To new beginnings…

This marks the beginning of an exciting season in my life! I am officially a self-employed baker!

IMG_2228There, after years and years of just playing with the idea of baking and selling my cakes, I finally decided to take the leap. I took my first order roughly about a week ago when a dear friend I know asked me to bake a few cupcakes to sell at her church. Only recently, I had invited her and the family over for dinner for my son’s 3 birthday in September and she was too kind in her praise for the car themed birthday cake and cupcakes I had made for the occasion. I’d told her that I’d be happy to bake anything simple if she ever needed it.

So when she approached me to make some cupcakes for a fund-raiser at her church, I leapt at the offer and made some really nice soft-as-cotton-wool vanilla cupcakes with an equally lovely light-as-air chocolate icing. The cupcakes had turned out better than I had hoped and I was rather pleased with it. In fact, I can still picture the look on the lady’s face as she told me how professional the cakes looked when I delivered it to her and it made me beam with pride. I’m going to etch that moment in my mind for posterity in case I ever begin to doubt myself and my baking abilities again. You see, every time the thought about starting a cupcake business crossed my mind in the past, thoughts of fear and doubt would shut it down. This was the real reason it took me this long to get started on my baking business. Despite many friends and family encouraging me and prodding me to advertise my skills locally, I tended to brush them aside and played myself down. I’d reasoned in mind that my cakes won’t somehow be as good as the others or that nobody would really buy from little ol’ me. Well, I’ve proved myself wrong!

IMG_2317Funnily enough, on the Sunday that I set off to handover the cakes after attending church, I had affirmations and encouragements from a number of sources saying how good the cakes look and that I have a business in the making. I even remember rummaging through my cupboard for a bag to put my cupcake boxes in and hurriedly pulled out one that seemed big enough but hadn’t bothered to look at what it said on the side. It was only when I grabbed the bag later on my way out the door that I realised it said ‘Selling Like Hotcakes’ on the front! I nearly fell down laughing! (See picture above) On the way down in the lift, I had two neighbours walk in on a different floor and say to me as the first thing how tempting and polished the cakes in my bag looked and asked me for a sample! Two others complimented me similarly seeing the boxes of cakes in the car as they walked past us in the car park after the church service! It was all beginning to sound a little crazy to me after that!

I began to wonder if God had planted all these folks on that day to be there at the right time and place, just so they could speak words of encouragement into my life. Words that I badly needed to hear. To give me a nudge, perhaps. I think He did. I thought to myself that I’d be a fool not to give this a try, after all the prompting and affirmations I’d recieved that day. So after what started out as a favour for a friend, this is me, giving my dream a try. Lets see how far I can go sweetening people’s lives in their moments of celebration.

Sorry about the sappy stuff. However it was important for me to put this on my blog, cause of how significant it is. Since the birth of my son, I’ve looked at ways to earn an income while staying close to him. After a few months of hunting for part-time evening jobs and not coming across any that offered flixibility in terms of working hours, I figured I should give this a try for what it is worth.


Moving on, I made something that I hadn’t done in a very long while. Lasagna. I must confess that I am not a big fan of cheesy foods. I’ve had a life long hatred for milk and other dairy products that I just can’t explain. If anything smelt cheesy or milky, I wouldn’t eat it. Hence I’ve always pulled the cheese off my pizzas and always asked for barely there sprinkling of cheese on my Paninis if I have to order them at a cafĆ©. I’m aware that I sound a bit alien to some folks, especially here in Britian, where almost everyone is a closet cheese-connoiseur. In fact, I personally am yet to come across another person who has a dislike for cheese like myself. However since my son’s birth, I’ve consciously tried to include cheese in my cooking and diet in a bid to get him to try all foods so he doesn’t end up hating it for no reason like I do. So I made this vegetarian Lasagna a few days ago, albeit with a little hesitation, but it turned out so good that even I enjoyed second helpings of it!

Aubergine and Mozzarella Bake

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I had enough Aubergine to fit two loaf tins, so I baked one for dinner that evening and froze one away for later. I took the recipe from here and instead of grilling the Aubergine slices in the oven, I fried them on a griddle, which took a bit of time, but was well worth the effort. I’m going to skip the recipe and instructions for this dish just cause the link I’ve included is rather detailed and it would be unnecessary for me to repeat it here. Here are some more pictures of the cooking and assembly of the Lasagna I took though.

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If you’ve never tried a vegetarian Lasagna, I’d highly recommend this one to you. You will not be disappointed. Do give it a try. šŸ™‚

Plus, I tried my hand at making my own pesto for the first time! It was much better than the popular store-bought stuff and incredibly easy to make as well. I only wish someone had told me about this earlier!

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Home Made Pesto

Just blitz together the following in a blender and add to cooked al dente pasta.

  • 2 cups of basil leaves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of parmesan or other hard cheese (I used sparing amounts cause I found the smell of the cheese too strong. You can sprinkle more as a garnish later on however)
  • Walnuts or pine nuts – 1/2 cup
  • Garlic gloves – 2
  • oil – 1/2 cup (olive or sunflower oil)
  • a splash of lemon juice

In other news, I’ve finally slipped into autumn mode after wrapping up some hobbies I started way back in summer. While going on a lovely walk early one morning, I was blown away by the beautiful autumn scenery before me.

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Both my son and I enjoyed running around and playing among autumn leaves and my spirits were soaring. I picked a few leaves on my way back hoping to make something with it later on during the day. Here’s what I came up with after playing around with it on my carpet.

Craft Ideas using autumn leaves

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As you can see from the collage, I’ve merely rearranged the leaves to give you an idea of all the different things you can do with it. I ended up stringing the leaves to make a bunting for my living room for the day and later took it downstairs to hang it between two trees by the entrance of my building. While it looked really pretty outdoors (I’d forgotten to take a picture of it), it got blown away by the winds by the next morning! If you want to make a wreath out of the leaves as shown in the picture, you can either choose a polystyrene base or simply make your own by cutting an old cardboard box (into a round or heart shape) and sticking the leaves on top of it.

After nearly a year I’ve started going to Forest school at my local woods with my son, and we are both enjoying it tremendously! Here’s a picture of my son enjoying pasta cooked on an open fire at the woods.

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I guess those are all the updates for now. Hope you have a fabulous end to the month of October whereever you are. xx

(Update:I managed to get an online certification for a Level 2 food safety course this afternoon while my toddler napped and by evening, I’d managed to convince another friend to let me bake for her daughter’s 2nd birthday party. I’ve also finalised the logo and name of my business for putting on the application form for holding a stall at a food fair at my local arts centre. I don’t know why I have tears as I type this. Maybe its because I know God’s hand is behind all these sequence of events that seem to just happen one after the other.)


O Give thanks unto the God of gods, for His mercy endureth forever

Psalm 136:1


Summertime Reveries

I cannot believeĀ it is autumn already especially cause it feltĀ like we only had a wisp of a summer this year around in Britain. None the less, I made the most of it by springing to the park with my toddler and picnic mat, every time Mr Sun out for a few hours, to do a spot of Ā quick sunbathing before the ominous clouds loomed back in. Fast forward to Mid October, and even with the crisp cold autumn air and the crunchy yellow-brown leaves lying everywhere, I find that my mind is stillĀ stuck in summer-mode wanting to spend a few more weeks doing summertime things! However I just managed to push myself into wrapping upĀ a few projects that I started 4 months ago! I’ve still got a few more to go before I can finish it all and post about it on the blog. So bear with me while my mind and soul catchup with the season and read on to know aaalll the things I dabbled in this past summer!

Continue reading “Summertime Reveries”

DIY Mummy & Toddler Backpacks.


I’ve long been wanting to own a Cath Kidston backpack but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a silly amount of money for a piece of sewn-up clothĀ that’s going to dangle off my shoulders carrying stuff when I go out! So I decided it’s far better to make one for myself from an old pair of jeans! I’d seen this novel idea on the internet awhile ago and thought I’d give it a try. With that in my mind, I bought the nicest looking pair of jeans I could find at my first ever carboot sale for Ā£2.50 and ended up making not one but two rather good-looking bags! One for baby and one for me! I took inspiration from here and here.

Continue reading “DIY Mummy & Toddler Backpacks.”

snoogums-boogums turned 3!


My boy turned 3 and I had to up the ante on the party department! So after two parties and tonnes of party food and cake later, I can certainly say that I had more fun than my tot in the last week.

My sonĀ has lately been obsessed with the Disney cars movie so I decided on hosting a Lightning McQueen themed party. (If you don’t have a car crazy little boy like I do, Lightning McQueen is the name of the animated car the Disney movie is based onšŸ˜œ)

Continue reading “snoogums-boogums turned 3!”

Milk Carton Bus

Lately, one of my son’s favorite rhyme to sing along to is ‘the wheels on the bus…’ one. Hardly a surprise at this age! Most toddlers I know of love the song and are asking their mums to sing it to them or play it on YouTube over and over. My son is no exception.  In fact, yesterday, we sang it on our bus ride to the local shopping center which my little boy rather enjoyed, while staring out the window the whole time. Who’d have thought ‘a bus ride’ of all things could bring so much happiness to my little son!  Ah, the simple joys of life.

We had such a fun time outside despite not getting much shopping done; mainly as I was trying to keep up with my son who was riding his scooter all over the shops. But one of the best decisions I made recently was ditching the use of pushchair/buggy while I’m out with my son. These days, I only take the buggy with me if I go outside during his nap-time. Without being strapped up, I find that he is a lot less troublesome and actively wanders about soaking in and observing all the sights and sounds around him. It was such a joy to see him whiz about excitedly like never before.

Anyhow, I thought, it would be a really nice idea to remember the day by making a little bus toy for my boy with a milk carton that was lying around. A quick search on Google came up thousands of ways to make buses and cars out of cartons; but I settled on this one for inspiration by one very clever lady, aptly named origamimommy. Her tutorial is actually for a truck, which I have modified into a bus and it was fairly easy to make. Here it is

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If you are wondering why the “63”; I put it there ’cause that’s the bus we got on to go to our shopping center! (The Northfield Shopping Center! You’d know if you are a Brummie too) On to the tutorial now

Things you need:

  • Milk or juice carton
  • Wooden skewers
  • Milk bottle caps
  • Drinking straws
  • Fire retardant tapes in various colors
  • Foam sheets (optional, could use anything else you have to hand: velvet paper or card)
  • Some other spare cardboard cartons to use to cover up the milk carton or just Acrylic paint to cover up. (I didn’t have any)
  • And of course, scissors, pva glue etc

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  1. First remove the cap on the carton and gently maneuver the plastic bit on top the it screws on to, without tampering the carton; Poke holes into the milk tops with a screw or metal skewer or screw driver, making sure the hole is only big enough for the wooden skewer to pass through; Trim the wooden skewer measuring it against the width of the carton, pass it through a short length of straw and fit the ‘wheels’ on either end (the straw isn’t visible in the 3rd photo as it is a light-colored one)
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  2. If you have acrylic paint, go ahead and give your carton a coat or two of paint and let it dry at this stage. I didn’t have any paint to hand, so I cut up some other spare cartons and glued it to my milk carton to cover up its sides. I also added some colored tape to the edges to cover the rough edges of the cardboard.
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  3. Next, put the wheels on the bus [;-)] by taping the straw-bottle cap-skewer attachment to the back of the milk carton. Now you have a bus with wheels that actually go round and round when you give it a push! How about that?!
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  4. Grab a sketch pen or permanent marker and paint some windows, a door and write your local bus number on it.
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  5. Give it a test ride!

My little boy absolutely adores it. He has quite a lot of Hotwheels cars to play with, but this is the first Bus to join his toy collection. After playing with it the whole of today, the bus’ wheels started coming off from time to time; but it’s still got a lot more ‘ride’ left in it !

Easy Handmade Christmas Decorations

Belated Christmas Wishes everyone! I hope you have all had a fun and blessed Christmas day. I really should have posted this a few days ago but the demands of being a mum to a toddler and preparing for the festive occasion held me back a little. I did have a fabulous time celebrating with my family; although i didn’t go all out to cook as much as I used to in the previous years, I stuck to simple fares like my tried and tested Coconut milk biryani and my mother’s Chicken gravy for lunch. And made medu vada, Idli for breakfast and for dessert we feasted on a homemade rich fruit cake and a simpler chocolate pound cake for my chocoholic husband.

Now you will be surprised to know that the highlight of this year’s Christmas wasn’t all the homemade food I managed to prepare; instead it is all the crafty handmade decorations I created that I am really most proud of. But first a little prelude to my crafty creations.

I recently started going to a rather friendly outdoors group held in our local park that is run by the rangers there. I call it forest school for ease of reference; and I am absolutely delighted that I came upon this group. I have never missed a week since I found out about it and I can now safely say that this city girl has been transformed into a outdoorsy nature loving girl! My son and IĀ have so much fun every time we are there. I have learned how to build a fire, build dens out of logs, make art out of pieces of wood, make wreathes etc., amongst other things.

My toddler of a son wasn’t quite interested in the whole thing initially. After a few weeks into the month though, he is a changed boy. Lets just say that both mother and son come home covered in dirt from head to toe having had way too much fun and fresh air. šŸ™‚

On my first day at ‘Forest School’ I had the ranger help me cut lots of hazel and willow and lugged the whole load back home resting on top of my son’s pushchair. I all but forgot about my sticks until a few days before Christmas and decided to make something out of it. And this is what I came up with.

A simple alternative Christmas tree to display ornaments on

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And a few other simpler decorations

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I’ve used lashing techniques to bind the sticks which makes these decorations completelyĀ au naturalĀ and environment friendly to make. All you need is different lengths of any kind of wood (cut with a pair of secateurs or loppers ) and some cord or twine depending on how heavy your wood/sticks are. It is basically a matter of typing them up after that; I have used diagonal lashing, sheer lashing and ladder lashing techniques for my decorations here. You can find tutorials for all these lashing techniques on YouTube. Whats more, I made these in under a few hours and the satisfaction and pride I felt at seeing my finished creations are immense.

Oh, and I went to town with my wreath-making skills!

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So here you are. Easy to make, inexpensive, fun and organic Christmas decorations for your home. So go on, go to your local park or nearby woodlands or even your own backyard, gets some sticks and start getting creative! But be warned, it can be quite addictive and you may end up with a house full of handcrafted items. šŸ™‚

Be blessed

Sharmila