On Sunday I attended the Zine Fair at the Museum of Contemporary Art – a fun afternoon of browsing and purchasing cute handmade zines (and a DIY mobile!)
Love this paper spoon garland!
Each year The Rizzeria has a great stand with posters, tea towels, bags etc. I’ve printed with them before – I love The Rizz!
Some cute polaroids.
A whole stand of cat-related zines! YES!
Kitiya Palaskas had a bright and colourful stand. I bought her Kitten Club zine.
My Kitten Club zine I purchased (left) and the colourful and quirky stand by Mechelle B (right) – there were lots of fun badges I was oooing and aaahing over.
My friend bought this origami game – I used to play with it all the time when I was young.
This stand had the most beautiful watercolour works! I spent so long hovering around trying to decide what to purchase.
I finally decided on buying this DIY mobile. You buy them flat and cut out and and assemble yourself. I can’t wait to hang it up in my room!
It was yet another fun day at the MCA Zine Fair – and guess who will be exhibiting next year? :)
I love tea! I can’t start the day without a strong cup of English Breakfast, followed by an afternoon pick-me-up of Earl Grey and finishing the day with a cup of peppermint tea after dinner. When I feel like indulging I brew up a strong cup of chai tea with an array of spices including cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. I’ve been toying with the idea of experimenting with a chai cupcake for a while and thought this month’s theme of Tea at the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop would be the perfect opportunity to create it.
Quite a few recipes involved using the store-bought “Chai Mix” that I find overly sweet and fake tasting. I decided to make my own blend of spices to add to the batter and finished the cupcake off with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Delicious!
- 230g butter, softened
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups self-raising flour
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
- 100g butter at room temperature
- 250g cream cheese at room temperature
- Cinnamon to decorate
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift the 2 flours and chai mixture into a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
- Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated. Continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.
- Spoon icing into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
My addiction to Instagram is intensifying and I am constantly on the hunt for new IG users to follow for inspiration or just a little amusement. Here are my current favs!
Dachshunds! Frollicking in fields! This user is from Japan and photographs their miniature dachshunds - Hatch is a boy who is 8 and Nico is a 3-month-old girl. I die a little of cuteness.
Another Japanese user who bakes and takes the most gorgeous pictures of her food. The styling is always so refined and elegant and constantly fills me with inspiration.
Bri from the amazing blog designlovefest fills her Instagram with cute hair and clothing ideas, inspiring design, travel snaps and more!
Another amazing Japanese Instagrammer (can you see a trend here?) who takes stunning photos of food, desserts and everyday sights. Always simply styled and eye catching!
I really gotta step up my game with Instagram! Taking photos of my cat Bruce sniffing my finger just ain’t going to cut it anymore…
Who are your favourite Instagram users? Please share with us!
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate how amazing our mums are and appreciate all they have done for us. Unfortunately my mum is swanning around Europe (half her luck!) so I won’t be able to bake for her this year but I definitely have a few treats in store for her when she returns.
I am a big fan of baking treats as gifts for those I love. Not only is it a great idea if you are a bit tight with money, but it’s always a more personal (and tasty) present.
Bake up a big batch of this delicious granola, put it in a cute airtight jar and tie a bow around it. The perfect gift! Or better yet, make Mum breakfast in bed with a bowl of this – a great way to start the day.
Bake Mum up a batch of quintessentially chic macarons filled with her favourite ganache or buttercream.
If you’re feeling particularly crafty you can even make your own macaron boxes as seen on Project Wedding.
Whip up some white chocolate cupcakes for Mum and adorn them with cute little sugar buttons (or flowers, bows, whatever you like).
You could even buy Mum a set of nice tea cups and serve the cupcakes in them!
And finally for an elegant gift idea, bake mum some decadent sesame seed biscuits with dulce de leche. Pop them in chinese takeaway containers and tie with twine or ribbon.
I spoke a while ago about my Dad collecting gorgeous Wedgwood Orange Pekoe tea tins and I have finally put them to good use – as plant holders for my succulent plants which have certainly brightened up my balcony.
Plants in tea tins look cute and have motivated me to start planting more flowers and succulent plants in other random vessels. A quick browse of the interwebz has me brimming with inspiration.
First up is this gorgeous faceted glass hanging terrarium from Wit & Whistle. This is stunning! I noticed Urban Outfitters have a similar idea on sale here - I wonder if I can get it shipped to Australia safely without it breaking…
Hey guys, for those of you who aren’t following me on Instagram (I am @swah) I have created a new blog category to check out my phone pics here. Generally lots of food and cats.
♥ Cooking up a (healthy) storm
I have been focusing on improving my healthy cooking skills (can’t live on cupcakes all the time) and have been thoroughly enjoying trying out Michelle Bridges recipes. 2 of my favs are the steak and mushrooms dish and her beef noodle soup. Yum!
♥ Delicious Italian desserts
To balance out all that healthy eating I have been enjoying some delightful Italian sweets lately. On the left is a Semifreddo from Caffe Sicilia (amazingly decadent, I could only finish half!) and on the right is choc fudge peanut butter gelato from Via Del Corso
♥ Trying to take some “me time”
I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately with too much work and an overly enthusiastic social life so I have been trying to force myself to regularly take some me time. Nothing like reading in the bath or watching the sunset to instantly feel better!
♥ Chopping my hair off
I have been toying with the idea of cutting 1/2 my hair off for a while… it was getting very long and harder to deal with and I am lazy! So now I am rocking a blunt fringe and a “lob” (long bob). Much easier to blow dry and style!
♥ Saying goodbye
And finally on a sad note I had to say goodbye to my beloved childhood dog Bessie last week. She was very old (16 1/2 years) and fortunately had a very quiet and peaceful death. I miss her so much. She was such a crazy sweetheart!
When I am not babbling on about travel or baking delicious treats, I am designing. I was recently approached by Danny from Litographs.com to collaborate together on some designs for his Litograph posters - prints that are created from the text of classic books.
He had spotted my Penguin book designs online and loved the contrast of the silhouette against the vintage wallpaper.
We ended up converting my design for Little Women to Emma by Jane Austen which suited it perfectly.
The finished product is available in colour and black and white and in 18″ x 24″ and 24″ x 36″ sizes.
The entire image is made up of text from Emma – here is a close up of the Emma print:
The black and white version:
Not only do Litographs produce great posters, but with each print you purchase, you send one book to a community in need through their partner, the IBB (The International Book Bank). Litographs helps provide books to international communities in need by upcycling excess books at home.
What started off as a few tweets between food bloggers on Twitter soon spawned into a burger party at Moo Gourmet Burgers in Newtown with 19 attendees! The power of the internet! Upon arrival we were made very welcome with our own welcome sign, a glass of bubbles and giftbags.
It was my first time at Moo Gourmet Burgers and I had the spent the previous few days pouring over the delicious sounding menu (I like to be prepared).
I finally settled on the Waygu Beef Burger ($16.50) which featured Northern Tablelands Wagyu beef, Tasmanian brie, caramelised onions, tomato, lettuce and home-made mayonaise. You can’t get much more decadent than that! The wagyu patty was juicy, the brie creamy and home-made-mayonnaise divine – the salad on the burger provided a welcome balance and meant the burger wasn’t too heavy.
All drinks came with these awesome black and white striped retro straws. Love them!
Sophie ordered the Chicken Avocado and Bacon Burger ($16.50) which included grilled free-range chicken breast, pureed avocado, free range crispy bacon, salad and home-made mayonnaise. It was promptly demolished which I take as a good sign!
A cone of delicious cheesy bacon fries ($8.95) with Egmont cheese and free-range bacon landed on my table soon after – I am not sure where they came from nor do I care – they were delicious. I was struggling after my lovely burger but I still managed to enjoy quite a few of these fries.
Despite clutching our stomachs and moaning about the burger and fries overload, a Cadbury Creme Egg milkshake ($7) was ordered. This is a special so get in quick! It was so thick and decadent and I was in heaven – but one sip was enough for me and I returned it to its rightful owners Flick and Sophie.
Flick enjoying the milkshake! :)
I think it was Mel and Rachel who ordered the Banana Split ($7.50) and I of course accepted their offer to sample! It features 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, banana, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chopped nuts and a cherry on top. Oh and chunks of Tim Tams! Yummmm
And here is a photo of me looking like a dag with my nametag.
And the requisite group photo!
I waddled home very happy before collapsing on my bed in a food coma. A great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait for the next blogger catchup!
I’m getting itchy feet again and am starting to plan my next holiday – once I finally decide on my destination of course! I’m thinking a few weeks in Reykjavík and New York. Heaven.
I thought I’d share with you some of my top travel tips to help you in planning your next escape.
Research and planning are always integral to a successful trip. My first step is always to investigate the climate in my destination(s) of choice. Knowing when to travel and how the seasons will affect your experience is super important. You don’t want to spend your beach holiday locked in your hotel room whilst a tropical cyclone rages!
Once you’ve settled on your time to go, start thinking about what sort of travel experience you want to enjoy on your next trip. Do you want to go on a group tour or embark on a solo adventure? Are you going to stay in a hotel, an apartment or a hostel?
Now that you’ve booked in all the components of your trip it’s time to start ticking things off your pre-departure checklist. Travel insurance, immunisation injections and visas need to be organised to ensure you stay safe and healthy during your holiday and don’t come back with any nasty bills or diseases!
Once you’re finally home you will suffer the inevitable post-holiday blues - take time to appreciate what you have at home, then start fantasising about your next adventure!
For more travel advice check out my Travel Tips page.
There is an emerging trend with brands including Pantone, Hello Kitty and Ladurée beginning to branch out into different areas.
♥ Pantone Makeup
Pantone is a serial repeat offender when it comes to “branching out” with Pantone flower pots, mugs, scales and peppermills to name a few! Now they have added a beauty line to their empire after teaming up with Sephora to create a makeup line based on Tangerine Tango, the 2012 Pantone Colour of the Year. The collection includes blush, eyeshadow, nail polish, false eyelashes and accessories all inspired by the colour tangerine.
♥ Hello Kitty x Ladurée
Possibly one of the cutest collaborations around, French macaron gods Ladurée have teamed up with Hello Kitty to create “a new chocolate, a collection of gift-boxes, and a collection of little accessories.” Unfortunately no cat shaped macarons *pout*
♥ Ladurée Makeup
Ladurée have collaborated with Albion Cosmetics to launch a beautiful makeup line in Japan (coming to Europe and the USA later in the year). The collection includes 20 different blush colors in the form of cameos as well as liquid foundation and lip color. The packaging is divine!
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