Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Give me s'more cupcakes

We have an open fire in our front room; it was my mother's Christmas present a few years back. Every year my brother and I have proceeded to buy marshmallows and chocolate digestives to create s'mores whilst sat in front of the telly watching Strictly Come Dancing. My mother doesn't appreciate the marshmallow on the grate but they're my little winter treat so here are a few replica cupcakes!

For the cake:
30g dark chocolate
5 digestive biscuits
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
200g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
240ml milk
For the topping:
200g caster sugar
4 egg whites
100g dark chocolate to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with cases. Grate the dark chocolate with a fine cheese grater (it's a good idea to leave it in a fridge beforehand) and crush the digestive biscuits. I'd suggest either putting them in a plastic fridge bag or a plastic bowl and attacking them with a rolling pin. Using a mixer blend the butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt together to get a breadcrumb-like consistency. Mix the eggs and milk in a jug and slowly add to the dry mix whilst whisking until the batter is smooth. Fill the paper cases 2/3 of the way with this mixture before covering with the chocolate gratings and crushed digestives. Bake for about 20 minutes and then leave to cool.

You can then either ice them normally or create this marshmallow-like topping. If you don't have much time on your hands I'd suggest using a jar of marshmallow fluff (you can buy it now in most supermarkets) but if you want to be authentic, make your own. Start by heating the sugar in a saucepan with 150ml of water and bring it to the boil. Whilst this is boiling, separate your egg whites and whisk them until fluffy and quite stiff. After about 10 minutes your sugar syrup should be ready. You can test it by dropping a small amount into a cup of cold water. If it forms a solid ball it is ready, if not, leave it a few more minutes. Keep testing until it is ready. You can then add it to the beaten egg whites, misting as you go. Whisk until the bottom of the bowl is warm and the mixture shiny. Spread this atop your cupcakes. 

Now comes the fun bit. I used a cooks blowtorch to crisp my marshmallow, but if you have a gas hob, you could toast it off here. If not, any form of flame would work (please don't go wandering round lighting fires to toast your cupcakes on...). Please be very careful. I will happily admit that I set fire to every single paper case and I made about 18 cupcakes. Just watch what you're doing and blow out the flames. Decorate with a piece of chocolate and you're done!

Adapted from Hummingbird Bakery's "Cake Days"

Monday, 25 November 2013

Let's potter around and pretend it's Spring

For some reason, now that we're soon venturing into the Winter, I keep on dishing out the floral teacups and scents in my cupboards. Anything which looks dainty, like it might just break any second, will be found on my bureau's periphery almost every day of the week. I'm not very good at accepting the cold. That being said, with it almost being Winter and all, it's definitely the perfect time of year to dish out the hot drinks- fruit tea in my case. Oh, hold on. You guys aren't judging me? Lovely. For any of you princesses who wish winter wasn't so cold, and want to look toasty as opposed to combating an illness, then proceed forth with this post. It will certainly give you an idea or two.

I knew that these were the glasses I wanted to purchase as my new pair since the beginning of Summer, which is why when I finally decided to make the purchase I was like a spoilt brat, having to wait a week to finally get them in my paws. Oh, how I love them so. I shan't lie, I feel like I'm Mrs Potter in them (hence the cheeky pun in the post's title). Gotta' love tortoise shell too, even if a large number of people don't know what tortoise shell is when I rave about it *insert numerous sighs here* I'd like to dedicate some space in words to the wonderful Nicole Farhi for designing these frames. Maybe it shows a poor choice in Boots opticians, but these were the only rounded frames I could find, but I didn't mind. Aren't they magnificent? I'm guessing other designers do actually do rounded frames, I'm not going to be that naive. However, these are just a perfect, little combination: rounded frames, tortoise shell and a hint of purple- you couldn't make me happier.

I did buy this perfume for mother dearest... But I've found myself becoming quite friendly with it too- not that I can't control myself or anything. We both found this perfume first by accommodating ourselves to the tester found in a magazine in our abode. For once in my life, I didn't just put it on and throw it in the bin, it was lovely. Mummy pledged that she would buy it for herself in the future, and with it, I made sure to buy it for her before she could for herself. It's smell is like a perfect must (that's a compliment in my book) and is far more of a distilled, pretty pink in real life, than that (well) rather off-putting yellow colour you can see in the picture. 


Winter + tea= it's the only part of my pretence which actually makes sense. I've always been exclusively been a fan of fruit tea on the hot drinks circuit. Hot chocolate is too sweet, and coffee is just blegh. I don't know how some of you crazies manage to drink it. When I do, it's literal punishment. Every sip says 'you should have done this work earlier, Belle'. The tea cup is actually a gift from Mins herself, and the saucer was just necessary for a sense of further escapism (it makes sense, don't question me). Oh, and the chocolate? Yes, it's from Lidl. A lot of people snub Lidl as being 'cheap', which isn't really offensive, because that's what it is: cheap. Yet, some of the quality of the product are far from it, this chocolate being one of them. Also, check out their salmon. It's literally rocks my socks. Don't judge it if you haven't even tried it, darlings.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Winter is coming

I had a moment at the end of last month where I looked at my make-up and realised I was getting stuck in a rut. Yes, when something works for you, that's great, but to be wearing the same make-up look day after day was wearing - to the point where owning that many red lipsticks was unnecessary. My go-to look tends to be 50's style winged liner on a neutral base with either a bright red lip or a pink toned balm. And yes, I'm now a perfectionist about winged eyeliner.

With this urge to do something different, my friends and I popped into Boots during our lunch-hour, which was entertaining to say the least as I saw the look of horror appear on the faces of 7 or so teenage guys as they were confronted with 3 overexcited girls and the make-up aisle.

My friend picked this lipstick out and my conclusion was 'Why not?' It appears a bit redder in the photos than I would say it does in real life; it's more of a maroon/burgundy colour. First of all I had no clue on what to pair it with but it looks great with this season's trend - velvet matte skin - and a simple neutral eye. Just white shadow on my brow-bone and tear duct, pale nude on my lids and a pale taupe in my crease. The white creates a bright enough eye to contrast with the bold lip and makes you look awake and alert which is something we could all do with. I used a bronzer to sculpt my cheekbones and added a tad of bronzer as I always look deathly pale in the winter months.

Lipstick: Collection Gothic Glam Lipstick in '3 - Revenge'
Skin: No.7 Stay Perfect Liquid Foundation in 'Calico', Avon Personal Match Liquid Concealer in 'Fair', Benefit Lemonaid, Rimmel London Match Perfection Loose Face Powder, Benefit 'Hoola' Bronzer, Bourjois Chocolate Bronzer
Eyes: Front Cover Palette, Benefit 'They're Real' Mascara

Belle apologises profusely for not publishing this with Mini's name at the bottom, it really and truly is hers.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

'I believe in the glamorous life'

Lady Gaga is an icon of the 21st Century. With her crazy style and ‘out-there’ music I'll have to say that she is one of my favourite celebrities. She also spouted the wonderful quote that has become the title of this post. Make-up is a very glamorous thing. This make-up look, not so much… Well, I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I wore this to a party not long ago, because I felt like making an effort with my make-up when I knew no-one else would.

As always I started with my e.l.f. Eyelid Primer, as it does its job so well. I then applied my Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow in ‘Immortal Charcoal 55’ with a brush all over my lid and I winged it out really dramatically. I then pressed my black eye shadow over the entire lid colour I had already applied; I really like the Rimmel single eye shadows – they are of really good quality and it was 99p online – utter bargain! This eyeshadow ‘Enchantment’ does have a bit of blue glitter in it but it’s really very hard to see when on the eyes. It's a shame, but there was a slight tint so that kept me happy. I took all of this under my eyes as well to make this look even more dramatic. I did highlight the inner corner of my eye with NYC City Mono Eyeshadow in 'A-Lister 920' but you can’t really tell. After lining my eyes with my MUA Intense Colour Eyerliner Pencil, I piled on the mascara – as usual, Volum' Express The Falsies Washable Mascara – and you can always put on some fake lashes if you want… I’m always scared I’ll poke my eyes out.

I usually start with my foundation but this time as I was using a lot of eyeshadow and I didn’t want to rub off the foundation when wiping off the fall down. I applied my Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation in ‘Light Porcelain’ nonetheless. I then added a very pink blusher as I really like the contrast with the black eyes and dark lips. Unfortunately, I could only find a really old one that came with a magazine yonks ago... I really need to find a dupe for that - and a quick powder using my Collection Sheer Loose Powder (which I would never recommend for a night out) and my face was good to go.

I started by using my Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub to scrub all the dead skin off of my lips – nasty, yes, but it has to be done with this lip colour. I then applied a generous helping of Vaseline Lip Therapy in 'Aloe Vera' and let it soak in (while I ran around grabbing my keys, purse and anything else I would need) before applying my Rimmel London Lasting Finish Matte by Kate Moss Lipstick – which is a colour everyone seems to have, and I do love it. I find if you apply it then blot your lips, and then apply it again this lipstick lasts all night.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Stud me up now, darling


I'm constantly torn. I've decided I must two different aesthetics. I love bold, crisp colours, but then I can't help be drawn to these earthy tones. Gotta love my khaki. This Autumn has definitely seen me fall in love with all of the colours of a military mother nature, but that's not to say I'm running away from things being tailored. I find that this combination of grey, green and black tones plus some more tailored pieces (a la my skirt, and even my heels) works ridiculously well. My wardrobe is ready to take the casual smart trend by storm. Do watch out, darlings. 

Do you want to know the darnest thing? I got practically everything in this outfit on sale, with only the exception of the skirt. I may have got a little ahead of myself when I picked up those heels for a tenner; I was a happy bunny to say the least. I picked up the earrings for no more than a couple of quid. I shan't lie, with their triangular shape, I feared the worst: that dreaded comment of 'hipster'. But nah, I'll just call them geometric instead. The same could be said about the studs, but we can just ignore that. Yes, let's just move on.

As long as these colours stay in shops, I'm a happy child. They just work terribly well with my favourite lip colour at the moment. The cherry-plum colour I'm wearing above, and which I and practically all of my friends replicate using the same lipstick: Rimmel Kate Matte Lipstick in '107'. Forget wearing the same dress as your friend to an event, we regularly appear with identical lip colours... Petty to consider? Perhaps. We have never denied being shallow when it comes to outshining each other.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Make me Poison Ivy

Who doesn’t love Halloween? You get to have fun while being all dressed up! However, where I find people lack in their costumes is on the makeup... Why do you put in so much effort into your costume when your face still looks the same as always? At least use different colours and brushes to go a little ‘out there’- it is Halloween after all. Remember to just have fun with it, and use whatever you have handy.

  1. I started with foundation (Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation in '103 True Ivory'), concealer and powder as you should always do. If you are going to be out for a long time at a party or trick-or-treating, then do wear a primer under your make up and this will keep it from wearing off throughout the night.
  2. For my eyes I started with e.l.f. Eyelid Primer which is a god send for those of you who struggle with oily eyelids. Put some of this all over your eyes and right up to your brow bone.
  3. As Poison Ivy is known for being green these are the colours I stuck to. Using my colour unlimited palette (I think everyone should have some sort of colour palette in their make-up stash in order to give themselves any Halloween look they want) I stuck to the greens (and a dash of gold) and made my way from the lightest to the darkest.
  4. Remember: Blending is very import so you don’t end up looking like a blotchy paint job so that is why there are so many brushes in the photo!
  5. Lastly on the eyes I added a small amount of white to highlight the brow bone and blend the colour underneath my eyes to the rest of my skin. And I also added a touch of neon green to the inner corner (from my small Ingot palette – which I didn’t realise was such a good brand when I bought it). A swish of mascara and green eyeliner all-round the eyes and they were done
  6. On my cheeks I went with a dark red-ish colour, I usually go for a pink but as Poison Ivy’s hair is red so I wanted to incorporate that.
  7. Also I incorporated red on the lips with my Natural Collection lipstick and M.U.A. lip liner. After looking at my lips though I felt they needed something more, so, I swirled my lip brush into the gold eyeshadow and pushed some onto the centre of the lips. Rubbing them together blended it in and I really loved them after that.
  8. And last, but by no means least, I took my green eyeliner (N.Y.C.) and I drew on a few swirls to the side of my face to look a little like Ivy vines. I then dabbed over the green with gold eyeshadow and my final look was completed!

I really do love this make up and toned down a little (loose the gold lips, ivy vines and over huge eyeshadow) it would also make a lovely day-to-day makeup as well! Don’t be scared to experiment with Halloween makeup. I would always say practise at least once before the day of your party so you know what you are going to do on the day, in case you end up in a rush.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Hello dolly, well hello

One of friends turned 18 on Sunday and felt the need to celebrate. Her family are Philippino and I will inform you that they don't do things by halves. Becoming an adult is a huge deal to them and this was no exception. It was a properly formal function. Scary, huh? My issue is I'm not an overly formal person and when confronted with the dress code 'Formal - but no pink, white or black' I stressed. Pretty much every formal dress I own is black. Bar one. And that is the dress I wore to my year 11 awards evening. So it got a second outing. I haven't worn it since because I dress rather simply and I find the dress a bit ostentatious. This becomes an issue when doing hair/makeup/jewellery selections. However, I'm guessing I did decently so I've recreated the look for you.

Seeing as I had nothing to do with my Friday night and I find my hair is easier to manage if it's a little worn in, I washed it 24 hours before the function. I use Herbal Essences because I'm cheap and it's always on special offer. Even though my hair isn't coloured, I use a coloured hair conditioner as I find it helps my ends and reduces how quickly they split as it has more moisture in as dyed hair gets drier quicker. On the Saturday, I curled my hair in 2 sections (top and bottom) with a skinny barrelled curling wand and then sprayed some hairspray through the curls before brushing it through with a wide tooth comb. I then took a small section from the front of either side and twisted them to give them some texture before taking them to the back of my head and twisting them round each other before securing them in place with bobby pins.

I wanted to keep it quite natural but very airbrushed and perfect. I wanted 'natural beauty' not 'natural - living in a forest without a mirror'. I used Benefit's 'POREfessional' all over my face as a primer before applying their 'Lemonaid' under my eyes, on my lids, around my nose and on any spots to counteract the redness. It then used Benefit 'Boi-ing' concealer (which I swear by for hiding all sins), and then their 'Oxygen Wow' liquid foundation which gives a light natural finish. I set it all with Rimmel's loose powder, concentrating on any areas which could end up shiny and where I had concealer. I contoured using 'Hoola' and then used the Bourjois 'Chocolate Bronzer' to add some warmth as I wasn't bothering with a blush. 

For my eyes I used a Front Cover palette. I used 'China Cup' (nude/beige) all over the lid before adding 'Sand Shell' (taupe) in the crease and then a tiny bit of 'Toffee' (mid brown). I blended all this together and swiped a touch of 'Sand Shell' along my lower lash line. I then added 'Icicle' (shimmery white) in the tear duct and as a highlight on the brown bone. I finished off by applying my ever faithful Maybelline gel eyeliner very close to the lash line with a slight small flick and then curling my lashes and applying Benefit 'They're Real' mascara on the top lashes and Model Co. 'Fibre LashXtend' on the bottom ones. There was reasoning behind this. I have used They're Real on my bottom lashes before but my lower lashes are very long and I find the formula just works too well and my lower lashes are constantly tapping my face and annoying me.

To finish off the look I added a swipe of gloss (Maybelline Coloursensational in Coral Blush) as what's the point in lipstick if you're eating food? I mean seriously?