Quick Easter Links


Rushing around like a mad thing this week, so blogging may be a little light.

Here are some greatest Easter hits to tide you over today though.




Remember when we made hot cross buns? Still better than any I’ve managed to find in the US, though Alki Bakery does the best ones I’ve come across in Seattle.




And here is the Easter tree explained with instructions on how to make the felted pompoms here




And here’s the Easter bunny egg cosy I knitted for the Minx last year, using the free pattern here.




This year I was going to make a traditional English Simnel Cake, but then I was lucky enough to win a pack of Bella Cupcake Couture’s new Easter cupcake wrappers, so plans have changed to make not so traditional Easter cupcakes.



More on these anon. Oh and if you’d like to buy them in the UK (though sadly not the Easter ones this year), we’ve got Bella cupcake wrappers for sale in the shop.  (And look whose photo she is using on her promotional postcards!)

One of the great Easter mysteries of our time is why on earth giant chocolate eggs seem to be a purely UK phenomenon.  The British do take their chocolate eggs very seriously. After searching in vain for them over the last couple of years, I decided to take matters into my own hands and place an order with the British Food Shop online. After all we can’t have the Minx growing up not knowing about proper British chocolate can we? The British Food Shop ships Cadbury’s chocolate direct from the UK and its Easter eggs are currently on sale (though it’s doubtful you’ll get them in time for Easter).

Finally for someone who does Easter far better than I ever could, rush over to Not Martha to see her amazing take on making homemade Kinder eggs (though so much more beautiful than Kinder eggs could ever be). 

As an aside, did you know that, unlike guns, Kinder eggs are technically banned in the US? Any that you see on sale here are actually contraband. Really. I mean REALLY?


Weekend Photos

This weekend I made a cheesecake for the school’s Gala auction



admired the sun shining through my new (vintage) Pyrex {from ZellesAttic}



over-exposed a tulip



admired foliage in the Japanese Garden 





had coffee and cake at the Essential 




and put up the Easter tree




I have spared you images from our trip to Ikea.


Some Photography Links


Loving the ShakeItPhoto Iphone app, which turns all your Iphone pics into Polaroids. It seems to make even the most boring pictures seem interesting. Here are some recent shots, around my house and from a walk round Seattle’s Gasworks Park.  I really need to sit down and play with it properly to get some cool effects.



Speaking of which, I think I’ve finally plucked up the courage to spring for a real Polaroid camera. The good news is that the Impossible Project is now making genuine Polaroid film, after it was discontinued last year. At $21 for 8 photos though it does seem scarily spendy.

If you’re a Photoshop user, this is pretty amazing. The below gives a sneak peek of a feature that is apparently on the way. Soon we won’t need cameras at all. {via the Daily Dish}



And finally female Etsy photographers have got together to produce a book on Blurb featuring some of their wares.  More details and images on sfgirlbybay. You can buy it here, I wish Blurb books weren’t so expensive as it does seem hugely inspiring.



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{Images from She’s a Rainbow by kristybee, traci french and cassia beck}





Beautiful ravioli from the Herb Farm  


Oh but I’ve been a busy bunny recently.

On Tuesday night I was lucky enough to go to Foodportunity  – a networking event for Seattle foodies organised by Keren of FranticFoodie, where chefs, restaurateurs, press, bloggers, bakers and kitchen shops all get together to sample fabulous food from some of the top restaurants in Seattle.

This was the first time I’ve been and I so enjoyed myself. I got to meet fellow Seattle foodies and bloggers such as Seattle Bon Vivant and Carrie of Girl & Coconut (without her coconut on this occasion) whom I’ve been following for years, mirrormirror supplier Bella Cupcake Couture (with whom I’d only exchanged emails before) and loads of new and interesting people such as Lacey  from A Greener Kitchen, a new ecofriendly online kitchen store.

The food was really excellent – with my prize for foodie bite of the night going to Alaska Silk Pie’s tiny Creme Brulee Cheesecakes – and best of all, thanks to good offices and generosity of Carrie Coconut, I won dinner for two at the Herb Farm, which is renowned as one of the very best restaurants in the whole of the Pacific Northwest.  REALLY excited about that one.

I found out about Foodportunity on Twitter and the Herb Farm competition above was a Twitter competition on the night (which Carrie alerted me to). I’m really finding Twitter a great networking place to be, can’t think why I didn’t get on there earlier. My Twitter handle is @mirrormirrorxx. I’d love to see you there!


The Story of the Cake – Part 3


And here’s the little hussy with her clothes on!





Here’s a quick overview of what we did. You can get a much better idea of the structure from this pic. I don’t think Cinderella found this to be an entirely dignified experience.



Note the careful styling with the empty pizza boxes

1) Buy a nice clean Barbie-type doll, styled how you’d like.  The stripper gloves, choker, hair and earrings on this doll did make a huge difference to the effectiveness of the cake, so it’s good to start with a new accessorized doll, which then makes a great additional present for the birthday girl.

2) You can buy kits to do this but I used took a large stainless steel pudding basin

and a springform cake tin of the same diameter. The bottom layer above is a 9” cake pan, the middle two layers are the pudding basin.

3) Make up 3 x your favourite cake mix.  I again used the recipe for ‘Mom’s Chocolate Cake’ from the Macrina Bakery Cookbook. I can’t find it anywhere online, so I’ll try and write it down in a future blogpost. Suffice it to say that I’ve used it for birthday cakes for the last four years, it’s IMMENSELY forgiving to being moulded into all sorts of different shaped pans, is moist and flavourful and much loved by adults and children alike (to the extent that year on year people tell me they hope I’m making the same cake). Divide your mixture up so that one third is in the pan for the bottom layer and two thirds is in the pudding basin. The only tricky bit is gauging the cooking time for the pudding basin cake. I monitored mine closely and stuck a stick of spaghetti into it every 15 minutes after the initial cooking period was up. It took about an hour and half to cook in the end.

4) Slice the domed tops off the two cakes so that they’re flat, cut the pudding basin cake in half and layer the three cakes with buttercream. Wrap Barbie’s nether regions with clingfilm and plunge her into the cake. Our Barbie was tall and so had to go in at a bit of an angle. We also had to take the trimmings from the cakes and build up an embryonic fourth layer on the top so that the cake went up to her waist and not just her crotch.

5) Decorate with vanilla buttercream. This dress designing bit was fun! I’ve seen cakes online which use fondant icing for this part and they look incredible as you can arrange the ‘dress’ into pleats and folds. Unfortunately I don’t like the taste of fondant icing so much, so buttercream it was, there’s only so much compromising a glutton such as myself will do.

I also should have tested out my blue food colourings beforehand. They were entirely the wrong blue for Cinderella but because it’s a primary colour I couldn’t change it by mixing in other colours as I usually do. 




6)  Go OTT with frills and furbelows. I  realised that the colourful flowers I’d made previously would be very un-Cinderella like, so at the last minute I coloured some of the white melty stuff blue and made little forget-me-nots to decorate her underskirts. The coloured flowers I made went round the base.  She would also have been wearing a lot of pearls if I hadn’t run out of white dragees.

(Disney’s Cinderella is sadly quite tastefully attired, so I had to keep my wildest flights of fancy in check).





Blossom Watch – Day 3

It’s been the most GLORIOUS Spring day here in Seattle and although at first glance it doesn’t look like much has changed.



If you look closely you’ll everything is now tinged with white




And in some corners of the tree things are getting VERY exciting indeed.




In more breathtakingly thrilling news from my garden, the first tulips are out.





Cinderella – The Story of the Cake Part 1


Well, we weren’t able to put it off any longer. The poor Minx has her birthday at the beginning of January, and we are always so overcome with Christmas fatigue that we can never be bothered to organise a party for her. 

Until now that is. The guilt (coupled with ongoing emotional blackmail from the Minx – where does she learn this stuff?) was becoming too much to bear, so we’ve buckled to pressure and scheduled a bouncy party extravaganza for 20-odd five year olds (so help me) this coming Saturday afternoon.


Last year we managed to get away with a Nemo theme, but this year we are having to go full out Disney Princess and I have promised to try making one of those ‘dolls with cakes for skirts’ in the shape of Cinderella.  Feeling rather nervous about it I must say.

Last night I completed stage 1, which was to make decorations from Wilton’s Candy Melts after last year’s success with the seashells for the Nemo cake.  I bought some plastic flower moulds and was pretty happy with how they turned out (these Candy Melts are VERY easy to use).

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that there are no blue flowers here, despite the fact that Cinderella always dresses in blue and white. This is because bad mummy didn’t get blue melts last year and was too disorganised to get blue ones this year. I have told the Minx that Cinderella will appreciate more colourful attire. Quite frankly I could also do without the Pepto-Bismol/calamine lotion pink as well, but I don’t think the Minx would accept the absence of pink so readily.

To refresh your memories, here are the cakes I’ve made for the Minx so far (and yes, the expression ‘making a rod for your own back’ does come to mind). Tonight will feature burying a naked Barbie up to waist. Wish me luck.


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Speaking of the Cherry Tree

I’ve been thinking for some time of putting a tree house in the cherry tree for the Minx. Does anyone know of any companies in the US putting together fab modern treehouse kits?

While I was having a desultory wander round the Internet in search of kids’ treehouses (instead of working I might add), I came across this fabulous restaurant in a treehouse from New Zealand.  The award winning Yellow Treehouse, was designed by architects Pacific Environments, and makes me want to go to New Zealand as fast as my little legs will carry me. Can someone in Seattle please do something this cool? After all there are plenty of trees here.






I had this post all ready to go and then found that my blogging heroes, the always hilarious Tom and Lorenzo beat me to it. Looks like Project Runway is going to be good tonight!


Glorious, Eyeball-Searing, Colour


Tara at Sticky Fingers has had the great idea of setting up an online photo gallery each week. She gives the theme and then everyone links to a photo blogpost on the theme.


today I am mostly


This week’s theme was ‘colour’.  I didn’t have the time (or the weather conditions) to do it justice this week, but as you can imagine from me, I do have a Flickr set entitled ‘Colour’ for use in emergencies.

Here is a collage of the most colourful pictures I could find in my archives. More where they came from on my Flickr here.  And do check out the whole Sticky Fingers parade, for some great bloggers and photography.