Friday, 31 August 2012

and 3 days of fashion


Today's blog is about 'Something you're wearing for the first time'. Luckily this blog landed on free dress day at work and I got to wear this dress today. The last Friday of every month we get to leave the work clothes at home and in return we give a gold coin donation which goes to a sponsor child in Cambodia. This Orange dress I brought on sale from Target. I personally don't care where my clothes come from as long as they are good quality and the price is right. I think it was around $25 and is a perfect summer barbecue dress. Except it's not summer yet and I was heading into a cold office. So I teamed it up with some dark jeans and had a cropped black cardi over it for most of the day. 

Pretty bird pattern.

I am pleased to announce that this is my first 'mullet' dress. Another first for today was my new necklace from Lovisa. 

It's an adorable little pocket watch necklace. I think I paid around $20 for it. I absolutely love Lovisa. They have so much choice and when I got that necklace it was by two get one free. I also brought a braclet and got a cute set of pastel flat pins for free.

I think I am going to need to pose better for photos. Hopefully by day 31 I will be able to present you with a fancier picture of me. But for now I will just stand there and smile. Also I will try and be more organised and use my proper camera not just the one on my phone.

In other news. My partner brought me Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is on my 30 before 30 list and my cheap copy I lent to a friend about a year or more ago, before I had a chance to read it. He thought I needed a really nice copy and I think he was correct.

 Anyone else get surprise present today?

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

and its day 2


So it's the second day of the 31 day fashion blog challenge. Today is 'You have the most' and I have a few contenders for this title. But i think the winner is ballet flats.

My ballet flat collection

I have 19 pairs and getting them all out to take a photo made me realise that I need to clean some of them and that others just need to be thrown away. It has also made me decide that I want to find a good pair of mint coloured flats. I think this colour is too scarce in my wardrobe but it is one of my favourites. I did try on a really pretty pair of mint heals last week from Betts but they don't come in my size (Aus11) and the 10's which sometimes fit, didn't.

I'd love a pair like that but alas, they only go to size 10. If I can't find any in the shops I may buy them anyway. They are from Styletread so they have a free return policy.

Well it would seem that I am already learning from blogging about my clothes. I have learnt that I need to do a shoe clean out and buy new shoes.

Until next time,

Love, love Elle.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

and so I become fashionable


I have never thought of myself as very fashionable. I have some lovely clothes and I know what looks good on me and what doesn't. But I have always thought of fashionable people as fashion forward, ahead of the trend, or even the trend themselves. Fashionable people are artists with their ensemble.

So I have decided to complete the 31 Day Fashion blogger Challenge to help make me more fashionable. Warning: It may not work. But I will give it a try. 'How would doing a fashion blog challenge make you more fashionable?' you may ask. Well I am hoping that it will allow me to look at my wardrobe differently. I have a lot of clothes. A lot of my clothes look the same and there are somethings that I buy and never wear. So I hope this will help me improve my wardrobe for the better. Hopefully it will also show me if I have any holes in my wardrobe that desperately need filling.

Day 1: Your Wardrobe.

My wardrobe consist of one shelf and rail. In the corner I have hanging shelves which hold my scarves and beanies and a few miscellaneous things. Next to that is a hanging shoe rack. The shelf holds my hats and bags as well as my motorbike gear. Under the hanging section is a shoe rack which has my heals and boots. Then against the wall is this awesome shoe rack I got for my birthday. It holds my flats and some of my kitten heals. My everyday handbag sits on top. Then in my bedroom I have a 5 drawer chest of drawers filled to the brim. I have only just cleared out the bottom draw of my bed side table to make room for my stocking collection. In the spare room wardrobe I have hung some clothes I don't wear but can't get rid of just yet. Finally under my bed I have some plastic tubs holding keepsake clothes.
I'd love to have more space then I do. When my partner moved in I had to hand over part of my wardrobe to him. He got the small shelf though.

Well, that's day 1 down. Only 30 days to go of the challenge.
Until next time.

Love, love Elle.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

and Labneh

and then I made cheese

Well I made Labna (Labneh), it's a type of Middle Eastern cheese which is probably the easiest of all cheeses to make. (If anyone knows of any easier, let me know! I'm always keen to learn more.) I am only just starting to get into cheese making. A friend and I went to a cheese making presentation at our local cooking store and we all got a beginners kit to take home as apart of the price. So far I have made Labna and Feta cheese, although for cheese enthusiasts it's probably better know as a Danish White cheese. It was soft and creamy and amazing. It was very time consuming to make though. I hope to attempt Haloumi next.


  • 1kg of Greek yogurt (I have only used full cream, low fat may also work)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Olive oil
  • Optional : Herbs/spices (but not too much to over power the cheese)

What you'll need

  • Colander (with a base high enough to keep the cheese away from any whey that comes out)
  • Cheesecloth
  • A sink or deep sided tray
  • Twine
  1. Tip the salt into the yogurt and stir well. Add any herbs or spices. I used Olive herb because it's in my garden and it's a nice complimentary taste.
  2. Place the colander in an empty sink or a deep sided tray.
  3. Line the colander with the cheesecloth which has been folder onto itself.
  4. Pour the yogurt into the lined colander and bring the sides of the cheesecloth together.
  5. Tie the cheesecloth together with the twine so no bugs can get in.
  6. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 hours. The longer it sits the thicker it gets.
  7. Tip out onto a platter and drizzle with a little olive oil
Serve with crackers, vegetable sticks (cucumber is great for this), olives etc.


I also got up early and headed off to the shops to make something for afternoon tea with family. I grabbed a cooking magazine off the shelves and flicked though it til I saw something I liked and then went and got the few ingredients that I didn't already have at home. I think i only needed 5 things including the magazine. I have a fairly well stocked pantry, perfect for sudden baking urges.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

The Oatmeal Carmelitas where a huge hit along with the labna. It's just two layers of oatmeal mix with caramel and chocolate in the center. Then drizzled with more chocolate over the top. I have a lot left over. The recipe made a huge tray and there were only 6 people at the afternoon tea. They took some home and the rest (well what remains between now and then) will follow me to work on Monday.

Love, love Elle.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

and nearly 30

Ok, so I have a few more years til I am 30, but it is creaping closer. The other week at work we were all sent around emails telling us to think about some questions we wanted to ask in our yearly performance reviews. As well as that we were asked about where we saw ourselves in 2 years and 5 years time. When I was discussing this with a few of the other girls it occured to me that within 5 years I will be turning 30. That night I sat down, got out a pen and some paper and started jotting down 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. I had seen this idea a few times before in other blogs and decided I wanted to be apart of it.

The first few items came to me very quickly. Then I started to slow down as I ran out of ideas. I have already been skydiving, I have my motorbike licence and I have already done a fair bit. So I started seaching the web for ideas.

Finally my list came together.

  1. Hang-gliding
  2. Learn French
  3. Travel to Japan
  4. Become a designer
  5. Read Pride and Prejudice
  6. Go hot air ballooning
  7. Drive a convertible car
  8. Climb Bluff Knoll
  9. Do 101 consecutive push-ups
  10. Take a pottery class
  11. Paint a painting to hang
  12. Swim with Whale sharks
  13. Volunteer planting trees
  14. Hold a homemade high tea
  15. Complete a 365 project (1 picture a day, for a year)
  16. Go skiing/snowboarding
  17. See an Opera
  18. Sew a dress
  19. Learn to Scuba dive
  20. Take dancing lessons
  21. Visit Europe
  22. Buy something antique and expensive
  23. Create a scrapbook of my 20’s
  24. Ride in a helicopter
  25. Have a stock portfolio
  26. Make a patchwork quilt/crochet a blanket
  27. Buy a really nice car
  28. Cycle 100km in a day
  29. Run 5km non-stop
  30. Raise $1000 for a charity

I realise that I may not achieve everything. Especially the 101 push-ups but it is something to aim for. To help me out I recruited a few of my best freinds, who are turning 30 within a few months of me, as a support group. They wrote theirs list and we all shared them. We all want to go hot air ballooning and some of our other items also match.

I tried to put a wide variety in my list. Otherwise I could become poor, or bored or both. I've already started doing push-ups every other day. I am increasing the cycling distance I ride and I am starting to plan a holiday to Japan for early 2014. I also have started saving for a new car.

Is anyone else have a 30 before 30 list? Or a bucket list? Any tips to help me succeed?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

and mudcake, sponge cake, cupcake

and mudcake, sponge cake, cupcake

Not all of my blogs will be about baking. Although, it is one of my all time favourite things to do. I have decided that this Saturday is a baking day. I am not sure what I will make yet. I have some strawberry jam in the fridge and some condensed milk and baking chocolate in the pantry to use, so I will see what I come up with.

Dense fudge White chocolate mudcake.

  • 375g white chocolate (we use Cadbury Dream white chocolate)
  • 250g butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt with the butter)
  • 312ml milk
  • 206g caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (25ml) vanilla paste
  • 2-3 eggs approx. 130g all up (depending on your egg size, you can beat a few together and divide them that way.)
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 188g plain flour
  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Celsius fan-forced).
  2. Grease a 25cm round cake tin and line the base and sides of the pan with baking paper.
  3. Place chocolate, butter, milk and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when chocolate and butter have melted, and stir mixture until completely smooth. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and eggs to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. Stir flours together in a large bowl. Add one cup of chocolate mixture to the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms.
  6. Repeat with another cup of the chocolate mixture.
  7. Add remaining chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is smooth. This gradual method of combining the wet and dry ingredients helps prevent lumps.
  8. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 15mins then turn up the temperature to 160 degrees Celsius (145 degrees Celsius fan-forced). This well help reduce the amount the cake rises in the middle (top tip).
  10. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. When the cake is ready, a fine-bladed knife/skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out without any batter attached.
  11. Loosely cover cake with greaseproof paper or a clean tea towel and allow it to cool to room temperature in pan.
This recipe turned out very dense and fudgy for me but I am not sure if that's actually how it is supposed to be. But it was lovely anyway. You may notice that a few of the ingredient sizes are odd, but that's because it is sized up for the cake tin. There is a link off the website which shows you a range of ingredient quantities for whatever your tin size is. Very helpful since it means you don't have to go out and buy a new one.

Wedding Cake
(Note: messy fondant and ribbons, lucky it was a very casual backyard wedding.)
Here is my no fail sponge cake
Adapted from  Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Cake
  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 4 eggs
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 35g (1/4 cup) cornflour
  • 50g butter, melted
  1. To make the sponge cake, preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to grease. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat together the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale, and a ribbon trail forms when the beaters are lifted.
  3. Sift the flour and cornflour over the egg mixture and use a large metal spoon to gently fold until just combined.
  4. Add the butter and fold until just combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in oven for 15then turn up the temperature to 180°C.
  6. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until the surface is dry and the cake springs back when lightly tapped.
  7. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Simple right?

I did use the exact recipe I adapted the wedding cake from for a 21st Birthday cake and because the sponge was such a hit I used it for the wedding cake.

Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse Cake

For the buttercreams I just used a basic buttercream recipe for the wedding cake (butter & icing) and then just added some vanilla extract in one and and added Baileys to the other.

Very Berry Cupcakes
Original recipe located at Very Berry Cupcakes

Dried berry buttercake
  • 125g butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) dried mixed berries
  • ½ cup (70g) slivered almonds
  • 2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
  • 1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour
  • ¼ cup (60ml) milk
Sugared fruit
  • 150g fresh blueberries
  • 120g fresh raspberries
  • 1 egg white, beaten lightly
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
Cream cheese frosting
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 80g cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups (240g) icing sugar
  1. Prepare sugared fruit.
  2. Preheat oven to moderately slow (170°C/150°C fan-forced). Line 6-hole texas or 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.
  3. Beat butter, extract, sugar and eggs in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Stir in fruit and nuts, then sifted flours and milk. Divide mixture among cases; smooth surface.
  5. Bake large cakes about 45 minutes, small cakes about 35 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
  6. Make cream cheese frosting.
  7. Spread cakes with frosting. Decorate with sugared fruit.
Sugared fruit 
  1. Brush each berry lightly with egg white; roll fruit in sugar.
  2. Place fruit on baking paper-lined tray. Leave about 1 hour or until sugar is dry.
Cream cheese frosting 
  1. Beat butter and cheese in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar.
I actually have the cookbook from which this recipes comes. Its a Women's Weekly cookbook and it is all about cupcakes!

Very Berry Cupcakes

Does anyone else have a no fail recipe?

Love, love Elle.

Monday, 20 August 2012

and then suddenly, I blogged

For several years now I have been following blogs using Google Reader. Every day blogs would appear and I would flick through them. The ones which I have always liked the most where the ones with pictures. Food pictures being my favourite then ones of clothes, architecture, nature and cute animals. I was always fascinated by the the people who took the time to sit down and just write about anything to an unknown many. The name Julia Child has been popping up very frequently lately and being a younger Australian I had never heard of her. All I knew was that she cooked. The other night on TV, Julie & Julia came on and I finally realised what it was all about. Then next morning I woke up with a desire to blog. But how and about what?

So I will talk about the things I love. I love baking.

Very Berry Cupcakes

I made these for my boyfriends mum's 50th a few years back. I hadn't met most of his family at this point but arriving with a container full of cupcakes set me on the right track.

I have made quite a few birthday cakes in my time and earlier this year I made my cousins wedding cake. I took Friday off work, woke up early and started baking. I finished at 10 that night, went to bed and continued with the finishing touches in the morning. The cake was 2 tiers high with 3 layers of white chocolate mudcake with a Baileys buttercream icing for the base layer. The top layer was 2 traditional sponge cakes with vanilla buttercream icing, with strawberry sauce and fresh cut strawberries. I covered the whole thing in fondant. I have never attempted anything so large and time consuming in my life and I had no back up plan. The fondant wasn't perfect but I had never used it before. I know, stupid idea. But it all worked out great. The white chocolate mudcake was very dense and almost fudge like. The sponge cake recipe was one I had used before and it always works out perfectly. Having a fool proof sponge cake recipe is one of the must haves in life.

Next time I will put up the cake recipes as well as the Very Berry Cupcake recipe.

Love, love Elle.

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