Thursday, 31 March 2016

AlohaLolaCards - The World's Loveliest Illustrator

My 4th 'blogiversary' is quickly approaching and so I've been spending the past few days reminiscing on all the amazing opportunities I've had since I first started blogging. For me, the most rewarding part of starting my blog has been the wonderful array of people I've had the opportunity to work with, talk to and in some cases meet.

Most recently, I've got to know the lovely Claire of Aloha Lola Cards; Claire is quite possibly the loveliest human being in the world and also the most insanely talented and unique illustrator I've come across. Claire has her own Etsy shop where you can buy personalised caricature cards, key rings and digital portraits all at incredible prices - the individually hand created and personalised nature of Claire's designs make them the perfect gift!

I was originally introduced to Claire when she so kindly created these personalised Christmas Cards for the most recent Plymouth Blog Meet, I immediately fell in love with her incredible talent to capture everyone's look and personality so accurately in her work (baring in mind she had only seen pictures!).
I knew that I wanted to purchase from Claire again and so I followed her on Twitter where we often chat. In fact more recently, Claire has hosted an Twitter survival game - this was a really innovative and fun game that she created where by you progress through a scenario by answering a series of questions. If you missed out in the last one, she will be hosting another next week so make sure to follow her Twitter @AlohaLolaCards for a chance to win!
Being the lovely person she is, Claire created this incredible digital portrait* for me. What makes Claire so unique is that she ensures she knows exactly what the customer wants, she asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted her to include - the Disney ears were a must - and any photos she could work from. I love that not only did she capture me perfectly, but the attention to detail is incredible as she managed toget the texture and colour of my jumper spot on, and also included my necklace and bag strap - details which were nearly impossible to spot on the photo I sent her. It's these little details which reflect her genuine passion for art and her work, and what makes her stand out from any other illustrators I've seen before.
I reached out to Claire last month to purchase a personalised caricature card for Mother's Day (£3.10). We discussed what I wanted the card to look like and I sent her across 3 photos for inspiration. However, being the awkward mare I am, I asked if she could combine the hair from one photo, outfit from another and pose from the last to make the perfect picture, and Claire did so in a heartbeat. She sent photos of the design as she created it to ensure that I liked it and to ask if there was anything I wanted to change - talk about great customer service! She then packaged it up with a cute letter and it was with me in no time, I can honestly say I had absolutely no problems with her service. My mum and I both love this card so much and it's actually taken residence on the front cover of the scrapbook I made so we can always look at it.
I would recommend Claire for any illustration needs, her talent is incredible but it's her customer service and genuine passion that makes her so unique. And even if you don't want any illustrations just yet, make sure you are following her on Twitter @AlohaLolaCards and send her a message because she is the loveliest lady in the world!
Becca x
 
// *Claire was kind enough to create the digital portrait in exchange for a blog post, however all opinions are my own and 100% honest //

 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Rocky Road Krispie Cake


Happy Easter!

Easter has always been one of my favourite holidays as it serves as a sign that Spring has arrived presenting the opportunity for fresh starts and new beginnings, something that I have always found to be hopeful and uplifting. I also absolutely adore all the pastel designs, colourful flowers and of course the chocolate eggs that line the shelves. Some of my earliest memories revolve around Easter related activities, with the likes of Easter egg hunts around the house, church services with school and baking with my mum being my fondest.

I always get excited when Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs begin to make their way into the shops and it's a household tradition to use these quintessentially British goodies to make Easter treats. This week, it was also my turn to bring in cake for my media clas and so I decided to play around with a few recipes we've attempted in the past and come up with something of my own to present to them, after debating whether to make a classic Rice Krispie near or a festive Rocky Road I eventually decided on a compromise - enter the Easter Rocky Road Krispie Cake.

This recipe made 12 large pieces - you can easily half the recipe for a smaller batch! Also, I used rough estimates on all ingredients except the butter and syrup - you can add in more or less of any ingredients as desired.

Ingredients:

800g Milk / Dark Chocolate

125g Unsalted Butter

125g Golden Syrup

100g Rice Krispies

100g Mini Marshmallows

2 x Bags of Mini Eggs - Crushed

1 x Bag of Mini Creme Eggs

100g White Chocolate

Anything else you want to add!

Method:

  1. Line a tin with greasproof paper - I used a 9" rectangular tin
  2. In a large bowl, melt the Milk Chocolate, Butter and Syrup together until smooth - this is best done in a bowl over a pan of water on low heat - make sure you stir regularly, ensure the heat is not too high as this will result in burnt chocolate and don't get any water in the bowl as it will ruin the chocolate. You could also use a microwave, in short 20 second intervals until mixture is smooth.
  3. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies, Marshmallows, 1 & 1/2 bags of Mini Eggs ( I crushed them with a rolling pin) and 1/4 of the White Chocolate (I used chocolate chunks).
  4. Pour into tin and spread out with a spatula ensuring you have an even spread and flat surface - place in the fridge.
  5. After about 1-2 hours, melt remaining White Chocolate using preferred technique. Remove the Rocky Road from the fridge and drizzle melted White Chocolate on top - additionally you could spread it to give an even coverage. Top with the remaining crushed Mini Eggs, halved Creme Eggs and Mini Marshmallows. Place back into the fridge.
  6. Refrigerate until set and cut into equal pieces of desired size!

I absolutely love this recipe, it's so simple but looks and tastes amazing! But be warned, it's incredibly sweet - my class labelled me as trying to give them diabetes, obesity, a heart attack and just straight up murdering them - however it was certainly rave reviews all round. This is definitely one I'm going to start making every year!

Do you have any Easter Traditions, or favourite Easter recipes? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Becca x