25 Apr 2014

My Easter Holidays

Yay!! I've Finally gotten around to writing this post, even though it's been almost a week since Easter finished I'd like to share with you all the treats that were involved in my Easter....

The first treats involved were these carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I was super excited to make these as I didn't think I would be brave enough to do them until next year. They were easier to make than I expected but the only thing that would put me off making them regularly is grating the carrot. Let me tell you, grating 300g of carrot is no joke and takes forever but it's all worth it when your cake mix actually smells like carrot cake.

 I added cinnamon but no mixed spice as I wasn't exactly sure what it was or were to find it in the Supermarket. The cupcakes definitely needed that extra kick and I probably should have added nutmeg but the cream cheese frosting was so tasty I don't think anyone really noticed.

I've been meaning to show how I pipe my icing and I do it using this very big syringe looking device. I've never liked the idea of using an old-fashioned piping bag as it looks rather messy, so I was very excited to see this for around £6-7 in T.K. Maxx. It's got several different nozzles that you can use to make different types of shapes when Icing. I've definitely had loads of fun using it.

I ordered myself two Easter egg bath bombs from lush as I had been dying to try them since last Easter. I ordered both the fluffy egg and the immaculate eggception in pink however I gave the bigger egg to my Mom to cheer her up as she was being grumpy mere. It cheered her up for one afternoon but by the next day she reverted to being moody again, (maybe I shouldn't have bothered). So thus, I was left with the little pink fluffy egg, but big things do come in little packages, and in this particular package was a lot of PINK!!!

This particular bath bomb had a scent that was exactly identical to that of those old retro sweets most of us knew as Love Hearts <3. It took a lot of mental will power not to eat or even lick the bath bomb because it really did smell that good!!

I added some bubble bath because as I have mentioned before, baths are boring without bubbles, and there is no such thing as too many bubbles. I think Pink Is my favourite bath colour at the moment and it really does have an effect on my mood. I don't know what it is about lush bath bombs but they all have this magical power of unwinding one's mind. They really do help me to relax :)

I mentioned In an earlier Post that I had decorated a plastic egg with The Little Mermaid theme in mind and entered it into the Easter egg competition at work. I'm chuffed to say that I won!!! Although I must admit I may have had the upper hand being as though it was little girls judging the eggs who would have definitely appreciated anything that was Disney Princess. The following is what I won In my prize bag........

A pink bunny egg cup which is far too cute to eat from so I'm using it to store my jewellery.

These two wind up and hop along if you press them down, they're so cute and good for a race.

Given that Rise of the Guardians is one of my favourite movies (possibly due to deep crush I have on Jack Frost) I was chuffed to see it in my Prize bag.

I couldn't believe how much stuff I had won, I felt well and truly spoilt :), of course my 6 year old sister ended up having the fluffy toys and the bubble wand but the rest is for me to enjoy.

I did some baking with my little sisters yesterday and one of them came up with the idea of making Oreo Brownies. I thought this idea was a little crazy but I'm glad she suggested it because they were absolutely delicious.

It reminds me of Ancient Greek ruins when I look at these photos because the 'destroyed' Oreo chunks are just poking out of the ground, or maybe these are underwater ruins poking out of brownie flavoured sand :)

I will definitely be making these again but maybe I will add more cocoa powder and sugar as they weren't as flavoursome as I would have preferred.

Hope you enjoyed reading!! :)


22 Apr 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes and More Hair Products

I made these chocolate cupcakes weeks ago, not long after Mother's day. They were made on a whim mostly because some of my food (i.e eggs and butter) was about to expire. Instead of throwing the away I decided to use them up and make these chocolate cupcakes which turned out better than I expected. I used separate recipes for the sponge and the icing. The sponge was a little on the dry side but the icing was lovely. I will definitely make these again as my family loved them but maybe I will some oil to the cake mix to give it a bit more moisture next time.

I think this I bought this conditioner for around £3 from super drug, I was initially attracted to the pink L'oreal Elvive bottle and then started browsing the whole range. Naturally I came across something hat was CG Friendly and hopefully an alternative that the protein egg mask I've been using. I've only used it a few times but the last time I rinsed it out my hair was dry afterwards and less elastic. I have to say my strands did feel a little more resistant when being combed. This could mean either one of two things, the first being that it actually put protein in my hair which, whilst strengthening my hair, may have made it drier, or the second being a possibility that this is just a shit  not very moisturising conditioner -_-

Hopefully not the latter as I will continue to use it in hope that it is helping my worn looking ends.

This is latest edition to my bathroom closet and it is a super moisturising hair mask.
This is the same brand as the egg protein mask I used and it works just as well.

It's quite obvious from the get go that there is henna involved but not enough to dye the hair, only enough to reap the other benefits of henna. There's olive oil and almond extract in there too and the scent reminds me of plain candle wax, a little earthy which is probably due to the henna.  I have to say this is one of the best conditioners I have ever used, my hair has never felt so soft and silky. I could just tell as soon as I rinsed it out my hair had that liquid silk feeling. I'll have to do a closer comparison but this hair mask may rival some of my thickest argan oil conditioners.

Last but not least is a natural shampoo specifically made for brunettes. It has a funny herbal scent but it's of the floral kind (probably the sage). I cant's say that it's done anything to enhance the colour of my naturally brown hair but it's another sulphate free shampoo that thoroughly cleanses my lion mane so I will probably use it again. Just like the other Naked bodycare shampoos I also use this to clean my make up brushes and it works fantastically at getting the gunk out of them.

*completely forgot to add this into the post, whoops
Argania dream conditioner 99p from Discount UK. It's basically the same as the Mellor and Russell conditioner I bought from poundland last year which you can see here. It's too thin to be used for deep conditioning so I use it as a leave-in product, I also dilute some of it in a spray bottle with water to use as a detangler. It work  really well in both cases and adds shine and moisture to my hair without weighing it down however the curl definition I get isn't that great and I end up with quite a bit of poofiness and frizz all around. 

The ingredients are very basic with argan oil as the last ingredient which I was not very impressed by but the smell is almost exactly the same as the Mellor and Russell hair conditioners. I'm surprised it's not the same brand but I have to say, the packaging Is very pretty. 

Considering I have thick hair I seem to be getting a lot of uses out of this 200ml bottle. I would probably recommend this conditioner to those with straight hair or type 2 curls but it's still worth a try if you're type 3b. Just make sure you layer it with other products or maybe oil like in the LOC method, or at least re-apply the next day to top up on moisture

That's all for now, this has kind of been a little catch-up as I am behind getting stuff posted, Easter has already come and gone and I still haven't done written the post I had planned for the Easter cupcakes I made recently. Hopefully I can get it done tomorrow :)

Hope You Enjoyed Reading!!


15 Apr 2014

Dissertations Ruin Lives; With a Slice of Lemon Cake

It feels like such a long time since I've posted something on here. A lot has happened since my last post about my baking habits but due to a 2,000 word assignment, a 5 minute video presentation, a dissertation and not to mention the associated poster, I have been rather busy.

I should have put my thanks to the several caffeinated energy drinks I consumed in the acknowledgements of my dissertation. A few all-nighters and several hours of staring at my computer before the deadlines I managed to do it all. However It's not over yet, I have exams in a month but I think I deserve a few days to recover and get my sh*t back together.

So without further a due here is what I have been doing for the past few weeks (besides crying over uni deadlines)........

So Mother's day went by on 30th March and I made My Mom a lemon drizzle Cake. To me this cake turned out perfect and I was surprised by how lemony it was. My Mom however likes to have hers absolutely dripping with lemon and took it a step further by dipping her cake in lemon juice. This to me seemed gross but since it was Mothers day and it was her cake I left her to it. The Icing was the best part and I had good fun drizzling it over. It was so sweet and addictive I had several slices.

The only thing I would do differently would be to put the foil under the cooling rack to collect the excess icing and re-pour it cover the cake. This would have been much more efficient than trying to coax the excess icing back up the side of the cake or collecting it in a spoon off the foil that I place directly underneath the cake.

It's practically Easter now and for an Easter egg competition at work I painted a plastic egg and gave it an under the sea theme. I had a vision in my head and wasn't quite sure how to go about creating it. I started using some kids pastel paints but because of the smooth surface then watery paint would slide off and it was difficult cover the whole thing. I then had a grand idea that involved using spray glue to cover the egg and layer more paint on top the intensify the colour but this didn't work either and ended up in a big sticky gloopy mess. I gave up and almost threw it away but after several minutes of sulking I got out an old water colour set my aunty gave me over 10 years ago. The paints were still liquid but I didn't dilute them, I painted them straight onto the egg and they stuck on pretty good.

I did an ombre effect with dark blue on the bottom, light blue in the middle, and a barely noticeable teal green/blue on the top. I applied the paint with a sponge and because of the gloopy mess underneath the egg had this over all textured look which I think added to the underwater effect. I also added some gold plastic gems to the top and bottom. I had a gazillion more gems that I bought specifically for this egg in The Little Mermaid's colours (teal, blue and purple) but I wanted to keep it elegant and only added the gold.

I wanted to make a crown on top to make it look like a royal egg but I didn't have enough gold gems to cover the diameter I needed so I ended up with a flower which still looks rather nice

To finish I did silhouettes of Ariel from The Little Mermaid and a seahorse. I wanted to do an intricate design of the seahorse showing it's scales and everything but I decided that a simple silhouette would look more elegant. Unfortunately I managed to mix the yellow paint with the blue paint when painting on the seahorse but it turned out looking okay. I like to think it adds another dimension to the seahorse but I did manage to avoid this when painting Ariel. 

I originally started to paint these silhouettes with gold glitter paint but it was too clear so I used one of my yellow water colours straight from the tube. Again because of the thickness of the paint the silhouettes have this textured look which to me looks like the ripples and waves of the sea. The only I thing I would do differently would be to paint gold glitter on top of the yellow silhouettes, just to add a bit more bling, but for now the plain yellow ones look much more elegant.

The egg looks much better in person and it is definitely a reflection of my life-long (**obsession**cough,cough) admiration  for the little mermaid and all things under the sea.

I have been using a new night cream from beautynaturals.com. It was £9, again very pricey, But what I like about it most is that it's very moisturising, absorbs quickly, and it doesn't make my face look too greasy, so I even wear it during the day when I'm at home.

It's thick and creamy so I'm guessing it must penetrate deep into the skin to absorb so quickly. I haven't noticed any drastic differences and I'm still breaking out which is probably due to post-dissertation-trauma. In any case it's a great moisturiser that may or may not be reducing the fine lines developing on my forehead.

In my room there is a small drawer full of three deep conditioners that are doing nothing but collecting dust. But that's not the issue, the problem is that I have bought three more conditioners to add to my stash. Luckily these Garnier Ultimate Blends conditioners are very thin and slippery, very much like herbal essences, so I will use them up quickly. They were £2 each and I've only tried the pink one in the middle so far. However the ingredients and consistency are similar so I'm assuming they all work the same. Something to note however is that the red bottle on the right contains argan oil and also smells the nicest so I think that will be my favourite one.

They're more moisturising than herbal essences but I think that herbal essences is slightly better for de-tangling. I don't co-wash much any more as I simply de-tangle with a spray bottle full of diluted conditioner before I go into the bathroom and when I'm done washing I do the LOC method with the same spray as my leave-in, then oil, and then the Garnier conditioner on top. 

Over all these conditioners smell very nice, are CG friendly, and are fantastic for, co-washing, de-tangling, and as leave-ins. When finished my hair looks just as good as it usually does so these products definitely work well.

I have recently made a change in my hair oil of choice and switched to Walnut oil. It was in the supermarket and was relatively cheap so I thought why not?? It is pretty much the same as olive oil in terms of consistency and seals moisture in my hair just as well. The only difference is that the colour is lighter and that the oil itself smells like burned walnuts (surprise, surprise). However when I apply my final coat of conditioner on top of the oil the scent of the conditioner either masks the walnut smell or they blend together to make an even nicer scent. Though after a day my hair pretty much has no scent at all. I have read that walnut oil has many benefits for hair even when applied topically so I will definitely continue to use it.

Well that's everything from the past few weeks purged in one go :D

Hope you enjoyed reading!!