the vegan lamington cake

I've been watching the episodes of Zumbo lately, and I really like his creative process for cake making. He just thinks about what he'd like to have in the cake, the flavours & textures, and writes it down, and voila!
I had to make a special birthday cake a few days ago, and one of Zumbo's recipes involved a coconut & dark chocolate ganache. Genius! This inspired me to make a lamington-esque cake - chocolate, coconut & raspberry.

For the ganache, I boiled sugar & cornflour in a tiny bit of sugar, and slowly mixed in coconut cream to create a vegan coconut custard mix. I then poured this over chocolate to make a thick ganache - so good!

I forgot to take a picture of the finished cake, but these are the layers - 2 layers of chocolate tahini cake (modified from this recipe), and 1 layer of a jam cake (I just made up the recipe, it was good!)

In between were layers of ganache or raspberries. The raspberries were so great to cut through the richness.

Despite the cake tasting rich, it was not overwhelming. The whole cake had not a very high sugar content, but the chocolate definitely delivered a buzz!

Mmm. A good thing to create.


I had lots of fun drawing all these kittens! I do like cats, even though they make me sneeze. I decided to base them around a fun colour scheme that I don't normally work with - and I wanted also for them all to have little bits of personality on show.

As always, they're made of certified organic cotton and lined with recycled cotton. And they're cute!

Kitten purses are available
Pocket Carnival store
Pocket Carnival etsy

work in progress...

Usually I work on some purses one day, some cards the next, a little of this and a little of that. This week, however, has been a combination of being overwhelmed by what is happening in Japan, plus lots of purse orders. So it's been a sewing week.

I have been almost glued to my sewing seat, watching things or listening to music on the computer. I'm getting there... if I can get it all finished by Friday, the weekend will be so nice.

Miso soup for lunch... oh Japan, I hope you'll be okay! This nuclear stuff is so very scary. I guess it's an overwhelming and unwanted lesson that nuclear power can never be 100% safe, no matter how careful we are.

I did get a new fabric delivery today which is exciting! So many new products on the way, I can't wait to show you!

adorable: prunella soap

Ginger - Red Rooibos Tea // Special Edition // Vegan Soap by prunellasoap

I found Prunella Soap via twitter - someone posted a link and the statement 'best photography ever' (or something like that). And I agree! Best photography ever! Seriously, so cute, don't you think! The lighting! The props! The bunting! The washi tape! Argh! Adorable!

50 Soap Favors - Wrapped // Vegan - Organic - Cold Process by prunellasoap

Prunella Soap is based in lovely Portland, USA, ships world-wide, and is adorable. All Prunella Soap is vegan, and is handmade in small batches using the cold process method - way better for your skin than supermarket soap, people!

You Choose Any 3 Guest / Travel Size Bars by prunellasoap

Check out:
Prunella Soap on Etsy
Prunella Soap Blog

the real pocket carnival studio

Lara Cameron wrote on her blog a couple of days ago about the pressures we put on ourselves (and subsequently each other) to present a perfect image on our blogs. Not necessarily a perfect photo (although that helps!) but an idealised version of our craft, art, business & lives.

Her post very much sums up a lot of what I've been thinking and feeling lately. It's so incredibly difficult to stay motivated and keep on top of every single aspect of a business, especially when you work largely by yourself & from home. Argh. It can be super fun, but stressful too, obviously! I spend a bit too much time looking at other peoples blogs and imagining that if I was just that much neater, or the owner of that pretty chair or painting, etc etc, that my life would be so much more complete.

I'm sure lots of us do that!

I always do feel it's important to present a good image of Pocket Carnival, and myself. Obviously it's important to keep a clean & tidy workspace, and organisation is crucial. However clean, tidy & organised does not mean ready-to-be-photographed-for-a-magazine!

Usually when I put photos of my studio on the blog I spend ages rearranging everything and making it all picture perfect. Which is pretty unrealistic.

Generally whenever I want to take photos or have a general cleanup, Mr. Cardboard Box will be utilised. Oh dear.

I'm not 100% sure of the point of showing you my daggy old cardboard box (on my equally hideous grey carpet), but I guess it's just as a reminder to myself and others that behind every ideal looking house, studio or blog post, is very much likely to be a cardboard box, wardrobe or secret room full of mess, or undesirable furniture.

Perhaps just pop over to Lara's blog where she says it all so much more succintly, but I suppose this post is my response, and also my reminder to myself to stop worrying so much about it all!

I thought I'd finish with this wise old kitten - this is a peek at a new design. Kittens!

Whenever things are a bit quiet and I am not working on so many orders I try and get some designing happening. I find I go a bit whacky when I'm in design mode - it's hard!

Hope you like! Pencilcases & coinpurses soon!

love love love: blue hours design

Jessica earrings - sterling silver square diamond shape ear bobs by bluehourdesigns

I am very lucky: Chris got me a pair of gorgeous Jessica earrings from Blue Hour Design for my birthday (back in Jan!) So good! I love them so much, they're so pretty, very light to wear (I hate heavy earrings!), and they get lots of compliments!

I'd actually been wanting these earrings for SO LONG, so good work Chris!

Dark Hover necklace - charcoal recycled sterling silver group of round circles pendant by bluehourdesigns

My earrings were so nicely packaged, and amongt all the prettiness was a lovely business card with some info about Blue Hour Designs, including that all of the silver they use is recycled/reclaimed. Yay!

Arcadian earrings - recycled sterling silver modern triangular dangles by bluehourdesigns

So head over to Blue Hour Designs and take a peek at their pretties.

Blue Hour Designs on Etsy
Blue Hour Designs Blog
Blue Hour Designs online store

happy international women's day!

Happy International Women's Day!

I just love that video, starring the lovely Daniel Craig and narrated by wonderful Dame Judi Dench.

I consider myself very lucky to work in this industry of creativity & good things. I often ponder the fact that it's dominated by women, which is something I find very fun - I love meeting up with fellow designers for business chat, and also crafty gossip!

I think the craft & design industry can work really well for women - it's usually flexible, enjoyable & mostly very supportive. It can also be a tricky industry with super long hours, and it can be quite difficult to go from success on a hobby level to success on a larger more commercial level (don't I know it!). I think it's just nice though, on a day like this, to take a quick breath and reflect on the fact that all the lovely lasses around us (and the lads too) are doing some very amazing things.

So, a toast. Cheers!

patchwork on central park

I know I've blogged about it before, but I do love going to Patchwork on Central Park. I usually go with my mum - she loves patchwork (and buying fabric!) and I love looking at the fabric and getting inspiration.

Such nice colours! I love the way they display their fabric - it's so pretty.

I'm on a big yellow kick at the moment (I think I always am, really), and they have a great selection of yellow fabric. When I was there a few people were asking for yellow fabric for things they were making for babies - yellow's so bright & happy! So are babies!

Fat quarters! It took me SO LONG to figure out what a fat quarter was, and even now I think it's a bit of a rude name. But still. A great way to choose fabric for the indecisive person - just get one of each, right?

And, if you're hungry, you can pop in to Our Kitchen Table after. Such cute cakes, no?

Patchwork on Central Park Blog
Patchwork on Central Park Website

meat-free monday: tofu don

Something that I don't mention so often on the blog is how much I love cooking. I am also very passionate about vegetarianism and veganism. A vegan diet is way better for the environment - the production of meat/dairy consumes far more resources than the production of vegetables/grains.

Meat-free Mondays is a great idea, to encourage people who might ordinarily eat meat every day to go vego once per week. I thought I might make this into a fun weekly (or every few weeks) blog post and share some of my favourite meals! I always feel much better when I stick to a healthy, well balanced vegan diet (sorry cheese & icecream!) but we can all try going vegan once a week, it's fun!

Tofu-don is my standard, go to meal when I am in a rush. A donburi is a traditional Japanese meal of rice & either meat or tofu, which can be adapted in so many ways!

I always keep a pack or two of puffy fried tofu in the freezer (you know, from an Asian grocery) - it freezes really well, and defrosts quickly!

My simple Summer version of a tofu-don is: a layer of rice (brown rice if you have time!), a layer of tofu (I usually chop of puffy tofu, give it a quick fry with some onion, and whack on some plum sauce & soy sauce and any nuts or seeds I have lying around), and a layer of salad. And seaweed, for added health-food points.

The very first picture is white rice, corn, carrots & cucumber in a soy/sesame dressing & fried tofu.

Now that this first rather wordy post is out of the way, I'm looking forward to cooking some yummy things, brushing up on my food photography skillz, and sharing some yummy meals!