Friday, 27 December 2013

Guest Post - Do it yourself Dr Who cupcakes


Little Miss Cake Maker – Guest Blog Post



Hello :) I'm Little Miss Cake Maker and two of my most favourite things are cake and Doctor Who. It's been a great year for both as I started my little blog back in January and it's just been Doctor Who's 50th anniversary... so I've had the perfect excuse to combine them - and now I get to share it with you!



The first step of figuring out these epic cakes was to decide what flavour sponge to make. Some cake makers go crazy with wacky flavours but I really actually like good old vanilla, and generally chocolate is popular too. I finally decided, if there can be 11 (or 13 even..!) Doctors, there can't be anything wrong with making 2 batches of cakes! So I made my standard cupcake recipe which I'll detail below, with the first mixture containing just a bit of vanilla essence, and the second batch with a tablespoon of cocoa powder added.

Both of the batches of mixture makes 12 cupcakes each, and here's the general way to do it:

Ingredients:
125g (4 ounces) Margarine or butter
125g Caster sugar
125g Self-raising flour
2 eggs


Preheat your oven as it doesn't take longer than 10 mins roughly to make this mixture. Gas mark 4 or 180 degrees.

Measure out the ingredients and beat the eggs before mixing it all together in a bowl. If you have a food processor it's even easier but I don't. Mix until smooth and don't over-mix it, doesn't usually take long!

You need a 12-hole muffin tin and some cake cases to line them, then you simply spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into each.

Put them in the oven for 15-18 mins (don't open the door before then) and you can check they're done by pressing the top of the cakes gently with your finger – if they spring back they're done, if there's a finger dent in there they're not (eeep)!

Let them cool down in the tin for a little bit.


I can be quite indecisive and couldn't choose one cake design, so I decided to do 3! Here's my designery process on paper!

I can't say I didn't crazily enjoy making little mini Tardis' and minimalistic sugar Daleks, because I totally did. I really love adipose too. They've only been in one episide, but they definitely need to appear in another episode (if Steven Moffat happens to be reading??!), so for now I've regenerated them in marshmallow format (giant and mini to make their super-cute squidgy bodies).


So your cakes are baked and you're now wondering how to even begin making that amazing drawing into yummy reality (you know you are...).

First step, buttercream! Here's the recipe:

75g Butter or margarine
175g Icing sugar

Sift the icing sugar so there are no lumps – then gradually add to the butter, mixing it in to cream it up as it gets less buttery and more sugary! You can add a tiny bit of vanilla essence for flavour if you like but it takes good anyway.

Colour:
The food colouring I use is in paste form and comes in little tiny pots, but if you're not a regular baker you can find the liquid stuff in regular supermarkets – add it really gradually so you can see the how the colour goes as you mix it in, and add until it's proper TARDIS blue coloured! It seemed to take a while to get it blue enough, but totally worth it.


I used a piping bag and nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cakes, but if you don't have them, just use a spoon and try and swirl the icing to create the swirly sky effect :)

The rest of the decorations are all made using a mixture of ready to roll icing, royal icing and marshmallows.



If you're not an experienced baker you can usually buy coloured ready to roll icing but otherwise you mix in the colours with the same kind of paste as used for the buttercream, kneading it in until it's all mixed in. I then shaped the TARDIS by hand to make the rectangular boxes and made a little template out of card for the dalek outline, which I just rolled out the icing and cut around. The detail was added with royal icing – but you can usually buy piping gel from supermarkets in any colour too which would work easily. Edible silver balls were also clearly invented to decorate daleks with! You can be as creative as you want with the decorations, taking shortcuts or going all out if you prefer!


It would be so awesome to see anyone else's versions of these! – send them in to hello@littlemisscakemaker.com or post them to facebook: www.facebook.com/littlemisscakemaker

Allons-y!


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Massive thank you to Sam for being my first guest blogger. I hope everyone enjoyed reading. Tell me what you thought of this post in the comments section. Also don't forget to follow her own personal blog here :)




Monday, 9 December 2013

Tights Please!*

Ahhhh tights. I love tights!  
You can literally wear them for any occasion or in any season.. and they're much more comfy than trying to squeeze into those skinny's jeans of yours.
That's why I was thrilled when tights please sent me a few pairs to review for their website.
Tights Please are a great online company which supply a wide range of hosiery.
From tights to socks, leg warmers to leggings there's plenty to choose from. And not only that its actually really reasonable in price.
On the high street you can be paying a lot for one pair of fashion tights. Tights please offer discounts up to 50% on brand named items.
The website is really easy to navigate round as they categorize by style, colour, latest trends, material, occasion and size
They also offer free UK delivery and send their items out in discreet packages which fit through your letter box so your not waiting in.

These pair are from House of Holland which retail at £12.00. I wore these for my birthday night out last weekend and all my girly friends gushed over them (not to mention my boyfriend). I love the whole knee high look of these and not only that, they were a good thick material meaning I'll get good use out of these. At 30% cheaper on the website I think they are well worth the money.


Another pair I picked off the website were these cute little Christmas tights. They have reindeers and snowflakes on them which will get you in the festive mood (check out my feel festive post here)
I'll defiantly be wearing these on Christmas day with a dress!



These tights are cool right? Galaxy print has been really popular recently. The colours are pretty and they feel more like leggings rather than tights. I think wearing these with a black skater dress or denim would give them a good casual look.


These tights are from red or dead and again down from £9.49 with 30% off they are a steal. I love their selection as they stock stylish patterns which are great for day or night. Comfy and warm they are ideal for winter!


All in all I'm really impressed with my items and value for money from Tights Please. Feel free to check out the website for yourself (here) and style up your outfits today.

Thanks for reading guys. Please comment below and tell me what you think!






(disclaimer : I was sent the product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and I was not paid )





Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Be More Festive This Christmas

Christmas just isn't the same as you get older.
Gone are the days where you wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning to a mound of presents and a never ending supply of food.
Trips to Santas grotto just aren't the same anymore now you know he's a 50 year old impersonator who works part time at Aldi. As for gift giving... there's nothing more fun then running around like a headless lunatic on Christmas eve trying to get your mothers present which alas.. is out of stock.
 
Its no wonder people turn into complete scrooges.
 
 
 
 
In todays post I'll be sharing some helpful tips to keep you festive this Christmas.

Hereeee we goooo....




If you really want to get into the festive spirit then the best way to start off is by decorating your home. Don't leave putting up your tree to the last minute, put it up now. Go out and buy pretty decorations to match your home for it (we went for purple and silver).. and the more fairy lights the better. There's nothing more cosy sitting in your room with the tree glowing and the nice smell of a Christmas yankee candle burning.





Every year I always make sure I watch at least one Christmas film on Christmas eve to get me excited. Plan a night to yourself or with people and get the popcorn out. I'll list my favourites below..

Its a Wonderful Life
Elf
Home Alone
The Holiday
Jingle All The Way
ANY of the Christmas Carol films (there's loads but its an amazing story)
Love Actually





The great thing about this is that Christmas jumpers are actually pretty popular these days around Christmas time so you won't look like more of a fool than anybody else. Also its FUN to dress up and wear something different and as this holiday only comes around once a year its the perfect opportunity to do just that! I found some cute jumpers from primark and at only £12.99 you can't really complain so go out and buy one.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Christmas cards are so cheap. You can literally get a pack of about 50 for a couple quid so there's no excuse on this one. Plan an evening and make a list of people who you care about, work with, associate with in life and write them a card and give it to them. It'll make them smile
 
 
 
 
 
 
If your feeling glum then they always say listening to music helps. Update your iPod with some Christmas songs and listen to them on your way to work. Play them while you wrap your presents or while you write out Christmas cards..
 
 
 
 
 
If films and cheesy songs aren't your thing then put down that terrible 50 shades book and read something 50x better. There are so many incredible novels which will put you in the festive spirit. Again.. I'll list a few.
 
A Christmas Carol
The Polar Express
A Visit From St Nicolas
The Nightmare Before Christmas
 
 
 
 
 
Work places usually try and come up with a special treat for staff during Christmas. Last week I went on my works do to a hotel where we had a three course meal and a disco. Its a good excuse for a night out and perhaps some free booze.. and another excuse to buy a new outfit so go for it.
 
 
 
 
 
Christmas is all about food and putting on weight you didn't want to so why not contribute and try your hand at cooking something.
For some inspiration click here to view a wide range of recipes
 
 
 
 
 
If your lucky enough to live near/in a town that provides a Christmas market as this time of year then I suggest you go because its great. The one I went to in Manchester provided amazing food and drink and gorgeous little stalls which sold hand crafted decorations and gifts. It was a lot of fun and the perfect day out.
If you don't have any Christmas markets near you then visit your nearest skating rink. Sometimes towns will create one for a short amount of time while its the Christmas season
 
 

 
 
Many places this time of year put on great shows. Go to your towns panto or if you fancy something a bit more classy go see something from the west end!
 
 
 
 
 
There's something really satisfying about putting the time and effort into a gift for a loved one and then seeing their reaction when they receive it. Give youself plenty of time to pick out something what you think the person would like and then gift wrap it up all nice. You could also try my do it yourself hamper here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones. Don't be alone this Christmas. Don't be a Grinch and sit in your room all day. Take the time out to show your family/friends how much you appreciate them.
 
 
EndEndEnd
Thanks for reading :)
 
 If  you have any additional tips you think should be included in this list then feel free to comment. The more tips the better. Lets stomp out the Grinch's this year!
 
Also I will be adding another Christmasy post soon that'll tingle your taste buds so stick around!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Thursday, 21 November 2013

Mental Illness : Depression. Ways to cope.

 
 
 
I've wanted to write a post on this for awhile as I feel very strongly about awareness on mental illness. Even in this day and age where mental illness is becoming far more acknowledged and diagnosed there are still a wide number of people out there who suffer and don't know the right ways to live a relatively normal life like everyone else.
 
 
 
I myself have suffered with depression and anxiety and have done for many years. It was only up until 2010 when I was officially diagnosed did I realise that I could do something about it. Before then I was confused and didn't understand the way I felt. I was moody and irrational and I never wanted to go out. I sabotaged relationships with people and stopped myself progressing in life. I pretty much just wanted to live in my bed and never associate with anyone. Obviously that's not the way to go and through understanding and help I've now learnt of ways to catch my "illness" early and learn to control it.
 
 
If you suffer with depression/anxiety then read on as I'm going to explain a few little things I do to keep myself happy. Maybe you'll gain something from it.
 
Think Positive
I know its a hard thing to do when you feel like your world is falling down but the best thing to do when you feel a wave of depression coming on is to look at the world a little differently. Instead of thinking of all the things you don't have or need... start to think of the things you do have. If you feel worthless or hopeless.. think of the people who care about you, your friends, your family.. even your pets! If you feel like you haven't achieved anything and your going nowhere in life then set yourself targets to progress... even if its the tiniest thing. Every little thing is a big step to over coming the way you feel. Thinking positive gives you a different outlook on life and when you think positive you start to feel positive and it'll have a massive boost on your mood.
 
Be Around People
If your socially awkward like I can be you may be thinking "god no" but being round people, even if its just the one person can be a massive help. Push yourself to go round to your friends for the night or spend time with your family. Being around people and doing things with them takes your mind off the issues in your head. Its never good to be alone when you feel horrible. It just makes matters worse. Go out! Or invite someone round!
 
Get A New Hobby
A little change in your everyday life such as getting a new hobby is a good way to help your moods. For instance, I started this blog because I like to write and its a good way to get away from my worries. Learn an instrument, Buy a sketch book and draw or even take up a class in kick boxing! Doing something new is exciting and fun!
 
Eat Better And Exercise
Doctors say having a healthy diet and a good amount of exercise is a great way to improve your moods. Exercising releases endorphins causing you to feel good. If you cant be bothered going to the gym or paying the costs then go for a run or a long walk. Use that Wii board that's been propped up in the corner for years. Plan a nice healthy meal and then go down to the shops and buy and prepare it. Doing things you know are good for you and your body will help.
 
Get A Diary
My (ex)therapist told me a great way to deal with issues is to write them down. Buy yourself a little diary and whenever you have too many negative thoughts in your head write them down. It doesn't matter how horrible it sounds. Releasing those feelings will cause you to worry less. Its a good way to cope if your not comfortable talking to people about the way you feel and it clears your head temporarily.
 
Change Something About Yourself
I'm not telling you to completely change everything about yourself and become someone new. Sometimes something as little as a new hair cut or new look makes you feel a million times better. When I was down and not feeling like myself I went a bit drastic and dyed my hair bright red. 2 years on I still have it and I love it :)
 
Treat Yourself
When I feel like crap the first thing I do after I finish a shift at work is head into town and buy myself something. Whether its a new pretty dress or something small like a hair accessory its always nice to have something new.
 
Do Things You Enjoy
Its easy to just sit in bed and wallow in self pity. Snap out of it and tell yourself you deserve better. Go grab your favourite film, buy a ton of chocolate and takeaway and have a night to yourself. Read a new book, go to a gig, or play a computer game. All good things that'll stop you from feeling sorry for yourself.
 
Cut Out Negative People
I myself can not stand to be around negative people. They give off bad energy and rub off on your own mood. If you have people in your life who bring you down and are never happy then be around people who bring out the best in you. I learnt that certain people who used to be in my life triggered my moods. Sometimes its just better to look after yourself and do what's best for you. Surround yourself with good fun happy people and they'll bring positivity to you.
 
Tidy Your Area
Its no good having a messy house/room and trying to cheer yourself up. Living in a mess is bad for your health. When I had a massive mental break down me and my family spent a whole week redecorating my room. We painted it and bought new things, I changed the colour and made it feel more relaxing. It made a huge difference. Once I felt more comfortable in my room I started to feel more comfortable with myself.
 
Seek Help
You are not a failure if you decide to seek help from someone. You're not weak, You're not pathetic. You are strong. I cried my eyes out when I went to the doctors because I had coped for so long on my own. It was a massive relief to have someone there who would listen and help. If you don't feel like talking to family or friends would help then visit a doctor. They can refer you to a therapist or put you on the right medication.. That brings me to the next topic....
 
Medication
I used to never believe in taking medication. I thought it was a way to supress feelings and that it didn't help.. but inevitably being put on medication became my only option at one point.. and it actually really helped me. I learnt that being on certain pills to help my depression/anxiety helped me to over come a really difficult time in my life. They helped me to get back on my feet and start sorting myself out. If you feel like a therapist doesn't help (like I did) and nothing else is working for you then go to your doctor and discuss what they can do for you. 
 
 
 
 
and finally.......
 
Realise that you are allowed to feel the way you do. Don't let people tell you otherwise. Mental illness affects 1 in 4 of us at some point in our life's. Its not a laughing matter. I've had so many people say "cheer up, there's worse people off than you"... no shit. Mental illness is something you can't just switch off and get over. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn to adjust and live the way you want to. The people who care about you won't leave you. I have a great bunch of friends/family and an amazing boyfriend who understand I can be a little off sometimes. As long as you have the right people in your life then that's all that matters. I've learnt that following some of my tips has vastly improved my life. I now know that when I'm having an episode I know the right way to go about it. Mental illness isn't a nice thing to have. Sometimes it feels worse than anything physical because we don't know how to cope with something we can't see.
Hopefully this post will help at least one person then I'll feel like I've accomplished something!
 
And that's it !
 
 
If you managed to get through this long assed post then thank you :) Please feel free to comment below and add any of your own advice, tips, stories so maybe it'll benefit someone else.
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Review : Tipsy Feet Foldable Shoes

We've all had a night out where we've thought it'd be a great idea to wear those 10ft platform shoes that look utterly gorgeous. What we don't think about is how an hour and a half into the night we can't dance to our favourite song because we feel like our ankles are about to snap.
What a bummer!
Never fear for I have found the perfect solution. Say hello to Tipsy Feet!

Tipsy Feet are an ever growing successful company that specialise on party pumps. I was lucky enough to receive a pair in the post a few weeks ago and as I had a fast approaching wedding coming up I was more than delighted to be able to try these out.
 



What's good about Tipsy Feet is they provide you with fashionable affordable shoes which still leave plenty of room in your handbag for all of your other essentials.
  The foldable shoes come in a handy stylish zip up mini bag which also expands into ANOTHER bag making even more room should you ever need it.

They come in a wide range of sizes and styles to fit the needs of pretty much any shoe lover for any occasion. From the patterned leopard print to the bright purple which will make you stand out. Or maybe you would prefer something more elegant like the pearl or black which would be more suitable in the workplace. Either way there's something for you..


These shoes are fantastic in my opinion. Whenever I have a night out with my friends I bob my handy little Tipsy Shoes into my handbag and all my worries about suffering in my heels fade away. Once more I know I can put those crazy stiletto's into the foldable bag provided. Its so simple yet effective! With a thermo plastic rubber sole these shoes provide the right comfort after a night out. The rubber also makes them more durable and washable so you'll be able to use them again and again.


 Check out Tipsy Feet today and see what they have for you.

Feel free to comment below :)

I was not sent this product or paid for the purpose of this review. I merely did it off my own back because I liked the shoes so much.