New beginnings are where hopes are born and dreams run wild.
There's nothing quite like a new beginning, is there? Leaving old baggage behind, starting afresh, with nothing but a clean canvas to paint your future on. It's been a long month of moving, of change, of worry, and of settling in. Bruce and I moved into our new apartment about three weeks ago and it is more beautiful than we ever imagined. It's filled with very good, strong, creative & positive energy, with an abundance of bright sunlight streaming in through all the floor-to-ceiling windows - something that makes me very, very happy.
After living in old Victorian buildings for the past 15 years, it's nice to finally live in a modern build, with a gorgeous newly built kitchen (with appliances that work accurately & beautifully) and to finally have a much sought-after outside space in the big city - a balcony! It may be small, but it is perfect - just enough for two chairs and a small table, and some plants. The perfect spot to watch the sunrise, sipping on a cup of white tea while having breakfast.
And the best part? I've converted the second bedroom into a studio/creative/meditation room. I've now got workstations all around the room, one for photography equipment, one for props, one for flowers, one for writing, and a whole section for wooden boards and backgrounds that fit perfectly behind the door. In this room, I finally feel like I'm in 'the zone' - a place where magical & beautiful things can happen. I really hope this translates through my photos!
The biggest surprise of all, something I wasn't expecting, was the park just around the corner. Not just any park, but can you imagine my surprise and joy to find out: it's a cherry tree park. A whole park filled with every kind and colour of cherry tree, each branch bursting with cherry blossoms. I've walked for hours in this park, sat on benches, lay in the petal-strewn grass and tried to absorb the beauty of it all. I'm truly lucky, blessed and very, very grateful to have moved so close to such a beautiful park.
You know how I mentioned a clean canvas above? Well, I wasn't joking - this new place is very much like a new canvas, as it is almost completely white. Everything is white apart from the wooden floors & cream carpets, from the doors to the walls, to the ceiling. Thankfully it doesn't feel clinical in any way, but I thought I really need to start injecting some colour into this apartment and what better way than with Holly Becker's new book Decorate. She was in town last week for her book launch, signing copies of her book at Liberty, and I went over with my friend Donna to meet Holly. The lovely Julie from the Alkaline Sisters was also there and I also got to finally meet Leslie from A Creative Mint, one of my favourite blogs out there (loving the new design!). If you haven't seen Holly's book yet, it's a whopper, and it's filled with the best ideas for making a house into a home, perfect for my situation. I can't wait to really get stuck into the book and start decorating this place.
I've also got a celebration next week, and I can't believe it's come around so quickly - it's my 2 year bloggerversary! I started this blog 2 years ago as a way to push myself to bake more, to document my baking recipes, and to work on my food styling and food photography. What I got in return was so much more than I ever dreamed possible: amazing friends, magazine features, a book deal (!), started my own business, and all of you, my amazing loyal readers. I've said this many times before: if it wasn't for all of you reading this blog and leaving all your encouraging comments, I don't know how far this blog would have gone. I'd like to thank each and every one of you reading this for all your support over the last two years, and hopefully your continued support overy the coming years.
With every anniversary, as with a New Year, it always gets me thinking of not only how much I've achieved, but how much there is left to achieve, and more importantly, how to take things to the next level. So it's with great pleasure that I'd like to announce something that's been in the pipeline for a while now: Mowie Kay Magazine. It's an online magazine that combines not only my love of baking, cooking and recipes, but lots more: travel, books, interviews... things I feel don't quite fit on the blog, but will fit perfectly in a magazine. I'm currently looking for a few contributors and collaborators, so if you're interested, let me know by leaving a comment below or emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm currently looking for feature writers, and also anyone willing to send in recipes that I can then bake, style and photograph. The first issue is going to be a summer issue, so all summer recipes would be very much appreciated. In return, you'll get full credit, including links to your blog/website, your photo and your bio. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you!
I also discovered a new fruit recently, you might have heard of it: the pineberry. It was in the papers and everyone, inluding myself, thought it was an April Fool's joke, but it's not! They really exist. They look like inverted strawberries, with the white fleshy part on the outside, and covered in red seeds. They are very fragrant and taste slightly like pineapple and strawberries, thus their name: pine-berry. They have a very limited season, but they are still available, so if you're lucky enough to get your hands on some, do try them!
Now for the recipes in this post: as you all know, I'm slightly obsessed with baking and desserts, but I'm constantly thinking of how to make them healthier, without necessarily going gluten-free, sugar-free or anything-free. So, for these recipes I've substituted plain flour with wholemeal (also known as wholegrain or wholewheat) flour, and I've also substituted white sugar for unrefined cane sugar (slightly brown in colour, but not actual brown sugar). I just wanted to highlight these changes because by making a simple change like using wholemeal flour and unrefined raw cane sugar, you get a healthier version of whatever you're baking, you feel less guilty eating desserts, and most importantly you don't get that sugar slump/coma that you'd usually get after eating sugary foods because the sugars from both don't rush straight into your bloodstream as it takes longer for your body to digest them. Try it for yourself and see!
Another little note regarding the recipes below: if you don't have access to things like pineberries or sakura extract, you can easily substitute these for things like strawberries or vanilla extract.
Finally, the nominations for the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards are open until this Friday the 22nd, and I don't usually ask for favours, but if you like what you see on this blog, I'd really appreciate any nominations in the Food Photography category. A massive thank you in advance and an even bigger thank you to all my Facebook followers that have already nominated me, I'm humbled and so very grateful.
Right, I think I've said enough for today! I shall love you and leave you, and wish you all a very lovely, healthy, and most importantly ~ happy ~ Easter holiday.
All photography © Mowie Kay