30 September 2012

Oreo cupcakes and a double-colour icing nozzle

Yesterday I baked some cakes!

I had been given a double-colour icing nozzle as a present and I wanted to try it out. This batch of cakes showed me that I definitely need a bit more practise using it! I decided to take inspiration from this website, although I didn’t follow their recipe because I didn’t have all the ingredients.

Here’s my recipe:

250g (8oz) caster sugar
250g (8oz) self raising flour
250g (8oz) unsalted butter
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Packets of Oreos

The icing is just standard buttercream made with unsalted butter, icing sugar and a little bit of milk.

Ideally I really wanted the mini oreos, but alas, my local Budgens only stocked the big ones. I also didn’t have enough mini cake cases to fill my NEW mini cake tray (a present from my mum awh) so I just greased it up with butter and hoped for the best. I twisted a few oreos apart and placed broken up pieces of the sides with cream at the bottom of tin. The cake mixture is dead easy to make, it’s just an all-in-one mix, so you just chuck everything in and mix it up. Sadly though, this was the day my hand blender packed in so I had to do it manually instead. Booo. I crushed up the other halves of the oreos in a sandwich bag and then mixed them into the batter too.
I had quite a lot of cake mix so I made six normal sized cupcakes too, also with half an oreo at the bottom – but I didn't break them up this time as they fit in whole. The little cakes only took about 10 mins to cook at 180 degrees because they're only tiny, while the larger cakes took 20-25 mins. Obviously, it’s best to keep a close eye on them.
Next up, my new nozzle came in. I just used a standard star-shaped nozzle. To finish off I placed broken up oreos on top as decoration!
I would suggest using cake cases for all the cakes as the oreos at the bottom of the little cakes didn’t stick to the cakes as firmly as I would have liked – a cake case would keep everything intact. They’re really nice but VERY sweet and sickly!
I’m off to London today to see the Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a few good pictures to put up here!

22 September 2012

DIY Chalkboard

I really wanted to put a chalkboard in my room, a little bit because it might help me keep more organised when I work (I work from home), but mainly because I’m a child at heart and I want to doodle with chalk.
I found some lovely boards online, but the prices weren’t quite so lovely and I didn’t want to pay out a small fortune for something I would probably ruin with my terrible artistic skills. So I decided to do a bit of a DIY job, and it was so easy!
Simon had an old wooden frame which he wasn’t fussed about keeping and he let me have it.  That was the tricky bit out of the way! I then bought some blackboard paint from Wilkinson and got to work.
Quick Dry Black Board Paint - Wilkinson
I covered my floor in newspaper so I didn’t ruin the carpet and covered the whole bit of wood with the paint – frame and all. I forgot to take any pictures of the process, but it really is as simple as it sounds. If you don't want to paint the whole frame, masking tape would work to cover up the bits you want to keep clean. 
Although one coat would have been fine, it wasn’t as opaque as I wanted it, so the next day when I had a spare ten minutes I put another coat on it. After the second coat had dried (a couple of hours later) I was left with my very own bargain chalkboard! Ta-da!

I think this would work on any frame or spare bit of wood – anything you’re happy to have on your wall really. Now I can draw on my wall with no risk of being told off by the landlord!

20 September 2012

A bit of love for The Body Shop

I’ve bought a few new products this month so I thought I'd share some of the good stuff!
Recently I have been suffering pretty badly from eczema, it’s nothing really that new for me as I've had it all my life, but sometimes it's less manageable than others and I just wish I could find the magical cure.
I noticed that it's been getting a lot worse on my face over the last couple of months, mainly on my cheeks, and although my friends and family say that they can’t notice it, I KNOW it’s there, so I'm pretty paranoid about. It’s also tricky to cover up as my skin gets so dry and any foundation or concealer goes all clumpy and cakey over it. Lovely!
So, after trying several different moisturisers and skin products without much luck, I decided to give The Body Shop a whirl. They were offering a 35% off promotion and free delivery, so after reading a few reviews of different products, I settled on these two:

The cleanser is nice and gentle, I only really bought it because I was in dire need of a new one, but the real star of the show is the Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream. It’s quite a thick cream and my skin absorbs it easily. On the day it arrived I smothered quite a lot of it on just before I went to bed and in the morning I could notice a huge difference with my eczema. It had nearly gone from my right cheek, and a tiny bit left of my left cheek.
I’ve been applying this pretty liberally about twice a day since I got it, I can’t believe how soft my skin is. However, it is a very intense cream and unless you have very dry skin like me, it probably won’t be as beneficial to use that much of it. It's a brilliant product and I’m really chuffed with it.

While I was buying these, I sneakily added a couple of their Born Lippy Sticks into my basket. They’re really inexpensive (£3 each) and I usually shy away from lipstick as I have little lips, so I liked the idea of coloured balm.

To be honest, I wish I’d gone for a different colour instead of the pink berry as it's very pale and doesn’t really make any different when it’s on (in fact I think it makes me look a bit sickly), but I’m a huge fan of the plum version. I bought it on a whim – I never wear dark shades on my lips – but it’s not hugely pigmented and just gives my lips a bit more colour, something I think I’ll be needing a bit more of over the next few months! As you can see in the photos, the pink berry is much paler than the image on the product suggests – I think strawberry might be a better option. Nonetheless, they both smell yummy.

Finally, I received my very first Glossy Box today! I really love the pattern on the box, I'm definitely going to keep it so I can store things in it.

Glossy Box: 1. Lady Gaga Fame Fragrance, 2. Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum and 5 Minute Facial, 3. Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream, 4. Maghrabian Hair Oil, 5. Vichy Idealia Day Care Cream.
I can’t wait to give these products a try, especially the Maghrabian hair oil as I’ve actually been considering buying one similar for a little while now. Did anyone else get a Glossy Box this month? What did you think of the products?

16 September 2012

A day in Boston

This week I went to Boston!

My friend Tasha currently works as cabin crew for a well-known airline, but she's leaving soon to pursue a different career path. Last week she invited me to come along with her on one of her last flights and I obviously jumped at the chance! I've never been to the USA before and I've always been desperate to go. It was a bit of a fleeting visit as we were only there for two nights, but we had a whole day to play with. We went on a duck tour, got a little bit lost and ate A LOT of sweets. Here is a little summary and some pictures from the trip!

We arrived at about half nine at night Boston time, but as my head was five hours ahead, making it half two in the morning UK time, I was pretty tired (despite travelling in first class, Tasha treated me like a princess!). We went for a drink at the bar, but instead of going for a night on the town with the rest of her colleagues we decided to hit the supermarket and get some snacks for the room like the crazy kids we are.
I couldn’t resist buying a gigantic bag of cheetos – it’s a good job I don’t live there because I would probably turn into a cheeto. I love them so much!

The next morning we went for an all American breakfast before going on a duck tour (a bus/truck type vehicle that can also turn into a boat). But first we stopped at the supermarket to stock up on sweets and diet coke.
The tour guide was slightly mad, making us quack every time she shouted ‘YEEHAA’ (she was convinced that she was a cowgirl), but it was really fun and I’m so glad we did it. Plus the man at the ticket office gave us both a discount because of Tasha’s job, yay!

After the tour we headed towards Quincy Market. Well, at least we thought we were heading towards Quincy Market  we actually managed to walk at least a mile more than we needed to! Ooops.
When we finally managed to find it we had a good look in the shops and all the food stalls. We went into a Christmas shop which was like a tardis inside, it was absolutely enormous and packed out with every type of Christmas decoration imaginable including M&M, Coca Cola and Disney decorations. I'm pretty sure it stays open all year round which is mad, but I couldn't resist getting a few pictures of the Disney ornaments!

We decided to head back to the hotel after some dinner and, this time, we managed to go in the right direction. We dropped into the supermarket (this seems to be a bit of theme to the trip!) to pick up MORE sweets, Lucky Charms and some cookie dough flavour Pop Tarts to take home before getting into bed in time for the final of America’s Got Talent. 

Sadly in the morning it was time for us to get on the flight home, but I’m so happy I went, I had such an amazing time and I can’t wait to go back again one day!

7 September 2012

A little bit of magic

Last November Simon and I went to Disneyland Paris and, although I know it was a while ago now, a few of my friends have been asking to see some photos so I thought I’d put them here.
We went for 3 Nights/4 Days and stayed in the Hotel Cheyenne which was themed like the wild west. It was amazing! Definitely one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on, we had such a laugh, although it definitely wasn’t a relaxing break – we went down for breakfast at 7 every morning! We just acted like big kids and loved every minute of it.
Despite attempting to only pick a few photos (we took hundreds), there still seems to be a lot here, so sorry about the photo spam!

Next week I’m heading to Boston for a couple of days with my friend Tasha YIPPEE! It’s a very last minute trip, we only decided on Tuesday, but I will write all about it when I get back. Does anyone else have any trips planned?

2 September 2012

New room, new view


Yesterday I finally moved and I’m now very happily back in southwest London. I have so much stuff that I managed to fill up two carloads, but my room is enormous so I’ve managed to find a home for everything. The walls are a bit bare so I’m hoping to liven them up a bit soon, although I might have to wait until next month for that. Here are a few pictures of my room so far (sorry about the poor phone camera quality, my real camera has run out of charge!)

Another blog post/review coming soon about some of my recent purchases – I really need to cut my spending! 

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