Monday, 24 August 2015

Strawberry Milkshake Cupcakes


I made these for a work friends birthday a while ago, I wanted to make him something different and fun and these went down a treat!

 


I just used my basic sponge recipe and mixed in a couple of teaspoons of Nesquik Strawberry Milkshake powder.

 I added several tablespoonfuls of the powder to my basic buttercream recipe (while tasting A LOT to test of course...) until I was happy with the flavour.

For the 'straws' I cut in half some strawberry 'pencils' these are the sweets most supermarkets have their own version of and usually have in a pick and mix any three bags for £1 offer. I then sprinkled on some pink glitter sugar and voilΓ ! 

I'd love to know any interesting/ unusual cupcake flavours you've made!

Happy Baking,
L


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Rainbow Meringue Kisses - Recipe & Tips





I until recently hadn't made meringues since I was a little girl making them with my Granny Gai, I always thought they were very difficult to make and easy to mess up but they were #1 on my list of things I wanted to bake in my lovely new kitchen! A couple of weeks ago I finally got the chance! Here are my hints tips and the recipe I used.

I saw a feature on the Meringue Girls a while ago and fell in love with not only their attitude and style but their recipes and ideas! They have a new recipe book just out which Ross had pre-ordered for my b'day and he also bought me their original recipe book which is AMAZING!


The Meringue Girls basic meringue recipe is really straight forward and seems to really work every time! here we go;



INGREDIENTS


300g caster/ superfine sugar (1 1/2 cups)

150g egg whites - from about 5 medium eggs

To colour (optional but defo recommended)

Gel food colouring (I didn't have any so used blossom tint power in small sprinkles which was OK but def try to do as the MG girls tell ya!)



EQUIPTMENT


Good electric stand mixer, preferably a stand mixer (I use the lovely Kitchenaid my friends got us as a wedding gift)

Large flat baking sheets

Greaseproof/parchment paper

Cooling racks

Spatula(s)

Piping bags 

Paintbrush


Make sure all your equipment is clean, dry and grease free.



RECIPE



the mix 

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, pour in the sugar, and put the baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the edges of the sugar are just beginning to melt. Do NOT over cook! I did this twice in a row and ended up with a useless sticky lump :'(
Heating the sugar will help it dissolve in the egg whites more quickly and help create a glossy, stable mixture. 

3) Pour the egg whites into the bowl - make sure there is not even a speck of yolk as this will upset the fluffiness! 
Whisk on low speed at first, until you see small bubbles form, then increase the speed to high and continue whisking until the egg whites form stiff peaks and the bowl can be tipped upside down without the whites falling out. 
Be careful not to over whisk though!

4) By now, the sugar should be ready to take out of the oven. It will be HOT be careful.
Add a large spoonfuls of the hot sugar to the egg whites while still whisking on high speed, but avoid adding any big clumps. 
Add one spoonful at a time and let each spoonful mix well before adding the next.

5) Once all the sugar has been added, continue mixing on high speed for 5 mins until all the sugar is dissolved. To check the sugar is dissolved rub a little mixture between your fingers, it shouldn't feel gritty or rough - if it does, continue mixing on high speed.
The meringue will continue to thicken up during this stage. You know it is ready to use when it forms a nice smooth, shiny peak on the tip of your upturned finger.


stripes 

To make striped kisses, whip up a batch of Meringue Girls Mixture (see above recipe) and turn a large disposable piping bag or a reusable one with a 7/8-inch diameter opening inside out. Invert the bag over a jug or bottle so that it holds itself up.

 Using natural food colouring and a clean paintbrush, paint wide stripes from the tip of your piping bag to half¬way down (about five stripes). Roll the bag so the painted side is the inside, folding the edges over to make a sturdy vessel.

Carefully spoon your meringue mixture into the piping bag, rolling the sides up. You need to pack the meringue mixture in tightly, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Pinch the top of the bag closed, gently pushing the mixture in.

If using a disposable piping bag, with sharp scissors, cut the tip of the bag so that the opening measures 7/8 inch in diameter.
To get the meringue mixture flowing, twist the top of the piping bag to push the meringue to the bottom. Pipe small dollops onto the four corners of your baking sheets (if you are using a full batch of Meringue Girls Mixture, you will need a couple of baking sheets). 

Line the baking sheets with parchment paper; the meringue dollops will act as glue and stick the paper to the sheets.

You are ready to start piping!


piping

Hold the piping bag vertically with both hands, securing the twisted top with your dominant hand and placing your other hand halfway down the bag. Use the top hand to apply pressure and the lower hand to control the flow of the meringue. 

Squeeze the bag to form a kiss with a 2-inch base, and then lift up the bag while releasing some pressure so that the meringue forms a big peak at the top. Space the kisses about 3/4 inch apart. 

Piping perfect kisses takes practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. One batch of Meringue Girls Mixture will make about 35 kisses.

baking

To bake your kisses, position racks in the upper and lower-third of the oven and preheat your oven to 200°F. 

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the kisses are easily lifted off the parchment paper, with their bases intact. 

Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, the kisses will keep for up to 2 weeks.






Recipe via Meringue Girls, pics by ME! :)




Here's a few variations I've tried out;


Watermelon Meringue Kisses





I made these for my friend Keeva ( HI KEEVS!) for her birthday and they were a big hit! I also made watermelon cupcakes (I'll post about those later ;) )

I used this watermelon flavouring which is a teeny weeny bottle but HELLA STRONG so be careful! It's also a really funky luminous pink colour and will colour your mix (and hands and countertop... so be careful!)

I then used these Wilton gel colours,painting stripes on the inside out piping bag like in the MG instructions. Try to do broad green stripes and fine red stripes for the best look. The pink colour you see peeping through is actually from the flavouring!

 I used black sesame seeds as the water melon pips, which you will find in the Asian cuisine/ sushi making section of your supermarket, Sainsbury's def have them.





Rosebud or Rose Meringues




For these lovelies I used the limited edition Dr Oetker Rose flavouring (which I bought several bottles of when I found it!)


I've tried a few different techniques for piping these to look like roses or rosebuds but just can't get it quite right - but the flavour is INCREDIBLE! I just used a little rose blossom tint icing colouring to very delicately colour these.

Try these with whipped cream and fresh raspberries, then thank me later ;)




I've also done plain meringues kisses with rainbow stripes several times and these are REALLY popular with everyone in my office! The pics above in the recipe section are all rainbow meringue kisses I've made.


Good luck in your own meringue adventures, please let me know how you get on and share any good tips/ ideas/ flavours you come up with!! 

L x

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Lust List - August 2015



The new 'Blushing Rosa' print Wrapping Paper from Rifle Paper Co



If you know me well, you'll already know that Rifle Paper Co is probably my very favourite brand, Anna Bond is my spirit animal.

This new paper is so SO pretty, I want to cover my life with it.




Blushing Rosa Set of 3 Decorative Wrapping Sheets

Blushing Rosa Set of 3 Decorative Wrapping Sheets

Fun fact; We actually used a sheet of Rifle Paper Co wrapping paper on our Table Plan display at our wedding! 

I have had this antique gold frame which I mounted with a cork board since I was about 15, I bought it in a charity shop for £8 and am so glad I did, it's one of my favourite things I own even now.

 I stuck the paper to the cork board, wrote guests names on brown luggage tags with gold pen with their table numbers on the reverse and pinned them on. We now have the frame (with paper still in) used as a memo board in our new study :)

For more on our wedding, ideas, tips and decor check out the 'My Happiest Day So Far' page of this blog or my Wedding Planning Blog Pea and Carrot Get Married !




LOTS of things from One Kings Lane


Some of my faves are;

This Genisa Rug;



Genisa Rug, Pink


So pretty and pink! 


This Gilded Tortoise Lamp also from One Kings Lane;



Gilded Tortoise Table Lamp, Silver


Aghhhh I LOVE this! Just the right mix of eclectic and fancy! 


This Wall Mounted Metal Elephant from TK Maxx


This amazing find is just £14.99! Can you believe it??! I really love it and am trying to decide where in my house it might be able to go!!


Silver Toned Wall Mounted Elephant - TK Maxx


This Pink Mermaid-esque Bedding from my FAVE H&M!


It only comes in single size though :'(

Product Detail | H&M GB


These sweet Ceramic Ring Dishes from Baba Souk


Sadly now sold out, but loads of these beauties on pinterest! I'm a little obsessed with ring dishes... stay tuned to see some of my faves and a DIY project coming soon!

Ceramic Ring Dish - Babasouk


And finally...

This was my bargain of the month last month, this very Olivia Pope sheer sleeved white trench jacket from the River island sale for just £25!


Cream sheer sleeve cropped trench coat £55.00. So nice I had to show it in blk & wht! loving this so much right now

This is a great piece for me as I don't like having bare arms but hate feeling too layered up in summer - I wore this recently with a pale grey faux suede pencil skirt, nude silk blouse and nude heels and felt like Olivia herself ;)




Thursday, 25 June 2015

New Feathered Friend Wedding Cake Toppers!

I FINALLY got round to making some of these, have been meaning to for over a year!! Check them out on my etsy site!





Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Lust List - May 2015 (Very late!)

Another very late lust list this month :S BUT! It's because I've been busy getting and setting up a lot of the things I've previously lusted over for our new house, so that can be forgiven I think :)

The things I'm after this month have again mostly been for the house, but have also mostly been boring/ sensible things ( like a shed) however I have managed to get a few lovely things for the house using vouchers which we got from lovely people as wedding presents or new house gifts, here's a few of the prettiest things;


This Safari bathmat from M&S




I love leopard print, not gonna lie, I would have a leopard version of pretty much everything I own quite happily, but it's not everyone's taste and as I've gotten a little older I've moved further away from 'OMGEEE LETS HAVE A LEOPARD THEME BATHROOM WITH EVERYTHING LEOPARD PRINT EVEN THE LOO ROLL!!!' to 'Oh, the neutral colours in this bathmat will go with our pale grey bathroom' but this bathmat was so cute I had to have it! Especially as my Granny and Great Auntie gave us M&S vouchers as a house warming present! (thank you you two!)

The Matching Towels



We didn't get the towels to match the bathmat as they were sold out online, but I'm going to look in store for the matching hand towels this week :)

Rosie For Autograph Home Diffuser



I smelt this lovely room scent months ago when it came out and loved it but it was to pricey a present for myself for no reason, gift vouchers for the new house were the perfect excuse!

I also treated myself to the Rosie perfume, which was only £14 and is such a pretty scent!



The Perfect Nude Nail Polish


Guys... I have a problem... I have a lot of nail varnishes, like A LOT but I only recently realised the amount of 'nude' polishes I have is ridic. And I still have not found 'the one' :(

If you know where I can find the perfect pinky-peachy-nude polish (that doesn't cost a fortune) PLEASE tell me!






Chandeliers (Plural)


I really want a lovely but light chandelier for our bedroom, I've searched and searched on the internet and been close to buying many but then changed my mind at the last minute. I think this one on Amazon is the one though, I may get it after pay day! 




I also really want a pretty pastel vintage phone for our bedroom too, theres a phone port right beside my bedside table so I think really we need a phone there, you know, for 'emergencies' (like gossip!)




 That's really all I'm properly lusting after this month, I'm trying to avoid clothes shops! I'll post a house update soon though :)



Saturday, 25 April 2015

Everyday Soundtrack

This has to be one of the most uplifting and motivational movie soundtracks, I could listen to it all the time! It's what I listen to most often when I'm working or doing stuff in the house, brilliant for humming along to but not distracting.




We actually played most of it at our wedding pre ceremony!

Great movie, great music :)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Gothmingo

Did you see this in the news today? The worlds only black flamingo, it has a rare 'anti-albinoism' where it produses too much melatonin. Or it's just a bad ass.

Mrs Mingo "Fred can you please just dress nicely today for the family photo? I've left a nice pink shirt on your bed." 

Fred- "ugh mum no way, just let me express myself! I'm a goth I'm not going to wear pink. GOD!"


#gothmingo



Saturday, 4 April 2015

More Easter Bunnies!

How amazing are these Easter cupcakes my mum-in-law Elaine made today?!



They are vanilla cupcakes with coconut fur, white choc finger ears, jelly tot nose, chocolate eyes and sprinkle whiskers- yes that is a LOT of detail! They were not quick and easy to make! But mega cute huh?!


Easter Bunny

What do you do when the shops have run out of Easter eggs and you haven't bought a single one??

 Improvise! I made a couple of these Easter flower pots for Ross's parents, his brother Adam and his girlfriend Jill, and for my mum and brother Sam.


There's lots of fun stuff in there; mini bottles of pink cava and red wine (for my mum as she was off red wine for lent 🍷) chocolate bars, happy hippos, nuts, lollys, refresher bars... Oh and of course straw/ fake grass and little fluffy bunnies and nests to decorate! πŸ‡πŸ£πŸ’



Hoppy Easter everyone! πŸ‡πŸ‡πŸ‡

G&T with Q

I'm a big fan of gin and tonic, I normally have mine with a big wedge of lime or occasionally with a splash of elderflower cordial (thanks to Sarah!) but last week when I was getting groceries in @tesco I discovered their new flavoured tonics, one with jasmine and one within cucumber and I tried both that weekend. 

I usually drink Gordon's gin, which is quite floral tasting so really the jasmine tonic should have been best but I didn't know what to use as a garnish (and yes that's important! I like garnishes that add flavour) , lime cancelled out the floral taste. So I'll need to figure that one out!

Traditionally it's Hendricks gin that is recommended with cucumber but I really enjoyed my Gordon's with the cucumber tonic and finely peeled strips of fresh cucumber! I had one of these last night and took a pic this time so I can share :) 



What's your go-to Friday night drink? Do you like g&ts?🍸 How do you take yours? Have a great long weekend everyone! πŸ˜‰


Friday, 3 April 2015

The Lust List - April 2015

This month I am SERIOUSLY nesting, our completion date for the new house is 6th May and we have been busy packing and planning. VERY EXCITING!

We picked our kitchen a couple of weeks ago and I'm nervous to see it 'in real life' but that's not stopping me planning a few new purchases for it! 

My WONDERFUL BEAUTIFUL AMAZING friends in work got Ross and I a duck egg blue KitchenAid as a wedding present, and it's pretty much my fave thing ever, so I think we are going to decorate the kitchen around that! +KitchenAid 




Therefore on my lust list this month are a few duck-egg delights for our kitchen/ dining room!

Calling the Kettle... Blue!


I got VERY excited about buying this kettle... ask poor Keeva who has to sit beside me in the office. It was my NEWS OF THE WEEK. Mainly because I've been trying so hard not to shop and to save money that whenever pay day rolled around and we needed a new kettle for the new house, it felt like such a treat to allow myself to buy something pretty. Sad I know! 
But look how pretty! It matches my mixer! :D +Asda 




Take a Seat


We have very kindly been given a large round dining table by Ross's cousin Lezah, we cant' really tell until we are in the house what it will look like with the kitchen dΓ©cor but we may end up painting it or just using a pretty table cloth. We already have a collection of four odd wooden chairs which I (badly) painted pastel shades, I plan to sand them down and repaint them properly for the new house. I will probably spray paint them to get a nice even finish, but haven't decided on colours yet, again it depends on our finished kitchen, but I like these shades below!


I love these seat cushions from H&M and think they would look lovely on cream or ivory painted chairs.  +H&M 


But first.... Coffee


I love DotCom Gift Shop, they are just amazing, so many pretty things. Their kitchenware game has been significantly high recently (or I am just becoming aware that 'kitchenware game' is a thing, have I just invented it? who knows.) I particularly love these stove top espresso makers because; A) Coffee and B) Pretty Colours. Also stove-top is the best. #justsayin #kitchenwaregame +Dotcomgiftshop 




:O ALL OF THESE MERINGUES


Have you heard of The Meringue Girls? They are basically the two coolest girls ever. And they make Meringues. I want to meet them/ be them/ eat all the meringues. Have I said meringue enough? No. MERINGUES. 



LOVE & CAKE

These oven mitts from Stu Gardiner Designs are insanely kitch and cool. LOVE them!I think they are very me :)  





So basically this month, I'm looking forward to getting into our new house with our new kitchen and making some meringues with our kitchenaid while wearing funky mitts! - We'll see how that goes lol ;)





Monday, 30 March 2015

The Lust List - March 2015

Welcome to (a VERY late) March lust list!

It's been a crazy busy month with housey stuff (yey) and workey stuff (boo)

As well as mother's day this month, it was also my little sister Zara's birthday, and she moved to Greece!!! (I'm very jelly)

This month a project in work meant I was in London working for a week, though I didn't have a chance to shop, the hotel I was staying in was in St Pancras station which had loads of amazing shops to look in the windows of - so lots of stuff to lust after!

Here's what I was loving and lusting this month ;)

Lord Ludo U. Maritimus

I was feeling very ill a couple of weeks ago and my Dad and sister were out in Belfast so came to pick me up to take me home, on the way home my dad stopped at the On the Square Auction House for a nosey, it was very cool (pun intended).
 This dapper lad was in the window. I wish I could have taken him and his top hat home. (And those chairs too!)





Mirror Mirror in the Hall


 If you know me, you know I love shopping in charity shops and junk shops. Sometimes I buy total cr*p, and sometimes I find a hidden gem which I love forever. This is one of my favourite gems so far :)

I've seen mirrors like this in magazines and on pinterest and I really love them, especially over a console table in a hallway, which is hopefully where this beauty will end up in our new house!

I'd wanted a mirror like this for ages, and thought if I ever got one it would be after searching high and low and paying over the odds for one in Laura Ashley or somewhere like that. But instead, as I was dropping off some clothes and bric-a-brac we can't bring to the new house, I spotted this lovely in the charity shop window and snatched it up for just £5. I'm am VERY happy girl.


P.s. those dried flowers in the mercury glass globe? That's my wedding bouquet! :D




A Look around London


This was the view from the front of our London office (terrible pic, I know!), I really didn't get much of a chance to enjoy the city, but this was one area of the city I'd never really seen before as I usually stick to Camden, Portobello Road, Brixton and Oxford Street (of course!) 

Leaving the office the first day I was over, the sun was just fading and London bridge looked beautiful. Because it's been such a busy month I haven't had a chance to go for a beachwalk which I really need regularly to keep me calm, so the cool breeze and sound of the water was lovely after a long day of travelling and work!





I managed to get to Camden for dinner by my lonesome one night and had AMAAZING tapas in Jamon Jamon which I would HIGHLY recommend, I picked three dishes and a glass of yummy sangria and got an actual MOUNTAIN of olives!





LITERALLY EVERYTHING from Fortnam & Mason


Cruelly, there was a Fortnam and Mason right beside the entrance to my Hotel in St Pancras Station. I wanted to taste, smell and buy EVERYTHING. Their chocolates, their coffee, their biccies and even their tea (I hate tea- sinful I know) BUT I didn't get a chance to look! 



I knew there was a F&M in Heathrow on the way home though and managed to sprint to it in time to pick out some treats from their confectionery counter and a tin of coffee to keep for Saturday mornings in the new house :)

 I bought Ross and his mum a box of vanilla fudge each and bought myself two little boxes of beautiful Turkish Delight, one rose and one lemon. It was gorgeously wrapped but did not survive long enough to take a good photo...

This is the coffee I bought us, it was pretty pricey but a nice treat and if it's good enough for Betty Windsor, it's good enough for us!



That's about it this month! I'll be more on the ball next month and try to share my lust list before the month is over! -_-



Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Lust List - February 2015

Welcome to the first LUST LIST post! 

Each month I'll post a lovely list of all the things I'm loving! Whether it's shoes, food, make-up or movies!

Here's what I'm loving and lusting this month ;)


These Charlotte Olypia Flamingo Heels... FLAMINGO. HEELS. :O

these are actually from a really old collection, but I will never stop loving and wanting them!




Rifle Paper Co Rosa iPhone Cover

I love EVERYTHING Rifle Paper Co, this is one of my absolute faves!


Find this one and other beauties like it here

These SS14 Primark ( Yep, PRIMARK!) heels.

So so pretty and unusual, my friend Hannah actually bought floral ones and I'm hella jelly.





 Rose Gold Hair

I had crazy, fun, messy, multicoloured hair throughout my teens and I am seriously lusting after this pretty shade of pink hair right now! I could'nt go full on flamingo because of work, but I might treat myself to some sneaky streaks in the summer! :)




Scandal


Yes, I know, I was late to the party and I regret it, but I'm here now and I am LOVING IT!

Scandal is SUCH a great show but I'm only on the second series so no spoilers please!



Broadchurch

I'm also loving the second series of this surprisingly great British crime drama. As soon as one episode is over I am dyyyyyying for the next one!
LOVE IT!






but the thing i'm loving most right now....


MINI EGGS!

I have literally eaten about 10 packs of these (mostly while watching Scandal or Broadchurch)in the last couple of weeks, that gentle crack of the sugary shell on your teeth, the chocolate melting instantly MMMMmmmmmmm