Archive for March, 2012

Brighter weather calls for brighter nails.

And inspired by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere, I thought I’d jazz up a mani in a subtle way. I’ve tried crackle polish, two-tone manicures and nail art pens, this time I opted for a sprinkling of glitter.

It’s so subtle that you can only really see it in proper light, but I love the violet shimmer effect. And I’ve finally got a use for all that facial glitter that I used to wear at uni. BTW loose facial glitter + contact lenses really don’t go. I’m surprised I can still see…!!

Nails – Shoreditch by Nails Inc plus Pixi loose glitter.

Read Full Post »

In case you didn’t know, gardening isn’t good for your nails.  It’s not great for arachnophobics either. Nevertheless, with a week off work, a bit of a sun and an embarrassment of a window box, I decided to plough on…

window box

Believe it or not, I kept an IKEA house plant alive for 5 years. It’s dead now, but that wasn’t my fault.

window box

My main problem with window boxes is that I forget to water them.

All my floral hopes and dreams are now heavily invested in these wee guys…

I’ve got a Viola. Good for shady areas, according to the label.  I also think it helps me to go for flowers that are described as ‘hardy’.

A pretty, grassy nameless thing. Does anyone know what it is?

Ivy is impossible to kill, so the box should have a bit of green in it, even if the worst happens.

A rather weedy looking plant…

…but it will hopefully end up looking like this!

Whatthefuckisthat!?!? THIS is why I shouldn’t be gardening!! And I also saw a spider the size of a mouse near the compost bag….

So I should put them in this order? Yeah? And then add some gardening gloves, a trowel and a lot of nose wrinkling…

And here’s the finished masterpiece! Phew, thank god, that’s over. Need to have a bit of a lie down now.

Read Full Post »

Half measures

As successful as my last baking attempt was, I was left with the usual cake-based problem: What to do with 12 portions of cake?! The obvious answer is to eat it, but with only 2 people at Three Small Apples HQ, that means 6 slices of cake each before it goes stale. We’re looking at 2 slices of cake a day for 3 days. Not going to happen. I’m as big a cake fan as anyone, but I was looking at cake overload. The solution? Not feeding (stale) cake to guests (not because it’s a bad idea, but because I wasn’t allowed to), but half a cake in the bin. I may as well  have plugged up the oven and thrown my whisk over the wall. Or something like that.

But a couple of weeks later, and with a bit of spare time on my hands, I decided to retrieve the whisk from the other side of the wall.

Now, I know cupcakes have been done to death, but they still appeal to me. Not because Carrie and Miranda ate them that time. Or because of the pretty one-cake boxes they come in when you buy them from Hummingbird. But because they’re fun to make, easy to give away and they can be baked in tiny batches.

Primrose Hill Bakery, cupcakes, amaretto cupcakes

Yesterdays little batch of 6 amaretto flavoured cupcakes not only satisfied my sponge making urge, but should be easy enough to finish, without that Gawd-Must-Keep-Eating-Cake feeling.

The result: cake success!

Read Full Post »

Homework, exams, PE (PE!! Whose idea was that?!), those are a few reasons that I’m glad I’m not still at school. But the 6 week summer holiday? I’d happily take that back. Even if I did spend many a summer holiday waiting for it to stop raining (you don’t get summer in Scotland. You get Raining and Not Raining).

Wouldn’t it be great if you could still get 6 weeks off once you’d left school?  Yes, yes it would.

Well unfortunately you can’t, but the 9 days I’ve got off between after my old job and starting my next is pretty damn exciting. In fact, it’ll probably feel better than school holidays, because I won’t have spent my pittance pocket money on Hubba Bubba and will be able to afford to entertain myself.

But what to do?! The longest, uninterrupted time off I’ve had recently was Christmas, and what with panicked, last minute Christmas shopping, pickling livers, visiting family and constant eating, it didn’t leave much time to relax.

With 9 full days off in London, I want to make sure I use my time wisely, so I made a list:

** Get my hair done: it’s time for my yearly hair cut (my hair cut routine usually goes as follows: get bored of hair so cut it short(er). Hate short(er hair) so grow hair.) and this time I’m getting a Brazilian Blow Dry! Shinier, smoother, easier to manage hair? Might just die of excitement.

** Replant dead window box: someone needs to encourage the bees in London!

**Play with(or bother) kittens: I don’t want to do this, but it just can’t help myself. I fear I’m going to lose 90% of my time off with this.

Kittens, Celia Hammond

Kittens, Celia Hammond

Har Gao is such an attention seeker that she’ll roll over at the first sign of a tickle.

Celia Hammond, Kittens

Siu Mai won’t.

**Wedding planning: Erm… it’s less than 6 months away. Sh*t.

**Update wardrobe: It’s time for a serious overhaul. These are some things have already been added :

Eva by Topshop £32

Little floral Tee from Oasis. £20 reduced from £38 (who pays £38 for a t shirt?! Hello?)

Such a bargain that I bought both colours.

A summery little number from H&M, which has the added bonus of not weighing a ton even when filled with crap. £15.

And don’t get my started with that bloody My So Called Life box set that I bought impulsively on Amazon a year ago. I don’t think I’m ever going to have time for that.

Read Full Post »

I lasted about 5 minutes watching Crufts before I got bored, and that was with only 50% of my attention capacity.  But I’ve never been a dog person so I can’t be expected to understand the appeal of a Lhasa Apso or why Elizabeth was the best out of all of the mutts.

Instead, I’m a cat person. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve always loved them.

If there was a catty equivalent of Crufts (ok, there is. It’s called The Supreme Show (and I would secretly like to enter my moggies…)) I’d get the feeling that Har Gao quite fancies herself for Best in Show.

She’s already perfected the “dreamily looking into the distance” pose.

And she’s working on Magnum.

Thankfully Siu Mai is slightly less of a show off,  otherwise I think I’d have a bit of a cat fight on my hands.

Read Full Post »

Some things are so much better when they’re kept to the realms of fantasy:

Romantic ice skating dates – it’s not romantic, it’s scary. And no one enjoys the fake “that didn’t really hurt” laugher that you have to do, while holding back the tears, when you inevitably faceplant on the ice.

Fried egg sandwich – the yolk gets on your fingers and you feel a bit sick.

Watching horror films – spending the next 3 weeks awake is not fun.

Eating ice cream from the tub – I blame American TV shows. It looked fun when Monica and Rachel shared the Baskin Robbins… In real life, the carton gets soggy and makes the ice cream taste like garlic cardboard.

And that’s not to mention the fact that you’ll probably vomit from ice cream overload later on.  I’m all about a one-scoop.  You can indulge in it at any time, and it’s not going to spoil your appetite, or the rest of the tub.

There’s no chance of garlic ice cream over at Threesmallapples HQ, not when I’ve got the prettiest ice cream dishes in town.

vintage dessert glasses

Spotted (and quickly purchased) from online store Three Jelly Moulds and a Wardrobe, this set of 4 (the other 2 are hiding) dessert glasses are perfect for those occasions when you want to serve slightly stale, leftover cake (with custard! Credit crunch and all…) to your guests, but your boyfriend won’t let you, so you serve ice cream instead and it still managed to look fancy!

Three Jelly Moulds is run by blogger, foodie and thrift shopper extraordinaire Elizabeth, who decided to put her ‘passion for rummaging’ to good use, and found a range of really cute items so I didn’t have to.

Thanks to her, my biggest dessert challenge is going to be waiting patiently for the ice cream to soften, so I can scoop the perfect shaped ball.  Hundreds and Thousands, anyone?

Read Full Post »

Sorry to sound like a Gran, but I’m quite looking forward to replanting my window box!

I’d wanted one for a while, especially when I lived in a teeny box sized flat in Camden, without a speck of outside space, but, being on the first floor, I was worried it might fall and kill someone (a bit like a penny falling from the Eiffel Tower… except with more mud).  So when I moved to the relative safety of a garden flat (basement flat, but rebranded), a window box was purchased and filled to the brim with all sorts of cool blooms. It was brilliant! They were so colourful and lasted for AGES. It even had its own resident bee (it really did!).

window box , flowers, fuchsia, ivy

But I kept forgetting to water it. And it died…

The same thing happened again last spring. It’s all so exciting at first, and then you find yourself thinking ‘must remember to water the window box’ while dashing to work… poor wee window box.

The third set of white flower carcasses have been in the dried up window box since the end of summer, and I think now might be the time to get rid of them. But what to plant…?! Perhaps a cactus?

Read Full Post »

Beet that!

I’ve always been a fan of the colour pink, so it’s not the biggest surprise that I like beetroot. It’s not a ‘bit pink’ like a radish or rhubarb, instead it’s SO pink that it’ll dye your plate, your mashed potato and your clothes (watch those beetroot juice splashes). The only problem with a bit of beetroot-lovin’, is that not everyone at Three Small Apples HQ is as big a fan as I am and there are usually 3 or 4 beetroots in a packet. What to do with the uneaten beetroot? Yeah, you could roast them, add them to salads, stick them in pasta. I didn’t do any of that. Instead, I put them in a cake. A CHOCOLATE cake.

Chocolate and beetroot cake

Grated beetroot. Pip Studio bowl.

Doesn’t it scare you when you’ve got to add oil to a cake instead of butter? It does the same job, and you don’t notice it in the cake but it’s just the thought. Oil. Mmm…(!)

Eggs, sugar, icing. Cake batter.

Ground almonds and flour

Beetroot cake batter

Proof that I really did put the beetroot into the cake.

Red tinge?

Topped with some chocolate icing and complimented with some sugar flours.

Chocolate and beetroot cake. Sugar flowers

And the verdict? Chocolatey with a hint of super food. So chocolatey that even Mr Three Small Apples couldn’t complain. Beetroot? What beetroot.

Read Full Post »

… a birthday gift from someone who knows me too well…

Oh dear…

If it wasn’t for the fringe, I’d think I was looking in a mirror!

Read Full Post »