Introducing Sunshine Makes & Bakes

I am very excited to finally be able to let you in on something I’ve been working on! If this is your first time reading my blog, let me fill you in on my story so far.

My name is Hannah, 31 years old and I have both ME/CFS and alopecia. I was living and working in Dubai as a primary teacher when I became ill and had to fly home. I have moved back in with my parents and for two years have been totally dependant on them financially, emotionally and physically. Alopecia has robbed me of my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and ME has robbed me of my independence, confidence as well as many other aspects of my life.

Before becoming ill I had no idea about the ‘spoonie’ community however, now I would class myself as a fully fledged spoonie. So let me explain; a spoonie is someone with a chronic illness. You start the day with a certain amount of spoons and as your day progresses and you do activities, you use up your spoons until you have none left or are in negative numbers! Spoons are often not refundable by sleep, sleep is often unrefreshing so pacing becomes the best option which is a hard lesson to learn.


One of the things I have found the toughest is my lack of independence and relying on my parents to support me financially. So, a few months ago a little idea came to mind – maybe I could use my spoons to my advantage and set up a little business that I could control. I love to bake and I love to be creative and one of my sayings since getting ill has been, make your own sunshine. And so that is when Sunshine Makes and Bakes was born.

sunshine m and bs

Behind the scenes I have slowly, at my own pace, set up a little studio at home and begun to make crafts and bake cakes to sell and so far it’s been a revelation. It’s given me back some independence and given me a purpose again. I am in control so if I don’t have enough spoons, I don’t have to make or bake that day and if I am having an okay day, I can spend fifteen minutes, half an hour or even an hour working on my products. There’s no pressure of letting people down, it’s like a hobby that I control.

A website has now been created and I am ready to go live! I will be posting UK wide but if you’d rather collect and avoid postage fees that fine too. Obviously for cake orders it will be collection only. To ensure I am pacing myself I ask for 10 days notice on orders so I can ensure my health remains the priority. I am SO excited to share my wares with you and hope you might like what you see enough to make a little order!

There are many different items available – greetings cards, photographic cards using my own photos, framed and unframed button and scrabble art, magnets, magnetic pegs, Christmas card sets and gift tags and a wide range of baked, scrummy goods! I am happy to personalise orders – crafts and bakes –  and to talk through ideas you may have about products to ensure you get the most sunshine from every order you place. As they say – if you don’t ask you will never know!

You will notice that there isn’t a shopping cart on the website, all orders need to be placed via the contact page. Just let me know what it is you’ve seen that you’d like or something you like that you’d like to personalise and I will then send you an invoice before getting to work on your purchase. The website is best viewed on an iPhone or from your computer, it isn’t fully compatible with iPads yet.


So, here’s the link, go get some sunshine in your life!

I am also on social media:

Twitter: @sunshinemandbs

Instagram: @sunshinemakesandbakes

Facebook: @sunshinemakesandbakes

So get following, get liking, get sharing and possibly even get ordering!  Spreading awareness about chronic illness is so important for me and anything you can do to help with this is always much appreciated.

But finally and most importantly, thank you so much for your continued support and well wishes, it keeps me going from day-to-day.



Mini Egg Cookie Dough Bars

So the Easter Weekend is upon us and I’m sure lots of you will be spending your long weekend/last weekend of the school holidays celebrating with chocolate, entertaining and having some fun! So here is my second Easter baking blog for you to try – super easy, fast and will make everyone happy.


You Will Need:

  • 275g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 115g butter/stork
  • 55g granulated sugar
  • 135g light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 270g mini eggs
  • 100g chocolate chips



  1. Pre heat your oven to 170 fan and prepare your 9×9 square tin by lining it with some grease proof paper ready for use later. Smash up your mini eggs in a sandwich bag using a rolling-pin – do this on a chopping board! Make sure you save a handful of whole mini eggs for decoration later on.

2.  In a bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cornflour.

3. In a larger bowl melt the butter – I did this in a glass bowl over boiling water on the hob but you could use a large saucepan.


4. Carefully remove from the heat and put onto a heat proof mat. Add in the granulated and brown sugar and which together until you form a smooth mixture.


5. Now pop in the egg and vanilla extract and whisk again until smooth then mix in the dry ingredients, smashed up mini eggs and chocolate chips – use a spatula for this part as the cookie dough will form and it will be thick so a whisk would probably die a death!

6. Press the cookie dough mix into the tin and when evenly distributed, pop on the whole mini eggs that you saved to decorate.

7. Place the tin into the oven for around 20-25 minutes until the top on the bake is dry to touch.

8. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool, only remove from the tin after half an hour. Once fully cool, cut into bars the size of your choosing and then you’re good to go!


I hope you have a lovely Easter weekend with your loved ones and that my recipes help you to entertain the little ones, please the older ones and use up whatever chocolate you may have left over!



Guinness Chocolate Cake

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

So, I think we can safely say that many people tonight and over the weekend will be celebrating by both eating and drinking – namely having a pint of Guinness! So what better than combining the two to make a gloriously delicious Guinness cake?!

Two of my friends made this cake for me on my 30th and it was soooo good! Originally it’s a Nigella recipe so I’m sure some of you may have tried it already, but seeing as it’s St Paddy’s Day it just seemed the perfect thing to bake.

You Will Need:

For the cake:

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142ml pot of sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:

  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 125ml double or whipping cream





  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and grease and line a 23cm springform tin.
  2. Into a large, wide saucepan you need to put the Guinness and slowly add the butter which needs to be sliced thinly. Gently melt.
  3. Now whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
  4. Beat the sour cream with the 2 eggs and vanilla extract and pour into the Guinness mix.
  5. Finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and take off the heat.
  6. Pop the cake batter into the tin and bake for 45 minutes – an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Place on a cooling rack and let it cool completely before removing the tin – it is a really damp cake so this will take a while.



While the cake is cooling you can prepare the icing.

  1. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth and the add the sieved icing sugar and combine.
  2. Now add the cream and beat once more until it’s smooth and spreadable. When iced the cake should resemble a pint of Guinness with a gorgeous frothy top!


Make sure you only ice the cake when it’s completely cooled and then serve and enjoy!

I really hope you’re having a fab day celebrating wherever you are and that this cake can form part of your celebrations for years to come!

Happy weekend.



St Patrick’s Day Gold Coin Cupcakes

Sorry this post is a little late but as they say, better late than never!

This is a fun Tasty Tuesday recipe for St Patrick’s Day this Friday, the cupcake recipe is my go to recipe and it’s so easy and delicious every time. These little cakes will be perfect for any St Paddy’s Day celebrations you may be hosting.

You Will Need:

For Cupcakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 100g butter/margarine
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

For Buttercream:

  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • gel food colouring
  • chocolate gold coins
  • green sprinkles





  1. Pre heat the oven to 190 and line a cupcake tray with cases.
  2. It may not be what everyone would agree with, but I throw all the ingredients, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and milk all in together and mix it up for about 2 minutes.
  3. Then I add the vanilla extract and mix for a further 30 seconds.
  4. Ensure the ingredients are well combined with no lumps.
  5. Now spoon the mix into the cupcake cases evenly – I use two tea spoons to do this.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before icing.



While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the icing.

  1. Add the butter and sieved icing sugar into the bowl and mix for a good 5 minutes. The longer you leave to mix, the whiter the colour.
  2. After 5 minutes, add in the green gel food colouring – keep adding until you have your desired shade.
  3. Continue to mix until well combined.
  4. If you have a piping bag, choose the nozzle you require and set up the piping kit, then spoon in the icing and get piping! If you don’t have a piping kit you can use a sandwich bag and once the icing is in the bag, simply snip the corner off and pipe away!
  5. Once the cupcakes are iced, place a chocolate gold coin in the centre and pop on your green sprinkles to finish them off.
  6. And voila – gorgeous, scrummy St Patrick’s Day cupcakes.


Have fun making these and let me know how you get on!

See you Friday!


Tasty Tuesday: Rainbow Cake

So today’s Tasty Tuesday is the recipe for making a rainbow cake. I first tried rainbow cake in Dubai at The Humming Bird bakery and it was immense! I never thought I would be able to make one because it looks so impressive and complicated…BUT…one of the lovely parents of a child I taught in Dubai is a crazy talented baker and she sent me a recipe and you know what, it’s actually not that difficult, if I can do it – you can too!

You will need:

For the cake:

  • 12oz self-raising flour
  • 12oz caster sugar
  • 12oz salted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • drop of vanilla extract
  • gel food colouring

For the icing:

  • 250g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • sprinkles/decorations



  1. Cream the fat and sugar together until white and fluffy.

2. Gradually add the flour until well combined.

3. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then pour in a little at a time.


4. Divide the mix into six bowls – I do this by eye to start with and then use scales to check that the measures are roughly even.

5. Add gel food colouring to each bowl. Using gel colouring is important as it doesn’t change the consistency of the mixture. I used to use Dr Oetker gel initially which is fine, but have recently discovered Wilton gel colouring pots which allow you to only need a tiny bit on the end of a toothpick to give you amazing colour.

6. Pour each mixture into round 18” tins and bake in the oven at 175 for 16 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

**note** when the cakes come out, don’t be alarmed, they will look brown, especially the blue and green ones – we always say they look like scouring pads! But when you ice them and cut into them the colour is perfect! The cakes will also be rather thin but again, that’s fine due to the amount you will be layering up.

If you want to freeze the cakes you can but pop a piece of grease proof paper between each one first.

7. Mix together the butter and icing sugar to make the buttercream – leave it mixing for 5-7 minutes to make it a whiter colour.

8. Pop the bottom layer onto the plate of stand you will be using as once it’s done it’s a tricky cake to move! Put the buttercream between each layer to the thickness you like.

9. Once the top layer is on, gently put a thin ‘crumb layer’ (thanks Catherine for the tip) over the whole cake and leave for 10-15 minutes. This makes it easier to ice the cake to a better finish as it catches and sticks all of the crumbs!


10. Put a final layer of icing on the cake and decorate as you like.

11. Serve up to discover the amazing, show stopping cake inside – delicious!


And that’s it – cake done! It is time-consuming but I sit down to do all the mixing and colouring and I must admit, it’s quite a therapeutic cake to make! It’s Spring now so colours are starting to emerge in nature so why not bring a little bit of colour into your house – go on, I dare you!

Happy Tuesday!


Tasty Tuesday: Welsh Cakes

So today may be pancake day but tomorrow is a day to be celebrated if you are Welsh…it’s St David’s Day! My lovely mum is Welsh so we celebrate it by buying daffodils mainly but this year I thought I’d have a go at making the traditional Welsh classic – the Welsh cake!

Welsh cakes are best described as smaller, squashed scones! You can enjoy them plain with sugar sprinkled on top or you can have butter and jam..either way, believe me, they are soooo good.

I was surprised at just how easy they were to make as well, so here we go!

You will need:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g butter cut into small pieces
  • 50g lard cut into small pieces
  • extra lard for frying
  • 50g currants
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash milk
  • salt



  1. Put the flour, sugar, mixed spice, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
  2. Using your fingers, rub in the butter and lard until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Now throw in the currants and work into the mixture.
  4. Then gradually add the egg and use your fingers to make a soft dough – only add milk if it seems dry.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of your little finger.
  6. Cut out rounds using a 6cm circular cutter, re roll any trimmings.
  7. Grease the griddle pan with lard and put on a medium heat.
  8. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches – about 3 minutes on each side until slightly brown, crisp and cooked through.
  9. Cool on cooling rack although they are delicious eaten hot!
  10. Enjoy with sugar sprinkled or with butter and jam.



I really hope you enjoy these delicious, traditional Welsh bakes and have a lovely rest of the week.



Tasty Tuesday #1

Welcome to my new weekly Tuesday blog! I’ve decided to start diversifying my blog starting by uploading on Tuesdays as well as Fridays! I plan to have different features each Tuesday varying from food to travel, beauty to lifestyle, craft ideas to hobbies and everything in-between. But I thought to kick-start it, I would do some baking with one of my favourite recipe books: Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr.

I discovered Tanya on YouTube and enjoyed watching her videos, so when she published this baking book last year, I ordered it straight away and have baked several of her recipes already. So far, every recipe has been easy to follow and been devoured hungrily by everyone who’s been around to have a try!

This week I had a go at two new recipes, both using oats as the main ingredient. Welcome to Tasty Tuesday numero uno!

Oat & Cinnamon Healthy Cookies



You are going to need:

  • 300g porridge oats
  • 100g unsalted butter (which has softened at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a large handful of raisins



  1. Before you get started you will need to preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper ready for later.
  2. Get a large mixing bowl and throw in all of your ingredients apart from the raisins and give it a really good mix. I started by using a spatula but then moved to using my hands as I found that combined it much faster. You need to form a dough and then add the raisins making sure they are well dispersed.
  3. Once you’re happy with the dough, split it into 20 balls (this is what the recipe suggests but it depends on your personal cookie size preference!). Once your cookie balls are ready, use the back of a table-spoon to gently press each one down to form a cookie shape. **space them apart as they will spread in the oven**
  4. Pop the trays in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are golden and crisp.
  5. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool before having a bite!

(must admit I had a little GBBO moment and didn’t have my oven on properly so my cookies were rather chunky and didn’t disperse properly – oh well, we can’t get it right every time eh?!)




Smarties Flapjacks




You are going to need:

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 10 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 250g porridge oats
  • 1 tube of Smarties (or as many as you fancy!)



  1. Before you get started you will need to preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper ready for later.
  2. Get a medium sized saucepan and melt your butter over a low heat. Once melted, add in the golden syrup and sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved and stir until everything is well combined.
  3. Take the saucepan and place onto a heat proof mat before adding in the oats and mixing until well combined.
  4. Pour the mix into the tin and evenly spread it out and press down with a spoon.
  5. Pop the tin into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Once out of the oven and on a heat proof mat, press the Smarties into the top of the flapjacks. Leave in the tin until cool, then remove and cut into squares – totally yummy!





I hope you have been inspired to get your baking kit out and have a go at these!  Send me any pictures if you have a go and if you feel inspired, you can watch more of Tanya baking up yummy things on her YouTube channel or go and buy the book (I got mine from Amazon), like I say – one of my new favourites.

Happy Tuesday everyone!