Tuesday, 24 July 2012

CV Makeovers for new graduates!

It's that time of year where my Facebook news feed becomes full of graduation photos of proud families and flying mortarboards!

If you aren't lucky enough to have jumped straight into your dream job, then you're most likely spending your days sending hundreds of emails to prospective employers. Give yourself a head start and make your CV stand out amongst the masses! Think of it as an investment in yourself (or spin this line to your parents)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Blueberry and Pecan Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 Muffins

150g Blueberries
100g Caster Sugar
100g Butter
300g Self-Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
2 Large Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
140ml Milk
A Small Handful of Pecans
A Pinch of Ground Almonds

1. Line a muffin tray with paper muffin cases and preheat the oven on a medium heat.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, and add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture.
3. Add the milk and vanilla extract.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture a little at a time to form a thick batter.
5. Pour in the blueberries and gently mix them in then spoon the mixture equally into the muffin cases.
6. Sprinkle a pinch of ground almonds over each case, chop the pecans roughly and sprinkle these too.
7. Bake for 30 minutes at gas mark 3 or 160 degrees.
8. When the muffins are cooked through and are lightly browned on top, take them out and leave them in the  muffin tray until completely cool.

I'm not usually a fan of blueberry muffins but the sweet nuts in these balance out the tart flavour of the blueberries. Personally I always prefer cakes or muffins the day after they've been baked so the sponge has had a chance to settle, but give it a go and let me know how you get on! xx

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rainbow Cake Recipe

Here it is! Rainbow cake tutorial, as made by my talented sister Josie Brennan!


  • 380g all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 230g unsalted butter
  • 470g sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 340g milk
  • A couple of tubs of Buttercream icing
  • Red, Yellow and Blue food dyes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (gas mark 4).
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • Cream together butter and sugar, and slowly add the egg whites and mix until well combined. 
  • Add vanilla and stir until fully mix, and then add the milk and flour mixture a little at a time.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between six medium bowls
  • Use the food dyes and mix into each bowl to create 6 different colours (see below for colour combinations).
  • Transfer each colour to an individual cake pan then put in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. (You may need to do this in batches if you don't have 6 cake trays!).
  • Remove cakes from the oven and transfer to a wire rack allow each cake to cool completely.
  • Trim the tops of the cakes using a serrated knife to ensure each layer is completely flat (you don't want a wonky cake!).
  • Stack the layers on top of each other using buttercream icing to secure them (you can buy it ready made, or this recipe is quite simple). Take your time to make sure the layers are evenly stacked, the order from bottom to top should be: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red.
  • Cover the entire cake in more buttercream icing and decorate with whatever you like. This cake is covered in M&M's to stick the rainbow theme. Then you're done! 

Colour Combinations:
Green = lots of Yellow + a little Blue 
Orange = lots of Yellow + a little Red
Purple = lots of Red + a little Blue
Each brand of dye varies, so it's best to use only a few drops at a time, mix and then repeat until you've got the shade you're after. Try and make sure each layer is very different even if you cant get the exact colour you had in mind (e.g. this orange was quite peachy!)

P.S. if you have a go at this, I'd love to see how yours turns out! 
Hannah xx

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Holiday Shopping List

Okay so the swimsuit is a little excessive but I'm totally going to buy all the other bits! 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Birthday Garden Party

On Monday my Mum turned 50!
So over the weekend all her side of the family came over to celebrate it in the good weather.
Here's some photo's of the day:

The family:

Lads talking football:

Garden Games (hand crafted by my dad no less!):

A very talented baker:

 Who baked this! (Recipe to come in a couple of days..)

And a somewhat grumpy chap:

Jealous much? Thought you might be ;) xx

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

Carrot and Walnut Cake

This was so moist! Here's the recipe:

  •  3 oz (75 g) peeled and grated carrot (about 1 medium-sized carrot)
  •  4 oz (110 g) plain wholewheat flour
  •  ½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  •  ½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  3 fl oz (75 ml) groundnut oil
  •  3 oz (75 g) soft brown sugar
  •  1 large egg, lightly beaten
  •  2 oz (50 g) chopped walnuts

For the topping:
  •  2 oz (50 g) full-fat soft cream cheese
  •  1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  •  1 oz (25 g) icing sugar, sieved
  •  8 walnut pieces (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).

2) Prepare the loaf tin either by greasing the inside and then putting baking paper inside, or by using a cake liner.

3) Grate the carrot straight into a mixing bowl, then sift in the dry ingredients to give them a good airing and tip any grains left behind in the sieve into the bowl too. Add all the rest of the cake ingredients and stir well until everything is mixed (it'll look quite sticky, more like a cookie mixture because of the oil but go with it).

4) Bake in the centre of the oven for an hour or until cooked, it'll end up filling about 2/3 of the height of the tin. Leave to cool completely.

5)  To make the topping, combine the ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth. Spread it thickly on the top of the cake and decorate it with walnut halves.



Sunday, 22 April 2012

This Week...

Here are some things that have made me happy this week:

1) There are baby blue tits nesting in the garden. Bennie (my kitty) knows they're in there and keeps stalking them but so far no casualties!

2) The new loaf tin, its so simple but I've baked two cakes this week and they've both come out nicely! Before it arrived baking a cake meant using the one usable sandwich tin and cooking each tier separately, so you can imagine how amazing it is just doing the one batch! Here's the banana and pecan loaf I posted earlier:

3) Getting the website running for Hannah Brennan Interiors. It's very simple at the minute as I've been busy and web design makes me go into a bit of a coma, especially when it comes to delving into html. But here it is!

Being on the computer so much has also meant a lot of procrastinating so I've been stalking my favourite blogs even more. Here's the posts I've enjoyed most:

The bowls and the ribbon on You Are My Fave
The interiors featured on SFGirlByBay
Not a blog but this online magazine is excellent: Matchbook

TaTa! x

Banana and Pecan Loaf Cake

Today I made this using a Sarah Cook recipe:

Here's how to make it:
(For Cake)
175g softened butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
140g self-raising flour
85g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
100ml milk
2 small ripe bananas, mashed up
50g pecans , chopped, plus extra for topping

(For Icing)
85g softened butter
100g icing sugar , sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
Grease and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin with a long strip of baking parchment.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the bananas and beat in with the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder and milk until smooth.
Stir in the pecans, then scrape into the tin.
Bake for 45-50 mins until golden, risen and a skewer poked in comes out clean.
Cool in the tin, then lift out to cool completely.

Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla.
Spread on top of the cooled cake and scatter with more chopped pecans.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Sock Monkey Tutorial

Good Thursday Dollfaces!
I've been asked to make a few of these sock monkeys as presents, so it made sense to share the method. Its pretty quick and you only need basic supplies:
  • A pair of socks (they don't have to be fluffy).
  • Scissors
  • Cotton in a matching colour.
  • Something to stuff with (I used wadding, but cotton wool balls work too)
  • Buttons

1) Turn one sock inside out and lie it flat as in the first panel, and cut straight along the ankle part so it looks like panel 2.
2) Sew along the yellow lines shown in the second photo (I used a sewing machine today but I've hand sewn them before too), making sure you've left the crotch unsewn.
3) Turn the sock back in the right way and stuff it.
4) Hand sew the crotch shut and leave to one side.
5) Place the other sock flat on the table, and cut into sections as shown in 5, then sew along the yellow lines.
6) You'll be left with a tail, two arms, a heel and a toe.
7) Stuff and sew on the tail and arms and you'll have something like number 7.
8) Use the toe of the sock as a mouth, sewing around the edges and stuffing slightly before closing it up.
9) Sew on the buttons as eyes and some ears (I used felt for my ears), and make a smile using some embroidery thread or wool, and you're done!

If you give it a try let me know how it goes! :) xx

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Midweek Mixed Bag: 4th April Easter Special

Starting today i'll be posting links every Wednesday to my favourite posts from other blogs from the past week! Plus anything else from the internet that catches my eye. 

4th April 2012: Easter Special

Paper carrots filled with Easter goodies! Oh Happy Day

I love this idea as a grown-up alternative to chocolate eggs You Are My Fave

I've never successfully painted an egg for Easter, but there's some very pretty ideas here! Hey Look

A seasonal fashion update (cue jealousy): Cupcakes and Cashmere 

This blows my mind, i'm not sure if it's amazing or ridiculous..? Oh The Lovely Things

P.S. In the spirit of brand recognition, the blog has come over all blue!

Friday, 30 March 2012

(Wo)man Flu!

Last night I came down with a mother of a migraine, and today I woke up with a full blown cold, so i'm feeling sorry for myself and craving a big spoon and back strokes. However, being a single lass I cant have that so instead I will be happy to settle for these items (or cheaper versions)..

A big comfortable blanket to drape around my shoulders and trail around the house as a cape like i'm the Queen/ Dumbledore. It's basically a portable bed. This one is from John Lewis and costs £120.

In my work breaks today I've been making the long journey across the landing to my bedroom, flopping onto the bed and picking up my book. I'm unashamedly hooked on crime thrillers, the more gory the better and this is a particularly good one so far. £4.35 from Amazon.

Shockingly, i'm not actually a fan of hot drinks and you will never catch me making a cuppa. But having a cold makes it pretty obligatory to want to snuggle down under a duvet in front of the TV with a steaming mug of something, so I choose Whittard of Chelsea's Hot Chocolate (gift set £22).

An Avoca hot water bottle. They sell them in John Lewis for £35 and are super soft.

I've had Season 2 of The Big Bang Theory playing all day while I've been working, its definitely comforting to watch, especially as I've seen them before and don't need to pay close attention to know whats going on. Seasons 1-4 are available from Play for £32.99. (Although I think Amazon do it cheaper!).

Time for more lemsip and a snooze now! Zzzzzz...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Unseasonable Weather

(Two posts in one day, what is this madness?!)

That's right, i'm seriously posting about the weather. It's hot in the UK! in March!
Today it got to about 19°C in Leighton Buzzard, and it was the perfect day to put off work, get out the watercolours and settle down to some painting in the garden. 

P.S. Bennie seemed pleased with the temperature too:

Having an Ugly Day?

Ugly Day: i'm talking about the days where you wake up to hair that will not behave, an outbreak all over your face and clothes that are in the wash or feel clingy leading you to believe you've instantly gained 10Ibs. Let's face it, once you're in your third pair of trousers and you're still struggling with muffin tops, there's not salvaging your mood for the day. (But i'm going to try).

I have two fixes for you:
1) Reassurance
2) Inspiration

So first of all, take a look at the pictures of even the most preened of people looking rough.

Pixie Lott

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Cameron Diaz

This is photographic evidence that puffy skin, angry outbreaks, flat and flyaway hair and that unshakable sleepy expression plagues us all, and irritating as it is we all have to suck it up and carry on.

Things to remember when you're having an off-day:
- its okay to pile on concealer even though you're supposed to let bad skin breathe, and carry on caking it on throughout the day anyway.

-its okay to avoid mirrors completely and pretend you don't have a reflection.

-its okay to cancel appointments/lunches/meetings because you're too irritable about your appearance under the pretense that you're unwell.

-its okay to get back into bed, put the tv on and stuff your face and then pretend the day didn't happen. (sometimes!).

Now for the Inspiration part.

Hair - She Lets Her Hair Down (Gorgeous hair ideas with tutorials)

Beauty- Of Faces and Fingers (Trend updates and ideas)

Fashion - ChicWish (if you fancy treating yourself)

Lifestyle - Cupcakes and Cashmere (Fashion, Food, Home etc.)

Hope that helps! xxx

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Shameless Repost - CV Makeover

Okay, so I haven't posted in a while because I've been snowed under making some beautiful curtains (photos to come soon!). I was just browsing my favourite blogs and came upon a post on A Cup Of Jo, showing off this fantastic business, and felt the need to share:

They will take your basic Resume/CV and spruce it up to make it stand out, you can also purchase designs to use. For your standard retail job this might come across a bit showy, but for all those headed into a creative and competitive industry (hello soon-to-be-graduates!), this could make all the difference. 

P.S. They're a little dear and prices are in dollars but if you're serious about heading into your dream job then definitely worth it.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Small Striped Blind

Yesterday I made this small Roman Blind (40cmx93cm), interlined with pom-pom trimming along the hem and cascading pleats.

The fabric is Jane Churchill Courbet Stripe (£32/metre).

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Twitter and Facebook

Today I took Hannah Brennan Interiors into the social media world!
Or follow me @HBInteriors

Ta xx

p.s. here is a pretty picture to stimulate you to get organised.


Last night I spent time trying to restore some order to the workroom.
Lots more needs doing but I think it's looking quite homely!

I'd better get to work then :) xx

Monday, 27 February 2012

5 Cheer Up Blogs

Everybody has down days, some people go to the gym to feel better, some eat lots of sugary foods and some spend time with their loved ones. For me there is nothing better than to browse through pretty blogs for inspiration for a happy day. Here are some of my favourites:

This Blog features Melanie's favourite things and links to other pretty blogs on subjects like fashion, interior design, crafts and shopping.

Hey Look is an Events Styling Blog; it features inspirational colour schemes, a sneak peek at other people's gorgeous events (weddings, birthdays etc.) and craft tutorials.

This is actually the first big blog I came across, and I still love it. The writer (Jordan Ferney) lives in Paris with her husband and 2 boys, and features photos and design tutorials from her life there. I have to say it does make me extremely jealous, but it's great for getting ideas.

Joanna Goddard describes her blog to be about 'Fashion, Design, Photography, Bikes & The People I Love'. I love to open this page in the morning when I wake up, it really puts me in the mood to get creative and make an effort to achieve things. 

Elsie Larson, hipster extraordinare. She has a fantastic collection of vintage cameras, and features pretty outfits, recipes, decor and craft projects. Oh, and she runs a vintage boutique called Red Velvet. I'm Jelly.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

London Blinds

Live Update
This week i'm on Victoria Hammond's Advanced Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings course (it's excellent, if you ever wanted to learn about hand stitched curtains). Today we finished off our London Blinds, here they are before being dressed.