Hummingbird Cake

So I guess it’s back to Winter again in Ottawa, even though it is technically Spring. Easter is one of my favourite times of the year. I love cooking a big Easter dinner for everyone. This year I was invited out to dinner so I decided to bring dessert. I wanted to try a new recipe so I opted for some southern comfort food and chose a Hummingbird Cake. This cake is full of flavour and excellent for  a Spring picnic or Summer BBQ. I was really pleased with how it turned out and everyone at the dinner loved it!

Here’s how to make it

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A few pinches of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking power
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (if you want more of a cinnamon flavour add a full teaspoon)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans (divided)
  • 1 cup of ripe banana (mashed)
  • 1/2 can crushed pineapple (undrained)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups powered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package  of Philadelphia Cream cheese

Instructions

Heat it up and prep the pans

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 2 9-inche round cake pans

Mix the dry ingredients

  • In a large bowl combine the flour, 1 cup of sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon

Add the wet ingredients

  • Add in vegetable oil, vanila extract and eggs. Stir until the dry ingredients are moist

Bring in the tropics

  • Stir in the banana, pineapple and 1/2 cup of pecans until evenly mixed

Bake it!

  • Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 mins and them move them to wire racks to cool.

Ice ice baby

  • To make the cream cheese frosting: beat the butter with an electric mixer until softened and add powdered sugar gradually.
  • Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until smooth
  • Turn your mixer setting to Medium and add the cream cheese in 1 piece at a time. Mix until all the cream cheese has been incorporated.
  • Once the cakes have cooled spread the frosting between the layers of cake and cover the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the other half of the chopped pecans over the top of the cake

ENJOY!

 

 

My Favourite Spring Dresses from Suzy Shier

Tropical Print Shirt Dress

Floral Wrap Front Dress

 

Red Floral Wrap Dress

In case you haven’t noticed or you’re new to my blog, Suzy Shier is one of my favourite places to shop. I make it a point to shop a lot of Canadian retailers and Suzy is definitely at the top of my list. I always end up leaving with something whenever I visit one of their stores. I’m totally loving their Spring collection this year especially their Spring dresses. I’ve put together a collection of some of my favourite Spring dresses from Suzy Shier

1. Tropical Print Shirt Dress

The first dress I came across was an immediate favourite. This tropical printed shirt dress is perfect for an early Spring getaway or a Summer Saturday. Palm print is one of my all time favourite prints, go figure I’m from an island right?! I love the tropical feel of this dress it’s like an instant vacation and makes me so happy! I paired it with theses bright yellow earrings and a straw bag from Forever 21. This bag is a must have for Spring and Summer. It’s only $25 and can transition from a shoulder bag to a clutch so you get 2 bags in one 🙂 My dress was also reasonably priced at just $39.

2. Floral Wrap Front Dress

I found a cute and comfy floral wrap front dress that works well for the office and after hours cocktails. I like the muted green and pink pastels in this dress. This dress has a bit of spandex blend in it so it stretches to fit your body but is comfortable enough to wear throughout a workday. I also found a matching necklace and earrings in-store at Suzy Shier. The green and pink jewels on the necklace complement the colours on the dress perfectly, it’s almost like these pieces were made for each other 🙂 The necklace is $18 and the earrings are just $10! The dress is a steal at $39.

3. Red Floral Wrap Dress

Red is a colour that is totally on trend this Spring and I’m so thrilled to have found this red floral wrap dress. This dress is so feminine and frilly that you’ll love being the lady in red. This is a versatile dress that can be styled as a formal or casual piece. I opted for a casual look and paired it with a straw pom pom clutch. The dress and clutch also went perfectly with my wooden watch from JORD (don’t forget to enter my giveaway ;)). Keeping with the muted nude tones of my accessories I added a pair of wedge heels from Lucky Brand. My dress again cost just $35!

Three dresses for under $40 each!  I was so pleased to find these three dresses and the best part is they were on sale! Suzy Shier regularly has 30% and 40% off sales and offers a great loyalty program – the Prestige Card. If you haven’t signed up yet you should as prestige card members save an additional 10% off on every purchase! Have you been to Suzy Shier lately? If so what are some of your favourite Spring pieces?

 

Floral Bodysuit and Jogger Pant Combo

 

 

Nothing says Spring like pastels and florals right? How cute is this bodysuit and jogger pant combo? I found the sweetest floral bodysuit at Dynamite! I love the muted colour of this bodysuit. It’s so soft and feminine. The wrap front gives it a dressier look and I would even wear this bodysuit to work. I also found a pair of super comfy jogger pants. I’m liking the comfortable chic trend that’s emerging this Spring and this jogger pant (also from Dynamite) fits the bill perfectly. What I liked about this pant is that it’s a pull on, there’s no drawstrings or zippers to worry about. The pant has some stretch to it so it fit well over the bodysuit. I paired this combo with a pair of super cute sling back kitten heels. These shoes are so comfortable, and stylish. This reminded me of a perfect Spring outfit that could go from workweek to weekend 🙂

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Wooden Watches: This Spring’s Must-Have Accessory

It’s officially the first day of Spring! I don’t know about you but I’m ready for Winter to be done! In hopes of better weather, I’ve already started shopping for my Spring wardrobe. I love all the spring accessories I’m seeing in-stores lately. I’m currently loving this wooden watch from JORD.

My watch is part of the Frankie Series by JORD and I chose the Zebrawood and Champagne combo. I love the warm tone of the Champage face and the markings on the Zebrawood band and links. The best part about this watch is how lightweight it is. The wood is so light and smooth that you barely realize it’s on your wrist, unlike stainless steel or metal watches than can weight your wrist down and even cause skin irritation. This timepiece is a truly unique and functional piece of jewelry. It’s also a great conversation starter and statement piece. You’ll definitely stand out from the crowd with this accessory.

If you loved the wooden and bamboo bags that were all the rage last Spring and you’ve alreayd picked up some straw bags for this Spring well then the only item you’re missing is a wooden watch from JORD. With its minimalistic design and wooden links this watch goes so well with any Spring bags or shoes. It’s subtle enough to blend in yet novel enough to get noticed – so you can really pair it with anything, which is one of the features I love about this watch. I wore my watch with a floral blazer from Dynamite that’s just perfect for Spring. I paired the blazer with a pink cami and light jeans to give my outfit a muted pastel look. My watch fitted right in with this on trend outfit and matched perfectly with this circle bag I picked up at Simons.

If you love the wooden watch trend as much as I do I’ve got great news for you! I’ve teamed up with JORD to give one lucky winner $100 off their very own JORD watch! You can enter the contest using the link below. If you follow me on Instagram you can also find the link in my bio You’ll also get a promo code for 10% off your order just for entering 🙂

JORD GIVEAWAY


Luxury Wooden Watch

Dubai Diaries Part 5: High Tea at Burj Al Arab

Tallest atrium in the world

Selfie before heading up to the Skyview Lounge

Welcome bubbles and dates

Shrimp salad

Quiche

Savoury sandwiches

Lemon sorbet

Sweet treats

Burj Royale – signature cocktail

View from the top

My trip Dubai was probably one of the most memorable adventures I’ve been on. The last post in my Dubai Diairies series is all about my High Tea experience at the most world’s most luxurious hotel the Burj Al Arab.

High tea at the Burj Al Arab was quite an experience. This hotel is probably the most opulent and luxurious place I’ve ever seen. In order to get inside the hotel you either need to stay there for a cool price of $1900 CAD a night (based on booking.com) or have a reservation at one of their restaurants. There’s security at the gate to verify your reservation, so sneaking in is not an option 😉 Once inside you can take some time to admire the lobby and the gold detailing on practically everything. If you wait long enough you can see the fountain show – the hotel has a large fountain on the second floor of the lobby which keeps a beat and periodically shoots a huge stream of water up the at ceiling. This ceiling is probably the highest I’ve seen in my life and the hotel is said to have the world’s tallest atrium.

I made my reservation for tea at the Skyview Bar but there’s also a high tea serving at a restaurant called Sahn Eddar which is located in the atrium of the hotel. The Skyview Bar is located on the 27th floor of the hotel. I’d highly recommend the Skyview Bar over the atrium restaurant as the view is spectacular. However there is a minimum age requirement and you have to be 21 to enter the bar.

The high tea consisted of 7 courses (pictured above) and came with glass of sparkling wine. I was happy to get a window table which needs to be reserved in advance. Aside from the food and tea offerings the Skyview Bar also has a list of signature cocktails. I opted for the Burj Royale as it was reminiscent of my favourite cocktail the Kir Royale. I really enjoyed my high tea at Skyview Bar and it was truly a unique experience. It’s definitely a once (or twice) in a lifetime thing and I would strongly recommend it 🙂

 

 

 

Dubai Diaries Part 4: Desert Safari

 

You can’t go to Dubai without going on a desert safari! On my fourth day in Dubai I decided to be really adventurous and go out to the desert! This excursion was so much fun! There are many different safari companies to choose from and you can easily book your excursion ahead of time, in fact I’d highly recommend it. I booked mine through a personal contact but you can find desert safari packages online.

My excursion started around 3pm in the afternoon, typically a desert safari can last about 6-8 hours depending on what activities you select. We were picked up at our hotel in a range rover and drove about a 45 mins to an hour to get to the desert. Our first stop was a well known tourist stop where you could try out some ATVs, buy a souvenir or get dressed in a traditional Arabian headdress. I decided against the ATVs as it was raining a bit the afternoon of my excursion so the sand was a bit wet. Can you believe it, I actually saw the rain in the desert?!

Following the ATV stop we headed in to the desert for some dune bashing! This was the scariest and most fun part of the excursion. Dune bashing is like being on a roller coaster ride that lasts 30 mins or more! Here’s the part where your seat belt really keeps you from being thrown around the SUV. If you have a back injury or are prone to motion sickness then dune bashing may not be the best activity for you and you can choose to opt out of it when you book your excursion and choose a package that doesn’t include it. I typically never get motion sick or dizzy on roller coasters but this experience left me feeling a little disoriented. As some of my friends were feeling a little dizzy we decided to stop and take some photos in the desert. The fresh air really helped alleviate any discomfort brought on by the dune bashing. After that it was time to head to a nearby Bedouin camp for dinner.

Our third and final stop was the desert camp. There were a number of different activities at the camp including camel riding, dressing up in traditional clothing, shopping for souvenirs and henna tattoos. We settled in for a desert BBQ dinner followed by a Tonoura Show and Belly Dancing.

I really enjoyed my afternoon out in the desert and would recommend the desert safari excursion to anyone.

Pro Tip: You can opt for a private or shared safari excursion. I chose the private package and it was $300 USD which we split between 3 people. This price included pick and drop off at the hotel in a private SUV, dune bashing, camel rides and dinner.

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Dubai Diaries Part 3: Old Souk

I’d heard that the markets in Dubai were something I should not miss! On day three in Dubai I decided to check out the Old Souk or old market. I stayed at the Radisson Blu Deira Creek which is located across the street from the creek itself.  I went for a walk in Creek Park and noticed that there were water taxis going across the creek. On a whim I decided to grab a water taxi (called an Abra) and visit the Old Souk. The taxis are very inexpensive and the ride is very pleasant. The trip over to Old Souk reminded me a bit of a water taxi ride along the grand canal in Venice. I enjoyed the architecture and the older buildings in Dubai.

Once I got the to my stop it was time to explore the market. Old Souk is truly an experience. There are so many people walking along the narrow streets lined with vendors and shops. It’s a busy place with many vendors calling out to tourists to come see their wares. You certainly get hawked at and shouted at but it’s all part of the experience. The market has many different kinds of shops ranging from spice and sweet shops to souvenir and clothing stalls. There’s also a few places to grab a quick bite to eat.

I decided to dress more conservatively on the whole while in Dubai. For my day at the market I chose a black jumpsuit from Forever 21 paired with this trendy pom pom bag. I found these cute block heels at The Bay which complemented the jumpsuit perfectly. Although it was the Winter in Dubai the sun was still out and rather strong so I decided to bring a sunhat with me 🙂

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Dubai Diaries Part 2: At.Mosphere

Forever Rose – inspired by Beauty and the Beast

First Course – Beet Salad with Chocolate Soil

Main Course – Beef Tenderloin

Signature Dessert- Sauteed Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Lava Cake

 

I arrived in Dubai on my birthday (Feb 28) and it was quite late so I decided to have my birthday dinner on March 1st. I wanted to go somewhere special. I discovered a restaurant called At.Mosphere through an internet search. Located on top of the Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world, this restaurant is on the 122 floor and is the tallest restaurant in the world!

The view from the top is truly spectacular as you look down on the night lights of Dubai.  At. Mosphere is a must do in Dubai (in my opinion). It’s literally the best view in Dubai. The restaurant contains a lounge and dining room and offers dining options for high tea, cocktails, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My birthday dinner was truly an experience to remember. The waitstaff at the restaurant are expertly trained and offer great recommendations regarding the menu options and things to look out for as you sit by the window. One thing to keep in mind is that the restaurant comes with a minimum spend. The prices are listed on the website and tables located near the windows have a higher minimum spend. A typical meal with cocktails and dessert will cost you around $300 but it is well worth the splurge. I chose a 3 course option for dinner but the waitstaff are very helpful in making recommendations according to your preferences. Our waitress had some great tips for us regarding the menu (you can choose from a 3, 5 or 7 course meal as well as a la carte options) options and even recommended a dessert that wasn’t listed on the menu. It was fantastic! She also took us around the front of the restaurant to see the dancing fountain show (located at the Dubai Mall).

At.Mosphere has a strict dress code of smart elegant and most diners were dressed in formal attire, although I did see a few gentlemen in short sleeved shirts. For my outfit I decided to go all out and wore this fabulous red gown 🙂 I figured it’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed. The moment I saw this dress in the window I was reminded of Julia Roberts’ red opera dress in Pretty Woman 😉 I found the perfect necklace to complement this dress at Unique Accessories. It added just a bit of sparkle and didn’t overpower the dress. If you’re looking for a truly unique and elegant dining experience then be sure to check out At.Mosphere at the Burj Khalifa.

 

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Dubai Diaries Part 1: Dubai Miracle Garden

If you follow me on instagram you probably know I was in Dubai last week 😉 I decided to get away for my birthday this year and Dubai was a place I’d always wanted to visit. I was there for about 4 days but was able to pack in a lot of sightseeing. I’ll be chronicling my visit to Dubai and my outfits in this new series called Dubai Diaries.

My first stop in Dubai was the Dubai Miracle Garden. I’d heard so much about this place and was told it was a must-see in Dubai, and it did not disappoint. The garden was truly beautiful and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers. If you thought Mosaik in Ottawa was great well I’m sorry to say you haven’t seen anything until you see this garden. The exhibits were spectacular and there were plenty of places to grab a quick snack and rest as you toured the garden. One of the exhibits in the garden even set a Guiness world record. The exhibit in the shape of an Emirates Airbus A380 airplane is the  largest flower arrangement in the world.

I decided to play it safe and dress conservatively while I was in Dubai. For my visit to the garden I chose a midi length ruffle skirt  paired with my signature Weekend Fashionista t-shirt in white. I opted for a pair of Lucky Brand wedge heels as I would be doing a lot of walking and I wanted to be comfortable. I tied in the camel colour of my shoes with this Ellen and James rectangle bag. Although I visited during the Winter, Dubai can still get pretty warm during the day so I decided to bring a sunhat to keep cool during the garden tour 🙂

Pro Tip: The garden can get quite busy during the day so it’s best to go earlier in the morning if you want to get some nice photos free of other visitors. I visited the garden around 9:30 am right when it opened.

Admission fee: Admission to the garden costs 45 Dirhams which is about $15 CAD. Remember to keep your ticket as a souvenir.

 

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28 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

 

It’s my birthday on February 28th so I thought I’d share 28 things you probably didn’t know about me 🙂 And yes I was actually born on the 28th not the 29th 😉

1. I’m an only child – it’s true I have no siblings, I never wanted a sister but I always wanted an older brother.

2. I was all about that bass before Meghan Trainer made it cool – I started playing bass guitar in middle school and played it all the way through high school. I still own 2 bass guitars and I can play the stand up bass as well.

3. I have a pen pal and she lives in Paris (Hope you’re reading this Maheshi :))

4. I live in Canada but I am not a hockey fan – could never get in to it.

5. I speak French and was in French Immersion from middle school all the way through high school.

6. I never travel light- I like to have a lot of clothing options so I usually bring many different outfits on my travels.

7. I’m a shoe-a-holic and have 3 dressers full of shoes. Don’t ask me how many pairs I have I’ve lost count!

8. I love karaoke and even have a karaoke app on my phone.

9. I’m over 25 and still getting ID’d at the LCBO – sad but true and I’m trying to look at it as a compliment.

10. I’m a huge Elvis Presley fan and I’d love to visit Graceland some day.

11. I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and moved to Canada twice – once when I was 5 and permanently when I was 8.

12. I’m a published author – you can find my book Cocktails & Conversations: a guide to networking on Chapters.ca

13.  Baking is one of my hobbies (aside from blogging ofcourse) and I love making desserts for friends and family.

14.I don’t have a favourite TV show. I rarely have time to watch TV so it’s hard for me to commit to watching a show every week.

15.I’m a part-time professor at a local college.

16. My hair is naturally wavy not straight.

17. My first pet was a Pomeranian named Toshi, I now have a Yorkie named Chloe.

18. I’m a huge trivia geek, pick me if you’re looking for a trivia team member!

19. I’d love to be a stay at home mom some day, I think it’s really important to take time out for your family especially your children.

20. I ran my own consulting business for 5 years.

21. My first job was a junior camp counselor at a day camp for toddlers; I was 15 so I got paid $50 a week!

22. My favourite colour was and still is pink.

23. I like investing and looking for new ways to save money and grow my investments.

24. I’m a morning person. I start work at 7:30 so I’m up early during the week.

25. My least favourite candy is licorice – never liked it and cannot stand it.

26. Aside from Sri Lankan food my favourite cuisine is Italian 🙂 I went to Italy for the 2nd time last summer and loved everything I ate there.

27. I don’t drink beer- I enjoy the occasional glass of wine but I never liked beer.

28. I’ve never actually finished a poutine, I’m not a huge fan.

Hopefully you enjoyed this list and learned a bit more about me in the process 🙂

 

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