Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cake Club

I floated the idea of a Cake Club around on Twitter the other day and got a fair bit of interest so I thought I would explore it further, get some members and make it happen!  You don't need to be a blogger to take part as I know many of my lovely Twitter friends do not blog and I wouldn't want to exclude any cake lover.  Unfortunately because of logistics you do have to be in the UK.

I did think of doing something on a much smaller scale a few years ago and even went as far as buying some postage boxes from eBay but the whole actual posting of cakes bit put me off.  I sent a couple of trays of brownies recently as a thank you to the wonderful Echo Falls team and the fact that they arrived in one piece got me thinking again.  I mean everyone loves cake don't they!

Tray bakes and loaf type cakes are probably the easiest cakes to post.  For tray bakes I use disposable trays (which also saves on the washing up, result!)  You can probably get them in Poundland (don't have one near me) I usually buy them in either Asda or Lakeland.  The size you see below costs £2.40 for 6 and you can also get smaller trays which are 5 for £1.00 which would be great if you fancied sending a couple of different cakes.  For loafs I would bake using a paper liner.

These are the brownies I baked for Echo Falls:

Once they had cooled I added a layer of baking paper then covered them in cling film.

I then covered it in foil to keep the freshness in and add a little bit more protection.

Before popping them both into a postage box with a bit of bubble wrap.  I didn't plan this very well and got the only postage box I could find and I didn't have enough bubble wrap to pack the box correctly, the trays could easily move around in the box.  You can pick up cheap boxes on eBay.

I sent them first class using Royal Mail, they weighed about 2.5kg.  Again didn't really think this through too much, I wanted to send them Special Delivery but that was over £25 so I took a chance and paid just over £10.  I am pleased to say they arrived next day anyway and as you can see they are no more damaged than if I had wrapped them up to hand deliver! I have been told that ipostparcels are pretty good, they will collect from you and deliver next day from £6 (just don't tell them your sending cake!)

Right so how will this work?!  I have created a Cake Club page and all you need to do is leave a comment with your email address to be included.  If you have any dietary requirements please also state these and don't be put off from joining, baking for allergies is really easy these days and most standard recipes can be adapted.   Likewise if you really hate a flavour include that, no one wants to bake a cake the receiver won't like.  For the record I don't like lemon or coffee cake ;)

The first bake will be a trial to see how it all goes.  I will pair members up and then you just need to get your bake on!  If it all goes well we can then bake and post once a month and I will mix up the pairings so everyone gets to try a different bakers cake.

Sound good to you?! If you want to be part of the Cake Club click here.  If you've got any questions or suggestions then please post them on this post :)


Friday, 28 September 2012

A Castle In The Sky

Can I start this post with a WOW.  This really is the most perfect dress for me, I knew as soon as I laid eyes on it that it needed to be in my wardrobe and the reality of it is even more amazing.  Don't you just hate it when you crush on something and when you finally get your hands on it it's one big disappointment.  Saying that when it is even better than expected there really isn't anything better.  (Yes I know I sound obsessed.  I am obsessed with dresses and I just cannot help it)

I love the cutesy print, the contrasting collar & cuffs, the fact it has sleeves in the first place, the crease free fabric and to be honest just everything about it.  I felt special when I wore it and cannot wait to wear it again.  I also love the way the blue looks with my hair.  Oh hi new hair, I am loving you!

Court Shoes: Chie Mihara c/o Spartoo*

This dress also works well with my lovely Chie Mihara shoes but would work just as well dressed down with a pair of boots.  You guys are going to get sick of the sight of this dress in my instagram feed.

Sugarhill Boutique are fast becoming my biggest crush, so many dresses with sleeves and almost an entire #wardrobezoo!!  Cannot wait to add more pieces to my bursting wardrobe.

Have you noticed my amazing new blog design?! I cannot tell you how much I love it!! A MASSIVE thank you to the lovely Gillian for all her hard work and putting up with my many stupid questions.  Gillian isn't currently able to accept any new blog design orders but keep an eye on this page for future news.  Best bloggy decision I have made in a long time!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wednesday Wants

Short and sweet this week, I am under the weather and trying to fight it off so it doesn't interfere with my very exciting weekend plans!! The first signs of autumn have me dreaming about dressing up and as it isn't quite yet sequin season these pretty prom dresses are going to have to tide me over.  I love all things leopard print and this little number from the Kelly Brook range at New Look is just perfect.  The sweetheart necklines on both dresses is so flattering and either dress teamed with these gorgeous red shoes will be a winner.  More bows on shoes, I think I might have a problem!

Dress: asos

Court Shoes: Blink @ Spartoo

Any pretty dresses caught your eye this week?


Sunday, 23 September 2012

#BFF Club

BFF Club started in January after a birthday trip to Birmingham for three of our birthdays ended up with us all buying BFF mugs from Urban Outfitters.  We decided that once a month one of us will bake a cake and we will meet up for a good old gossip and catch up with our bestest, dearest friends.  It's finally my turn to host (save the best til last or something like that, hehe!)

As I am the resident baker of the group I knew expectations would be high and I didn't want to disappoint so I decided to bake not one but three cakes!  Two are tried and tested recipes and the other is something I have been waiting for an excuse to bake!

I have made this Nigella Malteser cake a few times now and it is always a big hit.  You can find the recipe over on Helen's blog and whilst you're there be sure to check out the many other amazing recipes. 

Next up is Hummingbird Bakery's carrot cake.  This recipe is the best I have found, it makes a dreamy moist sponge and the cream cheese icing is just the perfect balance of sweetness.  I decided to make this cake square as I have yet to use my square pans and needed all my round ones for the last cake!  Not sure I like it being square but I guess it's a bit different :)

Finally I have been looking for an excuse to make this for ages.  I followed Claire's recipe to make sure I had enough batter for each layer.  It's essentially a victoria sponge cake and as I have already made a cake with cream cheese frosting I decided to add jam and use buttercream to frost it.  I am lucky enough to work round the corner from an amazing cake suppliers and buy my gel colours there, I mostly use the sugarflair ones which produce the vibrant colours you see below...


Friday, 21 September 2012

Maroon Two

Technically Maroon three if you count my nails and thankfully not Maroon Five... ha.  I bought this H&M dress as soon as I laid eyes on it and now I've gone copper I love it even more!  It really does work well with the old ginger tones.

Talking of the copper this is officially my first ginge outfit post, I am getting used to the shock of my reflection now!  I kinda forget that I am no longer dark until I catch a glimpse in a window or mirror.  This River Island jacket is perfect for this time of the year when it's not quite cold enough to wear a coat but you need something to protect you from the drop in temperatures.  Brrrrrrr! I had to turn the radiator on in my office yesterday.  It's my favourite time of the year mind!

Dress: H&M
Jacket: River Island
Necklace: New Look
Ankle Boots: Blink c/o Spartoo*

I have some more new shoes! I absolutely adore these boots by Blink, I have worn them the last couple of days and can confirm that they are really comfy as well as looking great.  My only wish is for the studs to be gold instead of silver but I can live with them as they are... although I am toying with the idea of painting them gold!  We shall see if I can be bothered. 

I am planning on hitting the shops tomorrow, I haven't had the chance to go shopping in weeks. I also want to pop into an Apple store and have a look at the iPhone 5, I am overdue an upgrade but am not sure what to do yet.  So annoyed that Apple have changed the connector, I have loads of accessories and chargers that will become redundant :(  What are your plans for the weekend?


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wednesday Wants

This weeks wishlist is all about texture!  One thing I love about autumn winter clothing is how opulent it usually is with luxe fabrics and textures playing a big part.  I haven't found a velvet dress worthy of wishlist status yet but have found these little gems.

This Dahlia brocade dress is just dreamy.  I love the muted jewel colours combined with the heavy fabric.  I love how it is styled over on but would personally team it with a pretty black chiffon blouse.

Dress: Dahlia

I have some tapestry shoes hidden in the depths of my wardrobe and always struggle with what to wear them with.  I love them but they just don't work with most of my dresses :(  This dress is practically the same pattern and I can just wear it with a pair of black shoes taking away my current dilemmas! Perfect.  Such a beautiful dress, sigh.

Dress: Nishe @ asos

It's hard to see from the photo but the fabric of this Topshop dress is a lovely thick rib.  The skirt looks really swishy too which is always a good thing!  I am so tempted to channel Sarah and live in little red dresses that match my new hair.

 Dress: Topshop

Dresses this pretty need simple shoes and these two tone boots fit that bill perfectly.   I can't stop browsing boots right now, am still hunting for my perfect pair but am not sure what I want.  Think I might have to make these my heeled boots so I am just looking for a flat pair and a going out pair... three new pairs is not excessive, right?!

Ankle Boots: Belmondo @ Spartoo

What are you lusting after right now?


Monday, 17 September 2012

Going Copper!

I've been wanting to go red for a while.  I had decided to take the plunge just before Cheryl Cole went red so that stopped me in my tracks.  I started thinking about it again six months or so later but Gray proposed and we booked a date so that stopped me again, I didn't want red hair for my wedding day.  Finally after wearing the pink wig at Bestival I remembered I really wanted to do it so I booked an appointment and started getting really nervous! I found it hard to decide what shade I wanted and was so worried that it wouldn't suit me or mean I couldn't wear some of my favourite dresses that I almost talked myself our of it!  I am really glad I didn't. 

Changing my hair colour is a pretty big deal for me.  I am naturally blonde and have only ever been blonde or really dark, being the latter for approx. 3 years now.  Getting the dark out of my hair was quite a lengthy process so I thought I would document it for those wanting to do the same.  I do not dye my own hair after one very unfortunate experience a good 5 years ago (ended up with orange and yellow roots... on Christmas Eve, eeekkk!!) and strongly recommend you go see a professional if you want to keep healthy hair!

And so it begins.  This is a reminder just how dark my hair was.

 Laura applied a product called Colour Eraser which strips out as much of the dye as possible without using any bleach.  This process is lengthy and the product stinks of eggs but it is very gentle on the hair.  You can do this process a couple of times, Laura did it once on my hair.
 I had to sit with a little plastic cap on which was gently heated to help the process along.

After the Colour Erase has been washed out - you can see that the dark has lifted out a lot, my hair is normally black when wet.

Next Laura applied a bleach bath to lift the hair further.  This can damage the hair due to the bleach so you need to be careful how long it is left on for.  It also contains 3% peroxide which gave me roots similar to those I gave myself all those years ago ;)

 After the bleach bath had been rinsed off.  More stubborn bits of dye have now been removed and my roots are yellow, nice!

 Before applying the colour my hair needed to be dried, this shows how much colour had been stripped out of my hair in one sitting!

 Not sure why this photo is so blurry, sorry guys!  A base colour was then applied to my roots.  As I said before I am naturally blonde and without a base colour my roots would pick up too much copper and I would end up with a ginger glow.

 L'Oreal 7/44 was applied to the rest of my hair with 8/04 being added to the ends to ensure an even colour.  (Looks like a quiff Gem, does that mean you fancy me now?! haha!)

The end result!  Quite a big difference from the start photo!! I am going to go brighter with the addition of a few foils next time but it was important to me to keep my hair nice and healthy and not try to do it all in one go.

Have you made a dramatic colour change? Link me to your photos, I would love to see :)
A big thank you to Sarah for all the hair inspiration, helped me finally make my mind up

**edit** wanna see a blonde Sarah?! Click here!!  Don't laugh, it's from 2008 ;)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bestival Outfit Post - Wildlife

As I have already mentioned (just once or twice maybe ;) )  the theme for Bestival this year was Wildlife, I don't really do fancy dress but wanted to make a bit of an effort so I decided to go for leopard print and picked up this amazing wig just because I have always wanted to try out pink hair! Well anything goes at a festival right?!  I must admit I LOVED wearing the wig, it's really nice quality and fitted really well.  It's a mix of dark pink and black which adds texture and stops it looking too fake... I would also totally have a blunt fringe again if my own hair didn't part all the time!  I wish I could wear the leopard face paint applied by the Echo Falls team every day!

Dress: New Look
Ears: New Look
Jumper: Miss Selfridge
Shoes: Low Top Trainers - Converse

It got pretty chilly as soon as the sun went down so I stuck my tiger jumper on over my outfit and later added a coat and scarf... brrrrr!!  Also warmed up with a pineapple full of rum, never question the benefits of a beer jacket, haha.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Bestival Outfit Post - Minnie Mouse Inspired!

I decided to use Bestival's fancy dress theme as an excuse to wear ears more than one day, why the hell not hey?!  The lovely Sophie at Crown and Glory custom made these Minnie Mouse-esque ears for me and rather than go the whole hog and wear a Minnie costume I went for a subtle nod to Minnie with a few polka dots and a splash of red.  I wore various jersey dresses over the weekend and they were perfect, no creases and really easy to wear.  The fishnets however may not have been the best of choice seeings as I now have fishnet tanned legs... oooops!! My favourite boots were the perfect shoe choice too, it's amazing how much walking you actually do each day.

 Dress: Topshop
Cardigan: Peacocks
Smart Shoes: Emma Go c/o Spartoo*

My first ever outdoor outfit post... didn't feel like too much of a tool either, haha! Thanks to Gemma for taking these photos :)

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