5 Fandom Friday: My favourite cupcakes

I’m an unapologetic cupcake fanatic.  Tiny cakes have held my heart since I was a wee little wisp of a thing scoffing them at birthday parties.  I went through a period of cupcakey bliss around 2008 when cupcakes were the dessert du jour.  And when macaroons knocked them off the top spot, I didn’t give a toss.  There’s nothing quite like folding back the crinkly paper case and taking a scrumptious first bite of soft, sweet cake.  Or eating them from the bottom-up so that you get a lovely mouthful of frosting to finish with.  Choosing five favourites is going to be hard, but here we go.

DSCF8264

  1. Bacon cupcakes.

No joke, these are a real thing.  They are a super simple recipe but they always go down a treat.  I like to make them when I’m having friends stay because they make an impressive breakfast.  They’re filling, they’re tasty and they look way more complicated than they are.  Basically you use a rasher of bacon to line a cupcake tin.  Then you crack an egg into it, sprinkle the top with cheese and chives and bake.  Viola!  Delicious breakfast cupcake.

 

2. Red velvet cakes.

Red velvet is just so decadent and divine.  The rich rosy hue is utterly romantic and so sexy.  The fact that they usually come topped with rich cream cheese frosting is another reason why I can’t get enough red velvet.  The creamy-sweet-tangy flavour of cream cheese frosting is mouth-watering to say the least.  The best red velvet cakes I’ve ever had are at Little Cupcakes in Degraves Street in Melbourne.  That hidden eatery has an array of flavours, but the red velvet truly are superior.

 

3. Fairy cakes

Every year for her birthday my Nan used to make a batch of lighter-than-air sponge cakes.  She would take a sharp knife and slice a portion out of the centre of each cake, filling it with jam and cream.  The cut-out would then be fashioned into two fairy wings and perched charmingly atop the mountain of cream-cake goodness.  Fairy cakes are so pretty and fluffy and always bring a wash of delight when you glimpse a plate of them coming your way.

 

DSCF64094. Vanilla cupcakes

My vanilla cupcakes are legendary in my family.  Whenever we get together for a special event, I inevitably have somebody request that I make a batch of vanilla cakes to bring with me.  I’ve decorated them in every way imaginable: with demure pastel frosting and tiny sugar roses, with outlandish coloured sprinkles, dusted with edible glitter and done up to look like mushrooms.  But they always taste the same, sweet, simple and delightful.  So many people use the word “vanilla” as an insult, to mean “boring” or “mediocre”.  But my vanilla cupcakes are anything but.

 

5. Lumberjack cakes.

The chef at my favourite local cafe regularly churns out batches of lumberjack cakes, and they are the perfect thing to down with tea on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  Heaped with apple, coconut, dates and golden syrup, these morsels are sticky and comforting.

 

Do you have a favourite cupcake variety?  And do you believe that cupcakes are superior to macaroons?

Things I love Thursday 19/3/2015

Woo-hooo!  Yeah for Thursday!  Monday is a distant memory, the weekend is racing forward at an ever quickening pace and it’s time for a gratitude list.  What joy!

 

This week I love:

– Rewatching the film adaptations of Going Postal and The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett.

 

– Planning a trip to the city this weekend.  I’m going to catch up with a mate, go on a date and enjoy some fantastic food.  I can’t wait!

 

– Seeing results from three months of eating well.  At the beginning of this year I decided to make a real commitment to eating a more balanced diet with less processed foods.  I’ve actually stuck to it diligently, planning my meals each week and only rarely deviating from the set plan.  I’ve tried loads of new recipes and tasted foods that have never passed my lips before now.  I’m feeling less sluggish and I’m not hitting a wall around 3pm any more.  My skin and hair are looking pretty fantastic and I’ve lost a bit of weight.  I’m not as bloated around the middle and my thighs have toned up a bit.  Last week I tried on a pair of pants that were uncomfortably tight last year and now they are a perfect fit.  I’m really pleased with the way things are going and I want to try to keep up my good work.  I feel as though I’ve cultivated some really nurturing habits and I want to stick with it.

 

DSCF8990– Vintage brooches.

 

– Preparing for my first ever craft fair.  I’m nervous but so excited.

 

– Fleetwood Mac

 

– Finally getting around to cleaning my shower.  Lemme tell you, I don’t clean my bathroom as often as I should and it was freakin’ gross in there.  But not anymore!  Now it’s sparkle-arkling!

 

– Doing yoga stretches in the tea room at work while I wait for the kettle to boil.

 

– Bright red nightgowns.

 

 

What do you love this week?

 

Things I Love Thursday 12/2/2015

I really needed a Things I Love Thursday post this week.  It’s been kinda rough going these last few days.  On Monday my family had to make the decision to have our sixteen-year-old cat, Cleo, put to sleep.  She was very unwell and it was definitely her time, but I still wasn’t ready to let her go.  In addition to that, I found out that my aunt is very unwell which was difficult news to process.  So in light of that, I am looking forward to writing about the little things that I’m happy about this week.  Sometimes it’s those little things that make the hugest difference.

This week I love:

– Taking time out to remember my old buddy Cleo.  She was such a scamp of a cat.  She loved sleeping in the most awkward places and her fur was as soft as spun silk.  She always had bits of leaves and grass stuck in her fur because she spent so much time in the garden.  She had the rumbliest purr and a sweet nature and I’m going to miss her to bits.

– Watching Friday 13th for the first time.  Oh my gosh, that movie was hilariously terrible.  Watching a young Kevin Bacon get impaled with an arrow was pretty cool, but I couldn’t get over the stupidity of the main actress.  At one point she spends about five minutes pulling every piece of furniture over to barricade the door of a room that has about a hundred windows.  She then proceeds to carefully pull the curtains over each of the many windows.  I know I certainly feel much safer when I’ve put a thin layer of fabric between myself and a serial killer!  It was escapism at it’s finest.  I can’t wait to check out the sequels.

– Looking forward to celebrating a solo Valentines Day.  I’m going to go out to breakfast, and then I’ve got a massage booked.  The evening will involve a cheese platter, some fresh fruit and a couple of awesome films.  I’ve got this single gal thing down pat!

– Catching up with my little cousins.  They’re over from Perth and I’m having an absolute blast with them.  They’re currently obsessed with bubbles and jigsaw puzzles, which is great because these are both things that I’m totally into.

– Designing and working on some geeky crochet projects for my etsy store. Stay tuned for more news on that front!

– Home made sushi rolls.  Yummo!

– Hot days that melt into cool nights.  It’s been chilly enough for a robe these past few mornings, but they days are still sweltering.

– Making an awesome cup of coffee without really trying.

– Bold stripes.

– Watching the cats play.

What do you love this week?

My Valentines Day 2014

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this Valentines Day was the best one I’ve had in a long time.  To tell the truth, I’d kind of been dreading spending the most couple-centric day of the year alone.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about managing grief and depression it’s to be prepared.  So I set about planning the most awesome Valentines Day I could imagine for myself.

And I am proud to say that it worked a treat.  There wasn’t a single moment during the day when I thought to myself “I really wish that I had a boyfriend”.  I was so absorbed in the fun me-time activities that I’d planned that I didn’t have time to lament my single status.  I had an amazing day and I feel quite proud of myself for making it so special for myself.

So, what did I get up to?  So glad you asked!

The night before I gave myself a Valentines-themed manicure, with little hearts on my thumbs.

When I woke up Mr Ringo was perched on the windowsill, watching the birds.  He immediately hopped over onto the bed for snuggles before it was time to get up for breakfast.

I’d fixed my favourite breakfast food, Bircher muesli.   I don’t make it very often because it requires a bit of forward planning and I’m not usually that organized when it comes to breakfast.  I topped it off with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries (hand-picked by me).

I accompanied my breakfast with a cup of Paris tea, which was a gift from the lovely Miss Fairchild.  I ate my breakfast slowly, savouring every mouthful while I read a glossy magazine.  Bliss.

I also treated myself to some gorgeous presents.  Although I have a lot of non-traditional values, I still like to get more traditional presents on Valentines Day.  To me, jewelry and lingerie are wonderful gifts for this romantic day.  So I treated myself to a little of each.

I like the idea of getting flowers for Valentines Day, but flowers wilt so quickly (especially in the Australian summer heat).  So instead I opted for a vintage brooch in the shape of a bouquet of roses.  These babies will be red and blooming for all time.

I also wanted to “put a ring on it” this Valentines Day.  I’ve spent the last five or so V-days anxiously hoping for an engagement ring, only to be disappointed.  So this year I decided that I’d buy myself a little bit of finger bling.  I went looking for vintage cocktail rings and in the end I found three that I loved.  So I bought them all. Sometimes, you gotta treat yo self.

All of my vintage jewelry came from Fayebella on Etsy.  I definitely recommend that you check out her store.  She’s got an amazing selection and her prices are crazy good.

I also treated myself to some gorgeous underthings from Katastrophic Designs.  These are all hand-made from organic cotton and they are so comfortable and super-cute.  They fit perfectly and look wonderful.

I had to go to work for the afternoon, but as soon as I got home I jumped on my yoga mat and treated my body to some restorative asanas.

Everything you need for restorative yoga: a mat, blocks, bolsters, a blanket and a kitty-cat.

Ahhh, bliss.

For dinner I ordered my favourite pizza (Harley’s Deluxe: ham, cheese, mushrooms and pineapple) and washed it down with a glass of icy-cold ginger beer.

Then I settled in with some knitting to watch two of my all-time favourite films: Clueless and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.

For dessert I had Granny Smith apple slices with salted caramel dipping sauce.  It was delicious.

So my Valentines Day was pretty darn amazing.

What did you do for Valentines Day?

Things I love Thursday 2/1/2014

It’s the first Things I Love Thursday post for this year!  Woo-hoo!  I’m feeling the love and I’m ready to get started on my list.

Mmmm-kay, here we go!

DSCF9056This week, I love:

– House guests.  Even though I love living on my own, it’s so nice to have a bit of company.

– Cheesy croissants.

– Having a huge, ruthless purge of my stuff. I started reading The 100 Things Project last week and I feel truly inspired.  Although I don’t think that I could ever live with just 100 possessions, I do think that I could stand to own a lot less stuff.  I’ve been taking a careful look at my shopping habits and cutting down needless spending.  I’m also having a huge clean-out of my things.  It feels so great to let go of stuff that I’ve been hanging onto for no good reason.

DSCF8879-Wearing pretty vintage underthings to bed.

– Filling in my new planner for this year.  I feel so organized and nerdy!

– The feeling of intense anticipation of what 2014 will hold for me.  There are so many possibilities and opportunities just waiting to take wing.  I’m very excited.

– Yoga, as usual.

DSCF8727-Picking up some amazing yarns on clearance at the Boxing Day sales.  I got some gorgeous colours and textures and I can’t wait to begin creating.

– The Office.  I started watching the U.S version a few weeks ago and I am so hooked it’s not even funny.  I had a couple of friends tell me I should give it a shot, but warned me that the first season is a bit of a drag.  They weren’t kidding.  But once I got onto season 2, it was all good.  If you haven’t seen it, or if you’ve been put off by season 1, I definitely recommend giving it another go.

– Going to Pizza Hut with my brother and ordering The Works.  Honestly, nothing has changed since I was a kid in the 90’s.  That place is like a time capsule.  The flavour of Mountain Dew on tap and cheese pizza made me feel as though I was seven years old again.

Cards against Humanity.  My brother got this game for Christmas and we played a round on Christmas night.  It was freakin’ hilarious.

-Watching my mum’s dog flip out over kangaroo jerky.  He loves that stuff!

Now it’s your turn.  Start the year off with a burst of positive energy and list all the things that you love this week.  Go ahead, you’ll love it…

My new year’s resolutions for 2014

Happy new year!  I hope that you’re feeling bright, bubbly and ready to leap into 2014. I certainly am.

 

2013 was a bit of a bummer, to be honest.  So I’m hoping that this year will be better.  To that end, I’ve made a list of the things that I want to accomplish this year.

 

Last year I found it really helpful to make one resolution for each month.  This helped to break down my goals and make them a bit more manageable.  It was brilliant to have one thing to focus on each month, and it made the whole process a lot less overwhelming.  I also made loads of progress with the goals I set last year and I think that the one-a-month method had a lot to do with that.  So I’m going to do the same thing this year.

 

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

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January: Experiment with making my own beauty and household products

Ever since Miss Fairchild bought me a stack of her homemade beauty products, I’ve become slightly obsessed the the idea of making some of my own.  I’ve even created a Pinterest page devoted to household recipes. In January I’m going to experiment with making some of my own cleaning products and beauty concoctions.

 

February: Look for a new job

My current job is fine, but it’s only part-time.  I struggle a bit with money.  I have enough to make ends meet, but not a lot left over for fun extras.  So I’d like to start looking for a new job, that’s a bit more challenging and pays a bit better.

 

 

March: Take a trip on my own

The idea of travelling on my own both terrifies and excites me.  I’d love to take a little weekend trip to one of the small towns in my area.  There are so many beautiful places just a few hours away that it would be gorgeous to visit.  And I’d love to try going on my own.

 

 

April: Join a class or club

A few months ago, I signed up for dance classes and yoga classes. Then my Nana got ill and things just went a bit topsy-turvey.  I’m still really excited by the idea of learning to dance to doing yoga classes, so in April I’m going to throw myself into it.

 

 

May: Improve my posture

Although I’m pretty happy with my body, I think that my posture leaves a bit to be desired.  I tend to slouch and I often stand with my weight off to one side, which is murder on my back.  In May, I’d really like to make a concerted effort to improve my posture.

 

June: Go to a teppanyaki restaurant

I’ve always wanted to visit a teppanyaki restaurant, where the chef prepares your food at a hotplate right in front of you and performs all kinds of tricks.  It’s almost like dinner theater.  I’ve never been before because they’re jolly pricey, but this year I’m going to save up and go (perhaps for my birthday!)

 

July: Buy nothing new

I like to have a month each year where I give up shopping.  Not only is it good for my wallet, but it forces me to take stock of what I’ve already got and appreciate it more.  It’s always a bit of a challenge, but totally worth it.

 

 

August: Learn to use my sewing machine

I got a sewing machine for my birthday two years ago, and I still don’t know how to use it.  I’m going to ask my Mum to give me some lessons and hopefully by the end of the month I might be able to whip up a simple pattern.

 

 

September: Run a stall at a craft fair or market

I’ve always wanted to run my own stall at a market, but it’s a very daunting prospect.  I haven’t the foggiest idea how to go about securing a place, and I’m nervous about whether people would buy my wares.  But this year, I’m going to do it.  For reals.

 

October: Go camping

Despite living in Australia (where camping is one of our national pastimes) and being the daughter of an avid camping enthusiast, I’ve never been camping.  Well, I’ve slept in a tent in my backyard, but that’s not really the same thing.  I’d really like to spend at least one night sleeping under the stars and cooking with a campfire.

 

November: get my driver’s license

I’ve had my learner’s permit for more than ten years and it’s time that I took the leap into solo-driver status.  I’ve been taking driving lessons this year, and I still need a lot of practice, but I think that by November I’ll be ready to take my driving test.  Having my own license would open up a lot of opportunities for me and would give me so much freedom.

 

What are your resolutions for this year?

Things I Love Thursday 5/12/2013

December is he-ere!  It’s probably my favourite month of the year.  Christmas is just around the corner, the days are getting longer and hotter and there are plenty of opportunities to catch up with friends and family.  What could be better?

This week I love:

DSCF9147-Miss Jelly, who very clearly expressed her opinion that it’s now too hot for blankets on the couch.

– The Day of the Doctor Dr Who 50th anniversary special.  I got up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning (unheard of for me!), made myself breakfast and snuggled up on the couch to watch.  And it was totally worth it.

DSCF9152-Unpacking some more special keepsakes from Nana’s house.  Like these beautiful hand-made aprons.

DSCF9154And this thermos (which will be perfect for taking hot soup to work in winter).

DSCF9155And these beautiful china cups and saucers.  I’ve used these a couple of times already, and each time I say a toast to Nana before I drink my tea.

– Lumberjack cake drizzled with maple syrup.

– Craisins

– Opening the windows at night to let a cool breeze in.

DSCF9156-Major Pettigrew’s Last stand by Helen Simonson.  I started this book on Monday and I’m totally enchanted by it.  It’s so charming and eccentric, right up my alley!

-Being featured on the Wear my Fashion blog.

DSCF9158-Snapping a picture of Mr Ringo winking from his favourite spot behind the couch.

– Beginning to prepare for Christmas in earnest.

– Sandals and painted toenails.

DSCF9157-Using a cake stand to display my jewellery.  I find that I wear things more often if they’re on show.

– Facing up to my fear of snakes and visiting a real-life python named Sersei.  She wasn’t as scary as I thought she would be, although I high-tailed it to the end of the room when her cage opened.

– Vietnamese chicken soup.

– Mango in salads.

What do you love this week?