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A Ridiculously Girly Weekend

October 31, 2011

Hello and Happy Halloween to everyone! I’m back from a fantastic and tiring weekend in the Cotswolds with five of my friends. It’s become an annual tradition since we left university to rent a cottage for a long weekend in the autumn. It’s the one weekend in the year when the menfolk are left at home (sorry Peter!) and we can be as stereotypically girly as we like. Of course there was a Halloween theme this year.

One of my friends is a brilliant cake and treat maker, which was very lucky for the rest of us. When we first got to the cottage we dived into some scary spiders.


These were two Oreos sandwiched together with milk chocolate and topped with more chocolate, with liquorice laces as legs. I had some of the legless ones since I have a hatred for liquorice.

On Saturday we headed to Blenheim Palace to indulge our period drama fantasies of being the mistress of a grand house.


It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the autumnal colours were stunning!


Blenheim was the birthplace of Winston Churchill, so there was an interesting exhibition about his life (I can be a history geek sometimes). We also took a guided tour around the house that was great and I learnt a lot more about the building, the artwork and the family than I would normally do at a stately home.  Our tour guide was called Charlie and he was brilliant.

When we got home it was Halloween party time!


We had some fantastic food – I have to say mostly cooked by a couple of my friends. I helped by preparing stuff and clearing up, but I can’t take any credit for the beautiful food.


The starter was eyeball dough-balls, witches hat tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and yoghurt and chive dip. I actually cooked the chips … and I “overcooked” some of them – they still tasted ok though!


The main course was homemade salami pizza with mozzarella salad, leafy salad and tomato salad.

The dessert was a masterpiece! (Apologies for the poor photo)


Baked pumpkin cheesecake with a yoghurt topping and decorated with white chocolate and rice krispie shapes.

On Sunday we were slow to get going after quite a late night on Saturday. At least the clocks went back and I managed to get an extra hour in bed. We went on a short walk to blow the cobwebs away and then came back to make cupcakes. One of my friends went to a cupcake decorating class earlier in the year, so she gave us a lesson of our own. We made a chocolate sponge as the base, but all the fun was in the decorating.

I learned how to make marzipan roses.


And learned to colour and pipe butter icing. We used scary Halloween colours – red, orange, green and black.


I made four altogether, but the one I ended up taking home with me to eat was probably my favourite.


I was surprised at how easy it was to make and decorate cupcakes. I wasn’t brilliant, but the ones I made were presentable. The only problem is that the recipe makes quite a lot and there’s a temptation to eat them all. A lot of the icing went into my mouth rather than onto the cake and I’m suffering from a proper sugar hangover today. I have a headache and I keep getting sudden cravings. A few days without refined sugars should hopefully sort that out.

I’m so sad that our girly retreat is over for another year. We see each other fairly regularly, but this autumn trip is a definite highlight.

Did you do anything for Halloween over the weekend or are you doing anything tonight?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2011 5:55 pm

    Aww! Those oreos are so cute! And the cupcakes look delish! Glad you had a nice girly weekend! 🙂

  2. October 31, 2011 6:03 pm

    That looks like such fun- I love a good girly get together 🙂 Me and some friends try to have a weekend away once a year (Bristol this year) and it is always fab. Love those cupcakes too 🙂
    I don’t do anything for Halloween- never did as a child- it was seen as very American, so I am not against it, just not really thought about it!

    • October 31, 2011 6:39 pm

      I don’t usually do anything for Halloween and I certainly didn’t go trick or treating when I was younger. It’s always fun to have a party with friends though!

  3. October 31, 2011 6:24 pm

    Sounds like you had a lovely weekend! What don’t you like about Appetite for Reduction? I’m curious….

    • October 31, 2011 6:38 pm

      I do like Appetite for Reduction – I just haven’t used it for a while. I can be quite sporadic with using cook books and I get stuck with certain meals that I have in my repertoire. I’ll have to get it out again 🙂

  4. October 31, 2011 6:37 pm

    aw your halloween looks like so much fun!!! love the different themed cakes, I have done nothing for my halloween this year. Hoping too next year though, I may watch a scary film tonight

  5. October 31, 2011 6:47 pm

    No, all very boring this side of the river, I love your cupcakes though they are beautiful.

  6. October 31, 2011 7:29 pm

    Your weekend away sounds like such a great idea. I’ve just graduated and have 3 very close girlfriends so it sounds like something I should suggest!!

    Your cupcakes look amazing. Well, all the food does!

  7. October 31, 2011 7:56 pm

    I love the idea of renting a cottage out there for a girly trip! What a great annual tradition. You did a great job decorating those cupcakes, too 🙂 I can’t believe you can just take one cupcake with you – I would have been tempted to take all of them!

  8. October 31, 2011 7:57 pm


  9. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance permalink
    October 31, 2011 8:12 pm

    I’m craving Halloween treats, but can’t think of anything fantastic to make 😦 Boooooo.

  10. October 31, 2011 8:29 pm

    Sarah! Everything looks so good and it sounds like a wonderful time was had! Happy Halloween!

  11. October 31, 2011 9:19 pm

    That sounds like such a great weekend… I’d have loved the history of that place too; I’m so much more interested now than I was when I was at school!
    My mum was like Maria’s family; she said Halloween was just an American thing so we never marked it and I don’t really now… having said that, I love the spiders and gravestone cheesecake – and your cupcakes look brilliant!

  12. Lexi (Escape from the Sofa) permalink
    October 31, 2011 10:17 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous weekend with friends – love the spooky cheesecake!

  13. October 31, 2011 10:29 pm

    There is nothing in the world like a girls’ weekend…so jealous right now 🙂

  14. October 31, 2011 11:26 pm

    Aww what a nice weekend you had! That sounds like such a lovely time and you have such great foodie pics 🙂 The spooky cheesecake is my favorite

  15. November 1, 2011 12:22 am

    This year marks the first in ages that I’m not going to a halloween party! I can’t afford it right now, boooo!

    The dolly-mix on that cupcake looks like heaven. One of my favourite treats!

  16. Kim @ Eat, Live, and Blog permalink
    November 1, 2011 2:16 am

    I love the rose you created! So beautiful. The baked pumpkin cheesecake sounds delicious!! Any recipe? 🙂

  17. November 1, 2011 8:14 am

    That sounds like such an awesome weekend! All that food looks wonderful 🙂 I think you may have missed my post over the weekend but you’ve one one of my giveaway prizes for 3 cartons of kara coconut milk! Can you email me with your address and I’ll post it out for you 🙂

  18. November 1, 2011 12:28 pm

    What an awesome weekend! And those Halloween treats look amazing! Our efforts this year were very poor… we didn’t even get round to carving the pumpkin 😦 I did go out trick n treating with Lil L last night though. People had really gone to town… gravestones on their front lawns, dried ice seeping out their front doors, spooky door bells. It was incredible!

  19. November 1, 2011 1:36 pm

    Amazing food…and adorable treats…do you think it’s OK to make spooky spiders AFTER Halloween? 🙂

  20. November 2, 2011 1:07 pm

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend. Nothing quite like a good group of girlies to make for a relaxing time. I was doing something very similar at the weekend!

    We usually do something at Halloween with the kids, they love to dress up and all the village kids get together to go trick or treating. I’m still a bit against the concept but tbh they never shout trick or treat, they all go together and only go to the houses that want us to! It’s great fun. I normally dress up too but this year I couldn’t as I didn’t get back from work early enough.

    I think you should definitely experiment with the cupcake thing. Yours look really lovely.


  21. November 2, 2011 5:51 pm

    Looks like you had an awesome weekend 🙂

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