Thursday, 5 December 2013

Cinnamon



Subtitle: Fairy lights and cake do a happy woman make.

The weather today has been vile. We were woken this morning at 5 am by the sound of wind blowing and something hitting our roof. I feared broken tiles and expected to come down to a scene of devastation but thankfully everything is standing. Battered by high winds, but standing. This morning's gales and driving rain has now been replaced by freezing temperatures, a biting wind and the occasional shower of sleet. It's time to get cosy.


Thank goodness for fairy lights and cake. On Tuesday, I went to the post office to collect a parcel - a set of lights very kindly sent to me by Cable and Cotton, in Cinnamon. They are just lovely. I think it was luck that I received this particular set, but the colours are very me. You all know I love Cable and Cotton - we have a set I bought a couple of years ago in Devon hanging in our lounge and another in Bella's bedroom. I think their mix and match approach to colour is inspired, and that their lights look as good lit as unlit.


I couldn't think where to hang them at first and spent a happy time wandering around the house with them, draping them here and there over headboards, banisters and mantles. I decided in the end to display them in a glass globe-style vase which I half filled with baubles, then then piled in the lights. This works well as the lights reflect off the shiny surfaces of the baubles and vase, creating the impression that there are more in there than there really are.


But the lights had to go somewhere where we spend a lot of time, where they could be appreciated: the dining room. We have a sideboard in this room which is more dumping ground than display space, and usually holds the radio, a laptop or two, sticker books, clutter and anything that you don't know where to put. You can see a horrible photo of it below.


I decided to make it pretty and festive and added candles and some favourite Christmas decorations, things I never tire of looking at. It says to me "Christmas is coming" in a slightly camp and not very minimalist way, which makes me very happy indeed.


And, to be honest, when I hear the word "cinnamon", straight away I think "bake". I can't help it, it's like a reflex. 


Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice - they appear so often in recipes at this time of year. I think I used most of those spices in my Christmas cakes. 


So, in honour of my new lights, and to chase away that rainy day, cooped up feeling, I made Gooey Cinnamon Squares from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Don't be deceived by the photo - I know it just looks like a brown square, but this is a moist, sticky, crunchy-on-top piece of sweet cinnamon heaven. 


I've mainly tried the baking recipes from this book and have made this one about seven times. I feel like the book was worth buying for this recipe alone.*

And now it's dark so early, we can see how pretty the lights look in the evenings.



*There are many links to this recipe available online if you type "Gooey Cinnamon Squares" into a search engine but they are all the US version, ie. cups and ounces. If you want a UK version (in grams) I guess you have to buy the book.






46 comments:

  1. Great photos - ooh that cake looks delicous - I love cinnamon x

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  2. Love & love your candy (?) house :)).
    I hope the weather is stable now...

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  3. I love those lights. In fact - when I saw them on your blog earlier this year, I made a note to myself and have ordered a set for my niece for Christmas. I think she will love them.
    The cinnamon squares look yummy too. Ginger cake to be made here this weekend.
    x

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  4. The lights are beautiful and I really like the way you displayed them in the vase. I agree that the colors are beautiful. I have a buffet in my dining room that acts just like your sideboard and it's a pain in the neck. But when it's cleaned up, it looks terrific. I think the cake looks delicious and I wonder if it's related to Gooey Butter Cake, which is a Southern delicacy here, I think. It's salty, sweet, buttery and very decadent. Sooo good. I'm going to make gingerbread this snowy afternoon, from a mix because I feel really lazy.

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    1. Yes, I think it is supposed to be a kind of combination of a St Louis Gooey Butter Cake, and a snickerdoodle. Whatever it is, it's amazing! x

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  5. What kitsch tealights, so delightful.

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  6. How warm and cosy....and just perfect for you! :) x

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  7. I saw some round ball lights on the Christmas market, thought of all your lovely photos of them and was so tempted. The thought of all the presents I still needed to buy stopped me though. But they do look so gorgeous in your glass bowl....x

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  8. a great way to begin the festivities! love the lights, Heather X

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  9. The bauble and lights display looks very glam indeed, but in a cozy way, ya know? Comfortable elegance...you can quote me on that...and the little row of deer candles is fabulous! You have certainly brightened up the workspace! Thanks for sharing the cake recipe, I look forward to making it - we had similar blustery crashes around our home today, time to put another log on the fire! Chrissie x

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  10. I love your new lights and your house just looks so lovely and cosy!
    Marion x

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  11. Love the lights - they look great in the fishbowl vase. And those little deer candles - slightly concerned by how they will look in a few hours time though!! The cinnamon squares look delicious too - I'm a bit of a cinnamon fiend so they're right up my street. x

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    1. P.S. Thanks for the real-life sideboard shot - that's what our dining table looks like most of the time!

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  12. The lights are gorgeous, and you have displayed them beautifully! Your dining room sideboard looks so pretty and festive! I love the picture grouping above it, and the little wreath is darling. The cinnamon squares look like something I would love… I have to try this recipe!

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  13. Heavenly, everything! Oh how I love visiting you here x

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  14. So lovely to see your sweet gingerbread house again Gillian. I hoped to have a go at one of these myself this year but now I need to concentrate on gift making....maybe next year :0)
    Jacquie x

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  15. Oh, fairy lights, candles, sweet sticky cake...shove up on the sofa I'm coming over...!

    We've had the weather from hell here today too. Over 2hrs to work, normally 30mins, trees and lorries down everywhere including over my neighbours car - eek! Rain, winds, hail like golf balls, snow, some eyewatering sun and now a hard freeze. The dress code was one of everything you own! Staying home and warm sounds like a very sensible decision.

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  16. Your sideboard looks beautiful with the lights and little candles - not that I could have borne to have lit them myself! - and just fine in the before shots too - just like real life! You should see my coffee table right now - well, perhaps not - a burned up candle, little peg angel, books, unwritten christmas cards, half finished drink, crochet christmas trees, selection of remotes.... I love the description of the colours of these fairy lights as cinnamon, just right for those colours. xx

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  17. Love the lights Gillian.......they look so festive and such beautiful colours. Jacqui xx

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  18. Love the lights and your Christmassy sideboard- all my kinda stuff too! And as for cinnamon- Bring it on- Love the stuff- so the squares sound like heaven:)

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  19. I really love the display you made. It is really lovely. And yes Cinnamon scream for baking! I will look for this recipe and try it as soon as I can! I hope you are safe and sound now and that the storm is over. Have a lovely weekend.

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  20. I'm so with you on the fairy lights and cake thing! :-) Glad you weathered the awful storm sans any damage too. Love your display and especially the little house...ooh and the cake looks & sounds yummy too.
    Happy weekend to you,
    Xx

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  21. It dire was blustery and wild yesterday. Our trampoline for complete blown over and snapped and a few garden chairs went flying. At least no major damage. Love your pretty cinnamon lights. I have a pair of these on my rush lost but they have to wait till I have some pennies. The cinnamon cake sounds very yummy indeed. Enjoy your weekend xoxo

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  22. Glad you didn't have too much storm damage. It does look very cosy and inviting with you. I love the slightly camp and not very minimalist look! The lights are gorgeous. The recipe sounds delicious, I shall give it a try, I love to find things that other people wholeheartedly recommend.

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  23. That looks really pretty! I love the smell of cinnamon too at this time of the year, I've already bought some fragranced candles and some cinnamon sticks which I will hang on the christmas tree.

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  24. Your home is looking so festive, the new lights are so beautiful. I bet it smells wonderful with all that baking.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  25. The lights look lovely in the bowl - what a great idea! x

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  26. Hi Gillian, Love your lights!!! Very cosy!!! Seems like we all have a place like that in our homes!!! I hate it!!! Love your cinnamon cake, it looks de-licious!!! Stay warm and have a fab weekend!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  27. Hi Gillian, those lights are fab, hoping that there is something similar in the new mini Habitat store down the road. Your before shot is not so bad, mine would have a huge pile of 'need to do something with these' bits of paper and bills on it too. Have I missed where the tealights are from? I have the holders you have, love that you can have all or some of them and the kids love deciding how to arrange them too. Have a great weekend, might get some of the white stuff if we're lucky. Thursday was super wild here too. brrr. katie x

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  28. Great looking sideboard Gillian! Have those cakes got apple in them? They look thrift up my street. All hail winter/cake/fairy lights..!

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    1. Clearly I meant Right up my street, not thrift. ?!

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  30. The house is starting to look festive Gillian in a very elegant way. Take care.

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  31. Cinnamon squares. Oh my goodness they sound magnificent!
    We made your mars bar crispies last weekend, maybe these should be bakes this weekend.
    Lisa x

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  32. I've done just the same with my Cable&Cotton lights, they look fantastic, I've got the 'cinnamon' mix which looks very cosy! :) Great photos, feeling very festive now!
    Katie

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  33. That little tree under a glass cover is very cute :)

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  34. Hello lovely Gillian :o)
    LOVE the subtitle!
    What pretty pretty lights and i adore your little candles too, it all looks very cosy.
    Right I'm off to find that recipe ..... i need gooey cinnamon squares in my life!
    love jooles xxx

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  35. Beautiful decorations there so pretty! Love the reindeer candles :)
    The cinnamon squares look lovely love the taste and smell of cinnamon xx

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  36. You're dangerous to know, do you know that? I've just ordered some Cable and Cotton lights and I'm planning a Cinnamon slice baking session tomorrow, even though I'd given up cake for advent. I love the way you've mixed your lights in with baubles there ... nicely done m'dear, the whole sideboard area looks so homely and Christmassy :)

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  37. i just love cinnamon flavoured anything. and i'm loving your cozy home x

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  38. as always beautiful pictures. adoring the little ginger bread house. your home is stunning.

    hope you have had a good weekend

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    1. have you ever thought of offering your home for tv programmes or as a set for product photography. I have no idea how you would go about this. but I really think you should look into it

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    2. Sol that's so kind of you! We live in a very normal and boring three bed semi, nothing fancy - I just show you the pretty bits. ;-) x

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  39. I love all the decorations and the gorgeous pictures.. As always :)

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  40. Hello Gillian, I've just found your lovely blog. I love those candles, they're so sweet. Have a lovely Christmas.
    Jane x

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