How to Make Sugarcraft Carnations using the FMM Easiest Carnation Ever Cutter Set

I recently wrote a blog tutorial on how I use the fantastic FMM Easiest Rose Ever cutters (CLICK HERE if you want to read that one), and I mentioned that FMM do other flowers in this range, including carnations. I thought I would show you how easy it is to make pretty carnations with the FMM Easiest Carnation Ever cutter set.

There are lots of different types of carnation cutters available but none are as quick to use as the Easiest Ever ones. What makes these cutters so different is their ability to make multiple layers of petals in one go. You can make tiny spray carnations to large full bloom ones. They look incredibly delicate and time-consuming, but as you’ll see they are so quick and easy to make. They are even easier than the roses as you don’t need to shape the petals with these ones. Just cut, frill and roll 🙂

Before I made my very first one I watched FMM’s video tutorial, and it would be a good idea if you did too so you can picture the steps better in your mind’s eye. It is so clear to follow and explains the method perfectly. CLICK HERE to watch it yourself. My very first attempt was the carnation below:

I was really pleased with it at the time, but now I like to dust the edges with a little bit of lustre dust as, if you look at a real carnation, the edges are often slightly darker.

The FMM Easiest Carnation Ever cutter set comes with 2 sizes of cutters, allowing you to make endless different sizes of carnations. You will see in the picture below that the difference between this cutter (on the left) and the rose one (on the right) is that the carnation one has lots of tiny lines along the edges. These tiny lines are what helps to give the beautiful frill detail at the edges of the petals.

To make your carnations, you will need the cutter set (obviously), modelling paste in the colour of your choice, a cornflour pouch, a cocktail stick or frilling tool, a small rolling pin, edible glue or cooled boiled water, and a clean paintbrush.

You can buy modelling paste ready made, or make your own by kneading a tiny bit of Tylo Powder into normal sugarpaste, or knead together a 50/50 mix of flowerpaste and sugarpaste. I use the Tylo Powder method as it is more economical.

Dust your work surface with cornflour. Roll the modelling paste out to around 1mm thickness. Press the cutter firmly down on to the paste, and move it around slightly while still pressing down. This will ensure a crisp clean cut. As there are so many tiny lines on this cutter, the paste will stay in the cutter when you lift it up. This is normal so don’t panic. Just gently use your finger to push each petal shape out on to your work surface. To make a full bloom carnation you will need to cut out 3 lots of petals. A slightly smaller one needs 2 lots, and a spray carnation or bud just needs 1.

To get the best results you need to leave the cut out shapes for around 10 minutes so that they dry slightly. This just makes them easier to work with and they will hold their shape better when forming the carnations.

Now for the fun part… frilling. If you look at a real carnation, the petal edges are very frilly, and this is where those tiny cut edges of the cutter really come into play. Watch the video again to really understand the technique needed here. It is really simple to do.

Lie your frilling tool or cocktail stick on to the edge of the petal, press it firmly down and at the same time roll it in small movements along the cut edges. Keep moving it in between each and every little cut part of the petal edge and roll each little section. This will make it really ruffled. the more frilly it looks, the better. Occasionally you might find little tiny bits tear as they become so thin and delicate. Don’t worry, you really won’t notice in the end result. Repeat this for all of the shapes you have cut out.

Stupidly I have lost the photo of the next stage, but I have a photo from a carnation I made a long time ago so please excuse the change of colour. It is just so you can see what I mean for the next part. When you have frilled all around the edges, brush a line of edible glue or water along the centre lengthways, and then carefully fold it in half. Repeat this step with all of the shapes you have frilled, so you have your layers of petals ready to use.

Brush another line of edible glue or water along the bottom half (the straight part) and very carefully start to roll tightly from one of the sides. When you have rolled about halfway along, gently stand the carnation up and continue to roll the remainder while it is standing up. This makes it easier and lets the petals move into a better shape. You now have the first size of carnation, perfect for a bud or a little spray carnation.

If you want it bigger, just wrap another layer of petals around, starting from where the first layer ended. If the petal edges are looking a bit too tight, just separate them gently using a dry brush. You don’t need to shape them as the frilling has done that already. And now you have the next size up.

One more layer of petals after this makes a lovely large full bloom carnation.

I went one further though with this one and made a huge carnation with one more layer of petals.

When you have the desired size, leave it to one side to dry completely.

You can either leave them just as they are, as they look beautiful already, or you can dust the very edges with lustre dust. To do this, dip a dry paintbrush into the coloured dust of your choice, dab off any excess on to a piece of kitchen roll, and using small movements carefully brush the edges. You can repeat this as much as you want to build up the intensity of the colour, but make sure you keep dabbing excess powder off the brush. It is easy to build up colour gradually but not easy to tone it down if you go straight in with a brush loaded with colour. If you look closely at the carnation in the main picture you will see I have dusted the edges just slightly darker.

To use the completed carnations on a cake, just brush some edible glue on to the bottom and place on the cake! It really is that easy! I used carnations of varying sizes on the cakes below:

On the one above, I gently dusted the whole carnations with a pale lustre dust so they had a beautiful soft sheen, and then dusted the edges with a slightly darker shade.

On the one below the bride wanted pure white carnations so I didn’t dust them at all.

 

If you would like to have a go at making these for yourself (and I promise you, you can easily do them!!!) you can buy the set directly from FMM by CLICKING HERE

So now you can easily make stunning roses and beautiful carnations. Wait until you see the other cutters in this range: the Peony and the Ranunculus! They are even easier still, as you will see in my next tutorial coming soon.

Have fun making your flowers! I’d love to see your creations. You can find me on Twitter if you want to share your beautiful cake pictures. My Twitter name is @Confarreo. Or pop a link to your pictures in the comments on here. Can’t wait to see them 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Raspberry and Coconut Squares – August BakedIn Baking Club Recipe

I’m beginning to feel like the legend that was Bruce Forsyth, when he used to tell every couple on Strictly Come Dancing that they were his favourite… because every month I say the same thing. THIS BakedIn Baking Club recipe is my favourite. Well, at least until September’s arrives anyway!

In case this is your first visit to my blog, let me tell you about this Baking Club. Every month they send you all the dry ingredients you need as well as extra bits and pieces such as baking paper and testing skewers, to make a scrumptious recipe created exclusively for BakedIn with Michel Roux’s approval. There is always a handy tip included on the recipe card which suggests a way to make the recipe extra special. The recipe card tells you exactly what is included in the box, what extra ingredients you will need, and has clear instructions and photographs for each step of the recipe. All of the dry ingredients are weighed out for you so you can get on with the fun part of baking without so much preparation. The card does tell you though how much of each dry ingredient there is so that you can make the recipe again in the future. I love that detail! I used to receive a subscription box that gave you a recipe and the spices needed to make amazing curries. The recipes were fantastic. The only problem was they didn’t tell you how much of all of the included ingredients there were, so it was impossible to make the recipe again without buying the whole kit again! I love that BakedIn aren’t like that. They WANT you to make their recipes time and time again and they want to get everyone baking! These recipes are perfect for baking with children too, so make brilliant quality family time. Plus of course you’ll have a wonderful time eating them.

The Raspberry and Coconut Squares recipe was absolutely scrumptious. It had a delicious almond base which had a gorgeous crispy crust. It reminded me a bit of suet pastry puddings, although much much nicer, and no suet. This base was topped with fresh raspberries, a coconut crumble-type layer, another layer of raspberries, and finally topped with white chocolate curls after it had cooled. It was supposed to be cut into 12 squares, but as I frequently get accused of being a “feeder” I decided to live up to the accusations and cut it into 9 larger squares 😀 We enjoyed it with ice cream one day and custard the next, and each time it was heavenly. Definitely one to make over and over again. It was comfort food at it’s best and we’ll be enjoying this one a lot during the Winter months, warmed up with custard.

If you are interested in joining the Baking Club, just click HERE to go to their website to find out more. It costs just £8 a month including delivery (even less if you pay for a few months in one go). Although at the moment when you first visit the link you will get a chance to sign up to their mailing list and receive your first box for just £3.99! That’s an offer you can’t refuse. Happy Baking!

 

 

Toby Carvery Quinton – Bringing Family Together with the New Family Platter

I was recently contacted by social media consultancy firm OneFifty who asked me if I would like to try a new menu option which has been introduced to Toby Carvery. How could anyone refuse that offer!?

I love roast dinners. I’d probably say that they are my favourite meals when cooked well.  Everyone knows Toby Carvery is the Home of the Roast. It even says it above their door. With this in mind, I was very excited to try their new Family Platter option. The Family Platter is currently only available in 3 Toby Carvery restaurants… Festival Park in Stoke-on-Trent, East Hunsbury in Northampton, and Quinton in Birmingham. As I live in Birmingham, I agreed to try it at the Quinton restaurant. I went there yesterday with my partner Del and son Luke.

All I knew before we went was that we would be trying the Family Platter. I had no idea what that entailed, but guessed by the name that it would be a sharing platter of some sort. We all decided to not have lunch so that we would be hungry for our meal at Toby Carvery. By the time we got there I was ravenous!

After a brief chat with the manager Hannah on our arrival, we were shown to our table. A lovely helpful member of staff (waitress/waiter/server/whatever the politically correct term is – I don’t want to offend anyone) whose name I sadly didn’t get came and explained how the platter works. In a nutshell, all the food for your family gets served on one gigantic (and I mean gigantic!) platter, which you then take back to your table. Each family member has a plate and serving utensils, and you help yourselves to whatever you want to eat while sitting at your table. Each member also has their own cup of gravy, and you can ask for more if you need extra. You pay the same price for the platter as you would pay for each of your carveries if you had them individually. Our platter would consist of 2 adult carveries (£6.99 each) and one child’s (£4.59), so £18.57 altogether.

Only one family member needs to go up to the carvery serving counter, or you can all go if you want to see what you fancy. You tell the server how many adults and children there are at your table and then choose the meats you all want. We chose to try the beef, turkey, and gammon, but we could have had pork, pork belly, and half a roast chicken as well. Luke also asked for a couple of sausages after he spotted a tray of them among the meats. One of my favourite parts of a roast dinner is the good old Yorkshire pudding. Well, Toby Carvery ones are huge!

The server gave us all one of those too, and then handed us our platter to help ourselves to as much of the vegetables as we wanted. We had a bit of everything… roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower cheese, spinach, and leeks. By now our platter was piled high so we went back to our table, where we helped ourselves to the things we wanted to eat.

This is the thing I most love about the platter option. I have to admit to having a bit of an issue with self-service meals in restaurants, and so as much as I love carveries, we rarely have them due to this silly issue I have. I’m told I’m not alone with this though. I think it stems from my childhood where at a family meal I was called greedy, but whatever started it, I feel extremely self-conscious putting food on my plate. I feel that people will think I’m greedy if I have x amount of this and amount of that. At home I eat normal sized meals. In restaurants where your meal is brought to your table, I’ll eat everything on my plate. But at self-service restaurants, the amount I feel comfortable putting on my plate wouldn’t even be enough for a toddler. This platter option changes everything. I didn’t put any food on the platter, the meat carver and Del did all that. At the comfort and privacy of our table, I felt happy putting as much food as I wanted on my plate, and I made the most of that!!! In fact I ate too much. Oh well 😉

The other thing that is good about the platter option is you can all eat together at the same time. Usually with a carvery, someone stays behind at the table keeping their eye on everyone’s belongings and drinks while they are getting their food. The person who waited goes up when the first other person gets back to the table. At this point there might be a queue and so they end up waiting for a while to get their meal. By the time they get back to the table, the ones who were served first will have almost finished their meals. This platter eliminates all that. Only one person needs to go up to get the food and then everyone gets to eat together. Much more sociable! It also means the queues won’t be as long. One person standing in line for a family is much better than 5 people all waiting to be served individually. I really do think it is a brilliant idea!

The food was delicious. Fluffy Yorkshire puddings, crispy golden roast potatoes, and vegetables that were cooked until al dente, just as they should be. The gammon and turkey were beautiful. They just melted in your mouth. The gravy was perfectly meaty. We only had two small criticisms. The beef had a lot of chewy sinew so we ended up leaving the majority of that, which was a shame, but luckily we had plenty of the other meats. And we wished there had been some roast parsnips. We love those on roast dinners! But these 2 minor things didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the meal.

Another member of staff, Jodie, came and cleared our plates and brought us the dessert menus. She was a credit to the restaurant. Very friendly and helpful, and knowledgeable about the menus. As wonderful as all the desserts looked and sounded, we were all too full to eat one. Luckily they have a new Cakeaway Service. You can take away slices of their giant cakes to eat at home. These all looked amazing so we decided to try those. We used the Cakeaway service and ordered a slice of Giant Cherry Bakewell cake, Giant Junk Yard cake (which was the most scrumptious chocolate cake ever), and Giant Unicorn cake. There’s just one word for these cakes…. heavenly!

We still have some in the fridge as the slices really are giant! Jodie brought the cakes to us in individual boxes, and she even gave us a box which had whipped cream inside, which was a lovely touch.

All in all, it was a wonderful meal, and Hannah and her team were perfect hosts. I hope they see this so I can say a big thank you to them for making us feel so welcome.

I’m hoping that Toby Carvery introduce the family platter to all of their restaurants in the near future. It works so well and makes the whole experience more enjoyable and sociable. Huge thumbs up from us!

 

 

DISCLAIMER: We received vouchers to cover the cost of our meals in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions. I believe in total honesty in all my posts. 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Beautiful Glass Pebble Magnets – An Easy Craft Activity for the Whole Family

I recently had a wonderful subscription box called the Sunshine Box (see my review HERE) and part of that was a little craft activity, making glass pebble magnets. I had never heard of or seen these before, but my son and I had so much fun making them! The supplies in The Sunshine Box were enough to make 20 magnets, and one was included ready made as an example. As soon as we had made the 20, Luke asked if it would be easy to find the supplies to make more. Luckily it is very easy and very cheap, so now we make them whenever we have free time.

These were the ones we made from the supplies in The Sunshine Box:

Photographing them clearly is a bit tricky with reflections, but you can see how lovely they are. The beauty of these is you can make them in any design you fancy. They would make gorgeous wedding favours if you used the same colour and design as is being used on the wedding invitations and save-the-date cards. We love geocaching, and part of the fun of that is swapping little treasures. These are perfect for geocaches as they fit in most sized containers. They also make beautiful token gifts as you can choose the design to suit the individual person. They are perfect for rainy days to keep your children occupied, or as an activity for childminders (as long as young children are supervised so they don’t put them in their mouths). It is also such a therapeutic activity for yourself, just to unwind and feel creative.

Here is a list of what you need:

  • a selection of magazines, old cards, brochures, catalogues, wrapping paper, or anything with a design you like the look of,
  • PVA glue,
  • a small paintbrush,
  • a pen,
  • a pair of scissors,
  • self-adhesive small round magnets/magnetic dots (I bought 132 which were 12.5mm across from Amazon for £3.49)
  • clear round decorative glass pebbles/stones (I bought 100 which were 18mm across from Amazon for £3.99)

Look through the brochures or whatever paper materials you have and find a small design you like. It doesn’t matter if it is tiny, the glass magnifies things slightly. Place a pebble on top of it to check it fits, and if it does draw around the pebble. We found lovely designs on a letter from Morrisons:

and a Lakeland brochure:

as well as book brochures and magazines:

When you have drawn around your pebble, cut the design out just inside the circle you have drawn so it fits perfectly. Brush a thin layer of PVA glue on the back of the pebble (the flat side) and press it down on to the cut out design. Make sure it is perfectly positioned – you might need to trim a tiny bit more off from around the edge. Brush another thin layer of PVA over the back of the design and leave the pebble face down to let it dry.

When it is dry, simply peel the backing off one of the magnets and press it on to the back of the pebble. Polish the front with a cloth to make sure there are no glue smudges or marks, and there you have your beautiful personally chosen pebble magnet! It really is that easy! If you prefer you can paint the back of the design before you stick the magnet on so that you can’t see any other print if you turn it over, but we didn’t bother with that.

Here are a selection of ones we have made so far:

I also had the idea to maybe try using some pressed flowers we had to see if they would work. I hadn’t got many small enough but I did have a few:

For these, I drew around a pebble on to plain paper and cut out the shape. I brushed a thin layer of glue on to the paper and carefully placed the flower on to it, then brushed a layer on to the pebble and pressed it down on to the flower. Finally I brushed another layer on the back and let it dry, before sticking a magnet on. I absolutely loved how these came out:

These would be perfect wedding favours too if the bride’s bouquet has small flowers like gypsophilia included. You could buy some well in advance, press them and make up some magnets using them as lovely keepsakes. Or use bits of confetti instead of flowers. The possibilities are endless!

Have fun and happy crafting!

 

How to Make Sugarcraft Roses with the FMM Easiest Rose Ever Cutter

I absolutely love cake decorating, and I particularly love anything that makes the process quicker and easier. Cakes with flowers on always look so beautiful but they can take soooooooooooooooo long to make, especially if there are lots of flowers on them. I’ve tried many methods of making roses before. The wired method looks amazing but I just don’t have the patience for wired flowers. I’ve tried the 5 petal rose cutters before… absolute disaster! I just can’t make those things work! I’ve tried the method of making individual petals, smoothing their edges in a ziplock bag before sticking them on the rose… too much faffing around and inconsistent results for me. When I heard there was a cutter from FMM called The Easiest Rose Ever, I had to have it! Now it is all I use and I love it. One rose literally takes minutes to make and I love the look of them. I used this cutter for the roses on the cake in the main image. A few people have told me though that they are struggling to use this cutter, so I thought I would show you how I do it.

I watched this YouTube video before my first attempt. Have a look at it before you read on, or go back to it if my instructions aren’t clear enough. It helped me brilliantly.

You can buy The Easiest Rose Cutter from most cake decorating stores or direct from FMM, who make it. It is also available in a Smaller set which has 2 smaller cutters… perfect for cupcake toppers or small cakes. The original sized one though makes different sized roses too. I’ll put links up at the end for you to buy the cutters.

To make a rose you will need the cutter, flower paste in whichever colour you prefer (or I use normal sugarpaste with a little bit of tylo powder added), a small rolling pin, edible glue, a workboard or mat, a foam pad, and a cornflour pouch or large soft brush to use to dust a bit of cornflour. In the YouTube video it says to use the end of your small rolling pin to thin the petal edges. I actually find it much easier to use a large ball tool, but either method is fine. Just see which works best for you.

Dust your board or mat with a light dusting of cornflour and roll out your flower paste to about 1mm thickness. Press your cutter firmly down on to the paste and give it a little shiggle around to make sure it has cut through cleanly.

Gently press the shape out from the cutter and cut out another 2 shapes. These 3 shapes will make one full rose. Place them on to the foam pad. This bit is vital…. leave the shapes to dry slightly for 5 to 10 minutes. They hold their shape much better if the paste is left for a few minutes. Ignore the glue in the picture below, you don’t need that yet.

After this time has passed, we can thin the edges of the petals. Very lightly dust the shapes with cornflour. Position the ball tool or tip of the rolling pin so that it is half on the edge of the paste and half on the foam pad. Go all around the edge of the petals pressing down very firmly. As you follow the shape around you will see that the edges start to go really thin and curl into gentle waves. This is exactly what you want it to do. If you hadn’t let it dry for a few minutes after cutting out the shapes, these waves would just flop back down. As you let it dry slightly though, they will stay. Repeat for all 3 shapes.

Brush a line of edible glue across the middle of each cutout shape. You can just see the glue on the picture below so you know where I mean.

Carefully fold the shape in half lengthways so that the bottom petals lie alongside the top petals. Keep the folded edge nice and straight. Repeat for all 3.

Now for the fun bit… making the rose. Brush a line of glue just above the folded edge, making sure you don’t go on to the rounded parts of the petals. You can see my glue line in the picture below. Keeping the petals lying down, start rolling from one side as tightly as you can. When you are about a quarter of the way along, carefully stand it up and continue rolling in an upright position until you reach the end. You might need a tiny bit of glue to secure the last petal on to the roll.

You have now made a small rose.

I now use a dry soft brush to gently tease the petals slightly apart. If that is the size of rose you want, leave it to dry, preferably overnight, and then dust with lustre dusts if you want.

If you want a bigger rose, brush a line of glue just above the folded edge of the 2nd set of petals you have waiting. Look on the small rose to see where the last petal finished. That is where you will start wrapping the 2nd set of petals from, just slightly overlapping it. Keep the rose upright and turn it at the same time as gently pressing the 2nd set of petals on. I like to let these petals fall open a bit so it doesn’t all look crammed and squashed.

That is the next size of rose. Again, tease the petals apart slightly with a dry brush. At this point I gently pinch the sides of each individual petal to shape them into a more realistic shape. A gentle pinch in the middle of each petal edge is all that is needed. You can now either leave that to one side to dry, or make it even bigger for a full bloom.

For a rose in full bloom, you just need to add the final set of petals. As before, brush a line of glue just above the folded edge, look for the last petal on the rose, and start wrapping the final set of petals from that point, overlapping it slightly. You now have a full rose.

Use a dry brush to separate any petals that are too crammed up, and to lift any that are too floppy. This is where I spend the most time, shaping the petals. Look at a real rose and you will see that they do tend to look like they have been pinched slightly in the middle edges of the petals. They often look like the sides of each petal are curling underneath too. Pinching the petals helps to achieve that look better.

Another thing I do to mine is to hold them from the bottom, not touching the actual petals, and give it a gentle squeeze. This pushes the centre up a bit and in my opinion, makes a more natural shape. Not much of a squeeze though, only enough to slightly lift the centre.

Leave this to dry overnight.

It is now ready to dust with colour or you can use it just as it is. I like to add a bit of colour to mine.

If adding colour dusts, make the centre of the rose a shade darker for a more realistic effect. And there you have it! Believe me when I say if I can make one, you can too. I’m not claiming mine are brilliant but I am pleased with how they come out. To use them on a cake, just apply a bit of edible glue or royal icing underneath them and position them wherever you want them.

If you would like to buy this fantastic cutter to try it yourself, or the Smaller set, here are the links:

The original large one which I used in this tutorial is The Easiest Rose Ever

or this is The Smaller Easiest Rose Ever set.

There are currently 3 other flowers available in this Easiest Ever range and I shall be putting up tutorials for these soon. They will be the Carnation, Peony, and Ranunculus cutters.

I hope you have found this tutorial useful 🙂

 

 

 

 

Rocky Road Brownies – July’s BakedIn Baking Club Box

July’s BakedIn Baking Club box was a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE hit in my house! Everyone’s faces lit up when they saw the recipe card. Rocky Road… love. Brownies… love. Put them both together and you get what can only be described as heaven. Beautiful chocolate brownies baked until they are still soft and a bit gooey inside but with a delicious crunchy top, with a rocky road style topping. What’s not to love???

As always, BakedIn sent all the dry ingredients needed to make this scrummilicious treat already weighed out, plus baking paper, a testing skewer, butter guide, and the wonderful recipe card.

The only extra ingredients I needed to use were butter, eggs and double cream. Although I didn’t have to buy them as I always have those in anyway. The dry ingredients which BakedIn provide are top quality ingredients. No cheap or inferior products in their boxes! For example, the flour comes from the Great Taste Award winning flour millers at WESSEX MILL, and they only use the best chocolate and cocoa powder. You can taste the quality!

For the rocky road topping we had to make caramel. I love making caramel. There’s something slightly therapeutic about watching the sugar melt and turn into a lovely amber colour. This recipe made plenty, and BakedIn wrote a tip on the recipe card to use any leftover caramel poured over ice cream. We did that and it was beautiful. I love how these boxes include some more technical steps, such as making caramel, from time to time. It is a great way for anyone to learn some new techniques which they might have previously been daunted about trying.

This brings me on to another wonderful thing about being a BakedIn Baking Club subscriber. A few months ago they set up a Facebook group which is just for subscribers. The support and encouragement that the members give to each other is a joy to see. There are members who have hardly ever baked before, along with ones who have baked lots, but you’d never know. I have been in baking groups on Facebook before and some can get very catty to say the least, with people thinking they are better than anyone else. The BakedIn Baking Club group is a million miles away from those types of groups thankfully. It genuinely is a friendly supportive group and the people are amazing. I feel proud to be in such a lovely group. If you join the Baking Club you’ll see what I mean. As well as the people in the group, it is also good to join because you get access to great deals and discounts on some of BakedIn’s other kits.

Back to the recipe. The brownies came out exactly as I like them. I could very easily have eaten them just as they were with a scoop of ice cream. The smell of chocolate filling the house as they came out of the oven made me drool! I added the caramel, marshmallows and chocolate malt balls (like Maltesers) and was so excited to cut it into pieces to enjoy! The recipe card said to cut into 9 to 12 pieces. As you can see from the main photo though, greedy pig me cut it into 9. The bigger the better. I was contemplating cutting it into less pieces so that they would be even bigger it looked so tempting! (The only reason I didn’t was because of Michel Roux. He works with BakedIn to create these wonderful recipes and I thought just in case he ever happens to look at the pictures of subscribers bakes, I didn’t want him thinking bad of me 🙂 You never know!) Needless to say they didn’t last long in my house! And it is yet another recipe to make again and again. Good job the recipe cards tell you how much of each of the dry ingredients you need!

BakedIn Baking Club costs just £8 a month with free delivery. It costs even less if you sign up to 3 or 6 months at a time. You can also buy gift subscriptions for other people. Perfect for any occasion but I’d say ideal as a house-warming present. You can’t beat the smell of baking to give any house an extra homely feel to it.

If you would like to find out more or to join, just click HERE to go to their website. I’ll look forward to seeing you and your bakes in the Facebook group!

 

 

 

Bring Me Sunshine – With a Sunshine Box!

In my LAST POST I told you about the wonderful subscription box for book-lovers, Wise Reads, which is run by Pebblewise. I told you I would tell you about their other subscription box, The Sunshine Box. So today I will 🙂

I had seen posts from Pebblewise on Twitter about this box. It was set up to send to people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression, as a way of lifting spirits. I thought that was such a lovely idea. It was a Twitter friend’s birthday recently and she writes about mental health issues, being an anxiety sufferer herself. I decided to send her a Sunshine Box as a birthday present. Her reaction upon receiving it told me that this was a very special box indeed! I decided I wanted to experience the joy it brought her myself, so I placed my order for August’s box.

On average you receive 5 items: 2 beautiful practical items, one luxurious self-care item, and 2 tasty treats. This may change from time to time though. We so often spend so much time looking after other people that we forget to look after ourselves, so this box is ideal to treat yourself. It also makes a beautiful gift to let someone know you are thinking of them.

Sunshine Boxes get posted out on the 3rd of each month. On the 5th, it arrived. The box was bigger than I was expecting. This is definitely not a box that fits through your letterbox. Luke, my son, was just as excited as I was to see what was inside. I opened the box and the packaging inside instantly made me feel happy. Each item was beautifully wrapped in bright sunshine yellow tissue paper, so it was like a birthday with presents to open! Each month a different positive-thinking poster is stuck on the inside of the box, and August’s was “look for happiness in the little things” on a background of sprinkles. Sprinkles always make me smile. They bring with them thoughts of cakes and ice cream. Ah, happy thoughts.

Luke and I decided to take it in turns opening a present from the box. His face was the perfect picture of happiness, especially with one of the items! This is what was in the box:

The part that made Luke happiest was the box of treats to make your perfect ice cream.

There was everything you could imagine for a scrumptious ice cream dessert, apart from the actual ice cream of course! That would have been a bit of a postal disaster! What was included though was gorgeous. There were 3 ice cream bowls and 3 napkins with sprinkles on, 3 spoons, 3 ice cream cones, strawberry syrup, maple syrup, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, 2 packets of sprinkles, 3 wafer rolls, and a packet of rainbow drops. Luke was really excited to make us a yummy ice cream treat, and he put a bit of everything on them!

I hadn’t had rainbow drops since I was a child, and I’d forgotten how much I used to love them. The activity of making the ice creams really made Luke happy, and this made me happy to see. He wants ice cream like this all the time now! The rainbow drops started a lovely conversation off about things from my childhood too. It all just made a wonderful evening.

Also included was a set of 3 beautiful rose shaped soaps. These are so pretty and delicate. It’s hard to believe they are soaps. Absolutely beautiful.

There was also a strawberry. But not just any strawberry! This one had a clever practical hidden secret. Open it out and it becomes a wonderful shopping bag! I shall keep this in my handbag at all times. So often I go out and buy something on a whim, but then have to buy a bag for it as I hadn’t expected to need one. Now I can just use my strawberry! It is small enough to hardly take up any space, so just perfect.

Next was a Konjac Beauty Sponge. I must admit I had never heard of these before. The packet says it is an ancient Japanese beauty secret. You just need to wet it so it expands and softens, and then massage your face with it. It is supposed to exfoliate, cleanse and moisturise your skin without the need for any soaps. It balances the PH of your skin and is said to be effective against acne-causing bacteria. Must admit, I love it and will be buying another when this one needs replacing in around 2 months.

Finally there was a wonderful little activity to do either on your own or with your family. There was a package which contained glue, magnets and glass pebbles. The idea is to look through magazines, brochures, photos, wrapping paper etc and find small pictures or a word that inspires you, and cut them out. Stick them on the back of the glass pebbles, then add the magnet. They look fantastic when they are made! Luke loved making these with me. We are keeping some and using some as token gifts and geocaching swaps.

I was hugely impressed with the Sunshine Box. Everything from the packaging to the contents just boosted my mood. It was lovely to have things I could enjoy with Luke too.

It would make a fantastic gift for a new parent who may be feeling tired and super busy all the time, or a baby shower gift so that mum-to-be can have something wonderful to help her through the exhausting preparation time for a new baby. Obviously it would be a wonderful gift for any other occasion too.

You can order a one-off box or start a monthly subscription. Either way costs just £15 a month with free postage in the UK. This one cannot be sent internationally, unlike Wise Reads.

If you would like to order one for yourself or as a gift, click HERE to go to their website, and bring some sunshine to your life, whatever the weather is doing outside.