Sunday, 31 March 2013

Raspberry Mojito Cocktail Recipe

There's been a tiny hint of Spring's arrival in the past few days and this is the cocktail I made to celebrate that! Mojito's are my favourite cocktails anyway (did you see the recipe for my Mojito cupcakes?), so I'm always looking to twist up the classic recipe. Here's what to do:

Shake 50ml white rum - such as Bacardi - with ice, 1 tbsp sugar syrup, some chopped fresh mint, juice from half a lime and 6 or 7 raspberries. You have to really really shake it if your raspberries are fresh, but if they're just about to go over like mine were, the juice comes out pretty easily.
Muddle some lime wedges  and mint in the bottom of your glass (I just bought this muddler from eBay), add lots of ice and strain the rum/raspberry mix. Top up with soda water. And that's it!

A couple of tips:
- If you don't have sugar syrup, spoon a tsp of caster sugar into the shaker instead - but you will have to shake it for even longer to make sure the sugar dissolves.
- Before adding the mint to the shaker or the glass, clap it between your hands. You will look a little bit crazy but it bruises the leaves and allows the flavour and scent to come out.
- Not keen on soda water? Try using lemonade to sweeten it a little more.

It doesn't just have to stop with raspberries! After this I did exactly the same but used strawberries, and I also can't wait to try out a watermelon mojito. Do you have any other variations which work? I think I might try lemon and lime too!

Have a great Easter Sunday! X

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Wanderlust: San Francisco & Vegas

Image from Google

After months of umming and ahhing, we have finally bitten the bullet! We went to the Virgin Holidays concession in House of Fraser Bristol to get their US brochure. I emailed them late last night after settling on our itinerary and they came back with a quote this morning which was great. It's expensive, but we'll be able to afford it if we're strict and budget properly and stop spending money on Dominos pizza and nights out drinking rum. (Easier said than done, believe me!)

As it stands, we'll be going to San Francisco for a week at the end of next March (2014!) and then flying to Vegas for 3 nights before coming home. I've spent the weekend on Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet reading reviews and just spent the last couple of hours watching Youtube videos of people walking up and down the strip in Vegas... exciting Sunday night!

We'll be staying in Fisherman's Wharf, San Fran and at the Luxor in Vegas. Any tips or tricks? Any restaurants you can recommend? I get almost 50% of my visitor traffic from the US so some of you must have some ideas for me!

I'm relieved we've actually settled on going somewhere, and although it's over a year away, I'm excited!
Rosie x

Saturday, 16 March 2013

St Patrick's Day Nails

We visited Ireland for a few days last year, and it was great. We stayed in a tiny town outside of Cork as some friends of ours had some gigs at one of the local bars. The people were very kind and the Guinness was very good! Tonight, my local is putting on some Irish music in homage to St Patricks Day tomorrow so I thought I'd paint my nails to match the occasion.

I did two coats of Models Own Green Tea and allowed them to fully dry. I did try out a four leaf clover on my left thumb but I really messed it up and ended up repainting it!

To paint the flag, I carefully did two coats of Models Own Peaches and Cream down the right side of the nail and allowed it to dry. I then used the striper brush in the nail art pen to straighten the lines of the flag and fill in the middle. I used the dotter side of the nail art pen to do the polkadots. Et voila!

We're going to Dublin in 12 weeks. Until then, I'm looking forward to appreciating the Irish from afar tonight! Happy St Patricks Day! :) x

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Mojito Cupcakes

If you know me, you'll know I love cocktails. No matter where we go and how expensive they are, I will always order a cocktail if they're on the menu. Mixology is a skill, and sometimes a work of art. I'd love to do a cocktail training course one day!

I had the idea to make mojito cupcakes after we decided to do a bake sale at work for Red Nose Day. I wanted something different and fruity - and of course something that would sell. I combined my love of cocktails and baking together, and allowed people to think they were consuming alcohol at work! Win win!

To make 12 cupcakes, you will need;
110g butter
225g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
150g self raising flour
125g plain flour
50ml semi-skimmed milk
70ml white rum (I used Bacardi)
Zest from 1 lime
A few leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan, 180°C/gas mark 4.
Arrange your cases in a muffin tin - mine are from Sainsburys.
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and smooth, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, whisking constantly.
Add in the lime zest and mint and give it another whisk for a minute or two - you need to allow the flavours to come out through the mix.
Sieve both the plain and self-raising flour together. In a jug, mix your milk and rum together.
Add 1/3 of the flour and whisk it in. Then add 1/3 of the rum and milk mix and whisk again. Repeat this until you've got a light mixture, and then spoon evenly into your cases.
Cook your cakes for around 25/30 minutes, but keep an eye on them. All recipes and ovens are different!
Once they're cooked take them out of the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack and allowing them to cool thoroughly.

To make the frosting;
80g butter
300g icing sugar
Juice from 1 lime
Food colouring

Gently whisk together the butter, lime juice, lime zest and half the icing sugar.
Gradually add the rest of the icing until you get a good stiff consistency. Don't forget to add a couple drops of green food colouring if you'd like!
I tend to mix my frosting a lot and it goes kind of gloopy, so I put it in the fridge whilst the cakes are cooling down to stiffen it up a little more. You need to give it a good mix when it comes out though.

To decorate the cupcakes, use a pallette knife to smooth the icing onto the cakes. I cut up green and white paper straws and pushed them through the cakes so they stood upright. Behind them I pushed in a sprig of mint and then sprinkled green sugar decorations all over to give them a bit of a glitter.

They taste GOOD. Although, you can't taste the rum that much so I think I will try them using some rum flavouring next time (Silverspoon do this!)

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! Or do you have any other cocktail-based baking tips?
Rosie xx

PS. If you like these, you might like my Candy Cane Cupcakes too! :)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Scrapbook: 2012 Part One

I began scrapbooking last year when my pile of Instax photos started to get bigger. Not only are Instax photos super cool, they're also pretty expensive, so I wanted somewhere to keep them safe. I signed up to the A Beautiful Mess Life is Beautiful e-course for inspiration (link), gathered some supplies and began. 2012 was such a great year for me that I wanted something to look back on over the years to remind me of the fun we had. We're already in our third month of 2013, and I've only got up to August in last years scrapbook. I will get it finished this month!

I chose a Paperchase kraft square scrapbook (link) for my scrapbook. I wanted something smaller than A4 that was a neutral colour, and at under £10 this one was perfect.
First of all, I organised all my Instax photos into date order, gathered ticket stubs, receipts, newspaper cut outs and other bits and bobs which I wanted to include, and then ordered my first bunch of Printstagram photos. I use Instagram pretty much every day, so there's a lot of memories on there which wouldn't have been included if I didn't get those prints. They cost me around $25 which included shipping for 48 mini squares. Printstagram even do sticker books and framed prints now, pretty cool! I also ordered some 6 x 4 and 7 x 5 photos from Truprint of some holiday snaps which I wanted to include. 

Family announcement in the local paper

I planned each page individually, placing photos down and moving them around, writing down lists of events of last year in the order which they happened so I didn't get them muddled up, and then sticking post it notes on each page so I didn't forget to put them in order. It took me quite a long time to settle on some pages, but others were very easy. The layout completely depended on how much I wanted to fit on each page or how many pages I wanted to use. It took time but I've been happy with each page.

Buying my new car, and selling my old car
Long weekend in Ireland
The Olympic torch at Weston Super Mare

Most of the photos were attached with photo corners to preserve them. Others I glued straight on to the page and then taped around the edge for effect. You can buy all sorts of washi tape from eBay - I have yellow, green stripe, red polkadot and babyblue with ditsy flowers.

Dark Knight Rises cinema tickets and celebrating 3 years together

For some wording throughout the scrapbook, I used rubber stamps (below). It looks pretty cool, it's got a ransom note vibe! I bought the stamps from eBay and already had an ink pad, but you can get these cheaply in the supermarket. I also got a few Paris stamps from Paperchase for my Paris pages near the beginning. Stamping those Blink-182 lyrics above took me a good hour so bear that in mind when you start. You also get very messy hands, so you'll want to make sure  Other things I've just written in black biro straight onto the kraft paper, or onto colourful paper which I've then stuck in.

Reading Festival

My favourite pages are from Reading Festival. I'm so glad I chose that weekend to go Insta-crazy because it's resulted in some great pages in my book, and amazing memories to look back on. There's 6 pages in total, including our wristbands, train tickets and a good amount of Prinstagram photos. I have a separate photo album full of fish eye photos from each of the 3 Reading fests I've been to.

Once I finish the rest of the scrapbook, I'll be sure to share it with you. After starting this one, I realised how much there is to learn about scrapbooking. What started off as a way to record memories has become a great hobby. I've already got one lined up ready to record everything from 2013 and I can't wait to begin that one. I also have another ready to fill with all my favourite cocktail recipes!

Do you scrapbook? Do you have any tips for me? x

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