Yummy Battenberg Recipe!

Yummy Battenberg Recipe!

Hello everybody!

Wow I’ve had a long break from blogging… post on that very soon! But I thought I would pop on a wonderful little recipe for battenberg cake which I made today. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

4oz softened butter

4oz caster sugar

4oz self raising flour

2 large eggs

1 tsp baking powder

2oz ground rice

Red food colouring

Almond paste if desired

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Apricot jam

Marzipan

Icing sugar

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  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c, and grease and line a square baking tin. The tin I use is an 18cm square tin, not too deep.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder and ground rice into a mixing bowl and beat for about two minutes, or until it is smooth. Have a boogie to Beyoncé as you beat the mixture, it’ll go quick as a flash.
  3. Split the mixture in half. Put half of the mixture carefully onto the right side of your baking tray.
  4. Add a few drops of red food colouring into the mixture you have left in the bowl. Mix it until it is a deep pink colour. If you were really fun you could mix things up and have some different coloured sponge in your Battenberg; go wild you only live once.

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  5. Carefully spoon this mixture onto the other side of the tin, make sure the line between the two colours is smooth, and make sure your mixture is even. Smooth over the surface.
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  6. Pop it into the oven and bake for about 35-40mins. Once it is cooked, check it springs back when touched, and maybe try the skewer test like I did. Leave it to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then put it on a cooling tray to fully cool down. Remove baking paper.

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  7. Once your sponge is cool, trim the sides and cut it down the middle so you have two sponges each a different colour. Then cut the sponges in half again, so you have four long pieces of sponge, two of each colour.
  8. Warm the jam in a pan, and use this to stick your sponges together in a checkerboard style. Pop some jam on the top of the sponge, ready for the marzipan.

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  9. Sprinkle some icing sugar on your surface, and roll out you marzipan. This can be tricky and I had a small disaster when my marzipan decided to stick completely to the surface. After wailing for a moment I was handed a scraper to scrape it off the surface and start again. Dust your surface well.
  10. Once rolled out, pop your sponge on one side of the marzipan, then wrap the marxipan round the cake. Make sure you pinch the corners and edge so it stays together.
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  11. As a finishing touch, you could score a pattern on the top of the Battenberg, or sprinkle some icing sugar on top.
  12. Pop the kettle on, call your mates and have a gossip with a lovely cup of tea and some yummy Battenberg, and listen as your friends shower you with baking compliments. Job done.

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NOMMY.

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Love Sophie xx

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Running 10k For Gran

Running 10k For Gran

Hey guys!

This post is a little bit different because it’s not really in keeping with my love for topics such as tea and baking lovely sweet treats but I hope you’ll stick with me!

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After my Gran passed away, I have been dabbling with the idea of raising money for The Stroke Association. My Gran had four strokes during the later years of her life, these massively affected her way of living, and for the last 13 years she was living in a residential home. After her first massive stroke she lost the ability to walk, talk and write as well as losing her independence. She went from living in her own bungalow to living in a home requiring constant care and support. She needed somebody to write her letters and cards for her, which was a huge blow as she loved to write to all of her friends and family. Over the years she recovered somewhat, unfortunately suffering from some additional smaller strokes. This resulted in her living with an underlying fear of ‘when will the next one come?’ And her anxiety meant she didn’t want to leave the home, she only felt safe there. Thankfully, my Gran was always happy, full of joy and smiles, she loved her life and the staff at the residential home adored her just as much as we did. She is a true hero in my eyes.

My memories are so full of wonderful times spent with my Gran, baking, walking in the fields, picking blackberries, eating fish and chips, spending every Friday night of my childhood with her and my sister watching Corrie and Strange But True, making all kinds of yucky mixtures and potions with anything we could find in her cupboards, and pretending we were grownups playing fancy dress in her clothes.

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I want her to be proud of me, and I also want to challenge myself to do something I’ve never done before. So I’ve signed up to run The Bupa London 10k on 30th May 2016, for The Stroke Association.

I’ll be blogging my training, from day one all the way to race day, it’s going to be a long journey but one I am so ready for! So this is my pledge, and for those who know me, you know how hard this will be for me, so please feel free to donate and support this amazing charity, and the thousands of people who are living after a stroke.

I will be posting meal ideas, training plans, gadgets, ideas for running gear you name it, so if there is anything you would be interested to read about let me know J It will be fun to see my progress down the line!

Check out my justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Sophie-Deacon

And my twitter @sophie_d247 for updates!

For now,

Sophie xx

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Planning a Little Tea Party

Planning a Little Tea Party

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Hey guys!

So in celebration of me completing my Early Years Teacher Status I thought what better way to celebrate than to have a Tea Party with my closest friends. I wanted to post some ideas and create a little mood board including some cute ideas for a party, such as colour themes and décor. I love to look at other blogger’s party ideas so if you have any links to cute decorations feel free to comment and share!

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I love the whole idea of an outdoor tea party theme, with lots of bunting and lots of flowers to create a bright and pretty area that’s relaxed and laid back. It needs a vintage/floral/bright theme running through it and a lot of summery colours and shades, as well as vintage tea cups and teapots! I’m inviting about ten to fifteen people, so something quirky and also relaxed is what I’m thinking of, it will have some lovely personal touches as well.

Here are some ideas for my party:

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Now that I’d found a great theme for my party I need to get some invites out, otherwise said friends wouldn’t be coming. I need something fast and preferably something easy, and that’s how I came across paperless post. The idea of online invites is genius to me, a lot of my friends are online as well so it makes sense. I can’t believe the range of invites they have, and I have found myself browsing the website looking through all their beautiful designs. Check them out here!

Here are some examples of some of the wonderful designs:

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The website is so cute and a good resource to inspire my party ideas too! It has some more quirky ideas rather than the bog standard ones you normally find, you can personalise your cards or invites and they even have the option of buying them or they have a range of free ones too if you have a budget for your party. I love them!

So if you have a party coming up let me know about it, and share your ideas I would love to see them. And check out https://www.paperlesspost.com/cards/section/invitations for some cute and quirky invites!

I look forward to hearing all about your party 🙂

Love Sophie x

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Gran’s Rock Cakes

Gran’s Rock Cakes

Hey guys.

So on Saturday my beautiful and wonderful Gran passed away.

It’s all very raw still and it’s early days but I feel I need to keep busy and fill my time with small happy moments amongst all of the sadness.

I want to dedicate this post to one of her very favourite recipes The Rock Cake. My earliest memories are (I must have been about five years old) standing in her kitchen licking the spoon covered in rock cake mixture. I remember them being HUGE and can even imagine the smell now! She absolutely loved baking, and made the best cakes. So I feel like it is my job now to bake and preserve her memory.

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Ingredients

8oz Self raising flour
pinch of salt
4oz margarine/butter
3oz raisins or dried fruit
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
A little milk to mix
Demerara sugar to sprinkle

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Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C, grease/line two baking trays.
  2. Mix the flour and salt, rub in margarine,
  3. Stir in raisins/dried fruit.
  4. Stir in sugar.
  5. Mix to a stiff dough with the egg and a little milk.
  6. Roughly place on tray and sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the top of each cake.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes

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If you happen to make some rock cakes, I would love to see your links and photographs so feel free to paste them in the comments. Make some happy memories with your loved ones that you can always look back on.

Enjoy a cake with a lovely cup of tea, and think of all the great times you’ve had and have yet to come.

Love you Granny xx

Ways to Manage Stress

Ways to Manage Stress

Hello everybody!

Firstly I must apologise for my loooong absence. I am so close to the end of my Postgrad and will soon be an Early Years Teacher! Juggling that and a full time job as well as a bloody long commute has absolutely fried me, and any spare time I have is used to sleep. Amongst the chaos and stress of this time in my life I was hugley privileged to watch one of my best friends marry the love of her life. So congrats to you two Beth and Kev, it was a truly amazing day and night 🙂 Here are a few lovely photos:

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So aside from a few wonderful moments in the last few months I have probably been the most stressed out I have ever been in my life. At times I have felt very overwhelmed and felt like I have been almost at breaking point over the amount of things I am juggling. And then it happened. The panic attack. Now there are people who may read this who have had panic attacks and know what I mean, or they may experience something different, but I’ll explain a little about my experience.

Driving to work I had managed to do the entire hour long journey, and when I was around the corner from work I started to feel dizzy, fuzzy headed. I have been known to faint in the past and it felt a little like that so I tried not to focus on it and sang very loudly to the radio. I managed to pull into the work carpark and run inside the building where I sat in the office. Suddenly my chest felt tight and I could’t get my breath. Panicking, I started to struggle to breathe, and in my head I kept thinking ‘I’m going to die.’ From talking to other people who have suffered from panic attacks, this seems quite common. I ran to get a colleague and shouted for help, all while sobbing uncontrollably. She said afterwards my face went blue, then red, then white as the blood drained from my face. I sat down and started to get my breath back as she talked to me and calmed me down. Then it was over.

I hope I never suffer from a panic attack ever again, but to me it was a much needed reality check that I was putting way too much pressure on myself, and I needed to do something to try and manage the stress I was under.

Rather than talk about my work load, I’ll tell you about some strategies I’ve been working on to help me manage the stressed out, overwhelmed feeling.

1. Get enough sleep.
I try to get between 7-9 hours sleep per night, exhaustion never works for anybody.

2. Exercise.
In my small amounts of spare time I go for walks with my sister in the countryside, as a way to clear my head. I force myself to switch off from work and enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of the beautiful landscape around me.
I also try to do yoga. Don’t take me for a yoga expert, I watch youtube videos, which are amazing. If you’re curious, try Yoga with Adrienne, she is so calming and really knows her stuff.

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3. Drink lots of water
Water detoxes the system, and when you’re stressed, you need a clear mind and body, free of toxins. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times, I like to put a bit of squash in mine, then I drink more!

4. Cut down on caffeine
I am a HUGE tea fan as you all know, and so now I switch to decaf tea when I’m at home. In our house the kettle is always boiled or boiling so I was drinking a lot of caffeine which sends the heart crazy and can cause palpitations!

5. Have a healthy diet
Eat lots of greens, and try to cut out high sugary fatty foods, as well as alcohol. I feel so much better when I’ve had lots of fruit and veg.

6. Do what makes you happy
I like to sing, it doesn’t mean I’m good at it, but a 75 mile commute means I have lots of time to belt out my favourite tunes. Just call me Beyonce 🙂

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7. Meditate
I downloaded an app called Calm, it’s a meditation app and has lots of natural sounds while a lovely lady helps you to relax and find your centre. Give it a go if you’re into that kind of thing!

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If you have any other strategies or ideas to manage stress and keep calm, I would love to hear from you! Just comment below or email me on sophie_deacon@hotmail.co.uk and I will make a compilation post with all of your contributions.

Stay happy,

Love Sophie xxx

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Welcome To My Workspace.

Welcome To My Workspace.

I love my workspace.

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It’s completely personal to me, a bit quirky, full of little interesting artefacts that remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. Depending on my mood, I might sit at my desk and write up an essay for my postgrad degree, or if I’m feeling relaxed, I’ll sit on my bed and think up some blog ideas. Whatever it is I choose to do, I love that my room makes me feel comfortable and creative. It’s home.

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I love light, so my workspace is airy, bright and full of lighter colours such as creams and whites, and you can see there are little pops of colour here and there. I keep my deskspace fairly minimal, like they say; tidy desk, tidy mind. The books I keep on my desk include notebooks (love a notebook, who doesn’t?), my Filofax, and my happy book. I also have a few postcards from various people and places. Looking at them just makes me ooze with nostalgia, and a smile always pops up on my face. For that split second I can look back and reminisce on those happy memories, then focus back on my work.

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As I write about all kinds of stuff, I change up my space according to what I’m writing about. I have a lot of beauty and make up trinkets and treasures in my drawers, but the things I use most I keep out for ease of access. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a magpie, in that small sparkly things really attract my eye and I love to see them on display! One thing I’m definitely working on is how to create a bit more storage for my beauty products, so any suggestions feel free to send them my way! How do you store you makeup?

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I love that my bookshelf is overflowing with different recipe books, children’s books, romantic novels and photo albums. I love to look at things that bring back amazing memories and inspire me to make more. I’m so lucky to have travelled so far in my life so my little tourist books are always on display!

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Another thing in my space is a lot of interior design magazines. I am always dabbling with different ideas and themes to create my dream environment, especially innovative ways to use the tiny amount of space I have. Through my mini interior design journey I came across WeWork who are a coworking  company that specialise in creating shared workspaces. On their site you can see some of their amazing spaces, all designed for people like us bloggers and beyond! They really motivated me to have a think about my space, and how I can make it unique and personal to me, and get my creative juices flowing. Check out their Twitter page here.

Check my Pinterest to see some of the workspace ideas I’ve pinned, and feel free to send me any links to your Pinterest boards in the comments! Follow me on twitter, my name is @sophie_d247

I’d love to see some of your spaces, send me your blog links 😀

Love,

Sophie xx

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What Makes You Happy?

What Makes You Happy?

Hi everyone and happy Friday!

I’m not one for all of these days with labels but I love the idea of today being the International Day Of Happiness, I think everyone could kind of get on board with that one 🙂

So I won’t make this a huge long list of things that make me happy, but instead show you a few, and then I invite everybody, all bloggers, all friends to share some of the things that make them happy. Positive vibes spread to everybody is great, and you never know, you might just make someone smile.

So here are some of the things that make me happy:

DSCN0665I made a little collection of things that make me feel happy. These include:

Cupcake recipe book (with obligatory teething puppy bite marks in corner).

A notebook to write down ideas, list things, doodle.

My filofax. My lifeline. My organisational buddy.

One of my huge collection of teapots (my favourite one).

My Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette. Makes my face pretty.

My Wicked mug. I love Wicked!

Brighton magnet. I love Brighton, it holds a really special place in my heart, so vibrant and exciting!

Sydney Harbour Bridge decoration. I lived in Sydney for 7 months, it is one of my favourite places and bring back so many amazing memories, I will go back to visit, promise!

Lipstick. Just because.

Knitting needles. Because it’s cool, therefore it makes me cool.

Here are a few photos of what else makes me happy:

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There are so many other things that make me happy. So many people, places and things. Feel free to let me know about the things that make you happy, it’s so interesting to find out about what makes you smile.

What makes you happy?

Is there anything you are looking forward to?

Is there anything you want to change to make you happier?

Love Soph xx