Vanilla Cupcakes

Everyone loves a cupcake, they are super easy and fun to make, here is my favourite recipe for Vanilla cupcakes:

You will need:
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder
40g unsalted softened butter
120ml whole milk
1 large egg
3 drops of vanilla extract
Chocolate bars for decoration
12 hole cupcake tin lined with paper cases
For the icing you will need:
250g sifted icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml whole milk

Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees and line your cupcake tray with the paper cases. In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter together and mix using an electric whisk until the texture feels sandy. In a separate bowl mix together the milk and the egg and then slowly add this to the dry mixture along with the vanilla extract. Once combined pour the mixture into the cupcake cases until they are 3/4 full. Pop into the oven and leave for 20-25 minutes, once golden and the sponge springs back they are ready to come out, put on a wire rack to cool. Once the cakes have cooled down you can start on the topping, mix the sifted icing sugar and softened butter together to create the icing, if you want you can add food colouring too! Using a palate knife or a piping bag ice the cupcakes and then decorate, I used Crunchie Bars and Flake, they tasted delicious!

Are you going to be baking this weekend?

The Body Shop Home Fragrance Oils

I love scented candles, but with brands like Dipytque and Neom selling candles for ££40 plus it can sometimes feel like you are literally burning money. So how do you get heavenly scented rooms without spending a lot? I may have found the answer...
Whenever I walk past The Body Shop I am always lured in by the smell, whether it be strawberry or satsuma, it always smells amazing. I have never really paid much attention to their home fragrance section in my local Body Shop but whilst browsing the other day I happened to see the fragrant oils are £4! The collection is really varied, with fresh scents to warm, musky deep fragrances. All you need to use these little beauties is an oil burner, a little water and a tea light.

I picked up 'satsuma', a warm zesty fruity scent, after using this for only 20 minutes my entire house smelt incredible, You will find this little bottle lasts ages too as you only need a few drops each use.

Have you tried anything from the Body Shop home fragrance range?

Orange, Pistachio and White Chocolate Sponge Cake

I visited a lovely cafe in Worthing called Green Cuisine not long ago and tried their Orange, Pistachio and White Chocolate cake, and I fell in love. The flavour combination is to die for, it may not be one of the healthiest things on their menu but it sure is the tastiest. I decided to recreate this cake at home using a basic sponge tray bake recipe and altering it a little. For this cake I used a deep rectangular oven tray and an electric whisk and set my oven to 160 degrees.

You will need:
225 grams of softened unsalted butter
225 grams of caster sugar
275 grams of self raising flour
2 level tsp of baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tbsp of whole milk
Zest and juice of one orange
Large handful of pistachios
2 bars of white cooking chocolate
300 grams of icing sugar
200ml of water.

In a large mixing bowl add your flour, eggs, butter, sugar, baking powder and milk and combine all these ingredients to make to cake batter, once the mixture is done add half of the chopped pistachios and all of the orange zest and juice. Transfer the mixture into your lined oven tray. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. You will know when the cake is cooked when you put a knife into the centre and it comes out clean, set aside to cool. Once the cake has cooled down fully then you can start on the topping. Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl over a simmering pan of water. In a separate bowl mix the icing sugar together with a little of the water, once this is runny add it to the bowl of melted chocolate, this mixture will go hard very quickly so you will need to add around 200ml of water, keep mixing and adding water until you have formed a thick glossy chocolate topping for the cake. Once the topping is reading smooth over the cake and the sprinkle on the remaining pistachios. I think it is best to do this whilst the cake is still in the tin. Once the topping is completely set then you can slice up the cake into squares and remove carefully from the tin.

Pop this into a cake tin and it should last for a couple of days. Let me know if you give this a go!

Afternoon Tea in Petworth

Spring has well and truly arrived, despite the rain currently pouring down outside while I type away it has actually been rather sunny in old blighty these past few days. The daffodils are out and the English country side is looking beautiful. I love going to different villages and market towns, there are so many independent, unique shops to be found as well as proper homemade tea rooms and restaurants. This week Luca and I visited Petworth, a lovely town in Sussex, we also walked around the gardens of Petworth House, it is such a grand building, and the grounds are so well maintained, it really is a great place to go for the day.
We stopped for lunch at Tiffins, where we ordered the traditional cream tea, the scones were absolutely massive, and tasted delicious I might add, so good in fact that we were inspired to bake some when we arrived home.

Have you discovered a new favourite place recently? Are you more of a city gal or a country gal?

Rediscovering Blush

Recently my make up routine has been lacking in the blush department, I have been trying to make pink tones work for me but since having my hair re-ombred pinky hues just aren't as flattering as they once were. So in a bid to find something more suited to my do' I dug out a few old favourites. I picked up the 'Sleek Blush Trio in Lace' when it was first released as I thought all three shades looked very wearable, 'Crochet' is a matte peach that is so spring/summer, really pretty when applied to the apples of the cheeks. 'Guipure' is a gorgeous rose coral with gold shimmer running through it, I like using this instead of a highlighter as it is so shimmery, of all three this is my favourite, it is just so beautiful once applied. 'Chantilly' is the boldest of the bunch, it's a real red/coral tone in a matte finish, this is the perfect shade for giving the cheeks a flush of colour. All three blushes are super pigmented and finely milled, I like to apply these Sleek beauties with my 'Real Techniques Expert Face Brush' making sure I don't go in to heavy handed. Another favourite I rediscovered recently is a cult favourite 'Benefit's Coralista' this has to be one of the prettiest shades out there, it is just so flattering on the skin, it is a coral peachy shade with just the right amount of shimmer so it is great for an everyday look. I love the packaging of the Benefit blushes, it is such a fun design, with make up brands all going for the minimal chic look at the moment it's nice to see Benefit sticking to their creative designs.

So I am now officially back on the blush bandwagon, what are you favourites?

The One Hour Tan

I recently posted about a few of my favourite tanning products, but you may have read it and thought 'there is nothing here for a quick fix' and I here you.. sometimes we need to tan quickly, none of this going to bed and waking up glowing. Enter the one hour tan, yes you read that right the Cocoa Brown tanning mouse takes just one hour to work its magic. After seeing several rave reviews about this and being a big tanning fan I thought I ought to try it out, I mean this could be the end of stained pajamas and bed sheets. And did I mention it retails at £7.99?

Now I have to say when the product says one hour it does depend how dark you want the tan to be. The product description advises that for a light tan leave on for one hour, two hours for a medium tan and three hours for an ultra dark tan, now I initially went for two hours but ended up leaving it on for three, after which I washed off with water, no soap allowed, and was left looking suitably bronzed. I think three hours was the right shade for me, it was natural looking and unlike other bargain tanning mouses I have tried it doesn't have a funny undertone to it, it also smells reasonably nice. As with most tanning mouses you apply this to clean dry skin using a mitt, as advised I exfoliated and moisturized before hand for optimum results. I have found this tan fades naturally too and because it is such a quick thing to apply it is so easy to top your tan up.

So how does it compare to my holy grail Xen-Tan? I think the overall colour and longevity is very similar, and it takes half the time to achieve your desired colour. I think I may have found a new favourite....

This Time Last Week #3

This time last week I was celebrating my very first wedding anniversary, we wanted to do something a little different so we hired the Tea Rooms at the Dome Cinema in West Sussex, it has a real vintage vibe to it and it looks out onto the sea which is lovely, especially as we had the most beautiful weather. We asked along friends and family for afternoon tea which consisted of sandwiches, scones and cake and of course tea. The staff were all really friendly and did a great job of setting out all the vintage crockery. A local bakery 'Parklife' made us the most stunning cake, which was all pink and sparkly, they also make the most amazing milkshakes if you are ever passing.


Just a little outfit post for you today, I was heading up to London yesterday and needed an outfit that I wouldn't get too hot in during the day but that would keep me warm enough to watch the football in the evening, I chose my Asos floral skirt and Asos Heartbreaker tee which is such a nice fit, and paired it with black tights and H&M lace pumps. I took my trust Pull & Bear jacket, it's so lightweight you can just chuck it in your bag but at the same time it keeps you super cosy. My jewellery is from Snoppers Attic in Brighton lanes. I have been loving Asos recently, there is so much to choose from including lots of high street brands.

Are you an Asos fan?

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Everybody loves cheesecake right? Well I actually thought I didn't but oh how wrong I was, I wanted to make something special to celebrate my first wedding anniversary, and I know how much Luca loves cheesecake so on went the apron and out came the mixing bowl. I chose to make raspberry and white chocolate one with a dash of mint. I thought I would share the recipe with you as it was such a hit.

You will need:
Half a packet of digestive biscuits
2 tubs of Philadelphia
1 punnet of raspberries
White chocolate buttons - 2 share bags
Unsalted butter - 90 grams
Extra thick double cream - 500ml
Handful of fresh mint
Caster sugar 150 grams
Spring form cake tin
Vanilla paste - an eighth of a teaspoon

Begin by putting the digestives into a bowl and smashing them up making sure not to make them too fine, next melt the butter and stir into the biscuits. Melt one packet of white chocolate buttons by putting them into a glass bowl and placing it over simmering water. Push the crushed digestive mixture into the bottom of the cake tin making sure it is all nice and compact, then put this in the fridge. In a separate bowl whisk the double cream until it holds its shape. In another separate bowl mix the Philadelphia, vanilla paste and caster sugar together, slowly pour the melted chocolate in making sure you are beating the mixture the whole time, take three large handfuls of raspberries and crush them, then add them to this mixture. Add the whisked cream to the Philadelphia mixture and fold the two together. Now you can spoon the mixture into the cake tin making sure to fill all the air holes then smooth the top. Now it is time to decorate, take your second bag of buttons and your leftover raspberries and get creative, don't forget to add a little fresh mint to finish it off.  Leave in the fridge for at least two hours and then you can enjoy!

Have you tried any new recipes recently?

Oh I Wish I Had a Suntan, I Wish I Had a Pizza and a Bottle of Wine

Over the past few months my tanning routine has taken abit of a backseat in my beauty regime, but now the sun is back and so is the tan. After running out of Xen-Tan Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe Ultra Dark I replaced it with a St Moritz Mouse just in case I need a little extra glow for a night out, but nothing really compared to the Xen-Tan so I may have made a cheeky Feel Unique purchase. What I love about this self tan is that it is the nicest colour, not at all orange and it doesn't have the green tinge to it that St Moritz does, it's a true sun tan colour making it by far the most natural looking one I have tried. This is described as a weekly tan and as long as you have exfoliated and moisturized before hand I think it lasts a whole week, when it does eventually fade it does it gracefully and by that I mean you don't end up looking like you have some sort of skin disease.

Now you may be thinking that the Xen-Tan is just too much for you, so if you like to keep things just a little more subtle then I have the product for you, a gradual tanner like Garnier Summer Body allows you to be in control of how dark you go, just use this as a moisturiser, making sure you apply evenly and wash those hands afterwards and you will look perfectly bronzed. If after one use you have achieved your desired shade then your good to glow, not quite tanned enough? Just use again the day after to build on what you have already applied. As far as gradual tanning lotions go this is bar far the best I have tried, it leaves the skin feeling nourished and soft as well as providing a beautiful tan.

Are you more of a gradual tanning gal or is it mitts at the ready??

Running out of Bioderma

It eventually happened, the sad day when my Bioderma actually ran out, I almost cried when the last little beautiful drop fell onto the cotton pad, now ladies if you wear waterproof mascara you will know exactly what I am going on about here, once you find a remover that can make even waterproof mascara budge you know it is love. Now normally I am one step ahead of the ball and have a lovely fresh full bottle just sitting in my bathroom cabinet waiting patiently to be opened, this time however I had forgotten to replenish my Bioderma stock and almost fell over when I opened the door to see nothing sitting there waiting.

Now Bioderma is slowly becoming more available in England but you still have to order it online and wait for it to be delivered - not great if you need it that very day, so in an emergency I may have ran to Boots and panic bought the nearest thing to Bioderma I could get my hands on, enter Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, suitable for sensitive skin,now as you can see the overall look of the product is very similar to Bioderma's packaging but as we all know it's what's inside that counts so here are my thoughts...

I happened to be having a real smokey eye moment the day I tried this so I knew it would be the perfect challenge for the cleansing water, as I do with my Bioderma I popped some onto a cotton pad and wiped my eye make up off, and it worked! No rubbing or scrubbing needed, it just removed everything easy peasy. Just like Bioderma the mix of oil and water creates such a gentle cleanser that you really cannot fault.

So will you be trying out the Garnier Micellar Water?

This Time Last Week #2

Last Sunday Luca and I decided to go to Arundel, a sweet historical village bursting with quaint vintage shops and busy tea rooms, It is such a nice place to go for a wander and it is literally a few miles away from where we live, we ventured into our favourite treasure troves to see what bargains were to be had, we found some great original adverts from the 1950's and lots of beautifully distressed antique furniture. We found a lovely cafe to have tea and hot chocolate and then we headed to our favourite sweet shop which I happened to blog about on Friday, I also snapped a quick outfit of the day whilst shopping, I wore my Pull and Bear jacket to keep me nice and warm, black tights from New Look,  black lace pumps from H&M, a bargain of a dress from George at Asda, it's a speckled grey smock dress and the fit is just perfect, my parquet courts tote bag from their recent gig in Brighton, and my jewellery consists of a mint green necklace from New Look and a beautiful Amethyst stone bullet pendant from Snoopers Attic in Brighton Lanes. 

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, thanks for reading.

© W.M.C
Design:Maira Gall.