Friday, 26 August 2016

Ice-cream Cupcakes

Summer is now nearly over -- wait did it even happen?! To be honest it has been REALLY hot over the past couple of days hasn't it? I really want it to be autumn already though. I can't wait for all the autumn leaves, big cosy jumpers, scarves and cold nights drinking big mugs of hot chocolate. To make the most of what is left of summer, I thought I'd make the most summery thing I could think of to bake - ice-cream cupcakes. Not only do these look so cute, but they taste super delicious too! As well as being tasty, the cupcakes look really cute; they would be adorable for both picnics and summer parties. I chose to recreate a traditional ice-cream with the sweet vanilla flavours, multi-coloured sprinkles and chocolate flake, but you can base yours on whatever ice-cream you like. Your cake mix could be rum and raisin, chocolate, strawberry or your favourite flavour of ice-cream. Your icing could be refreshing mint, coffee or a swirling combination of different flavours. You could sprinkle the tops with unicorn glitter, pick 'n' mix, sprinkles or marshmallows (wishing I put glitter on mine now). The recipe is really easy to follow. It's a basic cupcake recipe I've always used and the only difference is that the cakes are baked in ice-cream cones, not cupcake cases! 

1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C and place 12 ice-cream cones onto a large baking tray ready to use for later.
2. Add 4 oz of margarine to a mixing bowl with 4 oz of sugar and mix until a smooth consistency is formed.
3. Next, crack in both eggs and pour in the flour. Gently bind the two together.
4. To make your cupcakes taste more like ice-cream, add 1 tbsp of vanilla extract and stir into the cake mixture. 
5. Evenly distribute the cake mix between the twelve cones (approx 2/3 full).
6. Bake at 160°C for 20-25 mins or when cooked through.
7. Leave to cool for 10 mins. Fill the inside of the cupcake with chocolate or strawberry sauce. I used the Dr Oetker surprise inside cupcake centre in chocolate which made this part super easy.
8. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled it's time to start making the icing. Stir together 5 oz butter and 10 oz of icing sugar until the colour is much lighter in colour and smooth in texture.
9. Pour all of your icing into a piping bag with the star nozzle attached. Following from that, ice the cupcakes in a clockwise direction to create the whipped ice-cream shape. 
10. Lastly, it's time to decorate! Cut each flake into 3 even pieces. Sprinkle a generous amount of hundreds and thousands onto the icing and top it all off with a chocolate flake. Yum!

Will you have a go at baking these ice-cream cupcakes?

Friday, 22 July 2016

25 things to do before 25 | UPDATE 5/25

Last year, I created a '25 things to do before 25' post, sharing all the things I would love to do and try before I reach 25. Fast forward many months and I have finally ticked off five of those things. I want to document everything I manage to do from the list, so I am going to update you all of my latest adventures every time I cross five off. Maybe this will inspire you to create your own bucket list?

Make my own Afternoon Tea - This is one of the first things I ticked off the list and the funnest thing to do! Going out for Afternoon Tea can be expensive, but if you create it yourself it can be a lot cheaper. I love to bake, so I thoroughly enjoyed picking out the recipes and planning and baking each and every delicious treat. I also got to make full use out of my cute, ditsy rose Cath Kidston tea set, which made the afternoon tea I made look even more beautiful. There's nothing better than baking all day, sitting down at the end of it, and eating everything you made with a salted caramel hot chocolate and the best company, Jonny. My favourite thing I made was the fancy Victoria sponge cake. It was so light and airy, filled with cream and strawberries.... the perfect cake to bake in summer. I need to make this again! I really want to make another Afternoon Tea soon. I think I may do a themed one later in the year, perhaps a Christmas related one with fruity scones, little gingerbread men and mulled wine.

Be in a magazine - I honestly thought this would be the hardest one to achieve, so when I pitched my idea to Blogosphere Magazine and they loved what I wrote, I was SO happy! I hope all who read it enjoyed it and felt inspired in some way. My article (which starts at pg. 75) is about how to improve your blog photography on a budget and I shared how to cheaply and effectively edit photos, where to pick up the best blogging props, as well as teach you some of the tips and tricks I have learnt a long the way. You can still grab yourself the latest copy here or subscribe and receive each issue before it hits the shelves here. It's well worth getting if you're a blogger looking for inspiration and advice and it's also a great source to find new blogs (read my review of the magazine here.) I am so pleased with how my article turned out, I'd love to write another feature or two in the future.

Buy a DSLR camera - This is the first thing I ticked off the list. My lovely boyfriend treated me to my first ever DSLR camera for my 22nd birthday (a Canon 750D if you wondered what camera I used!) and I have loved it every day since. This is what I use to take all of my blog photos. I still haven't figured out all of the settings, I tend to stick the automatic setting (which I find to be totally amazing), but maybe I should actually learn the ins and outs of ISO, aperture and shutter speed to improve my photos even more. My favourite mode is definitely the close-up one, I love how the lens picks up on every intricate detail, whilst creating a nice and dreamy blurred background. I think this camera will see me through many more years and I hope to capture many more memories with it! If you have any questions about this camera or would like to see a review then please let me know and I'll try and help.

Get a different haircut - I know I'll never get anything really drastic, so I'm going to tick this one off! I had rather long hair for a quite some time and about a year ago I decided to have a few inches cut off and I think my hair looks so much better and is much more easy to manage! Last week I also dyed my hair for the first time (well my boyfriend did... we were both so scared that it would turn green haha). The colour is not that much different to my natural shade, but it is slightly darker and has more of a chocolate brown tone. It's also a lot more shiny which is what I was what I wanted - yay! I love how it turned out, maybe I'll try out a different shade next time but who knows! I definitely don't think I'm brave enough to try something extreme though. I'm also growing my fringe out, which is taking sooo long. Basically, what I truly want, and I'm sure most girls do want, is princessy hair like Kate Middleton. 

Go strawberry picking - When I was little, I loved going to pick strawberries with my family. Last weekend, Jonny and I went to a local farm and picked strawberries and raspberries and it was so much fun. It wasn't the hottest day, but the weather was still lovely and we picked lots of delicious and fresh fruit in a beautiful location - I have know idea where we really were, but it was somewhere in the countryside in Derbyshire (I think)! Who agrees that strawberries taste better when you pick or grow them yourself? I'll definitely be doing this again next year.

The next things I would love to tick off my list are going rock-climbing, feeding penguins at the zoo and going on a safari! Have you got a 25 things to do before 25 list?

Friday, 15 July 2016

Yankee Candle | Warm Summer Nights

Yankee Candle is one of my favourite places to go for candles. Whether I'm treating myself to a candle or two, or buying a set for a friend's birthday, I trust and know that the longevity and the quality of the fragrance is going to be excellent. Yankee Candle have recently launched their brand new collection called Warm Summer Nights*. The collection is both fragrantly and visually stunning and consists of Flowers in the Sun, Passion Fruit Martini, Dreamy Summer Nights and Sunset Breeze. Prices start from just £1.80 per sampler. Samplers are a great way to test a bunch of candles and for such a small price why not try the summer collection before investing in your favourite?

Passion Fruit Martini
It's really hard for me to establish a favourite from the collection, but I think this one just about gets first place. Passion fruit Martini is one of my favourite cocktails so I knew before trying it that I would love it. Out of the three, this is definitely the strongest scent. I could smell the passion fruit through the envelope as I was opening it! When lit, the aroma quickly fills the the room with the yummy cocktail scent. Imagine being on a sunny beach abroad, having many giggles with the girls, soaking up the scorching sun, big sunglasses on, hair waving in the slight breeze and a passion fruit martini in each hand. This is exactly how the candle smells to me. The fragrance is very strong, but not in an overpowering way. It's almost mouthwatering with how juicy and fruity it smells with a tropical mix of passion fruit, mango and zesty oranges. If you like fruity scents, this is the one for you.

Dreamy Summer Nights
This for me is more of an evening scent. You can imagine lighting this late one summer's night whilst sitting on your balcony overlooking the city, reflecting on your day and staring into the beautiful moonlit sky covered in a blanket of bright and twinkling stars searching for constellations. It's a really calming, perhaps slightly masculine scent with hints of vanilla, soft flowers and slight woodiness. When lit, the fragrance creates a a nice, light and relaxing atmosphere so would be the perfect candle to light whilst getting ready for bed. With regards to aesthetic, this is my least favourite as I prefer the look of the brighter coloured candles as they bring a pop of colour to my flat, but the image does match with the tone of the fragrance. If you like relaxing scents, this is the one for you.

Sunset Breeze
Sunset Breeze, the candle that smells like a holiday! Imagine reading your favourite romantic novel whilst tanning and soaking up the sun overlooking the crystal blue ocean. Scents of tropical fruits move back and forth with the slight warm breeze which makes you crave the fruitiest cocktail and ultimately, you cave for that refreshing drink. This candle, like the passion fruit martini candle, is very refreshing and fruity. The thing I love most about Yankee Candles are that the fragrances are fairly strong so when one is lit, the room is is quickly filled with a gorgeous aroma. From the collection, sunset breeze is my favourite in terms of design; I love the vibrant sandy colour and the photo of the sunset looks beautiful against the golden outline. If you like fresh scents, this is the one for you.

What is your favourite Yankee Candle? Are you excited to try the new summer collection?