August Break Day 3 Skin/Tattoos

The magic of our skin is that it repairs itself. If it didn't tattoos wouldn't be possible. For the secret of tattoo permanence I like this video

My sisters and I all got the same one in memory of our mom whom lost her short battle with cancer earlier this year. She loved and admired owls for their mysterious nature, beauty, and wisdom. We didn't go for an overly decorative owl, but a simple reminder of her and our love for her. 


August Break 2015 (Day 1 and 2)

When I first started my blog I found a lot of inspiration from a popular lifestyle blogger, Susannah Conway. She runs many e-courses and I think her blog is beautiful.

Back in the day she announced that she was going to take a month off blogging. A sort of sabbatical to refresh and regroup. Having only been blogging for a few months and not really feeling the need for a break I struggled to join in, but it was something I wanted to be a part of so I took part.

I have every year, except for last year when I was physically cut off from the internet world at my parents house, that I joined in. This year having had the inevitable happen I think it's a great time to relax and regroup my blogging ideas.

The August Break doesn't mean you aren't blogging, but where the words are minimal and pictures take over. Pictures apparently are worth a thousand words? There will still be lots of sweet stuff, but also a little bit more about myself as I share my interpretations the suggested themes.

For more information check out The August Break page, it's a very relaxed challenge and if you never read Susannah's blog check it out here.

Day one is always breakfast and as I am a day behind here are my day one and two!

As I have mentioned before in a Five on Friday post I work crazy early hours. I struggle to eat a proper breakfast before I go in settling for a piece of fruit and water. It means I want something as soon as I get in and nothing is easier then eggs on toast! Plus a little hot sauce never goes amiss when getting the day started for the second time!

When I think of air I think of the sky, wind, and flying. If I could choose a superpower it would be flying. To be able to go wherever you wanted when you wanted would be awesome. Even if I couldn't fly like a bird I would be cool with a suit like Iron Man's!


The Pastry Challenge August Link-Up

It's August! Despite being Captain Obvious I'm excited as it's my month for hosting The Pastry Challenge. Last month we had some great quick and easy pastry recipes over on Jen's Food. This month I'm leaving it pretty open as it's summer.

Summer is time to relax and do whatever you want. So, this month's theme is "Do what you want!" or really there is no theme as we're all doing what we want. I could go back and forth on this forever, but to keep us all sane I won't!

Here are some of our ground rules and below is the button to add your link!

First bake a pastry that fits the theme.
Second blog about it! Be sure to link back to both myself Lisa and Jen.

If you tweet use the hashtag #thepastryhcallenge and be sure to include us @unitedcakedom & @jensfood1 we like and retweet any we see!

Please feel free to use the image below in your post as a way to help spread the word. I will be adding the entries to the official Pastry Challenge Pinterest board that you can follow here!

Lastly link it up below, following the instructions on the widget/gadget below.

A few reminders we are looking for new or re-posted posts following the instructions above. Feel free to enter more then one entry. Also if you have a few minutes check out the entry before yours and leave a comment! Any questions please feel free to contact either Jen or myself! We look forward to seeing all your amazing pastry creations!

There are lots of other blogging challenges so overlapping is encouraged and if you have one we haven't heard of please let us know by email or leaving a comment below!


Portobello Road: Lives of a Neighbourhood (book review)

According to the author, Portobello Road achieved world wide fame from a movie. It’s not the same movie that makes Portobello Road attractive to me. Apparently there is a blue door and a book store that inspired a book store in the movie Notting Hill. Having never seen Notting Hill I have no idea what it’s all about.

The movie that made me want to visit Portobello Road and to read this book was Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I do realise that in the movie it was probably a set somewhere in America. However, the idea that there was this magical road where you could get anything you wanted with a catchy song was enough for me to day dream about visiting this road. 

Portobello Road has changed over the years and Julian Mash author, creative writer, journalist, musician, bookseller, manager and an events manager felt it important that these changes or history should be recorded. 

This is a book I wish I had written, the amount of people who talked to him and allowed him a glimpse into their lives is amazing. This book is more then facts or statistics on how time has changed a single road in London, it’s life. It shows the stuff beyond the gorgeous architecture and gives us a history; a history of food, fashion, music, and art! 

Portobello Road: Lives of a Neighborhood 
by Julian Mash
published by Frances Lincoln Limited (2014) 
RRP: £9.99/$15.99 

notes: the book was sent to me to review - all opinions are my own please see my contact/policy page for more information


Blueberry Cheesecake Strudels

The theme for this month’s Pastry Challenge was something that could be baked fairly quickly and with minimum fuss. It’s summer so usually it’s too hot to be heating up the oven to bake, but this last week has been pretty horrible actually.

We needed the rain, the back yard/garden was brown and already after a few days of rain the grass is already turning green. As green is my favorite color I’m all for rain and green grass. Let’s just hope we get more sun soon!

I bought filo (phyllo) pastry without having a plan for it. It was an assumption that it would be a quick pastry to work with; an assumption proved right!

Not 100% sure when I decided to also use blueberries, but it was only a matter of time before the idea of adding cream cheese came about. The longest part of this recipes is the cooling of the blueberry mixture. Either make it before hand or buy blueberry pie filling.

These are actually pretty big as well so be sure you have people to share with, half was plenty for me!!

Blueberry Cheesecakes Strudels

360g fresh blueberries
60g sugar
2 tablespoons of corn flour
pinch of salt
12 filo (phyllo) pastry sheets
about 100g unsalted butter, melted
280g cream cheese, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar

In a medium saucepan boil the blueberries, sugar, corn flour, and salt until the berries have burst and it has thickened. Cool completely.
Heat oven to 205C and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Cover the pastry sheets with clingfilm and a damp towel. On a work surface lay the first sheet of pastry with the short side facing you, brush with the melted butter. Lay a second sheet on top and brush with butter before laying a third sheet on top. Gently spread 1/4 of the whipped cream cheese on top leaving a decent border around the edges. Then spread 1/4 of the cooled blueberry mixture on top. Fold the short end of the pastry nearest you up and then fold in the sides before rolling up. Lay seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat again until all the pastry sheets are used will make 4 in total. Use the leftover melted butter on the top and sprinkle a little sugar on top of each. Cut 2 slices into each as a vent before baking in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Challenges: The Pastry Challenge hosted by Jen over at Jen's Food and by myself. 


Orange & Raspberry Muffins: Inspiration

When one ventures into a creative field, occupation, career, hobby or whatever you want to call it inspiration is pretty crucial to success. If creativity is forced it’s hardly ever good, sometimes it’s good if you know what inspires you. Some people have a “muse” that brings endless inspiration and others, like myself, have it smack them in the face from unexpected places.

Perhaps this wasn’t as unexpected as I perceived it to be at the time, however at the time it was a bit like a light bulb moment. First I should explain about this stuff called “squash” or “cordial” depending on what part of the UK you are from. Growing up in America the only thing I can compare it to is possibly Kool-Aid and that’s a bit of a stretch. Squash is a concentrated flavored liquid that is diluted by water.

It’s alright. I don’t personally rate squash as anything special. It is a suitable alternative to carbonated fizzy drinks and can be a change from water if needed. Anyway after trying a new flavor of orange and raspberry I had the light bulb moment! One word came to mind “muffins!” Orange and raspberry muffins to be exact.

Muffins are one of the easiest things to bake. It’s mostly a case of mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquid ones in another before mixing together. No complicated instructions here! These turned out better then I expected and I already have added raspberries to my shopping list so I can make them again!!

It’s one thing to be inspired by something, but when it’s made into something all your own it’s even better!!

Orange & Raspberry Muffins

125g fresh raspberries
icing sugar, to coat raspberries
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
1 orange, zest & juice
1 large egg
250ml milk
50g unsalted butter, melted

Heat the oven to 200C and line a muffin tin. Coat the raspberries in a dash of icing sugar (you don’t need much to cover them.) Zest the orange, cut it in half and juice only half the orange.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and sugar together before folding in the zest and raspberries.
Mix the egg, milk, melted butter, and the orange juice.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg/milk/butter/juice mixture. Stir until just combined. Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin cases.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes… it’s easy to know when they are done by the amazing smell that will fill the kitchen. Leave to cool slightly before sampling and finishing them off!

Tip: mix the dry ingredients the night before and then when you get up in the morning heat the oven add the wet ingredients and bake for a great breakfast treat!

Other Fruity Muffins: 

notes: inspired by a recipe from 100 Magnificent Muffins & Scones by Felicity Barnum-Bob


Five on Friday: Five Reasons to Love Hawaii Five-O


It’s all my friend’s fault! Sometimes when the girls are in bed I sneak out to my friend and neighbour’s house for a chat and a cup of tea. Sometimes when things get bad it’s a bottle of wine or vodka with apple juice. Don’t judge it’s tough being a mom. 

The said friend watches Hawaii Five-O and when I stop over it’s usually always on. Then without knowing I found myself watching it in the afternoons when I have that random hour with nothing to do before the school run. With just an hour it’s pointless to start anything and by the then I have a load of laundry out on the line another in the wash, dinner prepped etc… I could read one of my many books still waiting to be read or write a blog post, but I have found myself watching Hawaii Five-O instead. 

Here are the main five reasons I keep going back to it. 


1. It’s set in Hawaii. 
    Hawaii is beautiful. Some of the landscape shots are breathtaking. I would love to live here one day! 


2. Alex O'Loughlin as Det Steve McGarrett 
    He's a super smart ex-Navy Seal who is basically a cop ninja. Which makes him sort of cool.


3. Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly
    I loved loved loved him in Lost and I love him all over again in Hawaii Five-O

4. Entertainment
    It’s a bit corny at times and even a little far fetched, but it’s entertaining. When I watch TV, which isn’t often, it’s to be entertained. I am always up for a bit of crime drama! The characters are loveable too, you start to care about what happens to them.


5. Did I mention Alex O’Loughlin??? 

notes: images are not my own, but links to sources are included in the caption. 


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