Friday, 18 October 2013

Cowgirl party

On the morning of the party I woke up in something of a panic. It was only the previous day that we had finished redecorating our house and I had invited fourteen seven year old girls around to play cowgirls! If it was a rainy day then we were doomed!
Fortunately the sun was shining ,and I breathed a sigh of relief. They could be thrown into the garden and banned from coming inside. Yee Haw!
Here are a few pictures of the dessert table I created for the party.

I based the cake on the neckerchiefs that we had given out as the party invites, with a cowgirl cut out as a topper. I photocopied one of the scarves and used that to cover the cake board. I hadn't had time to find hay bales so I used some straw from our rabbits bedding supply as decoration.

These were shotgun cupcakes, vanilla flavoured with popping candy sprinkled on top!

I also made cow hide refrigerator cake.
And hay bale cake pops.

My big kidlet made drawings of each party guest to go onto the goody bags and I made pony cookies.

I got the felt ponies for the goody bags from the always fabulous Heartfelt Handmade.

Obviously we had to have a pinata, which my eldest kidlet made for the party (it's great that I can give my instructions and then get on with other things!). You can find a tutorial for making your own pinata here.
The party girl enjoyed herself immensely, as did the guest. I'm not sure will prove to be last childrens party I host for my kids, the eldest is way past this stage and my littlest one shows signs of moving on too!
But I'm sure I can force myself onto some of my friends and party plan for their children.

Keep on Yee Hawing!
ps we did find some sticky hand prints all along our newly painted wall after everyone had left, (well we couldn't stop toilet visits) but fortunately they washed off!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Here is the second post I promised about my lovely day out. I was literally swanning around London like some kind of baking diva! After Baketopia I stopped at Liberty's and then Anthropologie to purchased some gorgeous trinkets for when I style the photos for my book.
Then I whisked myself away to Paul A Youngs for a wonderful night sampling his amazing chocolates. (Apologies if I am sounding in any way smug with myself, but as I explained in my previous post, this is an extremely abnormal day for me and I was literally bursting with excitement!)
Paul was showcasing a new range of products that he had made using California prunes. Now I have to say, as I was proudly boasting in the school playground that morning, there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm from my fellow mums at the prospect of an evening spent eating prunes. What is wrong with people? Prunes are one of the most delicious natural foods I can think off. Mr Lemon Drizzle explained it saying that his impression of prunes still retained from his school days, are slimy slug-like blobs floating in custard. The prunes we tasted that night were as far removed from those hideous puddings, as school curry is to a real authentic bhuna.
Paul is such an infectious, passionate person and his explanations of why California prunes are sooo special has made me determined to go and invent some recipes using them. They have a gorgeous caramely flavour and the texture is so soft that they are easily incorporated into cooking and baking.

Paul made these delicious prune and porter truffles. He demonstrated the chocolate making process and while he made it look easy I suspect it would be a tricky process to master. However you may be a keen chocolatier, so I would encourage you to give them ago.

If you click on the arrow under 'file' you should be able to download the recipe. (Check me out, embedding a pdf like I know what I'm doing!)

Paul also made these incredible California prune and pepper caramel brownies. He is famed for his brownies and these were the best I have ever tasted. I am definitely going to try them for myself and I would encourage you to as well. Let's have a bake along! Such fun! You can see from the picture that they just ooze gooey-sticky-chocolaty-caramely gorgeousness. In fact I may have to go and make some now!

Again click on the arrow to download the recipe file  and let me know if you make some.

ps All recipes copyright Paul A Young
pps This is not a sponsored post, but I did get to sample some delicious California prunes and chocolate


Now I'm sure that you all think that I live the life of a jet-set top cake maker, constantly bustling to important meetings with clients and being flown to foreign lands to make cakes for VIPs. Much as I hate to disillusion you, this is not the case! I spend most of my time trying to get through the obstacle course of toys that the children have left scattered through my house. Or dealing with sick children (or rabbits) or trying to make tea for the family with one egg and some broccoli because I haven't had time to shop for food! So if I am given the chance to leave all this glamour behind me for a day and head off into the city, I jump at it. I had such an exciting day last week, so exciting in fact that it cannot be contained in just one post, so expect part two soon!

First up was Baketopia, a pop-up cake shop to launch National Baking Week.

This was an event curated by Miss Cakehead. Normally I would be fully hands on with such an exciting project, but I am on a tight deadline to finish the manuscript of my book (eek!) so I only had time to make a few little bits, some mushroom cookies and woodland creature cookies.

This amazing Shetland pony-sized, edible unicorn was made by the Tattooed Bakers and when it was cut revealed a rainbow cake inside.The fabulous Gnome is by Caking It

This vegetable patch was also made by Caking It, they are all cake inside!

The meringue tepee was made by the Meringue Girls and this gorgeous Jackalope was by the talented Conjurers Kitchen.
The whole display was an amazing feat of ingenuity and talent, and I was very glad that I could be involved even in a little way!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Wonderful weddings

Some weeks ago I made a trip back home for my Mum's 70th birthday (the picture of the cake are here!). While I was there I took the chance to catch up with some old friends. Many, many years ago I worked with Angela, we were both newby textile designers let loose in the metropolis of Manchester. I also got to know her then partner (now husband) Jason really well. Jason is an amazing photographer, and it seemed natural when I married Mr Lemon Drizzle that Jason take our wedding photos.
We were overwhelmed with all the photos, and I still regularly look at my album. Here's a lovely picture of me and my Mum on that day (Mr Lemon Drizzle refuses to shown on my blog because of stubbornness contractual reasons!) 

It was really lovely to catch up with them both and meet their amazing kids. We also had a good old chat about the wedding industry, now that we all work in that sector. Jason & Angela have updated their site and they now offer cinematic short films. If I could turn back time I would love to have something like this from our day (we never had a video made), it is simply stunning. Please take a look at, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter & be inspired by Angela's Pinterest ideas for your big day.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Cowgirl party invites

A few weeks ago, my littlest one turned seven (not so little any more!) As ever, her party planning began the minute last years' guests had left the house. Initially she asked for a lemur party (it's the latest obsession) but fortunately I managed to talk her out of it and into a cowgirl party..yee haw! So obviously we had to create some cowgirl themed invitations.
I thought I would share with you what we did. I haven't made a tutorial, as as they are sooo easy to make it would be insulting your intelligence; so instead of a how-to, this is more a 'how-I-did-it!'

To begin with the eldest kidlet (under strict instructions from her sister) drew a picture to go into the invitations. As you can see, the lemurs did manage to make an appearance, but I am led to believe that they are 'actually a very authentic addition to a cowgirl party!' I scanned and printed out the picture. The littlest kidlet wrote out a personal invitation to each of her friends on the back of the pictures. But as some of the writing was quite eligible I also made a printed version.

I bought neckerchiefs for each of the party guest (the colours were carefully chosen by the kidlets to suit each friend). You can find them in a myriad of colours for about £1 each on eBay. I placed the kidlet's invitation in the centre of the scarf and folded it around the paper (like an envelope.)

I then laid the printed invite on top of the scarf and wrapped it altogether with baker twine. (You can find some excellent cowgirl/boy themed fonts here which are free to download for non-commercial purposes.)

And that was it, Easy as pie campfire beans! 
I will be back soon with pictures of the actual party.