Monday, 30 April 2012

A Truly Traditional London Wedding

We have been invited to many fantastic weddings - each one special in it’s own way. From an olive and lemon themed alfresco Italian, to an equally beautiful and glamorous setting in the South of France. Cape Town wine farms to bright and sunny Zimbabwean gardens, country churches and rustic barns filled with charm.

Last weekend, however, was a first for us as we had the pleasure of attending our very first London wedding.

A wedding in the capital has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to it – the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan life at it’s best: busy streets, bright colours, red buses, black cabs and iconic buildings. There is also something truly special about taking a moment to appreciate where you live; something we Londoners don’t do enough of.

After a beautiful ceremony at the Queen’s Chapel at the Savoy we were transported to the reception in a ‘big red bus’, with a glass of bubbly in hand we got to really appreciate the beautiful city we live in. A fellow (equally chuffed) guest commented, as we went through Trafalgar Square, that had we been in Paris we would be ogling the amazing sites, where as when in London we all live such hurried, head down, get to the tube fast, rushed lives that we don’t often look up and enjoy the architecture and fantastic scenery around us. 

The reception was held in a stunning Cavendish Square venue, the canapés were delicious and the champagne and wine flowing. After a hearty British dinner, we were treated to gorgeous little sweet treats, including chocolate orange ice cream lollipops, finished off with an incredible wedding ‘cake’ (made up of assorted cheeses) - cut with a sword, no less.

So, what to wear?

One trip to Moss Bros, a quick stop at the dry cleaner and a shining of shoes, meant the husband’s outfit was in the bag. In true me fashion, I planned my outfit for at least a month in advance, and in true me fashion, left the actual purchasing to the very last minute! 

I chose something for a rainy day and thanks to another great lifestyle blog – Florence Finds – I was inspired to buy the waterfall jacket from French Connection, and it's quickly becoming a wardrobe staple. It is perfect for work, to throw on with jeans and heels and, well, just about anything. 

The final outfit included: a new, shorter hair cut (as good as a holiday and all that) Essie coral nail polish, a little navy blue lace Whistles number – good for this time of year when we are all devoid of tan and out of time to fake it - and my old faithful: Jimmy Choos (another very positive kick back of getting married is great shoes). 

Perfect for the weather and a good cross-over outfit appropriate for both the church and dancing the night away. 

Unfortunately, due to a half dead phone, and a clutch too small for a camera, I didn’t take many photos but will beg the bride, who wore the most divine vintage wedding gown, to share a photo and planning tip or two on here soon. 

Watch this space...

What to wear: London wedding outfit

London wedding outfit

Monday, 23 April 2012

Scrumptious Sunday

The delicious smell of baking always reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons at home. My mum is an incredible baker - puddings, cakes, biscuits, tarts - you name it, she can bake it! For as long as I can remember, she has spoilt the family with yummy treats and I loved nothing more than helping her in the kitchen.

When I was 10 years old I entered a baking competition. I made an orange cake with orange icing (original, I know); but more surprisingly, I won! The prize was a bag full of baking goodies and R100 in cash (about £10 in those days) - how cool was I? I was ridiculously pleased with myself and so the baking bug had bitten...

Fast forward a few years and I still get great enjoyment out of baking. Luckily my husband has a sweet tooth and is only too happy to taste-test my efforts!

On Sunday I decided to try the Hummingbird Carrot Cake (with the addition of pineapple) and I think it's possibly one of the tastiest cakes I've eaten!

Cake kisses,
Nicky x

Carrot cake ingredients:

300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon (plus extra to decorate)
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
200g carrots (grated)
100g pineapple chunks (crushed) - the recipe doesn't include this but i
100g chopped walnuts (plus extra whole to decorate)

Cream cheese icing ingredients:

400g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter (at room temp)
200g cream cheese, cold

Cake method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF).
  2. Mix the sugar, eggs and oil together with a hand mixer.
  3. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in the walnuts, pineapple chunks and grated carrots by hand until they are properly mixed.
  5. Pour the mixture into three greased and lined tins and smooth with a spoon (make sure you line the tins as the cake tends to stick). Bake in the pre-heated oven (170ºC) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning onto a wire rack. 
* I only have two tins so washed and re-used one of the tins once the first batch was done.

Cream Cheese icing method:
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter with a hand mixer. Add the cream cheese (in one go) and beat until completely incorporated.
  2. Continue beating on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Take care not to over beat as it can become runny quite quickly.
Assembling the cake:

When the cakes are cool, place one on a cake stand and spread about a quarter of the icing over it. Repeat with the other two layers. Spread the remaining icing over the sides. Decorate with chopped walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

With a nudge a push and a shove...

I was talking to a colleague/friend yesterday about this blog (lets call her 'TC'). I was explaining in depth (a tendency), with lots of gesticulation (another tendency) the thought behind it.

I waxed lyrical about everything from the 'look' we were going for, and how it should be reflective of our personalities. In addition to this it should be beautiful, original, funny, witty and perfect. How we planned to fill it to the brim with inspired and gorgeous posts featuring the latest fashions, trends, recipes and all of the things that inspire and move us. Quite a tall order for a small and brand new blog..

"So basically,"I sighed "it definitely won't be ready by the end of April!"  

TC, who had heard this all before, was listening intently (humouring me), smiled and said, "Just get going - write something. Start and see where it takes you."

Of course, she was right. In the search of perfection - procrastination, and maybe a bit of fear - had crept in.

So here it is - the very first post. No flashing lights or pre-written and perfectly edited text. Just that first little baby step into hopefully making a blog worth reading. 

There are hundreds of amazing bloggers out there - many of whom we hope to promote and love on here - but we haven't let that put us off.  We have big dreams for this little space. But for now, it's about getting started. 

Wish us luck!

A & N

Let's get this party started