Art Deco Festival – Tick!


Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Napier for the Art Deco festival. It was marvellous and so much more than I expected. I went with a friend and we had an absolute ball. Not a lot of booze was involved and the snaps were real. It was one of those weekends I will always have fantastic memories of.

My friend won the trip for two from the wonderful Coast Radio. Yes, people really do win those things. This prize included flights, accommodation and tickets to events. Even without a prize to enjoy, I would go again.

I had a vision of what the weekend would be like, it surpassed all of that. It was like stepping back in time and everyone was very happy. I haven’t dressed up for a party for a long time, we spent the whole weekend in costume. I raided the op shops and got some great dresses and shoes.

It was not only the dressing up that made the event but Napier being pedestrianised and the only cars and bikes around were from the Art Deco period. Throughout our time there was constantly something happening, many of the events were on the street, at the sound shell. or in the air. We attended the free dog parade, the Army Band and the very cute Soap Box Derby.

The ticketed events we went to included the Prohibition Party, Falling in Love Again and the Gatsby Picnic as VIP’s. We added the Death By Chocolate, this was a funeral for Chocolate held in a funeral home and included eating rather a lot of chocolate. It was fabulous. The table of older ladies in full black dress celebrating a birthday certainly added to the atmosphere.

Anyway, enough going on from me, next years dates are out and you should go.

We stayed at the lovely Motel De La Mer, it is right opposite the splash pad and the cleanest place I have ever stayed. I would certainly stay again.

For food, we discovered Chantal Organics shop and cafe. The food was so very good. I will dream of a day I can go back.



Most Excellent Chocolate Raspberry Cake And Thick Chocolate Icing.


My daughter turned 14 years old this week. I don’t know where the time has gone? She is turning into an amazing young lady and is way taller than me. She comes in very handy for getting things off shelves and general reaching tasks. I don’t think I will need a step stall for a few years.

As it was her birthday on a Wednesday and her party on Saturday she was lucky enough to get two cakes. One was a rerun of the Cheesecake Shops Rainbow Cake and I made the most lovely chocolate cake for the actual day. I want to put the recipe on here for next time as this is going to be my go-to chocolate cake recipe and it went really well with the thick chocolate icing. Afer a couple of days of being cut, I microwaved a slice for 15 seconds and this turned it into a pudding type cake.

The cake recipe is from the Chelsea Sugar Website and the icing from Yummy Tummy Aarthi. 

The icing is very thick and this is how I intended it to be. It can be spread with a dinner knife dipped in hot water.

I used Lindt Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Chocolate for the cake.

Enjoy. I have to squeeze the dreaded word in somewhere, the jam keeps it moist.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake-

125g butter

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla essence

1/2 cup raspberry jam, homemade is optional

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup milk, warmed

1/2 cup chocolate chips


Grease and line a 24cm cake tin.

Cream butter and Caster Sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Then beat in vanilla and raspberry jam.

Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa.

Dissolve baking soda in milk.

Fold dry ingredients and milk alternately into butter mixture.
Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon into cake tin and bake at 180°C for 45 minutes.

Leave in tin on a rack to cool for ten minutes, remove from tin and allow to cool
Ice with chocolate icing when cold.

Thick Chocolate Icing

30 grams butter

1 tablespoon water

3/4 c icing sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder ( I love Pams)

Place water and butter in a saucepan on a low heat, gently melt the butter

Sieve cocoa powder and icing sugar

Beat cocoa and icing sugar into the butter mix

This will be thick, slowly add some more hot water if needed

Place in the centre of the cake and work outwards using a knife dipped in a cup of hot water



Shared Lunch- Jalapeño Popper Pies?


Friday was a sad day at work, we said goodbye to a friend. In the grand tradition of our branch we had a shared lunch. Said friend is a spice fiend and rather than do my predictable sweet baking, I opted for something with jalapeños in. After getting lost in Pinterest for a few hours I settled on a recipe for the above pies. They were good and a big success.

I made them the night before, let them cool and stored. Some of my pies burst a bit and while they were still warm I pushed the cheese back in. I will be making these regularly for bring a plate events.


The original recipe is here and I adapted it to suit me. Now these are not a quick thing to but I did enjoy myself with a Luke Cage Spotify music fest and a dance.

Jalapeño Popper Pies-

  • Servings: enough for a group
  • Print

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

150g cream cheese

1 cup grated cheddar

2 tablespoons plain flour

1/3 cup jared jalapeño peppers chopped (we use Delmaine)

1 packet frozen puff pastry with 5 sheets

Lay pastry  sheets out to defrost.

Heat oven to 200°

Cover 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar, flour and jalapeño peppers.

Cut pastry with a fluted 5cm cutter.

Place heaped teaspoon of cream cheese mix in centre of pastry circle.

Moisten edges with egg/water mix.

Put another circle on top and crimp shut with a fork.

Lightly prick tops with a fork.

Place on a greased baking tray.

Continue until all circles have been used.

Brush finished pies with egg/water mix.

Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool on tray.


Lush Party and Cheesecake Shop Rainbow Cake , Miss Muffin Turns 12

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Did you know that Lush does parties after the store has closed?

New Zealand 




I didn’t know this until a fellow mummy friend told me (thanks Jenny). I mentioned the party idea a couple of years ago to Miss Muffin but she wasn’t keen. This year she mentioned it herself without any prompting, we quickly got the party booked.

We couldn’t do the weekend of her birthday as it was already booked out but did book the weekend before. This made Miss Muffin extremely happy as it is like having a double birthday. We decide upon a total of 8 people being invited, including her.

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The party was from 5.30pm – 7pm at the Wellington store. We arrived shortly before to find most of the guest waiting and very excited. Our party was hosted by the lovely Tess and Laura. They greeted us, ran through some house rules and got the girls to put name badges on. The first organised activity was the making of a cupcake face mask. The girls enjoyed putting on the surgical style face masks and gloves. They mixed up the mask and each got a pot to take home.

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Next was a challenge game, they had to find 3 products with a certain ingredient, a product made by a particular person, wrap a soap and bundle everything nicely into a wrap. This task took a while and they really enjoyed it. There was some serious competition between the pairs who had given themselves wacky team names.

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After these two games we had a break to enjoy some cake and nibbles that we had provided. There will be more about the cake after the low down on the Lush party! The girls had a good rest and feed and got onto the best bit, shopping. They were each given a set amount to go shopping with. It depends upon the type of party you book as to how much they get. The shopping took a good 15 – 20 minutes and there was a lot of maths going on and debating of just how many bath bombs one needs.

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The last game was a throw the parcel across the shop pass the parcel. Each layer was a wrap and contained a sample of a Lush product. As with all the games Tess and Laura took control. After this parents arrived to pick up very giggly and happy girls who left laden with Lush products. The conversation in the car between Miss M and 2 friends was about how many years you could have a Lush party before it wasn’t fun. The decision was, you can never have too many Lush parties. Miss Muffin now has the aim of working in Lush as soon as she is old enough.

All up, this party was one big success. It was excellent and I received many texts from parents of happy girls to thank us. Thank you Tess, Laura and Lush. I don’t think Miss Muffin will ever forget her 12th birthday.

And now for the rainbow cake ……………………….

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The cake was also just as easy as the party, the request was for a rainbow cake. I may be pretty fancy at baking but I am also rather good at getting food colouring everywhere and so decided to outsource. We found that the newly opened franchise of the Cheesecake Shop in Lower Hutt did a cake for $60. Considering I would have to buy the colours and all of the rest of the ingredients I thought this pretty reasonable. I must say, the cake was huge, tasted good and we were very impressed. We paid a little extra for the chocolate disk, it had

It was easy to order too. We popped in the store the week before to place our order and pay, this meant on the Saturday we could just swing buy and pick it up. It all worked out really well.


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Candy Cane Bark- so easy and pretty.

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Excuse the photo, I am practising and want a record to see how I improve and I actually rather like it.

Miss Muffin has a bring a plate lunch at school tomorrow. I know this phrase doesn’t cross cultures, it means you take a plate of food to share with a crowd. As it is coming up to Christmas we decided to do something different and Candy Cane Bark was chosen. There are pictures of this all over Pinterest and it is easy, very easy. It looks really good and has made enough to share with a class of kids,  My head is now thinking of what other mixes I could do, my pick would be dried cherry and pistachio with dark chocolate.

Candy Cane Bark-

  • Servings: enough to go around a group
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

250g bar of milk chocolate

250g bar of white chocolate

150g packet of candy canes (around 10)

Line a baking tin with baking paper , we used a 34cm x 24cm

Put unwrapped canes in a bag and break up using a hammer

Break the milk chocolate up into a glass bowl, place over a saucepan of boiling water (not touching bowl) and gently melt, stirring occasionally

Plop onto the centre of the lined tin and move the tin around so it spreads, I used a spatular to help

Repeat with the white and plop that on top of the milk

Use the end of a spoon to create swirls

Scatter candy cane pieces over the top

Chill on side until cool and then refrigerate for1 1/2 hours, break into pieces

Ice Cream Cone filled with Mallow Fluff

I had this rather vague idea of how to do this but no faith in the recipe working. I have a confession, I made these the night before and the cones went very soggy. Lesson learnt, fill shortly before serving. I had put some left over fluff in the fridge and that was set nicely, in future I will make the fluff the might before.

1 packet of jelly/jello crystals (presume it would work with UK cubes)
1 1/2 c cold water
1 c icing sugar
Ice cream cones (flat bottomed)

Place jelly and cold water in a large saucepan, leave to stand for at least 1/2 hour
Bring to the boil for 8 minutes
Leave to cool so splashes will not not burn

Add icing sugar and beat until it looks like a marshmallow texture
Spoon into cones with a teaspoon, cover in sprinkles

I stopped after 10 minutes and reassessed and then carried on for about another 10!
I think you can see the difference in the two pictures. I used lemonade flavoured jelly and added some extra blue and yellow.

10 minutes
Another 10 minutes

Coconut Ice, made the real way

This recipe if from Ladies, A Plate and can be found on the website. All of the instructions are on there and many more lovely things to make. I do not own the two books by Alexa Johnston and fully intend to rectify the situation.
I made this batch for Miss and her afternoon tea birthday party. It is yellow because that is her favourite colour and blue for the SPCA. She has asked for dog and cat food from her friends to donate to the SPCA.