2016 has not been a kind year thus far. Now we are in March. Three months in. A third of the way through the year. Yup. Time is, quite literally, flying by. I can probably safely say that 2016 will not be a vintage year for me. Bad news followed by more bad news. My source of joy and escape has come from running. After over a year of being out of the fitness game due to injury I knew I needed to do something and it needed to be cheap as possible. And it doesn’t cost a dime to pull on your running shoes where ever you are and step outside. When I moved to London, my housemate Eilis got me to sign up to my first ever half marathon which was only 6 weeks away. It was the best thing I could have done! Evenings after work were spent sprinting up hills and Sundays mornings were all about 10km runs round north London. It gave me focus and drive, when you have your headphones in you can just zone out and not think about anything except you and the road. It’s the best form of therapy. Last weekend was my marathon, down in Brighton going along the sea front past the piers and the bandstand. The weather was dry with a bit of a breeze, perfect running conditions. I would have liked to have smashed it in under two hours but I managed at 2.08 hours, alright for my first one I reckon (I did end up in the medical tent though after aggravating an old knee injury, spent an hour in the medical tent with an ice pack on and sipping Lucozade like a drama queen. Poor Eilis had to come and rescue me). I have another half lined up for May to keep the training going. For anybody else going through a bit of a rough patch or just had a bad day at the office, I would totally recommend running (or any exercise for that matter), even if you can only run to the lamp post. Then the next time to the end of the road. Before you know it you might be doing a half marathon of your own!
After a few weeks of struggling to keep my mouth shut I can finally reveal to you lovely readers that I have been offered a job as a baker at the wonderful Lily Vanilli bakery! Lily has been a great source of inspiration for me for the past couple of years and to have the opportunity to work with her is going to be shamazing. The bakery is in Shoreditch, on Columbia Road where they hold the famous flower market every Sunday. The bakery is open only on Sundays for homemade sausage rolls, fresh coffee and of course, delicious cakes. For the rest of the week, there are commissions to be baked and wedding cakes to make. Lily’s style is very natural, she uses lots of seasonal fruit and veg, edible flowers and darling decoration. There is currently just Lily and another wonderful baker, Erin, so it will be amazing to work with a small team plus I have so much to learn.
Woooooah! Parsnip? In a cake? Are you for real? Yes, I am totes real. Don’t chicken out on baking this one, it is a taste revelation and you will never look at a parsnip in the same way again. Whilst plotting blog bakes for the past couple of weeks, I noticed that I naturally gravitate towards the same flavours all the time. I’m a sucker for my favourite white chocolate, walnuts, raspberries, vanilla and coconut, regular readers of the blog will know that I have used these in a lot of recipes on here and the last thing I want to become is predictable, yawn. So here I am, thinking outside the box, pushing more cake boundaries and living life on the edge of a cake tin. There is def something smugly satisfying aswell about producing something that tastes lush from something that really shouldn’t, just like last weeks bake of beetroot chocolate cake (http://www.hollylovescake.com/2014/08/beetroot-chocolate-cake-with-vanilla-cream-cheese-icing/) or my courgette and lemon cake (http://www.hollylovescake.com/2014/04/courgette-lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake/). Using vegetables makes a cake super moist and creates a much closer crumb, this is not a light, airy cake. No fluffyness here! Just lush, squidgy, spiced delightfulness.