeling of a muscle group I didn’t know existed being worked. Only 9 more days at level 1…….

This weeks, well, the foreseeable futures commitment are about following through things I have signed up to;
  • Make notes, be honest, partake in the DWYL course with as much of me as I can. If there are days I can’t get through the course, then, I’ll need to catch up the next day and do the work then.  
  • Try and do the 30 day shred work out EVERYDAY. I am very aware that there might be days I just can’t do it as I might not be home, but I am pretty sure that I’ll be able to do at least 5 days a week of it. 
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IronCupcake:Leeds - Chocolate Bars

Bounty cakes
This weekend was the IronCupcake:Leeds. The theme was chocolate bars. Which you 
I decided on a Bounty flavoured cake. The boy thought it would be a great cake to make. We also ummmed and ahhhhhed about cream eggs and kinder flavoured cakes. But the bounty seemed like a good idea. In the end I went with this cake from Sweet Paul, and this frosting {although I couldn't taste the coconut milk in it so it was kind of an expensive addition}. 


It was absolutely heaving this month - LOADS of bakers and even more eaters. I was in charge of photographing the cakes and they just kept appearing. Again I didn't place but hey, it was a fun night out. The housemate joined me this time as an eater, I think she didn't really bank on there being so many cakes to eat, as she stocked up on chocolate in the day too. But she has resolved to bake for the next one too. 


The winner with her cream egg cakes (Image 3) was stickypinny. I did look at making cream eggs and so I loved the way she had made it look like the cream egg was spilling out onto the cake. 
On the housemates suggestions I tried bits of the toffee crisp, cream egg, double decker and crunchie. I think maybe the double decker was my favourite. 


Here are all the cakes and some shots from the night - you can see the entire set here if you want a closer view. 
1. toffee crisp, 2. bounty, 3. cream egg, 4. malteaser, 5. caramel, 6. Untitled, 7. galaxy, 8. fruit and nut?, 9. fruit and nut, 10. Untitled, 11. kitkat, 12. bounty, 13. Untitled, 14. wonka bar, 15. snickers, 16. chocolate orange, 17. snickers?, 18. double decker, 19. crunchie, 20. Untitled, 21. cream eggs, 22. Untitled, 23. Untitled, 24. Untitled, 25. Untitled, 26. Untitled, 27. Untitled, 28. Untitled, 29. Upstairs at the adelphi, 30. Untitled, 31. Untitled, 32. Untitled, 33. Untitled, 34. Untitled, 35. Untitled, 36. Ironcupcake:Leeds
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Click on the image to enlarge
I came across this image on Pinterest this week and I just love it. 
The boy is definitely, no question about it the Left hand side of the brain. He is numbers and spreadsheets and those things excite him. 
I would love to be fully on the Right hand side, mostly as I love the explosion of colour over there, but I think the geek in me pulls me to the left sometimes, as does my need to clean up. 
Which side are you?  
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Pay It Forwards



At the beginning of the year I decided to take part in the Pay It Forwards my friend Lizzie put on her FB status and I had replies from Helen, Helen and Rach on the blog and Sam and Lisa on twitter. Sam moved into a new house in January and I made her a little something then and its been a long time coming but I finally got my act together and got the rest of my Pay It Forwards gifts in the post this week. Hopefully they should have arrived with their recipients by now {if not then it might not be a surprise any more, oooops}. I also popped a package over to Lizzie last weekend, just because I thought she might like it too.

I decided that I was going to put a little package together of some things I thought might be fun to receive rather than sending just one thing. Plus, this way it gave me an excuse to try out some bits I had seen and couldn’t see a reason to make otherwise.
So this is what each recipient got;
*I saw some super cute doorstops in a shop in Bath and though – Hmmmmm, with this new sewing machine of mine I can easily make those. So I did. Not quite as professionally as the shop. But I bought some grosgrain and some stick on Velcro, and using some samples and ends of material I had I crafted some doorstops.
I made them by turning the fabric right side in, and sewed a band at the top, wider than the Velcro is. I then sewed the edges of the bag together. Then to make them stand up I created a flat bottom. I am not sure what that is called but you can see what to do here. I then sewed on the grosgrain as a little handle and covered where this was with the stick on Velcro. Voila. Done.
They have been delivered flat, but once filled with some rice or gravel they work a treat. As they were made from samples and ends, the one above is just one of the designs I made.
I also made some cute little button earrings from some pairs of matching buttons I had. Again, all the gifts are different as I didn’t have more than one set of matching button. I finished them off by packaging them up on one of my classic moo cards.
*Next I bottled some ‘homemade vanilla into some 100ml plastic bottles. I made some rum vanilla extract earlier in the year, but it hasn’t been quite the vanilla success I had hoped so I’ll be keeping it for me. So I had to make some afresh with a vodka batch for the Pay It Forwards. It wasn’t started quite early enough for the recipients {I didn’t check the rum one early enough} to be able to use right away, but in a couple of months it’ll be perfect. And as the vanilla matures and gets used, it can be topped up with more vodka and vanilla and left to infuse again.
*And I also added a recipe card with a recipe for my favourite banana bread recipe on it. The recipe cards are postcards I had printed from moo. As one side is a shiny postcard I had to buy a new super fine marker to write on them.
Everything was then packaged up in some tissue, tied with bakers twine and then tagged with, you guessed it, more cards from Moo, this time some ‘Handmade with Love’ cards that are made from their free business cards offer {Google it if you fancy some}, with the bit that tells you it’s a free card craft knifed off and the corners rounded {and because I cut the free bits off, I have a stack of 15% off at Moo.com codes – if you want one, leave me a message and I’ll send you a code}.

Each package is a bit of a lottery as all the bags and earrings are different and I wrapped them, sealed the envelopes and then stuck on the address labels, so I am not sure who received what but I hope they like the package they get. 
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Colour Stories

I am a little late to the party, but I have decided to take up Pancakes and French Fries 2011 Colour Stories idea. 
I thought it might lace a little bit of the theme through my 365. So the plan is to take the month's colour on board and see if I can snap as many {interesting} shots of said colour for my daily shot. Obviously it might be a bit of overkill if EVERY image in a month was the same colour, and a little bit forced I think, so I am going for bursts of the same colour in a month. 
But if you too want to join the party late, here are the colours for 2011; 

2011 Color Stories

January | Wool
The grays and creams of the first month of the year. The weather is making this one easy, as you can see.
February | Scarlet
Reds of all sorts seemed like a good fit for a month most often associated with romance.
March | Daffodil
The first flower of the year usually pokes its yellow head out of the ground this month, although I can’t imagine anything yellow with all this cold we are having.
April | Grass
Surely it will be warm by April. I hope to see plenty of greenery and at least one picnic. Also, if green would like to appear in the shape of money, I would have no objections.
May | Jacaranda
California’s famous(ish) Jacaranda season is starting up. I expect purples, lavenders, and everything in between.
June | Peacock
Pretty blues to mark the beginning of summer.
July | Silver
Ray Bans, men’s watches, and casual jewelry against a California tan.
August | Cotton
School starts again. Pressed oxford shirts, fresh paper, and the bright white of new shoelaces.
September | Russet
Here come the orangey reds of fall…but not in California. This is our hottest month of the year. The only thing orangey-red around here will be the sun, which will feel like it’s suspended 3 inches from our noses.
October | Cauldron
Halloween! Ghouls, ghosts, and the beginning of early nights lend to a month shrouded in black.
November | Cider
Topaz, caramel, and the brown of loamy earth. Maybe? Here’s hoping. It’s California, after all.
December | Gold
Our church uses gold and green Christmas decorations. It is always so beautiful, and this year only compounded my obsession for brass and gold
 This month is Yellow, which as easter approaches and daffodils appear is a super easy colour to find, but I have noticed that the more I have looked for it, the more I see that colour, from a man on a bright yellow bike yesterday to the lipbalm I have had for months and not taken notice of. 
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Committing to

This weekend was one of those boring kind of weekends. It was spent not doing a lot and getting frustrated by the fact I accomplished nothing. I was at the boys, so the space isn't mine to take over, which gets annoying. I don't yet have the right to take over the kitchen to bake or have any of my things there so when I get bored at the football which is inevitably being shown, there is nothing I can do about it. It kind of put me in a weird funk. But I did do the visiting my nan thing, we had lunch and she made a trifle. I am not a massive trifle fan, and being in the process of dieting I was slightly alarmed to see it, but hey, it made her happy so I haven't mentioned the diet. Plus there is a LOT of fruit {and sherry for that matter} in there so it cant all be bad!
I got a call I have been anticipating too - my little brother and his girlfriend just bought a bar where they live. It is tres exciting for him - this is something he's always wanted and the thing I always said I'd get him if I won the lottery! {If I win now, since he has that, I guess he wont need anything!}. And I am hoping it'll be a constant source of free g&t's for me in return for some website help. 


This weeks commitments are as follows; 

  • Figure out my IronCupcake:Leeds entry cake. I have a few ideas but nothing concrete. And nothing that will be that easy to create either right now. 
  • Find something for the dad-who-has-everything's birthday. I am guessing it'll be either something boaty/blue/foodie. It isn't for a couple of weeks yet, but if you have any dad worthy thoughts, let me know. 
  • Try and do some exercise. The physio told me no running, so I have to find something else that is free, but I need to be doing something. Maybe I need to start on the yoga again? 
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dreaming of decorating.

With a move to the boys house on the cards, I have started thinking about ways to put my stamp on the house. As is my prerogative in this situation, I think. 
The house, in my eyes, needs quite a lot of cosmetic work. It has been cared for and decorated by boys on the whole. There are areas that I have had a hand in that are acceptable, but the rest of it was decorated by the last occupiers who thought that yellow and red were great colours for carpets and walls! 

So I have started thinking about how I am going to make the house pretty. This in turn means that I get to start looking at design blogs and pretty pictures of houses and have a purpose to it. It means I can start to dream about how the house would be if it was left up to me. {It won’t be, I realise the boy might want a little say, but I can try my hardest to influence it and get girlie things in there}. For this dreaming I have turned to Pinterest. Oh, how I love pinterest.

I have a board newly created for the items and inspiration just for the boy’s house. This is mostly things we WILL need {yes, we will need a chandelier} 
And yes, there is a lot of Ikea malm there, but the boy has a malm bed so it's just cheaper and easier to go with that. But I plan on some little fancy touches to make things special. 

And I have a board, Home, created a while ago for Pin it Forwards, with dream home inspiration. This is my turn to board for when I get to think the house will have a ma-heees-ive kitchen and space for a mud room and 5 bedrooms I can paint in different shades to have my friends stay in and say how pretty they are; 


So, do you have any thoughts on inspirational sites/pinboards i should be looking at? do you have any good hidden gems of home decorating shops that are based in the UK? Do you have any ideas how to get a boy to accept a chandelier? 
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Exciting times

I have some big news. 
The boy and I have decided to take a big step and move in together. 
It’s been over two year’s now and this Sheffield/Leeds thing is getting a bit old to tell you the truth.
As he owns his house, I’m going to be moving to Sheffield, which some people are telling me is a bad idea, but I love being in Sheffield these days, and I am kind of over Leeds at the mo.

It wont be for a while, maybe May/June - and we have a few logistics to work out like my flat and my housemate and what she will do. And about what we are going to do with all our belongings and how to amalgamate them together. The boy has junk and I have pretty things. To him though I have junk and he has necessary things. {Ebaying is getting rid of some of my things, but not all of them. I wonder what of his I can ebay?} And we also have the issue of what to do about his housemate. I have reservations about my ability to live with the boy who rents a room there now {intrinsically he’s a nice enough guy but so much of the time he has no respect for anything/anyone – at the moment though he has no money to move out so we are stuck with him}


But the long and the short of it is that we're going to be living together by the summer, which I imagine can only be a good thing. {Even if we have spent the last few weeks arguing about where to put all my pretty glassware and crafting supplies and his drum kit and computer. Ah, the joys of co-habiting.}
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Box Cupcakes


Whilst we're talking about cupcakes {do you have any thoughts on the chocolate bar cakes?} I want to draw your attention to Box Cupcakes. I stumbled across them through the magic of twitter, and whilst I haven't had the pleasure of tasting their wares, their website makes me excited. 
Just look how sleek and shiny it is. Look how different to the normal site that you generally find associated with a cupcake business. I think that's maybe that's what I like so much about it. 


I am definitely going to be entering their competition to win cupcakes for your whole office, and if you're in Leeds, then I suggest you do the same {but wait until next month so I win this month, ok?}


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IronCupcake Help - Chocolate Bars

Chocolate Orange Cakes I made in December - not quite a chocolate bar.......
I need your help good people of the internet. 


It's the IronCupake:Leeds next weekend and the theme is chocolate bars. 
The boys and I are have frequent debates as to the definition of a chocolate bar, and after much thinking I have abandoned my ideas on trying to make a Drifter cake. 


So - answers on a postcard {or in the comment box if thats easier please - 

  • what would you say is your favourite chocolate bar? 
  • Do you think it can be made into a cake?  
  • Or do you have any recipes that might help me out. 

All suggestions will be thankfully received.
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