20.08

Cider-with-Rosie-homemade-cinnamon-sugar-doughnuts-Rosie-Chappel

D O U G H N U T S   F O R   M O N D A Y S.

Sometimes, Mondays can only be made better by the addition of doughnuts.

I mean, it’s not as though there’s ever a bad time to eat a doughnut. What could ever be wrong about taking a round of soft, sweet dough, frying it until it’s crisp and golden outside and fluffy within, coating it in one form or other of sugary coating, and then settling down to eat it with a cup of rich, strong coffee on the side? It’s a blissful experience, and if you ask me, one that can’t be topped. I just feel sure though that if there ever was a *right* day to eat a day a doughnut, it’s a Monday.

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I’m not quite sure why, but up until recently, I’d always been too daunted by the idea of deep frying to have a go at making my own doughnuts. True, I’d dabbled in churro-making a couple of years ago (I can’t quite believe that was actually more than 2 years ago! WHERE IS THE TIME GOING?), but something about the idea of plunging bread dough into hot oil made me nervous. Not to mention the fact that I lose all self control around doughnuts, and can put away a frightening number in the shortest amount of time. I mean, I once at 8 Krispy Kremes in a day when I was at school.

In my defence I was 16, had the metabolism to match, and used to take about 15 hours of dance classes a week, but still. EIGHT. I had a three hour dance class that same evening, and remember feeling so sick and full of sugar I was certain I had Original Glaze seeping out of my pores. It most certainly wasn’t my finest hour.

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I like to think that now though, I’ve got a little more restraint than my 16 year old self. Doughnut consumption is limited to maybe two at most…though all bets are off if they come hot, fresh, dredged in sugar, and served in a paper bag from a fair or market. (Aren’t they always the best?)

Perhaps it still is best to eat them on a Monday, though. Why? Well, the promises I usually make myself on Monday mornings, about ‘hashtag clean eating’ and all that kind of jazz, help fortify my resolve and keep me from polishing off the entirety of the batch before Jason gets so much as a look in…

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I found the base for this recipe whilst browsing through Paul Hollywood’s British Baking cookbook. In the book, he shares a recipe for ‘Isle of Wight Doughnuts’, which, so says Paul, contain a small handful of citrus peel and raisins in their centres instead of the usual jam or, indeed, a hole. But since if you ask me at least there’s no quicker way to ruin a baked good than by adding dried peel (I LOATHE the stuff), I’ve tinkered with the recipe just a little. You’re on board, right?

Makes 12 small doughnuts. Adapted minimally.

Ingredients ::
300g strong white bread flour
1/2tsp fine sea salt
50g caster sugar
7g fast action dried yeast
50g room temperature unsalted butter
150-175ml milk

To glaze ::
2 cups icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
5tbsp semi skimmed milk

OR caster sugar + cinnamon

- Put the flour in a large bowl, then add the yeast to one side of the bowl, and the salt and sugar to the other. Add the butter and roughly two thirds of the milk to the centre of the bowl, then begin to slowly knead the mixture together.

- Add the remaining milk a little at a time, stopping as soon as a soft and slightly sticky dough has formed. Knead it for at least 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface, until the dough has smoothed out and is no longer sticky.

- Lightly oil the bowl, place the dough into it and cover over with cling film, then leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size (at least 1 hour).

- Gently knock back the dough, then divide it into 12 small pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, then space evenly across two parchment paper-lined baking trays. Place each tray into a clean plastic bag or cover over with clingfilm, and leave to prove for 45 minutes.

- Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, and heat to a temperature of 185 degrees celsius. Fry the doughnuts in batches of two for 3 minutes per side, 6 minutes total.

- When cooked, allow to cool completely (if dipping in glaze) or for a minute or two if dredging in cinnamon sugar.

- For the glaze, simply whisk all the ingredients together in a shallow bowl, and then turn the doughnuts over in the glaze before allowing to drain on a wire rack. If you’d rather use sugar, mix cinnamon into caster sugar to taste, then roll the still warm doughnuts in the mixture until entirely coated, and set aside.

Cider-with-Rosie-homemade-cinnamon-sugar-doughnuts 

^^ Unbeatable.^^

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18.08

Cider-with-Rosie-travel-1

Without doubt one of my favourite things about the island was the greenness of it all. Most evenings, before heading out to dinner (or sometimes staying put for dinner, when room service called), Jason and I would stretch our legs with a walk around the grounds, so that we could soak in the experience of being somewhere so beautifully tropical.

The hotel was set on a hillside running down towards the sea, so we’d meander up and down the sloping pathways between thick hedges and tall palm trees and flowerbeds thick with the sorts of plants and flowers you’d only see in the most well-appointed of greenhouses back home.

The fauna was as much of a draw for us on these walks as the flora though, truly. There were so many lizards skittering around the place that we even ended up with one living inside the bathroom of our room (he was maybe 2cm long at the most- I’ve seen bigger spiders here in the UK!), and a far beefier gecko we watched slowly shedding his skin over the course of our stay. And that’s not even to mention the fist-sized snails that appeared from nowhere each time it rained, and the frogs we had to step over on the deck outside the front door of our room, and the families of semi-wild cats who knew that being extra-affectionate was a sure fire way to get fed the handfuls of sliced ham and fish I’d squirrel away from breakfast each morning.

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On this particular day’s walk we headed out a little before sunset, with the intention of working up an appetite for the meal we’d been looking forward to all trip long- dinner on the beach. Our hotel offered the opportunity to eat dinner at a candlelit table set up right on the sand just once each week, and we’d jumped at the chance as soon as we arrived.

As we walked that evening, I mentioned to Jason that the light was so strange I’d had to adjust the colour settings on my camera to compensate. The air was so very thick I could feel it on my bare legs and feet as we walked, and was so still and heavy it felt like walking through soup.

We should really have guessed, then, that a storm was brewing.

Wrap dress || Flipflops

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We wandered on, pausing to marvel at the boldness of this spiny lizard and to take his photo just in time before he dashed off and was lost amongst the greenery.

Isn’t he a poser? (The lizard, I mean, not Jason…)

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By the time we’d finished our walk we had half an hour or so to kill before heading down to our much anticipated dinner on the beach, so we popped back into our room to drop off my camera and pick up hair pins because for the life of me I couldn’t once manage to eat a meal without needing to knot my hair up on top of my head. And then, just as we went to leave and began to look for the room key we managed to lose at least once each day without fail, the heavens opened and the first raindrops began to fall fast and loud on the little pool outside our living room window.

It turned out to be the most spectacular thunderstorm we had the whole time we were there, and so whilst dinner on the beach, under the stars and by the light of candles, didn’t quite happen, an evening of room service and watching ‘The Life of Pi’ to a soundtrack of thunder rolls and heavy rainfall did, and it was so very lovely I’m not sure I would’ve had it any other way.

~ ~ ~

And that’s a wrap from Koh Samui! It was the most amazing place to spend our first couple of weeks as a married couple, and we couldn’t have been happier with our beautiful hotel. Now if only we could just work out a way to make annual honeymoons a thing, that’d be perfect…

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13.08

Cider-with-Rosie-travel-Thailand-5

Jason and I had this running discussion the whole way through the honeymoon about whether or not it was a sensible idea for us to hire a moped, and spend a day driving it round the island. He was all ‘This is a great plan! It’ll be fine that we don’t have travel insurance! Stop being such a worrier!’, whilst I fired back at him all the horror stories I’d ever heard about people having to hand over their passports as a deposit for bikes and then struggling to get them back, and burns caused by the bike engines, and ‘what if we crash and die and then we’ll be one of those newlywed tragedy stories you read about in the news?!’ Is it clear now which of us is the more adventurous spirit?

We went back and forth for days and could never quite make up our minds either way, until eventually, we compromised! By hiring a lovely sensible car instead of a bike! We’ve got this ‘meet in the middle’ marriage thing down to a fine art already ;)

We hired the car via a rental company who had a little stand set up at our hotel, and were able to collect and drop off the car we hired (a Toyota hatchback something or other, I can’t remember the name) right outside the lobby. We paid about £30 for both the car hire and enough petrol to get us round the island, signed a few forms, and off we went!

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Instead of making a schedule of places to visit during our day of exploring, we decided that we’d just follow our noses and see where we ended up. And seeing as I was in charge of navigating and I’ve admitted more than once what an appalling sense of direction I have, that plan was probably for the best!

We headed West away from our hotel (which was set on the North-Eastern most tip of the island) and after about 25 minutes of driving along the main road that hugs the North and Western coastlines of the island, began to follow signs for Hin Lad waterfall.

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Top || Skirt (vintage, similar) || Flipflops

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The road down towards the waterfall finished in a dead end, so we parked up and headed towards the sound of running water up ahead. Almost as soon as we left the road we found ourselves at the base of the waterfall, where the stream flowed down the hillside and widened out into a rocky river. The water was thick with fish (all jostling together in a feeding frenzy as other tourists through handfuls of pellets down from the bridge for them) and the air was hazy and heavy with humidity.

We didn’t walk right up to the very top of the waterfall (both Jason and I were in flip-flops, and the path was pretty steep and stony), but spent a good half an hour relaxing by the river, and enjoying watching the butterflies flitting past us in tiny flashes of colour. It was, for the most part, beautifully peaceful, except for the tension radiating off my husband (husband!) as he kept anxious eyes peeled for the snakes he was convinced were hiding in every tree we walked past! ;)

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We continued our drive down the West coast of the island, through tiny villages and past patches of tall palm trees dotted with buffalo, before turning off away from the main road (which in reality was tinier than even most B roads back home!) and heading towards the sea.

The beach we’d been aiming for was called ‘Five Islands beach’, but to be honest with you, I couldn’t tell you whether we found it or not! I mean, we found a beautiful beach- crystal clear warm as bathwater sea, white sandy beach, hazy islands on the horizon, the whole bit! But was it Five Islands? I guess we’ll never know…

Still, pretty idyllic, isn’t it?

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The beach was littered with empty shells, all of which were being fought over by tiny hermit crabs looking to upgrade their accommodation. I could’ve happily stood watching them for hours, totally fascinating watching them switch shells in the blink of an eye!

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I had Jason pull over every 10 minutes or so as we drove, so that I could stop and take photos of all the beautifully arranged fruit and vegetable stands that lined the roadsides. I was so distracted snapping photos of those huge green bean pods (are they soy bean?) and tiny chilli peppers, that it took me a good few minutes to notice the stall’s owner sleeping under an awning just to the side of all the produce. We snuck away quietly so as not to wake him, after that…

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Since hunger was beginning to call (not least because we’d spent the past half an hour driving past those countless market stalls stacked high with ripe mango and rambutan and dragon fruit), we parked up on the roadside in the first town we came to, and set out on foot to find a likely looking restaurant.

More people than I can count recommended to us that whilst we were in Thailand, we absolutely must order Pad Thai at some small, family-owned restaurant, and that if we didn’t we’d be missing out on the true authentic experience. And so as not to disappoint our far more well-travelled family and friends, we did exactly that!

We found the ‘The Beach’ restaurant on the South Western corner of Koh Samui, and settled in with a round of lemonade (frozen for me, regular for Jason) whilst waiting on our noodles to arrive. And when they did arrive? They didn’t disappoint.

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^^ Top knots all day every day, otherwise I wound up looking like Monica in Barbados. ^^

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^^ Soft, peppery noodles, laden with vegetables and wrapped in a wafer-thin omelette. Delicious! Though the garlicky greens I ordered to go alongside my Pad Thai were even better… ^^
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The final stop on our little tour of tiny Koh Samui was here, the Big Buddha! We’d heard from cousins of mine that it was pretty touristy but worth stopping in to if we were on our way past, and since we *were* on our way past, stop in we did. There wasn’t a whole lot to see there beyond the Buddha statues themselves, *but*! If you do ever find yourself at the Big Buddha, you just *must* pay a visit to Leondardo’s ice-cream shop just to the right of the attraction. We were tempted in with the offer of a taster spoonful of (100% sugar free!) passionfruit sorbet, and even though I’d sworn blind just 5 minutes previously that I was too full to eat another bite of anything for the rest of the day, before you knew it Jason and I were tucking into scoops of mango sorbet, and mint choc chip and passionfruit and white chocolate gelato. All totally delicious (the white choc passionfruit flavour especially), and well worth a visit!

And with that, we hopped back into our air-conditioned haven of a hatchback, and proceeded to make approximately 20 wrong turnings before eventually finding our way back to our hotel.

If you ever find yourself in Koh Samui, I really would recommend hiring a car as a way of exploring. The roads on the island were pretty hectic and full on, but being in a car as opposed to on a bike felt so very safe and made carting along our obligatory luggage-load of cameras and suncream an absolute breeze.

I’m so glad too that we did get out and explore as much of the island as we could whilst we had the chance- beach days are great and all, but I’m certain that nothing beats getting lost in some picturesque corner of the world, and seeing what treasures you find along the way.

More from Koh Samui here and also here.

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11.08

Cider-with-Rosie-wedding-bridal-makeup

D I Y   B R I D A L   B E A U T Y . . .

One of the aspects of the wedding I was without doubt most nervous about in the lead up was getting my makeup right. The pressure of having to look your absolute best on a day when you’ll have a camera being pointed at your face almost from the second you open your eyes in the morning, until the moment the clock strikes midnight and you wave your last goodbye to your guests, is pretty full-on!

I deliberated for weeks about whether or not to book a makeup artist to do it for me, but eventually decided to ‘forgo the pro’, and do my makeup myself! There were 101 reasons behind the decision, but the main one was that Jason had this worry that if someone else did my makeup for me, I’d end up not looking like myself on our wedding day! He was so very anxious about it and felt so passionately that he always loves how I do my makeup myself, and since I was was pretty divided and couldn’t makeup my mind one way or the other, it helped make the decision for me.

Doing my makeup myself actually turned out to be such a fun challenge! And, my friends, it also turned out to be an *excellent* excuse to buy a whole load of new makeup, so if ever you needed a reason…;)

Cider-with-Rosie-bridal-makeup

After experimenting with endless different options, I decided to go for a very soft, natural grey eye makeup look for the day. I knew I wanted an eye makeup look that would be defined enough that it’d hold up to a camera, but not something so heavily smokey that it’d look out of place in our church ceremony. We’d chosen a fairly cool-toned palette for the day (in everything from the flowers to the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s suits), and since warmer colours can be pretty hit and miss on me anyway, going for a cooler neutral look was pretty much a no-brainer!

I’ve put together a tutorial below of how I did my eye makeup for my wedding, and a full list of all the products I used for the rest of the full look shown in the photos above! And since I’ve already had a few questions from soon-to-be brides about how it was DIYing my makeup, I’d say, go for it! So long as you’ve done a few practise rounds of the look, and leave yourself plenty of time on the actual morning so that if any mistakes happen you’ve got time to fix them, you’ll be just fine! Looking back on it now, taking 45 minutes to myself that morning to do my makeup was probably the most calm and peaceful period of the whole day, and I was so very grateful to have a moment of quiet to reflect and gather my thoughts on the most exciting ‘whirlwind’ day of my life.

Romantic-DIY-bridal-makeup-tutorial

P R O D U C T S ::
Foundation – Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation {Shade 5}
Concealer – Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer
Powder – Bare Minerals Touch Up Veil {Shade Light}
Eye shadows – Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics and Urban Decay Naked palettes
Brows – Urban Decay ‘Primal’ shadow
Liner – Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal {Shade 001 Black}
Mascara – Benefit Roller Lash
Blusher – Benefit Bella Bamba
Bronzer – Benefit Hoola
Highlighter – MAC Mineralise Skin Finish ‘Soft + Gentle’
Lip liner – L’Oreal Indefectible Lip Liner ‘Always Toasted’
Lipstick – Max Factor Colour Elixir ‘Simply Nude’
Lip gloss – L’Oreal Infallible Gloss ‘Protest Queen’

** Photos from the wedding by Sam Docker, tutorial photos by me.

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Posted in BEAUTY, TUTORIAL, WEDDING

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