Saturday, 28 September 2013

I'm so cold, let me in at your window

My bestests and I have a bit of a long standing thing about Harry Potter. I think it all began around my 21st birthday when two of my friends were running around Liverpool on a night out acting like dementors (don't ask me how or why, but if you knew me and my friends you'd understand that explanations for matters like this are entirely unnecessary- we're as mad as a box of chocolate frogs). To celebrate one of the dementor's birthdays last weekend, Charlie and I made some Harry Potter inspired cupcakes for us all. Just to clarify, when I say Charlie and I, I mostly mean Charlie... she runs IronCupcake:Leeds so really I thought I'd best leave things up to the expert! That said, I did manage to lend a hand with a lot of the decorations so thought it'd be rude not to share our handiwork with you all since they turned out so well.

The cupcakes were 'butterbeer' flavour (that's butterscotch to all of you muggles out there!) and since my housemate enlisted Charlie to assist with making the same flavour cakes again a few days ago for a hen do I can share the secret recipe with you all! 

Butterbeer flavour Harry Potter Cupcakes


For the sponge:
6oz butter
6oz soft brown sugar
3 eggs
6oz flour

For the buttercream:
200g butter
400g icing sugar
1tbsp golden syrup

White ready-roll icing plus other colours for the decorations

First, preheat your oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and mix well.

Gradually sift in the flour and mix together until everything is fully combined.

Add the mixture to cupcake cases (you should get somewhere between 12-15 cakes out of the mixture depending on how big your cases are!) and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until springy to touch.

For the icing

Add the butter and icing sugar to a bowl and mix well. 

Add the golden syrup and mix together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Pipe onto the cakes once the cakes have fully cooled.

Cut circles of white icing to fit the top of each cake. Decorate with the Pottiest of decorations and then add the circles to the tops of your cakes.

Applaud yourself for making something so yummy that would satisfy even Dumbledore's sweet tooth.

(this song became a bit of a highlight on Saturday night... we spent a lot of time flailing our arms about to this song)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

But I fumbled and when I came down to the wire

Earlier this week I spent half of my afternoon chatting to one of the kids at work. I know you're not meant to have favourites but its impossible not to sometimes when there are some brilliant characters amongst them. When this girl first came into the hospital I was told she was really quiet and sensible but the first time I met her I had more trouble getting her to stop talking! She comes out with some brilliant stories and comments, and this week's took the biscuit. Out of nowhere, she came out with the comment "When I'm an adult I want to be like you... I mean you're a grown up but you're not at all grown up". 

At first I wasn't quite sure how to take that one but actually I realised she'd summed me up in a nutshell and it definitely wasn't a bad thing. Yes, I can be an 'adult'... I can do my own washing, pay bills and have a job with a fair bit of responsibility, but on the other hand I love nothing more than having the sense of humour of a 10 year old boy, dancing like I'm at a school disco and pulling faces at my friend from work when we're in meetings. Growing up and being a grown up are two totally separate things. And actually, I think I'm pretty proud that this girl decided that I made a good role model- I think I've got the best of both worlds as far as adult life goes, being able to live independently but also knowing not to take life too seriously. I want to look back on my life and think about how much I enjoyed myself and all of the fun memories I had, not how great it was to be a full time grown up person who didn't take the time to enjoy herself or let her hair down every once in a while at every possible opportunity.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Louder than sirens, louder than bells

It occurred to me when all of the new baby freshers started appearing in Leeds (I can tell they're all appearing as their trolleys full of supernoodles and frying pans getting in my way in the aisles of Morrisons when I'm trying to buy excessive amounts of chocolate and biscuits...) that 5 years have passed since I was squished between six thousand boxes and bags in the back of my Dad's car and driven across the pennines to my new home in Leeds. At that point I had no idea whatsoever what the next few days were going to be like, let alone have any inkling that I'd still be here with no intentions of leaving five years on.

Looking at all these new little people in my city (and silently judging the horrific quantity of baseball caps that the youth of today seem to possess) made me think back to my own 18 year old self finding my way through this strange new city I was going to be calling home for the next three years of my life. All through sixth form I'd been massively excited for my big move to Leeds but a few weeks before I was due to leave I suddenly got really scared of the big unknown world I was going to be jumping into. So much so that I managed to pull some strings to get a place on a course at Liverpool University instead and was all set to change my mind about where I was going. Until the admissions tutor at Liverpool told me I needed to officially give up my place at Leeds before they'd accept me. I did everything I could not to have to do this and buried my head in the sand for a few days but eventually put two and two together and realised my reluctance to give up my place at Leeds was probably to do with the fact that deep down I knew I was doing the right thing moving there. 

At this time of year, I always end up thinking about how different my life could have been if I'd accepted that place at Liverpool back in 2008. In the end, I made the complete right decision- I've grown up so much in the last few years (in some ways at least... there's still a big part of me that thinks I'm only about 15!) and most of that is to do with making Leeds my home, making roots in a new place and meeting some of the best people in the world in the process. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

When the zeros line up on the 24 hour clock

I realised a few days ago that there's something I've not been doing on my blog for absolutely ages- my old smiles of the week posts. I like looking back at the little things that have made the week special, and thought this would be the perfect sort of week for doing that as it started off as one of those weeks where I was pretty bloomin' grumpy for no real reason and needed to give myself a bit of a kick up the bum to bring myself back to my usual jolly self. And actually, I proved my Monday morning self wrong and I've had a pretty jam-packed week with lots of highlights. So, just in case grumpy Kaz makes another appearance when Monday rolls around again, I've put this together as a little reminder that the week always gets better once that first wake-up of the week is out of the way. 

Being invited to a weekend away organised for the kids I work with. Its a huge event that's organised by the Teenage Cancer Trust and I'm so excited to be part of it.

Going along to the University open day to ask a few questions about PGCE courses. I had a really reassuring chat with somebody in the department and came away feeling a lot happier that I'm making the right choices.

Having a catch up with one of my friends and getting overly involved in watching GBBO together. Plus its reassuring to discover that the unnecessary hatred my house is harbouring against Ruby is felt by other people too!

Peeking at all of the new season stock at Joy in Leeds with my friends (and getting a cheeky free goody bag and glass of champagne too!).

Watching The Perks Of Being A Wallflower at long last. I read the book ages and ages ago, missed seeing the film at the cinema and then bought the DVD about a month ago but didn't quite get around to watching it for ages. A few of us had a DVD night on Friday to watch it, and I was so impressed! I thought it could be quite difficult to translate the book into a decent film, but it was done so well (aside from Emma Watson's questionable accent). 

Taking a trip to Manchester last night for a barbecue and a night out. Sprinting onto the dancefloor when our signature song, Babies by Pulp, was played was a definite highlight. 

Managing to have a fairly productive and hangover free day today despite having accidentally drunk a whole bottle of wine before 8pm last night. 

Plotting next weekend's shenanigans with one of my besties tonight (even more reason to be excited and not grumpy about the week ahead!). 

The new Arctic Monkeys album. Need I say any more?!

Monday, 9 September 2013

It's three in the morning and I'm trying to change your mind

I think I deserve an award for managing to tear myself away from eating samples of homemade pop-tarts (made by Cupcake Cafe in Leeds) long enough to give my blog a little attention. This weekend has been a bit of a crazy one. Aside from acquiring lots of cake, pop tarts and moustache biscuits after Iron Cupcake Leeds and also having a baking disaster when I tried to enter the competition myself (I'm trying to erase that part of the weekend from my memory- it caused me far too much distress!) I've just been hanging with my friends which has been looovely. We had a house night out on Friday with a few friends to a Rock and Roll night in Leeds which was great fun and one of those nights where I spent half of the time stood at the DJ booth requesting songs (all of which actually got played so top marks to him for that... usually DJs just roll their eyes at me when I start dictating what they should play!). 

Speaking of music... the new Arctic Monkeys song has been played about 6000 times in our household this weekend and I've spent the last few days wandering about singing "why'd you only call me when you're high?". I realised today that although that may be appropriate behaviour in the comfort of my own home, it doesn't quite have the same effect when I sing it at work. Whoops.

dress: c/o Clothing at Tesco, jacket: Republic, shoes: Topshop, socks: Primark

Anyway, this is one of my new favourite items in my wardrobe. I've been trying on so many dresses lately and all to often find myself wishing that smocks didn't make me look like an 8 man tent. I've decided that sticking to ever so slightly baggy skater dresses is more my way of doing things.