Thursday, 20 May 2010

ooo la la!

My love affair with French Macarons continues! I am becoming obsessed with those gorgeous little sweeties! I have only had the pleasure of tasting them once, and that was in Switerland - so they were ever so slightly different than the french ones. None the less beautiful I assure you!
 oh the colors!
Just in case you've not heard of Macarons, let me fill you in! 

a la Wikipedia:    
Macarons in a variety of colours.
A macaron is a confectionery whose name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” or "maccherone". This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient...
It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base.
Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaron differs from other macarons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (truffle, matcha tea).

 How do you feel? Are you both hungry and smitten? Mesmerised by the colors?

I sooo want to make them, but I need a pastry bag. I should really have a pastry bag anyhow right? I can take cake decorating up a notch...

I've found a couple of great tutorials on making macarons...
 Trissalicious offers one as does David Lebowitz with lots of info and links.
Sucre, a bakery in New Orleans, has a video on their page.

Now all I need is a pastry bag and ingredients!

We're off to London for Mr Woo's birthday next weekend. I found a French bakery and have sent the link to our host. So believe you me I'll snapping photos and enjoying those sweet sweet sweeties! 

Do you like Macarons? Do you have a fave photo or recipe? Tell me! Lets enjoy together!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

How Kitty Is Dealing With Being Down In The Dumps

Hey friends! I wanted to share this blog post by my sweet friend Kitty over at Fritzi Marie. She is such a special lady I wanted you to get the chance to know her!

Dear Friends,
I have down in the dumps for a while now.
I don't like to talk about it on my blog because it is my happy place.
But, I thought I'd share one of the things I am doing to help with my depression. 
This is the from the guest post I did on Post Grad Hair Cut yesterday.

 When I am feeling down my favorite thing to do to perk myself up is to make a care package for a friend. 
My goal is to put all of my energy into that friend and making "happy mail" that will make her day. 
The most important thing to remember when making a care package is to never expect anything in return.
A true care package (one that helps you heal) is a gift of love.  

 Here are my tips for making a lovely care package.  

-Pick yourself up and decide who you want to make feel special.  
-Get out of your house and go somewhere local to pick up a gift.  
(The town I live in has a chocolate factory so I like to go and pick up some bumble bee chocolates).  
-Next go to your local shop (I go to Target) pick up a treat (for you to sip on) and shop with your friend in mind.              
(Remember: this act of love is not about spending a lot of money, it is about sending happy thoughts out into the world).
 -Now take yourself home and put on your comfies, put a pretty movie on, and spread out all of your goodies and take a good look at them. 
-This is the fun part.  Start personalizing your pretties.  Grab some treasure (I have a vintage shop and I go to estate sales every Friday to find items for my shop, my home, and my friends).   
-Then get out all of your packing supplies and stationary and get to making everything look like a million bucks.  It's all about presentation.  
-Write a sweet note, it will make your heart happy.  
-Lastly, go to the Post Office and send that package full of happy feelings out into the world.  I promise you will feel like a superstar.  

I'm up to my ears in Care Package Goodness over here. 
So here's the deal, tell me about a care package you received and how it made you feel and the winner will get some Fritzi Marie surprise mail. 

Horray for friends and Happy Mail.  


I thought we could shower Kitty with some love & encouragement! I can tell you first hand how wonderful Kitty's care packages are, she sent one to me when Poppy died. It went a long way to cheer me up. Now I'd love to see her be on the receiving end!
I've got Kitty's email and mailing addresses so all ya have to do is ask. Please send Kitty some wishes for happiness and hope!
So how 'bout it?
  1. An email to brighten her day? 
  2. Leave an encouraging comment on her blog
  3. How about pulling out all the stops and sending a care package using Kitty's instructions about how to make a lovely care package?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

I'm baaaaaack!

Wow! That was a looooong week! I'm a little brown and a little more cultured I hope. I will not leave Mr Woo for that long again! I was missing him like crazy {we call his mom Mumsie Woo, and she was driving me right up the wall by the end of the trip! Note to self: when it is a struggle to spend 24hrs a day with one's husband or best friend do not even think about spending a 7 day holiday alone with one's mother in law!!!!}!

Thanks, I just needed to get that out of my system!

Menorca is a charming place. It is tiny, it takes 30 minutes driving slowly to go from east coast to west, so a full week was too much time. I would recommend to anyone who might go to maybe go for 3 - 4 days and then maybe check out mainland Spain or some of the neighboring islands. But I did so enjoy the people and the place.
Menorca is Spain...but not Spain. They have their own culture but I think imported some of the popular Spanish bits for the tourists. The loss of a place's own culture always makes me sad, but the discovery of what treasure lays beneath the surface is a joy.
For instance, Spain is well known for fiery Flamenco Dancers and Bull fighting. In many of the gift shops on Menorca you can buy Flamenco costumes for children and pick up bull souvenirs. They're not Menorcan. Menorca celebrates their gorgeous proud horses. 
One woman in a shop told me that Menorcan people find bull fighting "barbaric", "not Menorcan". In stark contrast to the brightly colored Flamenco dancers, the image of a Menorcan woman is very humble and earthy. Of course it's an image of a time long gone, but I absolutely loved the sculptures of the Menorcan Woman all over the island. She is usually depicted offering food or drink. I couldn't afford the sculpture I wanted, but did find a lovely small rustic version.
I didn't get a photo of the sculptures and can't seem to find any online, the closest I've found is this plate!
My fave little place was Es Castell. What a charming little place.

And you'll never believe this....I found an Age Concern charity shop there! Yep. Good ole Age Concern, the same charity shop that I volunteer for sometimes. Ha! And it gets better. They had knitting needles and vintage buttons. Hold on to your seat because it gets even of the ladies brought her vintage buttons from home for me to have a rummage through. There were so many I couldn't take them all! I KNOW!!!
I also managed to pick up a few bits that I can sell at the Vintage Shop if I can part with them! My laptop is acting a bit crazy so I can't upload new pix in I'll have to show you my buttons once Mr Woo has sorted this thing out. In the mean time here are some of my fave photos from my holiday in Menorca! Enjoy :)
 ah-mazing paella!
the teeniest snails! that brown spot is my birthmark :)

In Mao/Mahon


 Es Castell


The beautiful Es Castell again

So there ya go! All of these photos were taken on my phone! Watch this space for button photos!
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