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diy: how to weave a basket from paper

diy baskets | south by north

I’m going to put it out there, this is one of my favourite ever diy projects. I know I know, that’s a big call but I’m going with it. Why do I love this project so much? Because those baskets are just made from paper, plain, regular paper — how awesome is that?! There is something so satisfying about taking a simple material and turning it into a functional item using just your hands (and a wee bit of glue).
So, if you need a quick and easy easter display or just somewhere to store your bits and bobs, whip out a pad of paper and get weaving! Scroll down for the how to.

diy baskets | south by north

You will need:
– thin sheets of A3 paper cut in half long ways
– a vessel with straight sides such as a jam jar
– a stick of paper glue
– a kebab skewer
– spray paint (optional)

Starting in one corner, roll a piece of paper around the kebab skewer all the way to the diagonally opposite corner. Add a few dabs of glue to fix the corner in place and pull the kebab skewer out. You should have a long thin tube of paper. Do the same with all of your pieces, you will need around 30 tubes to make both baskets.

diy baskets | south by north

Take an even number of paper tubes and lattice them together. For the jar sized basket I started with six paper tubes, for the larger one I used eight. Take one of the outer tubes that is sitting under the lattice, and weave it over the tube next to it. Continue to weave over and under, splaying the tubes out as you go. When you are an inch or so from the end, dab some glue on the woven tube and slide a new paper tube on top. Continue to weave under and over, adding paper tubes as you go.
Once you have made a base the same size as your vessel, place the vessel on top and start to weave around it, pulling the paper tubes upwards tightly around the jar. At the top, take out the jar and weave the lose end into the basket discreetly. Tuck the ends that are sticking up either down the outside or inside, and trim if needed. Use spray paint to decorate as desired!

diy baskets | south by north

diy baskets | south by north

california: los angeles

los angeles | south by north

los angeles | south by north

los angeles | south by north

los angeles | south by north

los angeles | south by north

los angeles | south by north

I realised that I totally skipped over our short time in LA and forgot to post about it! Here are some highlights. (Also, I feel like I have to tell you that we saw real-life Kanye in the flesh in a restaurant. I think I would have died if Kim was there too)

cute cactuses on the street / exploring echo park / the line hotel / lunch at commissary / coolifornia / best ever breakfast in bed

You can see the rest of my California posts here, or check out my instagram, #southbynorthcalifornia

ice cream series: lemon drizzle ice cream cake

lemon drizzle ice cream cake | south by north

Ok, we are officially taking this ice cream thing to the next level.  Last time pie, this time, CAKE. My stomach and Dave are both happy about this turn of events.

This time I had a hankering for a classic lemon drizzle but wanted to put a frozen spin on it. My first thoughts were to incorporate lemon sorbet, but so far I have not been overly successful with sorbet, plus all of the lemon flavour should really be in the cake. I settled on a poppyseed ice cream filler, sandwiched between two layers of lemon cake, with a satisfyingly tangy/sweet lemon drizzle icing. This cakey sandwich thing is the perfect size for two if you want to spend an evening wedged into the sofa like a sealion, unable to move because so full (except to hit ‘yes I’m still here’ on Netflix) – sounds great to me. Scroll down for the recipe.

lemon drizzle ice cream cake | south by north

lemon drizzle ice cream cake | south by north

lemon drizzle ice cream cake | south by north

lemon drizzle ice cream cake | south by north

The cake.

For the lemon cake, you can use a tried and tested recipe – or follow this one like I did. I won’t write it out here because I didn’t make it up. Although I did have to replace almond meal with hazelnut meal at the last minute because that is all I had in the cupboard, and it still turned out great! You will need to bake this in a shallow rectangular tin, so the baking time will be significantly reduced. I left mine in for about 35 mins instead on 55.
If you choose a different recipe make sure it has a good amount of sugar in it to keep the cake nice and soft when it is frozen.

The poppyseeed ice cream.

You will need:
– 300ml heavy cream
– 1 cup of sugar
– packet of poppyseeds
– 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
– skim milk powder

Heat the cream and sugar over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Whisk through the vanilla and skimmed milk powder. Once combined, store in the fridge til cool.
Churn the mix according to your ice cream maker and once it starts to get thick, add the poppyseeds a tablespoon at a time, around 5 tablespoons in total. The churning will mix them through.

The drizzle.

Easy peasy. Three table spoons of lemon juice mixed with a load of sieved icing sugar over a very gentle heat, until you get a thick but runny consistency. The icing should be slightly warm, not hot.


Take your ice cream out of the freezer to soften a bit. Cut the cooled cake in half, and spoon ice cream on top of one half, pressing and smoothing it with a palette knife. Layer the other half of the cake on top, don’t worry if it is dripping down the sides! Wrap the whole thing tightly in clingfilm and pop back in the freezer.
Once the ice cream has thoroughly refrozen (about 24 hours), remove the cake from the freezer and slice off the edges with a sharp knife, taking as little as possible. This should reveal the perfect layers underneath.
To serve, remove from the freezer around 15 mins beforehand and poke a few holes in the top with a skewer. Right before serving pour the drizzle over the cake and let it drip down the sides.

lemon drizzle ice cream cake | south by north

almost hitched: omg two weddings!

let's get married | south by north

I haven’t spoken much on here about my upcoming weddings to Dave (more about the multiple celebrations in a sec), mainly because it has come around so quickly – we are roughly three months out – and secondly because I didn’t have a whole lot to say until now. With the big days so close, it feels like a good time to share and I will be posting a few more times as we get closer.

Today, I want to talk to you guys about why we are having two weddings (yes really!), and a few of the things I have learnt when planning. If you are thinking of having two weddings to accommodate far-away family then hopefully this post will help you decide. It’s totally not as hard as everyone wants you to believe!

A bit of background. 

Dave proposed on my birthday last June, and we straight away decided to wait a year for the wedding – this was mainly because we wanted to honeymoon in Europe during their summertime. The second thing we decided is that we were going to have TWO WEDDINGS. Lot’s of people recoil in horror when I tell them this. Some think it sounds super stressful, and others just think I am being a princess. The reason we are doing this is that while we live in Australia near all of Dave’s friends and family, all of mine (besides my lovely Sydney friends) are in the UK. If we are flying to Europe for a honeymoon anyway, why not have a second celebration in London so that all of my loved ones can be included? We did a few sums, and decided that we could make this work if we kept both celebrations pretty low key, which luckily is our style anyway.

First, a word abut budget, as I feel like that is a major cause of stress when it comes to weddings. Now let me be straight up, I am not going to talk about how much we are spending as I think that is a very personal thing, but what I will say is this; you know that sickening number that is apparently the ‘average cost of a wedding’? We are doing two for less than that. It’s totally possible. We are still spending a bit more than originally anticipated, because weddings are crazy, but on the whole we have stuck to our budgets.

save the date | south by north

The weddings.

Our wedding in Australia is going to be in the Blue Mountains in a gorgeous cabin with the ceremony on site – hopefully outdoors. It will be winter time, so think roaring fireplace, native flowers and lots of delicious food. Roughly 50-60 guests.

The wedding in London will start with a vow renewal ceremony, followed by a journey on a vintage London bus to the reception, which will take place in a cute and colourful pub near where we used to live. Roughly 25 guests.

What we have learnt while planning two weddings.

Be realistic, aka you can’t have everything. This is something that we all practice in everyday life: I would like to eat all the cake but I would also like a toned butt – not realistic. Eat some of the cake and go to the gym. Viola. Easy. The wedding gods (Pinterest) would like you to believe that you not only can have everything, but if you don’t then your wedding is somehow failing. This, quite frankly, is bollocks. When planning two weddings, or even one, being realistic about what you can afford and organise whilst maintaining sanity is so important.
We are having a sit down meal for our wedding in Australia, for us that means a sit down meal is out of budget for London, and that is totally fine. Both weddings are still going to be awesome! Likewise our venue in Australia needs a lot of work from us to decorate beforehand – that’s cool as we live close by and we have hired it from the night before. Plus I enjoy doing that stuff and am actually really looking forward to the decorating part. While we are in London I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family, so we have chosen a pub that is colourful and pretty and needs minimal decorations. Realistically we just can’t put the same time and effort into it as we can in Australia, not only because of distance and time but we really want to have a relaxed, stress-free time in London. Accepting that from the beginning has made planning so much easier.

Keep things different. Two weddings, two guest lists, two ceremonies, two dresses, two receptions. Yikes. Our weddings are one week apart, and the last thing we wanted was to feel like we are repeating ourselves. It was also important for us to make sure that the wedding in London was just as special, even though it is coming second.
There are a few ways we have (hopefully!) done this by keeping the style of the days different. Sit down meal vs standing buffet reception, mountains vs city, muted natural colours vs bright summery colours. The other great thing about this is it means in a roundabout way I actually have to make less decisions. Can’t decide between a long and a short dress? No worries, I’ll have one of each thanks! While slightly overwhelming at first, it has been really fun to think of the ways we can make each day special and a reflection of the location and us. I am honestly looking forward to both of them equally.

I’d love to know your thoughts on planning a wedding, did you do something a bit different to the usual? Does it get totally nuts in the last couple of months?? I have the fear!

Over the next few weeks I will be posting about some of the DIYs we have planned, two dresses (!) and talking about wedding stress.

diy: banner cookies for a subtle revelry

say it with cookies | south by north

I can’t imagine anything more delightful than receiving a message banner written out in cookies (not really surprising, I have a habit of writing stuff in my food). A simple, ‘yum’ is short and sweet, but you could say whatever you like, it all sounds better in cookie. And these babies will hang up anywhere for a sweet surprise.

This is a little diy/baking project that I put together for A Subtle Revelry, using a few simple supplies and some alphabet cookie cutters. You can see the full tutorial here.

Go on, say it with cookies!


ice cream series: peach and ginger ice cream pie

peach and ginger ice cream pie | south by north

I made some ice cream!! Hells yeah. And seeing as it has been so long, it would be only fair to take this ice cream to the next level and make it into a pie. Why on earth didn’t I do this sooner?! It feels like my barely-used pie tin has redeemed itself from the burnt polymer clay incident of 2014, and finally fulfilled it’s destiny with this recipe.

The ice cream is pure peachy goodness, with the hintiest hint of spice. The crunchy base is chunky and buttery, and made from a whole packet of ginger nuts. I could make a joke about juicy peaches and ginger nuts, but I won’t because I’m classy. Ahem. Scroll down for the how to.

peach and ginger ice cream pie | south by north

peach and ginger ice cream pie | south by north

peach and ginger ice cream pie | south by north

For the ice cream you will need:
– five ripe peaches + extra for garnish
– one cup of sugar
– two cups of heavy cream
– one teaspoon of nutmeg
– one teaspoon of vanilla essence
–  two tablespoons of Aperol (optional)
– a pinch of salt
– squeeze of lemon

For the pie base you will need:
– one packet of ginger nut biscuits
– 100 grams of butter

Make the ice cream first, starting with a peach puree. Peel and chop the peaches and place in a medium saucepan with the sugar, vanilla, Aperol (if using), nutmeg and salt. Keep stirring over a low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and the peaches have started to break down.

Pour the mixture into a heat proof container that is safe to use with your hand blender, and blitz the peach and sugar mix. If your blender is the splattering kind wait for the peaches and sugar to cool a bit. Run the blitzed mixture through a fine seive, collecting the puree in a large bowl. Add a small squeeze of lemon to the puree and stir. Add the cream to the puree and stir thoroughly. Cover, and chill the mixture in the fridge.

While the mixture is chilling make the pie base. Use a food processor to turn the biscuits into crumbs – a mix of fine and a little chunkier gives a nice texture. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir the biscuit crumbs through. Press the crumbs into your pie tin (be careful, they will be hot!), cover and leave to set in the fridge.

Once the ice cream is chilled, churn according to the instructions on your mixer. Pour the churned ice cream into your pie base and leave the whole pie to set in the freezer. Serve straight from the freezer, with extra peach slices for garnish.

See more South by North recipes here, and follow along with the ice cream series here.

peach and ginger ice cream pie | south by northpeach and ginger ice cream pie | south by north

california: yucca valley

yucca valley | south by north

Yucca Valley was one of the most awesome places I have ever been. We only spent one night there after a few nights in LA and it felt like being on another planet.

After driving inland for a couple of hours we hit the town of Yucca Valley just before sunset. We had directions to our accommodation but no actual address, as the owners like to keep it a secret to avoid visitors who are not actually staying the night. As soon as we pulled off the main road we were pretty surprised to find ourselves on sand roads. They were all sign posted and marked on the map as normal roads but it was sand as far as the eye could see – besides a few houses dotted around. The rental car may have almost got stuck in the sand and there may have been some mild panic at this point…

yucca valley | south by north

As soon as we arrived at the trailer park we knew it was a special place. There were airstreamer caravans, tipis, archery, mini golf, vending machines, bb guns and all kinds of kitschy goodness. The trailer we had booked was vintage circus/sideshow themed and every detail was covered – the tiny toilet was designed like a cage and there was even a working Zoltar machine inside (no Tom Hanks though). All the trailers are themed and I wished I could have poked around some of the others.

The cameras came out as soon as we arrived to catch the ridiculous sunset. The rest of the evening was spent round the bbq and the fire pit (as soon as the sun went down it dropped about 20 degrees and was totally freezing) – steak was eaten and red wine was most certainly drunk, mostly to keep warm! Dave was pretty happy with the beer vending machine that turned out to be about $1.50 for a beer… The next morning we woke up super early to catch the sunrise, it was still freezing until the sun came up.

If you are ever in the area, make sure you stay at this amazing, imaginative trailer park. The owners, who were completely lovely, seem to be a bit sketchy about too much info being posted about it online (I guess thats partly what makes it so special) so I am not going to link to it here just incase it violates their preferences, but if you want the details just shoot me an email.

yucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by northyucca valley | south by north

diy: simple ways to use rosewater on valentine’s day

rosewater ice cubes | south by north

Staying in is the new going out, in my house at least, and that is especially true on Valentine’s Day. This year it falls on a Saturday, which means restaurants will be extra busy – you could save your dinner money for a less crowded night and get all romancey at home instead.
I’ve put together a few ways to incorporate rosewater into your stay-at-home evening, firstly because it is delicious and fragrant and secondly because everyone knows that roses = love.
And for all the single-ready-to-mingles, these ideas are certainly not just for couples, Galentine’s night would be even sweeter with a little rosewater thrown in.

1. Rosewater Sugar Scrub

rose water sugar scrub | south by north

Start your evening with a little pamper session. Just mix 1/2 a cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of coconut oil, add two table spoons of rosewater and mix well. Hop in the shower and get scrubbing – you’ll come out smooth as Cupid’s bum and will smell amazing.

2. Rosewater Gin and Tonic

rosewater gin and tonic | south by north

You can’t really go wrong with a little pre-dinner gin and tonic. Vamp it up with rosewater infused ice cubes. In a jug mix together enough water to fill your ice cube tray and rosewater to taste. Pour into the tray and add a rose petal to each ice cube. Once frozen, drop a few cubes into a g+t, and as the ice cubes melt the rosewater flavour will spread through your drink.

3. Rosewater and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

rosewater and cinnamon whipped cream | south by north

This one is the easiest and definitely the most indulgent – fold a couple of spoons of rosewater through freshly whipped cream. Serve on the side of dessert with a dusting of cinnamon for the best flavour. And choose to interpret ‘dessert’ however you like!

See more of South by North’s diy posts here, and recipes here

happy monday links | five

ice cream | south by north

Before we get into the links, let me start by making a confession. Back in November I boldly stated that the ice cream series was back for summer, and exactly how many ice cream recipes have I posted? That would be ONE. I can’t believe I’ve let this slide, you guys. This is bad news for the blog and my stomach. I have all kinds of excellent excuses; I’ve been away a lot, I’ve been focussing on other aspects of the blog, the dog ate my ice cream maker etc etc. None of this is going to fly, I just need to get in the kitchen and make some ice cream immediately. Nothing should get between me and my ice cream. This will most definitely be rectified in the coming weeks!

Ok, onto the links. Here are some things I have been enjoying around the interwebs of late:

– A genius way to use up shredded paper.
This dress. Gimme.
– Tiny horses and lots of snow.
– Straight up stunning photography.
Hippo soup?! Yes please.
– Can’t wait for this book to come out.
This instagram.

Ice cream image is from my instagram. See more things that I like over on pinterest.