Friday, 22 October 2010

New products... how very exciting!

I'm very excited today as my new product ranges, including badges, magnets and lavender bags are now all available on my website. Although many of them have been up on my Not on the High Street shop for a few weeks now, it has taken a little longer to update my own site, but it is now live which is great news!

Over the last couple of months, I have begun to concentrate more and more on little handmade gift items such as embroidered badges, fridge magnets and lavender bags as opposed to my printed range. This is for a couple of reasons really.... over the last year as I have been developing my business, I've had time to work out which products I like making the best, what my bestsellers are and alternatively which things have proved problematic. It has been a big learning curve - and I am still learning for sure, but it is a conscious decision to try a slightly different approach.

Since I purchased my badge maker a few months ago, it has become somewhat of a best friend, and I do think it is one of the best things I have bought in a long long time! Although they can be fiddly sometimes, my badges and magnets are fast becoming my most popular sellers, which is very lovely as I've not been selling them long at all. Working on such a tiny scale is rewarding when you see the finished product and I think they look so smart all lined up on their backing cards... what do you all think?
Concentrating more on handmade products, it also means that I don't have as much reliance on printers and suppliers, etc, making it easier for me to control my stock levels. Also, because I don't want to have to place massive orders with manufacturers and printers, I sometimes end up paying a premium for a short print run which isn't very economical. The only downside I guess is that with a bigger emphasis on the handmade and bespoke items, it means more pressure on myself in a way to be able to produce enough to meet demand without my back giving in from too much sewing! I'm sure in the future I will maybe return to having more printed products in my range, but I like that at the moment, everything is made by hand here in my Somerset, with love and care and passion.

Hurray, you made it to the end of my ramblings for today! I hope you like my new products, I would love to hear your thoughts on your favourites...etc so do take a look at my website and leave me a comment if you are passing:)

I am also always looking to have more independent shops stocking my products, so if you have a lovely boutique or gorgeous website that you think would suit my products, please email me at hello[at]jennyarnott[dot]co[dot]uk for trade prices and more information, I would love to work with you! x

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A day of cupcakes...


I'm now back from my week away visiting my family up in Shropshire and both my shops are now open again. Had a lovely chilled out week catching up, which was really nice as I don't get the chance to see them very often. Me and my sister Harriet baked some yummy cupcakes together when she came home at the weekend... the icing and decorating part was the most fun - as you can see we were going for the 'anything goes' style of decoration, but I think it works!

The recipe we used for our cakes was taken from a lovely book called
'Bake Me I'm Yours: Cupcakes' by Joan and Graham Belgrove, but I thought I would write it out here in case anyone had the urge to go do some baking!

Chocolate Sponge Recipe (makes 24 medium sized cupcakes)


♥ 3 medium eggs
♥ 175g (6oz) caster sugar
♥ 115g (4oz) self raising flower
♥ 30ml (6tsp) cocoa powder
♥ 1.5tsp baking powder
♥ 1tsp vanilla extract
♥ 175g (6oz) slightly salted butter


♥ Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees, and place cases in bun trays
♥ Put sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract into food processor and blitz together for 2-3 minutes. Alternatively, mix it all together using a hand held whisk
♥ Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa together into a separate bowl and then add to the mix gradually, folding with a spatula
♥ Spoon the mixture carefully into the baking cases (be careful not to overfill, they only need one good dollop of mixture each as they do rise a lot in the oven)
♥ Place tray in centre of oven and bake for approximately 16-18 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched
♥ Turn out and allow to cool before the decorating fun begins!

We couldn't decide on which icing to make, so we halved the recipes below and did half pink, half chocolate!

Buttercream Frosting

♥ 225g unsalted butter

♥ 5ml vanilla extract
♥ 450g sifted icing sugar
♥ 40ml cold water
♥ Few drops of food colouring if you want coloured icing

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

♥ 115g soft unsalted butter
♥ 50g cocoa, Dutch processed if possible
♥ 175g sifted icing sugar
♥ 45ml cold water


♥ Beat the butter to a cream in a food processor or alternatively use a hand held whisk
♥ For the chocolate recipe, sift the cocoa and icing sugar together and gradually beat into the butter with the water. For normal buttercream, just add the icing sugar and water to the butter, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract
♥ Add a few drops of colouring to the buttercream mixture if you want coloured icing
♥ Spoon the mixture carefully into an icing gadget with a star nozzle to make lovely swirly patterns
♥ Decorate you cakes with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, silver balls, edible glitter...etc
Sit back and enjoy all your hard work with a well earned cup of tea and a cake!

To be honest, we weren't the most careful or professional cake makers in the world, but we had a fun afternoon all the same!
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