Cake decorating!!!!!

Hey guys!

I was so excited for today because me and a friend were off to do a cake decorating course at Sweet and Floral (came up on Groupon). It was soooooo much fun!

We learnt how to colour icing using gel colours (sugar flair ones which were all veggie, vegan and gluten free).

We made bows (like the spots? We even learnt how to make spotty icing!)

We learnt how to pipe different designs with butter icing- a rose and a swirly thing;

And made some little doves (that is the swirly icing technique)

Here is the rose underneath some roses made of icing which I also learned how to make!

So pretty! With some edible glitter on there for fun!

We also got to choose our final cake! I went for fondant icing (so I had 2 of each) with some little flowers and butterflies.

And a close up;

I was so excited about this and the course was just brilliant. We all started off with white fondant icing (tescos is the best apparently) and then we had to choose our colours- I used navy and melon colours in varying amounts to make yellow, blue and green.  We got given drinks and cake (and biscuits were available) while we decorated, and they were so good at demonstrating and then coming around to each table to help. I have some great ideas for how to decorate my Christmas cakes this year. Plus, if I get some colours I could go all fancy and make marzipan carrots for the top of carrot cakes! 🙂 Plus we got to take our 4 cakes home in a box!

I have been looking for places that sell the gel icing now, and I found a cake shop in Welwyn which is near to me! Yay!

Other news- I actually screamed (yup, then I realised the windows were open, what will the neighbours think) when I found this freebie in my Ocado shopping!

Piglet of peppermint teapigs tea!!!!!!! How exciting! Yes, I really do scream over 2 teabags. I just love freebies, and mini things, and tea, so all three together= amazing!

I also popped to the shops- I went in to Holland and Barrett to get some cranberries (Christmas cake making starts in half term- one week to go yay). I came out with this. Ahem.

Mint tea, a mixed box of various teas including vanilla strawberry, and blueberry, unsweetened almond milk (to tide me over before I attempt my own in half term), 2 packets of un-sulphared cranberries, Doves wholegrain spelt flour, Maca powder (although I think I actually wanted lucuma?), cherry licorice (to even it out as it was buy one get one half price).

Some desserts made with pea protein!

And some coconut flour! I keep reading about this so when I saw it I went for it. Plus it is gluten free so I can make something for my friend who has coeliacs. Any recipe recommendations will be well received 🙂

I am going to leave you with another cake photo!

Which one do you think looks most impressive? Have you ever made things like that for cakes before? Anything else I should try besides carrots?

PS Holland and Barrett were promoting their loyalty card- seems like a Boots advantage card so worth signing up if you shop there. 🙂

How exercise changes my opinion of my body

I have been noticing this recently. When I go to the gym to do classes, they take place in a studio with mirrors along the main wall, so you can always see yourself in the mirror.

Now I know exercise gear is not the most flattering, but I do not always like catching a glimpse of myself, especially at the beginning. (I used to wear baggy tshirts and baggy tracksuit bottoms, but then I realised that I would rather wear comfy sweat-wicking clothes and not care what I look like so much).

But what I have noticed recently is when I get to the class and I see myself in the mirror, I hone in on the parts I do not like. I see little bumps and bulges (really shown up by the fairly tight clothes I suppose) and I feel a little unhappy about my body. But then, something amazing happens. I start the class- either aerobics or body pump. When I am exercising and I glance at myself, I feel good about my body. During aerobics when we are leaping about, I feel proud that I can keep up with the high intensity cardio, and think about my strong heart and lungs. During body pump I catch sight of my arms or legs, and think about how strong they are getting. But the lumps and bumps also seem to disappear.

I have the opposite of this (almost) when I run. I leave the house looking presentable; hair tied back neatly, feeling good in my vest and capris. Then when I get home and catch sight of myself- hair all coming out, red face, dishevelled clothes, and think “I don’t look like that in my head”.

Do your perceptions of your body change when you exercise?

Now for some random pictures!

After my run (5 miles in the drizzle!) yesterday I cracked open a bar of Conscious chocolate which I won in Rachel’s giveaway– soooo yummy I have not had conscious chocolate in ages.

And before aerobics on Tuesday I tried a bounce bar! Also from Rachel 🙂

I was a little worried as it contained spirulina (remember when I tried it in a smoothie? Anyway it did not go well!)- well this was yummy! The almond taste came through and it tasted a lot like marzipan, but with crunchy nuts on the outside too! It gave me loads of energy for aerobics too- hooray! I wish I had tried one sooner!
Anything you wish you had tried sooner?


Butternut and goats cheese wraps and WISHES!

Hello

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

Last week (inspired by Lucy) I decided to have a go at making butternut squash and goats cheese wraps- Lucy called her enchiladas- I am never sure of the technical meaning of the different mexican names, but these are baked in the oven with a sauce.

Anyway, here is mine!

First I browned a red onion and some butternut squash (I cheated – gasp– by using ready chopped stuff- it was about 2/3 of the bag I think)- I used a tsp coconut oil in the pan.

Then I put 4 wraps in a dish, and put the veggies in there, and then sprinkled with some goats cheese. This goats cheese was herby stuff from Delamere Dairy, which is yummy (and all suitable for veggies too). Mistake alert– I should have greased the dish as they were hard to get out! I do normally so not sure why I forgot!

The folding is the hardest part!

Then covered them in tomato sauce- Lucy used passata I think, but I only had tinned tomatoes so I reduced it in a pan for a bit with some sundried tomato paste. Could have done with some more but I don’t like them too saucy.

These baked for 20 minutes (I think). This is clearly not a real recipe as I cannot even remember what I did! Whoopsie!

I had one and a half with some salad, and they were lovely- a nice change from our usual bean wraps. If I made them again I probably would add some beans, or maybe some other veggies, but I loved the goats cheese and butternut combo. 🙂

I used the rest of the goats cheese and butternut another day to have a warm salad which was amazing. This was spinach leaves, quinoa cooked with beetroot, peppers, courgette, tomato, with roasted butternut and sprinkled with herby goats cheese and some caramelised onion chutney.

Yum.

Last night after work I went for a little 2 mile run,as I knew today I would be feeling antsy otherwise. It helps get rid of the ache from body pump too. Getting ready for the 10K tomorrow- fingers crossed for no rain.

So today I made some scones as my parents were coming over;

I used the recipe from The Great British Book of Baking (last series- I was inspired after watching the masterclass show this morning)- but it was way too wet and I had to add more flour. Anyway, they turned out pretty good. Also, what is the deal with Paul Hollywood? I just don’t get the attraction at all!

We walked up to the allotment (and my parents could not resist doing some weeding even though we were just going to look!)- and then came home to warm up- coffee for them and tea for me. My first “real” cup of tea for 4 weeks I think- ah teapot how I have missed you. My scone used up the last of my meridian raspberry spread- and it was delicious 🙂

I have also been baking (bribes for work)- but I will save that for tomorrow- this is just a hint- any guesses?

Oh, and look what arrived yesterday;

Yup! 6 jars of DCD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While I was on holiday I received an email from The Fairy Hobmother who works for Appliances Online- she was floating around the blogosphere all summer granting wishes to different bloggers- her mission is to bring joy and happiness to the world’s bloggers by providing treats for great, hard work in the blogosphere. I had mentioned my wish on this post, and it was actually granted! How exciting! They ordered them for me but they kept on getting delayed, (and I was even given the option to choose something else instead) but I decided that they would be worth the wait!

So if you have a wish, feel free to comment below (with your email) as this post may well be visited by the Fairy Hobmother too- good luck!

Also please don’t forget that my giveaway is still open- look here for details.

Oh, and what should I do with all the DCD? 😉

Woo hoo!

Look!

How exciting! I won a prize on the lovely Rachel’s blog 🙂 And the prize arrived! So exciting! 🙂 With the cutest peanut postcard too!

After dinner me and Andy tried a booja booja truffle each. These were rum sultana ones-and I don’t like alchohol or drink, but I do add stuff like that to a Christmas cake -and these smelled like a Christmas cake. Or maybe just like rum- anyway they were super strong! But booja booja always make such amazing chocolate- the rest are safely in the fridge for another day. Thanks so much Rachel I am looking forward to trying every single item in the box 🙂

Now for a catch up;

Monday- good run after work- 4 miles and no walk breaks.

Tuesday- Aerobics- super hard and no time for a cool down! My calves were stiff on Wednesday.

Wednesday- Another good run after work- another 4 miles- so so windy but again feeling good and sped up for the last bit- under 10 min miles at the end which is super speedy for me at the moment. I am now feeling optimistic about Sunday and feel that I could run the whole way.

Thursday- Body pump baby! Heavier weights for squats (quite a boring track I think) and also for the back (as it is slow so I feel I can add more weight and have more control).

Warm butternut and goats cheese salad. This was spinach zapped in the microwave for half a min, topped with roasted butternut, herby goats cheese, caramelised onions, and quinoa cooked with beetroot, tomato, pepper, courgette. Yum.

Lemon slices (from Hummingbird)- I made some for my Nan 🙂

Yay my new bowl! With chocolate alpro and chocolate granola.

Alpro with coconut extract, and chocolate granola. More yumminess.

Also can I just say a massive thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far! I really really really appreciate it (and the lovely comments too). Plus, exciting news- I have a few more prizes that will be added in the next few days. Altogether now “oooooooooooh“.

Question- how do you get ready for a race? It is 10K but at the moment that is the most I have run for maybe a month? I think the day I got the stomach bug was the last day I ran that far. So anyway I was thinking of going for 2 miles tomorrow and then resting Saturday (well, my parents are over, we have to go to the allotment and I also want to start baking some “bribes” for people at work to sponsor me)- but Andy is resting tomorrow also. He will probably tell me off for going for a run, but I need to wash my hair. So- what would you/ do you do?

Cheers.

Raising sponsorship

Hey

So some of you may know that I am running The Great South Run at the end of October. It is a 10 mile race and I have chosen to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I even have a Cancer Research vest to wear (proves I am taking it seriously). They are a charity close to my heart, and usually I run a Race for Life to raise sponsorship- this year I am doing the GSR instead.

I will be doing some sponsorship incentives (?) with work and things, and I wanted to do something on my blog as well.

With the help of some really generous companies I have put together a little giveaway which you can enter if you sponsor me.

Teapigs are launching their brand new website this week. You can follow them on Twitter (@teapigs) and also like their facebook page. I reviewed some of their teas last year and I love them!

They have kindly contributed some sets of Teapigs English Breakfast tea, Peppermint tea and a very very cool mug.

Natures Path make lots of flax based cereals and really delicious flavours- check out my review here.

They are generously contributing some hampers of their entire range of cereals. They are on facebook too.

I also love Rude Health cereals- I tried some of their cereals earlier in the year and loved them too.

They kindly contributed some Rude Health muesli and Granola.

I also love seedstacked bars (in my opinion much tastier and healthier than 9 bars)- see their products here.

Seedstacked kindly sent me some cases of their original bars for this giveaway. Check them out on facebook too.

And some baking/ fudge from me (winners get to choose what I send)- an example:

There will be 7 prizes open to UK residents only:

  • 3 x Nature’s Path Hamper
  • 3 x Teapigs set (English breakfast, Peppermint and mug)
  • 1 Rude Health Muesli +Rude Health Granola

All prizes also include some Seedstacked bars, and one lot of baked goods (e.g. peanut butter cookies/ white chocolate fudge/ vegan cookies of some sort).

I will also be having one prize for people in the rest of the world;

Some nice nakd cereal bars, some other things from the UK too (still getting these bits together) , and some home-made fudge too.

To enter, please sponsor me by clicking here (or use the button at the top of my blog). Please leave your name/ blog name (however I will know you), and then comment on this post to say you have done so. A small plea to say please do not mention my blog as I am asking people at work to donate and I keep my blog separate from my work. The minimum is £2 and I really really appreciate every penny that is raised.

To get an extra entry, please link to this page from your blog and comment on here to say you have done so.

The competition will be open until I have run the Great South Run, so I will close it at the end of October.

Then I will be taking names out of a hat and winners will be notified in the beginning of November.

I really appreciate any donations to this Cancer Research, so thank you in advance if you do choose to sponsor me- every penny counts.