Monday, 22 October 2012

Christmas at Cottontails


Where has this year gone? I cannot believe we are so close to Christmas. For me Christmas is my favourite time of year. Even as an adult I still find it so magical and inspiring. Check out my Pinterest Board :)

I'm always on the look out for gifts that are a little bit different and unique. So this blog post is featuring one of my favourite online shops Cottontails.



Cottontails is run by Charlotte Evans and has been established since 2002. They are a small family run mail order shop and have a very special member of staff.

Meet Humphrey!


As you all know I'm a big bunny lover and this little guy is so darn cute. You can see more about Humphrey here.

I've spent a long time looking through the online shop and I cannot find a single thing I would not want. There  are far too many pictures for me to share in a blog post so I urge you to also visit Charlotte's Facebook Page

I do want to share a couple of my favourites with you. 




So if you are looking for some wonderful gift ideas do pop over to Cottontails and say hello. You can also follow Charlotte on Twitter on @CottontailsBaby

Friday, 3 August 2012

NAT Origin Review

A little while ago I was given a few samples from the NAT Origin range. Being a Vegan/Veggie they appealed to me as they are fully approved by the Vegetarian Society. (They are not vegan as some of the products use Beeswax). The NAT Origin products are also especially good if you suffer from allergies. Apparently NAT Origin are currently the only cosmetics and skincare range to hold the Allergy Friendly Product Award.

The products I have used over the past few week are: Pencil Eyeliner, Hand & Nail Cream, Firming Anti-wrinkle cream and Detoxifying Moisturiser.

Both the wrinkle cream and moisturiser felt great on my skin and I had no breakouts at all (I suffer pretty badly from them). I used the wrinkle cream and night and the moisturiser in the morning. The products don't really have a smell which I actually preferred. My skin really did feel moisturised after applying it. The only thing I'd mention is that I would not use it as a lightweight moisturiser as it took a little while to fully sink in. But was great for a more intensive treatment.

The hand cream I have to admit I am a nightmare with handcream. I do really need to use one as being a cake maker I wash my hands a lot but I just forget to put it on! So I only used it a couple of times. When I did I felt it made a difference and soothed my hands.

Now onto my favourite. The eyeliner. I wear eyeliner everyday. I used to be an eyeliner snob paying £20 for one in the past. I was a little sceptical of this one (due to my snobbery) but I love it. I have it in the brown and I can't wait to get a black one. It glides on easily and can be smudged if you want or stays in place if you want it to. Easy to build up if you want it thicker. It defined my eyes well and also lasted pretty well in water. It did not irritate my eyes at all (a few of the high-street brands do).


Sunday, 24 June 2012

What's cooking?

Happy Sunday! It's going to be a pretty chilled out day for me here. I'm going to spend some time going through some of my magazines picking out some yummy meals for the next couple of weeks.

I am also super excited because my copy of Chloe's Kitchen arrived!



Ever since I saw Chloe's win on Cupcake Wars with her Vegan cupcakes; I have admired her. Trying most of her recipes on her website I knew this Vegan cookbook was going to be amazing. I'll be posting pictures and reviews of some of the recipes on the blog and cannot wait to go through it properly today and plan the first one's I'm going to try. Check out a quick video below of a great easy recipes from Chloe- perfect for summer with a nice glass of wine :)



Another great resource is Just the Food. Joni is great and on Saturday I tried this recipe and wow! AMAZING! Must make some more asap!!!! They also in my opinion taste extra better the day after.



I  love nothing better than to cook vegan meals for my non vegan friends and family. I love to show people that I'm not missing out! What I can never understand is when you mention it's Vegan people sometimes turn their nose up at it. Now surely it's better to enjoy something delicious and know that in the process not animals were harmed? Do me a favour if your not vegan/veggie try and cook a vegan dish this month. Let me know what you think! I'll post a couple of great recipe resources and tips below so you can choose something yum!

Vegan Recipes


Tips for UK 

*Vegan butter- The two main brands are Vitalite and Pure but all the main supermarkets do their own versions.

*Cream Cheese- the brand I use is Tofutti and you can get it in most Holland & Barrett shops.

*Cheese- in the UK we don't yet have the amazing Daiya vegan cheese. The brand I use is Cheezly and they have it in Holland & Barrett and most Tesco & Morrison's stores

*Egg replacer- I use Ener-G egg replacer from Holland & Barrett and I have also used Orgran brand from H&B

*Chocolate- a lot of dark chocolate is vegan, just check the packet. Sainsbury's also sell Bloc chocolate chips which is vegan






Friday, 25 May 2012

Guest Post: Fruit Buckle Cake Recipe


I'm really excited to share this guest post with you, Not only does the recipe look amazing but Nicole is a new bloggy friend of mine and she is so lovely. So please make sure you visit her pages and let us know what you thought of the post.

Many thanks to Nicole for doing this guest post for me.

If anyone else is interested in doing a guest post then you can contact me via my Facebook Page :)








Hello - Pink Chilli Vintage readers!  My name is Nicole and you can
find me blogging about all things delicious [including my sweet sweet
Boston terrier, Henry!] over at www.bakingitonmyown.blogspot.com
Today, Jessica has kindly let me share one of my favorite recipes with
you - Fruit Buckle Cake! So without further ado...

There is nothing better than a really scrumptious cake.  I mean seriously -
who can resist cake!?  It's decadent, delicious, super tasty and
surely calorie-free (wink wink).  Starting in the spring and
continuing throughout the summer season - I enjoy combining fresh
fruit and my favorite cake buckle recipe.

The term fruit "buckle" comes from the combination of a single layer
of cake with fruit added into the batter. Many people also add a
streusel topping. Once cooking begins, the cake starts to rise up
around the fruit and the fruit (and/or streusel) starts to "buckle"
into the cake.  Wa la - there you have it, a little bit of fruit
buckle history.  It is a great way to use seasonal fruit and the
result is moist and rich.

Fruit buckle is one of the easiest recipes to make and is the perfect
thing to bring to a summer cookout or afternoon tea.  You can serve it
warm, cold, plain or fancy with ice cream, whipped cream or delicious
chocolate/caramel/fruit sauce.



Serves 6-9

1 cup flour (120g)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
I stick butter (1/2 cup), unsalted (120g)
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon (200g)
2 large eggs
1 small egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup desired fruit (75g) (sliced peaches, plums, strawberries,
blueberries, blackberries, raspberries etc) ** I used blackberries in
this recipe
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan with
non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt - set aside.  In separate small
bowl, combine cinnamon and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar - set aside.

3. With hand or stand mixer, beat sugar and butter together at medium
speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, yolk and vanilla
gradually.  Once combined, slowly fold in flour mixture.  NOTE:  Do
not over mix batter.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and top with fruit.  Gently press fruit
into batter.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of batter and
berries.

5. Place cake in oven on the middle rack and bake until golden -
approximately 35-40 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into center should
come out clean.

6. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe



I hope you all enjoy this recipe and I'd love to hear your feedback on
how it turned out for you.  I really appreciate you taking the time to
read my post today and I'd love it if you'd pay me a visit on my blog
sometime soon.  You can also keep in touch with me via Pinterest,
Facebook and/or Twitter.

Pinterest
Facebook
Twitter

...and of course - a special THANK YOU to the ever so sweet Jessica
for allowing me to do a guest post on her blog.  Hope to do it again
soon!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Recipe Post: Vegan Aubergine Curry

Hello from a glorious sunny Oxfordshire.

So this is the weather this week :) Got my flip flops out!


This afternoon I'm off to celebrate little Elliot's First Birthday. Happy Birthday Elliot! If you didn't catch his mum's guest post you can read it here.

So what has been going on. Well Jessica's Cupcakes has been really busy the past few weeks which is fab and I have a few more things planned for that which will go on the blog. Pink Chilli Virtual Assistant has really taken off and I'm so busy now with a number of clients.

Friday night me and Keely had a girly night as I couldn't make her hen night. Here are some pictures from the evening :)






On Sunday I made a delicious Aubergine curry and had to share the recipe. It's vegan so even better!

Aubergine Curry
Serves 4 people (or 2 really greedy people)

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil plus extra to drizzle on aubergines
2 large aubergines (eggplant)
1 medium onion ) chopped
1 can of coconut milk
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 chilli (de-seeded and finely chopped)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200. Slice eggplant lengthwise and sprinkle salt on the fleshy side. Rub both sides with olive oil and roast, skin side up for 25-30 minutes until tender.



2. Meanwhile in a large pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add all the spices and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Leave to simmer. Then one aubergines are done chop them into bite sized pieces and add to the curry along with some chopped coriander. Cook for another 2 minutes. Serve.

I had mine with rice and roti but you could have any type of bread, serve with potatoes or use this as a side dish.




Monday, 30 April 2012

Blog Planning

Sorry for the lack of posting recently. Things have been crazy busy with both Jessica's Cupcakes and Pink Chilli Virtual Assistant. I'm pretty much working 7 days a week and up until about 11pm. But I know it will pay off in the long run. Two clients have come on board in the past two weeks which is fantastic. **Happy Dance**

I love blogging but with 3 (soon to be 4) to run it's been a little manic recently to keep on top of things. So some extra planning was needed! Now I went to the place where I pretty much go for everything now....Pinterest! God I love Pinterest.



There were a couple of planners I liked:

My Blog Topic Planner from Bridgette Edwards is one I am probably going to use for my business blog which is currently through my website but I think I'm going to also set up a wordpress one also.

This next one is from Mommy Words and I think I will use it for my business blog with the Topics planner above

The next one is likely going to be used for my Jessica's Cupcakes Blog and it's from Living Locurto


And for this blog I think I'll be using this one from The Flourishing Abode. This one I think is my favourite :)


I'm also looking for people who would like to guest blog with me. Guest blogging is a great way of driving traffic to both bloggers and also gives their readership a fresh edge. So if you would like to do a post- even if you are new to blogging please get in touch via my Facebook page.




Thursday, 22 March 2012

Guest Post: New Mum

One of my bestest friends decided to do a guest post for me! So thrilled. You can check back to the post for a wedding pic (on my old blog) and Elliot's birth here!

So over to Catherine:

Today my son is 10 months old. The last 19 months have been slightly crazy for me since finding out I was pregnant! We were trying so it wasnt a huge shock, instead a very lovely surprise as we concieved very quickly. I found out 3 weeks before our wedding in September and the day before my family arrived from New Zealand for the wedding, so the first real chance my new husband and I had to talk about our baby was on our honeymoon! It didnt seem long until May when our little boy Elliot arrived. So I had gone from free singleton to a Mrs and a mum in just 8 months!



Then sadly 2 weeks later my Father died. Complete shock. Any new mother will tell you that the first few weeks of parenthood are a blur, but with dad dying it was all such a haze of tiredness and grief. He was in Thailand on holiday on his own when he passed, so there was the added complication of getting him home. My parents are divorced, and I have a younger sister so I felt it was my responsibilty to get him back. Something at the time that really helped as it gave me something to do. The funeral service was 18 days after we found out, a long time to sit and wait and think. I still have a lot of what ifs, and everyday a new question pops up about him in my head. There are no words to express the sadness I feel when Elliot does something new and I cant share it with him. Mothers day has just passed, and there was no call from him to say have a great first mothers day. This is only the start of the moments that he will miss, I know, and I hope time will help me heal to be able to cope a little more each day. Grief is a very strange thing. It can make you angry, sad, frustrated but sometimes I have even been happy. My dad was not a well man really, and now his pain is over. The one thing that gives me peace.



I am incredibly lucky to have THE most Amazing husband, a wonderful sister, and fantastic friends. Without whom these last few months I would be complete mess by now! ! Im not saying im perfect in anyway, I am human after all, but my life is certainly enriched by a few people in my life! One of these people has kindly let me guest in her blog!!



I could write paragraphs and paragraphs next on being a Mum and what it brings to your life, but alot of already people know that, and for the others who are yet to have children, there is no need to say.. if you want to know I hope one day you find out. All I could ever offer as advice would be to trust your instincts. Having a baby, means the whole world gets involved with your baby and what you should and shouldnt be doing! From family, and health workers to midwives and even random strangers! Yes that right random strangers who think they are able to to tell you in the middle of the supermarket or wherever you are, what they think your child needs! Yes becoming a Mum is daunting and nothing prepares you for it, but us women have wonderful instincts and they truly come into their own when you become a mummy, they are always right! Ive made the mistake of not trusting them on a couple of occasions and paid the price! Whether it meant a screaming filled trip to the shops, or one of those days that you just wish the ground would swallow you up! No one knows your baby like you, and also remember.. your baby has never had parents before so they too are learning how it will all work!

Life teaches us so many things, and gives us experiences every day. Some we would not want to go through, but happen regardless. I am a true believer in karma, and that everything happens for a reason. We may not ever understand those reasons, or know what they are, but there is a point to everything in life. Good or Bad. Somebody once said to me.. Stop shopping in a hardware store for a pint of milk.. you will never get what you want. I truly had a moment after hearing this and endeavour to apply it to my daily life. I am very prone to pre-empting the future and how things will be, and I forget to live in the here and now. Some would say thats the control freak in me.. and im slowly learning to let her go and become a more relaxed 'me' who takes in the seconds and savours them. Im not great at doing it all the time yet, but im getting there!!!! There were those who said on my wedding day I would be very Monica like from Friends, complete with headset, but to their surprise I was very chilled and relaxed!! Treat people how you wish to be treated, and if you can look yourself in the mirror at the end of each day and smile. Life is good.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mother's Day

"All that I am  or hope to be I owe to my Mother"
Abraham Lincoln

Mother's Day is a special day. I know we should cherish our Mother's every single day. I do, I couldn't be without her but people do put a little more effort in on Mother's Day. We get so caught up in life it's nice to take a day to truly celebrate our Mum's.

Here is my amazing Mum Andrea (with my Dad Dave)



Me and Mum haven't always had the best relationship. When I was a teenager, I was well... a teenager and my Mum had her own demons to confront. But now we have come so far. She is my rock and she is a fantastic Mum. We are going through some very tough things as a family at the moment and my Mum is holding it all together. When ever we are in pain or scared we always ask for our mum. I love you Mum.

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.
- Victor Hugo


So for this Mother's Day me, my Mum, Nan, Auntie Sam and Brother Tom are of out for a lovely Thai meal. The restaurant we go to is great as has lots of great veggie options for me. Can't wait to go there.  Just wish my sister could be with us. She is in hospital at the moment but she made mum a lovely card. 

Firstly I made my Mum's card. Forgot to take a pic before I sealed it but it is based on this idea

(Source)

Gift wise I bought a charm bracelet with a few charms on. I love charm bracelets- this way I can buy her more charms as gifts.

I also made this great little 'Reasons why I Love you' book. Here is the link to the printable and below are a couple of pictures of the one I made.







And lastly the cake. Just a simple vegan coconut cake with homemade bunting.

For the bunting I simply cut out several small triangles out of fabric scraps and threaded a needle through.





Happy Mother's Day Mum

xxxxx

Friday, 2 March 2012

Cottontails Baby

TGIF guys! I've been super super busy. Everyone seems to want cupcakes and the new business has been keeping me out of trouble and up until the wee hours. Good job I love it.

I'm currently trying to get votes to help get some funding for my new business. As long as I get 400 votes I get the £400. If you can it would be great if you could vote. It only takes one minute and you just need to put in your name and email. http://www.enterprisenation.com/funding-applications/pink-chilli-virtual-assistant/

Talking of things I love I wanted to do a quick post on my new favourite online shop.Cottontails Baby

Cottontails is run by Charlotte and more importantly Humphrey.

Now Charlotte is lovely and I'm so glad I met her through the power of social media but Humphrey is so cute.

Meet Humphrey


The hyperlink above will take you to Charlotte's website but you must check out and "like" her Facebook page too as there are so any gorgeous pictures on there. I have gone through all of them and there is not a single thing I don't like. So friends and family this site could prove very useful around my birthday and Christmas!

My lovely Package arrived today as I ordered a few bits with a couple of lovely extra's thrown in. 




The cards I will be framing and I think 2 will go in the kitchen and the rest in the spare room with my Beatrix Potter things. There is also a rabbit mini cutter (great as I run a Cupcake business) and a badge and some gorgeous parcel tags. 

So please go and check out the website and Facebook pages and tell Charlotte I said hi :)

Jess

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Pretty please vote for me?

Please please vote for me! I have applied to Enterprise Nation's Fund 101 and need as many people to vote for me. You only need to put a couple of details in and you can vote for other people too. There is £5000 available each month and the rule is that however much money you apply for that is how many votes you need. I have applied for £400 so I need 400 votes. You can apply for between £50 and £500 so apply yourself if you are setting up or running a business. http://www.enterprisenation.com/funding-applications/pink-chilli-virtual-assistant/

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Oh Hello Sun

The past few days the sun has been shining in the UK. It's so lovely to see!!! It's like we are all coming out of hibernation. Today I've been out planting some bulbs ready for next year and the crocuses I planted last year have started to come out :)

I'm hoping to be able to spend a bit more time on the garden this year. The 2 main things I want to get done is the big vegetable patch at the back and our patio/shingle/shed area, I want to make it more inviting and welcoming. Need to pressure washer the patio, re-paint he shed and get some nice pots and plants around. Oh and some nicer garden furniture. At the moment we have the horrid white plastic set. But it will do while funds are low. I always put a nice table cloth over it when we use it.

This afternoon I'm holiday a cupcake party and then I want to get back and do some business admin and menu planning for the next 2 weeks.

The 30 day photography challenge got forgotten a bit with everything I've had going on- very sorry.


Photo of me taken by Keely Jane who has gone to Vegas today! Have fun!!!

If anyone knows of any fab gardening blogs please post them in the comments :)

Jess
xx

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Valentine's Day and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup and Happy Birthday Tom!

I love Valentine's Day. I know we don't need an excuse to tell someone we love them but for me it's an excuse to get balloons out!!! Yay.

We spent our Valentine's eating in as having to watch the pennies.  I made the table look a bit cheesy :)




And Phil left me a little note before he went to work :) This little board we always update with little messages. 



And for dinner we had Sweetcorn fritters with Mango & Avocado salsa (I made it vegan and will post he recipe soon). For main we had butternut squash, sage and pine nut pasta and for dessert strawberries dipped in dairy free dark chocolate- yummy. Oh and lots of wine.

Butternut squash is one of my favourite things to use in soup so here is a nice warming soup that's so easy and doesn't have loads of ingredients.

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 butternut squash peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks
1/2 large onion chopped
1 pint vegetable stock
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1.2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp dairy free cream ( I use alpro soya cream and it's great)
salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. In a large pan heat the olive oil and place the onion and butternut squash in. Cook for about 5 minutes making sure to stir. Add the cayenne and paprika and coat the onion and squash.

2. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes until the squash is tender. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Mean while heat another small pan with oil and fry the sage leaves until crispy- about 2-3 minutes. Then transfer to some kitchen paper to soak up the oil. Set aside.

3. Add back to the pan and add in the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Serve into bowls and sprinkle with the crispy sage.



One last thing before I go. Just want to wish my baby brother a Happy Birthday. 

Here is his birthday cake I made



Here he is a few years back...



And here he is now, not so much a baby anymore.....

Happy Birthday Tom xx