tilly makes & bakes

Always striving to achieve a state of domestic bliss!

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Back to school homework box

My 4 year old started year R a few weeks back and after spending copious amount of time labelling uniform items I feel like I have officially entered proper adulthood. It is all a bit like a rite of passage, isn’t it? Measuring feet and buying shoes, hunting down the best pinafores in just the right shade of grey, trawling through supermarket clothing departments on the look out for the best knee high socks. Well, we are well and truly settled into the whole school run routine and my little H loves every minute she spends there (or so she tells me- what actually goes on … Who knows!?).
I had this idea of consolidating all our school stationery items and work books in one place for easy access once the first highly anticipated homework comes in. Behold the homework box:





Being a Primary teacher myself, albeit on a career break, I am still a bit of a fiend for searching out little work booklets, flash cards, cute pencils and so on to make the whole homework and learning process even more fun. I’d like to also point out that we do lots of other active, outdoorsy things and that so far any use of the homework box has been by her own choice. Obviously once she is set homework by her teacher it won’t be optional, but why not spark an interest early on. Also, who wants to be searching the whole house for those hidden scissors, rulers and pencil sharpeners every single time they are needed ? No, me neither.


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Enter catchy Spring related pun here


Spring has sprung. I have a “Spring” in my step, etc, etc. I am seriously excited that this time of year has finally arrived- but enough with the seasonal plays on words already. Equally irritating are Easter wares and activities that are proclaimed to be “eggcellent” or “eggciting”.

Waking up light like this is quite something, isn’t it? I am not a cheerful morning person- in fact you could say I am downright grumpy. It takes at least one giant mug of coffee to get me going for the day.  This is the window next to my rocking chair in the landing and I just had to take a photo of the lovely light reflections from a mosaic vase. Being greeted by sunshine so early in the morning cheered me right up. Some other highlights of my week were

♥ buying some bedding plants for the fairy garden we are planning to make during the holidays

♥ home grown rhubarb made into a crumble (I forgot to take a photo of the crumble before it was devoured)

♥ hubby built me a quick and nifty support frame for my vege bed which I have yet to drape in netting to keep the pesky cats from using it as a litter box.

♥ home made iced coffee: simply blitz up ice cubes, 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder, vanilla syrup and milk using a hand blender.

♥ a packed salad for lunch every day.

♥ putting up an Easter tree with my little lady












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Cinnamon Roll cake




This cake was inspired by the all time classic cinnamon roll or bun. There have been a few recipes floating about but I took the best of each one and adapted a bit here and there until I was completely happy with it. Luckily, we have had a few birthdays in the Tilly household so I wasn’t short of willing taste testers. No word of a lie: this cake went down a storm each time I baked it and several people have since used this recipe to make it with equal success.

Cinnamon roll cake

Ingredients for the cake batter

150 g softened butter

200 g caster sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300 ml low fat sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

300 g plain flour

Ingredients for the cinnamon swirl

160 g soft butter

130 g light brown sugar

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Ingredients for the icing

5 tablespoons icing sugar

a few drops of milk


1. Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Add the vanilla.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in turn with the sour cream.

4. Make the cinnamon swirl by combining all the ingredients in a bowl until they form a soft paste.

5. Pour the cake batter in a greased, lined tin (I used a 30cm x 20cm rectangular tin). Dollop the cinnamon swirl on top of the batter and swirl around with a knife.

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ºC for 35- 45 minutes (may need a little longer if not using a fan oven).

7. Whilst the cake is baking, make up the icing by whisking a few drops of milk into the icing sugar until it is a thick pouring consistency.

8. As soon as the cake comes out, drizzle the icing on top and leave to cool in the tin.

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Welcome to my little blog

Hello to one and all!

After setting up this page more than a year ago, the day has finally arrived when I shall publish my first post. Ta-daaa here it is!

My hope is that I will be able to keep this blog as a record of all my arts & crafts, baking, cooking, decorating and gardening exploits and adventures. At the same time, it would be fab to inspire others along the way, encouraging them to get busy at home and find happiness and satisfaction in handmade bits and piecs and homemade goodies.

I will give anything a go as long as it is fun- i love trawling through books and magazines for recipes and crafts and I mostly teach myself the skills needed. Usually by trial and error! Having said that- baking has always been a passion of mine and I intend to share some of my long-loved family recipes here. I often get asked to pass on recipes – so what better than to be able to point people in the direction of this very blog!


Now…what to post about first….!?