I always look forward to the May Bank Holiday as it can only mean one thing: Summer is well and truly on the way. Last Monday, Ciaran and I woke up early and zoomed down the A3 to Hastings. We arrived at Lauren and Simon's just in time for scrambled eggs on toast then wound our way through the twitterns to watch the annual Jack In The Green celebrations!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Spring has finally sprung and I've just about returned from planet wedding to planet earth. Suddenly the evenings are warm and the gardens are in full bloom - this is my favourite time of the year! When we lived in central London one of the things I missed most were the little signs that the year was turning and the seasons changing. Now we're out in the 'burbs surrounded by green open spaces and beautiful trees, I like to pause for breath every so often and soak up my surroundings.
This month I'm looking forward to...
Resting - during the last couple of months of wedding planning I felt like I had two full time jobs. Every day I would either be up early or burning the midnight candle pinning bunting, feeding the wedding cakes, and sourcing the final bits and pieces that would make the day extra special. Now all our hard work has paid off I'm looking forward to sitting back and putting my feet up.
Blogging - You might have noticed a few tweaks here and there on SCC and there will be a few more coming up over the next couple of weeks. Whilst we were getting ready for the wedding I didn't have any time whatsoever to blog and Wow, I missed it so much! I love this little corner of the Internet and am excited for this new chapter to begin. It's been such a pleasure watching my readership steadily grow and grow - thank you guys for sticking with me! I have some exciting things planned planned for next few months so watch this space!
Catching up with friends - nuff said.
Celebrating - Summer is on it's way and up and down the country maypoles are being dusted down and Morris dancers are limbering up. This is the month for Jack In The Green celebrations and village fetes. The merry Month of May is (literally) my middle name and I'm so excited to celebrate this amazing time of year!
And yes, I will be posting some wedding photos very very soon ;) In the meantime why not pop over to our photographer's blog for a sneak peek: Hannah Couper Photography
Sunday, May 5, 2013
During my many (many) hours spent browsing the Internet for inspiration, I came across this lovely picture and instantly knew that what I wanted was a little wooden hand painted bride, groom and Toby Cat cake topper! A few clicks later and I discovered that you can buy just the very thing on Etsy, here! However, if you're lucky enough to have a carpenter in the family you can just ask him (or her) to carve you a set ;)
Roger came up trumps - he turned them himself using a lathe and aside from a few heads accidentally snapping off and pinging across the floor, said they were relatively easy! Toby may not have any ears but that's OK - if he had been there they would most certainly have been lying flat across his head anyway!
I used acrylic paints and once they were dry, Roger gave them a final coat of varnish to seal the colour in.
What would or did you have on top of your wedding cake? If you like these wooden cake toppers you can find similar on Etsy - a few suggestions are here, here and here!
Friday, April 26, 2013
I have already blogged about baking the cakes and injecting them with brandy. The next step was to marzipan and ice these three bad boys!
I'm usually a little obsessive with my cakes (and food in general if truth be told) and insist on making everything from scratch, right down to the marzipan! On this occasion (three days before the wedding with a house full of relatives) I decided that something had to give and bought my marzipan at the supermarket. I used Waitrose's white marzipan and it was bloody lovely. After covering the cakes in apricot jam that had been warmed through with a little water (I like this brand as they use natural fruit juice as a sweetener rather than sugar!) step number one was to square off the top of the cakes by building up the edge until the top of the cake was level.
As I was going to be stacking the tiers directly one on top of the other, I wanted each tier to be as level as possible - a tiny slope here or there may not look like much on it's own but once the cakes were stacked I knew I could have ended up with a leaning tower of Pisa on my hands (or on the floor if I was very unlucky!)
Once the cakes were levelled off it was time to marzipan the top and sides! I rolled out the marzipan and cut it to size, using string to measure the circumference and height of each cake.
It's so satisfying how the marzipan slots together so neatly! It's one of my favourite ingredients to work with as it behaves so well and you can mould and shape it so easily (unlike it's Cousin, Fondant Icing, which always wants to stick to the counter or dry out in minutes and quite frankly has something of a bad attitude). Once I had all three tiers covered with marzipan it was time to ice them into fluffy looking pillows of perfection, but first, I'll let you into a little secret...
I bought a huge 12'' polystyrene cake dummy and iced it along with the rest of the cakes. It gave the whole thing a bit more ooomph and no one was any the wiser! Fruit cakes are very expensive to make (as they should be - crammed full of delicious, exotic brandy soaked fruit) and the cake dummy was a billy bargain at only a few pounds.
I made a big batch of royal icing and set to work covering each tier with a thick layer. The trick with Royal Icing is to work quickly and avoid going over the same area more than once - the surface begins to set fairly quickly so you run the risk of spoiling the smooth finish otherwise. Once the cakes were iced I popped them into their individual boxes and left them in the cupboard to rest. I'm looking forward to sharing some pictures of the finished results soon!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
We got back from St.Lucia early this morning! We had the most amazing time - I can see I'm going to find it difficult to adjust back to life without Saltfish stew for breakfast and tropical fruit cocktails on the beach at 11.00am. As you can imagine, I've come back full of recipe inspiration. In the meantime I can't wait to share our wedding pictures with you - watch this space!
P.S I love the 8mm camera iphone app - I used the 1960's filter to take lots of little snippets of the island.
Monday, April 8, 2013
What an amazing day! I got to marry the man I love and throw the biggest and best party - all whilst wearing the dress of my dreams. Today we're packing our bags and heading to the airport for a much needed honeymoon in St.Lucia. Looking forward to sharing what was undoubtedly the best day of our lives when we get back. See you in a week!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
We spent today with our friends and family, setting up our reception venue - it snowed horizontally all day but we were toasty warm inside, looking out onto the grey river. We had plenty of hot tea to keep us going and by the end of it...wow, what a transformation! Tonight I'm sleeping in my childhood bedroom at my Mums house. My wedding dress is hanging off the wardrobe door and I keep peeking in to look at it. Ciaran is at our local pub this evening with his lovely, big warm family and I've just said goodnight to mine. My sisters and I went out for pizza, garlic bread and red wine with Celina and Anna, my two other beloved bridesmaids. I told the girls that I was panicking about falling over on my way up the aisle and Anna quickly said that if that happened they would all immediately drop to the floor too so I wouldn't be alone! I feel so happy and so lucky.
Lots of love you guys and see you on the flip side!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
The Wedding cakes are coming along nicely! I've been administering a weekly dose of brandy - they're soaking it up and smelling wonderful!
In the past I have always fed my fruit cakes with brandy the traditional way - by making holes in the cake with a skewer before using a teaspoon to drip the brandy in. What usually happens is that the brandy runs across the surface of the cake making it soggy and doesn't really penetrate right through to the middle. Using a hypodermic needle means I can squirt the brandy right into the core of the cake! I was a bit squeamish of the needle at first but I soon got used to it - now it seems like the most natural thing in the world!
Monday, March 25, 2013
Last week was pretty quiet on the blogging front so I'm making it up to you on this freezing cold Monday afternoon with a fantastic set of photos snapped by the wonderful and talented Hannah Couper! These were taken at my hen party earlier in the month! I was such a pleasure to have all my best girlfriends together in one place and I'll never forgot how much effort everyone had put in to make it so special!
My two oldest friends, Celina and Anna were in charge and I was kept entirely in the dark! They rented an enormous house in the countryside in Kent, invited my girlfriends and organised the most fun filled, hilarious weekend imaginable! Everyone had contributed something and we had games, delicious food and plenty of booze!
Ciara and Maddi kicked things off with some fun and silly games to break the ice and help everyone shake off their inhibitions (though I'm not sure we had many to start with!). The game we're playing above is called Bungalow and was perfect! To play, stand in a circle and start making a rhythm with your hands and feet like this: stamp stamp clap clap stamp stamp clap clap. Once everyone has the rhythm going, one person starts a chant over the top that gets passed around the circle like this....
Hey Anna! (or whoever)
Let me see your bungalow! Hey Anna!
Let me see your bungalow!
Then Anna replies...
My hands are high my hands are low and this is how I bungalow!
Then Anna (or whoevers turn it is) busts out her funniest and best dance move and performs it in the centre before everyone joins in. Anna then takes up the chant and passes it onto the next person!
This game is so simple but so hilarious - we had the Bungalow tune in our heads all weekend.
One of my good friends is currently working over in Africa for Actionaid. I was so touched that not only did she wait up late to be able to call me during the party but sent 6 x bottles of fizz to help fuel the mayhem in her stead!
I can't actually remember what had just happened here.
We shared lots of stories and secrets!
On Saturday morning we all woke up feeling more than a little worse for wear. We pulled on wellies and walked to a country pub for fish & chips and a hair of the dog. When we came home we were desperate for a cup of tea - Anna had made a delicious red velvet cake and Celina had baked brownies! Mmmmmm perfect! A cup of tea, a chocolate brownie and forty winks on the sofa. I had just about nodded off when there was a knock at the window behind me...
Jess had brought along home made playdough especially for this game and I'm sure you can guess what we're making....
This game was brilliant fun! We split into teams of three - each team had 20 loo rolls and 10 minutes to make the best wedding dress! My team won - my sis Flo is in the photo above, modelling our boho creation!
More games, more fizz, more drinks and the most amazing Moroccan feast - whipped up by Kate and Lauren. Thank you so much you wonderful girls! I will remember this weekend for as long as I live.