Sunday, 30 October 2011

I'm In Heaven...

Hey Everyone....

I hope you've all had a fantastic weekend! Mine has been pretty good. It started a little early, as I had training on Thursday and Friday, and although I was not at home, it was lovely to have a break from work. I love learning, and this 2 day course really made me realise how much I want to go back to studying and soon! Fingers crossed this year I will get onto the PHD and be back studying, at least part time.

I really enjoyed the subject and met some lovely people too. I was very brave (for me) and volunteered to be the guinea pig, meaning I had to share all about my wish to lose weight in front of twenty people. I think I coped very well, that was until the male trainer asked me how much I weighed. This drew gasps from the mostly female group and I flatly refused. Still it was good for my confidence to let out some of my worries in front of so many people.

Then Saturday was a very special day. One of my ex-work colleagues had organised for a group of us to go for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason. You all should have realised by now that I am slightly obsessed by afternoon tea, and I had heard that Fortnum & Mason was the 'piste de resistance'. I have never been and was so excited.

And I want not let down. Fortnum and Mason was already decorated to the nines in beautiful Christmas decorations and the buzz and atmosphere was contagious. The St.James' Restaurant was elegantly decorated and there was a tinkly piano being played in the background. The tea was fantastic, and we were gobsmaked when our server asked if we wanted a second round of sandwiches... yes it was basically all you can eat!

I was even cheeky enough to ask for boxes for us all to take away the leftovers, as none of us could finish the mammoth amount of pretty delicacies presented to us. We didn't even get to look at the extra cake tray we could have picked more from!

I am now obsessed, it was pure heaven for an afternoon tea lover and I would love to return on any occasion possible. The fiance has suggested we return together, and I think it would be fantastic hen do idea.

Anyway, Let me show you some of the beauty of Fortnum & Mason and their afternoon tea...


Jewel x

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Second Time Lucky...

Hey Everyone...

Just a quick blog tonight as I don't have much to tell you about... that is except for my next craft fair! Pretty Little Jewels will have a stall at the first ever Friday Market, hosted by Mercy & Pearl, at The Arts Depot, in North Finchley, London...

The fair is next Friday from 10am-2pm and I am hoping it will be a bigger success than my last. If any of you can make it I would be delighted to see you there!

Wish me luck!

Jewel x

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Afternoon Tea...

Hey everyone...

Thank you for welcoming me back to blogging! I have really missed it! So remember all that baking equipment I showed you? Well it was for a special occasion.

A few months ago I decided I wanted to hold and afternoon tea party for all my friends! The fiance designed some pretty invitations and I started planning what I would make. I wanted to use a book I had bought called Pretty Party Cakes by Peggy Porschen to make some really special cakes. It would be my hardest baking challenge yet!

These were the cakes I decided to attempt - so I bought some leaf and flower cutters...

I used pre-bought icing but coloured it myself and made little pink roses, which I have never done before!

Then I made two large vanilla sponges, which I soaked with vanilla sugar syrup over night...

I also decided to make my infamous three tiered carrot cake with cream cheese icing...

I started baking on Thursday evening, making all of the above. On Friday evening I made rose macaroons and chocolate whoopie pies. Then early on Saturday I made scones, sandwiches and iced and filled all of the cakes.

My feet were killing me after standing for 5 hours each evening after work. Then on Saturday my poor cheap hand held mixer gave up the ghost and I had to whisk the cream cheese icing for the carrot cake by hand - giving me horrible blisters.

But finally the afternoon tea was served...

All accompanied by clotted cream, homemade jam and lots of freshly brewed Afternoon leaf tea.

It was a lovely afternoon, despite most of my friends canceling at the the last minute, which really upset me. 

A friend from work and two friends from uni made the effort and it was lovely to spend time with them, as I don't know two of them that well and rarely get to see the third. Thank you! You know who you are and you made my day!

Plus I took the leftovers to work and had rave reviews for the carrot cake.

Now I am all baked out - but this Sunday I am baking some bakewell tarts for another work colleagues leaving do (I may cry) so I need to work out if I can make them without a mixer!

The afternoon tea was also a perfect opportunity to take some more pictures of my baking - which were urgently needed as I.... have just.... applied for the great british bake off!

Yep I finally sent my application (well two actually, the above mentioned colleague wrote me a beautiful version all in rhyme which I also sent) along with lots of pictures of my baking.

So... fingers crossed I get a telephone interview! It would be such an amazing experience! Right stop getting my hopes up.... back soon!

Jewel x

Monday, 24 October 2011

Back In Action...

Hey everyone...

Wow that was a long blogging break! I do apologise, it all started because the fiance's laptop broke, but I have been super busy even since it was fixed and not found time to blog! Well I am back on it now!

I have a lot to catch up on, so I hope you don't get bored with this long post. I will try to be short and sweet!

Last Sunday I went to The Capital Car Boot in Pimlico, South London. It's a car boot held half inside a school and half in their playground and had a good range of bits and pieces. I picked up this necklace, which I think would look stylish sewn onto the neckline of a plain dress or top...

Bargain 50p

I also picked up this beautiful fabric - well over a metre and seems to be good quality for only £2...

I plan to make some pretty cushions from it!

Then last Monday the fiance and I had free tickets to see 'The Help' as I bank with Natwest. I saw the promotion on another bloggers lovely blog (sorry I have forgotten who!). It was a fantastic film, I really enjoyed it. It was heartfelt and emotional, but cleverly shot and very entertaining. I would highly recommend it.

Then on Tuesday we went to the lovely Pheonix cinema in East Finchley to see the new Woody Allen film 'Midnight In Paris'. The fiance is a big Woody Allen film and for once I also wanted to see the film. Again it was fantastic, I loved the nostalgia of the film and the way it had been shot and written was very clever. Owen Wilson was fantastic...

I have also been treating myself to some bits and pieces while I've been away. When the fiance's laptop died and he took it into Brent Cross apple, I had a mooch around the John Lewis store. The haberdashery was inspiring, but I resisted the urge to spend lots of money. The Christmas department was stunning, but again I resisted. However, the lovely fiance bought me this little decoration as a treat...

I was so excited I wanted to put the tree up already! Oh I love Christmas. John Lewis' decorations this year have a lovely homemade feel. But that just inspired me to make some myself. I must admit I was very naughty and as I had time to kill, I slipped out my little notebook from my handbag and sketched down a lot of their decorations that I thought I could make myself.

I have a whole bundle of drawings of ideas for decorations, now I just need to buy some fabric and find some time to make them!

I certainly didn't have time this week however! After two nights in a row at the cinema, Thursday and Friday were full on baking days. I had planned an afternoon tea party at my flat for all my friends! This meant I had to stock up on equipment...

Piping bottles - £3

Leaf Cutters
I also bought some little flower cutters! I will blog tomorrow about how the party went and show you all my baking.

After all that baking and making tea, I had a relaxing day at my mum's yesterday. We went for a quick shopping trip as they have opened a BM in her town, and I have heard such good things but never been before. I saw lots of lovely bits, but was trying to be good so didn't buy anything in BM, but I did pick up a couple of other bits...

Perfect sign for when I have a crafting room - or more likely - corner

Pretty CK stylee oven glove - £2

Comfy fluffy slippers (excuse my feet) - £2 primark

Soft and fluffy pretty pink snood - Primark £4
I am wearing my snood right now, and it makes me feel so snuggly and warm I doubt I will take it off this winter!

Oh and my mum picked up this for me...

My something blue for the wedding
I had already seen this and mum admitted it's from poundland, but she is worried I won't get my something blue and I really don't like blue as a colour so thought she'd buy it just in case!

I am sure I have missed lots out but I think I'm all caught up now! I apologise for all the posts I have missed! I did start to try to catch up but boy were there a lot! You will have to comment on here if I have missed something great like a lovely recipe or a fab giveaway.

I also need to catch up with my lovely swap partner for the Christmas Charity Shop Swap and start to plan my parcel! So exciting.

Now I am off to enjoy a cup of tea and some left over baked goodies!

Have a lovely evening!

Jewel x