Beachwalking in Barmouth

After the Cader climb we had a relaxing walking day on the dunes & beaches near Barmouth. Barmouth has a very long main street tucked away behind the shoreline with lots of chunky architecturally interesting grey buildings.  Morfa Dyffryn is an SSSI and the dunes are protected. There’s a campsite called Shell Island behind the dunes & overlooking the sea & Snowdonia. Looks great . We walked along the North Wales Way , from the tidal causeway across marshland on a raised walkway, through the massive dunes to the beach. 7 miles today , but all on the flat. DSC09768 Barmouth shop karen perkins life coach career coach sheffieldDSC09769 Barmouth beach karen perkins lifecoach career coachDSC09770 Barmouth beach 2 karen perkins life coach career sheffield

Next to Shell Island & the dunes

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We didn’t get to the naturist beach, but next time !!

DSC09776 Morfa Dyffryn sssi dunes karen perkins lifecoach sheffield andrew signboardDSC09777 Morfa Dyffryn sssi dunes karen perkins lifecoach sheffieldDSC09778 Morfa Dyffryn sssi dunes karen perkins lifecoach sheffield storm cloudsDSC09779

DSC09781 Reeds 2 Morfa Dyffryn sssi dunes karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

The sea air & sunshine are brilliant, sand martins over the dunes & cormorants flying along the shoreline . If you would like some tips on getting outdoors & building a fab worklife balance … please contact me for a free taster or follow me @fabcoach on Twitter or Insta .

Best wishes

Karen Perkins


Climb every mountain : Cader Idris

We decided to try another beautiful mountain climb, this time in South Snowdonia . Cader Idris is near Dolgellau, and 893m high , we chose the Minffordd route, which climbs up from a valley through oak woodlands & bluebells, beside a stream that flows down from the lake in the cwm that sits below the summit. The path winds up, around the edge of that lake & climbs via slate steps , onto the circular ridge , that takes you via several smaller peaks, round to the summit.

Cader Idris, peeks above its foothills, above Dolgellau in Gwynedd, N Wales. Its still difficult to imagine being up there on that rocky ridge !!

DSC09784 Cader idris from Dolgellau karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

We took a proper platypus 1.5l water carrier plus bananas & sandwiches, nature bars. We had the full kit of foil sheet, bivvie bag, compass, map, whistle, suncream, waterproofs, charged phones etc plus plenty of layers as it was cold at the top & we cooled quickly after the hard work walking up. I have added a link to the walk , at the end of this post, if you fancy walking it . Take care preparing as the weather can change quickly & you need to be able to navigate down .


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The middle peak is our final destination.

DSC09746 minyfford path going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

The second highest peak …enroute to the summit.

DSC09747 on way up to minyfford ridge cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

The upper section of the Minffordd path as it ascends to the circular ridge …seen below.


Walking round the cwm, the path winds just behind the edge of the craggy ridge above… so once you have climbed up to it , it has even stretches with amazing views out over the adjacent valleys & back into the cwm.

DSC09749 Boots going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield best 1

About 2/3rds of the way to the top … boots & a banana break !!


Veins of quartz look like snow drifts .

DSC09751 peak Craid cwn amarch going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

On our way to this, the second highest peak on the way , you can just pick out other walkers. Below is the view from the same spot, but down to the lake .

DSC09752 reflection of summit in the llyn going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffieldDSC09753

Fantastic views out over adjacent valleys towards Corris & the south. The picture below shows the typical rocky terrain underfoot on the paths.

DSC09754 andre w on the minyfford path going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffieldDSC09755 View from just below the summit going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

Looking back down to where we’d walked… from just before the final ascent to the Cader Idris summit.

DSC09757 Top of cader idris karen perkins lifecoach best 2

Made it, very hot , but wrapped up quickly as the temperature changed suddenly , with cloud cover so we needed to keep warm .

DSC09759 on the way down going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

A view starting our descent on the other side of the summit, the actual craggy, bristly summit can be seen below, taken as we walked along a ridge , back towards the start of the walk.

DSC09760 Looking back up at the summit on way down going up cader idris karen perkins lifecoach sheffield

So at least 6 miles later we reached the end of the walk, no tea shop sadly but a beautiful sight on the opposite slopes on Minffordd … swathes of bluebells…  very common in this area, and unusually on open ground, not in dappled shade.

DSC09763 bluebells near Minyfford Cader Idris 2 karen perkins life coach sheffield lifecoach

Phew … we made it back and went to Minffordd Hotel for a massive pot of tea & a chat with 2 other walkers we met on the descent . Link to Minffordd Path PDF

Retire now …  before you stop working …#justdostuff around your work. Don’t put it off !!

Best wishes

Karen   or follow me @fabcoach on Insta & Twitter

Walking around Sheffield Open Up

Great time bussing & walking around galleries, artists, cafes & hidden Sheffield places looking at Art this weekend & last . @openupsheffield Great way to keep fit too.

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Life drawing at KIAC … fancying doing some classes ?

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Fab work by @kelhamislandfurniture


Looking down from the top of Manor Castle hill to Rhubarb Shed Cafe & Manor Oaks studios. Amazing views.

DSC09692 Rhubarb Shed cafe karen perkins lifecoachDSC09694 Manor Oaks studios karen perkins lifecoach

Who knew there was a community kiln on Manor plus a timber recycling company ?

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Off next to Replicast studios .

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Starred momentarily on Bolam TV.


Paper curls seen on a windowsill.

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Portland Works had their open day so we went for breccie at the Harland Cafe
Lovely cafe in Harland works , popping in to see Fallen Giants furniture maker.


Fallen Giant

As usual we had a brilliant time chatting to the artists & finding out about what they love making & doing.

See you next year .. anyone who would like a free coaching taster .. please do contact me Click to contact Karen Perkins Creative & Life Coach

Best wishes Karen

Spring Floral Cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

Many thanks to Dave Darwent hosting us at his National Gardens scheme garden …tho Storm Hannah kept us inside. He sells his delicious cakes at these open garden events to raise money for charity .

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We baked to a Spring Florals theme, here are our yummy cakes.

Dave made a Chamomile & Elderflower cake . He made a bake off one first but it was far too dense , as it used 8 , yes 8 eggs …so he made this version 2 with his trusted 4 egg Bero Victoria sponge with chamomile ( chopped finely in a liquidiser ) & elderflower essence ( very gloopy) from Waitrose.

DSC00005 Chamomile & Elderflower cake Floral karen perkins life coach

Karen made a Rosemary & Orange Drizzle cake. The rosemary was home grown. The sponge was all butter & had 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary in it . Using 100g of castor sugar, the juice of an orange & rosemary sprigs boiled then cooled ..the syrup was spread across both sponges & on the top, once the butter cream & orange filling was added. The recipe was from the BBC Good food website.

DSC00006 Orange & Rosemary Drizzle cake karen perkins life coach floral

Carolynns Orange & Poppyseed cake had cream cheese icing. She made beautiful fondant icing flowers … then said it was the first time she had ever made them !!

DSC00007 Orange & Poppyseed cake Carolyn karen perkins life coach

Vickys cake was Chamomile & Lavender sponge with Elderflower buttercream. She made & strained chamomile tea, put this into melted butter & mixed with the rest of the ingredients. The buttercream used Elderflower cordial. The cake sponge had a delicate chamomile taste.

DSC00008 Elderflower & Chamomile Cake Vicky karen perkins life coach


We sampled all the cakes whilst discussing herbs & plants we used in the bakes , and how to grow them. As usual some great tips & suggestions for cafe & garden visits . Tips for herbs were

-Coriander & flat parsley .. sprinkle on the soil. Pour boiling water over to assist germination, cover lightly with soil … stage your planting as the herbs can bolt.
-Ginger  buy some root ginger, slice it like you would slice a carrot, and plant slices in pots end on … they will shoot from each cut side … then are hardy enough to plant outdoors.


Join us for our next events or host us !!

Sat 25th May Venue TBC 1 till 3
Sat June 29th as part of Walkley Festival … Gluten free cakes theme. Also bring your books to donate plus lots of cook books to buy ( 2nd hand )
Sat July 13th at Stannington carnival … we are judging the cake competition & you can enter too.
No event in August
Sat 21st Sept   Cakes inspired by Designers 2.30 till 4.30
Oct 19th
Nov  23rd
Dec 7th

Do let me know of any venue of theme suggestions & come & bake with us .
Best wishes
Karen or follow me @fabcoach on Insta & Twitter


European Cakes with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

A fabulous array of cakes from Europe. Our bakers delivered a resounding cakey result. We ate the evidence .

First up a French Strawberry Chiffon cake by Karen. A Genoese sponge made with 6 eggs & only 30g of butter. Sliced into 3 layers, strawberry coulis spread onto each layer followed by whipped double cream with added vanilla .

DSC09924 French chiffon cake Karen perkins life coach , underground cake club

Next up, Daves exquisite green Brussel sprout & Avocado cake. Amazingly it has no artificial colour or flavour. Contains 1lb of sprouts, lime juice & zest. The icing is 2 avocados, icing sugar & lime zest. It tasted very much like a cinnamon carrot cake. The sultanas were soaked in Vimto !!

DSC09925 Brussels Sprout cake Karen perkins life coach , underground cake club

Annes Polish Apple cake or Szarlotka. She made a dough, divided it in half, froze one half. Then she baked the other half as a base, added the sliced apple, cinnamon and grated the frozen dough on top to create the texture…and re baked. Served sprinkled with icing sugar.

DSC09927 Polish Apple cake Karen perkins life coach , underground cake club

Raheels Seville Blood Orange cake. Based on a Polka Dotter & Jamie Oliver recipe … semolina flour, ground almonds, butter & sugar. When baked he poured on a syrup of blood orange juice, cardamom, lemon juice & sugar. He then topped with icing .. the beautiful colour was just the blood orange juice … no artificial colours needed.

DSC09929 Seville Blood Orange cake Karen perkins life coach , underground cake club

Bernies Amaretto Schichttorte was made with alternate layers of amaretto & chocolate batter , each layer cooked under the grill. To save time she made 2 piles grilled at the same time, sandwiched with apricot jam. The glaze was chocolate, treacle & marge. Its a german treat, 12 layers and she saw it on the Bake Off as one of Paul Hollywoods showstopper challenges.

DSC09930 Schichttorte cake Karen perkins life coach , underground cake club

We always try our cakes with a cup of Yorkshire tea !! Here are the inside shots … scrummy

Join a future event or be a host !!
Next dates are
Sat 27th April
Sat 25th May TBC
Sat 29th June 10.30 to 12.30
Sat 13th July at Stannington Carnival … enter their cake competition or help us as a judge .

If you have any suggestions for venues or themes please do email me

Passion Cake x 12 with Sheffield Underground Cake Club


To celebrate St Valentine , we practiced the art of #selfcare by treating ourselves & others to delicious cakes baked on a theme of Passion. Every cake was different … and we were hosted in Vintage style by Dave, who set out his dining room with vintage cake stands ready for our cakes. At our meetings everyone bakes to a theme, and we take it in turns to introduce ourselves, and our cakes including why we chose them, ingredients, baking tips, disasters & triumphs … then we all tried each others cakes, with lashings of tea, supplied by Dave . Here are our cakes !!


Raheel baked a Carrot Halwa cake, with petal décor suggested by his kids ! It had pistachios, carrots,  sultanas, cashews & almonds plus ground cardamom, cinnamon powder. It was sunflower oil based too.

DSC09855 Halva cake Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Dave , our host, used vintage recipes from the 1985 Family Circle recipe book, he first learned to cook from, age 18. He explained that Passion Cake was usually made around Easter … hence the Passion, it originally was a mixed spice cake with chopped walnuts & no fruit, made with oil. He made 2 versions , one with less bicarbe which didn’t sink as much !! #yummy

DSC09856 Daves vintage Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Hilarys naked Passion cake was a #Delicious Mag recipe & her first go at decorating a naked cake. Delicious with all spice, cinnamon, walnuts & a lemon cheesecake icing with toasted coconut recipe. She fessed up to having left the coconut out of the cake mix but remembered & stirred it in just before baking !! Tasted great & no effect on the cake !

DSC09857 Hilarys Naked Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Dani’s Red Velvet cake with cream cheese icing, she bravely used the red food gel, but was worried about such a large amount … the cake looked & tasted lovely with Indigos help !!

DSC09859 Passion cake with heart Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Tims Chocolate & Whisky cake with chocolate ganache , chocolate chips supplied extra choccyness.

DSC09860 Chocolate & whisky Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Karen W’s Chocolate & Stout cake inspired by her cooking a beef & ale stew !!

DSC09861DSC09854 Chocolate & Guinness Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Karen W’s Passion fruit meringue cake with fresh cream & passion fruit sauce . Make a normal 442 sponge, then make a meringue & bake on top of the sponge at the same time !! Passion fruit puree is £1.40 a packet in Shhhhh  Waitrose equivalent to 3 fruit , ready pressed & fresh … in the fresh fruit salad chilled section .

DSC09862 Passion fruit meringue cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Carolyns Vanilla sponge with passion fruit syrup, mixed into & drizzled over the buttercream frosting.

DSC09863 Carolyns Passion fruit syrup cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Bernies, Annie Bells Victoria Passion Cake , with walnuts from Sainsburys cookbook. It had carrot , banana, with cream cheese & butter frosting.


Vicky’s red velvet cake had mashed Beetroot colouring to make the red sponge. We all discussed the need to sieve icing sugar when making frosting, to avoid lumps as this had annoyed several bakers…but NOT affected yumminess.

DSC09867 Vickys Red velvet beetroot Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Passion cakes ..front one is Clares, and rear is Annes …both are from BBC Good food and include bananas, pineapple, coconut, passion fruit, and carrots !! ( Apologies for camera malfunction which missed the whole photo of Annes & Karen P’s cakes … I was so excited by the volume of cakes ) . They said it was like a tropical carrot cake ! Cream Cheese filling & topping optional, one chose a passion fruit glaze & syrup , the other sieved passion fruit filling & cream cheese .

DSC09868 Passion cake Claire Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Karen P’s strawberry & cranberry heart cake with dairy free chocolate ganache. It was made with glucose instead of sugar & was dairy free, using sunflower Pure in the cake , vegan chocolate & soy cream to make the ganache. The filling was mashed strawberry & glucose syrup , plus sliced strawberries. The red sponge was veggie red gel food colouring.

DSC09871 chocolate heart Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

Pictures of the cakes mid tasting .. follow … so you can see the interior deliciousness


We all want to congratulate Dani & Tim on the safe arrival of baby Indigo our youngest new member !!

DSC09869 Danni Junior baker Passion cake Sheffield Underground cake club Karen Perkins Life Coach

If you would like to attend our monthly Underground Cake Club ..please email me or like our Facebook Page @Undergroundcakeclub

Next meeting European Cakes  Sat 23rd March 2.30 til 4.30

Happy Baking
Karen Perkins @fabcoach on Twitter & Insta


Veganuary Cake with Sheffield Underground Cake Club

We had a fab time baking our #Veganuary Cakes at Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield who hosted our bakers. We had 8 Vegan cakes to try. Lots of lattes & cups of tea to help us try them all & even take a slice each home. Everyone introduces themselves , their cake & what they learned baking it … plus tips for all.

Annes cake was a Lemon Tender Cake …from a Nigella recipe. Coconut milk , lemon zest & juice went into the cake. Topping was coconut milk yoghurt & vanilla essence plus icing sugar. Home made blueberry compote on top.

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A delicious dairy free Bakewell Tart cake , made with ground almonds, almond milk, fresh raspberries & toasted almonds. Made by Michelle.

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Clare cooked chocolate vegan cake form Blue Moon Cafe, Sheffields cookbook. Her friends renamed it Brownie cake as it tasted like brownie #yummy .

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Karens cake was a moist chocolate effort. Both the cake batter & the frosting were made in a food processor, and both had a whole avocado blitzed in, instead of the butter & cream you would use in a non vegan cake. The batter had oil & hot soya milk whipped with cocoa too.

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Dave ( of Poptastic Dave fame ) made a vegan chocolate cake. He started by adapting a Victoria Sponge, replacing eggs with avocado & half & half gluten free flour & ground rice/semolina. With 70% cocoa too.

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Hilary made a Lemon Cake, with lots of fresh lemon juice & zest. She noticed that it took much longer to cook than her usual recipe.

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Karen W made a Cranberry & Orange cake , with orange juice, soya milk & oil, flour & sugar. Fresh cranberries too. It too took ” ages ” to cook … and was still warm when we tried it  #yummy

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Sian made her first vegan Victoria Sponge cake with dairy free buttercream & fresh strawberries. The sponge had almond milk & oil instead of eggs. The recipe was in the Tesco food magazine.

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Some pictures of the cut cakes !


Join us for the next events

Sat Feb 23rd          Passion Cakes          2.30 to 4.30
Sat March 23rd    Cakes of Europe       2.30 till 4.30 TBC
More to follow … any theme or venue suggestions very welcome

See you all soon
Karen   Follow us on Facebook @undergroundcakeclub