26 Jul 2011

California here we come...

Excitement is at fever pitch. Tomorrow we head down to London on the train...then we board a plane to California.
Check out my new board on pinterest...love it!
So I will not be blogging for around 20 days, but then expect great things with all my sexy new stash and hot pics of the Sunshine state. I may even do a giveaway to thank you all for your loyal following!
Have a fabulous summer holidays fellow bloggers!

25 Jul 2011

Two year anniversary...

His present to me? A photoshoot with very scrappable pics! I even planned props too. We tried out our new tripod that we got at a car boot sale. A great find.

Dinner and a movie too. A relaxing and fun day.

22 Jul 2011

Letters from the Inside

 In my teen years one of the books which really resonated with me was this one - Letters from the Inside. It was a series of letters between two pen friends, seemlingly two normal teenage girls, however one of them had a big secret. I loved it so much cos I was all about the pen friends and had them in Jordan, Hong Kong, America, Germany, France and the list goes on. My fav one was Jason from Hong Kong who used to write me on cool Garfield and Snoopy stationary. I think it was all about the excitement of happy mail and cute stationary. I do love good stationary - hence why I became a scrapper I guess.
My pen friends weren't only international two of them were in the very same town and school as me -Kim and Susannah. We used to write notes about boys, with illustrations and crazy schemes of how we were going to get them to notice us. On a recent visit home I discovered a box in the attic full of them and had a really amusing afternoon reading. So I decided to scrap about it...

I had to scan through all my old post to find stamps to work as a border. Of course most of these letters were hand delivered by bike or by hand in school, however I wanted the layout to reflect pen friends. I also stuck the envelope on to host all the little notes and show some of the pictures and handwriting.

Below is a close-up of the journalling, which is all about the contents of these letters.

I used bright and bold colours to reflect the silly glasses we are wearing in the pic. This layout is just about my letters with Suz and I may well complete one all about Kim too - soon! Perhaps post-California as this is creeping up on us. In fact - less than a week to go - ahhhh!

Post inspired by Julie Kirk's Going Postal project. Get on over to her blog and take part.

21 Jul 2011

Do you have pinterest?

Well I managed to avoid joining up till school was *almost* over as I can see how addictive and time consumming it could be, but I have joined up to pinterest. I am using it to pin recipes, scrap pages, pictures of my teenage crushes (hello Joshua Jackson!!) and of course to post pics of California (just one week to go - CANNOT WAIT!!!)

So follow me and I will follow you.

An actual layout to be posted later - yay!

17 Jul 2011

Come Dine with me - Gastro Pub Night

So it was our turn to host the Come Dine with Me contest we are holding with five of our friends. We'd had tapas night, Greek night and so we chose Gastro Pub due to a convo we had at the last event about Britain lacking a specific cuisine. Although I must admit our menu was inspired by lots of French cooking, however they are the type of dishes you would find at a gastro pub (that was our disclaimer anyway!)

Here was the menu we sent out - we had a lot of fun thinking of creative names for the dishes:-

Aperitif: Ploughman’s crunch & Wimbledon cooler 

Starter: Anglophile Avocado soup with hunky homemade pumpkin bread

Main: Frank Spencer’s Fruity pork steaks (ohhh Betty!)

Pesto and goats cheese summer tartlet

Romford’s own Ratatouille

Princely Potatoes’ Dauphinoise

Ministry of Mushy Peas

Dessert: Trio of summer treats…

Pink panther cupcakes

Luscious Lemon roulade

Yorkshire Raspberry Ripper ice-cream

Union Jack flowers

Parsnip Crisps - a real success

Homemade pumpkin bread was my fav

Minty mushy peas and tartlets

Potatoe Dauphinoise

Romford's own ratatoille

Fruity pork steaks

One of the trio of deserts - Pink Lemonade cupcakes
All of these recipes were so simple and really delicious. Some we had tried before and are becoming dinner party staples - such as the fruity pork steaks and the lemon roulade (I will post this recipe later as it is on paper.) Unfortunately due to being busy hosting I didn't get a picture of the trio of deserts - only the cupcake above. I added a slice of lemon roulade and a scoop of homemade raspberry ripple icecream. The ice-cream was so tasty and so easy as I borrowed an ice-cream maker from my friend Sally at work, but now we want one! I knew that would happen!
We don't know the outcome yet as everyone scored us for each course, but the scores will only be revealed on the last one in August. We are definately going to carry it on next year as it's really good to have an opportunity to try out some new recipes and it's a real feast to look forward to for foodies like us.
The parsnip crisps are a bit faffy as you have to cook them in batches, but they are so tasty and a lot cheaper than the ones you buy in shops.
I notice I have lost a follower and feel this may be related to the lack of scrap stuff recently - life has really just taken over and I keep thinking of all the pretty stash I will get in California and the great pics I will have to scrap - watch this space!!!

12 Jul 2011

IRON Cupcake Summer Berries...

My somewhat 'wilted' cupcakes with their straw hearts

With my scrapbooked sign - they used to do a prize for signage - wish they still did!

Wimbledon inspired Eaton Mess cupcakes - I was thinking of this kind of idea

Don't these look summery?

These rasberry cuties came second I think

These came third but were alcoholic so I didn't try them.

Well Iron Cupcake it had been too long. I enjoy meeting up with all my baking pals. I was even true to my diet and didn't indulge much. My recipe is from this blog.  I can highly recommend it, it is very dense though and without the strawberry extract the curd was creamy rather than strawberryish. I was a little bit in love with the lemon cream cheese frosting and did lick the bowl!
How do you stop cream cheese frosting being so gloopy and unable to pipe??

5 Jul 2011

Banana and Peanut Butter Muffins

Lethargy has kicked in...I have managed to lose half a stone (yay!) with my militant gym routine and then this week it's gone downhill. Last night we both made our excuses and this afternoon he couldn't be bothered and then we both ended up napping. I have only left the sofa to make these bad boys....

 Banana muffin recipe is found here but I added two tablespoons of peanut butter at the wet stage and a good sprinkling of cinammon with the dry ingredients. I can't seem to have banana without cinammon - it's surely a must? The worked well and I do believe they will be even better tomorrow for school - yum!
In other news...we are busy (last minute) planning our road trip to California. In 22 days we will be boarding our plane for LA. Cannot wait! Had a sudden urge to hire a camper van as felt this would save us on accomodation. I got really into the idea as I found cuties like this to travel in. However they were all booked out :( Gutted! Maybe next time...if there will be one.
So I came up with idea of making a little book of ideas, plans and places to see. I am planning to make it prettier by covering it in a collage of old maps and retro pics.
So guys, any tips, hints or ideas for places to see or things to do in California? Especially ideas for good cupcakeries, diners and scrapbook stores would be much appreciated.

4 Jul 2011

Strawberry picking, retro tint and a sneak peek...

So firstly proof that I DO scrapbook. My scraproom is very neglected with all this lush weather and gym going, but I have been working on this layout for Scrap it with a Song. I can't reveal the whole thing now though. See if you can guess the song?

 Our family used to love going strawberry picking every summer and so I thought I'd educate the Belgian in this British tradition. I have played around with the colours and filters on photoshop to try to make the pics look retro.
 We picked raspberries too and they were juicy, juicy and we enjoyed them with fluffy pancakes and natural yogurt.
 The strawbs were so big and juicy. They had a sign telling you not to try before you buy and I heard this mum telling her kids exactly what to say when the owners asked if they had tried some!! How funny! Surely part of the fun is sneaking a few before they make the punnet??
What have YOU all been up to in this sunny weather??

2 Jul 2011

Sat morning special - Ricotta and Mushroom Veggie Lasagne

 So what can you make using all these ingredients? Care of March Good Food 2011 I got this delish recipe...
 And here is the finished dish - it might not look like an oil painting, but it tasted soooo good.
I don't really do measurements and just use whatevers in the cupboard.
So here are the steps:

1) Fry sliced mushrooms in olive oil. Transfer them to a new dish.

2) In same pan simmer at a gentle heat two cans of chopped tomatoes

3) In the meantime mix a tub of ricotta cheese with parmesan and seasoning.

4) Put a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper and oregano into the pan and cook for another.

5) Cut lasagne sheets into quarters (I used fresh) and place them in a shallow dish filled with cold water.

6) In a square dish put a layer of the tomatoe mix. Then put four noodles down with space inbetween, then pile some ricotta mix on each slice, then the mushrooms and then repeat the process again.

7) Then spoon a tablespoon full of the tomatoe mix over each bundle and sprinkle with plenty of parmesan. Place in a preheated oven at 200'c and bake for 25 mins (I did it for 20 as Arne was on in a rush to go to a meeting!!)

8) Serve up with a green salad and enjoy!

Try it this weekend and let me know what you think!
Mel x
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