28 April, 2015

Cherry Butter Cookies

Cherry Butter Cookies
I really love baking cookies (if you hadn't already guessed that from my Chocolate Chip cookies post!) and the reason is because most of the time, they're pretty quick and easy to make!
I make these cherry butter cookies every now and then as a treat for my family (I don't really like cherries!), and they always go down well. The great thing about them is they only have 50g of icing sugar in them, so they're not even that bad for you although they probably shouldn't be eaten a lot because of the amount of butter that goes into them!
Recipe: (Makes 24 small cookies)

  • 175g butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 glace cherries, halved

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and lightly grease two baking sheets.
  2. Mix the butter, icing sugar and flour in a mixing bowl, then add the baking powder and vanilla extract.
  3. Spoon the mixture into small balls on the baking sheets. (however big or small you like, it depends on how many cookies you would like!)
  4. Add the halved cherries on top and push down gently into the mixture.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Leave to cool completely.

I have adapted this recipe from the one featured in "On The Table in 30 Minutes- Baking", which you can read a review of here. I have made it slightly easier to make and also added extra flavouring as I found their recipe to be a bit tasteless!
If you don't like cherries, you could probably replace the cherries with something else- I think a Malteaser would be cute!
So what do you think? Let me know if you try this at home, I'd love to see your creations!
Cherry Butter Cookies

24 April, 2015

My Journey to Fitness... Update!

Image Source

So last month I wrote a post about the beginning of my journey to getting fitter. I'm really loving exercising and eating healthier and I'm enjoying sharing my journey with you!
After my last post, I decided it was about time I upped my game. I'd done well, but the clock is ticking and time is running out before I go on holiday. I may still have just under two months, but I'm hoping to lose 2 stone, so I need to put in a LOT of hard work. It has been hard, I'm not going to lie, and I am SO grateful to all my fab blogging friends like Amy for helping to spur me on and keep me motivated.
What did I do this month?

  1. Started exercising every day which actually I really enjoyed. I didn't do anything too strenuous, I still only ran 3 times a week but I started doing strength exercises with dumbells each night and doing different workout videos, basically to try and help move those extra pounds along!
  2. Using bigger weights to help with weight loss and building muscle, I started off with 1kg because I was so scared of using dumbells and moved on to 2.5kg, but after talking to Corinne I ended up buying EVEN BIGGER weights and I'm now doing 5kg!
  3. COMPLETED COUCH TO 5K! I am so happy with this, I literally loved every second and I will definitely continue and move onto 5k to 10k, but first I want to concentrate on becoming confident with running for 30 minutes before I move on to longer runs which is a tip I got from Lou!
  4. Starting the 30 day Ab Challenge which has been TOUGH. I'm not expecting it to work miracles but it's mainly so I get better at doing things like sit ups and leg raises etc. So far I've been doing really well although it's making me so sore!

My updated loss is 11cms on my waist and 15cms on my hips, so it is definitely an improvement from last month! In terms of weight, my scales are telling me I've put on half a stone but I am going to assume that this is muscle as I have been doing so well with my eating and fitness- plus my measurements are constantly going down every week!

Next month I'm going to try some longer runs, and keep going with the exercise and healthy eating. I'm thinking of joining a gym but I just don't know if I'd end up going so I'm not 100% sure it would be worth it. Less than 2 months to go now though so I need to work hard!

Let me know of any fitness and healthy eating tips you may have, I do genuinely enjoy reading everyone's tips and comments!

Also- I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who has listened to my questions, moans and "yay"s about my fitness like the lovely ladies I've linked above- it means a lot! And also a big thanks to everyone reading this for following along with my fitness/weight loss journey!

21 April, 2015

How to make a Panda from fondant- Cake Decorating for beginners

How to create a Panda Bear from Fondant
You might remember that back in January I made this little Panda from fondant. He was REALLY popular and still gets viewed now, so I thought I'd write a post showing you guys how to make him yourself!

You will need:

  • White fondant
  • Black fondant
  • 1 cocktail stick
  • Fondant shaping tools (although you could probably do without these if you don't have them!)

How to create a Panda Bear from FondantHow to create a Panda Bear from Fondant

  1. First, take some white fondant and mould it into two balls, one larger than the other, for the head and the body. The Panda can be as big or as small as you like, so don't worry too much about size! Then, using your fingers, mould it into more of a "cube".

  2. How to create a Panda Bear from FondantHow to create a Panda Bear from Fondant

  3. Then, take some black fondant and mould it into the shape of the legs. I like to press one end of the fondant against my hand to create that smooth edge of his paw!

  4. Still using the black fondant, roll between your hands to create a long "sausage", and again press the ends against your hand to create the paws. This will be his shoulders and his arms! Note: You will need to measure his arms against the body and the legs so they don't look out of proportion, this is all just trial and error! :)

  5. Apply his legs and arms to his body. You can use things like buttercream to stick them together, however I find that I can just mould the parts to his body and it works out fine for me!

  6. How to create a Panda Bear from FondantHow to create a Panda Bear from Fondant

  7. Then take two small pieces of black fondant and roll into balls. These will be his ears. Using your fondant tool shown above, create the fold in his ear, and mould into a circular shape using the tips of your fingers.

  8. Once you have done this, apply to your smaller ball of white fondant (his head) and keep moulding to keep that circular look.

  9. How to create a Panda Bear from FondantHow to create a Panda Bear from Fondant
  10. Using your ball tool as shown above, create two dents in his head for where his eyes will be.

  11. Take two very small pieces of black fondant and roll them into balls. Flatten them with your finger or your ball tool to create the black effect around his eyes. Then place this on his head and mould into place.

  12. How to create a Panda Bear from FondantHow to create a Panda Bear from Fondant

  13. Now take two even smaller (!) pieces of white fondant and roll them into balls for his eyes. Place these on top of the black fondant you just applied.

  14. Place two extremely small pieces of rolled up black fondant on top of the fondant just applied for his pupils! Give him a mouth to complete his face (Although hopefully yours will look better than my dodgy one!)

  15. How to create a Panda Bear from FondantHow to create a Panda Bear from Fondant

  16. Take the cocktail stick and place in his body. You will need to make sure it is sturdy inside but does not go out of his bottom. (teehee)

  17. Measure the head against the cocktail stick and cut off any extra. You only want the cocktail stick to go halfway through his head, otherwise it will stick out of the top!

  18. Once the cocktail stick is the right length and inserted in the body, place the head on top.

And that's it! For an added detail you can poke the extra cocktail stick into his tummy to create a belly button, or you can leave it how it is. Another quick tip- black fondant will get all over your hands and it's a good idea to wash your hands before touching the white fondant, or you'll end up with black finger marks :(

Also, if you are finding your fondant dries out or sticks to your kitchen surfaces, try using a product like Trex. It stops the fondant from sticking to the surfaces and boosts dry fondant up too!

Let me know if you try this, and tweet me your creations! If you like this, I have more planned so hopefully I can get you making lots of cute animals soon!

Have fun!

17 April, 2015

Camera Cake & Why Perfectionism actually IS my weakness

In nearly every "What not to do at an interview" article I've read it says NOT to say that being a perfectionist is your weakness. I get that, because majority of people aren't perfectionists but claim to be to look good to potential employers.

My gripe with this? Being a perfectionist actually is my weakness.

Am I 100% perfect all the time? God no. Do I want to be? Hell yes. That, is my problem.

I once read somewhere (I think Tumblr?) that Perfectionists are actually the laziest people, because unless they can do it 100% perfect, they don't want to do it at all. I completely agree with that. If I can't do something to the fullest, I don't even want to waste my time thinking about it.

Recently I've calmed down a lot and you can read about my latest changes to my lifestyle here, but before I was constantly coming up with bright ideas and chopping and changing when I realised I might not be able to do my idea to 100% perfection.

Camera Cake
I made this cake for my mum as she loves photography. It was my first attempt at actually making something out of cake (Before I'd only made simple cakes and made things from fondant icing) and for a first attempt, it's pretty good. So why did I spend ages crying over this cake?!

The answer is, it wasn't perfect. It didn't matter how many times my mum told me she loved it, or how many times my boyfriend told me it was great for a first time, it wasn't the perfect camera cake. If you google Camera cake, there are some amazing ones and mine would never be one of those.
I think sometimes we are all too hard on ourselves- cake decorators, bloggers, make up artists, actors, dancers, singers... anyone. We are given these expectations that your life has to be perfect and everything you do, everything you touch has to turn to gold and that's just not going to happen. For a first attempt, this cake is good. I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to carve the cake, let alone ice it etc.

Sometimes, I think we all need to remember that being a perfectionist is a weakness but like every weakness it can be overcome and good things can come from it. Am I going to try this cake again? Damn right. Is it going to be better? Hell yeah. Am I going to cry if it's not? Maybe, but hopefully not.

Any perfectionists sitting out there reading this and nodding along? Or do you think I'm a bit crazy? Let me know!

14 April, 2015

Disney Trip Adventures- The Princess Challenge

Did you guys know that I love Disney? Probably not, I hardly ever mention it. However, fellow Disney fan Jess asked if I would do some posts about all my Disney trips, and it doesn't take much convincing to get me to talk about Disney, so I thought I would do a couple of lifestyle posts dedicated to the Disney trips I've been on!

So why is this post called The Princess Challenge? I've been to Disneyland Paris quite a few times and I'd only ever met Belle, Ariel and Tiana. You can read the story about my first Belle meeting in my post, The Disney Tag. I'd heard from a friend of mine that WDW was much better in terms of meeting characters and I was obsessed with Instagram accounts that posted pictures of Disney World (I'll link some at the bottom of this post!) and they always seemed to meet Princesses, so I set myself a challenge of meeting all 13 Princesses.

Walt Disney World Character Meets

Walt Disney World Character Meets
Before I start, I KNOW that Tinkerbell is not a Princess but I like things to be organised and matchy, and otherwise I wouldn't have had the collage even. :)

As you can tell from my grinning face, I was extremely happy to meet them. I unfortunately don't have that many stories to share, but I think in this case, a picture tells a thousand words. The girls that are "friends with" the characters are just incredibly good. They are so realistic and I realise that's their job but you can feel yourself slipping into the dream world with them. Even my boyfriend was getting into it and we both didn't think he would!

Did I complete my challenge? NO. :( I was one short, I didn't meet Merida from Brave. However, we did get ourselves a reputation- a family actually came up to me and Dan and asked us where they could find Mulan, because they'd seen us in so many queues for Princesses, they assumed we would know. I'm still not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of that!

But I'm going again in June 2015, so the challenge is back on and I WILL complete it!

My favourite Instagram accounts for WDW related pictures:

  • Walt Disney World- obviously Walt Disney World's official instagram is filled with amazing pictures!
  • Tigger Tim- The sweetest guy, he works at Walt Disney World and loves Alice in Wonderland!
  • Haley Love- Haley and her friends go to Walt Disney World regularly. Her favourite is Rapunzel, so you'll see a LOT of her!
  • Happiest Place on Earth- Claudia posts LOTS of Walt Disney World pictures and her photography is amazing.
  • Ferdalump- If you haven't heard of Lane, then definitely look at this one. Lane is a gorgeous little girl who's mum makes her beautiful costumes that look like mini replicas! She's adorable.

So have you been to any of the Disney Parks and met any of the Princesses? I'd love to hear your experiences! :) Also, let me know if you're enjoying these posts because I'd love to make more!
Have a very Disney day!

10 April, 2015

Review: On The Table in 30 Minutes- Baking

On the table in 30 minutes- baking book review
Continuing from my last book review, which you can find here, this time I'm going to talk about a slightly different type of book. On The Table in 30 Minutes- Baking is a book designed to give you recipes that can, as the title says, be on the table in 30 minutes.

This book has all sorts of baking recipes: pastries, biscuits, cookies, brownies, cakes and much more, so it definitely would be suitable for any keen bakers out there.

Some of my favourite recipes are the ones that look like they're going to take a really long time but then you realise that it's only going to take you 30 minutes- that still amazes me even now! I love the cookie recipes, my boyfriend loves cookies but most recipes take FOREVER so it's nice to have some quick recipes that I can whip up for him to feed his inner cookie monster. (You might also remember my chocolate chip cookies which I told you were made from the recipe in this book, so guaranteed the recipes are fab!)

What don't I like? Not much really... The only quip I have is that in some recipes it tells you to use shop bought things, which I get because otherwise it wouldn't take 30 minutes but for me I love to make things from scratch. But it's truly not the end of the world, the book isn't stopping you from making those ingredients from scratch if that bothers you too!

Who would I recommend this book to? Well, I'd say newbie or amateur bakers for one. By that, I mean people who like the idea of baking or enjoy baking but perhaps don't want to go all out and spend hours in the kitchen. Also parents- these would be perfect recipes to do with children who aren't going to have the attention span to spend a long time baking, these are quick and easy and they're going to be able to eat them in 30 minutes which is always a plus!

Have you got this book? If you do, let me know your favourite recipes in the comments below! :)

07 April, 2015

Springtime Cake

Spring themed cake
I'm so, so happy it's now the middle of Spring! I love Winter, it's one of my favourite seasons, but I'm afraid I am one of the people who love Winter before Christmas, hate it after. I'm done with it once it stops feeling magical and Christmassy. But now flowers are blooming, baby animals are being born and every thing is happy again. Plus it's totally only 71 days until I go to Walt Disney World, so that's exciting too!

I get a lot of requests from friends and family asking me to make them cakes. Normally they don't care what kind of cake or what it looks like (as most of the time I do it for free), so it gives me a bit of artistic license to do whatever I like. As I was feeling in a spring kinda mood, I decided to make a cake themed around Springtime!

It's a very simple cake covered in white fondant (see here to learn how to cover a cake in fondant yourself!) that I then added some purple and yellow fondant flowers to. I'm yet to learn how to make proper flowers, so I just used cookie cutters! I think this would be a really easy beginners cake though, so feel free to try this yourself! (And tweet me @cakeydreamer, because I'd love to see any of your creations!)

Spring themed cake
Let me know what you think of my Springtime cake!

02 April, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

I cannot believe I've been nominated for another award, I love these things! They're great for supporting other bloggers and sharing blogs you love with your readers.
First of all, I just want to say a huge thank you to Becky for nominating me!
The rules of this award are:

  • Link and thank the blogger who has nominated you- Share the Love!
  • Answer the 10 questions created for you
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 sister bloggers for the award

1. Where is your dream place to live?
In a dream world, I would love to live in Orlando, Florida. Ughhh, imagine just being able to go to Walt Disney World every weekend, live in the warm... it'd just be heaven. One day...

2. Favourite Quote/Saying?
"Don't be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try"- It's really helped me with my fitness and also with blogging. You never know if you can't do something unless you try it!

3. Who is your celebrity crush?
It's not a proper crush, but I do love George Ezra!

4. What's your favourite high street store?
I always shop in New Look, I just love their stuff and I always know exactly what size I am- other shops it varies and it annoys me. I also used to work for Pandora, so I feel I should say them too!

5. What made you start your blog?
I went through a rough experience last October and needed something to take my mind off of it. Cake Decorating helped, but blogging has made me so much happier. Now I love that I have some great blogging friends and I can be myself on here, it made me, me again.

6. What advice would you give your teenage/younger self?
You won't be truly happy until you realise that you do NOT need a boy. Once I realised I was much happier being single and free, I found my boyfriend now and I was truly ready for a relationship. Now I'm so happy.

7. What is your favourite characteristic (eg. funny, caring) about yourself?
Hmm, this is hard! I like that I have a good sense of humour. I can laugh off most things, and I think that's a good trait to have.

8. How's your day going today?
Pretty all right thanks, pottering around the house doing some baking and shiz.

9. What are your favourite things about Spring and why?
BABY LAMBS. So cute. Not for eating.

10. Which celebrity would you invite for afternoon tea and cake? (very British, I know)
So I was watching Easy A last night and I really love Emma Stone. I feel she would be fun to hang out with, and she would appreciate the British fun that is afternoon tea!

The blogs I'm nominating are:
I'm going to cheat a bit and not nominate 10, but just nominate a few of my favourite blogs: (Plus some of my other favourite blogs have already been nominated!)
Jessica Casillas
Courtney Says What
Just Ems
Bubbly Bex
What Laura Blogged Next

My questions are:

  1. What is your favourite cake or baked good?
  2. What's the best thing you've ever baked?
  3. What is your favourite Disney film?
  4. What is your most embarrassing experience? (As I told mine in my last awards post!)
  5. If you could learn to do ANYTHING, what would you learn to do?
  6. Do you speak any other languages other than English?
  7. What's your favourite TV programme?
  8. What's your dream surprise?
  9. What made you start blogging?
  10. What are your plans for Summer 2015?

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and thanks again to Becky! I hope all my nominees enjoy answering my questions!

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