I always thought that I would be against bloggers getting book deals as it’s adding an exclusivity to their content, and turning something ephemeral into a tangible object; not to mention the role of the paper book in a world of ereaders.
Then one of my favourite bloggers Tartlette released her manual to creating better more appetising photographs of food and I was forever sold.
Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Shuman
Over the summer (how is that so long ago!) I bought my favourite daily read Cupcakes and Cashmere’s book, and since then I have read many mixed reviews. The main complaints being that a portion of her ‘original content’ is actually from her blog, and that it is simplistic and patronising.
I was a little disappointed by the first point, the it would have been better if she had created a completely fresh product. As for the second, I agree, but at the same time in the three months of owning the ‘guide to defining your style, reinventing your space and entertaining with ease’ I have completed 8 of her ‘how tos’ and our house has never looked better.
By focussing on the foundations, and breaking them into small easily achievable steps it gives you the perfect grounding for creating your style from what you already own and already like rather than being what to buy and where to put it.
new usable paperwork solution in our flat – now moved into a filing cabinet
The biggest changes to our flat were actually creating a colour coordinated, dymo labelled hanging filing system (before we had his/hers/ours boxes where all our papers were thrown); and turning our giant Ikea shelving system into something that featured our belongings rather than a wall of haphazardly placed DVDs.
Our films (which there are easily 250+ of) are now alphabatised and put in the now redundant filing boxes with a list of what we have on our computer so we can easily browse what we have to watch.
not quite a before photo as it only occurred to me mid project but close enough
The extra shelf space I used to display my books (height order for my cookbooks, colour coordinated for the rest) and a few trinkets that bring joy when I look at them (like my Dad’s old pentax camera that he gave me for my 18th and one of my Grandmother’s favourite ornaments).
It doesn’t sound like much, but instead of walking into a room and seeing a functional but ugly system, you now see a neat, coordinated display and it changes the dynamic of the room into something far more calming.
I also get a jolt of pride whenever any friends pick up a book to flick through, it sparks interesting conversation and showcases your interests – recently discussed was the paintings of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe.
cookbooks/one of my favourite features my retro style scale now acts as a cable tidy
The one article from the book that was most appreciated by my friends was her recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I baked half of the dough after a dinner party, and within 10 minutes of them coming out of the oven they had disappeared and I was begged to bake the rest.
I was in love from the first bite, still warm from the oven the high quantity of rich dark chocolate was still gooey, surrounded by an almost the same quantity of vanilla biscuit. The real testament to the recipe was that they were equally delicious when fully cooled.
Cupcakes and Cashmere’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (that’s a lot of C’s)
makes roughly 2 dozen
2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tso salt
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg at room temperature
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa) – as I couldn’t find these I chopped bars of good quality chocolate instead.
Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda and put to one side.
Beat the sugars, vanilla and butter together in a separate bowl until light and fluffy.
Add a tablespoon of flour, then whisk in the egg.
Slowly incorporate the flour in small increments.
Using a wooden spoon stir in the chocolate chips.
Leave to stand for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Line a baking tray, and distribute the cookie dough in tablespoon sized portions about an inch apart.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges are lightly browned, rotating the sheet halfway through.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.