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The seasons are shifting

Wow, I didn’t realise how long it had been since my last post, goes to show how preoccupied I have been with juggling everyday life (this summer has been far from quiet!). What made me want to post today is that I literally woke up this morning and was reminded of the Sex and the City episode (for those in the know it’s the one at the end of Season 4) where it feels as though the seasons have shifted overnight. The mornings seem duskier than a few weeks ago, the sun doesn’t feel as warm or as summery and the leaves have started dropping from the trees. This is my favourite time of year…the transition into Autumn.

I always associate this time of year with the back to school feeling you used to get as a kid, when a new pencil-case, bag and shoes were the symbolic start of a new academic year. For me as an adult, it is far more about that feeling that you have left behind the person you were over the last year and are just about to start on the adventure of who you will become in the next 12 months. I find this a much more introspective and interesting time of year for reflection that say New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day. For me these precious few weeks of the year are far more motivating and exciting. The era of summer holidays is almost over and the countdown to the next chapter, whether at work or just personally, begins.

Personally I also associate this time of year with the countdown to my birthday (in October) followed shortly after my Bonfire Night and then Christmas, full of exciting events, glittery lights and the smell of bonfires in the air. Whilst it can be one of the most annoying for picking outfits (too warm for coats or layers but too chilly for bare legs and arms) I don’t mind wrapping up warm, in fact I love Autumn clothing, lovely boots, cosy jumpers and lovely sleek skirts not to mention the rails of pretty glittery dresses waiting for their turn to go to a party 🙂

Whereas the Winter and post-Christmas slump is my least favourite time of year and brings nothing but frustration and depression this epoch is the yin to that yang…I just know that beautiful leaf colours, cosy evenings of snuggling on the sofa with a nice hot dinner and a whole new wave of ambition, hope and passion are imminent. Of course it wouldn’t be Autumn without acknowledging that the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing are about the return to our televisions for the next 4 months…so be prepared to snuggle down on your sofas with a nice bowl of warming soup, damp hair from kicking crunching leaves in the rain and enjoy Saturday evenings in for a while  🙂

Cupcakes vs Whoopie Pies

Whilst hard to believe it was only a few years ago that the bakery industry and consumers delighted at the huge comeback of the cupcake. Some attributed it to the economy downfall, providing small guilty pleasures to boost morale, others have cited the scene in Sex and the City where Carrie munches on a cupcake from the Magnolia bakery with fellow character Miranda as the true cause of the resurgence. Whichever reason it is I, along with thousands of others, have been indulging, enjoying and obsessing ever since. Wedding cakes made from towers of cupcakes, parties and hen do’s themed around making and decorating them, bakeries and shops coming up with innovative new ways to market them in every style, theme, colour and flavour imaginable, not to mention the memorabilia that has flooded the shops in the last few years are evidence of its popularity. So could the cupcake bubble be on the verge of bursting…have people had enough of cupcakes? Well the introduction of a new cake in town, the whoopie pie, certainly seems to be threatening the cupcake’s market share of the treat and cake industry.

Sneaking onto the market just 18 months ago, first through luxury London boutiques and then filtering down to high-end food retailers the whoopie pie is now being described as the new “IT” indulgence. Originating in Amish communities in America and thought to be made from leftover cake batter by wives for their farmer husbands lunch boxes the whoopie pie (two wedges of sticky cake sandwiched together with frosting or buttercream) has started showing up in food markets and on bakery shelves in places where cupcakes used to be causing me to wonder whether our love for the simple cake topped with icing is diminishing? I personally hope not. Whilst I have sampled and (eventually) liked whoopie pies (not without a few dodgy ones along the way which were just far too sickly) there is a simplicity to cupcakes which I far rather enjoy. Maybe it because it reminds me of the fairy cakes I had a child at kids parties, maybe it’s because they are far more versatile in both flavour and appearance, and easier to make (in my opinion), or maybe it’s because they somehow seem more elegant (when done properly and served on a fancy cake stand). But whilst I will rarely turn down a bit of whoopie (!), I can’t deny that I’m just a cupcake gal at heart 🙂

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