Friday, 30 September 2011

Cupcake of the Week - Strawberries and Cream

Every now and then something comes along that just makes you smile. For me this week it was these wonderfully simple but complicated looking cupcakes. I’ve had such a busy week that I haven’t really had that much time to bake. The actual cakes took about 10 minutes to create, and I created the topping before leaving for university today (… and maybe I had one for breakfast!). The best part of it all is they really look like they took a lot of time and effort. If you ever need a great looking treat, which doesn’t take much work look no further – these are perfect.


Cutting the cake tops and adding the jam

Adding the cream and strawberries

The final product - covered in icing sugar

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Black and Brown

I fall further and further in love with this playsuit every time I pair it with this stunning brown belt. I love the nipped in silhouette it creates, and the effect of combining the colours brown and black – it’s sophisticated yet fun. Black is certainly becoming the new camel for me, as A/W trends have predicted. I feel comfortable in black, in a fashionable way – and how often can you say comfortable and fashion in the same sentence!


Playsuit and Belt: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: New look, Bag and Bracelets: Accessorize, 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Cupcake of the Week - Marshmallow Cupcakes

If you like your cupcakes sweeter than sweet, these are the ones to go for. This is yet another recipe taken from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, but instead of topping with a mountain of mini marshmallows, I decorated each one with a single, fluffy homemade marshmallow purchased from a local cafe. They looked like mini meringues and tasted like raspberry!

Word of advice though - melting marshmallows is a process of patience! I tried to stir them like I would with chocolate, but they became an elastic mess which stuck to the spoon! So as you can imagine, pouring them into the cupcakes was a disaster - especially as they started to solidify quickly.

Still, these made for a yummy snack at a beach picnic, and got me a few great compliments!


Melting the marshmallows...

... and pouring them into the cupcake tops!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Accessories Edit - A/W 11

I love a change of season, and to me the high street has totally outdone itself with replicas of this season's catwalk pieces. Here are the top five hitting my wish list.


This gorgeous scarf by Topshop just screams 'Gucci' - it's in that oh-so-popular pussy bow shape and that deep berry shade which popped all over their show this season. Makes any outfit on-trend and could be worn over a coat or an old blouse. 

New Look
 Star print has totally taken over the high street thanks to the likes of D&G. As we see the oversized jumper make a comeback, print tights are a great way to jazz up what could become a lazy outfit. I picked up an opaque pair yesterday, but these are just as fun.


Who doesn't love to indulge in a bit of faux fur in winter? Not only does it make us feel glamourous, but it's a staple when the cold starts to bite. This collar/scarf wows me - it looks positively Tibetan and oozes sophistication, plus the length flatters the figure. I NEED THIS.

Topshop Unique
 Now I haven't been a nail varnish wearer since I was a kid, but the idea of having a high-fashion print staining your nails without the risk of chipping is certainly appealing. As we've seen, Topshop Unique overflows with dalmatian print this season and these nail wraps are just another clever take on the trend. Plus, black and white is a pretty fail-safe combination. I may have just been converted.

Lastly, one of my fave trends of A/W year in, year out is that festive heritage look - you know, tartan prints, reindeer, owls and everything that reminds us of Christmas. I recently came across these brooches and found myself struggling not to buy them. Individually they look cute - together, on the collar of your coat, they are to die for.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Peanut Butter Cups

I have a huge weakness for peanut butter and chocolate, and my friend Ray and I have become somewhat ritualistic over our making of them. Whenever we meet up, there always seems to be a jar of peanut butter and a couple of bars of chocolate around, so we make these extremely sweet treats and enjoy one after dinner. (I'm a big sweet tooth, but believe me - one is all you'll need)!

To make these, we melted milk chocolate, poured a small amount into muffin cases, added a dollop of smooth peanut butter and left the chocolate to cool a little. Then we melted white chocolate and poured it over the top, creating massive, two-layer peanut butter cups.

For a cute gift, you could use petit fours cases instead and present them in a pretty box.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Cupcake of the Week! (COTW)

I love cupcakes that not only taste fantastic but look fantastic too. This is why this week I chose to bake orange and poppy seed cupcakes. The juicy orange tips caught my eye, as did the idea of an unusual flavouring, using poppy seeds.

They turned out pretty well, the orange segments on top were a bit big, but I think this added to the flavour – and the poppy seeds made a delightful crunch. I was unsure of the frosting, which was made from mascarpone cheese. I have only ever used mascarpone cheese in risotto before so the idea of making a frosting from it was strange to me. However it was very yummy and I will definitely be using it again. I think it’s amazing how food can be used in all sorts of different ways, and I look forward to discovering more about how different ingredients can create entirely different tastes.  


Mixing in the orange zest and poppy seeds

The cupcakes before the orange segments

A finished, and half eaten cupcake :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Unique Hits Topshop


I imagine you remember leopard print having a bit of a moment last year. This year, Topshop Unique have put a different spin on the spot, with adorable dalmatian-like smudges adorning everything from shirts to shoes. Taking the theme further, cute little dog silhouette prints have popped up all over the place.

Most intriguing is their use of a material I have never heard of in fashion - tinsel! Let's hope it is more comfortable to wear than it sounds. Then again, when it looks this luxurious, who would care?!


As these pieces are taken straight from the catwalk, I recently sought out a more affordable item echoing the trend - this off-white, brush stroke-print blouse by Zara.

That's a bargain if I ever saw one! Let me know your favourite high-street pieces.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Gobbling up Bath!

Lime sorbet (foreground) and coconut ice cream desserts at The Mint Room

 Holidays always mean good food, so on our recent trip to Bath we indulged... well, more than a little! Twice we found ourselves at Patisserie Valerie, enjoying creamy carrot cake, freshly made smoothie and mouthwatering eggs Benedict. But perhaps best of all was dinner at The Mint Room, an exquisitely designed modern Indian restaurant with sparkling walls. The food was like art, presented in such a way that we could barely bring ourselves to eat it.

Of course we did eat it, and it was divine.
Charlotte + Jade

The Mint Room

Strawberry & banana smoothie and carrot cake at Patisserie Valerie

Eggs Benedict at Patisserie Valerie

From left: chicken pasanda, coconut rice and chicken korma at The Mint Room

Saturday, 10 September 2011

What to wear to Bath...

Orange Jumper: H & M, Shorts: Topshop,

I wasn't sure what to pack for our trip to bath, as you can never guess what our English weather is going to do. This time last year we had a beautiful, sunny September and this is what I was hoping for. However what I got was an entirely different story. I had packed my new crop top hoping to get some wear out of it, but I had to wear it under a bright orange cropped jumper most of the time. Luckily this jumper was right on trend, being knitted and cosy for A/W ’11 and brightly coloured for S/S ’11.


Crop top: Toshop, Shorts: As before
Top: Miss Selfridge; banana necklace: Topshop; cardigan and shorts: H&M.

First week of September. What does that mean for fashion? I always assumed September was one of the typically hotter months, so when packing for Bath I chose my favourite summer outfits, consisting of brights, fruit prints and high waists. Thankfully, it was easy to layer them with two of my wardrobe staples - a chunky knit cardigan and a vintage brown jacket. With brand new brown pumps to match, I was good to go.


Coat: vintage; top: Zara; skirt: Motel Rocks @ Topshop; bag: H&M; shoes: New Look.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Cupcake of the Week!

Recently it became apparent that we are growing pretty fond of baking cupcakes, so Jade had the genius idea of creating a 'Cupcake of the Week' feature on the blog! Hopefully it will give you all inspiration, and will make sure we keep the baking going at this end too.

Here are my favourite cupcakes so far, made with my good friend Ray - red velvet, with cream cheese frosting. Again they were taken from the wonderful 'Hummingbird Bakery' cookbook, producing huge mounds of frosting. These ones included buttermilk and a little cocoa powder, creating a slightly different, perhaps denser texture than some of the others I've made.

I had to go back for seconds.


Adding the buttermilk...

... Ray whisking the icing sugar (and creating a storm!)...

... and spreading it on!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bath - Gem of the West

The Pulteney Bridge

Earlier this week we found ourselves taking a trip to the historic city of Bath. For the photographer, it is the perfect find – architectural beauty a-plenty – and despite the downpours, we had an excellent time shopping and sightseeing. We managed to spend an entire eight hours browsing the massive array of stores, and the sightseeing included the intriguing fashion museum at the Assembly Rooms, where Keira Knightley was filmed in The Duchess (pictures coming soon)!

Overall, it was money well spent and the perfect little holiday.

Charlotte + Jade

Damn... she's a sexy pig!

Bath Cathedral

Jewellery Stall in the market

The Royal Circle

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Mysterious Skort

£30, ASOS

A few weeks ago, when browsing ASOS, I came across a term I had never heard before: 'skort'. It was not even elaborated upon in the description. We are just expected to know what this is. Well, yes, I can see it is a pair of shorts made to look like a skirt, but since when did a term exist for such a thing? Am I really behind here, or were these previously called culottes? Or just shorts?

I wish I could show you more examples, but nowhere else seems to recognise the name. I tried searching 'skort' on, but it ignored me and gave me skirts instead.

On the plus side, these are cute. And I'm loving the star elbow patches on the sweater.

Have you discovered any skorts on your internet travels? I would love to see them!


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

I spent the last week camping – sleeping in tent, eating lots of BBQ food, and taking plenty of long walks. When we got back I had a real craving for something yummy, and something cooked in a proper oven.  Lemon meringue pie is one of my favourite treats, but I have to admit, this wasn’t my best attempt. The pastry was too crumbly, and the lemon curd didn’t set properly so when I first cut it, it spilled everywhere. However, once left in the fridge overnight it did set, and my family enjoyed it so it wasn't a complete disaster.


Making the lemon curd

The pie before it was baked

A slice of pie

Cookie + egg = ?

My good friend Rhian and I have a bit of a ritual when it comes to our baking habits. That is, essentially, we don't bake. We buy a Better Crocker cookie packet mix, add water and stick it in the oven. (And hey, sometimes we don't even do that; a month or so ago we stuck two chunks of fudge in the middle and ate the whole thing raw).

Being the adventurous chefs that we are, on this occasion we added an egg to see if our mix would go further. After all, who wants to make a 'batch' of cookies which produces just six servings?

As it turns out, the egg did help after all. We made one giant cookie which, when cooked, produced a sponge-like, cakey texture. We simply ripped it into chunks, piled it into a basket and shared it whilst watching TV - just like a bowl of popcorn.

Cookie + egg = tear 'n' share cookie cake!