Shadow Box Frame

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Who knew such a simple project could turn out to be such a disaster. Note to self- Do NOT buy 10cm x 10cm box frames from hobbycraft. They are poor quality and not worth the hassle. The square wooden insert (the spacer) in mine came broken with one side fallen off. No problem I thought, easy enough to just glue back together. What I should have also done was paint the thing white. I did not think it would be visible until I actually came to assembling the thing and it looked awful. Better to just buy a frame which is already painted. Ikea frames for example. But then they are more expensive and dnt have the mini size i want. The quality of this frame was not good at all the edges looked worn out. The frame was cheap and on sale for a reason.

When i did assemble the whole thing together the metal clips on the back snapped off making the whole thing redundant. I was unable to gift this to my friend in the end. A lot of wasted time and effort but also many lessons learnt. next time would be better off getting someone else to make the frame if looking for a personalised gift. Even if it does seem like you are paying a lot as they would have done a lot of this trial and error for you OR  just invest in better materials. Also proper planning is key and do not rush. These were my errors. I did not check the measurents properly. My design had to fit in a 7.5cm square NOT the 10cm stated on the packet.

 

No-churn Coffee Ice cream

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules (kenco red)
  • 2 cups (480ml) heavy cream (lidl)
  • 1 can (14oz/397g) sweetened condensed milk (lidl)
  • 1 cup (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (aldi value white packet)
(I used the cup measurements)

Method

    1. In a small bowl or jug, dissolve the coffee granules in 1/4 cup (60ml) of hot water. Set aside.
    2. Using a handheld or stand mixer, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks.
    3. Add the condensed milk and coffee, and whisk in until fully combined. Fold in the chocolate.
    4. Pour the mixture into a 9×5-inch loaf pan, and cover tightly. Place in the freezer for at least 6 hours, or overnight before serving.

NOTES

This ice cream can be frozen for up to 1 month.

 

Recipe taken from: https://marshasbakingaddiction.com/no-churn-coffee-ice-cream/

Mango and Passionfruit Cheesecake

A lovely refreshing summer treat. This cheesecake was delicious  so much so that I couldn’t even wait to get a decent picture of it. I rushed the photography and styling as it cheesecake was too good to not just dive straight in.

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Ingredients:

  • 250g digestive biscuits (aldi towergate)
  • 100g butter, melted (clover)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract (preema)
  • 600g (3 tubs) full fat soft cheese (aldi)
  • 100g icing sugar (aldi) i would increaase sugar to 175g next time as cheesecake tasted quite sour
  • 284ml pot of double cream (elmlea)
  • 1 bottle mango and passion fruit coulis (sainsburys)
  • a box of yellow mangoes (mexican from costco)

 

Method:

Whizz the biscuits in a chopper to turn them into crumbs. Add the melted butter and pour into a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin. Press down mixture with a glass to flatten and  leave to set in the fridge for an hour.

In a large bowl whisk the double cream until stiff. Then add the cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar. Pour on top of biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge over night.

 

When ready to serve chop up the mango into chunks and mix in the coulis. Pour a couple of tablespoons over the cheesecake and enjoy.

Homemade Soap

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This was my first experience making soap at home and I did it using a kit I brought from Hobbycraft. When I was given handmade soap as a bridal shower favour I was inspired to make my own.

I ended up making a green tea soap which smelt gorgeous and lathered up really nicely.  I struggled with the melting of the soap base as it just kept turning hard and clumpy. It would not stay liquid and was impossible to pour. As a result there was a bit of wastage however I was happy that I managed to produce some soap looking bars in the end. These will be given as gifts!

Fresh Cream Cake

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Ingredients: (i used double these quantities, except for the sugar syrup which i kept the same)

For vanilla cake

  • Caster sugar  1 cup
  • Butter  1/2 cup  at room temprature
  • eggs 2 large  at room temprature
  • vanilla extract  1 tsp
  • plain flour  1-1/2 cup
  • milk  3/4 cup  at room temprature
  • baking powder  1 tsp
  • gold 8” cake drum

For fresh cream topping

  • double cream   almost   600 g
  • vanilla extract  2 tsp
  • icing sugar   6 tbsp
  • food colour of your choice

For sugar syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven on 180 C/ 160 C fan, Sieve plain flour and baking powder. Set a side.

2. In a clean bowl add butter and sugar. Beat it until creamy for almost 3-4 minutes…then add eggs 1 by 1 and beat well.

4. Now add some sifted flour and mix.

5. Then add some milk and mix….do this again and again until you mix all flour and milk in it.

6. Line butter paper in two deep  8 inch cake pans.

7. Divide cake batter in 2 cake pans equally. tap pans. now bake them for 60 minutes until tooth pick insert comes out clean.

8. Take out of oven and allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack. Remove baking paper.

9. Wrap in cling film and store in fridge if you do not want to use the cakes straight away

10. Once ready to use, grate the sides of the cake.

11. Then make your sugar syrup. Mix 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar ,let them boil and cool, this is your sugar syrup ready…

12. Whilst the syrup is cooling. Take chilled double cream and beat it

13. When its slightly thick add sifted icing sugar, food colouring (if using) and vanilla essence…beat until stiff peaks. Set aside whilst you assemble your cakes.

14. Now it’s time to assemble the cake. Take cake board, keep 1 cake on it, apply sugar syrup on cake including the sides, then apply some strawberry jam on it…then spread some whipped cream on top and finally place second cake on top.

15. Cover cake in a layer of cream then pipe on desired design.

16. Store cake in fridge until ready to serve

 

Original recipe from https://funcooking.co.uk/desserts/fresh-cream-cake/

 

 

 

 

DIY Bath Bombs

School’s out!

Unfortunately with the current Coronavirus pandemic the country has had no choice but to go into lockdown which means the schools have closed. Isa is going to have to be homeschooled until further notice. I enjoyed science when I was at school and I wanted to pass this on to Isa too. We carried out this fun experiment which he really enjoyed. It’s so easy and quick and the perfect illustration of how certain chemicals react with each other.

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Ingredients

Makes 2 cupcakes or 1 moon cake 
Prep 30 mins, plus 2-4 hrs setting

  • 100g bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g citric acid
  • 25g cornflour
  • 25g Epsom salt (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil – such as sunflower, coconut or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp essential oil, such as orange, lavender or chamomile
  • a few drops of liquid food colouring
  • orange peel, lavender or rose petals, to decorate (optional)

You will also need

  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • plastic moulds (see below for ideas)

Method

1. Put the bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, cornflour and Epsom salt into a bowl. Whisk until all the ingredients are combined.

2. Pour the base oil, essential oil and food colouring in a small bowl. Mix together well, combining the oil with the colouring as much as possible.

3. Very slowly add the oil mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, whisking between each addition. When all the oil is added, add a few tiny drops of water and whisk again (it will fizz when you add the water, so mix it in quickly). You’re looking for the mixture to slightly clump together when pressed in your hand and keep its shape – it shouldn’t be too wet.

4. If you’re adding peel or flower petals to decorate, drop them into the bottom of your chosen mould. Pack your mixture tightly on top, pressing down and smoothing out the top with a teaspoon.

5. Leave your bath bomb in the mould to dry for 2-4 hrs, then carefully remove it. It’s now ready to drop into the bath – watch it fizz away!

 

What can I use as a bath bomb mould?

You can use anything flexible as a mould for your bath bombs, so have fun looking around your home for things you could use. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Yogurt or pudding pots
  • Plastic packaging from toys
  • Easter egg packaging
  • Silicone ice cube trays
  • Silicone cupcake cases
  • Plastic biscuit cutters (place them on a tray)

We used a standard metal cupcake tin and moon cake moulds.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-bath-bomb

Making a felt garland

I love making things and I love colour.

This was another Corinne Lapierre kit. I must admit, this particular project took a lot longer that I thought it would and was definitely a labour of love (it got the the point where I was sick of it and just wanted it to finish) BUT in the process I learnt how to do three new stitches: a blanket stitch, a fern stitch and a lazy daisy stitch. I also ended up with a pretty decoration for my bedroom .

Sewing the hearts together was difficult, especially the tops of the hearts where they curve round. I should have also added more filling to the hearts so they did not look so flat. Definitely need to work on my sewing skills as on close inspection it was not as neat as I would have liked and some of the designs (the fern stitch in particular) came out leaning slightly to one side. However for someone who hates sewing I think it’s a pretty decent attempt.

 

My First Embroidery Hoop

I used to hate textiles when I was at school. For me, It was such a faff having to thread the sewing machine. Recently, however I have wanted to try and acquire some basic sewing skills so I purchased this mini kit from Corinne Lapierre’s website. The dispatch and delivery was extremely quick. Though once I opened the kit I saw how mini this mini-kit really was.

My initial worries with this piece were how I was going to fit all the details on as the hoop was only 11cm . I do think it ended up looking a bit squashed  when compared to the example shown on the front of the box , however I think it was a decent attempt and  I really do love the floral design.

I also learnt how to three new stiches: french knots, back stitch and a straight stitch.

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