Happy Valentines Day (and a FREE download!)

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Happy Expensive Flowers Day! I jest, I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but damn are flowers expensive this time of year! In the spirit of the day, and because I know you probably already spent your paycheck on floral arrangements, here’s a freebie! A cute heart and arrow desktop background for you to download for your phone, ipad or computer!

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DIY | Wooden Polaroid Photos

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My latest craft project is up at Drifter & the Gypsy, this month we’re making these adorable wooden Polaroids. These mini photos are a unique and inexpensive way to display your favourite Instagram photos around your home! And, if you’re searching for a homemade gift idea, why not make a set of photos with you your significant other for Valentine’s Day? The full tutorial as well as some more display ideas can be found over at Drifter & the Gypsy!

– Read the full post HERE 

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DIY | Feathered Cat Toys

Entertain your feline friends: DIY Feathered Cat Toys | www.highwallsblog.com

First of all, let me apologise for the image overload in this post. And when I say ‘apologise’ I mean in one of those ‘sorry-not sorry’ ways, because just LOOK at that FACE! If it seems like I’ve been a little distracted lately, it’s because of that pretty little face! I can’t resist it!

For those of you who have been here since the early years of this blog, you may remember my devon rex, Loki, used to pop up a lot in my posts. He was, for a long time, our un-official mascot of the blog.  Sadly,we lost Loki to a careless driver over Christmas. Ever since there has been a kitten shaped hole in our home and in our hearts. Devon’s have such strong personalities, his presence was sorely missed. But as you may have guessed, recently this little girl came into our lives…

Entertain your feline friends: DIY Feathered Cat Toys | www.highwallsblog.com

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Navi! Our new baby is also a devon and she has the sweetest, loveliest temperament of any kitten you are likely to meet. She is SO friendly, loves cuddles, and she is teeny tiny! Like, I still cant get over exactly how small she really is!

As the newest member of the family, I thought it only fitting make a little welcome gift for the new baby! Being a kitten, she is super playful, so a toy was the obvious choice. (and you can make one too!) This DIY takes minutes to make and will set you back a quarter of what you would pay at a pet store. You save some pennies and your kitty gets spoilt! Everybody wins and your fur baby will love you ;)

Entertain your feline friends: DIY Feathered Cat Toys | www.highwallsblog.com  Entertain your feline friends: DIY Feathered Cat Toys | www.highwallsblog.comEntertain your feline friends: DIY Feathered Cat Toys | www.highwallsblog.com

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EAT | Homemade Anzac Oat Slice

Make this Homemade Anzac Oat Slice - Perfect for celebrating Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day all! As today is our official national day, it is tradition to enjoy all things Australian. And you can’t get much more Australian than Anzac Biscuits. (For my international readers, who probably have no idea what I’m talking about; essentially cookies make from oats and coconut. They are sweet, chewy and pretty much the best oat cookies around.)

But instead of the usual Anzac biscuit you’re used too, we are going to take it a step further and make Anzac slice instead. You get the same delicious flavour, but super sized! It’s thicker, softer, and chewier, (and generally superior in every way!) Totally addictive and perfect for celebrating Australia Day!

Make this Homemade Anzac Oat Slice - Perfect for celebrating Australia Day!

Anzac Oat Slice
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 125g of butter
  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup
  • ½ tspn of baking soda
  • 2 tbsn of cold water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 & ½ cups of rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup of caster sugar
  • ⅔ cup of shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup of white chocolate melts or chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C and grease a small rectangular slice pan and line with baking paper.
  2. Place butter, syrup and water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, coconut and white chocolate melts (chopped into smaller pieces). Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter mixture. Mix with a spoon until combined. The white chocolate will melt and combine with the mixture.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and press evenly into a thick, even, slice. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden.
  5. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into pieces. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make this Homemade Anzac Oat Slice - Perfect for celebrating Australia Day!

Props to Erika Rax who made these adorable watercolour flags last year on her blog. (You can download them here.)

Mixtape 05 | 2014 Hottest 100

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Tomorrow is Australia Day, which means it’s time for the Triple J Hottest 100 – a massive music poll run by the national youth ratio station, Triple J. The count down is broadcast throughout the day and, to be honest, is the highlight of the day! As always, I’m looking forward to seeing who made it into the top 10 this year, (including seeing if Buzzfeed’s campaign to get Taylor Swift into the running was successful!) I actually forgot to vote, but I thought I’d share 10 of my faves, starting with Chvrches amazing cover of the Arctic Monkeys song, ‘Do I wanna Know’, which sadly wasn’t available on Spotify (check it out on YouTube). Enjoy!

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EAT | Elderflower & Mixed Berry Cake

Elderflower cake with mascarpone frosting & mixed berries. YUM!

I recently came to the conclusion that any cake looks super exciting when it has cream and layers. Take this elderflower cake, for example. By itself it’s sweet and delicious and pretty much your standard little cake. But you layer that baby up, fill it with  cream and fresh berries, and BAM! Look at this fancy lady! Damn gurl! You lookin’ fiiiine!

It might seem a little ‘wedding cake’-esque, but my new favourite layering technique involves two tiers on my cakes. A medium sized base with smaller layers on top. Because this cake is ‘naked’ except for the cream frosting layers, it is super forgiving in the decorating department. The tiered layers of fluffy cream and crisp berries make it so easy dress your cake to impress!

Elderflower cake with mascarpone frosting & mixed berries. YUM!

The elderflower flavour in this cake is sweet yet subtle, which is how I like it. If I’m feeling like it needs a bit more flavour I add it into the cream frosting as well.

Elderflower cordial is something I’ve been trying to track down for ages. (If by ‘trying to track down’ means,  ‘I looked in my local supermarket, couldn’t find it and kind of stopped looking’…) I assumed I would have to get it from a speciality food store, but low and behold; on a trip to rival supermarket what should I find, on special no less!? You got it, elderflower cordial! Now I’m obsessed!

Elderflower cake with mascarpone frosting & mixed berries. YUM!Elderflower cake with mascarpone frosting & mixed berries. YUM!

Elderflower & Mixed Berry Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 250g of butter
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2⅓ cups of self-raising flour
  • 3-5 tbsp of elderflower cordial
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup of powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest
  • 1 tsp of elderflower cordial (optional)
  • Fresh strawberries, blackberries, for filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C
  2. Grease one 25cm and one 15cm cake pan and set aside.
  3. Place the butter (softened) and caster sugar in a bowl and beat using an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the 3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial and beat until smooth.
  5. Gradually add the flour to the mixture, beating on medium speed. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine. If you mixture is a little too dry, add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of cordial to the mixture and mix until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into both prepared cake pans and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The smaller cake will take less time to bake, (around 25 minutes) Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Once cooled, trim away any excess cake and separate each cake into two layers. Set aside.
  8. For the frosting: Beat the mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar in an electric mixer, until smooth.
  9. Add the lemon zest and cream to the mascarpone, and beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and stiff peaks start to form.
  10. Stir in the elderflower cordial (if desired)
  11. To assemble: Place the first layer on a plate and top with a thick layer of frosting.
  12. Layer with blackberries and sliced strawberries and top with the next layer of cake.
  13. Spread another thick layer of frosting and place the first smaller cake piece on top.
  14. Repeat the above steps with the smaller layers: frosting, berries, cake and frosting on top.
  15. Top with whole berries and line the top of the larger tier with berries as well. Dust with icing sugar.

Elderflower cake with mascarpone frosting & mixed berries. YUM!Elderflower cake with mascarpone frosting & mixed berries. YUM!

Oh Etsy | Bold & Beautiful Blues

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I know I’m a little early for winter picks (or late, depending where in the world you are!), but these blue beauties are calling to me. Over the last couple of years I found myself increasingly drawn to bold, chunky sweaters, both for the comfort and the fun they bring. Paired with a cosy knitted hat and some choice accessories; a geometric bracelet here, a shibori clutch there, and you have makings of a bold and beautiful blue collection. (Even if it is a little out of season…)

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EAT | Sugar & Raspberry Palmiers

So easy to make these Sugar and Raspberry Palmiers; only 3 ingredients!

Leave it to the French to come up with something as brilliant as palmiers. Essentially a pastry cookie in a butterfly type shape. these crispy delights are crazy easy and only require 3 ingredients to make! If there’s one thing the French do well (and lets face it, they do a lot of things very well!), pastries would have to be in the top 5! But you don’t need to travel to Paris to give these treats a try whenever you like! It’s so easy and C’mon! Don’t act like I didn’t already have your undivided attention at ‘pastry cookie’.

Of course,  you can go all out and make your own pastry like a pro (this is a great recipe!) But my favourite thing about these pastries is the sheer simplicity. It is one of many recipes that are in my ‘emergency entertaining’ arsenal. Frozen pastry and sugar are two of the most common ingredients found in your average kitchen. So if you ever find yourself with unexpected guests and nothing to serve them; you can whip these up on the spur of the moment, and impress them with your ‘fancy’ French pastries! How awesome are you!

So easy to make these Sugar and Raspberry Palmiers; only 3 ingredients! So easy to make these Sugar and Raspberry Palmiers; only 3 ingredients!

Sugar & Raspberry Palmiers

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 punnet of raspberries

Instructions

  1. Unwrap the puff pastry and lay it on a benchtop to thaw until flexible and soft. Cover with a tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out.
  2. Spread 1/4 of sugar across the surface of each of the dough sheets in an even coat. Gently run a rolling pin over the pastry, pressing the sugar into the dough. Carefully turn the pastry sheets over and repeat on the opposite sides.
  3. Place the raspberries in a blender and pulse to break up and release juices.
  4. Take the first sheet of pastry and fold or roll into the centre from each side until they meet in the middle. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 20 - 30 minutes.
  5. With the remaining pastry, pour the raspberries onto the surface and spread across the sheet before repeating the above step.
  6. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 220° celcius.
  7. Remove the rolled pastry from the fridge and using a sharp knife, slice the roll into cookie slices (approx. 2-3cm thickness). Place the cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, alllowing room in between for expansion.
  8. With the base of a glass, flatten each cookie so it forms into a smooth disc. Sprinkle with additional sugar.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the sugar caramelises slightly and the pastry is golden brown.
  10. Remove from the oven and carefully (they will be hot!) flip the cookies over to separate from any excess caramelised sugar. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  11. Serve while still warm or store in an airtight container for a few days. The cookies will lose their crisp the longer you store them.
http://www.highwallsblog.com/2015/01/eat-sugar-raspberry-palmiers/

So easy to make these Sugar and Raspberry Palmiers; only 3 ingredients! So easy to make these Sugar and Raspberry Palmiers; only 3 ingredients! So easy to make these Sugar and Raspberry Palmiers; only 3 ingredients!

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DIY | Simple Bead Garland

It only takes 5 minutes to make these simple wooden bead garlands!

Now that we are officially into the new year,  its time for the Christmas decorations to come down. What a bummer! The house always seems so boring and dull once you take away the tinsel and baubles, so this year, instead of taking away all the fun, I am merely swapping it out for something a little more simple and a little less ‘seasonal’.  These beaded garlands are super cheap and only take a few minutes to make, which is perfect, because I already spent all my ‘decorating patience’ on taking down my beloved Christmas decorations…

It only takes 5 minutes to make these simple wooden bead garlands!    It only takes 5 minutes to make these simple wooden bead garlands!

All you need  is some plain wooden beads and bakers twine and of course some strong tape or pins to secure it all once you’re done.

Cut a long length of thread (long enough to string across your chosen area, plus an extra metre. Thread three beads onto the string and push to the centre of the string. Tie off a large knot at either end of the beads, securing the beads from moving along the string. Thread another three beads onto the string and line up around 15-20cm from the first group. Tie off as you did previously and repeat along both sides of the string until you have filled it completely. String up and secure with strong hold tape or some push pins. Too Easy!

It only takes 5 minutes to make these simple wooden bead garlands! It only takes 5 minutes to make these simple wooden bead garlands! It only takes 5 minutes to make these simple wooden bead garlands!

Oh Etsy | 2015 Calendars & Planners

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Life Planner | Mountain CalendarAstrology Wall Calendar | Weekly Planner

It happens every year. Other folk buy their calendars and diaries in December, so come January 1st – they are ready and rearing to go! Me? I procrastinate until the first week of January and then proceed to um and ahh about what I want (and of course, complain about my indecision here!) It’s not my fault if you really think about it. If everybody would stop making so many gorgeous designs, then I wouldn’t have to worry about making a choice!

I’ve narrowed it down to these four choices. I’m pretty sure I may have shared some of these before but that’s just how much I love them! That Astrology Wall Calendar is so damn pretty, but I love the clever design in the Mountain Calendar, how the dates line the peaks and valleys (check it out in it’s full glory – this little thumbnail doesn’t do it justice!) What do you guys think? Or do you have even better designs to share? Leave me a link in the comments, I’d love to check them out :)

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