How is your summer going? Even though we’re all enjoying days out and occasional sunshine breaks, I’ve been planning Christmas products and scheduling markets for the festive season. It’s a bit weird, but I’m kind of willing the cooler months and cosy times. Plus I’m super excited to share what I have been working on!
However, I have launched a summer sale in the Etsy shop! The phrase necklaces will be on sale for £10 each (usually £14) for a couple of weeks.
There are also a limited number of Lucky Dip bags available! Choose from 2 surprise options:
£5 for 1 print and 2 greetings cards
£15 for 1 phrase necklace and 1 pin
I’m also clearing out the studio to make room for fewer craft supplies and more products. Take a look at this destash Facebook album if you want to grab a bargain and help me make space!
Want to see a studio tour once it’s properly in order?
It’s been a long time since I shared any baking posts here on Claireabellemakes, but this weekend I had the chance to try something new for the Pink Lady ® Pass It On campaign!
The idea behind the campaign was to encourage four bloggers to pass on their skills to another and take time for ourselves. Each blogger is from a different niche (crafts, illustration, beauty and food) which has been fantastic for discovering new people to follow!
So, why the Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake? My parcel was put together by the lovely Laura from Wholeheartedly Healthy who writes a beautiful food blog with a ton of nutritious recipes. We had to include apples in our projects for one another and as Pink Lady ® are actually the only apples I like the flavour of, I was excited to bake with them.
Laura’s recipe was pretty simple and doesn’t require any fancy mixers or equipment. Hurrah! I love a cake that just needs a wooden spoon and a bowl.
4 Pink Lady ® apples
25g butter (or margarine)
85g soft brown sugar
180g plain wholemeal flour
110g soft brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
80ml sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 180c and grease and line a large baking dish
Grate 2 of the apples and set aside
Melt together the butter/margarine and 80g of sugar in a pan over a low heat
Pour the melted mixture into the baking dish and top with slices of apple from the remaining apples
Combine the remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon and bicarb in large bowl
In a separate bowl combine the water, oil vinegar and grated apple
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, quickly and throroughly
Pour the cake mixture on top of the caramel and sliced apples
Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out upside down!
My oven runs pretty hot, so I baked my cake for around 20-25 minutes. The consistency was lovely and sticky and the caramel topping felt like a real treat!
Even though I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, I haven’t been baking as much as I used to, especially as I’ve been trying to watch my weight and eat a bit cleaner. The wholemeal flour and apples make this recipe feel less naughty and the crisp flavour of the Pink Ladies still comes through.
One of the things I loved about this was that it was an upside down cake. I can’t remember making one before, so it was quite the novelty waiting to see how it would turn out! You could also change the way the apples are sliced to make the top look a bit different. Obviously I had to taste test my creation and it was thoroughly enjoyable! A nice moist treat that feels like a dessert rather than a sponge cake. I reckon it would be nice served warm with a bit of ice cream on the side for a real treat.
A big thanks to Laura for sending such a great parcel! It felt a bit like Christmas as the contents were a complete surprise.
I had an absolute ball making my parcel for Sarah from the Temporary: Secretary blog. I got to make a kit to share one of my favourite DIYs and did some hand lettering for the instructions and labeling. Packaging is one of my favourite things – so I went to town on making her parcel as pretty as I could. Check out Sarah’s blog post to see what she ended up making.
I hope you enjoyed a little change from the norm here today! Let me know if you end up trying the recipe and what you think of my attempt. It’s definitely made me think about doing more recipe posts here on the blog again. Would you like to see that?
And don’t forget to check out #PinkLadyPassItOn to see everyone’s parcels and creations!
Lots of fun and exciting things are happening in the world of Claireabellemakes over the next two months, so I thought I’d share a quick post with some dates and info – in case you are interested in what I am up to!
This Saturday 12 August, you can find me and the Cambridge Made Etsy Team selling our wares at the summer fair! All the information is in the flyer below and you can find a Facebook event here.
My next piece of news is that I have been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award for the 3rd year running! So chuffed to be in the Best Craft Blog category again and would be so grateful for your votes here.
If you like the content I share – please do share my blog. I’ve often been quite close to the shortlist, so it would be fantastic to make it a little further this year and to welcome some new followers to the blog!Some of you may have seen my previous post about The Handmade Fair. This year, I’ll be representing Pinterest and appearing on stage in the Super Theatre with Kirstie Allsopp. I will also be visiting my creative friends who take part in the fair each year and doing a bit of shopping and eating too!
There is a ticket offer for my followers if you fancy coming along! Simply quote CLAIRE when booking via the website for 15% off either Full Experience or Entry + Super Theatre tickets.
Ts and Cs: Booking fees apply. Offer applies to adult Full Experience tickets, Full Experience tickets cost £27 + BF (usually £32 + BF) and Entry + Super Theatre tickets cost £17 (usually £20 +BF). Offer closes 14.09.2017 or when sold out.
And finally, Jo and I are super excited to be planning the next Cambridge Creatives Photowalk for 30 September! The first walk in September 2016 had around 16 people and the April walk (pictured below) was enjoyed by around 80 people! Everyone is welcome to the next walk and we will be ending with a Food Park Night Market for those interested in some treats!
You can find out more on the Facebook event here.
What a lot of things to tell you about! Give me a shout if you are planning to come along to any of these events – it always makes me happy to meet you guys in person.
I am kicking myself for falling behind on blogging lately – mostly because I have lots of things to tell you and not enough time to share. I realised I have been working so hard on products designs and summer fair prep, that I forgot to share here that there are 15 new greeting card designs in the shop!
I LOVE designing cards – mostly because celebrations make me super happy and knowing that people are writing their personal messages in my cards is something pretty special to me.
I have also been uploading more regularly on my YouTube channel and each time a new collection is launched, you can find a little promo video there! Just for fun and because I am really enjoying editing lately. Warning – the cheesy music is just for your pleasure 🙂
Keep your eyes peeled for a new website in the next few months (planning at the moment) and some Christmas products that will involve glitter and bikes. I AM SO EXCITED.
Thanks for bearing with me lately, I have some more updates coming tomorrow too!
Back in May, (how is it mid July already?!) G and I ventured to Amsterdam with some friends for a 2 day mini break. The reason for the trip was to surprise the boys with a trip to a computer game music concert, but we decided to add some sight seeing in their too. AKA BIKE SPOTTING IN AMSTERDAM 🙂
Firstly, I love that you can fly to Amsterdam in just 35 minutes from Stansted airport – that’s quicker than getting to London on the train! We flew with Easy Jet and stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Amsterdam Airport. I can’t rate it highly enough (thanks Laura for finding a fab place!). Our room was delayed and we ended up with the entire mini bar for free. The boys were celebrating their birthdays and the staff went above and beyond for our stay. With shuttle buses to the airport for train connections, it was a great find.
Disclaimer – this is a photo heavy post! As we only had hand luggage I didn’t take my DSLR camera. I also couldn’t find my charger for my point and shoot, so this post is a mixture of phone photos and some great ones that Laura and Scott managed to snap on their camera. Laura has recently started her vintage blog/Instagram Lula Prima so do go and check it out!
We spent a lot of time walking around the beautiful canals taking in the city scenery and spotting bikes. You know true friends when they point out the best bikes for you and wait patiently whilst you take photos. Laura had learnt lots about the construction of all the skinny houses in Amsterdam and told us that people paid tax based on the width of their homes. I think this was once the widest house in the city.
One of the beautiful things about visiting during May was that the blossom had fallen like a carpet across all of the canal streets. It felt a little magical and when I turned the corner to discover Wisteria too it was the icing on the cake.
We enjoyed pancakes (an absolute must when you are in the city), had hipster coffee shop breaks and found sweet shops full of liquorice and chocolate. We spotted the Cheese Museum, some fantastic shops full of designer maker goods and bike shops on every corner.
Our concert was out at the formerly named Heineken Music Hall which was easily accessible by train. In fact, all of Amsterdam has brilliant public transport with affordable double decker trains (novelty!) and trams galore. We didn’t have time to explore on two wheels, but I definitely would if we went back. I did notice that whilst everyone cycles there, not one person wore a helmet.
At my request we wandered through the red light district briefly during one afternoon – I was genuinely just curious as to what it was like. A surreal experience to say the least and one I shall not forget. This was the one area of the city that did smell of pot, but we otherwise didn’t smell it that much.
On our second day in Amsterdam, we took a bus 35 minutes out of the city to Keukenhof tulip fields. I was thrilled to be their during the season (late March – mid May) as I had seen and heard so much about it. It was BEAUTIFUL. The pictures probably can’t capture how vast and colourful it was. It even contained a petting zoo and more types of tulips than I ever knew existed. The bus and entry was about 25 Euros for a combo ticket which I thought was excellent value. You could spend an entire day there just enjoying the blooms and soaking in all the floral delights. Laura sat in a giant wooden clog, we saw a windmill or two and did some tourist shopping too.
We were in Amsterdam during Rememberance day (occurs every 5 years), so there were lots of free music festivals around the city, which made for a great vibe. I wish we had more time as I really wanted to explore the museums – so I think we will go back next year at some point. I definitely need to stock up on Tony’s Chocolonely which is bloody amazing Dutch chocolate.
We ended our trip with more canal walking and bike spotting before catching the train back to the airport. One of the things I noticed most, is that Dutch people are so happy and friendly! I really enjoyed our brief visit to Holland and would love to explore more.
Have you ever been to Amsterdam?