Yes, we did another shoot

So, when I was around 34 weeks pregnant (about a million years ago) Mark and I did a maternity shoot which I posted about here. It was a no-brainer that we’d do a shoot once our little miracle arrived in the world too. This stuff needs to be recorded as it may only happen once afterall!

Unlike the maternity shoot where I had time to go and have makeup done, my hair blowdried and take a leisurely drive out to Stellenbosch, our newborn shoot took a full day of coordination of timing feeds and sleeps (for everyone in the household) to look mildly presentable (even though there were no shoes on two of us!)

A newborn shoot springs to mind pictures of little babies posed in teacups or the name Anne Geddes or as I like to say ‘the most un Kim & Mark thing ever’, but… like the whole being pregnant thing, I wanted to document our tiny baby in a beautiful way and that just can’t be done by iPhone.

Cheryl Mcewan is an old school friend and was, without a doubt, the only person we were going to feel the most relaxed around in our home and with our new baby given that we were ten days in and had little idea what we were doing (side note: we’re now 11 weeks in and still have little idea what we’re doing).

While trying to figure out what to dress in when 10 days before you had a soccer ball for a tummy and you’re hardly feeling your best self, all I knew was that I wasn’t about to let our baby don a tutu, a headband, or any pink just yet.  Cheryl managed to capture our beautiful miracle perfectly and ensure sleep deprived mom and dad didn’t look too bad either. She’s pretty damn talented.

Here are some of our pics – randomly selected as they’re all stunning! See more on Cheryl’s website.

Hawkins Family_012Hawkins Family_014Hawkins Family_020Hawkins Family_021Hawkins Family_032Hawkins Family_039Hawkins Family_040Hawkins Family_046Hawkins Family_057Hawkins Family_073Hawkins Family_108

A little punt about Cheryl – I have never known a person more hardworking and passionate about her chosen profession. Years ago she loved taking photos of her travels with her normal point and shoot camera. So, while keeping other jobs and building a career in the travel industry, she built up her skill and profession as a wedding photographer abroad. She moved back to SA and invested herself full time into her business. She’s a lifestyle photographer now, weddings, families, friends etc. Check out her website for more stunning photos.



2011 and all that may happen

So its here, 2011 – the year after 2010… it actually arrived rather quickly and… apparently seems to be slipping away rather quickly too. Its half way through February and 9 days away from payday! sjoe, its going to be another close one.

So now that I’m officially Cape Townian, I’ve wined and dined, met new people and said “yes” to most invitations over the last year… what will 2011 offer?

Empty frames on a wall
If only my empty frames looked that stylish

Well to start, I hope I finally hang the photos on my wall. I’ve been in our flat for a year, just signed up for another year… and still I have a big blank wall waiting for pictures. Beats the other wall, that has empty frames up. This is goal number one. Its a small and achievable goal. I estimate by May it should be done.

I’ve been promising the talented Cheryl McEwan that her and I will ‘Rock my dress’. That is, my wedding dress. So goal number two involves some weight loss and a whole lot of training. The amount I want to lose fluctuates. As of today, its 3.6kgs.

I really want to try and cook more this year. Its hard, because I love a) eating out so much, and b) Woolworths. It also does form part of the next goal, saving money.

Saving money. Hmm, to buy a house. This is a long winded, I mean term, goal. The plan is to buy this year. But will we ever find something that matches our dreams. Someone, write me into their will and donate me a house!

All the things I love most – restaurants, food and wine. This year is taking a certain “saving money” theme, and so I have to make strategic monthly choices on where to eat. Once a month, I will book a new restaurant, and maybe return to an old one. Two outings a month. Ok, and maybe a breakfast, and a wine farm. I don’t see this working.

Nike+ sensor
Powersong please

Running. I hate it. I don’t see the point. And I don’t get why people do it. But I have to do it, to prove I can. So the goal is to run 5km straight, without breaking to walk, by the end of the year. A word of warning, I’ve had this goal for the last 3 years and never achieved it. Its just one of those things. I have however equipped myself with a Nike+ to track my runs and inspire me with powersongs. I’ll let you know how that goes.

As much as I love wine farming – its like wine-tasting but you go to see the farm too, I’m not a fan of drinking and driving and now that Mrs M has had her baby, well – there’s no designated driver. So this year the challenge is to not only stock up with wines from farms, but to trust my twitter friends, read more articles and buy wine from Pick n Pay. Or even better Ultra Liquors! (Bargain prices!). Feel free to send suggestions of wines I should try.

Creation Wine
The first wine recommended on twitter

I spent most, actually ALL of 2010 reading Shantaram. I really want to say its a good book, but its completely tainted by the fact that it took a year to read. Really, I’m not a slow reader, for this book you need time – which I didn’t have much of. So this year I really want to try and read more.

Quality time, with Mr H, good friends and my parents. Its important. 2010 was fun, but relationships matter and we need to remain focussed on that.

Obviously there are other goals… career objectives and places that need to be visited. Both are fairly open ended, I think the main goal is to make things happen. But if 2010 is anything to go by, things will most definitely happen.

Deep Red Sponge with White Cream Cheese Frosting

Cheryl McEwan_Red Velvet CupcakesYes, I’m talking about Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I had never had one before.. and had never dreamed of indulging in something so deep red in colour that wasn’t steak. Or wine.

New Years Day, and at my folks for tea, my mom produced these cupcakes made by my very own lifelong friend Lady K. I had to suppress my almost inappropriate (I was at my parents afterall) ooh’s and aah’s of delight (seriously, they’re THAT good) as I indulged without regret on the first day of the new year.

Although Lady K had probably only just touched down back in London… I pinged her, emailed her and whatsapp’ed her in a desperate attempt to get the recipe.

Here it is. I haven’t actually tried to recreate the incredible Red Velvet pieces of heaven myself. But here’s the recipe for anyone who wants to try:

Mix all the ingredients well so that the sponge has an even colour and texture. Red food colourings vary in strength, but we recommend Dr. Oetker Red Food Colouring for the best result. To make a red velvet cake instead, double the quantities below, divide between three 20-cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes at the same oven temperature. Frost with 2 quantities of Cream Cheese Frosting.

60 g unsalted butter,at room temperature
150 g caster sugar
1 egg
10 g cocoa powder
20 ml red food colouring (preferably Dr. Oetker Red Food Colouring)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
120 ml buttermilk
150 g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 quantity Cream Cheese Frosting
*still to get this part of recipe
Makes 12
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top.

The Cream Frosting:

  • 300g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 50g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 125g Cream Cheese, cold

Mix everything together with an electric mixer until just combined (don’t overbeat or it will go runny)

Yum, enjoy!

Happy Friday xx

ps. Check out more of Lady K’s awesome cupcakes, and other pretty things on the talented Cheryl McEwan’s Photography website.