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A Few Spring Things

29 Apr

Hello and Happy Spring (even though I live in a Tropical climate where our only seasons are rainy and dry). Here are a few things I have been and continue to enjoy as we mark time until glorious summer!

MAKEUP

Pretty Birdie by Pretty Vulgar

Pretty birdie palette

This brand launched on Sephora.com sometime last year. I remember it initially got a bit of buzz then everyone , myself included seemed to forget about them. Fast forward to March this year when I saw this brand in store.

I was immediately drawn to this palette with its mixture of bold mattes(Nevermore and Snitch) and muted jewel tone shimmers(Wing it, Brilliant and Jealous). The formula is smooth and easy to blend and allows for many different spring appropriate looks!

Life`s a Festival by Too Faced

Life’s a festival palette

Are you sick and tired of unicorns and mermaids yet? I`m not! But I understand why some people might be. If you fall into that group I implore you to look past the ~ unicorn-ISM ~ and the somewhat silly packaging because this palette is solid.

It`s definitely meant for creating more fun, festival inspired looks with a few brightly coloured matte shades(Dessert Vibes and Young and Free), a lot of beautiful shimmers and some popping duo-chromes (Artist pass and Mystic Rain). If you can still get your (unicorn) hoofs on this one, definitely give it a try!

EATS

Starbucks Instant Refresher and Bobo`s bar

Starbucks Refresher

I am an obligate coffee drinker. I say obligate because I need the caffeine to get me going in the morning but I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee lover by any means. However, I`m always looking for something different and I recently found this. This is a hibiscus and berry flavoured drink with just a touch of caffeine. Enough to get your mornings going with a fruity/floral refreshing taste.

Bobo Bar

I discovered Bobo bars a few months ago in my quest to find breakfast on the go that didn`t contain gluten (I have some gluten intolerance) This company began as a mother daughter home baking endeavor and their bars come in a multitude of flavours from peanut butter to orange cranberry. They taste great warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave and go along great with tea, coffee (or starbucks hibiscus berry refresher)

BODY

Lip Mask

Lip mask by Lifestyle Products

They are making masks for everything these days: face, eyes, hands and lips! And to be honest, they don’t make a real difference one way or another , but they can give some temporary relief and improvements and they’re fun !

This brand is called Lifestyle products and they have a few different ?flavours ?scents such as shea butter and coconut. Your lips feel hydrated and soft after use.

Body Spray

BBW Rose Quartz body mist

Bath and Body Works is always out there looking for new ways to separate me from my hard earned money. One of their latest (successful) attempts is their new New Age , mineral inspired line. This is quite interesting as most minerals (rocks) don’t actually have any associated odours.The three scents are Rose Quartz, Aquamarine and Moonstone and they are available in shower gels, lotions and body mists. They all have more mild, clean scents with rose quartz having a soft rose water type of scent.

HOME

Candle

BBW Avocado Coconut 3 wick Candle

I love me some candles especially BBW candles. This particular style they have brought out features a more squat but wider shaped candle (stated to be the same amount as the regular shaped ones) and many of the scents are more natural inspired. This one, combines avocado and coconut, a rather unlikely pairing which gives a creamy, rich smell.

Thanks for letting me share some of the things I currently like and have an awesome day!

Easter Tea Cake

31 Mar

Hello and Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Today I’m asssembelling a cake that I think is perfect for Easter. It’s a Victoria sponge with the traditional strawberry jam and iced and decorated to add a little Easter flare.

Victoria sponge is a well known English teatime staple. It comprises of two layers of sponge cake sandwiching strawberry jam and often times, whipped cream. It can be served in typical cake slices or in rectangular finger sandwich style slices.

For this cake, I used the jam but not the whipped cream and topped it with icing rather than the usual dusting with icing sugar.

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Sponge cake– I used a Waitrose package mix but use whatever recipe or package you prefer.

2) Strawberry jam– Or any other flavour jam you want.

3) Icing– This is plain old icing sugar and water mixed to a fairly thick consistency. I chose to dye mine the faintest pink.

4) Toppings/ Decorations– I used fresh strawberries (sliced) to go with the strawberry jam and Cadbury’s mini candy coated chocolate eggs.

Sponge cake, strawberry jam and pale pink icing.

Fresh strawberries and candy coated chocolate eggs

WHAT TO DO

1) Slice the cake crossways in half to create two layers.

2) Spread a generous layer of jam over the surface of the bottom layer– The cake will absorb some of the jam so use enough to take that into account but not so much that it leaks out the side of the cake.

3) Place the top layer over the jam and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes to let it “set”

4) Spread icing over top of cake allowing it to naturally run over edges.

5) Place iced cake in the refrigerator and let the icing fully set.

6) Once icing has set proceed to adding decorations– I used a very thin layer of icing to stick on the eggs.

And there you have it! A delicious Victoria sponge with a little twist. This is perfect for Easter Tea, (or brunch or lunch for that matter). Also, with a different topping it’s great as a birthday cake or a cake for any other occasion.

Have an awesome day and an awesome Easter!

Galentines Day Bash!

4 Feb

It is often said that art imitates life. Sometimes however, the reverse is true. Galentine’s Day was first born on an episode of sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in 2010. Since then Galentine’s Day has become increasingly well known and celebrated with 2017 bringing it a trending spot on Twitter.

This holiday is celebrated on February 13th (the day before Valentine’s day) and it is seen as a day for gals to celebrate and uplift each other in a social scene where girl on girl hate is so prevalent.

This is right up my alley. An excuse to celebrate anything but especially something as positive as friendships between women.

I came up with a few very Pinterest inspired ideas to throw a Galentine’s bash for you and your gals.

Pizza Heart Bites

This is so darn cute. Heart shaped pizza bites are tasty and great party food to pick up and nibble on.

WHAT YOU NEED

Pizza crust -I used ready made flatbread crust

Cheese

Tomato sauce

Other toppings- I used mushrooms and Italian herbs

Heart shaped cookie cutter

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut out heart shapes from crust.

2) Top crusts

3) Bake until cheese is melted and you’re done!

Pink Love Donuts

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Donuts

2) Icing– I dyed it three shades of pink

3) Toppings– sprinkles

WHAT TO DO

1) Dip each donut into the corresponding glaze

2) Top with sprinkles, nuts etc and set into fridge to harden.

Sorbet Fizz Cocktail

For the cocktail portion of the evening, we combine a refreshing dessert with some fizzy wine.

WHAT YOU NEED

Sorbet– I chose black cherry to stick with the pink theme

Sparkling wine– Prosecco, Brut, sparkling rose etc.

WHAT TO DO

1) Place a scoop of sorbet in glass.

2) Pour sparkling wine over it and serve!

Guest gifts

I feel as if no celebration is quite complete without a little something for your guests to leave with. I also like giving gifts that are useful. I am also mildly obsessed with succulents…

Succulents are affordable, beautiful and hard to kill. To seal the deal I stuck a little label with a love note on the pot.

I hope this post can give you some inspiration for your own Galentine’s party or Valentine’s party or whatever party you have!

Have an awesome Galentine’s Day!

Make 2018 Great!

7 Jan

Hello and Happy 2018! Something about the calendar switching from December 31st to January 1st incites thoughts of change and resolve to be a new and improved version of yourself. 

While some resolutions can be a bit far reaching and cause undue stress I do believe setting some realistic goals can help you become a more effective, efficient and fulfilled individual. Here are a few of my tips for making 2018 great!

DRINK MORE WATER

What nutritionist/doctor/lifestyle guru hasn’t mentioned this at some point? There’s a reason for that, water is life! It’s our gift from nature. It is good for you because it keeps you hydrated, quenches your thirst and helps with pain. Drinking more water definitely makes you feel more alert and better.

I want to sidebar to point out that there is no minimum amount of water you should drink per day. I also want to point out that I mean regular water not water that has been electrolysed or ionized or galvanized.

BE ECO FRIENDLY

I’m a self proclaimed environmentalist. I feel that each of us can do a little something everyday that will have a positive impact on our environment. I know it isn’t realistic for most people to build a home in a forest and only live off the land. However, there are some things we can incorporate into our daily routines. Some things you can do are ; turn off lights whenever you leave a room, unplug appliances whenever they aren’t in use and use reusable bags.


PREP

Meal prep it and you won’t regret it! I did meal PREP relatively consistently throughout 2016 and I can’t find a good reason as to why I fell off in 2017 because meal prepping is awesome! Here’s why:

It saves time- By planning all, most or just some of your meals for the upcoming week you shave off hours in the kitchen. You spend a couple hours making multiple meals instead of slaving away morning and evening daily.

It saves money- By making all of your own meals, ahead of time no less you avoid having to buy those meals which will invariably be more costly.

It’s healthier- Whenever you make something yourself, you can control what goes into it and hopefully that means you whip something healthy or at the very least less UNhealthy than the stuff you pick up at drive thrus.


PLAN

I’m an unapologetic list maker. Having some plan creates order and makes it easier to keep track of what you need to do. You can invest in a beautiful designer planner and follow along with the planning community on YouTube or you can scribble on a notepad or you can type up on your phone. 

Whatever method you chose, chose something. You can get very detailed planning down to the half hour or maybe you just create “to-do” lists for the week but have a plan!

MAKE A LITTLE TIME FOR…

This one is a bit wide. I think we need to find a little time to do things that make us feel human or normal or happy. The emphasis is on a little. In our busy lives it can be next to impossible to anything apart from work, sleep and eat but if you just set aside a small pocket of time to focus on yourself, you will, feel regenerated and inspired.

Here are a few things I want to take a little time for:

READING
 

I used to be a book a week type of reader but somehow I lost that. And I hate it. I love to dive into the world that an author creates and I plan to find more time to incorporate more reading.

PAMPERING

You may not have time to book in a massage and pedicure on a weekly basis but you can put on an overnight hair mask or a 15 minute face mask, or you could do an at home foot bath, or paint your nails or…you get the idea.


EXERCISE

Regular physical activity is super important for everyone yet it’s something we can easily neglect for lengthy periods of time. Sneak in a mini early morning YouTube workout or get your squats in at night before bed. Skip, but dont skip exercise.

HOBBIES 

Painting, writing poetry, horseback riding…whatever tickles your fancy embrace it and spend a little time with it.


RELAXATION

Light a candle, put on Enya and relax or meditate or pray. Just find some time for reflection and regain some mental balance.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, fruitful and successful 2018.Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

Apple Fritters

26 Nov

Hello, today is a quick delicious easy recipe for apple fritters. Apple Fritters a sweet treats made from fresh apples.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1 large Granny Smith apple

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of sugar

Assorted spices- I used nutmeg and cinnamon

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence 

Milk- add to dry mister a little at a time until desired consistency achieved. 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Dice apple

2) Add all ingredients and mix until a lumpy consistency 

3) Heat oil in a skillet/pot

4) Make balls of the dough and drop into oil

5) Fry until golden brown

6) Mix some confectioners sugar with water to create a runny glaze 

7) Drizzle glaze over the fritters and they’re ready to serve

These are a fantastic snack to make for guests or as a dessert option. The crunchy texture and tartness of the apple goes along fantastically with the sweet spiciness of the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Have an awesome day!

Tomato Tart

17 Sep

Today I bring a delicious end of summer beginning of autumn dish. A tomato tart. Note, I use the term tart rather loosely.  In this case it’s pastry with a topping, some might call that a tart like myself, others may call it a pie, crustini, pizza (without sauce), foccacia and more. Regardless, it’s a delicious dish combining naughty flour-ey goodness with clean fresh produce.

For this tart I used a mix of tomatoes which not only lent to the taste but made it look that much more “instagrammable”, yes that IS a word. I used small red tomatoes on the vine, yellow mini plum tomatoes and the beautiful kamato tomatoes(thde brown-green ones).

I cheated a bit by using ready made frozen pastry. This took some effort out of the process for sure.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Tomatoes of your choosing 

2) Pastry– I used Pilsbury croissant pastry which came as a square sheet of dough.

3) Assorted herbs– This is to add to the dough to give a bit of extra flavour.

WHAT TO DO 

1) Add seasonings to the dough and knead it in. You NEED to KNEAD!

2) Roll out the dough 

3) Add cut/sliced/diced/smashed/whole tomatoes onto pastry

4) Pinch edges to create a bit of a pastry pouch and sprinkle with seasonings and add a bit of olive oil.

5) Bake until dough is golden brown. 

6) Slice and it’s ready to be served!

This tart is delicious! The tomatoes become soft and the juciness intensifies once baked. The crust is crispy on the edge and softer in the second centre with the great taste of pastry and herbs.

This is a great appetizer for a dinner party or a more bougie (that’s a buzz word now right?) Alternative to pizza for a night of Netflix. Be sure to try it and be sure to have am awesome day!

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf (Vegan)

24 May

Hello, today I bring a twist on one of my favourite things to bake: a chocolate zucchini loaf.

Chocolate zucchini loaf

This recipe I decided to swap out the oil and replace it with avocado and of exchange the eggs for Chia seeds. This way I made a new recipe which also happens to be vegan for anyone interested in that.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 1/2 cups (225g) of shredded or grated raw zucchini  (courgette)-I used my veggie spiralizer and it literally took me 5 minutes.

2) 1 cup (130g) flour.

3)1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder .

4) 3/4 tsp baking soda .

5) 1/4 tsp baking powder .

6) 2 Chia eggs– To replace one egg add 1 tbsp of ground Chia seeds (I blitzed mine in the Nutribullet) with 3 tbsp of water and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow it to form a gelatinous consistency. 

7) 1/2 cup of mashed avocado-To replace oil or butter with avocado,  for every 1 cup of oil needed, use 1 cup of avocado. 

8) 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar. 

9) 1/2 cup of brown sugar. 

10) 1 tsp of vanilla extract. 

The ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan

1) Sift the flour, Cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together.

Sifted dry ingredients 


2) Mix the Chia and avocado well (using hand or stand mixer) adding in the sugars.

3) Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4) Fold in the zucchini into mixture until it forms a moist homogeneous mixture.

You can amp up the chocolate value at this point by adding vegan chocolate chips (yes they exist). OR if you aren’t vegan just add regular chocolate chips

Mixture 
5) Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until the Centre is done.

I had to take it out and check a few times because it kept smelling done when it really wasn’t. 

Once it’s done let it cool, Slice and eat!

So swapping out two ingredients definitely changed this recipe. What was before a more firm loaf became a softer one with more of a chewy brownie texture (I’m NOT complaining). I presume using the Chia instead of egg made it less cohesive while the avocado added smoothness that only avocado can. You don’t taste the avocado, only appreciate the creaminess. The addition of vegan (or non-vegan) chocolate chips makes it more chocolate you and a bit gooey.

This is a great loaf especially for a chocolate lover. There is some actual nutrition by way of the zucchini and avocado and Chia seeds but you more than get your chocolate fix. This is a great dessert to keep around and offer unexpected guests or take to a potluck tea party.

Would you try chocolate zucchini loaf or do you prefer regular zucchini loaf? Whatever your answer,  have an awesome day!

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