With the sun making a welcome appearance this week and Easter just around the corner, I thought I’d get invest in some fresh ingredients to create a delicious spring salad. I searched online and found an excellent recipe for a parma ham, buffalo mozzarella and pea salad called ‘A Taste of Newcastle’ by chef Andrew Scott. As this contained all of my favourite foods, I gathered together the ingredients and set to work recreating this famous dish and here’s how I got on:
In the summer I work in my caravan. I spend hours in that little tin box, writing, sewing and drinking tea. The birds are singing and a cool breeze is blowing through the open windows. I love every minute of it and I can’t wait for the start of ‘caravan season’. In the meantime – when it’s cold and wet outside like it is today – I find it hard to drag myself outside to my garden workshop. I prefer to stay close to the radiators and kettle indoors, so during the dark winter months I set myself up at the dining table and work my socks off from there.The trouble with not having a dedicated work space is that I end up with mess everywhere and I can never just leave my work at the end of the day. It either needs to be tidied away because we’ll be using the table, or the mess stays where I leave it and brings down neatness of the whole room. Plus, because I can see my laptop sitting there, I tend to go back to check emails and do just a little bit more in the evening when I should be relaxing. So I decided, as part of my new years resolutions, that a dedicated workspace was in order and I set out to find myself a desk. Continue reading “DIY mid-century modern desk makeover” »
Sewing should be fun. Creative projects ought to make us happy. And DIYs should be simple. However, in the world of perfect Pinterest photos, I’m starting to think that my crafts aren’t all that good. There are so many awesome tutorials out there that I can’t be but be inspired every day, yet I’ve found that Pinterest is a double-edged sword, because it motivates me yet puts me off projects in equal measure.
As a result of pinning hundreds of gorgeous, perfectly photoshopped, Etsy-esque craft projects, I’ve ended up hrumphing about the things that I make because I know that I don’t have the patience for that level of perfection. And it’s kind of putting me off even getting started on new projects. And when I do click through – the 50 ‘simple’ steps make me want to turn off the iPad and watch TOWIE instead. Continue reading “DIY trouser-leg clutch bag” »
I’m a map geek. There, I said it. I love ‘em and can’t get enough of them, hence my new ‘Map Mondays’ feature. And it’s not just maps that get me going – globes, travel guides and landscape installations all have me whipping my camera out quicker than you can say ‘tourist information centre’. Yes, I have a whole list of map-related articles in store for you over the coming months and I’m kicking this new feature off with a fantastic £25 gift voucher giveaway for TooWrappedUp.com! I never really realised just how ‘into’ maps I have been until this year. I always thought it was my husband’s hobby and, as an ex-scout, he was really good at understanding maps, taking me off the beaten track with nothing more than an Ordinance Survey fold-out and a compass in his backpack. Over the years, I’ve bought him countless books, globes and even a shower-curtain printed with the underground map, thinking that he was a massive map geek. It turns out that I was being much more self-serving than I imagined, choosing map-related homewares that I too liked the look of and spending hours pouring over the travel guides myself. Continue reading “New ‘Map Mondays’ feature + TooWrappedUp £25 voucher giveaway !” »
I’m sick of David Beckham. He’s everywhere. He’s basically stalking me and I can’t get away from him. Okay, okay, I admit it, I haven’t got a crazy fan – I’m talking about David Beckham ‘the endorsement’. He’s in my magazines, popping up on my screen, and all over my TV in advertising campaigns for a huge variety of products. With news emerging this week that Beckham is making more money now than he ever did during his football career – his highest ever annual income occurred in 2014, his first full year of retirement – I can see why he’s taking on so many endorsements. His face is a money-making machine so why would he not make the most of this while he can?
Well, it turns out that Beckham’s adverts may be doing more harm than good. I’ve been reading some interesting research which shows that UK brands are experiencing a real backlash to their advertising, especially when coupled with a ‘celebrity’ endorsement. As an ex-marketing student, and someone who is still very keen to learn more about recent developments in brand promotion, this kind of research really intrigues me.
I’m a rubbish chef. I over-cook food to ‘make sure’ it’s done, my pasta always sticks and I leave pans unattended so they end up burnt. In spite of all my Pieday Friday baking, I don’t always get it right and I’m often disappointed by my own cooking. The problem is two-fold: I have a poor attention span so I wander off while things simmer or start cleaning the kitchen while water comes to the boil. The only guaranteed result of these actions is boiling water bubbling over onto the hob and crispy bottoms of pans. And the second problem with my cooking is that I’m not at all adventurous. I’m reluctant to add herbs, don’t like spiciness and hardly ever season the recipe ‘to taste’. My husband is great at this – he’ll throw in herbs, spices and stock-cubes with abandon – but I’m not confident that I’ll get the flavours right so I just don’t do it.
I suck at growing beetroot. And carrots don’t like to be planted in December. These are the things that I learnt from my veggie patch this Winter. In fact, I failed at growing potatoes too so I think we can all agree that I should stick to summer crops and leave the hardy veg growing to the Farm Shop down the road.
In truth, I’m a fair-weather gardener. I planted those seeds in a barely dug-over patch in deepest darkest winter and left them to it. Those carrot seeds tried to fight their way through frosty ground to no avail, and only a handful of beetroot braved the elements to sprout their leafy plumage. I kind of just expected them to grow by themselves and provide me with an abundance of winter produce, much like the bumper veggie crop of last summer.
Then… …and now
How will the Easter bunny know where to deliver your chocolate eggs if you don’t hang a spring wreath on your door?? The whole Easter bunny thing is like Santa, right? Well, I don’t want to risk missing out on my chocolate goodies so I’ve been DIYing a wreath for spring this week and I’ve hung it on my caravan door already, just to be sure. Continue reading “DIY Easter bunny wreath for spring” »
Today is Cassiefairy.com’s 4th birthday! I can’t believe I’ve had four whole years of happy blogging already and this little blog kick-started a whole new career as a writer for me so I couldn’t let the birthday pass unmarked. So I divided to push back my usual Pieday Friday cookery post by a day and I whipped up a cheeky cherry chocolate cake to celebrate.My blog anniversaries have passed me by in previous years and I’ve only ever celebrated my 1000th blog post with a cake before so I thought that this would be the perfect excuse to indulge in a cake just for me! I also wanted to try out a new recipe that I’ve been thinking about for a while. The starting point is a standard sponge recipe that I’ve added chocolate, cherry juice and amaretto syrup to in order to create a gooey cake that’s just a little lighter than a dense rich chocolate cake. It’s just as naughty and flavoursome though! Continue reading “Cherry chocolate cake recipe + my blog’s 4th birthday!” »
When the opportunity to do some research into spirit animals came up this week, I was really excited to find out more about the subject. As a huge animal lover – I don’t think there’s any mammal that I dislike – I already feel very connected to animals and was interested to learn more about the idea of a ‘spirit animal’. It’s also a great excuse to share lots of photos of my cats Cookie and Muffin so scroll on for more!
Of course, I assumed that I would be a cat. My cats are like family and I wouldn’t be disappointed to find out that I had a connection with cats. After all, I love to sleep, eat and rest – wouldn’t life be so much more simple if I were a cat?! But when I looked into the subject of spirit animals I discovered that it’s not about a preference for a particular mammal, but it’s a representation of the traits and skills that you are supposed to have.