Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Apricot and Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

The smell of baked cinnamon rolls wafting through the house is the ultimate in festive comfort at this time of year. Added cranberries and apricots give these a seasonal twist – the perfect thing to enjoy on a cold winters morning.




Ingredients
For the rolls
450g strong white flour
75g dried cranberries
1tsp fast acting dried yeast
1tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
150ml hot milk and 150ml hot water mixed together – hot but not boiling! 
For the filling
25g butter, melted
50g light brown sugar
2tbsp ground cinnamon
75g dried apricots, cut into small pieces
Makes 8 rolls

Method
- Place the flour, cranberries, yeast, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl and stir together. Now add the hot milk and water and mix together using an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes – if you don’t have an electric mixer that’s fine, you can just use your hands and mix and knead for about 10 minutes. Once the dough has been mixed and kneaded, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. 

- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1 cm thick, spread the surface with the melted butter and scatter over the sugar, cinnamon and apricot pieces in an even layer, making sure you reach the edges. Now roll the dough into a tight sausage shape, slice into 8 even pieces and place these, swirl side up on a lightly oiled baking tray. 

- Leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or if you want to make these for breakfast next day you can leave them in the fridge overnight (although if you do this, you will need to take the rolls out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before baking). 

- When you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the rolls are well risen and a lovely golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. You can eat the rolls as they are, but for an extra delicious twist make up some icing using 3tbsp icing sugar, 1tbsp water and 1tsp vanilla extract and drizzle over the top of the hot rolls. Tear off and eat warm – heavenly!

By Millie Norton

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

DIY Earring Holder

We don't know about you but we seem to own far too many pieces of jewellery. We can't go to a vintage market without picking some form of accessory up. It's an addiction. The problem is, we have our favourites and then tend to wear the same pieces over and over again. Mostly because we can't be bothered to go through the stash. Well, not any more... something had to change. 



After a bit of research on Pinterest we were inspired after spotting an easy craft idea so decided to give it a go ourselves...

All you need to start with is with a selection of doilies. We picked a rectangular shape with a tight knit, which is easiest for your earrings to stay in place. You then need to find a frame in a similar size. We picked up this one cheaply in our local charity shop. 

Cut the doily to size, before applying super glue to the edges of the frame. Carefully place the doily on the glued frame and stick down firmly, we popped several heavy books on top just to be sure. Then gather up all of your earrings and pierce them through the doily, attaching the backs on the other side. 


We can now see all our earrings, there's no hassle, and it looks super pretty in my bedroom. As you can see there's even a little space that needs filling… *pops on shoes and heads to a vintage market* 

By Amy Westbrook

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Roast Pumpkin Soup

This rich, warming soup is perfect for an autumn night. Nutty roasted pumpkin and glorious melting cheese come together for the perfect supper to snuggle up with and keep the spooks at bay!



Ingredients 
Serves 6

Soup
1 small pumpkin (1.3 – 1.6kg)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
850ml vegetable stock
425ml whole milk
25g butter
Salt, pepper and ground nutmeg, to season
Croutons
2 thick slices crusty white bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

To serve
100g melting cheese, such as gruyere or mozzarella, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 240 °C. Start by cutting the pumpkin into quarters, scoop out the seeds, then cut each quarter in half. Brush the surface of each section with the oil and season with a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper. Pop into the oven to roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the flesh is soft when tested with a skewer.

While the pumpkin is roasting, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat, add the onion and stir. After 5 minutes, turn the heat down low and leave the onion to cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Add the stock and the milk to the onion and turn the heat up to medium. Once the mixture is simmering, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and add to the pan along with the seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn the heat down to low and leave to gently simmer for a further 20 minutes.

This is the perfect time to make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the bread into cubes and toss in a bowl with the oil and salt and pepper seasoning, making sure each crouton gets an even coating. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until they are light and crispy.

Next, puree the soup using a hand blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Season to taste, and when you’re ready to serve, slowly reheat the soup over a medium heat – keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t boil as this would compromise the taste. Ladle into warm bowls, top with a handful of croutons and a generous scattering of cheese. 

Snug up and enjoy!

By Millie Norton

Friday, 24 October 2014

When I Grow Up...

There's nothing better than uncovering a hidden gem, and you'll definitely be in for a treat if you take a trip to MoonKo in Sheffield. We caught up with Debbie to find out a little more about what makes them so unique... 


How did MoonKo come about? 
When I became a mum for the first time, I was torn between going back to work and doing something I was passionate about, whilst spending as much time as I could with my little one. Being an artist myself I know how hard it is commercially to make money and make an income, so I wanted to provide a platform in which I could support graduates, students still studying etc.  From there it just evolved and grew, from a small idea to something I am really proud of and love. 

Have you always had an interest in design?
I have always loved design, which probably comes from my background. My dad is an amazing garden designer, who has done the odd Chelsea Flower show. He has a passion for simplicity and likes being surrounded by beautiful objects and floral influences, which has definitely rubbed off on me! I love the unique quality and quirkiness that British design brings to creative sector. It’s inventive, intuitive, not afraid to be bold, ask questions and be controversial as well as incredibly commercial.


What do you think of the growing Arts scene in Sheffield?  How does the shop fit into this? Sheffield is an amazing place (although I am a Brightonian) and I’ve lived here for 15 years, it’s my home.  It’s wonderful. It feels more like a village then a city - with the peaks on your door step. It’s such a creative place and always has been, it’s just more folks are taking notice. It’s full of little hubs, in the old industrial quarters where artists, makers, musicians are creating, recording and getting noticed. The shop is based on a Division Street,where there are lots of wonderful independent shops. and sits in an old 1960s prefab building, with the remnants of Sheffield past round every corner. The folks of Sheffield have been so supportive of our shop; it showcases lots of up and coming design, textiles, ceramics, home-ware you name it, from Sheffield and around the British isles. We also have regular pop up shops and exhibitions. My passion is for MoonKo to showcase such amazing work, that folks take notice, that here in Sheffield, there are beautiful and commercial wares being made.

 How does MoonKo work together with emerging talent?
I do lots of things outside of the shop, working with great organisations and charities, such as Ghost of Gone Birds and The ONCA gallery.  I work with emerging talent , not just sales in a shop context, but exhibitions, commissions etc.


How do you see Moonko in 5 years’ time? 
Wow, MoonKo in five years… there is a thought. Well, I would love to see more MoonKo shops open. Hopefully MoonKo will grow, supporting more amazing makers, creating jobs and supporting charities.

What's next for Moonko?
Lots of lovely MoonKo products and collaborations... watch this Space!



Interview by Victoria Rodrigues O’Donnell

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

DIY Clay Antler

It’s September and autumn is slowly establishing itself, so we wanted to share an easy DIY that can help you make that transition from summer in a small and inexpensive way. 





What you will need: 
White, air drying clay
Sand paper 
Optional: 
Waxed paper 
Tape 
Paint 


Step 1: 
Prepare your surface and clay. Clean the surface you will use just to make sure you don't get any hair or dirt on your clay. We decided to put some waxed paper down to save ruining our surface and secured with painter’s tape (it's easily removable). Divide your clay in half and take the portion of clay that you will not use and wrap it back up to prevent it from hardening. 


Step 2: 
Make the main branch. Mould the clay into a single clay branch that should be a bit thicker as it will be the base of the other branches you will add. 


Step 3:
Make smaller branches and attach them. This is where you can get creative. You can use the main branch as a guide to add as many small branches as you want. We made two branches and divided one of those into two more smaller branches. When you attach the smaller branches, make sure to add enough clay at the point where it connects to strengthen the link. Use your fingers to smooth it out and lessen its width. 


Step 4: 
Once you get the look that you desire, let it dry according to the instructions on the clay packaging. Once it’s dry, go back to sand the small bumps or imperfections that may be apparent and clean off the dust with a small rag. A little imperfection is OK and adds to the homemade look. We picked white clay because it has a natural off-white colour so if you don’t want to paint it, it still looks rather stylish. 

By Valerie Moreno 

You can find her blogging over at Nuance andBubbles Blog, taking daily snaps on Instagram, Tweeting away or pinning inspiration here

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Meet... Copper Garden

For the next instalment of our Meet the Blogger... series we grilled menswear fashion student Jessica from Copper Garden. Read on to find more about the girl behind the blog...



My name is Jessica, but you can call me Jess. I'm 22 years old and a fashion student at University for the Creative Arts in Epsom. But unlike 90% of design students, I do menswear.I would be so lost if I didn't blog and I definitely think my bank balance would be a little bit healthier.. but I sure as hell wouldn't be having as much fun.I love cosmopolitans, have a car named George and I want a pet sheep. I'd be lying if I said I was anything close to normal - but the best people are the weirdest!

Ok, first up who is 'Copper Garden' for those that don't already know? 
Copper Garden is a little 5ft2 girl named Jess - or myself. I'm 22, living just outside of London and studying towards a degree in menswear design.

How long have you been blogging, and what made you want start it in the first place? 
I began with YouTube at the age of 16/17 but my camera was terrible and despite doing quite well, I got embarrassed when people I knew found out (hence the video I did with fellow youtuber 'its simply beauty' about why you shouldn't be embarrassed). It wasn't until I was almost 19 that I realised I missed the community so I began a blog - again with terrible pictures. I kept it secret from everyone until my boyfriend saw blogger open on my laptop and he's been my photographer ever since! 


 What inspires your blog posts?
I go to lookbook quite a bit for inspiration, there are so many amazingly dressed people around the world who post to there so its good for getting ideas - its helped me wear clothes that haven't left my wardrobes in months or years! I do mostly post my own personal style pictures because this is what I most enjoy reading and find the most enjoyable. Its also cool to think that in a few years, I can look back and compare my style then to now.

How would you describe your style? 
 Quite boyish. I don't tend to wear many feminine shapes, patterns or styles. My main outfits include trousers and an oversized top! I think my style is a mixture of Alexa Chung and the Olsens 

What three items can you not live without?
My Macbook (ironic as it just broke), Canon 600d and iPhone - how typical of me! Can I say four and add a cosy jumper?



 What do you get up to when you're not blogging? 
 I'm normally doing uni work, seeing my friends and boyfriend, making some menswear to add to my portfolio or watching Hollyoaks. Its my guilty pleasure. 

 Tell us something no one else knows about you... 
 I absolutely love Star Wars and Harry Potter.

What other bloggers are on your reading list?
 I follow a nice mix of bloggers, I love reading my feed and seeing a mixture of fashions. My current favourites are Tilly Jayne, Paige JoannaThe Fashion Wonderland, A Design Rookie and so many more. I couldn't give you a favourite!