Monday, 28 November 2011

Some Sex, a Mug and a LOT of Rock and Roll

On Saturday night I spent a fabulous evening with some of my best girl friends at the Sex, Mugs and Rock and Roll event hosted by the lovely High Tea Cast girls Lea and Sam. The evening was all organised to raise money for Janie's School. Janie's School is a charity set up by Jennifer in memory of her mum. She is trying to raise £25,000 to build and open a school in Cambodia for girls who would not normally get the opportunity to an education. This is such a fabulous cause and big high fives to Lea and Sam for choosing to support this cause in their first event.

My friends and I decided that this would be a great opportunity for an excuse to get dressed up and hit the big city. The promise of cupcakes and cocktails was a sure fire way of getting us all on board. So on Saturday night we got all dressed up in our glad rags, the fake tan was out, the eyelashes, the lippie, the gorgeous but impractical heels. We were set! Unfortunately our *lovely* taxi driver was late to pick us up by 20 minutes, we therefore missed the two fast trains and had to get the 50 minute jobby into town. This meant that we were over an hour later than originally planned and therefore missed all but one of the Burlesque acts, boo! However we quickly got over this with a couple of delicious cocktails (they really were super yummy) and a win on the raffle!

My raffle prize

Shortly after this I spotted a platter of cupcakes being carried by non other than The High Tea Cast girls. Of course I had to get a photo. The girls were shouting their excitement about the music and the need to dance and my charitable side came out and I offered to pass round the cupcakes for them. They did not last long, luckily I managed to grab one for myself before they were devoured by the crowds. 

Lea and Sam with their cupcakes

One of the cupcakes

After cocktails and cupcakes there was little else to do but get our boogie on. And Boogie we did. Tune after tune was coming out of that DJ both. I started dancing and I didn't stop. I really needn't have bothered doing my hair or make up after the session I had on the dancefloor. Let's just say that 'sweaty mess' would be a good way to describe my look by the end of the evening. 

The DJ even had a funky phone

It was a truly wonderful evening. All of my friends had a brilliant time and there were choruses of 'we must do this again'. All in all a resounding success. Made all the more brilliant in the fact that it was all for such a good cause. I even got a chance to speak to Jennifer about the possibility of going out to Cambodia and volunteering during my summer holidays once the school is up and running. May as well make the most of the fact that I'm going to be a teacher and I get long summers. 

My only downside of the evening was the 'mug'. A complete idiot of a man who was responsible for essentially ruining the end of our evening. I won't go into details but the result of it was my dress looking like this...

...and one of my friends came out even worse. A shame that someone had to spoil such a fantastic evening. Here's to the next High Tea Cast night out!

A selection of the more sensible photos from the evening:

Finally, if you guys are feeling generous then please click on the link above to the Janie School website to read more about it and make a donation. 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My week in photos

ROTD: Delia Smith Christmas Creole Cake

I LOVE this time of year. Love it, cannot get enough of it. I'm also very excited that this year I will be in school with the little people in the run up to Christmas- best*time*of*year*EVER.

Every year my mum and I put aside some time to do our Christmas baking. We normally make a normal Christmas cake, a Creole cake, a Christmas pudding and some mince pies. This year we have made a normal cake and six, yes SIX Creole cakes. This is what happens when your mum joins facebook and starts telling everyone she is making alcohol overloaded baked goods-everyone wants one! Mum, being mum, of course says yes. We love Christmas making so much that we actually have TWO different Delia Christmas books. One is her classic one and the other was released last year with her latest TV show. We also have Nigella's Christmas which has some delicious recipes in. One of my favourite things about Christmas cook books is the pictures. I get so inspired with ideas for presentation and decorating.

We normally make ours at the end of October to allow for a decent amount of maturing and 'feeding' of more alcohol. However this bad boy has so much booze in it already that making it a bit nearer to Christmas shouldn't be a problem. You can always feed it with a bit extra if you want. Depends how drunk you want to get off of one slice!


For the Pre Soaking:
3 tablespoons rum
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons port (we used chocolate port this year-yum!)
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons Angostura bitters
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses sugar
450g raisins
225g currants
110g no-soak prunes, chopped
50g glace cherries, chopped
110g candied peel, finely chopped
50g mixed chopped nuts

For the Cake:
250g self-raising flour
250g demerara sugar
250g butter, at room temperature
5 eggs

This mixture will fit a 20cm square or round tin. This needs to be greased and double lined with baking parchment.


One week before you intend to make the cake, measure out the alcohol into a large saucepan. Now add the rest of the pre-soak ingredients. Tick them off as you go so you don't forget anything. Stir and bring to a simmering point, then, keeping the heat low, simmer gently for 15 minutes. Leave the mixture to cool (it smells AMAZING) then put it into a jar with a lid or an airtight plastic container. Store in the fridge for 7 days, shaking or stirring it around every now and then.

When you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 140C/GM1. Mix the sugar, butter, flour and eggs in a large bowl until everything is blended.
(I normally do the old method of creaming the butter and sugar then adding the eggs one at a time with a bit of flour then the rest of the flour)

When everything is evenly blended gradually mix in the fruit until it is evenly distributed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with the back of a spoon. 
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 hours without opening the door. Then cover the cake with a double thickness of baking parchment and continue to bake for another hour or until the centre feels springy when lightly touched. 

Cool the cake for 45 minutes in the tin, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack. When it is completely cold, wrap in double baking parchment and foil and store in an airtight container. This will mature well over a month. Feed with with more alcohol at odd intervals if you wish. 
Decorate with glazed nuts or a layer of marzipan and icing. 

Mine is maturing in the cupboard and so has not been decorated yet but I will post a picture when I do.

Happy Baking!

A small note: the photos from this post were taken of a cake that I made with gluten-free flour. It all looked ok when it came out so hopefully it will taste as good as the normal one too. 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

NOTD: Bourjois 10 days Nail Enamel No. 18

I picked this nail varnish up a few weeks ago when Bourjois were doing a 3 for 2 offer in Boots. I'm generally a big fan of blue nails and this colour looked good. I was also interested to compare this against by 'ole faithful' the Rimmel Lycra Pro nail varnish. Both products have a 10 day promise, albeit with small print that is something along the lines of 'with touch ups'. From previous posts you will know that I'm a fan of the Lyrca Pro and am always impressed with its longevity without a top coat (this is an important point for me as I often don't have time to do one).

Looking at the small print on the bottle the Bourjois varnish is meant to last 10 days with touch ups but a minimum of 3 days without. From this I am going with the idea that it should last perfectly for 3 days before you have to touch up. This seems doable, non? Especially for a product that is selling itself on it's lasting power.

On application I'm impressed. The brush has an angled tip which allows for easy application. I applied 3 coats to get a good solid colour on my nails. This is one of those products that names it's colours with numbers. If I were to give it a name it would be 'denim'. It also has a very subtle shimmer to it.

In natural light

With a flash-the shimmer is more obvious here

These are photos of my nails after 3 days:

The main wear is on the tips and around the base. The right hand wore more than the left. This might be because I'm right handed?! After three days wear going about my normal day to day life this isn't too bad. However from a product that is selling itself on lasting 10 days, yes with touch ups I know, I don't think it is that great. The bottle states that your nails should last a minimum of 3 days. I'd have expected the nails to still look near on perfect with 3 coats after 3 days for this kind of product. They'd have definitely not looked their best after 10!

Overall, I love the colour and the application is easy and fuss free. For a long lasting product though I'd stick with the Lycra Pro. This will do for normal wear and with a top coat, if I have time...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

My Week In Pictures

I've seen a lot of blogs do this feature and quite frankly I love it! I'm always snapping away with either my camera or phone. Therefore I've decided to start doing this every Sunday (yes I am aware that it is Tuesday-it was a busy weekend!)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

All that glitters

Party Season is fast approaching. In fact for some of us it has already started and is set to continue through to the new year (my work Christmas party is the 13th January). With so many places to go and people to dazzle it is a time of excitement and horror for some people. Do I get something new? Do I wear the same dress twice? Do I need to drop a dress size? I can't decide which colour to go for? This party season, as in most, the shops are full of glitter and sparkles. Whilst gold seems to be the forerunner for the colour of the season, other metallics such as pewter and petrol are also coming into play. Here is a selection of some of my current favourite sparkly numbers.

Oasis Feather Embellished Shift Dress £95

River Island Black Longline Sequin Cami £65

River Island Gold Metallic A Line Shift Dress £35

Jigsaw Flapper Dress £325

Jigsaw Gold Sequin Jersey Dress £179

Versace for H&M Black studded dress £49.99

M&S Limited Collection Sequin Shorts £35

M&S Limited Collection Sequin Mini Skirt £39.50

French Connection Lucky Star Halter Dress £165

Monday, 14 November 2011

Getting to know you

When I was a teenager I LOVED those emails that went around asking you to answer questions either about yourself or about the person who had send it to you and you then had to send it on to someone else and they did the same. I don't know if it's because I'm nosey, like to talk about myself, or just like quizzes...I do like quizzes. I also used to love doing personality quizzes to 'find out about myself and the person I am'. Ah, the misspent days of youth. I've seen on a couple of blogs a 'getting to know you' style posts and well, I rather like that idea, so I'm going to do one too! So here are a few little facts about me...

1) I am obsessed with anything that is coconut, apple or mint scented OR flavoured, seriously, obsessed!

2) Audrey Hepburn is my absolute idol. I love everything about her.

3) It took 26 years but I finally broke down my parents and convinced them to get a dog. In fact we got two and the last year has been so much fun with them in our lives. Even if at moments they drive me crazy! 

4) I've never really known what I have wanted to do with my life. There are too many options and I love to do so many things. After giving up my job as a buyer I'm now in my 2nd of 4 years training to be a primary school teacher and I love working with the children. 

5) Giving up work and becoming a student also means that I have had to put off moving out. As much as I love my parents I am desperate for my own place. I already have it all planned in my head how I want to decorate it.  I think that by the time I have finished my course I will not only have a 'bottom draw' but a bottom spare room full of things. 

6) Even though I am nearly 27 I still love Disney. 

7) I read A LOT. My record of reading was 14 books during a 10 day holiday. I will read pretty much anything.

8) I love cooking and baking and one day I would like to think I would be brave enough to apply to go on the Great British Bake Off

9)   I will never sing in the shower but in the car i sing at the top of my voice!

10)  Even though i have a slight obsession with shoes i will always prefer to be barefoot

11) If its not Cadburys-im not interested

12) I would do anything for my friends

13) I still love mummy hugs

14) I trust people too much but am also often surprised by people.

15) I love photography and film, i couldnt live without my camera!

16) I love my first name, even if noone can say it.

17) I dont like using umbrellas-i prefer walking in the rain and getting wet!

18) I have 2 intense strange phobias-wasps and bridges.

19) I love to dance, any time, any place

20) Travelling was one of the best things i have ever done

21) I wish i could sleep at night and stay awake during the day! I think im actually nocturnal.

22) I wish that I looked like Zooey Deschanel. I therefore often wonder why I cut all my hair off!

23) I have the coolest grandparents in the world! Seriously, they are going to be 82 and 83 in the next month and they look and act like they are at least 20 years younger.

24) I've had my heart broken and trampled in the past but I am now the happiest I've ever been with another person. 

25) There are too many places in the world that I want to see and I hope that I get the chance to see them in my lifetime.