Sunday Bake | Ombre Petal Birthday Cake

30 Mar 2014

This week was Craig's Birthday which meant that I had a birthday cake to concoct! I've seen this 'petal' technique ALL over Pinterest recently and I just think it looks so cool! I love the effect it gives, and I love abit of ombre too so I knew I wanted to include that element as well. Mustard Yellow is Craig's favourite colour and that was the original idea, but trying to make mustard is REALLY hard! Mine turned out wayy too orange, but its the thought that counts right? I really want to make this again in a Mint Green (my favourite colour!) or a Sea Blue!

The actual cake is a chocolate and vanilla marble, which as usual I over-swirled so the marbling isn't very defined - darn it! All of the icing is a Vanilla Frosting which I just tinted with food colouring to create the ombre effect. As this cake is all about the decoration I'm not going to write a cake recipe, as you can really do any recipe and flavour that you like! But I will give a recipe and some tips on creating the petal effect.

I actually attempted this technique last year and I failed epicly because my frosting was way too runny! It needs to be quite stiff so that it actually holds its shape on the side of the cake. So I decided to use the Vanilla Cupcake Frosting recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book Cake Days as I know that it creates a really stiff mixture. I also had to double the original quantity as this technique uses up a lot of frosting! This is definitely a technique to use for an occasion as it's definitely not light on the calories! Oops!

Vanilla Frosting:

1kg Icing Sugar (ouch!)
320g Unsalted Butter, Softened
100ml Whole Milk
1/2tsp Vanilla Essence

(Sidenote! 1kg of Icing Sugar is a hella lot of Icing, so when whisking you may end up coating yourself in the stuff! I actually made mine in two batches (500g of Icing Sugar in each batch) to make it easier for myself, but its completely up to you!)

1. Whisk the icing sugar with the butter until fully combined and sandy in consistency.
2. Add the vanilla essence to the milk and pour into the butter and icing sugar while mixing slowly.
3. Then increase your speed and using a wooden spoon mix the frosting until light and fluffy.

Now if you want to colour your frosting, separate the frosting into bowls depending on how many different colours you want to create and add food colouring. To create the above, I put half the frosting into one bowl and then halfed the remaining half and put that frosting into two bowls. Was that confusing enough?

Essentially I had three bowls of icing, one with half the original frosting as I needed more of the white icing to fill and crumb coat the cake. The other two bowls I tinted with food colouring, ensuring that one bowl was darker than the other.

Next is assembly! First, I filled the cake with some of the white vanilla frosting and then crumb coated the entire cake and put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This is to make it easier for you when piping as you'll have a smooth, flat surface to work with.

Now onto the piping! It really is so simple, I promise. Starting at the bottom pipe two circles with the white frosting, above that two circles of the yellow frosting and above that two circles of the 'mustard' frosting. Then using a spatula spread each circle to the right making sure to clean the spatula inbetween different colours. You then need to do exactly the same, slightly to the right of the original circle. If you want to create the ombre effect pipe the first line as normal, then on the second line pipe one circle of the darkest colour frosting at the bottom and work up as normal for that line. Then on the next line pipe two circles of the darkest colour frosting at the bottom and again work up as normal. Repeat that all the way around the cake and you will see the pretty pattern appear.

I hope you like the cake anyway and I hope this all makes sense, its actually quite hard to write down but is super easy to create! Let me know if you have any questions :)

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Weekly Highlights. #17

29 Mar 2014

L-R: Birthday Cake, Photostrips, Birthday Selfie, Monmouth Coffee, Birthday Boy, Monmouth, Marble Cakes, Moroccan Chicken Tagine, Aubergine Amazing-ness, Cake!, Les Mis.  
This week has been one of my best weeks in a very long time. :) It was my favourite boys Birthday, I went to the theatre and most importantly I had a SUCCESSFUL job interview! All of the excitement - it was hard to choose three highlights!

But here they are:

1. As an avid baker, Birthday Cakes are simultaneously really exciting to create and really stressful as the perfectionist inside me comes to play. I was pretty happy with Craig's cake though. I attempted the 'petal technique' which is ALL over Pinterest and it actually worked! I've got a full post about it tomorrow, so check back if you're interested :)

2. For Craig's birthday dinner me and our best friend Joe made a literally amazing feast. Though I can't take full credit, as in reality I was Joe's sous chef! We made a morrocan chicken tagine with rice and an aubergine side dish. The pictures above really don't do it all justice which is rather annoying, becuase it was soo tasty. The aubergine was so soft, and the chicken literally fell off the bone. So damn good. 

3. Finally and most importantly for me, is something I haven't really spoken about at all on the blog but for some time now I have been out of work. But this week after many many interviews I've finally been given the one yes that I needed and I start work next week in an industry which really excites me! YAY. I am literally beyond happy. :) 

So thats my week, I hope you've all had a delightful week too and are now enjoying the beaut weather this weekend!

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Review | La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+

28 Mar 2014

Back in February I posted a review on the original Effaclar Duo and deigned it holy grail status. Since then I have been road testing the new and improved Effaclar Duo+* and unsurprisingly I'm still in love. So whats changed?

The original Effaclar Duo treated my spots, blemishes and clogged pores with ease. My skin was visibly brighter and any spots were zapped immediately. So why fix what isn't broken right?

Well, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that spots and blemishes leave us with red marks and scarring long after the spot has actually cleared up. My skin in particular is SUCH a slow healer so any blemish or spot will stay with me for a long time after. This is where the Effaclar Duo+ comes into play. It contains a new ingredient which rebuilds the skins surface ensuring you aren't left with any of these marks. Amazing news for anyone with skin like me!

It literally is a skin saviour; helping to prevent spots appearing in the first place, targeting them straight away if they do arrive and cleaning up after them so that no scarring is left behind.

I find that the texture of the Duo+ is slightly thicker than the original Duo but it still sinks in really well and leaves my skin feeling super moisturised. You can use the Duo+ with or without a moisturiser over the top, its completely up to you. I find that in the morning it really helps to prime my skin before I apply my make-up and so I only use the Duo+. But in the evening, I also use my Emma Hardie AM/PM Treatment Moisturiser.

All in all, the Duo+ is still HG status for me.


*This product was sent to me as a PR sample for review consideration. Despite this my review remains 100% honest and true to my own opinion.
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A Day at Camber Sands.

23 Mar 2014

So this week me and my sister Katie decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and head down to Camber Sands. We used to go to this beach a lot when we were kids and it holds a lot of good memories for us. It actually turned out to be a SUPER windy day, which did make it a little chilly. It was so windy the sand looked like smoke billowing across the beach. But in true British style we traveled down anyway, and even had a picnic sat on the beach. Call us crazy maybe, but we enjoyed it! We also had farr too much fun taking jumping pictures, and I attempted to be arty farty taking pictures of the sea. Deep breath, here comes a lot of pictures!

You may notice throughout these pictures that the above is the only one where you can actually see my face! This is because I have a fringe, and they are NOT a good look in ridiculously windy weather let me tell you. I generally look like I'm in an 80's music video, which although I'm sure was a great look then, is not one I want to sport in every day life. We had such a good day though, if you're ever nearby I urge you to go and meander along the beach. :)

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Weekly Highlights. #16

22 Mar 2014

L-R: Me and the Boy, Afternoon Tea in Battle, Katie at tea, Saturday morning with the Boy, Homemade Pizza, Nespresso Latte, Deciding on outfits, Prawn Salad, London in the sun, Bunch of Carrots Lush Bubble Bar, Garden in the sun, Camber Sands, Me, Chips! 
This week the sun has been out in full force and putting a smile on my face. I even managed to escape to the beach for the day! Lets hope its here to stay because I am definitely bored of the cold now!!

My three highlights are:

1. This week Craig bought a Nespresso machine and I've been all over the coffee. He also has a milk frother with it, which makes amazing lattes! Win! I might need to go on a coffee detox soon though...!

2. I've had some really yummy food this week - that counts as a highlight right? From prawn salads, home-made pizzas and a super yummy cream tea! I'm a foodie at heart so I can't not talk about the food in my life :). 

3. Finally, yesterday me and Katie drove to Camber Sands, a beach that we used to spend alot of our childhood summers at. It was SO windy though, and we left literally covered in sand!! I even had to take off my tights in the car to get the sand out of them! haha It was so lovely to go back there though, and it was a beautifully sunny day. We had the full British experience and had chips in a seafront cafe, with copious amounts of salt and vinegar! We also went to the town of Battle, and went to a gorgeous medieval looking café. I had a cream tea and Katie had tea and crumpets - all hand-made and super tasty! A lovely day out all in all <3 .="" nbsp="" p="">

I hope you've all had a lovely week! :)

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Easter Lush Treats.

21 Mar 2014

When I'm looking for a bath time treat, Lush will never fail to help me out. I struggle to walk past a Lush without popping in and nearly always leave a little lighter in the pocket. Now as their Easter range has been released I had more than justified a trip in.

I was really in the mood for a bubble bath last week so I picked up three of their Easter themed Bubble Bars; The Bunny, Green Bubbleroon and Bunch of Carrots. All three drew me in mainly through their super cute aesthetics but as like all Lush products they all smell AMAZING too.

The Bunny shares the same scent as the Creamy Candy Bubble Bar, a super yummy vanilla and has skin softening shea butter and coconut oil to pamper your skin. The Bunny however is also filled with blue cornflower petals to make your bath really pretty!

The Green Bubbleroon looks rather like a bum in the picture above! Oops! But, I promise it does look like a macaron in real life! Grass is literally one of my favourite smells ever and I loveeee me some macaron's so I couldn't leave without this! The two halves are joined together by coconut oil and shea butter which leaves your skin feeling ridiculously soft and your bath turns a beautiful green colour. I can't wait to use this one!

Finally, the Bunch of Carrots is just darn awesome. There was no way I was leaving this in the shop! The carrots probably have the faintest scent out of the three bars I bought, but it is a lovely tropical and fruity scent. I love that the carrots are reusable too, I'm hoping I'll be able to get quite a few baths out of this! But lets face it, I bought them because they're carrots. No lie.

Have you tried any of the Easter range at Lush? Also, taking the photos of these Bubble Bars gave me Reason No.5463 for wanting a Bunny Rabbit, because HOW CUTE would it have looked next to the Bunch of Carrots?!?

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Review | Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in Striking

18 Mar 2014

Its official. I've found my go-to Spring lip. Initially I wasn't going to buy any of the Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm's as to be honest I already have lots of balms from different brands in my collection. But, a few good reviews here and there and I was sucked in. I picked up the shade Striking and I'm literally in love with it.

Its a beautiful red, that has slight orange undertones on me. Its quite a bold colour, but is definitely buildable to create a subtler or stronger look depending on your preference. Its such a great colour I really think it would suit most skintones!

Despite being a matte finish the formula is super moisturising as the balms are made up of a Triple Butter Complex - shea, mango and coconut butters. I've found that the balm lasts really well throughout the day, and I only had to reapply once or twice after eating! The balms also have a (really) slight peppermint scent which is great for the mint lovers out there, myself included.

I think its such a perfect shade for spring/summer, and they're great to use on the go. Can you tell I love it? ;) Now my only question is which shade I should try next! Any suggestions?

read more " Review | Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in Striking "

From The Inside Out.

16 Mar 2014

Via We Heart It, Edited by Me.
 Today's post is a little different to usual and is all about looking after yourself from the inside out. As a beauty blogger I spend a lot of my time trying to find the perfect skincare that will miraculously rejuvenate my skin! But realistically unless I look after myself on the inside first, any skincare products can only help so much.

This time last year I was eating really well, and was really happy with my healthy lifestyle. Fast forward to this year however and to be frank, I'm eating shit and consequently feel like shit. I hardly get any exercise and my sleeping pattern is really messed up. There are a number of reasons why my healthy lifestyle went out the window, but ultimately I am a comfort eater at heart.

This all culminated in a moment of realization I had in a changing room this week. It was one of those awful starkly lit rooms, with mirrors everywhere showing you angles of your body that you didn't even know you had! It made me actually take stock of my actions though, and has resulted in this post. So, to aid and motivate me on my path to a healthier lifestyle I'm pledging to:

Eat Healthily
Drink Water
Sleep Well

I feel like if I write it on my blog it somehow makes it more real, and something for me to stick by. Does anyone else find this?? I do already drink quite a lot of water, so I will be focusing more on the other three pledges but I'm going to write another post in a month's time to assess how well I stuck to this new lifestyle. 

Wish me luck! :)

read more " From The Inside Out. "

Weekly Highlights. #15

15 Mar 2014

L-R: Android Birthday Cake for Joe, Trying on summer dresses in Urban Outfitters, Selfie #1, The biggest pot of Hot Chocolate ever,  Selfie #2, Finding my spare pair of glasses equals Selfie #3, Trying on new skirts - is it for me??
So this week has apparently been a very vain, selfie induced week as near enough all the pictures I had on my phone were of my face. I would say I'm embarrassed, but hey everyone loves a good selfie nowadays right? Right??

My three highlights this week are:

1. Last Saturday my best friend came home for the weekend and we spent the evening at the boys flat drinking and catching up! She lives in Southampton now so I don't get to see her half as much as I'd like, so it was really nice to spend the evening with her. We had tacos's too, which were sooo hard to eat but super tasty!!

2. On Sunday me and Craig spent the majority of the day baking an 'android' birthday cake for Joe! It was hardly the best cake we'd ever made, but it was well received and it was fun to spend the day baking together! Especially with the beautiful sun shining through the flat. :)

3. Finally, a beauty related highlight! To profess my love for the Revlon Matte Balm in Striking. Its such a beautiful shade for the sunny weather we've had this week, and the formula is amazing. New love! <3 nbsp="" p="">

I hope you've all had a wonderful week and have been enjoying the sun while its out! 

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Tag | The Procrastinating Beauty Blogger

14 Mar 2014

Another tag for you today, as the lovely Alice from Annie Writes Beauty tagged me to do this a few weeks ago. Procrastinating is one of my many redundant talents, and as you can see above Instagram is definitely the biggest aid to my procrastinating ways! So this tag is perfect for me really!

Here are the rules:

1. You must copy & paste the rules onto your post.
2. You must state this tag was created by The Beau Bow at The Beau Bow
3. You must thank and tag the blogger who tagged you and link their blog. At the end, post who you want to tag then comment on their blog to let them know!
4. Title this post 'The Procrastinating Beauty Blogger TAG' so everyone knows what it is.
5. Have fun :)

Now onto the questions!

1. Name a beauty regime that you rarely do.
I'm terrible at moisturising! I always moisturise my face night and day, but the rest of me is sorely neglected! I just hate that sticky feeling! 

2. Is washing your makeup brushes something you regularly do?
I am usually pretty good at this actually and try to wash them once a week! It'll be two weeks at the most if I don't have time, so not too bad I don't think :)

3. How long will you last with chipped nail varnish?
Oh god, I am literally the worst for picking at my nails as soon as I get a chip! I think I've really started to damage my nails, because I'm forever just picking it off. I hate how nail varnish looks when its chipped though, so I'd rather just get it all off straight away and start again.

4. How long will you put off buying/replacing beauty or nail products even if you need it?
Things like make-up remover and cotton pads I never run out of because I always keep back-ups. Generally I will replace items just before they run out, as long as they are needed items anyway! 

5. What is your worst beauty habit?
I've pondered over this question for a while now and to be honest I'm not entirely sure! But, I guess its picking at my nails like I said before! 

6. Name something non-beauty related that you put off all the time?
Dusting! Its just so boring, even hoovering is more interesting and a lot less time consuming!

7. When going out somewhere do you leave getting ready to the last minute or not?
It depends really! If I'm leaving in the morning then I would get ready as soon as I wake up, but if I'm not going out till the afternoon/evening I'll probably leave it ages and then have to rush because I've under anticipated the time I have! Typical me!

8. Can you commit to spending bans?
I've never attempted one actually! I can imagine I would struggle though. I'm one of those people that wants what I can't have, so it'd be better for me to just try and spend less than not at all!

9. How organised is your makeup and nail polish collection?
Pretty well organised actually! I've used old Glossyboxes to make separate compartments in my chest of drawers. And I have my everyday makeup in my makeup bag, so its all tidied away! As its ever growing though, I'm sure I'll have to find a new solution soon! 

10. What is the longest amount of time you've gone without writing a blog post?
In the summer of last year I was pretty lax with my blogging and I think I went about 2 weeks without posting! I'm so much better now though, and post 4 times a week! I think its also that I enjoy it so much more now too so I couldn't bear not posting for that long again! :) 

So there we go! I hope you enjoyed this tag :) Here are the bloggers I tag, don't forget to check out their blogs too! 

Holly at Holly Mixtures
Becca at Being Becca
Hannah at Hannah Hepton

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Review (and Tutorial!) | Enrapture Encode Totem Styler

12 Mar 2014

I've always struggled to curl my hair with straighteners. I can never seem to make it symmetrical on both sides and it also takes me about 25 minutes to do it all! Not exactly handy when you're rushing out the house! So when I received the Enrapture Encode Totem Styler for Christmas I was a very happy girl indeed!!

The styler has three different heat sections, which is amazing for creating loads of different styles without buying lots of different attachments. It creates really smooth, sleek curls and waves and comes with a travel case-come-heat mat which is super handy!

I filmed myself creating my go-to hair look at the moment, using the heat setting 1-1-1. The whole process only takes me about 10-15 minutes and the curls stay in all day, which in my hair is a big bonus.

I hope you liked the video! :)

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Printed Memories.

9 Mar 2014

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love printing photos, looking through them calls to the sentimental side of my heart and Printstagram is my favourite site to use for all of my Instagram snaps. I got my first set printed last summer, and I thought it was high time I printed off my more recent photos!

You can get loads of different styles from the website, including my favourite the little polaroid style shape and they're all printed on seriously good quality card! I also bought some photos in a photo booth style strip, which is a new style on the site, but as they take longer to create I haven't received them yet :(.

The website is so easy to use, and links straight to your instagram account. You can upload other pictures too if you want to print them in an Instagram style though, which is a really nice feature. The photos are all shipped from America where the printing studio is, but the delivery time is still really quick! The first time I bought them, I remember being so surprised that they arrived so fast! This time they literally took about 4 days to come!

They're a really great price for the quality too! The mini polaroid style photos come as a set of 48 for $15 which is about £8 and the larger square prints as a set of 24 for $12 which is about £7. Soo good! If you're thinking of printing off some photos soon, definitely check them out :) I really want to make some photo albums on there soon!

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Weekly Highlights. #15

8 Mar 2014

L-R: Tanya Burr New York Night nails, Mums pizza dough,  Beaut view from the flat, Monday morning face, St. Pauls looking stunning, the London Eye just peeking out, Night time face, Dinner in the new flat, Mums super tasty pizza, Cake and Coffee in Starbucks, Craig hand in paw with Millie. 
This week has been suchhh a tiring one. I slept in so late this morning, without even waking up once! I definitely needed the rest!! This week has seen me attempt to be a little healthier (minus the cake and pizza above..ahem..) and do a hella lot of walking.

My three highlights are:

1. Firstly, I won £50 on the Premium Bonds this week! I literally never win, so this made me very happy indeed! I've got to wait for the cheque to come in the post, but I may have to treat myself to something with my winnings :) 

2. Craig and Joe moved into the new flat on Wednesday which was superrrr exiting! I stayed over the first night to help them settle in, and we had a lovely first dinner together there! The view from the flat is just awesome too, looking over Canary Wharf and the O2 to name a few. 

3. Finally, mum decided to handmake pizza for dinner this week, including the dough! It was a potato, rosemary, brocolli and mozzarella pizza and it was SO tasty!! I literally devoured it! Mum was seriously proud of her dough too - pro baker!!

So that's my highlights! How've your weeks been?

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How Much Is My Face Worth?

7 Mar 2014

So I've seen this post floating around for quite a while now, and although it slightly scares me to total up the cost of all my products, I am so intrigued as to what mine will be!! I do use a lot of high street makeup, so hopefully it won't be tooo bad.

Anyway here we go, with the contents of my face above!

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo £13.00 
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in Ivory £5.49
Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in 52 £9.99
Nip+Fab Eye Fix Brightening Concealer £6.00
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Translucent £3.99

NARS Laguna Bronzer from the At First Sight Palette £45.00
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle £22.00
Soap and Glory Supercat Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Carbon Black £6.00
Maybelline Volum' Express Mega Plush Mascara in Very Black £7.99

NARS Deep Throat Blusher from the At First Sight Palette £45.00
Benefit High Beam £19.50

Maybelline Baby Lips Intense Care £2.99
Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 107 £5.49

Total: £147.44

Ohhh man. Not gonna lie I'm a little ashamed!! At least all of these products were bought over many months and not all at once! If you've done this post, please let me know what you total was so I don't feel too bad!! Unless its lower than mine anyway...

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Review | Maybelline Volum' Express the Mega Plush Mascara

4 Mar 2014

Maybelline really do make some of the best mascaras on the highstreet, and after trying quite a few out of their range I think I've found my favourite. It also just so happens to be one of the longest named mascaras out there! The Volum' Express the Mega Plush mascara - what a mouthful!

The mascara wand is flexible, making it really easy to coat all of your lashes evenly. The wand is super fat too so your lashes are coated really quickly! The only downside with that is its really easy to get mascara under your bottom lashes, but its nothing a bit of make-up remover can't sort out.

I love how much volume it gives my lashes, and it really helps to separate them too. In the picture above I've used about three coats to achieve the look. I have the mascara in Blackest Black, so it really makes a statement of your lashes and frames your eyes well.

At £7.99 its a really affordable option and is a definite favourite in my make-up bag. Do you like the Maybelline mascaras?

read more " Review | Maybelline Volum' Express the Mega Plush Mascara "