Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Recipe: Cocoa Banana Walnut Loaf

This cake is a great way to use up old bananas, and you can never go wrong with chocolate!

I adapted a recipe I had that called for dark chocolate and used cocoa powder instead, this cake is really easy to whip up with ingredients you'll have in the cupboard already.

You'll need:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 185g self raising flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • A couple of handfuls of  chopped walnuts
  • Icing sugar

Here's what you need to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line your loaf tin.

2. Mix the banana and sugar together until just combined. Then add in the flour, cocoa, eggs, oil and milk and stir it all together with a wooden spoon. Once they're mixed together fold in the walnuts - save a few for the end.

3. Put the mixture into the tin and bake for about 55mins (until a knife through the centre comes out clean). Leave to cool and when you're ready to serve add water to your icing sugar and drizzle over. Finish off your cake by sticking some more walnuts on the top.

Do you have any good recipes that use up food that would otherwise go to waste? Please share in the comments!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday Feline #14

Cat's Pyjamas Plate    

Cat Clock

Cat Mug

I've rounded up some lovely cat themed homewares this week, all available on Not On The High Street, I am very tempted to purchase myself one of these cat clocks from the lovely Lisa Jones Studio... not sure how many cat related products I can sneak into the house this week though (did you see my amazing new cat blanket on instagram!?).

If you'd prefer to spend your money on cat themed tote bags and stationery, then head over to the STACIE SWIFT shop, it is Friday after all ;)


Thursday, 25 September 2014

STACIE SWIFT Christmas Cards 2014

It might still seem like a million miles away but Christmas is definitely creeping in... in just 90 little days it will be the best day of the whole year! HURRAH!

I've been ridiculously organised this year and have got my 2014 card designs done and dusted well in advance, the new lines are now ready and live in the STACIE SWIFT Etsy shop too.

Four new designs are available, there's a mix of hand lettering and signature animals for this year :)
Love Yule

Happy Holly Days

Merry Christmouse

Hoppy Christmas

So if you're super organised you can snap these up individually or in packs of four over in the shop! I will also be adding some of the previous Christmas designs to the store shortly too.

As always, these can be purchased for wholesale, if you want more info please send enquiries to mail@stacieswift.com

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

ABC Of Great Business Emails

When you run your own business sending efficient emails is a must. In particular, if you are getting in touch with potential stockists and clients it really helps to be able to write emails that people want to read and reply to.

My previous life as a PA and my experience running STACIE SWIFT has helped me to compile these handy tips:

Write a snappy subject line

Make sure your subject line tells exactly what your email is about. You want to make your email stand out in a cluttered inbox and give a clear idea of the content - have a look in your inbox for inspiration, note the ones that you opened straight away and take inspiration from them.

Use a short, direct greeting
Don't be tempted to waffle on at the start of your email. And wherever possible make sure it is directed to an individual by name, a little bit of googling to find the correct contact details can go a long way!

The rest is as easy as A B C!
The body of your email can be separated into three sections to make sure it's to the point and encourages a response (unread or ignored emails won't increase your sales figures!).

A - Action State your purpose, explain why you are emailing and the reason you are getting in touch. Who are you? What do you want as a result of the email?

B - Background
Write out your key points, here is where you can sell yourself and your products! What can you offer? Why are your products special? Is there a catalogue or website that will give them more details?

C - Close
Put your call to action in here, clarify any further steps to placing an order or getting more info. How can potential stockists send you an order? What would you like them to do in response to your message?

Done! Remember before you press send to proof read and run your email through spell check, you want to make sure you are giving a good all-round impression.

Here's another post on email tips if you fancy giving your inbox a spruce up too! Animal alphabet prints are also for sale in my Etsy shop too :)


Monday, 22 September 2014

Recipe: Double Choc Shortbread Biscuits in 2 steps

This Sunday we went along to our nephew's baptism and were asked to bring along a little something to share with teas and coffees after the church service.

There were already lots of cakes being taken along so I thought some chocolate biscuits would be a welcome addition.
I do love an easy recipe so this one didn't fail to disappoint; it was even quick enough to do from start to finish while I was getting ready on Sunday morning!

You will need:
  • 175g softened butter
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g chocolate chips

Step 1

Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. When it is combined add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Smoosh it all together with your hands to combine. Once you've got your dough, roll it into a log shape and pop it in some cling film. Then just leave in the fridge to chill, ideally for an hour or so (long enough to do your hair and make up if you are off to a baptism too...!)

Step 2
Pop the oven on to 180C and slice your biscuit log into rounds about a centimetre thick and put them onto a baking try lined with baking paper. They'll cook in around 12-15 minutes, once they're done just leave them on the tray to cool before sharing / eating them all up.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Friday Feline #13

< Isabelle Arsenault >
< Hello Harriet >
< Kitty >
< Cat Tin from Tigerlillyquinnshop >

I do realise it's not Friday but this post is a little late this week as yesterday I had to pop into London and I've still been battling with a cough and cold so the day ran away with me.

This week's cute kitties have a bit more an autumnal feel now that the weather is starting to change, I love the cute cat illustration by Isabelle Arsenault. Gorgeous!


Thursday, 18 September 2014

#totesswift // Blogger Boxes

You might have seen me posting some sneak peeks of these Blogger Boxes on Instagram and Facebook so I thought I would give you a little bit more info now they have made it to their new homes.

To help spread the word about new STACIE SWIFT tote bags I decided to post some pretty PR packs to some of my favourite bloggers (and a couple I found via Twitter too!). Each pack contains one of the new bag designs and a selection of new and signature products, specially chosen to suit the personality of each lovely lady and packed with a little note about my brand and products.

These brilliant bloggers will be styling their STACIE SWIFT totes and reviewing their paper products online - I can't wait to see what they come up with! You can find their posts on all the best social media channels (and hopefully find some fab new blogs to read) by searching the hashtag #totesswift over the next couple of months!

I'll also be putting together some Goodie Boxes so if you aren't a blogger you can still get your hands on a pretty package of totes and stationery in time for Christmas!! More on that soon... :)