The Blogger Recognition Awards

Monday, 11 September 2017

Roslin Avenue blog, based in Birmingham nominated for blogger recognition award

I would like to say a big thank you to Beside the Willow Tree for the nomination for this year's Blogger Recognition Awards. It's really nice to know that no matter how small your blog is, or how little you post, there are people out there reading.


The Blogger Recognition Awards are given to bloggers by bloggers, to show the appreciation for their hard work. Blogging isn't an easy task – even the ones who make a living out of it will tell you that – so it's nice to make it known that you support and appreciate what is being put out into the online world.


My first blog started back in 2010, during my first year of university. As mentioned in an earlier post, my blog at the time was a space for me to showcase my graphic design work; where I could experiment with different styles, share my work and receive feedback. Whilst it had a lot of engagement and I enjoyed doing it, I became really ill during my third year and the blog was put on a back-burner. I've dabbled in the idea of resurrecting it during the last 7 years, and earlier this year, I took the leap and started from scratch. I've always enjoyed creating, so it goes hand-in-hand that I have a platform to showcase my client work with the world, and also my other passions.


With this being something I'm back to being new at, I don't really feel like I have the right authority to give advice on the subject. However, I'd say the best thing to do is stop making excuses for the things you enjoy doing. If you want to start a blog, just start!

I wish I'd stopped making excuses the last few years and started my blog sooner, but now is better than never. I'd also say write about the things you love and what you have passion for. Don't follow the crowd just because you think that is what people will like. This is your own personal space on the internet, so make it your own. Have fun and don't focus too much on whether people are reading it or not.


I follow a lot of great creatives online and am wowed by all of the talent out there. In terms of nominations, I don't want just want to limit it to those that blog, but also to those that inspire me on a daily or weekly basis. With that being said, my list of people that I'm a little obsessed with right now are Kerrie Hess, Bellerby & Co., Earth & Sugar, Jasmine Dowling, Pretty Little Fawn, Merrik's Art, Jasmin Ilic, A Fabulous Fete ... just to name a few.

What bloggers or creatives do you follow and why? Leave me a comment below!

Photo for Header Image by STIL


New in Portfolio: John Bradley

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Logo design and sub mark for John Bradley, graphic designer in Birmingham

Back when I was at university, I started my first blog. It was a space I used to showcase the work I was doing; a platform to experiment with styles, track progress and receive feedback. It was through this blog that I came to meet John Bradley.

Having worked client-side with Cadbury for 25 years in a variety of marketing and strategic roles world-wide, John has a wealth of knowledge in these areas and has published several books. In the past four years, John has been Editor and Judging Coordinator of the CASSIES, Canada's agency effectiveness awards. Making a name for himself within this field, John has since ventured into training workshops for advertising agencies, where he can equip client-facing personnel to better be able to think and talk strategically about their client's business.

Today, I am delighted to showcase the new logo and sub mark for John's training workshops. After our initial conversation, it was clear that the brand should encapsulate his experience of the CASSIES and also incorporate his signature style; his eyewear.

Picking out colours from the workshop documents sent over and researching complimentary palettes, I set about combining them with a mixture of modern typefaces. I wanted to create a brand that wouldn't date, and one that would stand out within this field. John had a great vision for wanting to use his eyewear within the design, as glasses naturally follow the shape of a 'B', tying in with his last name. Whilst a simple idea, it was one that had me scratching my head, but in the end managed to pull together a couple of variations for the initial concepts.

Graphic Designer based in the Midlands, creating logos, brands and print design
Branding, Visual Identity, Design Services for businesses in the Midlands
After seeing the initial concepts, John loved idea of the 'ad' in his surname being joined to form glasses – as in option 3 – but wanted to see if this could be incorporated into option 1. It was important also to include the use of the word 'effective' in the tagline to tie in with his work for the CASSIES.

I loved option 1 from the start, mostly due to the unique design when combining both initials, so I was really pleased this was the base design chosen to move forward with for the final design.


Recipe: Tarte aux Fraises

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Classic French Strawberry Tart Recipe, Tarte aux Fraises

For 10 years of my childhood, I spend most summer holidays crossing the English Channel with my parents to stay in our French holiday home. I loved everything about the French lifestyle, culture, and most importantly, the food. Our first stop on every trip once we had reached France was to a local boulangerie and pâtisserie, where I would get my hands on the classic dessert, la taste aux fraises – the lightest, juiciest and crumbliest strawberry tart.

Easy, Simple and Perfect Summer's dessert that will wow

A classic French dessert that's easy to make once you master the crème pâtissière, the strawberry tart is perfect for a warm, Summer's afternoon al fresco style. If you're a lover of fine, French cuisine, then this recipe is just for you. It's all about precision and taking your time.

Food photography in the Midlands, Blogger and Lover of Cake

What you will need:

For the pastry
175g plain flour
45g (5 tbsp) icing sugar
a pinch of salt
90g very cold butter, cut up into cubes
1 egg yolk
30ml (2 tbsp) ice cold water

For the crème pâtissière
350ml whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
30g plain flour

And don't forget 700g of strawberries for the topping

Serves 6

Classic French Tarte aux Fraises Recipe, Step-by-Step


  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar, and place in the bowl of a food processor with the salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and water, and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Be careful not to over-mix, but do let the dough come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and work it very lightly until smooth, pressing it forward bit by bit with the heel of your hand.
  2. Roll the dough out immediately (going against tradition, which says to let it rest in the fridge and line a 9-inch (24cm) tart tin with the pastry, cutting the edges off with a rolling pin. If it tears, don't be afraid to press it back together, using stray pieces of dough to reinforce any weak spots. Place in the fridge for at least an hour before baking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 F (200 C) or 400 F (190 C) on the convection setting. Line the pastry with a round of parchment paper and fill with baking beans to blind-bake.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry starts to brown around the edges. Remove the paper and baking beans before returning to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until evenly golden. Set aside to cool.
Crème Pâtissière
  1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk and add the bean to the milk. Bring to a boil, being careful not to let it burn.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy. Add the flour and whisk well until smooth. Pour the boiling milk slowly into this mixture, whisking constantly. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Lower the heat and continue to cook the pastry cream, whisking, for 2-3 minutes over a very low heat to cook the flour. If you're using an electric hob, switch to another hob so as to not burn the pastry cream. Remove the vanilla bean, pour the cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic touches the surface, preventing a skin from forming. Set aside to cool.
  3. When the pastry and pastry cream have cooled, pour the cream into the pastry shell and spread it out with a spatula. Top with strawberries, cut in half, with the cut side facing upwards to prevent too much juice from soaking into the cream.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
Birmingham-based blogger of food, design, lifestyle and travel

With the egg whites you have left over, keep them aside in a bowl and place them in the fridge. Use the egg whites to make meringue nests or eton mess. This is a great way of ensuring that you are using up all of the waste (and two desserts are always better than one)! My No-Fail Meringue recipe is ideal for even the most novice of cooks.

Recipe by Rosa Jackson


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