New studio, new partnership, new rug DIY, & the new Sprout

Painted Rug DIY & Sprout by HP

Well hello!
It feels like my whole world has grown and changed since my last post. If you follow my on Instagram you may know that my husband is joining my creative team! WOOHOO! You have no idea how exciting this is for me. I have been going through several growing pains over the past year.

I hired my studio manager, Alisha, last fall and she has been a dream come true, but goodness breeds more goodness and I have felt the weight of all this goodness and growth strongly. I am so thankful for every fresh opportunity but my mind was getting too full and it was time for a change.
When I thought of the most intelligent, way-over-qualified human I could hope to work with, Daniel Jeffords is at the top of the list.  He is creative, crazy-smart, he understands my vision and brand clearly, he get’s ME…

View original post 278 more words

30 Things I’ve learned from living in London

Kate goes Global

I have a funny way of remembering things. I could spend hours feeling grumpy about a head-to-armpit incident in my morning commute and days rummaging over how annoying it is to get yet another bank holiday soaked in rain. And then – the second I’m over it (the moment I finally leave London for greener pastures), I think to myself: it wasn’t that bad, really, was it?

I admit that I started this post quite a long time ago (back when I was still living in London)  but I could not bring myself to finish it. Now that I’m in Spain, I’m slowly coming to peace with the city that, at times, was so ruthless. In fact, I find myself missing the simplest things (like, public transport, parks and cute and crowded pubs!). Good and bad, this city has taught me a few things I would have probably not…

View original post 326 more words

Not So Traditional Irish Soda Bread with Garlic and Chili

No Thyme to Waste

Another rainy ‘summer’ day! There isn’t much else to do on a wet afternoon than bake some bread and give you a quick update on the balcony garden. Yesterday we added a few new items to the mix: two types of reed grass, chives, additional basil (as the last batch of three different types is looking quite sad), and some ivy. The idea is get as much greenery growing upwards as possible to create more of a garden feel, like a little oasis! So far: no sign of bug infestation! So far, so good! Below the bread recipe you can see a comparison between tomatoes week 1 and tomatoes week 4, as well as a few of the new items.

Irish Soda Bread with Garlic + Chili:  yields one loaf.

450 g                         all purpose flour

1tsp    …

View original post 370 more words

Balcony Garden 2015

No Thyme to Waste

It’s that time of year again- time to get gardening. This year we’re trying a few new things including lettuces and peas. Last year was quite a success considering it was our first time doing this, so we’re more prepared this time with a bit of experience. We get about a half day of sun on our 18th floor east facing balcony, but it does get it’s fair share of wind. Sturdy or low lying plants are the most successful for us, including things can can be tied down. This year we’re starting things right with a much better heavy duty planting soil, and aiming for more trailing/climbing plants, to make things extra nice to look at even from inside the apartment. Most of our project is edible, but we’ll add a few flowers this year for asthetics.

It’s not quite done yet, but so far we’ve got: curly parsley, marjoram, sweet…

View original post 103 more words

Plans for the weekend

Hey guys! Hope you all had a good week!! Mine has been totally crazy. Between building the Green Room Library – the sustainable approach towards materials and Clerkenwell Design Week! And the Chelsea Flower Show!! Not to mention Cannes festival – so many creative festivals going on!
Anyway, back to the subject . I’m not good at talking about myself, so I’m just going to tell you stories of things. 
For instance, it’s coming close to my intern’s final day 😦 . To mark this sad occasion I’m gonna attempt to bake some red velvet cupcakes – the Hummingbird Bakery‘s style. If you want to try them too, the recepie is below. (* no photo evidence will be posted in case the cupkaes turn out terrible!) . 
These popular red velvet cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery have deep red sponge and a cool cream cheese frosting. The recipe is a little fiddly: use the exact quantities and mix the ingredients well so the sponge has an even colour and texture

Ingredients:


For the red velvet cupcakes:

60g unsalted butter, at room temperature

150g caster sugar

1 egg

10g cocoa powder

20ml red food colouring (we recommend Dr. Oetker’s or a paste colouring as red food colourings vary in strength)

½tsp vanilla extract

120ml buttermilk

150g plain flour

½tsp salt

½tsp bicarbonate of soda

1½tsp white wine vinegar

For the cream cheese frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

125g cream cheese, cold

You’ll also need:

12-hole cupcake tray, lined with large cupcake cases

To make a red velvet cake instead, double the quantities below, divide between three 20cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes at the same oven temperature. Frost with 2 quantities of cream cheese frosting and sandwich together.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 mins, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile for the cream cheese frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon over the cream cheese frosting on top.

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, Recipe text ©Tarek Malouf & The Hummingbird Bakers, Photography Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small.
   
   

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

This is an old fashioned kind of cake.  A wholesome, whip it up in a jiffy and eat it any time of the day or night kind of cake.  Low to the ground, nothing to hide.  An unassuming little 8×8 inch square made with a mere cup of flour and a couple of mashed bananas, all slathered with an honest lashing of cream cheese and vanilla bean goodness.

Banana Cake like you've never had it before!

That handful of everyday ingredients pulls together to make a really special cake…I’m not sure if it’s the extra ripe bananas, the poppy seeds, the sour cream in the batter, or that frosting with a virtual galaxy of vanilla bean specs.   But in the end, does it really matter?  This cake is perfect, that’s all we need to care about, right?

Vanilla beans are expensive, but you can also use vanilla bean paste, which is one of my favorite new discoveries.   It gives you that same flavor and beautiful specs at a much lower cost.  The heavy vanilla presence in this frosting really makes a difference, and extract just doesn’t cut it.

THE BEST Banana Cake!

Of course you could double the recipe and made a grand layer cake, but I like it this way, it’s more approachable, more snackable.  And I could never eat a layer cake for breakfast 😉

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

    the cake
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • the vanilla bean frosting
  • 3-4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature (about half the 8 oz package)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • milk or cream for thinning the icing
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and sour cream together. Beat in the egg, bananas and vanilla. (Make sure the bananas are completely mashed smooth first)
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into the wet mixture. Mix together just until thoroughly combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  4. Spread the batter into a greased 8×8 square baking pan. I lined mine parchment paper (or foil) so I could remove it easily for a neater presentation and cutting.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick just comes out clean.
  6. Cool before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting— mix everything together until you have a thick, creamy, spreadable consistency. Taste to adjust your lemon juice.
  8. Heap onto the completely cooled banana cake and swirl it around thickly.

NOTES

Recipe is adapted from Butteryum

I know this is going to become your favorite…

‘Nuf said.

The BEST banana cake I've ever tasted!

source

wedding inspiration

Grace by name and nature, she looked every inch the demure, princess bride.

Speaking of princesses, over 50 years later Kate Middleton’s wedding gown was just as heavenly.

A perfect example of how timeless a wedding dress with lace sleeves can be.

Lace sleeves create the most beautiful, graceful, lean silhouette. 

Barely-there, whisper soft lace with just a hint of bare skin below.

Perfect for winter weddings, modest brides and great for disguising less than perfect upper arms!.

Dress by Monique Lhuillier | photo by Lisa Lefkowitz via Snippet and Ink

TRADITIONAL LACE SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSES

Thick, corded lace and high necklines are about as timeless as you can get.

Dress by Monique Lhuillier

Dress by Monique Lhuillier | Photo by  via The Chriselle Factor

(all 3 photos above are of the same dress)

Dress by Ersa Atelier

Dress by Vera Wang | Lace Cover Up – Custom Made by Angelika Liv Avraham via Etsy | Photo by Clary Pfeiffer via Style Me Pretty

Dress by Ersa Atelier

Dress by Delphine Manivet | Photo by Elizabeth Messina

BOHEMIAN LACE WEDDING DRESSES

Elegant gowns with tight fitting torsos and loose, flowing skirts.

‘Antonia’ Dress (all 3 photos) by Grace Loves Lace

Lia Gown by Bhldn

‘Guinevere’ Dress by Temperly

Plunging necklines, corset bodices, fitted fishtail skirts and thigh high splits add a subtle sensuality.

Dress by Monique Lhuillier

‘Delilah’ by Charlotte Balbier

‘Birgit’ dress Elie by Elie Saab for Pronovias 2014