Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas so blue

Merry Christmas everyone.... 

and.. here is how we put out some basic Christmas decor *smiles*

Santa's galore... 

with minimum effort *grins*

and a little bit of blue... 

a crib.. 

a few angels... 

snowflakes on the wall

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a fab start to the year... 

Monday, 23 December 2013

a blue Christmas

I'm having a blue Christmas this year... yes.. in the literal sense... its going to be blue... 
My dad left us early this year... followed by my gran in the middle of the year... *sigh*... Like I say... the two most important people in my life.. decide to leave me in the same year... 

Anyway... I'll be listening to this.. Im sure you'll love it too...

Its just so very tough... I made a list of people I buy gifts for.. and automatically wrote.. 'mom, dad'.... and two days later.. when I was shopping.. and checked my list.. I saw 'dad'... You dont need me to tell you what followed...

Its truly been a difficult year... with lots of silent tears... and secret sobbing... and discouraging any conversations with my mom...

But... Im grateful to all my family and friends... for their immaculate support and unlimited love.. I truly am blessed!!

So we dug out all our old Christmas decor... I had initially decided we'll go red and gold... but I guess everyones blue... even the kids... 

Sims decide it would be blue & silver.. so here we are.. with our Blue tree.. *smiles*

with a little bit of turquoise... 

No effort put into decorating the tree at all.. or the home... 

No DIYs, no additional decor... just all the old stuff... 

And here is how it looks by night.. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas.. Be blessed! 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Is it Christmas?

Is it really that time of the year?? Is it??

Here are images from a gorgeous Reshma's home... She blogs at Dreams are made of these....

Was lovely to see these images in my inbox... so I simply had to share them... 

Indeed.. she's all prepared for the festive season... *smiles*... I sure hope theres a gift for me under that lovely tree too... 

Now thats what I a joyful tree... *smiles*

I love so many bits and peices of her home.. I cant even begin to show you... (obviously this orange wall too).. 

Hop over to her gorgeous blog... Dreams are made of these...  and dont forget to leave her a comment, so she knows you were there.. Its always encouraging for a new blogger.. Share the love.. Its the festive season.!! *smiles*

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House:


75 g soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 orange, zest of, finely grated
1 tablespoon water
95 g butter
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
225 g plain flour

Royal Icing Glue:
2 large egg white, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/350°F/180°C.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, put in the brown sugar, golden syrup, treacle, all the spices and orange rind with 1 tablespoon of water.
Bring them to boiling point, stirring all the time.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter cut into cubes, and the bicarbonate of soda.
Next stir in the flour gradually until you have a smooth manageable dough – add a little more flour, if you think it needs it.
Leave the dough covered, in a cool place to become firm, approximately 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and cut out the gingerbread house shapes.
Arrange them on the lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed with your fingertip.
Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
Once cool, pipe royal icing to glue the pieces together using small cups/glasses on the side for support to hold up the walls till the icing dries. Use colourful pieces of candy/chocolates to decorate.

To make the royal icing: Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar, beating constantly on high speed until thick.

Chocolate and Coffee Mousse Yule Log:


6 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup cocoa powder (baking, not hot chocolate!)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups double cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder (baking)
 1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100g double cream
220g milk chocolate chips

Butter and line a *15"x10"x1" tray and lightly grease the parchment paper. (*I used 14"x13"x1" tray and baked for just 10 minutes)
Pre-heat oven to 190°C/375°F.
In a bowl, with a hand-held electric mixer, beat egg whites until  it forms soft peaks.
Add 1/4 c sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form when beaters are slowly lifted. Set aside.
In another bowl, using the same beaters, beat yolks at high speed, adding remaining half cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until mixture is very thick, about 5 minutes.
At low speed, beat in cocoa powder, vanilla and salt, until smooth.
Now, using a rubber spatula, gently fold cocoa mixture into egg whites just until blended (no egg whites should show).
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared tray.
Bake for *15 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, until surface springs back when pressed gently.
Meanwhile, have a large, clean tea towel ready lined with parchment paper and dusted with icing sugar.
Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and immediately turn cake out onto the sugar covered parchment paper and carefully peel off the other paper. Now, roll up the cake with the towel rolled in it.
Leave it to cool completely on rack.

For the filling, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick. Chill till you need it!

To make the chocolate ganache, bring double cream to boil (either stove top or in a microwave). Put the chocolate chips in a bowl, pour the hot liquid over, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then whisk till you get a smooth mixture. Set it aside till it thickens and easy enough to pipe/spread onto the cake. Do not put it in the fridge, it will solidify. But refrigerate any leftover and gently heat in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds to bring it back to room temperature.

Now to assemble: Carefully unroll the cake, spread the mousse mixture, and re-roll, this time without the tea towel! Place on a serving platter/cake stand seam side down.
Make sure the chocolate ganache is not too runny before spreading/piping onto the cake. I used the basket weaving tip for wood effect.

Dust with icing sugar.

Meringue mushrooms:

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (we don't get cream of tartar here in Switzerland so I used same quantity of lemon juice instead, worked perfectly well)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cocoa powder (baking), for dusting
Milk Chocolate, about 200 grams, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 90°C/190°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Place the egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Add in cream of tartar/lemon juice and whisk just about till you get stiff peaks.
Increase the speed to high, gradually add vanilla extract, and the sugar about a tablespoon at a time, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, pipe and dust with cocoa powder as shown in the YouTube video!
Bake for one and half hours, switching the trays at 45 minutes. At the end of the baking time, switch off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringues cool on the shelves in the oven.
Use melted chocolate to attach the stem to the caps (as shown in the video!)

Recipe & images are the copyright of my talented friend Aisha Yusaf

Friday, 13 December 2013

bday more

Last Friday, was such a lovely day for an outdoor birthday... It really was!! 

this is how the place was set up... a square table with four chairs.... Oh what fun!!

The sufficient supplies made the day even more exciting... and here is what the girls did... 

They started off with making little tags for their bags... with card paper, emboss effect or simply shape cutters... 

After that ... they got to air dry clay... and here are a few of their efforts... 

Then Ramie made these stunning drinks for them... They sat down and sipped... as though they were little adults... 

I haven't seen such huge smiles in a while... Although they seem all grown up... at 11 and 12... theres still a little child in them somewhere... 

They totally enjoyed the craft work, the paints, and even wanted to take some paints home... 

They also tried their hands at glass painting.... Here is what they did... simply awesome!! 

Oh.. and I had to use this... *smiles*

 finally they also did some canvas art... with painting... 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

an artsy birthday

My little one turns 11 this month... *sigh*... Im not so sure where these years have gone... 

Anyway... this time around she decided to call a few friends over and have a little arty craftsy play date.. 

The good part of growing up... is that they managed all the decorations themselves... Remember these lamps from before... 

Yes, its all recycled... *smiles*... 

Here is what they did to our little gazebo... 

very colourful indeed...

My little helpers... *smiles*

A table full of craft supplies... 

From air dry clay, to canvas, beads, glass paintings, and even cup cake decorations.... They did it all... 

I was surely more excited than the kids.. *smiles*.. 

Ramie put this little banner together on a black board... so very cute... 

She also made this strawberry drink for the girls... 

They instantly thought they were grown up... *smiles*... 

Here is the cake... 

And Sita... this  awesome ... awesome person in my life... made all the food.. Sims loves her food and wanted her friends to taste all this... 

We had homemade pizza (even the base), fish cutlets, vol-au-vents (chicken & mushroom), chicken sandwiches, pasta.... and a lot... lot more... 

A few more pics to follow soon... *smiles*...