Sunday, 30 December 2012

My Insta-Life

I have a confession..

I have an addiction.

It's not drugs or alcohol*

It's not even worthy of an episode of My Strange Addictions - I'm not eating couch cushions that's for sure..

It's just a little ol' app that I just can't get enough of.

Enter Instagram

Oh how I love thee.

I love that it still has the capacity to let me stalk people Facebook-style; without the meaningless status updates that I just don't care about.

I love that I can waste a considerable portion of my day searching random #hashtags

Hello #minischnauzer
or

#fitness
or

#channingtatum


And I love that I can document my random life.
Even if no one else cares to know where I am (usually at the beach) or what I'm eating (cupcakes).

Guess what??

This is the beginning of My Insta-Life.

A little blog post where I share my latest Instagram posts.. just for a little fun :)


Left > Right; Top > Bottom

Strange dolls on sale in Kmart (no wonder the youth of today are a little cray); 

Miss Emmy playing Sleepy Lions in the car;

My new toy - and the reason why I can blog to you from the comfort of my home again (after 6 months of being laptop-less and blogging at work... during scheduled breaks/lunchtime of course);

Lunch time wine - is there anything better?; 

Gingerbread House candy. Notice there's no photo of the completed house? Yeah... Let's move on;

Pancakes. Enough said;

The photographic evidence from our beach-themed Christmas Party. Here's a word of advice - Stay AWAY from the photo booth whilst intoxicated;

The photos from the beginning of the night were actually very cute. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the rest of the evening;

Gifts from clients. *Warm and Fuzzy*;

Jamie Oliver in The Advertiser - I heart him;

And there it is - The beach = BLISS;

And the seagulls.



See??

Wasn't that fun?!


Follow me on Instagram (Andie_Cupcake) if you would like to see more exciting times in the life of a single girl.


xx


*Note: Some might dispute the alcohol thing.... 

Friday, 28 December 2012

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Did you hear that??

Yup - That's the sound of a collective sigh as everyone celebrates making it through all the Christmas festivities without stabbing one of our relatives with a plastic fork*.

I don't know about you.. But for me, Christmas time can be a little trying.
Emotions are heightened after a long tiring year; we miss loved ones that are unable to join our celebrations - some are interstate and others no longer with us. And alcohol makes some family and friends merry, whilst others become melancholic.

And so when it is all over, we are relieved. And finally, we can relax.

But what I have learnt is that cupcakes are always a source of Christmas Cheer.


G I N G E R B R E A D   C U P C A K E S
GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Christmas Cupcakes

These are my gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Frosting.


GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Gingerbread Cupcakes

Cupcakes
1 + 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 + 1/2 cups butter
1 + 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
In a large bowl, sift together flour and spices; set aside
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light
Add golden syrup
Beat in eggs, one at a time
Add vanilla
Add flour, mix on low speed until combined
Fill cupcake liners
Bake for approximately 25 minutes
Allow to cool before frosting.


Maple Frosting
1/3 cup butter
28 grams cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup icing sugar

Cream the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy;
Beat in maple syrup and vanilla;
Gradually add icing sugar until combined.


*Note: Yes.. sadly we are the family who use plastic cutlery on Christmas Day. The table is covered with a plastic Christmas themed table cloth and we pop cheap bon-bons and wear the tacky paper hats. Don't judge us.




xx

Thursday, 27 December 2012

New Tradition

I have started a new Christmas Tradition.

Inspired by myself; and dedicated to single ladies everywhere - I call it the Christmas Channing Marathon.

In previous years, Christmas Eve has involved watching the Carols by Candlelight, in actual candle light.

This year, I spent the night with Channing Tatum. Also in candlelight.

Hello Magic Mike and Dear John - Would you like to stay a while?





  





**swoon**

xx


Images 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Buddy is it?!

Christmas is in 3 days.

How did that happen???

Sure, I've pinned a few Christmas-inspired projects on Pinterest; and I've got vague plans for the day - Breakfast with Dad, Lunch with Mum (the usual) and I've seen approximately one-thousand Elf on the Shelf references in various blogs.

I'm still not entirely prepared for Christmas Day.

And the Elf thing ?!  I don't get it.

What's the point in using a creepy little elf to stage various stunts around the house?
Wouldn't most kids get grounded for doing some of the things this Elf supposedly does? 

I have googled it; looked it up on Wiki and followed a few links on Pinterest.

Maybe it's a Mum thing which I won't understand until I have grown a tiny human and given birth?

The only scenario I found amusing were the 'snow angels' on the kitchen counter made from flour.
But realistically, this could be just as effective with my old friend - Barbie.

If the weird little elf made his way to my house this year, chances are you would capture him in a very similar situation as below.


He seems like he would be a very cooperative drinking buddy.


xx

Image here

Friday, 14 December 2012

what's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."
- Romeo and Juliet



Having gone through the process of changing my name back to it's original form in the past 12 months ('maiden name' sounds old and stuffy) I was impressed beyond words at the gift I received from The Lady P for my birthday.

Gold Monogram Necklace

More than just a gift - this necklace is a symbol of my identity. 

Yep... I just went there. Gettin all emotional and stuff.

And even more exciting is that it is the same necklace that the ever flawless Bee wears on her blog which I stalk follow.




Look at that - This necklace works with practically any outfit.

Love love love it.

xx



Images 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

books at the beach

Best way to spend a Saturday morning.

EVER.



Beats lying around on the couch with a hangover feeling sorry for myself.

Meanwhile - I read this book in less than a week. I think this is quite the achievement particularly at this time of year between work, work functions, and time at the gym.

Now I'm on the hunt for a new sea-side read!

xx


Friday, 7 December 2012

swoon for the weekend


Hooray! The weekend is here again!

Sometimes, I feel I am wishing my life away.. Working 5 days a week and silently (or often not so silently) willing the weekend to arrive as fast as it can.

It's the freedom of those two days in which I get to be outside rather than trapped within the walls of an office building. (Admittedly, I sometimes stay inside at home, on the couch for two entire days.. but the choice is entirely mine!)

This time of year is perfect for some casual frolicking along the beach - My favourite weekend activity.

Roll on 5pm.. I am ready to kick off my heals and enjoy the sunshine!

xx

Thursday, 6 December 2012

High Tea for Me

It's been three weeks since my birthday and I'm only just writing a post about it..

OOPS

I had a four day weekend which included delicious dinners; lunch in the sunshine; an Endota visit with my lovely sister who was in town for the occasion (ok.. for a wedding.. but it happened to coincide!)

And I got The Most Amazing Gift EVER.

Cristina Re High Tea Collection

You may remember this tea set from such things as - This post.


Miss Jodie spoilt me with a gorgeous glass cupcake cloche.



Anyone for High Tea?!

xx

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Lazy Sunday

There's a lot to be said about a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But in this case - I think my photo says 1,000 words.


The company of an extraordinary friend; sunshine; bite to eat; cocktail or two.

Perfect.

And just what the doctor ordered.

xx

Monday, 3 December 2012

An American Tradition


Sometimes I wish I lived in the United States...

Americans get to celebrate lots of fun holidays such as Thanksgiving and Halloween - complete with the festive foods and over-the-top decorations.

They also seem to celebrate other occasions such as Graduation and Valentine's Day.

I have just discovered a new reason for a gathering in the Festive Season - A Cookie Exchange.

Also known as a Cookie Swap or Cookie Party.

The general idea (from what I can gather) is that everyone makes a huge (6-10 dozen) batch of their cookie of choice and brings them to the party complete with recipe card.

Here


A cookie swap is a social event with a practical side. 
For many, it marks the beginning of the holiday season and brings friends together for more than just cocktails and chit-chat.

WHY ? (I did some research...)

A cookie swap also…

Saves valuable time during the busiest season of the year. It is much faster to make multiple batches of the same cookie, than to track down ingredients for 7 or 8 different recipes and prepare each one.
Provides you with a wonderful selection of homemade baked goods to serve your guests over the holidays.
Introduces new types of cookies to your palate and unique recipes to your repertoire.
Provides a fun, casual social event that is easy to host – the guests bring the goodies!
Offers opportunities for a charitable outreach. Guests can be asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank.

I might be new to this trend.. but I am smitten with the idea! 


And the invitations!!!


Here




Here
Here
Here
Here



Here



Here



Here


Here



It's not all fun and games though..

There are RULES!!


THE RULES OF THE COOKIE EXCHANGE

All cookies should be homemade, baked and main ingredient must be flour.

No plain chocolate chip cookies, cookie mixes, no-bakes, meringues or bars.

Each guest to bring 6 dozen total cookies.

The theme is "Christmas Cookies" (You can make any theme you like.)

Arrange cookies in a basket or platter and be creative!   

Bring a large container to carry away your cookie, 

Email a copy of your recipe before the party (or bring recipe to the party)

RSVP as soon as you can and let the host know what type of cookies you are planning on baking - no duplicate recipes allowed

If you don't have time to bake, or have burnt your cookies, but still want to attend, you must go to a real bakery and buy 6 dozen yummy cookies.


These can be found at the Official Cookie Exchange Website.


If anyone has ever participated in a Cookie Exchange - 
Please tell me alllll about it! I am dying to know what it's like!


xx


Friday, 30 November 2012

Gone Fishing

I haven't done an interiors post in a while.. 

Probably because I have been distracted with exiting things like Birthdays and Baking.

Perhaps it's also been a lack of inspiration.

I don't even want to think about the amount of time I spend on Pinterest and various other house and design blogs, but sadly it's been a while since I've found any super inspirational homes worth pinning.

Third world problems, right?!

But now I've found it. 

Allow me to unveil three images of Interior Perfection. 


Pink and White Dining



Bedside Vignette



White Living Space


I particularly like the personality of the fish.

Maybe I'll go buy myself a goldfish this weekend? 

Seems like a solid plan.....


Find Maria Barros' other interior genius here.


xx




Images here

Thursday, 29 November 2012

le sigh





“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 




xx

Image here

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Plain and Popular

I love chocolate.

LOVE it.

And I don't discriminate either..

Milk chocolate; dark chocolate; white chocolate; melted chocolate; blocks of chocolate; heart shaped chocolate; Easter chocolate; chocolate with fruit and nut; chocolate with more chocolate on top.. 

You get the idea.


And yet - 


I don't love chocolate cake.


.

.


.


I know. 


It's shocking.


There are just so many other flavours I would choose before plain ol' chocolate. 

In cake form, it's just not high on my list.

But I do recognise that other people take comfort in a basic chocolate cake. 
So I made some last week....

Mostly because I thought a chocolatey cake would pair so well with a butterscotch frosting.


I was right.


plain and popular : CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH BUTTERSCOTCH FROSTING >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
The Lifespan of a Cupcake
Chocolate cupcakes with butterscotch frosting


C H O C O L A T E   C U P C A K E S 
W I T H   B U T T E R S C O T C H   F R O S T I N G


8 tablespoons (113.4 grams) unsalted butter
58 grams dark chocolate, chopped  
1/2 cup cocoa powder 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup greek yoghurt



Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 180 degrees C. 
Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.



Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. 
Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. 
Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.



Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.



Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.
Add in one third of dry ingredients to egg sugar mixture, alternately with the yoghurt, and ending with the dry ingredients, until well combined. 



Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. 
Bake until pick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.



Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. 
Then frost.


The frosting was a basic buttercream with a splash glug of Kilkenny's Butterscotch Liqueur = delicious.



xx

Thursday, 22 November 2012

There's Still Time

per.spec.tive
[noun]

  • a mental view or outlook;
  • a way of regarding situations, facts, etc., and judging their relative importance;
  • the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it;
  • a view over some distance in space or time.



Another year; Another Birthday.

Sometimes I feel like I have lived an entire life time.

And then I find a quote like below and remember that all is not lost.




There is still time for me to live and love.

xx

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Champagne, Darling?

Sometimes a girl just needs a glass of bubbles.

Sometimes a girl wants to share the bubbles with her favourite cupcake recipe.

Sometimes the cupcake recipe and the bubbles fall in love and form a magical union.

And then... a delicious cupcake is born.

C H A M P A G N E   C U P C A K E S


champagne darling? CHAMPAGNE CUPCAKES >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Champagne Cupcakes

Here's how it happened - - 

1/2 cup butter softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chobani yoghurt
1/2 cup champagne
Preheat oven to 180C degrees.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, 
cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

Add vanilla and mix.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup yoghurt 
(mixture will fizz and bubble a little). 

Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  
Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.  

Bake for 17-22 minutes.  
Set aside. 



To frost - Mix 3 tablespoons of the champagne into your fave buttercream icing.


Honestly, I don't know if the type of champagne will impact on the flavour. This was a bottle I happened to have in my cupboard. (I think it's a pretty cheap bottle too..)
I think I'd like to try the same recipe with a sweeter wine - perhaps a Moscato?

Ahh.. when there's alcohol involved - The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy, my Lovelies



xx

Friday, 9 November 2012

45 Days To Go!

He's makin' a list

And checkin' it twice...

Yep! With only 45 days to go - 

Santa's getting ready; and so am I!

My favourite thing about Christmas is the food. More specifically (and not surprisingly) the BAKING.

The Festive Season officially kicks-off tomorrow with the Christmas Pageant - Also known as "The Day We Put Up The Christmas Tree".

With just 45 days to prepare, I am beginning my research for this year's Christmas Treats.

Peppermint Lollipop Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes


Holly Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cheesecake


Super Easy Tree Cookies

Lucky I'm good at sharing my baked goods..

Sometimes.

xx

Monday, 5 November 2012

Monday-itis

Urghhh... Monday.

I am less than enthusiastic about today. I think I'm getting sick. Again...

And I wasn't the only one who wasn't keen to get out of bed this morning.

Miss Emmy

xx

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stationery Heaven

I heart Kikki K

I get really really really inspired in that place.

Honestly, it's more about the concept of organisation that makes me happy; rather than the actual products sold in store. But none-the-less I managed to spend a solid 40 minutes browsing the shelves in there yesterday.



It's just so pretty!

And organised!


Did I mentioned, I have a thing for organisation?!

*sigh*


xx

[Photos taken by me.. in store.. when the staff weren't watching!]

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Little Brownie Bird

I don't usually indulge in mid-week baking.

This is because I spend a good portion of my weekends in the kitchen and, well, you have to draw a line somewhere.

But this past weekend I didn't spend any time in the kitchen; and last night I really felt like a brownie after dinner....

little brownie bird : choc brownies >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Triple Chocolate Brownies

The problem I have with brownies is they're just not very photogenic!
But damn! They are delicious!

I used a simple brownie recipe that I hadn't tried before.
And yes, they satisfied that 9pm chocolate craving but if I had the time, I would probably use a different recipe.

Don't let that stop you from trying them out though.. 
Sometimes you need a quickie.



T R I P L E   C H O C O L A T E   B R O W N I E S


125g butter
1 cup dark chocolate
1 cup caster sugar

Melt together in a saucepan on low heat;
Stir for 10 minutes until smooth.
Cool completely.

Stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs;
1 + 1/4 cup plain flour;
1 cup white choc chips;
1 cup milk choc chips.

Pour into lightly greased brownie tray.

Bake on 180 for 20 minutes.


xx
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