Thursday, October 28, 2010

it's magic!

Jeanne Lavin 1907
With Halloween literally around the corner, it has me thinking of all things magical and cooking and baking to me is exactly that.  There's something so exciting about being surrounded by 1000's of recipes that have travelled the world and have been lovingly perfected over generations.

Nigella Lawson in her personal library {my dream}
The sound and smell of something bubbling away on the stove or in the oven is like a spellbinding concoction that can alter moods and turn strangers into friends.  Especially if you're using an old family recipe, it's like being immediately transported to another time with an old loved one. Call me crazy but I truly believe cooking is magic!
Jeanne Lanvin {via}
When I saw pictures of Jeanne Lanvin's private collection in Paris, I immediately understood what her magic was - fashion.
Her personal library filled with sketches and pictures from her collections are covered in hand crocheted book covers and photo albums.
If you could have one room filled with things that inspire you, what would it be? What's your magic?

xo tash

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

oh so romantical!

When I was younger I used to dream of my big day being some ridiculously perfect lavish affair that would give Princess Diana's wedding a run for its money {eeek}! Now that I'm older, I've done a complete 180 and nothing about that sounds remotely appealing or enjoyable!  When I think about it, my change in perspective really comes from a desire to keep everything much simpler. I truly believe the less drama you have in your life, the less "stuff" you focus on, which in turn creates the space needed to cherish the people and moments we value. There's something so heartfelt about keeping the big moments in your life about the 'big moment'.  So when I saw Molly and Bo's Idaho wedding from Grey Likes Weddings,  it stands to reason that my jaw dropped and my heart went all a flutter...

Ummm, hello ridiculously gorgeous barn and breathtaking Idaho country side!

Can't you just feel the love?!

Have you had your dream day? What was your favorite part and if like me it hasn't happened yet, what do you dream about when you think of it?

xo tash

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baking for Baker

Fellow Aussie and actor Simon Baker requested some sweet treats today for the cast and crew of his show, The Mentalist.  I concocted a delicious array of desserts that will keep everyone on set charged for the late night shoot they have ahead of them! After the success of my Pumpkin Spice and Cream Cheese mini cupcakes, you know I had to include a large batch of those babies!

I also had a special request for an Australian treat that you can't find over here in the States and for the life of me, I don't know why! Caramel Slice is like a homemade gourmet twix and believe me if I had my way, I'd be sending sweet samples to all of you!
Not only does it have a crispy graham cracker crust, the center is a smooth caramel topped with a layer of chocolate... it really is heaven and here's how it's done! {note that I've added a couple of short cuts to make it a little faster and easier}

the chirpy birds caramel slice
1 cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs
6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 small cans of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
2 tablespoons of butter
6oz of good Semi Sweet Chocolate
2 tablespoons of butter

Preheat Oven to 350F.
Add melted butter to Graham Cracker crumbs and make sure that mixture is even.  Press down firmly into a 11'' x 7'' baking dish ensuring that the base is nice and compressed. Put into oven for approximately 10 minutes so that crust is golden brown and set aside.
Put condensed milk into a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add butter and golden syrup.
Golden Syrup is an English malted type corn syrup and if you have any trouble finding it, you can just leave it out!
Continue to whisk mixture for around 12 minutes until it begins to darken and become thick.  Be sure to keep your eye on the caramel and continue to whisk! We want a smooth even toned caramel :)
Transfer Caramel into crusted baking dish and ensure that it is evenly coating the base.  Place back into the oven for around 15 minutes keeping an eye on the caramel as is begins to darken and thicken.  Remove from oven once caramel is set and allow to cool for around 20 minutes. Put into the refrigerator for around two hours so that it completely cools.
Melt chocolate and butter over double boiler and continue to stir until smooth and shiny.  Cover the Caramel with chocolate ensuring that the chocolate coating is even.  Place back into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.  You want to cut the slice into bars while the chocolate is still malleable otherwise it will crack! Cut into desired squares {remember it's rich so keep it small} and return back to the refrigerator to set completely.
Then, as always, watch them disappear before your very eyes!!

xo tash

Monday, October 25, 2010

my sweets

This weekend was all about my sweet girlfriends. A rainy weekend complete with wine {on more than one night and more than one bottle...whoops!}, Sex and The City re-runs, sleepovers in my new place, weekend flea markets, Charades and more.  All this sweet girl time needed the perfect sweet treat - Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Yep you heard right!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter room temperature 
1 cup of packed golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 eggs
1 2/3 all purpose flour 
2 teaspoons of of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon of ground Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 cup of Pumpkin from can

Preheat Oven to 350F. Line Muffin tins of use 2oz paper Souffle cups. 
Whip together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add one egg at a time and beat until incorporated. Add Vanilla and Pumpkin and mix until mixture is even. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients {flour and spices} into a separate bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated {over beating will result in heavier cupcakes}. Fill your cupcake carriage of choice a little over half way and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes {depending on size}.
Cream Cheese Frosting
6 oz of room temperature Cream Cheese
1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter
2 cups of powdered sugar 
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract

Whip room temperature Cream Cheese and Unsalted butter together until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed of your mixer and slowly add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Add Vanilla and turn up speed and continue to whip for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.  Icing can be stored in an air tight container for up to three days! Wait a good 30 minutes or until cupcakes are completely cooled before icing and Voila!
It's the perfect treat on a cool Autumnal night with a cup of tea and some sweet company. Enjoy my pretties!

xo tash

Friday, October 22, 2010


Those of you who know me, know I have a penchant for innovative living spaces, see here. So when I stumbled across these spcaes here, I just about lost my mind! Husband and wife team, Britta Jonsson-Lindvall and Kent Lindvall are responsible for these innovative and eco-friendly retreats.
Inspired after watching a Swedish documentary about a group of friends that became 'tree dwellers' once emancipating themselves from their hum drum lives, this couple set out to turn their own conceptual tree top dreams into reality. 
With seven dwellings in Swedens boreal Pine Forests, each room size tree house is sustainably powered and attached to its respective tree via a series of avant garde metal clasps.  
Each fastening allows the tree to continue to grow in a natural unobstructed and organic state. Some of these spaces look more like innovative art installations than actual homes but me personally, you had me at tree top!

xo tash

Thursday, October 21, 2010


You know what they say about that funny ol' thing called hindsight... and sometimes when we're in the midst of life, it would be wonderful to flash forward and know that everything is going to work out just the way it's supposed to.

Well, it will of course, we're all on a different journey and we're all here to learn different things.  Keeping an open heart and being mindful and kind to yourself during life's trials is the key to coming out the other side with grounded strength and wisdom and don't we all want to grow gracefully?
In keeping with the notion, 'the only way to see how far you've come is to remember where you've been', I found this wonderful journal that allows you to easily keep track of the dailies of your life for five years {find here}.
This cute lil space allows you to write a line about your day, everyday.
Clear, concise highs, lows and happenings without the overwhelming task of daily detailed journaling.
When I think about how much my life has changed in 5 years, it's reassuring for me in this time of transition to be reminded of just how far I've already come and how strong I really am...I just have to keep on trucking!

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...I know I can :)

xo {feeling extra cheesy today} tash

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


My lovelies,

I'm sure most of you have thought that I have fallen clean off the face of the Earth, however I assure you I am here!

Aside from being a part of the wedding of a lifetime,  featured here in US weekly this week} I was hit with a bout of the flu and also the overwhelming job of moving house...Wowzer!

I'm sorry I've been MIA and I hope you'll forgive me!  I miss you all and will see you soon!

lots of love

xo tash

Friday, October 8, 2010

thank you!

There's nothing like showing the people that you love that you're grateful for them... When one of my favorite bloggers showcased her 'thank you' gifts for her guests my head exploded with excitement!
Doesn't this looks so delicious? 
xo tash

Thursday, October 7, 2010

you take the cake

I have always had a strong affinity for cake. Believe it or not, sometime around midnight on the night before my second birthday my parents found me on the kitchen table enjoying my birthday cake caveman style, by the handful.   It was waiting patiently in the dark for it's timely debut during a round of 'happy birthday' and a couple of candles, unfortunately for my mum, I had different plans for it's destiny.
It's a shame that I can't remember how I managed to escape my bed at two years of age and climb on top of the kitchen table to devour my celebratory cake like some baby cake ninja, but I do however remember the excitement.  A beautifully made cake still evokes the same wonder in me that it did as a child.    
So it stands to reason that when I saw these beauties over at this darling bloggers site, my heart went all a flutter...

Nothing says "I did it!", "Thank you" or "Best of Luck", like a piece of cake! I say forget waiting for your birthday, graduation or other Hallmarked day and have a little moment with yourself to pat yourself on the back for just being you!
love tash xo

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

new beginnings

view of my neighborhood

Moving house is not for the faint hearted... and the longer you've been there, the harder it is to let go.  But with all the chaos, organizing and sorting comes the opportunity for new beginnings and the chance to truly evaluate what you're carrying with you in your most intimate space.  When you're a sentimental person like me,  it's easy to end up justifying what you hold on to, so you end up carrying things with you that you never spend any time with, in fact even forget about until you move again!  Although emotionally taxing, it's always a great time to truly sit with those items and be honest with yourself, "Why am I holding onto this"? And if I choose to, "how can I make this more than just storage?" The hardest part is when you know it no longer serves a purpose and it calls for you to let go... Or alternatively you could end up ignoring all of it and end up appearing on the latest season of this show. :) - believe me I've thought about it!

However it's not just the physical stuff I'm talking about, it's also the emotional stuff that ends up collecting in your home.  Patterns, habits, ways in which you interact with your life within these walls - what do you want to leave behind in that regard and what do you want to bring with you?

With my move in date just around the corner I'm suddenly yearning for new sheets, new pillows, tables and chairs, a whole new revamp on my taste and style.  If only I had the pocket book to match my new found inspiration! I thought I'd share with you some of the things I'm swooooning over! :)

nothing like a tree stump side table to add some organic earthiness to your space

I love this chunky heather gray pebble rug against almost any wooden floorboard; be it beach wood, white washed or dark wood.

There's nothing like sheer window treatments to add an element of easy breezy living.  If you live in colder climates it will definitely not be as economical during those winter months but in moderate temperatures? Yes please! 

 fabulous accent pillows 

Can you believe all of this came from West Elm?! You guys have outdone yourselves!


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