Wednesday, 23 April 2014

// Garden Series : Pallet Lounging

DIY Pallet Sofa Inspiration

As mentioned in my last post I'm hoping to attempt some DIY in my garden this year. One idea that keeps springing up is the use of old pallets to create outdoor sectional sofas. I love the boho/vintage vibe that they create in the garden, especially when paired with an overhead leafy trellis or floaty drapes.

DIY Outdoor Pallets Sofa

colorful pillows

1x1.trans How to construct a garden lounge with wooden pallets

Which one is your favourite? I love the bright and vibrant colours in the last picture - they would work great to liven up my small garden for BBQs with my friends this summer.

Has anyone tried anything like this before? I'd love to see examples of what you guys have done to your outside escapes on twitter, or feel free to leave a link to your blogs in the comments below.

Helena xxx

Monday, 21 April 2014

// New Garden

What a difference a bit of grass makes!

When we first moved into our house just over a year a go now (gosh, how time flies), our 'garden' was in a bit of a sorry state. It lacked life and colour.

The house has been previously rented and I think the landlord wanted a hassle-free garden that the tenants couldn't let get overgrown and unmanageable.

With the decking a death-trap over winter and the dog having nowhere to go to the toilet, it all seriously needed to go!

Late last November we decided enough was enough and called round locally for a few quotes from landscape gardeners.

With our garden on a slight slope, it actually turned out that a lot more work needed to be done than we had originally planned and budgeted for.

We eventually found a guy from a local garden center who agreed to lower his quote if we did some of the prep and finishing work ourselves. Plus, it was the middle of winter, so business was a little low.

We pulled up all the old decking and cheap paving slabs and then started digging out the level. The guys arrived on Monday and had finished the patio, steps and railway sleeper wall by Thursday.

Several tonnes of top soil and a pallet load of grass rolls arrived Thursday afternoon and by Friday lunchtime we were finally done.

As you can see from the pictures above, the garden has been completely transformed! 

I can't wait until Summer properly arrives. I have so many ideas going round in my head! You can check out my Pinterest board to see some of my inspiration pins. 

I'm going to be doing a series on Gardens over the next few weeks, from planting ideas for small gardens, to DIY and outdoor decor. So excited already!!!

If any one has any questions about how we went about planning our redo or what you might like to see in the 'Garden Series', I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below :)

Helena xxx

Saturday, 19 April 2014

// Easter Baking: Banana & White Chocolate Cupcakes

What do you do when you have a four day weekend with an abundance of Easter chocolate and some manky old bananas? Well, you make banana and white chocolate cupcakes of course! 

These are my two favourite baking ingredients combined into one seriously naughty sweet treat. Sorry diet, but this weekend you are being put on hold! 

(This recipe has been adapted from one of my favourite baking books 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery'.)

Recipe // 

(Makes 12)

125 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

250 g caster sugar
250 g plain flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
4 (ripe) bananas , mashed with a fork

For the buttercream:

110 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

60 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
500 g icing sugar
100 g white chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbps double cream
chopped up walnut halves

1.// Preheat oven to 160oc (fan)/180oc/350oF/gas mark 4 and plonk some cupcake cases into a 12-hole muffin tray.

2.// Cream together butter and sugar for a few minutes until pale and smooth with an electric whisk.

3.// Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.

4.// Sift over flour and baking powder and whisk again.

5.// Stir in mashed bananas with a wooden spoon. (You could also add in white chocolate chunks at this point too - I didn't think of this at the time, but omgz that would be ah-mah-zing! Melted chocolate chunks...*drools*.)

6.// Add mixture into cupcake cases. They should be two-thirds full to get the perfect domed rise.

7.// Bung these bad boys into the oven for roughly 25 minutes and go put on an episode of 2 Broke Girls to keep your mind off the gorgeous smell wafting out of the kitchen.

8.// Check the cakes at around 20 minutes. If they are golden on top and a cake skewer/cocktail stick/sharp knife comes out clean then take them out and leave to cool in the tray for about 10 minutes..or 5 if you like them hot out the oven and simply can't wait any longer. If they aren't quite done yet, hang around and keep checking them with your skewers. Try not to open the over too much though, you want the inside temperature to remain as consistent as possible.

9.// After cooling in their tray, transfer to a wire cooling rack to let them fully cool down.

10.// Whilst waiting, whip up a batch of your white chocolate buttercream (the best part!). 

11.// Stick you broken bits of white chocolate into the microwave for a minute or two until fully melted. After 45 seconds give it a stir and then keep checking every 15 seconds after this until fully melted (you don't want to burn the chocolate (it is irretrievable after this point)). 

12.// Let the melted chocolate cool whilst you then beat together the butter, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar for a few minutes until creamy and smoooooooth. 

13.// Add chocolate and cream and whisk together again until well combined.

14.// Grab a small palette knife and scoop a heap of buttercream on top of the completely cooled cupcake. Smooth it around the edge and then swirl out the center to give a beautifully iced effect. Quickly sprinkle on the chopped walnuts before the icing sets. 

15.// Take the biggest bite possible and admire your hard work!


Helena xx