Thursday, 21 August 2014

Iced Cherry Cake

There are only two programmes in the whole year that I will make sure I can stay in for. If anyone tries to organise anything on these certain nights, I am immediately thinking about how I can't miss this week's show. One of these programmes is Downton Abbey, while the other is, of course, The Great British Bake Off. I need to get my weekly fix of Mary Berry guys, I just love her!
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So you can imagine my excitement when the new season started a couple of weeks, and the first weeks challenge was cake! Cakes are very important to me; I feel like my motto should be 'Cake is Life'... Anyway, when I saw the technical challenge, I knew I had to have a go at it as well. Who doesn't love a cake containing glacé cherries.
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Mary Berry's Cherry Cake
Ingredients:
200g Glacé Cherries, cut into quarters
225g Self Raising Flour
175g Softened Butter
175g Caster Sugar
Zest of 1 Lemon
50g Ground Almonds
3 Eggs

175g Icing Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
15g Flaked Almonds, lightly toasted
5 Glacé Cherries, cut into quarters

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease a 9inch bundt tin.
Cut all of the cherries into quarters, and put 5 cherries to the side to be used later. Wash the rest of the cherries in water, drain and pat them dry, and toss them in 2tbsp of flour.
For the cake batter, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, before adding in the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Finally, add in the flour and ground almonds, and mix thoroughly. Lightly fold in the cherries, and turn the batter out into the bundt tin.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown in colour, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before cooling on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the icing by beating together the icing sugar and lemon juice, until the icing is smooth and glossy, and has a thick texture. You want the icing to be able to stick to the cake, and not run down the sides too much. At the same time, toast the flaked almonds in a pan over a low heat for a few minutes, making sure they don't burn.
When the cake has cooled, spoon the icing onto the cake until it is covered, or use a piping bag to make a nice pattern. Finally sprinkle the remaining quartered cherries and the flaked almonds on top of the icing.
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As a side note, apparently sales of glacé cherries have increased over the past couple of weeks... This just shows how much of an effect Bake Off has on it's viewers.

Sophie x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

July Favourites

I know that we are already over a week into August, and this post is meant to be done very early in the month, but I just haven't had the time to do it until now, so apologies for the delay. I've also found that I haven't really had a lot of things which I've really been loving, but I'm hoping that next months post will have more, as I've already got a couple of things that I'm loving.  photo IMG_1560.jpg
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The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet
I am absolutely in love with this face cream, I have been religiously using it everyday ever since I bought it last month. It comes in this cute little frosted glass pot, and the cream itself is more like a gel, but it goes on so nicely, and I find that I only need a little bit to cover my whole face. And because it is a sorbet, it has a nice cool, refreshing feeling when applied, and my face feels really fresh and ready for the day.
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Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Face Powder
This was kind of a summer impulse buy, as I suffer from slightly oily skin, especially when its warm, so I wanted something that would just take away the shine from my face. I saw this somewhere on youtube and thought it would be worth having a go. This has a nice translucent powder, which doesn't effect my skin colour, and it has a nice smooth texture when applied, and it doesn't feel horrible if you apply many layers. I've found that it's a really useful item to have in your bag for some touch ups during the day, and I would really recommend it to anyone that suffers from a bit of oily skin.
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NUME Titan 3 Hair Curling Wands
This curling set is amazing, it just works for me. I have tried a few curling wands before, and they never really did what I wanted, but as soon as I got these, it was like all of my curling worries were over. They are perfect. And the fact that you can change the barrel size is brilliant too, so I can choose what types of curls I want for my hair. I did have to ship them from America, and normally they are $250 (!!!!), but luckily I managed to use a discount code from a youtube video, and got the set for $99 instead! But they are completely worth the money.
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Urban Decay Naked3 Palette
It was only a matter of time before I went back and bought this palette, especially after how much I loved the Naked2 palette. There is just something about Urban Decay's eyeshadows that is just heavenly to apply. And the rosy pink colour scheme is just perfect for me as I have blue eyes. There's nothing more I can say about this palette except that it should be an essential part of every girl's makeup collection.

What have you guys been loving this past month?
Sophie x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Baked Ring Doughnuts

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I don't think it is actually possible to put into words just how wonderful I think doughnuts are. Honestly, I'm not even going to give it a go. Let's just all agree that doughnuts are the bomb.
It's getting to the point where I stand at the Krispy Kreme counter at my local supermarket, trying to convince myself I shouldn't buy them, because honestly, nearly £4 for three doughnuts isn't very cost effective, especially as the own brand jam filled doughnuts are five for £1. But they aren't as nice, so I end up going without doughnuts. Woe is my life!

Which of course leads me to baking my own, because really, what other option is there?
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Ingredients:
2 Cups Plain Flour
3/4 Cups Caster Sugar
2tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs
2tbsp Unsalted Butter, Melted
1tbsp Coloured Sprinkles

100g Icing Sugar
3-4tbsp Water

Method:
Preheat the oven to 230C/ Gas Mark 7/ 425F, and grease a doughnut pan with butter.
In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, while in a smaller bowl, mix together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, add the sprinkles, and mix until all combined.
Spoon the batter into the doughnut pan, making sure it's evenly spread throughout the ring.
Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and leave the doughnuts in the pan for another 4-5 minutes, before transferring the doughnuts to a cooling rack.

While the doughnuts are cooling, prepare the icing, by mixing the icing sugar and water together until it forms a thick paste, and add some food colouring for decoration.
Once the doughnuts are cool, you can ice them. Either spoon the icing onto the doughnuts and spread it around, or like I did, have the icing in a shallow bowl, and place the doughnuts in the icing upside down, so that you get an even covering of icing.
Quickly cover the icing in sprinkles before it hardens, and hey presto, doughnuts!
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These are definitely a winner, and will make me reconsider buying doughnuts ever again. I struggled not to eat the whole lot, they are just so good.
Sophie x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June Favourites

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I can't believe it's already July; we are halfway through the year people! Time has flown by, it's hard to believe it is actually summer. So here we are with another favourites post, and I've realised that yet again, there are some Body Shop products here, oops. I just can't help myself right now, I'm in a bit of a self-induced Body Shop craze.
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Body Shop Vineyard Peach Body Mist This stuff smells divine. I'm loving this peachy smell, something about it just screams 'summer'. I've been using it instead of perfume for the past week, and I've found it just leaves a faint peach smell on your skin for the day. Lovely for these warm sunny days.
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Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum I've never used a serum before, as I never really thought I needed one. But the current day cream I've got is way too heavy for the summer, and makes my skin a bit too greasy, so I was in need of something lightweight. I knew serums were really good, as they don't just hydrate the first few layer of skin, but go deeper into your skin, helping to keep your skin cells even more hydrated. I've been applying this before my makeup, and I've noticed that it makes my skin feel really fresh and plump. I have combination skin, so it sometimes suffers from a bit of excess oil, but with this it doesn't make my skin extra oily, in fact I think it's been helping to make it less oily, which is just what I need for this time of year. I would recommend this as a lovely summer moisturiser, but I imagine it will be just as good in the winter.
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Barry M Crystal Glaze Nail Polish I really like layering glittery varnish over coloured nails, in fact I've been doing it for a while. At Christmas I used a red glitter varnish over plain red nails, and I loved how festive it was; I will be doing it again for this year. However, I really love this varnish, because it is really subtle. You have to move your nails in the light a certain way to be able to see the effect, and it really does remind me of crystals. I'm actually wearing it here in the photo, and you really can see how subtle the effect is.
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Urban Decay Naked2 Palette This is one of those 'essiebutton made me do it' moments. I've seen her talk about the Urban Decay Palettes in so many of her videos, so after much deliberation on which one to get, I chose to get the Naked2 Palette, because I really like using neutral brown colours on my eyes. And oh wow, this palette is worth all the talking about. These eye shadows are perfect, so buttery and soft, they are just so lovely to apply. And the beautiful thing about this palette is that nearly all of these colours will go together, I've been experimenting quite a bit, and I've loved every combination I've tried so far.
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IKEA Notebook I bought this about three weeks ago just as a little book to keep in my bag, for jotting down ideas, and to-do lists, I've even been using it for writing down recipes. As soon as I saw the design I thought it was perfect for me, I just loved the detailing of the perfume bottle, and it reminded me of some of the perfume bottles my Grandma used to have.
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ASOS Multi Row Chain Necklace This necklace is my new favourite piece of jewellery, whenever I'm going out I always try to wear it, I just love it so much. I think it's just because it's a simple set of chains; it's not gaudy or bold, it's just a little subtle accent to any outfit. Another item perfect for the summer.

Sophie x

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Teapigs Tea Review

I feel like I've been kind of resisting the whole Teapigs bandwagon for quite a while now. I know loads of people love the stuff, but I was kind of happy carrying on with Twinings. Until recently anyway...
About a week ago I decided to go browsing on their website, just to see what assortment of teas they do, and up popped this page saying that if you signed up to their newsletter, you could get a code for 10% off your first order. I figured it couldn't hurt to sign up, and then when I got to browsing I realised it was a good thing I did! Some of their teas sound divine!
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I managed to narrow it down to these three flavours; they seemed really tasty when I was reading the information, but it was really difficult, cause they all sound delicious. I got a bit too excited when these arrived in the post, I had to try them out immediately.
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Chocolate Flake Tea So this was actually a bit of a disappointment, I don't know what I was really expecting, but it just doesn't seem all that great. It's basically meant to have a faint taste of chocolate, and there was, but it was just strange. It tasted a bit like a really watered down hot chocolate, and a weak hot chocolate at that. I think I've only used a couple of these teabags, so I may still need to give it a chance, but so far I am not enjoying it as much as the other two. Definite thumbs down.
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Liquorice and Mint I like to think of this as a surprise tea. If any of you have had this before, you will understand. Basically, when you first take a sip, you get the taste of a normal mint tea, but then you swallow it, and suddenly at the back of your throat there's this burst of sweetness, as if the liquorice root is jumping out from behind a corner and shouting 'Surprise!'. And it is really sweet, sometimes too sweet, but it is really tasty, and I'm definitely enjoying it more than the chocolate tea. Plus it doesn't actually taste of liquorice; I don't like the taste of liquorice sweets, so I was worried I wouldn't like the tea, but luckily it doesn't taste anything like those sweets. I think because it's the liquorice root, it just adds the sweetness instead of the taste.
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Green Tea with Mint This is definitely my favourite of the lot, like I actually love this stuff. I don't normally like green tea, but this one is really good. I don't know if it's the mint helping out with the flavour, but the taste of green tea is definitely not as strong as a normal green tea. And the minty aftertaste is really refreshing, at one point I had this every morning with my breakfast, and it really helped to wake me up in the morning. And I also found that I didn't have to add anything to sweeten the tea; with normal mint tea I would add a small spoon of sugar, but the taste of this tea was so good I didn't feel the need to add anything. So overall, definitely the best of the lot, and I will be buying a lot of this tea in the future.

Have any of you tried the teapigs tea? Any recommendations?
Sophie x