Tuesday, 30 August 2011

My August Bank Holiday Weekend

I love a bank holiday weekend and for me it was an extra day longer as I booked Friday off work.  I felt nice and rested when I arrived at work this morning, even better to now it is only a 3 day week for me, as I have also booked this Friday off.  I am hoping for good weather as we are camping.  But less of next weekend, What did I get up to this weekend.

Well I spent my time with family and close friends.  I spent Friday shopping with my Mum and getting organised at home.  Saturday was spent with James aunt and her partner.  We took a lovely drive to Pleshy for a beer festival.  As I am not a beer drinker I was pleased to be in pretty surroundings for this one.  The village is beautiful, I would love to live somewhere like this.

We sat out the front of the pub for a bit, which you can just about see in the first photo, until it was too cold and we had to go in, but in the half hour we sat outside for only 2 cars passed us, it was so peaceful.  Bliss.

The rest of the weekend was spent with really good friends of ours, on various occasions throughout the weekend and involved a lot of eating, playing games, laughing, drinking and chatting.  Just what every weekend should be.

I also squeezed in a little bit of baking, although I did cheat, it was from a packet but on seeing mint choc chip cupcakes I just couldn't resist.  They were delicious.

How was your weekend?  I'd love to know

Love Gem xxxx

Monday, 29 August 2011

August's UFO Support Group Meeting

I seem to be making a habit of posting late.  I had every intention of posting this after returning from dinner with friends yesterday afternoon.  I left home at half 3 to go to Lakeside while our friends went to see the Inbetweeners film (I am going Wednesday with some other friends) we met after for a lovely Mexican and ended up going back to theirs once we had finished eating.  We got home around 1am, I was a little very drunk, I hardly ever drink so it doesn't take much for me.  We spent the evening playing board games, it really was a great laugh. 

So I know the question resting on your lips, "Have I finished any crafting projects this month?"  I'm so pleased to be able to say yes, Yes I have.

First off, mentioned last month was a birdhouse.  I had originally bought this as a present for my mum for mother's day, I had wanted to have it painted ready to give to her, well it has only taken me what, 5 months tut tut tut, I am bad.  So here it is:

Secondly is this little project I saw in a book James bought me for Christmas.

I had bought the wire hangers and have loads of material laying around but had just not got round to doing it.  Well last week I change that and set to work.

I'm really pleased with the end result, however I am not too sure about the paisley fabric,  I think it is much better with a less fussy print.

I still have lots of un-finished projects and works in progress so to encourage me to finish them I have put them into a crate which I am going to leave on my bedroom floor.  Being a clean freak it isn't going to be long until this will drive me crazy and I will have no option but to get to work and get crafting, so wish me luck.

What have you been making recently? 

Hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.

~ Gem x

Monday, 22 August 2011

Help Me, I'm An Addict

Yep, it's official, I am an addict.  I need help!  I wondered what all the fuss was about so when the lovely Heather at The Patchwork Heart sent me an invite to join Pinterest, I headed straight across to see for myself. 

Well, say no more.  I cannot get enough of it.  Why I may hear some of you ask?  I don't know, I can't answer that, I just love it.  The good thing is that I cannot access the site from work, as I would get no work done, however I am starting to get withdrawal symptoms after not pinning for all of 8 hours. 

Over the weekend this is pretty much all I was doing.  James heard a lot of this:

So now not only is most of my spare time occupied by blogging, I now have another addiction to fit in as well.  Never mind, I could be addicted to much worse things then this.  I shall just keep telling myself that.

~ Gem x

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Oh my 70 followers, wow, thank you and welcome to all my new followers.
I hope you have all had a lovely weekend, they always seem to go far to quick for my liking, does anyone have that same feeling?

I don't usually post on weekends, but have noticed my blogging seems to be slipping back to how it was in the old days.  I have only been blogging just over a year but when I first started by posts were few and far between.  One of my New Years resolutions was to blog more often so I had better get back into the swing of things. 

I was catching up on blogs earlier today when I came across this over at Sue's and just had to share it with you.  I think it is brilliant and couldn't agree more, however I will be the first to admit I am guilty of some of these, but it does give you a bit of motivation which I like.  Anyway less of my chat, here is what I am talking about.

Isn't this so true?  I will be taking a lot more notice of this from now on, I absolutely love it.

Hope you all have a great week.  It's bank holiday weekend at the end of the week, yay.  I have booked Friday off work, so a nice long 4 day weekend for me, now that is more like it.

~ Gem x

Friday, 19 August 2011

Chocolate & Coffee Cake

As I said yesterday I spent some time over the weekend baking.  I wanted to make a coffee cake but not being a lover of walnuts I started my hunt for another ingredient I could use instead, then the idea of coffee and chocolate just seemed to good to resist so I scoured the web when i came up with this brilliant recipe.

6 Eggs
250g Dark Chocolate
100ml Strong Coffee
110g Butter
75g Brown Sugar
40g Flour
50ml Creme Fraiche
3tbsp Cocoa Powder
50ml Coffee Liquor
1tbsp Icing Sugar

Gently melt 150g of dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water along with the coffee. 
Roughly chop the butter, add to the mixture and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 150C / 300F
Separate the egg whites and yolks, putting the whites to one side.  Beat the yolks with the brown sugar until white.  Add to the melted chocolate and then add the flour.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff then add to the mixture.
Bake in the oven for 40minutes.

Once the cake has cooked leave to cool.
Melt the rest of the chocolate in the same way. 
Remove from the heat the pour in the creme fraiche and coffee liquor.
Leave to cool, stirring from time to time.

Take the cake from the tin then pour the icing all over. 
Chill for 10minutes then sprinkle with cocoa powder and icing sugar (optional)

I was so chuffed with how the cake looked and even more excited about the fact I would be able to post my first ever recipe, at last I felt like a real woman. 

This is when disaster (or at the time I thought was disaster) struck.  When sitting down later Saturday evening watching a film and catching up on some blogs, I decided to try some of my masterpiece only to cut into it and discover it was a bit stodgy.  As it had already been iced James declared that it was not cooked and needed to be thrown away, so with that I threw a little (OK a big) tantrum, threw it in the bin and went upstairs and cried a little a lot.  I felt like I had failed, and all my hard work was for nothing.  You should have seen the mountain of washing up I went through as well.

I went into work Monday hanging my head in shame to tell them all of my failure only to then be told by a colleague, who is also a very good baker of cakes that it was supposed to be like that, as it is more like a torte type cake.  Devastated!

Never mind I shall put it all down to experience and try again maybe this weekend, we shall see.  At least I know now that I can in fact bake this particular cake :)

Recipe for this cake was sourced from here.

Have a great weekend

Love Gem xxx

Thursday, 18 August 2011

I'm Still Here

Hello, sorry I have been a bit AWOL recently, the truth is I haven't really had much to blog about, but I'm back with a few things to share with you.

I spent my weekend baking, yes you read that right I was baking.  I will share with you my recipe and photos tomorrow, as I feel it deserves a post all of it's own, even if I do say so myself.

I arrived back into work after a lovely if not quiet weekend to find these little treats waiting for me on my desk, bought especially for me by one of my lovely colleagues.

For those of you who don't know, I LOVE chocolate M&M's.  Aren't these colours just beautiful.  M&M's have recently opened up a new shop in Leicester Square, I have yet to visit it myself but I will, don't you worry, I will get there.  I have visited their store in Vegas, so I am quite excited to know that there is one a little closer to home. 

Another new addition to London is the Tea House Theatre which opened a few weeks ago in Vauxhall.  I can see it from the window in my office.  I have visited a couple of times now and it is a lovely for a little treat.  I had lunch here today as it happens with a friend and thought I'd take a few snaps to share with you. 

Nice comfy chairs

Pretty china with teapot and tea cosy

My All Day Breakfast Breakfast

There are lovely quotes painted on the walls which add such a nice touch.

The staff are so attentive and really friendly and the sound of classical music adds a really nice touch to the atmosphere.  The service is brilliant, with proper cotton napkins and silver cutlery, this is somewhere I can see myself spending quite a few lunch breaks ha ha.
So that's all from me until tomorrow when I reveal what I have been baking, complete with photos and my first recipe on my blog, yay.

Enjoy your evening,

Love Gem xxxxx

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My Summer List

I know this is probably a bit late in the year for this but seeing as we haven't really had a summer yet I am hoping it is still to come, I decided to make a list of things I would like to do this summer.  I love making lists, I think it is a female thing as I know most of you also love a list or two or maybe even three.  I write lists for everything, it helps me to feel more organised and so much more relaxed about things, I know it will help me to remember things, I can be a bit forgetful, especially if I have a lot on mind.

OK so back to the list.

I know it isn't very clear from this photo so sorry if you can read that but I am going to re-type it just in case.
  • Join A Group
  • Go Crabbing (never done this before)
  • Have A Picnic
  • Go Fishing (again never done this before)
  • Discover Some Place New
  • Star Gaze
  • Fly A Kite
  • Learn Something New
  • Row A Boat On A Lake (never done this before either)
I love trying new things, learning new things, making the most of life, making the most of a moment.  I'm hoping this list will help me to do this over the next few weeks or so.

As I type this the riots are still continuing in London and across the UK.  I think it is a disgrace to our country and these people should be really ashamed of themselves, why can they not see that they are shooting themselves in the feet, they are ruining their futures and future opportunities, the country is struggling enough as it is without them giving a helping hand for all the wrong reasons.  They should not be able to get away with this.  We all need to stand tall together and ensure we don't allow them to ruin us.  We have a wonderful country, why should they ruin it for us all?

I hope everyone out there is keeping safe.

Love Gem xxxx

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Magic Ball Swap Parcel

I received my magic ball swap parcel yesterday from the lovely Pj at The Snail Garden.  The swap was organised by Linda at Hookin With LaaLaa, it was such a great idea for a swap and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part.  Here is what I received:
All very beautifully wrapped, I especially like the pretty roses on the wool.  Also great choice of colour, I love it.

Gorgeous crocheted ribbon

You can just see some crocheted flowers there beyond the cute wooden heart

Molly even lent a helping paw to unravel the ball of wool

I soon had to find another way to unravel it, so as I was unravelling I started to wind it back up again, no idea why I hadn't thought of it before to be honest but then again I am blonde!

Here are all the goodies that were wrapped up inside, each wrapped individually in pink tissue paper

The smell coming from the ball of wool was lovely a mix of lavender from the heart in the top picture, top middle and this rose scented soap.  I even received a Hello Kitty pen with my name on.

I think I am going to use this broach to put on my coat, hopefully I won't be needing to wear it for a while yet but at least I know it will look extra pretty when I do.

Another addition to my Ladybirds : )

I could tell that Paula had really scoured by blog hard to find lots of pretty little things that I will love.  Turkish delight, shortbread biscuits, rose sceneted soap, a ladybird and daisy on a keyring plus daisy type flowers crocheted into a broach and ribbon pieces.  

I have been spoilt and am a very lucky girl.  Thank you so much for all my lovely gifts and for being such a great swap partner and thank you again to Linda for organising such an amazing swap.

I shall be using this idea for some of my Christmas presents this year, I think it is so lovely and the suspense really gets you as you are unravelling all that wool.

So that's all from me this evening, I'm off to bed now, it feels like it's been a really long day

Love Gem xxx

Monday, 1 August 2011

UFO Support Group - 1st Meeting

Hello my name is Gem and I am a crafting butterfly. 

Last month Lynda over at Hookin' With LaaLaa kindly set up the UFO Support Group for all us crafting butterflies in the hope that it will give us the kick up the bum needed to finish off all those UFO's.

To start off with I thought I would share with you all some of my UFO's (yes only some, I have far too many to show them all at once I'm afraid to say)

Firstly my patchwork quilt.  I started this almost 3 years ago, yes you read the right, 3 years, I'm, quite embarrassed typing this right now, how awful is that.  I blogged about it here and since then have not touched it again.  I must, MUST get this finished, I can't bear to look at it unfinished any more and I would love to be able to use it. 

Secondly my wet felting.  Again this has been blogged about in the past (you can see the post here), I have been meaning to get back to it since finishing the class and still have not yet done so (sorry Lynne, I can hear you cursing me from here)

Not only this but I also purchased more felt to try some felt beads and more wet felting from Sarah at Blooming Felt, so another little project for me to crack on and finish.

Thirdly my tea cup candles.  I bought some new tea cups to turn into candles back in March and yes you guessed it they are still sitting there waiting to be made into candles.

These are to name but a few, I have covered notice boards to finish, a bird house to finish painting, decoupage projects to complete, dolly pegs to finish painting, fabric pictures to finish and frame, knitting projects to complete, the list goes on and I'm sure if I were to clear out my craft cupboard I would find more, but I will save that job for another day.  I am aiming to start on one thing at a time and hopefully I will get there.  Ideally I would love to have finished all my little crafting projects by the end of this year.  That gives me 5 months, that's do-able right?  I hope so as there are so many other things I would love to try.  I also really want to try crochet but have told myself no more crafting until I finished what I have already started, so that is me told!

Thank you so much Lynda for organising this, it is much appreciated, hopefully next month I will be able to show you all some finished craft projects, fingers crossed.

If you would like to learn more about this support group you can find out from the link at the top of this post, everyone is welcome to join in, it is nice to know that we are not alone in this habit we have all got into.

See you all again next month.

~ Gem x