Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Song: The Drunk Scotsman!

Hello everyone!

This is a scheduled entry, cause right now I'm on my way to the cottage, to play with Chipi, enjoy the weekend off, read some, take some photos and recharge my batteries!

But, I wanted to leave ya'll with something to make you smile and sing, and to chug a beer or two (or what other berverage of choice you might have!). Salud!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Photos: Getting ready for an Indian wedding or... how to wear a saree!

Hey it's Friday! And this week, even I have the weekend off!!

Since I'm feeling pretty tired after my 5 days & 1 one night shifts at work, I begged the boyfriend for some shots to share with you guys today, to celebrate that is Friday and I have days off!

I'm showing off some photos of the mehndi (henna designs) that I got done for Gaurav's friend's wedding. And also, a few shots on How To Wear A Saree!

I got the saree for Umi's wedding on my previous visit to India this year, and I choose this beautiful Bengali silk saree cause I simply fell in love with the fabric and the colour!

I have never worn a saree before, and obviously I have no bloody clue how to wrap myself in the yards of fabric! Also, two basics you need before putting on a saree are the petticoat skirt and blouse. Mention worthy: when I bought my saree I read in the tag the blouse was included, but when we were paying for it (I went saree shopping with Gaurav's mom) I still didn't see hair nor hide of the blouse... turns out it is part of the yards of fabric, and you cut it out and take it to a tailor so you get it made in your size!

On the day of the wedding I asked Varsha for help with putting on my saree, cause both Gaurav's mom & sister were staying at a different hotel than us, but as it happened she also had help, cause the bride's family had hired 3 people that worked at saree shops to help the guests with the saree wearing!

The shop lady did most of the job, but Varsha was the one to make sure I looked great with the saree! Also, she was wearing an absolutely amazing saree herself!

And tah dah! All ready to attend a Big Fat Indian Wedding!! And I have to say, I think I managed to handle the saree wearing, and dancing and all that pretty well!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Travelling Thursday: My first trip to Ireland: Dublin and Newgrange!!!

Hello everyone!

After a faily busy 5 days of work and quite a few emotionals ups and downs and a lot of unhappiness with my own country over the way they're handling the economy, the country, the stupid backwards laws the new goverment wants to pass and the fact that they won't give Gaurav a tourist visa to come this year...

So, to cheer myself up today before working night shift, I want to share with you all some photos of my trip to Ireland in March! I didn't go for St Patrick's Day, if you remember I was at my Wilton 1 intensive course. But I managed to exchange a few days and went to visit the Emerald Island with Joel, my elder nephew!

I've always felt drawn to Ireland for no particular or apparent reason, and after being there... I just can't wait to go back! We stayed at a small B&B quite in the middle of Dublin & the Temple Bar area itself! We had everything walking distance, and we enjoyed having early bird dinners and then some pints at the pubs with live music. I dragged my nephew to see Newgrange (which he actually enjoyed) and marvelled at the amount of daffodils you can find all over the roads, and loved seeing all the black faced sheep everywhere! And of course, Newgrange itself is just amazing!

Funny fact, late March, Ireland... and not a drop of rain! We had the sunniest days ever, and I left my sunglasses back in Spain expecting it to be cloudy and rainy every day!

 The view of the river Liffey from the bridge right outside our B&B

 Let's have some Guinness!

Joel had his first taste of Guinness during this trip, and he loved it! We also learnt how to properly throw yourself a pint, and we even had our own tap the last night when we went for a dinner with live music and Riverdancing at the Arlington Hotel!

 The Half Penny Bridge over the Liffey

 Spring time in Ireland, with gorgeous cherry trees!

Visiting Newgrange (or Brú Na Bóinne) was an absolutely fantastic experience. And I'm really glad I could do the tour for this, since I couldn't visit Tara Hill. Obviously, another reason to go back!

There's a lot of debate about what was the actual function of Newgrange, a passage toomb or an ancient temple, that predates both the Piramids and Stonehenge? Check out their website for more info on this superbly remarkable place: Newgrange.

And to say goodbye, let's say good morning to sweet Molly Malone, selling cockles and mussels in the streets of old Dublin by day, and who knows what else by night...

I can't wait to go back to the green old Ireland, even more with Gaurav, and I wouldn't be adverse to moving there one day either...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Photos: Let me introduce you to Miss Chipi!

Hey there everyone!

Happy Friday! Even if my weekend has been during week days this week, and now I have 5 days 3 to 10 pm and a night shift on a row, I'm feeling a bit more motivated than I've been these previous weeks, despite the horrible heat we're having these past few days.

Today I wanna introduce you to Miss Chipi, my dad's new puppy! One of my dad's doggies, Linda, died recently, of very old age, and my brother got my dad a new puppy! She's a pharaoh warren hound, and she's an absolute sweetie! Also, a bit of minx! She loves playing, cuddling, treats and napping in my mum's mint beds in the garden!

Happy weekend!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Monday Munchies: Wilton 1 Intensive and Cupcakes for St Patrick's Day!!

Hello everyone and Happy Monday!!

This a very belated blog entry! I was actually working on it (uploading all the photos when the debacle with the coffee and the laptop happened, back in March!) but I think it's high time I finally publish it!

On Saint Patrick's Day this year I attended the Intensive Wilton 1 Cake Decorating Course at La Tienda Americana. And I absolutely loved every minute of it!

The course, although it gives a lot of general basics on how to bake a cake, cut it and cover it, mostly deals with the use of the piping bag and different piping tips, to create all sort of amazing decorations solely using buttercream!

Loleta, our teacher is a certified Wilton instructor and an absolute prodigy of the piping bag, the things that woman can do!

On these courses you get a kit with a book, and materials necessary for it, which means a lot of quite awesome Wilton goodies! (I'm not a fan of Wilton cupcake liners, cause they're crap, there I said it, but the rest of the Wilton stuff is awesome!).

And since I spent the whooole day at the course, I didn't have any time to make some St Patrick's cupcakes, so I made them the next day!

I thought that for St Patrick's a must would be a recipe with Guinness, so using the vegan recipe for stout and chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, I used Guinness instead of the vegan stout suggested and then used the Bailey's buttercream recipe from Lola's Cupcakes book, except I used a little less icing sugar than recommended, it gets too gritty for my taste otherwise. And since it's St Patrick's, green cupcakes were a must, I went for a mix of the Green Tea cupcakes recipe from the Primrose Bakery and the vegan recipe from VCTOTW!

For the decorations I used sugarpaste/fondant and some awesome stencils I got from Coppergifts (another awesome place to get stencils is Designer Stencils) with some edible sparkly powders (Sugarflair and Wilton). It's a rather simple technique but you get some spectacular results!

Guinness & chocolate cupcake with Bailey's buttercream!

I sent all the cupcakes to the nephews, the liked the green tea ones enough (but they said they sort of tasted too healthy? My sis-in-law loved them though) but they ADORED the Guinness & Bailey's ones, go figure!

Oh, and I forgot to show you my diploma! Course 1 done & bagged! I learnt a lot, had a blast with my fellow students and got some awesome goodies!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Feature: Eden Gallery!

Hiya there everyone!

Still trying to get into the rhythm of blogging again, so here I am with a Friday Feature! Today I wanna show off the amazing work and skills of a super nice Southern lady called Deanna that I met through Attack Of The Craft (it really couldn't be any other way, that place is chock full of awesome artists and crafters!). She & her husband have an awesome Etsy shop called Eden Gallery to which they both contribute with their different but complementary pieces, Deanna does the paintings, different sizes and even amazing miniature pendants, and her husband does the steampunk pieces!

I got myself this amazing small painting quite a while back, and it was an absolute joy to photograph and that has that amazing mix of slightly Burtonian and loads of Victorian charm to it! It's absolutely amazing the detail and the skill that you can see in this piece, it's an absolute wonder be it from afar or close up!

I really just can't wait to have my own place to display it properly! It'll add a lot of charm to any living/dining-room!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Travelling Thursday: Agra and the Taj Mahal!

Hello there!

Finally, another blog entry. I seriously have been doing a crap job at updating blog, even though I've been back from India for 12 days already, and my laptop has been working perfectly fine (and I've made sure the coffee or any other berverages have been placed far, far way from it), my motivation to blog has been in historical lows... Truth be told, not just to blog, I haven't baked at all (though not having AC in the house, with nice sunny summer hot days makes you dread using the oven) and I have an INSANE backlog of photos to edit, since MARCH! 

Oh well, it seems that I am a wee bit more motivated today, so I've been thinking of what to blog, and after a  bit of look back on my blog, I don't I've properly shown you all the photos I took on my visit to Agra and the Taj Mahal, on my first visit to India, all the way back in 2007!

The Taj Mahal is one of those places everyone wants to see, and that every one has seen so many photos of it... you might even wonder on the way to see: will it live up to the hype or will it disappoint me in person? Well, rest assured... it is a sight worth all the heat, all the plane hours and car hours in crappy Indian roads and all the queueing you might have to do!

The first moment you go through the entrance door and see it standing there, shining white in the sun... it's just amazing! One of those feelings you can't just explain with words, you just have to feel it. I'm not talking about mystical stuff, but it is such a thing of beauty to behold!

No, I'm not frowning, it was just too damned sunny! Even if September is still moonsoon season, we got a very sunny day, which looks lovely for the photos, but was horrible for me, cause I was without sunglasses!

Up close, the white marble reflects the sun so much, I could barely open my eyes, cause they'd star watering like mad! I have brown eyes, so I can't imagine what it'd be for someone with the more sensitive, lighter coloured eyes!

The carvings all over it and the inlaid work was absolutely breathtaking... The Taj Mahal being one of the Wonders of the World is very much deserved!