Sunday, 26 October 2014

Autumn Pumpkin and Maple Cupcakes

Autumn baking is one of my favourites and as in recent years I've started eating pumpkin, I got very excited this autumn about trying out some recipes with it. The lovely Halee (here) inspired me with her mini pumpkin pies which I'm sure to try before the trees are bare. This is my second batch of pumpkin cupcakes and they are delicious. Lovely with a cup of tea, with friends and family. This lightly spiced pumpkin recipe with maple buttercream is so easy and quick to make, which is great if cakes disappear as fast as they do with a family like mine!



112g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
150g caster sugar
50g dark muscavado sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
226g canned pumpkin purée
100ml sunflower oil
12 large cupcake cases or 24 grease proof paper squares measuring 12x12cm for muffin tin

Maple Buttercream

 125g soft butter
100ml maple syrup
300g icing sugar
100g Orange fondant icing.
Stamp leaf cutter ( this is the one I used)
Shell green dusting powder by EdAbleart


Pre heat the oven to 160.C Fan or Gas mark 4

 Firstly sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then in another bowl mix the pumpkin, eggs, both sugars and oil together. Then add the flour mix to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add to cake cases, which need to be 3/4 full.  (If you've used the grease proof paper like I did you will need to layer one piece over the other with the second sheet having a corner at the top of the middle of the first.) Hold the cases in place while carefully adding the mix.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool in the tins before removing them.

The buttercream icing is really easy to make. Simply add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until smooth and fluffy.

You might want to make the leaves the night before so they can set. Give the icing a quick knead and then on a clean worktop dusted with icing sugar roll out the icing until it is about 1/4cm thick. Then cut out the leaves, you will need 24. I scrunch up some tin foil and let my leaves rest on there which gives them a more realistic shape. When they are set you can use a small brush to dust with the green powder.

Add the buttercream to an icing bag using a large star nozzel and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top with the leaves and enjoy!

Emma Xx


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Into The Woods


 Vintage jumper - Depop
Jeans - Pull & Bear
Pixie Boots - Topshop
Vintage necklace and earings - Hampton Court antique shop
Hair Bow - American Apparel co/ Bethan

Standing in silence, taking a deep breath in, can only make me smile when greeted with that familiar autumn woods smell. It's fresh but musty and reminds me of my childhood spent walking in the woods and even my teen years walking other peoples dogs. Kicking leaves, that crunch and crisp sound, with colours flying all around, it might be a simple thing but it's amazing fun. Autumn is my favourite time to go to the woods, to see the colours and smell the air. When I saw this jumper it reminded me of my love for the turning leaves and this beautiful season. So it's no surprise that it's my favourite casual item at the moment. I love to match it with this lovely velvet bow, it was part of a giveaway earlier this year by the beautiful Pale Female Bethan (here). Bethan's blog is stunning, full of amazing vintage outfits in whimsical settings.

Emma Xx

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Birthday Babycham

- Thankful thursday

At the beginning of the month I turned a grand old 24 years old. I'm sure I should start investigating anti wrinkle creams. Jokes (can't decide if I'm joking or not) aside, I didn't know what to expect from my birthday at all, I didn't exactly have any plans right up until a few days before, which I must admit, made it look like a bleak prospect. It was made worse by people I know asking what plans I had and made me feel a fool when I answered the truth of, "nothing", - actually the only plan I had were to eat an intire box of macaroons. In the end it turned out to be one long weekend of celebrations. A three day birthday, that's one more day than the Queen! I won't bore you with all the details, but I saw close friends Friday and Saturday and then family on Sunday. That's a crazy amount of activity for me, I'm so thankful that my chronic illness gave me a break as it were and didn't effect me too much more than it normally does. I feel so touched by the generosity of those around me. I received so many presents, and was so touched by the effort my friends and family put in. I even found energy to work with my mum on a babycham birthday cake. It was pretty easy to do and didn't take much time especially with my mum doing all the hard work, I was just bossy and incharge of decoration. The result was amazing - even if I do say so myself! I love deers, and have had a little obsession with the babycham deer since my early teens.
Since all the celebrations I've been very quiet, taking it easy, but I think it was all worth it. I never did get that box of birthday macaroons though, that's a gift I still owe myself.

Emma Xx

Sunday, 12 October 2014

What's a girl without a hat

Hat - Topshop
Jumper - Zara
Skirt - Topshop
Tights - M&S 
Shoes - Topshop
Bag - Accessorize 
Necklace - And Smile 

Autumn is so beautiful, the trees are turning vibrant golds, bronze and reds, and it's still just about warm enough to enjoy it. This afternoon I couldn't resist reflecting the season by wearing my new hat. My best friend bought this hat for my birthday last week and I'm so in love with it. I've worn it out twice and a few times around the house! Hats are fabulous, I can never resist trying them on in shops, even massive mother of the bride/queen affairs in John Lewis, of course I would never be seen wearing one of those out!! I'm the trying on type, rather than buying, and this is only my second autumn/winter style hat, but I think there will be many more before the spring turns up.

Emma Xx

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thankful Thursday

 This week has been a good one for me. I think it's mostly down to my renewed positivity, which seems to fuel my creativity. Being creative isn't something that I can turn on like a tap, I need to be inspired and this week I'm thankful that the inspiration bug has well and truly bitten me. Firstly, I made a little surprise illustrated postcard for my friend Caroline, who's birthday is today. Caroline featured on my post about our afternoon tea at Betty Blythe's a few weeks ago. Our love for tea was one of the first things we bonded over so it only seemed right to create a tea related illustration.
I've also finished off last weeks art class drawing of a crushed coke can. That's rare, often because I'm just not well enough to do it, or I go off the idea and want to bin it! 
I've also been creative in the kitchen, making really easy clean and healthy peanut butter cups topped with sea salt. I've been munching on these every evening, and whenever I feel dizzy. What a great excuse to eat chocolate!

Tomorrow is my birthday so I will be moving on to cake and all things unhealthy for the day. - I can't wait! For the first time since being ill I'm not dreading my birthday. For the last four birthdays I've felt cheated and scared. The last time I was 100% well I was 19, and for every birthday since I've felt like my age should be on hold. Even joking saying I'm 19 again and won't be turning 20 until I'm better. It sounds only fair when you can't live your life, right? Its impossible though, time waits for no one and I've realised in the last few weeks how much I have changed and grown as a person since I was 19. My world might not be what I expected, or wanted, but there is a lot of happiness to be found within it. I still find ageing with chronic illness scary but it's not making me dread my birthday. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Emma Xx

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Bath Fashion Museum

 Two weeks ago I was in sunny Bath, a mini adventure with my mum, for some well deserved time away from it all. The fashion museum was high on the list of things to see, so it's no surprise that after a vintage inspired lunch at Bea's vintage tea room, we wondered over to the Fashion museum. There was far more fashion than I expected to see, from the really old to the dress of the year by Christopher Kane. The museum allow photography, so naturally I got very snap happy and now I want to share with you my favourites.

Dresses like the one above are rediculously crazy, they were worn my ladies at court, who had to stand for hours and hours and if they needed to use the bathroom they had to somehow get attention to be excused and then back out of the room. Yes, back out in a dress as wide as a Mini Cooper without disturbing the other ladies and gents around. I can't imagine the anxiety that went with that task!

I really enjoyed this exhibition and its diverse range of clothes and designers. I would recommend to anyone with a fashion interest to take a look if you ever find yourself in Bath. The ball room and other impressive rooms in the same building are amazing too!

I hope everyone is having a good week.

Emma Xx