Lady Sarah’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

I adore sticky toffee pudding and one day had a real craving for it – so I decided to try and make one myself. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you saw how delicious it came out. Below is the recipe to enjoy for yourself!
Cake Base
• 1 1/4c plain flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2/3c soft brown sugar
• pinch salt
• 1/2c milk
• 2 medium eggs
• 6 tablespoons melted butter unsalted
• 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Toffee sauce
• 1/4c butter (unsalted)
• 1/2c soft brown sugar
• 125ml heavy (double) cream
Pre heat the oven to 325F and place your dry ingredients in a bowl, making sure to sift the ingedients.
In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients and whisk lightly until frothy.
Grease the baking dish, making sure it is a nice deep, yet squat dish. I used a loaf pan but another small size baking dish would also work.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir well until combined.
Pour into the greased pan.
Pop into the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until firm on top and a skewer comes out almost clean.
While the cake bit is baking, it is time to start your toffee sauce.

Toffee sauce
Place butter, cream, sugar in a saucepan and allow to slowly dissolve.
Once melted, boil steadily, stirring constantly. Do not leave this unattended or it will burn and stick to your saucepan.

Be mindful at this point as the sugar gets very hot and will burn.

Toffee sauce

Keep stirring over a high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until the bubbles are big, burpy and the toffee is a sumptuous golden brown shade.
Remove cake from the oven and use a cocktail stick or skewer to poke little holes all over the cake, making sure to reach right to the bottom.
This allows the toffee sauce to really soak into the cake. Do not allow the cake to cool or it will not absorb the sauce (I learned this the hard way).

Toffee pudding cake
Pour the partially cooled sauce all over the cake slowly, stopping occasionally to BANG the cake and tin on the counter to rid the cake holes of any little air bubbles.
Once the cake is thoroughly soaked and coated on top, leave to stand for 10 minutes.
I think it is best served hot but it is also delicious served cold the next day. It is easy to microwave as well if you prefer it hot.

And let me know how your baking goes!

Advertisements

Dressing for a Job Interview

What you wear and how you look can make the difference between moving steadily towards your goal or remaining stagnant. In these days of mass-marketing techniques, you know that when a product lacks eye-appeal it gathers dust on a shelf. So think of yourself as that product. In order to achieve success, you have to sell that product, so start right now thinking of how you can improve yourself.

There are hundreds and thousands of women seeking success – in many cases the same success you seek. In this competition it is frequently the best “packaging’ that makes the difference between those who are left on the shelf and those who are sought after and snapped up.

What you wear at all times must be chosen for appropriateness as well as for flattery. The way you dress – or package yourself – is one thing over which you have absolute control. You can’t change your physical features, but you can change the way you look as easily as an actress does each time she plays a new role.

When you know what you want out of life – the areas of success you desire – then it is easy to dress ‘in character’ to create the most exciting, pleasing, attractive, appearance for your audience. Remember though, clothes can make you look the part you want to play, but they can’t replace the ability to play it. To get the job you want, be sure to learn as much about it as you can. The more you know about the type of business you want to become part of, the more intelligently and confidently you will handle your interview. All this knowledge, plus how you are dressed for your interview will stand you in very good dtead and help your chances for getting the job you want.

Before you even select the first article of clothing involved, you need to think about exactly what the job is you’re applying for. Think of yourself as a character in a movie – what would your character need to look the part? There are vast differences in the kind of dressing desired and involved in kinds of business firms. In larger organizations where dependability and integrity overshadow glamour – think banks or insurance – a conservative approach to dressing is expected, whereas in a imaginative or creative field there is much more freedom.
What you wear to your interview will also depend on the caliber of the job you’re after. If you’re being interviewed for a entry level position, leave your vintage fur coat at home. Employers will be looking for people that fit with the general character of the organization and with the other personnel. A girl with a millionaires wardrobe is going to incur envy and animosity among a group of less richly endowed. Simplicity and good taste are the rules in applying for any job, plus the immaculate grooming that speaks louder than words about how a girl will be in her work. 

Before you go to your interview, be sure to try on the complete outfit you intend to wear and inspect it closely in your mirror. Do sit in it as well as this will be the way you will look most of the time to the person who will make the decision. Ask yourself (1) Do I look well groomed, (2) Do I look neat, (3) Do I feel comfortable and at ease, (4) Does my skirt ride up too much, (5) Does this outfit fit the image of the position I hope to fill?

There are also cases where extremely capable women fail to get a job because they look too elegantly put together – and I admit I think this is where I have often gone wrong in my interview outfits. This can be viewed by personnel directors as being too self-involved and dedicated to your own life rather than a job. This doesn’t mean that dressing to get a job should be an effort to make yourself less attractive, just that you should look your best – but business best rather than your beau-catching best. Not everyone is confident in their own appearance and can therefore misread your outfit and appearance. 

There is no simple answer to what to wear to a job interview but there are many don’ts for sure.Being smart is strategic but unless employed in solitary confinement, IQ loses impact without professional looking clothing to match. The problem with so many young women entering the job market today is that they don’t seem to know what to avoid. Their instinct of dressing in their best is right, but their best is often inappropriate. Seductive dressing is counterproductive. Girls who wear very short skirts, skirts with splits to where legs end, sheer fabrics, or gaze-fixingly low-cut tops are not taken seriously. Same can go for a professional man wearing a plunging V-neck or shorts in an office. 

A job interview is an experience that allows you to project yourself and your experiences into your own scheme of job getting. Analyze the kind of business you’re attempting to break into – find out the ‘acceptance look’ for that industry or company, and package yourself to it. Dress up to your ambitions! And most of all be yourself and be confident. 

Man Management: Surviving the Breakup

  

We have all gone through this horrible state of broken heart at one time or another. While it is an unfortunate part of life, we are going to take a look at how to survive it gracefully, and perhaps even win his heart back. 

The act of splitting up with someone should be direct, decisive, and, above all, kind. It can be an extremely humbling time, no matter which end you are on, and feelings should be protected as much as possible. Fictitious excuses do not make the problem go away, however, and any ambiguity looks dangerously like an open window to the desperately smitten.  

Sometimes a breakup is literally just because one partner is just not that into the other. Being dumped for this reasons is a fact just has to be accepted – do not take it personally, everyone is just not made for everyone else. Climb out of the wreckage and set to work on reducing your dependence on him. Heartbreak hotel is a lonely, indulgent place, so distract yourself by trying to reengage with old friends and new prospects. This is a comforting and ego-boosting move, even if rebounds are rarely real. 

This distraction period is where a breakup can get interesting. It is quite possible that he’s mixing his messages and, if this is the case, heed his behaviour over his words. Find out if ending it is really just a temporary decision and then move on accordingly. If he is that into you, he’ll do the chasing. This is a tried and true method that works (just ask my former breakup who’s now my hubby!). Think back to Kate in 2007!

  

During this period of distraction, make sure you try to go out – or at least make the world think you have. Don’t be home when he calls, make him wonder where you are. Don’t post on Facebook, or if you do only mention the fun things you have been doing. Don’t lie about things, but just don’t be an open book to him. Be sure to mention all the great things that you have been doing. Make sure he knows what fun you’ve been having – but don’t brag about it or rub it in. In this day and age of social media it is so easy to have your friends post photos of the fun night you had. The new intrigue of your life and your new found confidence will drive him crazy if there are still any feelings he has for you. Just be sure to remind him of what he’s missing – without actually saying anything at all. 

The aftermath of a breakup can bring emotional freefall, so keep your dignity or your future chances are shot. Rein in your rash compulsions: no pitiful pleadings for reinstatement, no extractions of promises for future reconciliations, no emotional blackmail. Who wants to be with a guy who was browbeaten into in anyhow? If you are prone to drunken dialing, delete his number from your phone, or, better still, avoid excesses while you are still grieving. Midnight sobbings will show you as a wreck – any who wants to be with one of those, right? If you have something you truly feel you need to say, compose a letter or email but sit on it for a day or two. And do not send it if there is any inkling of doubt.

If he does try to enter back into your life, make him work for it, make sure that you want him back and that he deserves to be in your life. Do not give in blindly and eagerly – all the attractive independence that you have gained would be erased immedately (remember confidence and independence is always attractive in a relationship). I leave you with the below quote that sums up this subject brilliantly.  

  

Homemade apple pie

I figured a perfect place to start the new “austerity budget” was with traditional home cooking. I am more of a baker than a cook, so my top pick was beginning with an apple pie.
I had made a pie several years which admit I rushed through, and it didn’t turn out brilliantly. So I went to get a lesson from the expert this time – my mum! 

  
Of course, the best way to begin is with picking the apples yourself which made for a very pleasant and relaxing afternoon in the warm sun. It is advised that the best tasting pies are made with several different types of apples, so I used a variety of flavours from big green ones to tiny red ones (yes that is all I know the apples as – the trees in my yard are not labeled!). The picking is the easy bit, and things were about to get more complicated with starting the dough.

  
Making the dough is fairly easy – or it should be if you start off with good ingredients. It seems I have not really baked much in the past several years and my Crisco had gone rancid. I hated to be wasteful but it really was beyond saving. There was that delay, as well as my being out of nutmeg and having a kitchen stocked with less than perfect knives for cutting hard apples. So Mum and I picked up the pie operation and moved to her well stocked kitchen. 

  

  
My mum’s famous pies always use my grandmother’s classic dough recipe, and the apple pie instructions from the 1968 printing of Better Homes and Garden. This cookbook has always been a part of my life, but I began having a keen interest in it after excitedly spotting it on display in the Mad Men exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image this summer (that exhibit was so good I went twice!). So now it’s not only the cookbook of my childhood memories, but its also Betty Draper’s cookbook! And of course, the apple pie became known as Don Draper pie….why not right?

  

  
With her fresh ingredients, the pie dough came out perfectly. My rolling it on the other hand will take some more work to perfect! To make the dough into a circle, it takes constant rolls in each direction – too many pushes in one direction will ruin the shape as I learned the hard way. Spooning the apples into the dish in a flat shape is also very important – if the apples mound in the middle it will ruin the pie. Crimping the edges together is also a very important step in order to keep the juices from spilling out. Additionally, once your apple filling is placed in the dish, place a pat of butter evenly around for added flavor. 

  
With mum’s helpful hints (and taking over occasionally) the rolling and assembling went well. We even decorated it with some attractive leaf designs on top. Without her help and saving touches, the pie would not have come out nearly so pretty. Some of the apples were perhaps not quite ripe enough and a bit crisper than I prefer, but overall it tasted absolutely delicious!

  
More important than a tasty pie though was the fun and laughter of making it with my mother. Not only was it a trip down memory lane, but it also made a new memory that I will treasure. And I look forward to my next lesson perfecting the art of pies, and getting to eat more pie!

 

Fashion, Style – and Austerity?

  
Life is too short to not be enjoyed. A life well lived to me is about quality of life, not material possessions or money. Witnessing today’s consumer culture in all its conspicuous consumption glory, buying to fill some void in their life, clearly shows proof that their way of thinking will never bring contentment.

Americans seem to be able to carry off conspicuous consumption, and perhaps even thrive in it. It seems to suit their “can-do” spirit where greed is considered good. As we all know, I, though American, do not fit into this cultural mindset. I get multiple consumer emails per day titled “you need this” or “everyone is buying this”. These brands have no idea that a title like that is the best way to get me to delete an email without even opening it. I have no interest in having the latest technology or having to have a certain handbag to feel fulfilled – I find that to be just vulgar and shallow, and generally rather sad. Whatever happened to use it up, wear it out, and make it do!

There is satisfaction to be found in saving money. I do not mean this to refer to investing in cheap products or buying fast fashion – in fact, I mean just the opposite. Invest instead in superior products that are made to last, and can even have their lives extended by mending. Mending – what is that? That is exactly what we are going to begin exploring.

Lady Sarah is going on austerity! Evoking an era of WWII rationing, my life and this blog are going to begin luxuriating in frugality. It will now be a blog about how not to buy – or rather focus on a prudent, disciplined, savvy approach to life and spending.

This concept might seem completely alien to many people today, but thriftiness was natural to my upbringing. Eating leftovers, leaving off the heat, growing a garden, home made clothing, and bargain hunting is how I was brought up. These qualities of life give me a sense of security and of well being. Recently reading “Lessons From Madame Chic” by Jennifer L. Scott, I realized how different my upbringing was from most other Americans – considered European or even old-fashioned. It also made me realize that as a busy adult, I had begun to drift away from those valued qualities of life that I treasured. 

Living on a frugal budget is not a poor person trait, in fact the aristocracy as well as most of the weathiest people around the world are known to have this disciplined approach to spending. Rich people do not buy on impulse. They instead seek quality over prestige in their products. Affluent people, in fact, tend to use more coupons than those who are considered impoverished. 

So I hope that you will join me on this fun journey of learning to do mending, heating your cold bed with a hot water bottle, and running your “stately” home on a budget!

Welcome summer!

I am pleased to say I am finally back – officially graduated and caught up on laundry, grocery shopping, baking, etc – everything that got put on hold as a full time Parson’s student and working lady. I am looking forward to a relaxing summer with some sleep and getting to enjoy life again.

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of what I have been up to at Parson’s for the past two year of my Fashion Marketing programme. I nearly lost my mind multiple times (math and Photoshop…) but truly loved every minute of it. It was an amazing experience to be able to express yourself as who you truly are and see the results right before your eyes. I am eternally greatful to so many friends and family in my life for keeping me sane these two years, as well as feeding me and making sure I had a little fun here and there.

Evening gown design class

These are some gouache watercolor drawings from my design class which was one of my favorite classes.

Graduation Announcement 2015

A collage of my time at Parson’s and my graduation.

Online student life

Life of an online student….sigh.

School study Squid

Many late and stressful nights spent in the supportive company of hubby and my cats. As you can see here, the relentless schedule even got to them…

 

Decorated cap

My decorated graduation cap!

I don’t know if this link will work for you (if it doesn’t, please comment and I will work on it), but the following is my favorite final from Parson’s. It took me around ten hours of work, at least, but is a true reflection of Lady Sarah’s ideal life:

Goethe-Jones.FinalPresentation.Poets & Romantics

I look forward to getting to write more this summer on my new iPad Mini (goodbye Acer laptop). Feel free to send in any article requests and let’s get this blog up and rolling again!

I’m back! 

After a hiatus, for which I apologize, my blog posts will be coming back soon! This horrible New England winter, Parson’s coursework, work and life was just keeping me a bit busy. There was a lot of snow and COLD.  

The temperature here has finally climbed above freezing and the snow has now melted for the most part. It is a pleasure to see ground, grass and mud. Finally beginning to feel alive again and out of hibernation. 

These past two winters have been two of the worst winters on record for Massachusetts. Winter did not used to bother me but I have found myself with cabin fever and feeling rather depressed during these winters, as I know many others have as well. The endless gloom, dangerous snow and ice, and frigid temperatures are a bit much for anyone. I am definitely planning to move onto a better climate! 

If you have any desires or requests for blog posts or questions about what I’ve been up to, feel free to send me a note or get in touch on Twitter. Can’t wait to get back to writing! See you soon fashion bunnies! 

     Lady Sarah