SPRING IN SONOMA

Somewhere I always look forward to for a little getaway is our family house in Sonoma. It is somewhere that requires so little planning to leave for, and is such a beautiful place any time of year. My grandparents on my dads side built the house years ago, and we've been going there ever since. We also rent our home out when we aren't staying there through the company Beautiful Places. Danny and I met my family up there on Saturday and spent the night. I really like it in the spring, because all the plants are so lush and the flowers begin to bloom. It's also so quiet and tranquil, something that always reminds me to slow down a bit. 

The stone fireplace is my absolute favorite. It has so much character and I love the texture. It's a key feature in the living room, and I love that it's double sided and goes through the second floor, so you can see it on either side of the house. 

I really love the eclectic vibe of the decor. We remodeled the house about nine years ago ago. A lot of times my family takes things from our own house and brings them up there to use as accent pieces. The ceiling beams are also a favorite of mine and are original. The poster on the bottom left is of my dad's mom, my grandmother who I didn't get to know, but I know she was a strong Cancer woman who loved going up there! 

My favorite room is this little room that I always call the "treehouse" room. I like how it's nestled in and around the landscape and trees. 

COCONUT LAYER MERINGUE CAKE

I came across this gorgeous slice of cake on Pinterest and tracked down the recipe. The ingredients are simple, but it looks slightly challenging to make. I would love to attempt this, though, as the cake looks so mouthwatering and divine. Perhaps for someones birthday. Anyways, just wanted to share with you for some inspired baking ideas! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 600ml eggwhites (approximately 16 eggs), at room temperature
  • 3 cups (660g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch), plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 cups (100g) coconut flakes
  • vanilla coconut cream
  • 1 cup (250ml) double (thick) cream
  • 1 cup (250ml) coconut cream, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place half the eggwhites in a bowl and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add half the sugar, scrape down sides of the bowl and whisk for 8 minutes or until thickened and sugar has dissolved. Place half the cornflour and half the vinegar in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the cornflour mixture to the meringue and continue beating for 2 minutes. Spoon into a well-greased 24cm x 34cm slice tin and smooth the top. Cook for 16 minutes or until the top is just dry to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a baking tray lightly dusted with cornflour. Allow to cool completely+. Trim the meringue into 2 rectangles, discarding the edges++. Set aside.
  2. Repeat the method with the remaining eggwhites, sugar, cornflour and vinegar to create 2 more meringue rectangles. 
  3. To make the vanilla coconut cream, place the double cream, coconut cream and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. 
  4. To assemble, place 1 meringue rectangle on a cake stand. Spoon 1/3 cup of the vanilla coconut cream over the meringue. Continue layering with meringue and vanilla coconut cream, finishing with the cream. Lightly spread the remaining vanilla coconut cream over the sides and sprinkle all over with coconut flakes. Serve immediately. Serves 6. 

+ The meringue will shrink about 3–5cm from the edge of the tin as it begins to cool. 

Recipe via Donna Hay

FESTIVE HOLIDAY DECOR AT HOME

This Christmas my mom had our house frosted in Christmas so beautifully. She had her designer Jonathan and his team help with the decorations and it turned out beautifully. She wanted it done before Thanksgiving, the day before I came home and it was all done. I was slightly bummed I didn't get to help her and my dad pick a tree, but it's okay, at least it was flocked (: ! I loved the garland on the banisters going up our front porch stairs and the little details they incorporated with the Christmas figures my parents have collected over the years. Hope your Christmas holiday season is splendid! I can't believe it's already that time of the year. I realized I really need to slow down even if it means slowing my work schedule down, taking a break from technology and social media, or just taking time for me. Dan's dad had a stint put into his heart last week to prevent a heart attack and some other health issues, and it really opened my eyes to what stress can do to the body. I've always been very health conscious, but as we get older, we realize how precious life really is, and it's important to take even better care of our bodies. Happiness and well-being are way more important than the hype. Work will always be there. Give yourself permission to slow down and enjoy tiny bits of this holiday season. 2016 will never be back!

xx love and jingle bells