Friday 30 September 2016

Custard Cream Cupcakes

I am writing this with a cup of tea and custard cream in hand because it would go against everything I believe in to neglect that.

I tweeted (incessantly) about my baking endeavor last weekend - I had an order of 100 cupcakes and I decided on biscuit themed cupcakes. Under normal circumstances I could bake and ice that amount in a couple of hours but it took me SEVEN DAMN HOURS. Because miss idiot lost her big muffin pan and had to bake 100 cupcakes six at a time... Yep.

The star of the show was the custard cream cupcake - you all went mad for it on Twitter and Instagram (follow me obvs) so I thought I'd share the recipe and techniques so you can make them for yourselves because they are SO easy and a bit of a show stopper!

custard cream cupcake custard buttercream

The cupcake itself is a fluffy vanilla sponge (my favourite cake joint with this pumpkin sponge...) - the easiest thing known to man. It's the topping that will have songs written about it. OH MAMA. I wanted something "custard creamy" but not overpowering because, really, does a custard cream even taste like custard? No. So the secret ingredient is instant custard powder. SERIOUSLY.

Cupcakes (makes approximately 24 cupcakes)
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
180g self raising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
big splash of milk (around 2 tbsp)
vanilla extract to taste (around 1 tbsp)

Whipped Buttercream
250g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
1 packet of instant custard power
200ml double cream
splash of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170c while you prepare the cupcakes. 
Cream the butter and sugar together until combined and a bit fluffy. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time. If the mixture looks a bit "curdled" that's okay just add a tablespoon or two of flour.

Stir the vanilla extract in to the batter before sifting in the flour gradually while folding it in. Once combined add in the milk to loosen up the mixture. Then fill up cupcake cases to about 2/3 full and bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. They may need a minute or two more or less.

While the cupcakes are cooking get started on the buttercream. A stand mixer will be a live saver for this but an electric hand held one will work too. Beat the butter for a few minutes before gradually adding the icing sugar - whisk until all combined. Then pour in the custard powder and cream while whisking on a medium speed. The buttercream will become really light and fluffy and much creamier than your standard buttercream.

Wait for the cupcake to completely cool before piping your swirls. I use a Wilton 2D because it's my number one favourite nozzle (yes, I have a list of favourite nozzles). Fill the bag 2/3 full and start piping in the centre of the cupcake with moderate pressure and swirl outwardly and upwardly in one fluid movement. (Why did I make it sound so difficult?). Basically, don't go slowly and carefully because you're more likely to make mistakes.

Then pop a custard cream right in the side. VOILA. You're done. Sharing with friends is kinda nice but also is eating them all with a gallon of tea while watching a whole season of Gilmore Girls.


Wednesday 28 September 2016

What I Wish Teenage Me Knew About Boys

**Dad, if you happen to be browsing my blog, you may want to skip this post. I don't think this one's for you...

amsterdam kiss

I've got a mega lovely friend who is 18. My life at 17/18 feels LITERALLY, and this isn't one of those exaggerated uses of literally, a billion years apart from my life currently.

It's a whole degree, 2 new best friends, 3 jobs, 2 and a half boyfriends (only one that counts, though), 2 best friends with babies, one old friend married, and over 10 holidays ago. How crazy is that?

So she was having some recent boy problems and it got me thinking back to those days... To set the scene - when I was 18 there was a boy I reeeally liked a lot, lets call him Pablo, and he was supposed to like me, too. But OH MY GOD how much fucking effort was it??

He'd tell me he liked, and we'd have sex, I'd drop everything for him, I even ended a relationship with a new boy I was seeing when Pablo told me he regretted being a dick to me just for him to turn around after and say "soz changed my mind again". In the YEAR that we were "on and off", we never ever ever went on one real date.

I'd say that was okay, though, y'know? I'm independent. I don't care, no strings attached, I don't have to like him that much. If anything happens it happens, but if it doesn't, that's cool. LOL WHO WAS I KIDDING?

Then other boys came around and it was all omg they read my text and didn't text me back. Ooh they haven't text me back in 5 hours so now I won't text them back for 5 hours... Even though I really want to speak to him. He hasn't asked me on a date so I'm not going to ask him on a date. Omg he put one less kiss so maybe I should put 2 less so I don't look too keen? Am I sounding weird, like, are these paragraphs too long? Or are these too short? I don't want to spam him.

Sound familiar?? I hope it doesn't, but it almost definitely does.

Anyway, back to my 18 year old friend. She's currently chatting to a boy on Tinder, and they went on a date the other day. She was asking some questions in our group chat about what to do, and some of the advice she was being given by our (young) friends was very reminiscent of the advice me and my friends used to give each other.

If you're a regular reader you'll know all about Martin. I talk about him a lot 'cause he's a good little egg. Well Martin and I have been together for nearly 3 years now, and not once have we ever had to play games or make each other jealous to vie for the others attention. It's been so easy. I'd never experienced a relationship like that before. Maybe it's because Martin is a bit older than me, who knows. But it made me realise that if you have to battle for someones attention or affection, you really, really don't want it.

If a boy likes you, he likes you and he will show it. This is all such generic advice and I suppose when I was 16/17 I knew it, I just didn't believe it or didn't want to listen. But it's so so true. If a boy isn't texting you back - it's okay. You don't have to not text him back for a day just to even the score. If he keeps ignoring your texts, maybe he's not interested and you need to move away from him. It's okay to ask, too, by the way!

Basically - don't chase boys. The right person won't need to be chased, and a really, really good relationship won't take a shit tonne of effort at the beginning. A few years in is when things maybe start to change - when you live together, become more comfortable and reveal your bad habits, go on holiday together. In the just getting to know you phase it should be easy and fun. Don't waste time on boys who make you play games. It's not worth it. 

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Monday 26 September 2016

OOTD: Prints & Pastels

This is one part exciting and two parts wee-yourself terrifying, because this is my first fashion post.

It's funny because fashion and style is a huge part of my life, much more so than make up and beauty which I write about all the time. It just feels so much more personal discussing what clothes I wear and my personal style. That's a reflection of my personality and how I want to be seen in the world. I'm not "on trend" like other bloggers, I'm about as polished as sandpaper and I don't know if it is a style that anyone will care about or take inspiration from...

But here goes. (Be nice to me, I'm a fragile little daisy, ok ok??)


 Jumper - Old / Skirt - Primark / Shoes - ASOS (currently half price) / Rings - New Look & Vintage / Necklace - Tiffany & Co / Sunglasses - Primark

It's easy to overthink fashion and your day to day outfits. When you think about it, there are usually only 3 core pieces to any outfit: top, bottom & shoes. Anything else is just for fun and doesn't stop you being arrested for indecent exposure.

On days like Sundays where you're going for a walk on the beach and Sunday lunch and it's a sunny but windy day, there's no need to complicate things. So I didn't. Just 3 pieces.

I'm not quite ready to say bye to pretty pastels and skirts without tights, and I love taking pieces between seasons and giving them a little tweak. So I paired my staple pleated, pink midi skirt with an autumn must have - boots.

Animal print is big at the moment. Whether you think it's trashy and too "Kat Slater" or are ready to go full-jungle, it's happening. Hallelujah. Leopard print boots are just a match made in heaven for me. Especially this style of boots. I tend to opt for bigger, chunkier type boots; think Docs and Timberlands over delicate Chelsea boots, because they can toughen up an otherwise very feminine outfit. So these boots are kind of everything to me...

And the third ingredient: the top. Thin, slouchy jersey type jumpers are great for autumn. They go with everything, they are so comfy and can be layered which is perfect for at the moment. So throwing on this old fingerprint heart jumper was a no-brainer. There are so many really nice slouchy jumpers on the high street right now, especially Primark, with all sorts of slogans and band logos on it. I'm a huge fan.

Add some gold midi rings and my new fav belt buckle ring I picked up at a vintage market with autumn nails and you're set for september. ~ cue romping in the leaves ~

I liked how it all paired together and the impromptu photo session was actually not as soul destroying as I thought... This is the kind of *vibe* I usually go for SO if you don't think I look like a mouldy potato and would maybe like to see how I style some other pieces, I'd quite like to give this a go.... What do you think? Autumn clothes are kind of my jam.



Friday 23 September 2016

Under £2 Haul & Mini Review

affordable make up cruelty free flatlay

Y'know when you get that urge to buy something? ANYTHING?

The cravings seem even stronger when you're unemployed/have no money/on a spending ban. All of which have been my life for the last few months. Which is beaut.


But I needed something to fill the hole in my life. I needed a few new little bits and bobs to play with so I thought I'd pick up some mega budget make up from around the high street. You'd be surprised at how much you can find for a quid or two.

So that's what I decided to do. I tried to pick some things that would see me into the transitional period that is our beloved autumn, while not breaking the bank. Under £2 was the rule and I wanted relatively decent quality and ideally stuff I actually needed. It may only be £2 but it's still going to be wasted if its something I don't actually want/need AND it turns out crap.

mua blusher review candyfloss bon bon

MUA Blusher // £1
Holy shit. These are the most pigmented blushers I have ever, ever, ever used. It's important to tap off aaaall the excess for a minimum of 6 days and give the brush a little swirl on the back of your hand first, then you can apply a nice amount to your cheeks. The longevity is okay and I didn't notice it faded particularly patchy which is really great for a quid. I bought Bon Bon (a peachy nude, and my favourite) and Candyfloss (a pale but vibrant pink) which I hoped would be similar to my favoured Hervana blusher that I neeeed to find a cruelty free replacement of.

mua nail varnish review ocean blue nail polish

MUA Nail Polish // 50p
I'm a bit of a nail varnish snob so didn't expect much from this. I don't have any navy/dark blue nail varnishes in my vast collection so thought it was worth picking up. I can spare 50p, yaknow? I've got to give it props - on my left hand, even after 3/4 days there are VERY minimal chips. I would go as far as to say it looks nearly enough perfect. However my index and little finger are pretty chipped on my right hand and were after around 24 hours. The rest of my fingers still look great though, and I think a topcoat would make the world of difference. The colour (Ocean Blue) is stunning, too.

lipstick cruelty free review kiko makeup revolution

Kiko Campus Idol Urban Sheen Lipgloss // £1.90 
(Now £1.40 online, BTW) I love red lipstick so much. I have a stupid amount - stupid being the appropriate word because I hardly ever even wear red lipstick. This colour was too pretty to pass up though. It's a pretty small pencil and the finish is MUCH more opaque than your standard gloss, I would say it's more a really high shine lipstick without the staying power. It lasts a few hours on your lips but fades quite evenly and is so easy to touch up I don't even mind. I bought Fiery Poppy and there are quite a few other colours but of course I can't speak for the finish of those.

Make Up Revolution Amazing Lipstick // £1
I actually own quite a few of these lipsticks in all sorts of shades and for a pound they are really not bad at all. Of course they're not going to last you the whole night or through an eating sesh but I think that's okay. Especially if you're just looking to try a new colour and don't want to splash out on a fancier brand before knowing if the type of shade suits you. I bought Dazzle which is a deepish, vivid pink (not so much an autumn shade, woops) and I think it's so pretty. I applied three layers and blotted heavily on a tissue in between and the finish was SO much nicer and it lasted a surprisingly long time on my lips.

H&M Face Mask // £1.99
I really like these. I've used the Teatree one in the past so thought I'd pick up another one for blemishy skin because god knows I need it right now (WHERE HAVE THESE GODDAMN SPOTS COME FROM?). I haven't tried this particular type but they have soooo many different ones they are absolutely worth the two quid for a nice little pamper evening to make yourself feel better about being so poor... (accompanying bath, candles and alcohol recommended).

essence long lasting lip pencil eye pencil lovely frappuccino black fever review

Essence Long Lasting Eye Liner // £1.50
This is the shining star of the whole little haul. It is awesome. Probably the best eye liner pencil I've ever used. Got to give it a A+ for being retractable 'cause fuck sharpening pencils amiright? It's mega black and lasts a billion years in my upper waterline and doesn't bleed in my watery lil' eyes. Absolutely recommend, and Essence just impresses me more and more and more.

Essence Long Lasting Lip Pencil // £1.50
I love this colour - it's absolutely lush. I picked up Lovely Frappuccino which is a darker nude than any I currently own and it's one of my favourite formulas of lip liner. It's more waxy than my Kiko Smart Liners so are much longer wearing. I'm definitely going to pick up a red to encourage me to get more wear out of my red lipsticks!

Essence Long Lasting Eyeshadow // £1
Small confession - I picked up the wrong shade entirely. I was swatching one in the shop that felt so creamy and lovely and thought it would make a gorgeous highlighter. It was only when I got home... Ripped the packaging off eagerly.... Went crazy applying it to my cheekbones etc like a mad men.... Did I realise. I realised I picked up a fucking shimmery grey/taupe. LOL MY BAD. However, the colour is actually not like any I own and I quite like the formula. Not as pigmented as it seems in a swatch but also no fallout and does blend nicely. I'm going to check out their matte shades next!

cruelty free afforable swatch
(L-R) MUR Dazzle, Kiko Fiery Poppy, Essence Lovely Frappuccino, Essence Black Fever, Essence Eye Shadow, MUA Candyfloss, MUA Bon Bon)


Wednesday 21 September 2016

I Shave My Legs for My Boyfriend... Am I a Bad Feminist?

razor leg shaving feminist

 Yes. It's my body and my body only.

But am I wrong for being happy to share it with my boyfriend a little bit? Does that mean I'm setting the feminist agenda back 50 years?

I don't hate shaving my legs, but I'm not one of those girls that eagerly shaves her legs every day or whatever. I like the feeling of silky smooth legs but I can just never be arsed to do it. So I suppose you could say I'm somewhat indifferent to the whole leg shaving fandango.

My boyfriend, however, isn't indifferent. He likes them smooth.

Let's make this clear - he has NEVER told me to shave my legs, he has never made me feel bad when I've maybe gone 3 weeks without shaving, he never even politely asks. But he gets pretty happy when they're shaved and smooth. So I can kind of guess wherein his preferences lie.

I have COMPLETE control of my body. If I don't want him to touch me for whatever reason, he cannot. If I want to wear bright purple lipstick that he hates, I damn well will. If he told me I'm fat and need to lose weight (which he never has and I know he never would), I would tell him to get fucked and go eat another cupcake or two.

Part of that control means I can choose to make him happy with it. I absolutely love making Martin happy. That might mean I buy him a bag of mini eggs and keep them hidden until we settle down to watch Big Bang Theory in the evening, arrange for his best friends to come down from Scotland and stay for a weekend in Cardiff as a surprise, or pick him up from work so he hasn't got to get the bus. All of those are a bit or a lot of effort . Shaving my legs is no different.

If I truly, truly hated the look or feeling of shaved legs I probably wouldn't do it. And if you are one of those people (do they exist??) then PLEASE don't force yourself to shave your legs for anyone.

But I think it works both ways. I don't particularly like it when Martin shaves his face. He looks like a teenager and I just think a bit of stubble makes him look sexy. Martin was always clean shaven before we met and in the first few weeks, and since he discovered I liked him stubbly, he has shaved only a handful of times. In almost 3 years.

When you love someone, it's nice to make them happy. In all the little ways. And I don't think that negates my feminist beliefs in any way whatsoever.

I understand this is a bit divisive. People think your body should be for you, and anything you choose to do with it should be for you alone. You should never do anything with your body for anyone else. Surely that takes away MY choice of doing something for someone else, though? If it's my body, I have the freedom to shave my legs for someone else because I want to.

I don't know. Maybe I am just a shit feminist. I don't think so, though.
Where do you stand on this? I'm intrigued to know everyone's points of views.

Monday 19 September 2016

Autumn Reading List

 I can't be the only one who's just stopped reading in this last couple of years?

I used to be a voracious reader, like, I'd devour a book a day easily.
Some kids used to bunk off school to meet boys or go to town but I once pretended to go to school but sat in the garden so I could finish a book that I had gotten really, really into.


Friday 16 September 2016

Blogger Hunting: How to Catch a Blogger

 Forget Pokemon. That shit's old news.

Today we're hunting ourselves a blogger. Going all David Attenborough. Are ya ready?
Here are my top 5 foolproof tips to catch a blogger.

1.  Kit yourself out with a bag full of rose gold and copper accessories - jewellery or homewear will do. Maybe even marble contact paper or rustic flooring samples?!


Wednesday 14 September 2016

Beauty Products I Used to Love

Disappointing products posts are nothing new. I personally really like them and are some of my favourite youtube videos to watch, too! Maybe 'cause I'm a bit of a negative nelly... But it makes people seem a bit more real when they actually *shock horror gasp* dont love everything.

Sometimes, though, products that you used to love and were even kind of "Holy Grail" (I hate that term so so so much) can turn disappointing. Which sucks.

I've talked about most of these on my blog before and have passionately recommending them to other bloggers and friends IRL, so think of this as a little update. These are the products that just don't do it for me, aymore. Sorry lads.

Soap & Glory Supercat Liner // £6
I used to be madly in love with this. It was intensely black, pretty easy to get the kind of wing I wanted and I honestly don't remember it ever transfering. These days I find it tranfers terribly. I do have slightly hooded and oily eyelids (YUM COME AT ME, BOYS), but nothing major. Priming and setting doesn't seem to make a difference and it's just really put me off my winged liner game, at the moment

Nyx Liquid Suede // £6.50
This was a whirlwind love affair. I bought it on a whim and fell in love with the beautiful pink shade (Tea & Cookies) that I thought would be the perfect colour and longlasting formula for my graduation ceremony. At first it served its purpose, and it is long lasting but it is pretty drying and settles into aaall the cracks and lines on my lips which isn't the lush look I was going for. It's not bad by any means, but it's not the wonderful liquid lipstick I was hoping for.

Barry M Strobe Cream in Frosty Pink // £4.49
This is one I recommended to several friends and I stand by my recommendations because I think it would be great on other people. I just don't like it on me anymore. That being said, I do still wear it sometimes but I definitely don't love it. It emphasises any peach fuzz on your face, separates from any powder it comes into contact with and seems to remove my foundation when I apply it. It does look lovely from a distance when wearing minimal make up but it's just more hassle than it's worth.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge // £5.99
Every man and his dog loves this sponge and I was 100% on board. At the time it seemed to revolutionise the way I applied my make up and I repurchased several times. Now I am completely over it. I don't like the shape of it particularly, it drinks up too much foundation and actually seems to make my foundation look more patchy?! I sometimes still use it to go over everything at the end if it looks a bit cakey but I think I'll try a different sponge next time.

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation // £15
This. Does. Not. Last. At all. I applied a light layer a few weeks ago and by the time I returned it had completely vanished off my entire face. My concealer was still under my eyes and on my chin but my entire face was bare. When first applied it is a lovely finish, but I also feel I was missold it. The woman in The Body Shop told me it was so full coverage like "stage make up". The name should have given it away, but it's not...

It's always a real shame when something you loved just stops working for you. But it's clearly time to find some new favourites! Any recommendations for replacements would be great!

Do you find your old favourites performing under parr? Have you experienced any of these same issues with these products?


Monday 12 September 2016

Life Isn't Points Based

copper cactus flatlay

 I'm becoming kind of conscious of moaning too much about being unemployed and blah blah but I know a lot of you seem to relate to it... Which sucks for all of us.

This is the last I have to say about this for a while becaaaauusee I have got a job for a couple of months! Paired with a bit of freelance writing and photography work, things are looking up for the time being :-)

Firstly, the problem in question. I am a person and I should not be judged based on a points based system. I recently got rejected from a job, and the interview was scored based on "points". You could have the most perfect personality in the world and they could think you are the perfect person for the job, but if you don't score as many "points" as someone else then the job is theirs. Simple.

But it shouldn't be that simple. I hope this doesn't come across as bitterness for not getting the job because it's really, really not. Of course I am disappointed but I've had my fair share of job rejections recently and I don't take them personally.

The feedback I received from the interview was that I was great and did a good job. The person who got the job was an internal candidate who was familar with the systems and software etc. They said if they hadn't been in the running I would have been a very suitable candidate. But the long-short of it is that they were in the running so I didn't get the job.

This is the way I look at it and can't help but look at it. This person has a job, was given the opportunity to get themselves into employment and gain some skills. I (and so, so, so many graduates) do not have a job so cannot compete with that person when it comes to that sort of experience. The only way us recent graduates with little experience in the way of professional employment can compete is by wowing with our personality - showing them how hungry we are to succeed and grow in our chosen industries, showing some passion and interest, and being someone they want to work with.

In a points based interview none of this matters.

So what chance do I stand? All I need, and all the other graduates in the same boat, is for someone to see something in us and give us a chance. I'm not asking to jump straight in at director level on a £50k salary. I'd be happy starting from the bottom where I am more than qualified to work and where I know I have the capability to learn what they need me to learn.

I feel so disheartened that this is the way we are being scored. Not always, I know. I'm also not placing this as the cause of all of my rejections - some I am aware that I simply wasn't right for the job which is completely okay. This job I could have done and they knew that too.

Because of points based marking I was never given the chance. And that scares me.


Friday 9 September 2016

Things I've Learnt Since Graduating

graduation teddy bear

Jokes on me. I thought when I left uni I was done with learning for a while and could go back to chilling and forgetting everything I spent four years committing to memory.

Psh. Apparently not.

I actually finished my degree a few months ago and have been struggling to find a job since then. So aside from two (amazing) holidays, the last 3 months have consisted of me slowly turning into a potato. But also becoming a lil' bit wiser, yaknow?

You think when you're in uni and you're learning and growing, you've become an adult and this is life now. Omg you're paying bills, wtf you have to spend sunday defrosing the freezer, yawn meal plans and shopping lists. But life has changed yet again and I've become so damn insightful learning all this stuff about myself and life and all sorts.  

Wednesday 7 September 2016

End of Year Goals

urban outfitters diary

Deep breath, guys.

There's only 4 months left of the year. We're two thirds of the way through.

W T F ? ? ?

Realistically, I actually have accomplished a lot this year. I wrote my dissertation, graduated from Cardiff Uni, been on three holidays and am really liking the direction my blog is going in. (Pretending my brief blog break down earlier didn't happen...).

There is a lot more I want to accomplish by the end of the year though. IRL and online.

Get a (good) job.


Monday 5 September 2016

5 Beauty Bits I Love Right Now

favourite beauty

I usually like to mix it up with my make up.

Even if I'm doing the same type of look, which is more than probable, I like to try and use different products and different combos of products. Some combos end up being HG winners and some make me look mouldy.

I haven't been mixing it up all that much this las few weeks. Probably 'cause I'm not really going anywhere more exciting than IKEA for the 11th time this week so the bold lip has to stay in the drawer. Got to reign in the sass, y'know.

Also because I've got a handful of products that I just can't get enough of and ain't no other products stealing their place on my face. These are the ones I'm loving at the moment:


Saturday 3 September 2016

6 Ways to be Happier & Healthier

I am in a fabulous mood today.

I may look like a scotch egg someone stepped on and I may have eaten both my breakfast and lunch out of mugs because I've ran out of bowls (I definitely did this. #noshame).

I may still be no closer to getting a post-uni job and I may be getting more chubs by the day 'cause my gym buddy has gone back to work and seems to have taken my motivation with her... But I feel mega happy today.

I want everyone else to be happy. And of course healthy. Not like kale and beetroot smoothie, 6 hours in the gym and 4 hours of yoga/meditation healthy, but achieveable healthy for us mere mortals. So maybe some of these little pearls of wisdom might make you happy today (or tomorrow, that's cool too).

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