25 Mar 2014

Baking Habits

I'll be real quick and won't go into too much detail.

Once I feel I have mastered the recipes and tweaked them to my liking I will post my baking efforts one recipe at a time.

The very first thing I tried to make this year was shortbreads, I was surprised by how easy this was and definitely enjoyed fondling the dough. They turned out softer than I wanted them to be which I guess Is a good thing since most people struggle to make them soft.

Next were some simple plain vanilla cupcakes. In the past I have found butter icing sickly but when I made It I must have gone a little overboard with the sugar because it tasted great. Unfortunately the cake part wasn't as great as I had used Wholemeal flour which may have overpowered the sweetness and vanilla flavour. If it wasn't for the icing then no one would have eaten the cupcakes.


I had so much icing left over I practised my icing skills with a syringe I forgot to take a picture of.

Next up were some banana muffins. Again I used wholemeal flour but the taste of the bananas covered up the wholemeal taste. I included cinnamon and nutmeg in these muffins which left a peculiar taste in my mouth. To be honest I think these muffins probably would have been better off without the cinnamon or the nutmeg.

Cookies were my next baking task, and not just any type of cookies. I wanted them to be soft like the ones from Millie's cookies and they were actually softer, and dare I say tasted sweeter. You can just about see the chocolate chip poking through. I struggled with the dough slightly as it was very sticky but when handled in small amounts the dough didn't stick to my fingers.

What you see here is a banana loaf. This wasn't my first attempt at making banana cake as I had made it countelss times before I was even 10 years old but being part Jamaican my Mom never measured the ingredients and so nether did I. This lead to me getting the consistency wrong every time I made it without Mum's help. However thanks to the internet I now have a recipe that I can rely on to make the perfect banana cake every time.

To the left is a tempting looking cake that would have chocolate lovers wet with excitement. To the right Is my gallant but disappointing attempt. The picture on the left I found on pintrest so it didn't really have an associated recipe. I managed to find one that I thought would give me similar results. I have to say It did taste nice, the only things missing were two more layers of cake and the luxurious gold dust that cake on the left seems to have.

My last and most recent attempt was an "easy" chocolate cake. The recipe said easy but it was bloody difficult to get right. The first time I tried to make this slightly fudgey chocolate cake I got the icing right but the cake was undercooked. It was so undercooked that when I took off a piece of the cake and rolled it in my hands it was basically like dough.

The last step in the recipe involved adding 250ml of water. I thought this was strange because the mix looked perfect before I got to this step. When I added the water everything started separating after I'd stopped mixing. When in the oven the mix rose quickly but soon deflated and after the recommended cooking time of 35 mins my skewer didn't come out clean. It was dripping with the cake mix. I put foil on top to stop the already cooked tops from burning and checked on the cakes every 7 mins but after over an hour neither were cooked. 

The second time I attempted to make this cake I got the cake part perfect because I skipped the 250ml of water. However I messed up the icing by using extra thick double cream instead of normal double cream. I could have fixed this by myself but after some bad advice from my intervening sister my icing looked like diarrhoea. At least I know how to get it perfect for next time.

Well that's all of my baking adventures so far.

The only recipes that have turned out absolutely perfect are the banana loaf and the chocolate chip cookies

I may post these recipes at some point but what with uni, exams, dissertations and all It won't be any time soon.

Hope you enjoyed reading :)


10 Mar 2014

Bits and Bobs #4

I'm going to start of with re-reviews of two products that I dismissed in the past...

 I didn't like them at first but after giving them a second go I have managed to find a place for them in my heart (i.e. the one that pumps conditioner instead of blood and beats wildly at the sight of a cosmetic store)

Firstly of the two is the Taliah Waajid Curly curl cream. When I initially tried this it was during the dry and cold, autumn/winter season. This was possibly the worst time to try a glycerine based product and the result was dry, crunchy, frizzy hair. 

It's now spring and the weather is slightly warm and humid. My curls were drying out faster than usual but applying this curly curl cream as my top layer seems to keep the moisture in and it also helps to define my curls.

Next is the L'oreal Elvive Night Serum with Royal Jelly.

I'm quite fussy with smells and the Royal jelly scent initially put me off even though my sisters liked it. In a desperate attempt to broaden my curl cream horizon I gave this another go and decided the scent didn't bother me so much. The product itself works amazing just like the first time I tried it, the only difference is the price.

The first time I bought this it was £2.99 in Discount UK and online, it is now only available in the ethnic hair store at around £4.50. The price does not please me but I only use 2-3 pumps per section and it is a really good product after all.

Next on the agenda is the sleek contour kit in light. I was previously using a mosaic bronzer the hollow out my cheekbones but I inevitably dropped it causing it to shatter into little mosaic pieces :(

this was a nightmare to get out of my carpet but it was a blessing in disguise as I now have this great contour kit. My favourite thing about it is the highlighter. It's slightly shimmery and looks amazing in photos. 

Here's a little swatch I did. It really makes a difference to my face as I have a soft round head. I believe I have mastered the art of chiselling out my cheekbones but haven't quite got round to doing my nose.

I've walked passed this powder so many times because I didn't believe it would work. Like my bronzer my last face powder also shattered to pieces after being dropped. It was ever so dramatic but it gave me an excuse to use this one. 

It only comes in one shade which is supposed to be translucent but it makes me look a little ghostly on its own. I find that it's best to use a foundation/BB cream or tinted moisturiser slightly more orange than my skin tone. That way, when I apply this pale pasty powder on top the colours balance out and suit my skin tone perfectly.

It had this cool little leaf shape pressed into the powder but I have smoothed it out with repeated use.

I have also discovered that I can combat dark under-eye circles by applying the powder with a cotton bud. This allows me to apply a more concentrated amount of powder directly under my eyes to make them appear more awake. It's also useful for when I have wiped away eye-liner mistakes and left a patch of naked skin. Applying the powder with a cotton bud means I can cover a precise area without disturbing my eye-liner.

Overall it gives good coverage and helps to combat oily skin. It also contains which Hazel which should help fight against blemishes too. I wouldn't say it lasts as long in the day as the Rimmel Clear Complexion powder but definitely gives more coverage.

Last but definitely not least is this candy scented bubble bar from Lush. This bubble bar and the FUN body wash were the only two things I got for valentines day, but what makes it pitiful is that they were from my Mum.  

Thanks Mom, this was very thoughtful of you and they were very much appreciated but I don't like to be reminded of how single I am on valentines day :'(

A month later and I have finally got around to trying this out. After a 35 min bike ride I was aching and wanted to sit down so I really wasn't in the mood for a shower. This only meant that a bath was in order and as you can see I have taken off a small chunk which produced this many bubbles.....

That's a lot for a tiny chunk. I proceeded to take off chunks and what now remains is about a third of what I started with....

I will be saving this for the next time I have a bath. 
After throwing pieces of pink stuff into my bath and with a bit of manual swishing, the final result was this many bubbles....

This may be a lot of bubbles for most people but I have always been bit of a spoilt brat when it comes to bath time. Even when I was younger my Mom would put a restriction on how much bubble bath I could use, but when she wasn't looking about half the bottle usually went in :D. 

After the bubble bar had fully dissolved my bath felt silky and smelled like sweets. The scent didn't linger on my skin afterwards but it was very pleasant to soak in. When I finally drained the tub there were no residual bits left behind which was great as I had little in the way of cleaning to do afterwards. It would have been nice if it also made my bath water look pink but I guess that would stain the tub.

I would say that only half of the bubble bar would be needed for one bath but it is definitely a sweet treat.

I promised earlier on in the year that I may start writing posts about my new baking adventures but haven't quite got round to it. My next post will definitely be about my recent baking habits so keep on the look out for that one.

Hope you enjoyed reading