Pecan toffee cinnamon swirls – and tangent about how cook books and thunderstorms are connected

These gorgeous bites go out to our American cousins across the pond! In (early) celebration of Thanksgiving, and because my work colleagues are always keen for baked goodies, I decided to make these delicious sticky pecan toffee cinnamon swirls.

Now I don’t want to start any arguments here, so for the Brits amongst us, these are modified Chelsea buns, and for the American’s – cinnamon swirls.

I’m please to say they went down very well at work! I had to take them all into work otherwise Neil and I would be at risk of heart attacks!

I got these out of the Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking, which actually has a funny story about it:

Tangent warning* – So on the way back form visiting my parent’s there was horrid weather – I mean terrible: gale force winds, sideways rain, all sorts of things blowing across the motorway. Now I had already done my stint of driving (I hate driving…) and so in my capacity as chief navigator I missed the turning for the M6 so we ended up on the M6 Toll. This however was a really good thing in the end as the rain got to the point where we had to slow down to 30mph on the motorway as we couldn’t see a thing! As the conditions were so dangerous even on the nice empty M6 toll we stopped off at the services – where there was a Smiths, where they had the GBBO book on sale for a fiver… thus bad rain storm = cookery book YAY – Tangent over.

Anywho – these are those pecan toffee cinnamon buns and they are/were tasty!


Roll with it – rye rolls with garlic butter

Omnomnom – so I’ve had a pretty wholesome day today. After a failed attempt to teach myself to crochet I decided to do something that might have better results :)

Was anyone else watching the Hairy Bikers’ tour of the Balkans – Northern Exposure it was called? I thought it was fab – I always love the Hairy Bikers, they’re so happy and ‘real’ if you know what I mean? I love that everyone they meet can’t help but love them too even if there is normally a language barrier involved!

One of the things they mad on the programme was Pampushki (Baltic Buns) – they made them to eat with borscht, but I’m having these with sausage casserole.

I found the recipe on the BBC Food website.

I was initially a bit worried about them rising properly as the flat’s about as warm as an igloo…

But I’m pretty happy with the results, and had a nice afternoon knitting while they were proving, and I think they’ll be great dunked in the sauce from the casserole.


Bits and bobbins – sorting out the sewing supplies

I’ve recently been increasingly annoyed at my mess of sewing supplies! They’ve just been piling on top of my sewing basket, but every time I try and get something out, everything else just falls out and you end up with bobbins running away down the corridor.

I’ve seen pegboards on Crafty Pinterest boards and decided it was time to make my own – all you need is:

  • A peg board
  • Dowels to fit the board (you can get both of these from a DIY shop or online)
  • A glue gun (optional)

All I did was decide where I want everything and popped the dowels in – unfortunately my dowels are that *little* bit too small *sigh*. So I decided to glue gun them in place – this actually worked out rather well as I made sure the dowels all dried pointing up more, meaning everything stays in place! Awesome!
How do you guys organise your sewing supplies? 


Brixton village and beef noodle soup


This weekend I visited some friends who’ve recently moved to London, it was a lovely weekend of catching up and most importantly lots of food!

I don’t visit London that much these days – mostly our weekends are spent visiting family or exploring the surrounding area on our bikes but sometimes it’s nice to spend time in the big(ger) city – let’s not forget about Manchester ;)

We were staying near Brixton, so as the weather wasn’t much fun for doing a prolonged outdoor activity we decided to have a look around Brixton markets. We looked around the food stalls and found some great looking discount fabric shops – though as there were four of us I didn’t want to drag them round looking at the fabric!!


We ended up in the Brixton Village –  (and a good thing too as it was pouring with rain by this point and there was a bitter wind so it was good to be inside!). The market was lovely, though the juxtaposition of the original fruit and veg shops next to hipster cafes for all your avacado and gluten free toast needs was a little strange. Made me think about the original residents being priced out of their own neighbourhood and the increasing gentrification of London districts.




But as a product of this gentrification there were some lovely little cafes as well as a Peruvian butcher, Latvian fishmonger and Colombian breakfast shop amongst many others!! We stopped off at Mama Lan for lunch, which describes itself as Beijing street food. We ordered some beef noodle soup, a chilli tofu and mushroom noodle soup, and some prawn and pork dumplings.


The wait wasn’t too long and the veg broth was very tasty, and the garnishes were nice – I tried some of the beef noodle soup and thought the broth was a bit too strong, and sadly our dumplings didn’t come with any dipping sauce. It was a pleasant meal and certainly did the all important job of warming us up after a chilly morning exploring the area, but in my mind there is still no better noodle soup than phô!



Fabric for wedding dresses – where to start?

No pressure: I’m trying to choose the fabric to use to make my wedding dress…

I’m telling myself we’re only having a small family wedding in my parents’ garden – so it doesn’t really matter if my dress isn’t perfect… But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try my best!

I’ve ordered some samples of ivory handwoven (which has the thicker more uneaten texture), ivory ‘power woven’ (smoother dupion) and a natural smooth silk. I think I’m going to go with the ivory handwoven as I love the texture – sorry if the pictures don’t show it off well!!

I’m going to take the whole process very slowly as I’m not exactly used to either dealing whith expensive fabrics or finishing my sewing projects to the highest levels – I know there are different camps out there, and sadly I fall firmly into the – well if you can’t see the seam why does it have to be neat camp!?

But my wedding dress – that’s a whole different story – this beauty (I hope) is going to be perfect(ish) inside and out!

I sent off for some fabric samples this week – I’m thinking of going along the silk dupion route (my mum calls it raw silk, and I’m not sure if there’s a difference?).  I like the ivory – not white white, but not too yellow, and use some French Guipure lace to cover the bodice and add sleeves with an invisible zip running down the back.

The colour silk is for me to make a full version of the dress before for practice, in the same fabric but in a different colour – then I get practice and something to wear to my cousin’s wedding in February! I ordered a few different samples but I think I’m going to the teal (in the middle).


Pretty Flamingo – Elisalex dress

 What grey grey weather! I had a very busy weekend this week finishing off my draft submission for my marketing diploma work – happy to say all submitted before the deadline on Monday.

In order to try and make my weekend a little more fun I made a flamingo Elisalex dress in the evening – the pattern is from By Hand London, and the flamingo fabric is actually curtain fabric from Abakhan in Manchester.
– Sofia, our neighbourhood cat likes to come and say hello every time we’re in the front garden!

I made the bodice lining first, and a good thing too as I had cut my pattern pieces too large (a fault I often make). I like to make the lining as a sort of tulle – I am far too lazy to make an actual tulle that I spend hours sewing but can’t actually wear! So this way I get practice and any little mistakes don’t show.

I made the dress in the evenings from Friday-Sunday and I’m pretty happy with result. I originally bought a cream zip from Jaycotts for the back, but it was too creamy for the fabric, but luckily I had a big red zip in my stash and I think it works really well.

I’m going to have another go at a sleeveless Elisalex in teal silk to wear to my cousins wedding – so it was really good to practice on some cheaper fabric!

Excuse the rumpled pictures! I wore the dress to work today and wanted to gets some photos in the last of the light! What are you working on?


Swishy swirly circle skirt

I really like this really simple circle skirt – I originally bought the fabric to make a dress – but I found it a bit too scratchy against my skin, so though it would make a lovely casual skirt.

I originally tried to hem it normally – double turn and stictch, that it looked a bit of a mess, and I think it also needed something to break up the sea of blue, so added green bais binding at the hem, which I think works rather well :)

At the back of the skirt is a non-invisible, invisible zip as I only had a normal foot at the time, and it was my first ever zip! I’ve since bought an inivisible zip foot and had really good results (such as in the hygge Kim skirt in my last post). When i have a moment I’ll take the zip out and put it in properly!

I always forget I can alter clothes I’ve made!!