Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Traybake

As the weather is getting a bit colder, I thought I would post the recipe for one of my favourite comfort bakes at this time of year. This cake is super simple, yet super pretty, and it great for packing in your lunch box to take to school/work.

cake complete

Ingredients:

  • 225g of butter
  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 275g of self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 30g of milk or dark chocolate
  • 30g of white chocolate

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan), and grease a 30 x 23cm tin, and then line the base with baking parchment.

2) Measure the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, eggs and milk into a large mixing bowl, and beat until well blended.

cake mixer

3) Use a tablespoon to put dollops of the mixture into the prepared tin. You should leave about half of the mixture in the bowl for the next step.

4) In a mug or small bowl, mix the cocoa powder with 1-2 tablespoons of boiling water to form a paste. Add this paste to the remaining cake mixture and beat well.

5) Again use a tablespoon to dollop the chocolate cake mixture into between the blobs of vanilla. It should look something like the photo below.

cake blobs

6) Use a spatula to swirl the colours together a bit, also making sure to push the mixture to the edges of the pan.

cake swirled

7) Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes, until the cake has begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan.

8) Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, and then turn the cake out onto a wire rack so it cools more quickly.

9) Melt down the white and milk/dark chocolate in separate bowls, and the use a teaspoon or piping bags to drizzle over the cake. The more random the better!

cake chocolate

10) Leave the chocolate to set, and then cut into 21 slices.

cake drizzle 1

cake drizzle 2

This cake is a favourite in my house, and guaranteed to vanish from the cake tin before I’ve had a chance to have a second slice! It always stays lovely and moist, and is a quick and simple bake that looks like you put a lot more effort into it than you actually did.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and let me know in the comments if you try it out yourself.

Em x

cake complete

 

Advertisements

L’Oreal La Palette Nude Review

Hello everyone! Today’s post is a review of one of L’Oreal’s eye-shadow palettes. I believe these were launched about a year ago, so are relatively new, and having had mine since Christmas I feel like I’ve now used it enough to give my full opinion on it. Mine is the rose palette which is pink toned, but they also do a beige palette which contains more natural brown tones.

Palette Shut

First off, a quick note on the packaging of the product, which I have found to be really good! Although it’s plastic, the shiny black casing makes it feel fairly expensive, and it’s easy to wipe clean so has stayed in good condition. The pans seem to be fixed into place well too; I’ve travelled with this product a lot and none of them have dislodged or smashed.

Palette Open 2

Now onto the shadows themselves which I have mixed opinions about. Generally, the pigmentation is just not there and the swatches below required several layers to build up the colour. That being said, I find this makes the palette perfect for daytime looks, since it prevents me overloading on eye-shadow. We have all been there when it comes to telling yourself that you’ll just apply a little makeup to freshen up, and then an hour later you’re sitting there with a full face, lashes and all!

Palette Swatches

Because of the lack of pigmentation, I do find I get quite a bit of fallout when trying to build up the colour, simply because of the amount of product I end up having to apply. However, as long as I do my concealer after my eye makeup, this doesn’t really bother me.

Texture wise, like most palettes, the matte colours are a bit more chalky but not excessively so. I wouldn’t really describe any of the shades as creamy, but they do feel smooth. Basically they blend well and apply easily, but you can’t pick up a lot of product on the brush. I think this is part of the pigmentation problem, and is caused by the shadow being packed down so hard into the pan.

Despite this, one part of the palette I absolutely LOVE is the highlight colour. This shadow is SO much more pigmented than the others, and the shimmery white makes the perfect inner corner highlight. Since it’s also very neutral toned, I find I can use it to brighten up any look, regardless of whether it’s warm or cool toned.

Palette with Brushes

Overall, although I would lean towards saying I’m not a big fan of this palette, I do find myself reaching for it most days when I just want a simple look, so I guess I must like it more than I thought! However, my favourite is definitely the highlight shade, and if I ever had to repurchase, I would make sure to see if I could purchase the highlight colour as a single shadow rather than buying the whole palette again.

Palette with Brushes 2

I just wanted to quickly end this post by apologising for the lack of content over the last couple of months – my last term at uni was crazy hectic and then I struggled to get back into the flow of things over the summer, but I’m back now and have a couple more posts lined up too!

Until next time,

Em x

The Perfect Oat and Raisin Cookies

Today’s recipe is one of my all year round go to cookies. Oat and raisin cookies have always been my mum’s favourite, so after many batches and slight tweaks to the recipe, I’ve now perfected it. These cookies have a slight crunch around the outside, and are lovely and chewy in the middle: yum!

Ingredients:

  • 100g of plain flour
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 75g of porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 100g of butter
  • 40g of raisins

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan), and grease 2 baking trays.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, oats and bicarbonate of soda, and then make a well in the centre.

3) In a saucepan, gently heat together the butter and golden syrup until melted.

4) Pour into the flour mixture, and mix well using a wooden spoon. Add the raisins and stir those through as well.

5) Shape the mixture into 12 even shaped balls, then place 6 on each baking sheet, spaced well apart to allow the mixture to spread. Then press them down slightly using a teaspoon.

IMG_3965(2)

6) Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

7) Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for a few minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_4010

IMG_4020b

IMG_4028a

These cookies are lovely when they’re eaten fresh out the oven and are still warm, but they get even chewier if you leave them to cool completely, so either way they’re super yummy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and let me know in the comments if you try it out yourself.

Em x

 

 

What I Read on Holiday

First of, sorry for the lack of photos in this post, but as a Kindle lover, it wasn’t like I had a stack of books to photograph. Last week I got back from a week of sun, sea, sand and cocktails, and of course, this gave me a lot of time to indulge in a good book. In this post I’ll be sharing my thoughts on each of the books I read.

long ass edit

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Paperback £6.29 – Amazon)

This is a book that took me a while to get into, in fact I’d given up on it before and had to start again. However, once you get through the first quarter, it becomes so gripping. I think the problem is that at the start, there’s too many characters to introduce and the links between them are too complicated to understand, but once you get it, you really really get it and I couldn’t wait to finish. Overall, the was a really good book with a great storyline, but isn’t the best for beach reading as it does require a lot of concentration.

Geek Girl: All That Glitters by Holly Smale (Paperback £3.85 – Amazon)

These books are definitely aimed at girls younger than me, but I absolutely love them and would recommend them to any woman under 25. They’re so funny, such an easy read, and totally relatable to slightly geeky girls like me.

Geek Girl: Head Over Heels by Holly Smale (Paperback £3.85 – Amazon)

Again, this is another in the same series and I loved it just as much. The books definitely link together, so you do need to read them in order. I read books 4 and 5 on this holiday, having read the others last year, so I already knew I would enjoy these books.

Pleasure Island by Anna-Lou Weatherley (Paperback £8.99 – Amazon)

I haven’t finished this book yet, so I can’t give a full review, but so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s the perfect holiday read, which a mix of romance, mystery and scandal. It’s really like nothing I’ve read before, but I think it would appeal to such a wide range of people.

And that’s everything! I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know in the comments if you have any book recommendations, as I’m always looking for more books to add to my reading list.

Em x

My Sunglasses Obsession

I’m one of those girls, you know, the ones that are never seen wearing the same pair of sunglasses twice. I just love coordinating different pairs to different outfits, and with high street stores selling them so cheaply, I just can’t help myself. It seems that every time I go shopping in the summer, I come home with a new pair.

3) In Bag

My favourite place to pick up super cheap sunglasses is Primark. For only £1-3 you can chose from a wide selection without causing much damage to your bank account. The blue and orange pairs above were just £1 each, including a case, and I always take these to the pool/beach on holiday because it doesn’t matter if they get broken. Plus, the bright colours look great with tan!

3) In Box

I only have one pair of aviators because I’ve found that they really don’t suit my face. I have a couple of pairs of round glasses, that are more of a fashion statement, which I don’t wear overly often, but I really like them when I do.

3) Layed on Bed

By far my favourite style are my clubmaster sunglasses. I have a black pair that I don’t wear as much, and a brown tortoise shell pair that are my all time favourite sunglasses. They are the best fit for my face, especially the slightly rounder ones.

3) Funky Symmetry

As much as I love sunglasses, I don’t actually own any designer pairs. I’m considering investing in a pair of tortoise shell clubmaster Ray Bans, but I really don’t see the advantage of buying a £200 pair of sunglasses, when I can buy 20 pairs of £10 sunglasses.

Let me know if you’ve bought a more expensive pair of sunglasses, and if you think I should invest!

Em x

 

Skinny Dip Phone Case Review

Skinny Dip have become an increasingly popular brand for phone cases over the last year or so, with their fun styles attracting us girls in search of a pretty phone case. I’ve had this macaroon case for 6 months now, and thought I would do a little review, as I have a few opinions to share.

2) Pretty Background 2

2) Pretty Background 1

The cases range from about £10-20, and this particular one was £12. However, they offer student discount, and there are often other voucher codes floating around the internet. One thing I love about the brand is that they are continually updating their website with new designs, so you never end up having the same case as anyone else. The designs are really cute, and there is honestly something to suit everyone. It was so hard to pick just one! In the end I chose this one because of the cute pastel colours, and the glitter in the background makes it just that little bit prettier and even more girly.

I’m very impressed with the fit of the case. It fits tightly, which I see as a good thing, because otherwise I just fiddle with it and flick it off all the time. It’s a hard shell case which is also good because it offers better protection for my phone. The only design flaw I can see, is that the case doesn’t wrap all the way round to the front, so if your phone falls face down, there is nothing to protect the screen.

2) Windowsill Background

Now onto the downside. I have tried many of those cheap £1 Amazon/eBay cases before, and the image has faded and scratched within a few months, to the point at which I have to buy a new one. I thought this time I would invest in a more expensive case, naively assuming that the design would last for longer. However, 6 months in and I already feel it needs replacing. The colours have faded A LOT from when I first got it. The design is also looking fairly scratched, and considering how carefully I have treated my  phone since I upgraded to the 6S, I expected much better.

All that being said, I will most likely buy another Skinny Dip case, just because I love their designs so much. I will try and get a couple more months out of this one first, but just the thought of picking another cute design fills me with excitement – I’ve well and truly been sucked into the craze!

Do you have a Skinny Dip phone case? Let me know in the comments.

Em x

My Disneyland Adventure

As you may already know from some of my previous posts, a few weeks ago I got back from a dreamy girls holiday to Disneyland. We had 5 super busy days of roller-coasters, character meet and greets, and some amazing food. I took thousands of photos (literally – i came back with 2198), and today I’ll be sharing my favourites in a photo diary type post.

1) Photo 1

1) Photo 2

Of course, our arrival at Disneyland began with all the typical photos in front of the castle. We had amazing weather for the whole of our holiday, which meant all of the pictures are so pretty. After the initial photoshoot, we headed for It’s A Small World, one of the classic disney favourites.

1) Photo 3

1) Photo 4

1) Photo 5

1) Photo 6

1) Photo 7

Following the excitement of our first ride, we went on Space Mountain (one of the bigger roller-coasters in the park), and grabbed a fast pass to skip the queue for Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast,  a really fun shooting ride.

1) Photo 8

Next, we headed over to Fantasyland, and much to our surprise, the queue to meet Mickey Mouse was only 5 minutes, so we just had to do it!

1) Photo 9

Then we spent the rest of the day going on as many rides as possible around the Disneyland Park.

1) Photo 10

1) Photo 11

1) Photo 12

We had dinner at a buffet inside the park, and I somehow managed to eat 7 puddings – oops! As the sun began to set, we headed to the beautiful Newport Bay Club hotel, which was only a 15 minute walk from the park.

1) Photo 13

The next day, we woke up and headed straight back to the main Disneyland Park to meet a couple of characters, including Goofy, and then went to the Hollywood Studios park to try out some of the rides there.

1) Photo 14

1) Photo 15

1) Photo 16

1) Photo 17

We watched a really cool stunt show, which was based on the Cars movie, and then headed back to the hotel to make use of the swimming pool. In the evening, we had an amazing dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. We then headed back to the Disneyland Park, and went on a few rides, while we waited for it to get dark so we could watch the Disney Magic fireworks display. It turned out to be so good that we stayed up again to watch it on our final night! It’s an amazing show, with parts of classic Disney films projected onto the castle, music, water displays, and of course some incredible fireworks!

1) Photo 18

I don’t have many pictures of the third day, mostly because we spent the entire day going on as many rides as possible! On the fourth day, we got up super early and made it our mission to meet as many characters as we could. Here are some of my favourite snaps.

1) Photo 19

1) Photo 20

1) Photo 21

As you can see, meeting Winnie the Pooh was a definite highlight for me! In the afternoon, we found a good spot on Main Street, and sat down to watch the Disney Parade, which was so good and made me feel like an excitable child again.

1) Photo 22

1) Photo 23

1) Photo 24

1) Photo 25

1) Photo 26

1) Photo 27

1) Photo 28

1) Photo 29

Disneyland were running a special ‘Frozen Summer Fun’ promotion while we were there, so there was also a special little Elsa and Anna parade later in the day.

1) Photo 31

As the sun began to set, we took even more pictures in front of the castle, and then found a good spot to wait for the fireworks to start.

1) Photo 30

I don’t have many pictures of our last day, as it was much shorter and I had pretty much photographed every inch of the park by then! However, I did get some very cute ones on this little boat ride, which also happened to be our final ride of the trip.

1) Photo 32

1) Photo 33

1) Photo 34

And sadly, that’s the end of our adventure. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into my trip! It was honestly one of the best weeks of my life, and I can’t wait until I get a chance to go back!

Until next time,

Em x