Thursday, 12 October 2017

Rainfall and Sunlight




The days feel shorter, tracked by rainfall and sunlight.  The sky is grey but the sunbeams are dancing through, splashing light across the kitchen table and over the pages of my book.

This different season is unsettling me in a way, adjusting to a new autumn is taking it's toll but forcing me to find comfort in what I have here, now; the colour in the leaves, the unrelated family that are reaching out to me, the music that feels like home, and the God who is holding my heart.

The sky is grey but the sunbeams are dancing through, piercing through the cold morning and mixing with the smell of rain.  Although it's familiar it also feels new and inviting.  But I'm stepping in cautiously, clinging to reality in the fear that it will slip away like before.




It's strange how the sunlight can steal away the solidity as it's taken by the clouds, it's disconcerting and fragile.  But this season is different to the others, I'm not facing this one alone.  His grace is enough, His strength is enough, His love is enough. 

I can feel it in the raindrops that are slowly falling down the window.  I can see it in the sunbeams that dance on the tiled floor.  I know it in the grace that is overwhelming my heart and pulling me through this season.  He's with me in this autumn and He will step into winter with me telling me it won't be easy, but it will be okay and I need to hold on tight.



Carolyn 
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Monday, 9 October 2017

New Bloglovin Claim

<a href="https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18441877/?claim=qyvet3zgfhj">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

New Bloglovin // Why the fresh start?




When I started blogging almost four years ago I didn't know what I was doing.  All I knew at that point was that I loved to write and I wanted to write about music.  Fast forward to now and I'm a far cry from that naïve girl.

I've done a lot of growing up over the past four years; I've moved out from my parents home, I'm a lot more outgoing, and next year I'll be moving country to attend The Bridge gap year programme at Sydney Bible College.  But most importantly I've fallen in love with Jesus and He's the reason for all of these amazing changes and opportunities.

The one thing that's remained the same over the years is that I still love to write.  The only change in this is that I now want to really pursue this passion, to use it for my Heavenly father, and to really commit to investing in my blog.

So why the new Bloglovin account?  Since I created my Bloglovin account my blog has undergone two brand changes and therefore has changed URL's twice as well.  This meant losing my blog followers and the community that I had.  Twice.  I'm following over seven hundred blogs through this platform which makes it difficult to keep up with the blogs I read regularly, and my archives are cluttered and contain posts that are no longer relevant for me.

I need a clean slate.




I've gone through all my old posts, converted to draft all the posts that I feel are no longer what I want this blog to be or the style of writing that I'm pushing myself towards.  Alongside this digital clear out I decided it was time to completely start afresh with my Bloglovin account so that I can better organise the blogs I follow, the posts I would like to go back to, and the archive of posts from my own blog.

I hope that you're able to follow me as I head into a new stage with my blog.  You can find my new Bloglovin account by clicking here.  I'll be deleting my old Bloglovin account over the next couple of days and my blog will be going live on my new account soon after.

I'm excited to get back into regular posting and pushing myself creatively when it comes to my writing and my blogging.


Photos by Finlay Macdonald.
Carolyn 
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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Home Is Where The Heart Is





Home.
Once a place, now a feeling.
Heart.
Broken, shameful, guilt ridden.

Him.
Saviour, Father, Friend.
He leads me, He calls me, He holds me.

I trust Him, I love Him, I know Him.
I hurt Him, I leave Him, I disown Him.

He loves me, He pursues me, He protects me.
I run to Him, I long for Him, I cry out to Him.

Home.
Once a place, now a feeling.
Home is where He leads.
Home is where He calls.
Home is where He is.
Home is in His grace.
Home is in His sacrifice.
Home is in His love.

Heart.
Once broken but now made whole.
By His love, for His love.
Once broken but now alive.
Slowly learning, slowly loving
for Him, with Him, because of Him.
Slowly reaching out, slowly beating stronger
for Him, with Him, because of Him.

He is my heart.
He is my home.
My home is where my heart is.
My home is with Him.



Carolyn 
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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Coconut Flapjack | Autumnal Baking




I have been having a lot of fun recently scrolling through Pinterest and instagram to find and adapt some new recipes to bake this autumnal season.  Recently I've been baking a lot each week for church and for a local charity café which has given me the chance to try different recipes each week.

I decided to combine a recipe I had for Anzac biscuits and a flapjack recipe to make a soft, gooey coconut flapjack and I thought I would share my recipe with you.




Ingredients:

90g of rolled oats
220g of light soft brown sugar
80g of desiccated coconut
110g of plain flour
110g of self-raising flour
125g of butter
2tbsp of golden syrup


Method:

1.  Preheat your oven to 180°C.  Lightly grease a deep, rectangular 23cm baking tray, and line with greaseproof paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, sugar, and 65g of the coconut.

3.  Sift both the plain flour and the self-raising flour into the mixing bowl and stir into the other ingredients.

3.   Slowly melt together the butter and the golden syrup.  This can either be done in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

4.  Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter mixture.

5.  Mix together until all the ingredients are fully combined.

6.  Press into your prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and rises slightly when pressed.

7.  Leave to cool and cut into desired pieces. 



This recipe works great as a tray bake or as a dessert when it's warm out the oven with ice cream, it's so good to have a recipe that can be used as both!  I'm so excited to have made a start on sharing some autumnal recipes with you.  I'm looking forward to trying some recipes soon with our home-grown apples! 

Let me know in the comments what you're looking forward to making this autumnal season, I'd love to swap recipes and ideas with you. 

Carolyn 
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Friday, 15 September 2017

Autumnal



The smell of the fire mixed with the freshly baked apple and cinnamon loaf was both comforting and unsettling for me.  Memories flooded my mind and I had to take some time to be filled with nostalgia.

A part of me isn't ready for this new season and is still tightly clinging to the smells of salt and sand, walking barefoot in our front garden, and never needing an excuse to go for ice cream.  Yet, this afternoon the mixed scents of freshly baked apple loaf and the wood burning fire made my heart feel at home.



In the mornings I can see my breath, tiptoeing across my bedroom floor to stand near the heater before facing the misty morning that peeks through the shutters.

The afternoons, filled with walks along golden plastered paths and clear blue skies.  Scrapbooking leaves, feeling enveloped in a knitted jumper, a sharp intake of breath as I step out into the cold yet fresh air.  Baking with home grown apples, sharing recipes with friends that have been passed down from generations, passed down through seasons.  

The darker nights are closing in, filled with hot chocolate and candle lit rooms.  Warm memories made with family and friends, huddled in living rooms sheltering against the darker nights.



Autumn, I welcome you with cautious but open arms.


Carolyn 
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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Victoria Sponge Cake | The Baking Diaries




Now that it's September I feel as though we're transitioning into Autumn; leaves changing colour, blanket scarves, and cosy nights in with a warm drink and a good book.  Although I do enjoy Autumn, I am going to miss all the fun things I like to bake during the summer.  But before I begin browsing pinterest for some autumnal recipes, I thought I would do one last summer bake and share my recipe with you all for the British classic that is the Victoria Sponge Cake.


Ingredients for the sponges:

450g of unsalted butter (softened)
450g of castor sugar
8 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
450g of self-raising flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder


Ingredients for the filling and decoration:

300ml of double cream
1 jar of strawberry or raspberry jam
Mixed berries of your choice




Method

1.  Firstly you need to preheat your oven to 180°C.  Then you need to grease two 21cm baking tins and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

2.  Then cream your butter till it is lighter in colour and almost white.   Gradually add in the sugar to the butter till fully combined.

3.  In a separate bowl whisk together your eggs, then gently mix them into the butter and sugar mix along with the vanilla extract.

4.  Sieve your flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl, and beat on a medium speed until fully combined and your mixture is light and fluffy.

5.  Divide your mixture evenly between your two cake tins.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake skewer comes out clean and they are golden brown on top.

6.  Transfer your sponges out of the baking tins and onto a cooling rack .

7.  Whilst your cake are cooling whisk almost all of your cream until it forms soft peaks, pour in the rest of your double cream and fold until combined.

8.  Once your sponges are cooled, spread a layer of jam onto your bottom sponge, ensuring to not reach the edges.

9.  Place a layer of berries onto the jam, I sliced some strawberries for the middle of my sponges but you can chose which berries you would like.

10.  Spread almost all of your cream onto the layer of berries, again ensuring to not quite reach the edge of your sponge.

11.  Place your second sponge on top and decorate as you please.  I used my cream to make a patter of fresh berries in the centre, and then dusted with icing sugar.




Victoria Sponge Cake is a classic that I always enjoy baking, and experimenting with decorating is so fun as well.  What's your favourite classic bake to make?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments!  You can have a look through my other baking recipes by clicking here.  I'm so excited to bring you some autumnal recipes over the next couple of months!



Carolyn 
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