Swim, bike, run, write.

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Maybe it's just me, but real-deal authentic Christmas pudding is my idea of dessert hell. Oh you've just had a huge meal full of meat and carbs? Why not stuff down a heavy, sticky, fruity mess soaked in brandy for good measure? No thanks! These chocolate sponge cupcakes are really quick and easy to make and offer up a festive alternative to the dreaded traditional Christmas pudding. I used a Delia Smith recipe for an all in one sponge cake that my Mum has adapted for cupcakes:

You'll need:
110g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
110g margarine
110g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 and a half tablespoons of cocoa powder
White, red and green 'ready to roll' royal icing (I was far too lazy to make my own and I often have icing-related disasters)
Brown cupcake cases

I doubled up the ingredients to make a bigger batch (approx 19 cupcakes)

This recipe is great because you basically just chuck all of your ingredients into a bowl and give it a mix. Start by sifting the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and then add the rest of your ingredients. Whisk the ingredients thoroughly (electric whisk or an electric cake mixer work best!). Spoon your mixture out into your cake cases and pop them in the oven (170°C) for about 20 minutes. Leave them to cool completely before you start decorating.

Roll out the white royal icing until it's about half a cm thick (that's a total guestimate...). You basically need to create some 'splat' shapes with the icing - I used some baking paper to draw a template but it's fairly easy to do free-hand. Use a small sharp knife to cut out your splats. Put a little bit of chocolate spread (jam or buttercream also work) on top of your cupcake and then stick your icing on top. Next up roll out some of the green icing and create your leaf shapes, and use the red icing to make your berries. Stick them on top of each cake and then you're done. Faux Christmas puddings without the gross fruity gunk - yay!

Hope everyone has a great Christmas!

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair: Leeds Corn Exchange

At the beginning of the month I headed down to Leeds Corn Exchange to have a little look round Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair. I was actually in a bit of a rush as we were having people round for a faux-christmas that afternoon, so I didn't get to rummage through all the treasures as much as I'd like to! I did manage to find this amazing houndstooth skirt though, which I've been wearing to death ever since. I didn't take any money with me (in a failed attempt to stop myself from buying more clothes that I can't afford...) but when I spotted this skirt I just couldn't stop myself. Thus followed a mad rush to the nearest cash point whilst praying that no one else nabbed it! I'd had my eye on something similar in Zara and this was half the price so I'm really glad I found it. The label says it's from United Colors of Benetton and it's made of a super cozy wool material which has been keeping me nice and warm paired with my fluffy jumper as of late! Vintage fairs happen fairly often in Leeds but Judy's Affordable Vintage is my favourite just because everything's always laid out so nicely and there's loads of accessories, jewellery and books as well as clothes.

Leeds German Christmas Market

Just over a week ago, before I came back to Herts for Christmas, my boyfriend and I popped down to the German Christmas Market in Leeds for a boozy lunch to recover from a Ball we'd been to the night before (turns out sausages and mulled wine are a perfect hangover cure). There was loads of cute stalls and so much food to try, it took some serious will power not to sample absolutely everything!

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