3 Trends I Won't Be Getting On Board With

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3 Trends I Won't Be Getting On Board WithTrends... something that I am never quite sure of. I don't consider myself particularly trendy - my first priority in everything is comfort, so that excludes a multitude of really fashionable things from my repertoire. Some trends I've absolutely loved through! I bought a fuzzy coat a la Gwen Stefani, lots of crop tops and I am really keen on some of those bomber jackets that are around right now. But these three are just some I will definitely be giving a miss... 

3 Trends I Won't Be Getting On Board WithOne: Brown Lipstick

This is a funny one. I've seen brown lippy look amazing on some girls but it's just something that does not work on me at all. I don't know if it's my skin tone but I looked horrendous (HORRENDOUS!) every time I tried! I could possibly pull of a browny shade of burgundy but that's about it! *Sighs*

3 Trends I Won't Be Getting On Board With

Two: Coriander

It is in everything! To be fair, I really, really tried to like it but no, I just can't get on board with the coriander thing. It makes everything taste of vile soap. I am not a fussy eater by any means (raw beef, fermented cabbage.. no bother!) and I will try everything at least once. I think I have given coriander its chance, it just won't be happening between us.

3 Trends I Won't Be Getting On Board With

Three: Coffin Shaped Nails

Now this is one that I really don't get. Coffin shaped anything is definitely not my thing! To be completely honest I just don't like long nails full stop - it all comes back to the main criterion, comfort! With nails like these I don't think I would be able to function - how do you even open and close your jeans? There must be some serious skills involved!

Are there any trends you can't get your head around?

Alex Signature

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Make Over Your Morning: Green Smoothie Bowl

Make Over Your Morning: Green Smoothie Bowl

I love breakfast but find that I can't eat too much, especially early in the morning so a smoothie bowl seems to be the perfect solution - it's nutritious but doesn't fill me to the point of nausea. You can really get creative with your smoothie bowls and chuck in pretty much anything you like. 

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Link Love

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Link Love

There's no point denying it, I live with my phone, laptop and iPad pretty much physically attached to me. It's not ideal but I just can't get enough of the amazing sites that are out there! I love discovering new amazing sites so thought we will share some of our link love with you...

jettevirdi.com

Jette Virdi

If you love food you have to check out Jette's website and Instagram - her creations are beyond beautiful. She is a friend, one of our favourite creatives & we had the pleasure of working with her on several occasions (here and here). Jette is an incredibly talented food stylist and creative, the organizer of some amazing creative workshops (Calligraphy, Salt, Planting... just to name a few). She is also the driving force behind the gorgeous Long Table Suppers, if you have never been I highly recommend you go along to the next one!

 

cocoandmingo.com

Coco And MingoCoco and Mingo is one of my favourite new finds. It's a US lifestyle & design blog with the most beautiful photography. It features all my favourite things - home decor, food, DIY and typography. Every now and then Jessica, the creator of Coco and Mingo, gives away these gorgeous freebies - anything from cute thank you cards, screensavers, invites, recipe cards to mention a few. I am a huge fan!

stylemepretty.com (29 Popsicles to Beat the Heat)

PopsiclesStyle Me Pretty is one of my favourite websites ever and I visit it daily. So. Beautiful. Just recently their article with summer popsicle recipes popped up in my Pinterest feed. Not sure how the weather is where you are in the world but here in Dublin summer has decided not to make an appearance just yet. I however am determined to at least pretend it's warm and will be eating popsicles at home looking out on the rain.

Make sure you go and check out this week's link love and share your favourite links in the comments below :)

Alex Signature

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Easy Entertaining: Ice Cream / Sundae Bar

IMG_7213There is nothing better in the world than being served a dessert that you can customize yourself. This ice cream bar / tray is just that and it is also really easy to make when you are entertaining as everything can be prepared well in advance. All you need is some good ice cream (our favourites are Häggen-Dazz and Ben & Jerry's) and you are ready to roll! The possibilities for the ice cream bar are endless but this time we went for an indulgent chocolate, nut & caramel option...

Ice Cream Bar / Sundae BarChocolate Sauce This is super easy to make and tastes amazing! Just melt a bar of dark chocolate (or milk if you prefer), add a dash of cream and a squeeze of golden syrup to taste. Mix to combine and pour into a jar or serving bowl.

Chocolate Brownie It's always nice to have a cake option in an ice cream bar, cookies would be fantastic here as well, but we went for the good old indulgent brownie. This is especially good when you pour some of that chocolate sauce over it... but I digress. Here is a fail-safe recipe for delicious and moist chocolate brownies (these were baked in as cupcakes but just bake them in a tray for about 17 min).

Salted Caramel Sauce Salted caramel is my absolute favourite and I admit, I ate nearly the entire jar myself! Again, a very easy sauce to make! You can store it for a couple of weeks in your fridge one you have made a batch, but honestly, I dont think it will last this long!

Make sure you are careful here because this gets terribly hot when the sugar boils! You will need 1 cup double / heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 6 tbsp water, 1 cup caster sugar, sea salt. Add the water and sugar to a pan and mix a little before putting the pan on the heat. Dissolve the sugar on medium - high heat and then boil until it turns a beautiful golden colour (about 10 min). In the time it takes the sugar to get to that stage mix your cream with the vanilla extract. Once your sugar is ready, take it of the heat and pour in the cream slowly while constantly whisking. The mixture will bubble up, but don't worry, it's supposed to be like this. Once all the cream is combined add about a teaspoon of good sea salt and mix until completely dissolved.

Mini Marshmallows This is the easiest option - just open a packet of your favourite mini marshmallows and empty into a pretty jar or container. Done!

Roasted Hazelnuts We went for hazelnuts but pecans, walnuts or even peanuts would be fantastic here as well. Chose whichever ones you like! You can either buy ready roasted and chopped nuts or just toast them quickly in a dry pan and give them a rough chop with a knife. Easy-peasy!

Chocolate Chips We used a mix of dark and milk choclate chips here. If you don't have chocolate chips knocking about your kitchen just chop up a bar of chocolate - it will taste just as delicious!

This is what we had for our Saturday dessert but the possibilities are endless - fruit, liquors like Baileys or Tia Maria or sprinkles would be amazing too! Now all you need is some good quality ice cream (go for whatever flavours you like) and a little bit of whipped cream. Enjoy!!!

A. xx

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New In: Considered by Helen James

Considered by Helen JamesIrish designer, Helen James, has brought out a beautiful range called Considered by Helen James, a collection of food and homewares that was created in collaboration with Dunnes Stores. There is a wide range of pieces: from stationary (€3), gorgeous copper pots (€75) to beautifully designed chairs (€150). Considered by Helen James is a great way to introduce contemporary, Irish design to your home without breaking the bank!Considered by Helen James Considered by Helen James Considered by Helen James Considered by Helen James

Both Becky & I are in love with the collection! We have already tried all of the food products - the Raspberry & Rose conserve is to die for and so are all of the chocolates!! You will be seeing a lot of this range in upcoming posts and videos!

Considered by Helen James Considered by Helen James Considered by Helen James

The range is exclusively available in selected Dunnes Stores nationwide.

Well done, Helen James!

A. xx

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

The time of year when leaves start to turn golden and the afternoon sun has that hazy and mellow tint to it is just my absolute favourite! We are lucky here in Ireland and usually get a few gloriously golden days this time of year. Crisp and bright weather inspires me to cook hearty and warm dishes like this one - one of the family favourites - an apple & rhubarb crumble.

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

It is definitely one of the easier deserts to cook - it's not really a cake and requires more of an assembly job rather than full on cooking but the result is just beautiful! A fragrant, sweet and tart, hot and crunchy fruity deliciousness - the ultimate comfort food!

The Filling

4-5 stalks of rhubarb 3-4 cooking apples 50g demarera sugar cinnamon stalks vanilla pod / vanilla paste a little bit of butter a splash of water

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Peel and cut the apples, trim and cut the rhubarb. Put the fruit into an oven proof dish, sprinkle over the sugar and mix. Add the cinnamon, vanilla a splash of water and put a few flakes of butter on top or the fruit. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for approx. 20 min just until the fruit has softened a tiny bit.

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

The Crumble

100g plain flour 50g cold butter (diced) 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 4-5 tablespoons demarera sugar 3-4 tablespoons of jumbo oats optional: sprinkle of cinnamon to taste

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

A crumble mix is super easy to make: just bung all of the ingredients (except the oats) into a bowl and rub together with clean fingers until the mix forms a sandy consistency. Then add the oats and mix gently to disperse them in the crumble mixture. Done! I often make a huge batch of this and freeze it in a freezer bag for times when I need comfort food in a hurry!

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

After the fruit has had it's time in the oven take it out, remove the foil and sprinkle the crumble over the top. I like to give the whole thing a little sprinkle of demarera sugar just for extra crunch and put a couple more small bits of butter on top (I know, I know! But it tastes so good! Totally optional though).  Bake until the top is beautifully golden and crunchy (approx. 20-25 min).

Autumn Flavours: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble

What I love about this crumble is that it's so customisable - you can bake it in a big tray or small individual dishes, with or without cinnamon or oats. It's amazing with pecans or almonds sprinkled on top... the possibilities are endless!

I love eating my crumble still quite warm with a dollop of clotted cream or custard but its also fantastic with a little bit of good vanilla ice cream.

Apple crumble is my ultimate autumn comfort food. What is yours?

A. xx

The Cutest Mini Cupcakes & Vanilla Doughnuts Recipe

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Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

It's probably no secret that I love cooking & baking... and pretty much everything else to do with food so any time I get an opportunity to make a truckload of mini cupcakes I do it!! It was my little nieces fifth birthday a while ago and it was decided we are going with a princess theme and obviously the colour of choice was pink. The mini cupcakes as well as the doughnuts (which are baked) all come from one recipe and are really easy to make! I make these for kids parties, afternoon teas and all other occasions that may require cupcakes (pretty much all occasions in my life ;)).

Cupcake / Mini Doughnut batter 125 grams self-raising flour 125 grams caster sugar 125 grams soft unsalted butter 2 large eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. This batter is the easiest one in the world, I use a food processor or standalone mixer and just wizz all the ingredients, except for the milk, together (just until everything is combined into a smooth batter, if you mix it too long the cupcakes will become really heavy). Then add the milk to loosen up the batter a little, give it a quick mix and you're done!

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases of your choice and bake for 15 minutes for mini ones and up to 20 for the regular size.

For the mini doughnuts you will need a mini-doughnut baking tray (I got mine in TK Maxx). It is easiest to fill the tray using a piping bag. Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes or until golden - they really don't take very long so keep an eye on these babies!

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

The Best Buttercream Icing 140g soft unsalted butter 280g icing sugar 1-2 tbsp milk ½ vanilla extract optional: food colouring & sprinkles

Buttercream icing is very easy to make, the only magical ingredient here that makes or breaks good icing is time! You need to make sure that you whip the butter (I use a standalone mixer for this) until it's gone much paler, about 2-3 minutes. Then you can start adding your icing sugar, it's best to add in two stages - ad half of it, mix well and once it's all incorporated and smooth add the other half. And again, mix for another 2-3 minutes so the icing is smooth and fluffy - you don't want heavy, stodgy icing! Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix to combine. You can add food colouring if you want. I divided my buttercream and added pink food dye to one half.

Mini Vanilla Doughnuts

Dougnut Vanilla Glaze 4 tablespoons milk 140g powdered sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla sprinkles

This could not be simpler to make - just combine everything with and whisk it together. This glaze should be quite thick, you don't want it sliding off your doughnuts. Just dip your dougnut into the glaze, place back on a baking sheet and ad sprinkles (if you want) before the glaze sets. Done!

So there you have it - two recipes in one! They are  not the healthiest treats in the world but definitely one of the nicest ones! And they look so pretty!

Birthday Treat

What is your favourite sweet treat?

A. x

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