Trough of Bowland calling

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We looked at the weather – rain, storms, thunder, hail. Rightoh, camping time! So off we went on Friday evening up to the Trough of Bowland – about an hour and a half drive from Manchester for a weekend break.

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The campsite was pretty basic – read: no showers, hot water or washing up facilities. But it did have one spidery toilet in a lean-to by the owner’s kitchen and a tap, and only two other people staying. Hey ho, it was just for two nights and that’s what baby wipes are for, right?

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The views from the campsite were lovely, rolling green hills and flocks of recently sheared (and chilling looking) sheep.

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We were camping in Newton by Bowland and went for a lovely (and soggy) 8 mile circular walk stopping off in Dunsop Bridge (aka the official centre of the UK) for a well-deserved cup of coffee and bacon sandwich. There was only a few moments of going off track to avoid a field of large teenage bulls blocking our style – who says England doesn’t have apex predators?😉

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We retreated home pretty early on Sunday morning as we’d had quite a chilly and windy night, but it was lovely to get out and about.

Great list of Trough of Bowland walks for all abilities.

Making my own wedding cake

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Neil and I got married two weeks ago, and it was perfect. I never imagined everything could go so smoothly and the house and garden look so much better than I could have imagined.

I have had to keep off the blog for a while, as any cooking or crafting I was doing was ALL wedding related, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise for any guests… But now, as all the secrets are out be prepared to be spammed by cake, dress (yes I made my own dress, and it was as stressful as that sounds…), invites and bunting galore!

_DSF3406This cake was actually quite easy to make, I used Frances Quinn from the Bake Off’s recipe in her book ‘Quinntessential Baking’, and it’s a lemon, mascarpone and raspberry cake (well technically eight of them) layered with some impressive structural engineering… (I got my brother to help place the rods in as he actually is an engineer.

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The picture above shows my genuine amazement that it stood up! (and did so for the entire afternoon!)

Everyone was really pleased with the cake, and as was I! I have never made anything higher than a Victoria sponge before. I made the sponges in my Aunt’s new high tech super oven (it has a touch screen and beeps!) on the Thursday morning, wrapped them up in loads of cling-film and then assembled it with mscarpone icing, home (aunt) made lemon curd and fresh raspberries. I added home grown lavender around the edges and dried flowers on top.

I’m rather proud of it.

 

Lincolnshire pottering and wedding count-down

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It’s less than a month to the wedding! Sorry I haven’t been able to show any wedding prep on Flour and Faff, I don’t want to ruin any surprises for guests!!

It’s been quite hectic getting everything sorted,  but things are coming together nicely!

We had a lovely long weekend away in Lincolnshire and even had some beautiful weather – here’s hoping the sunshine lasts for the next month… I think we’re probably crazy for organising an outdoor wedding in England…

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Toria

Narnia dress – Kim wraparound

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I finished this dress off on Wednesday – I’m super proud of myself, I think its turned out really well!

I used the Kim pattern from By Hand London and I think it worked so well with the fabric which is ‘Biology border print’ by Sarah Watson, I got a bolt end from Backstitch as I fell in love with the print – I think it looks like how I imagine Narnia would look in spring!

20160303_074402I really didn’t know what to do with it at first as I had just under 1.5m but I managed to squeeze (most of) the Kim dress onto it. I had to miss out the knife pleats on the front and cut back on some of the gorgeous sweep of the front. I flipped my bodice pieces upside-down, so where they meet at the waist is actually the top of the fabric. This was a little tricky as I tried hard to avoid any upside down butterflies on the bodice…

20160303_074345In the end it took me about 2 hours to place and cut the pieces! Which is about 4x longer than usual! But I’m really please with how it turned out!

Toria

Say cheese (or raclette) at Borough Market

I went to visit some lovely friends this weekend in London, on the Saturday morning we headed off to Borough Market, and after some much needed coffee from Monmouth we pottered around the market and took in the sights and smells, and inevitably tastes of all the goodies the market has to offer.

20151219_13471520160227_10582120160227_113235I came down to Borough Market on the last Saturday before Christmas last and it was so very busy, it was nice to have a bit more breathing space this time around, even if it mean not having the lovely Christmas decorations they put up!

One dish we tried which I was really impressed by was melted raclette on potatoes with pickles, it was SO tasty. Essentially they melt a side of raclette under a grill and then scrape off the gooey loveliness ontop of the potatoes – it was DELICIOUS, but I don’t think I could have eaten a whole plate full!

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1 – Raclette melting
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2 – Raclette scooping
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3 – Raclette chomping

 

One of my friends had an artisan scotch egg with sweet potato fries which was also amazing, and I went back to basics with a Lincolnshire sausage sarnie!

I love pottering around food markets, and picking up tasty bits and pieces – I selflessly spent a while trying cured meats and grabbed Neil some Alpine chilli biltong which is going down well at home:).

Have you got any favourite food markets I should check out?

Making my own wedding dress: Part 1 – Planning!

 

Call me foolish – I’m not much beyond a beginner sewer and here I am deciding to make my own wedding dress!

I’ve started getting bits and pieces ready – I’ve now got my silk, lace and pattern –

I’m torn between the Kim bodice and the Elisalex bodice from the lovely ladies at By Hand London, I’ve made a couple of Elisalexs before see the flamingo one, and the green silk one, and I’m currently making a Kim dress – which is on hold as my machine is in Janome hospital.

I’ve decided on a full circle skirt, and guipure lace overlay on the top half (from Truro fabrics) and the silk from the Silk Route – which I’ve NO IDEA how to do…

I’ve been taking inspiration from the amazing dresses over Chotronette as well. I’ll be sure to keep you updated with my progress!

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Flowers are happy things: Yes, I made a wedding cake!

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So, last weekend was a bit of a craft fest! It was my cousin’s wedding, I wore a me-made dress (see Elisalex blog post) AND I made her wedding cake!

Last July, while having breakfast in a Norfolk B&B, my cousin asked me to make her wedding cake! WOW. Of course I said yes, but then I began to panic – I’d never made a HUGE cake before, never decorated one with anything other than a sprinkle of icing sugar or a dab of butter cream, never made *anything* out of fondant… but hey, how hard could it be?

They also wanted it allotment themed.

ah.

Here is the epic (mainly picture based) tale of the journey of the cake.

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It’s a carrot cake, with Swiss meringue butter cream. I used Ian from the Great British Bake Off’s carrot cake recipe x 2.5 quantity, and cooked it in 2 batches in a 12 x 12 inch tin and sandwiched them together.

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I made a trial run of the cake – full size, and practiced the green grass stippled effect and took it into my work colleagues who very graciously devoured the whole thing:)

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I decided to double the spice quantities (only 1.5times the cloves as they’re quite strong) because everyone loves extra flavour right?!

Together with my aunt, cousin, (now) cousin-in-law, both his parents AND my mum, we settled down on Boxing Day to make the fondant veg and flowers – it took ALL day…

My aunt later made the shed – icing a mini-fruitcake, and my cousin made the minion – the wellies were a last minute addition being made only the night before assembly!

I made the actual cake and iced it on the Tuesday before the Saturday wedding, drove it down to Kent (terrifying), assembled it on the Friday (took about 4 hours) and drove it to the wedding venue (even more terrifying) ready for the Saturday wedding.

I’m pleased to report that all went according to plan, the wedding venue AND photographer were super impressed, which left me feeling AMAZING for the whole day, and the cake was *still* moist and tasty on the Saturday night!

Congratulations Mr & Mrs B!

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