30 June, 2015

Reflecting back on June

Monthly Reflections
If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that at the end of each month, I reflect back on the good and bad things that happened. If you haven't seen the previous reflections, you can read them here.

So this is an odd reflection post to write, because I'm having to write it in the middle of June, rather than at the end. Why? Because as you read this, I'm in Walt Disney World! Very exciting stuff. But I still wanted to write my monthly reflection, but I guess it's more of a half-month reflection!

June's Accomplishments:

  • Writing and scheduling posts for the entire time I'm away! I'm pretty proud of this, I've managed to work ridiculously hard on my blog to make sure that I had enough posts written and scheduled for the entire time I'm on holiday, and a week after I get back so I don't have to worry that nothing's up! I know I didn't have to, but I just wanted to!
  • Writing more Cakey Tips- The reason I first started this blog was to help others with cake decorating. I've kind of changed my goals now and I enjoy writing about much more than just cake decorating, but I still like to make sure that I post some helpful posts for anyone who's thinking of starting out in cake decorating too!

July's Goals:

  • Start thinking about proper cake decorating- And by this, I mean I'd like to take some classes in it, get even better. I'd really love to be able to start taking orders for cakes, but there's a lot I need to do before I can make this happen. There's also no point if I can't make amazing cakes, so that's my main goal!
  • Get over the holiday blues- because believe me, I'm gonna have them :( Luckily I can post lots of amazing photos and stories to make me feel like I'm still there!

What have you been doing this month? Let me know your accomplishments and goals in the comments below! Also, if you have any ideas of what WDW related posts you'd like to see when I get back, let me know those too!

28 June, 2015

My Cakey Tips! | Cake Decorating for Beginners

Baking tips for beginners
I thought it would be a nice idea to write a post with a few small tips about baking and cake decorating to help anyone out there who is thinking of starting to learn or is already learning. Here are my top tips:

  1. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
    I only started cake decorating last November and it was very much on a whim. I knew absolutely nothing, I could bake a little but I hadn't done any baking for ages. I read lots of books and online articles to teach me how to make yummy cakes and how to do the basics of cake decorating. Everything else has been a LOT of trial and error. Even now, I still make things like my Camera Cake and think "eurgh, this is rubbish!". Please don't be intimidated by other cake decorators or bakers out there, they were a beginner once too!

  2. Take your time when making things
    Cake Decorating takes time and patience. Sometimes I can whip up a little Panda in about 15 minutes. Other times it can take half an hour, you just can't always put an exact timing on things, especially if you want it to look perfect. To give you an example, I made a Goofy Cake for my best friend's birthday and it took me FIVE HOURS to complete.

  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help!
    There are some lovely cake decorators on Twitter who will be more than happy to answer your questions, they were so helpful to me! I've heard some bad things about the Facebook groups though, so I would probably recommend Twitter more so.

  4. If you're going to make a LOT of cakes, buying fondant in bulk is cheaper
    But it's only worth it if you are actually going to use that much fondant! I went to Hobbycraft and bought a LOT of fondant, and it came to £40. I probably could have got it for cheaper online in bulk, but I wasn't sure if I would need to use that much fondant! Definitely something to consider though! I've only seen fondant in bulk online, but if anyone knows of any shops, let me and everyone else know in the comments!

  5. Have fun!
    It doesn't matter if your cake looks incredible or not, just make sure that you are enjoying baking and decorating. You will learn so much so quickly, but only if you're enjoying it!

If you are a baker or a cake decorator, what tips would you give? Let us know in the comments below!

26 June, 2015

My Favourite Blogs

I've wanted to do this post for a while but just haven't got round to it, so I thought now was finally the right time to do it! Over the past 6 months (wow, 6 months!) that I've been blogging, I've made some fab blogging friends but also found a wide variety of different blogs that I just adore and I'd love to share with you guys!

Sweetapolita

The first ever cake blog I found, Rosie makes the most amazing cakes. If you are into cake decorating, PLEASE check out her blog, it is so amazing. She's an inspiration!

The Disney Chef

Jerusha's blog is one of the first I ever read, months before I started blogging myself. Last year I went to Walt Disney World and had this amazing cocktail called the Magic Star. It was amazing and I wanted to try and make it at home. Well, by that, I mean get my boyfriend to make it for me. Anyway, I googled it and I found Jerusha's blog, The Disney Chef. She recreates classic WDW dishes and tells you how to make it too, so that you can recreate the magic at home! Her blog is fab for any Disney lovers!

Jess Casillas

Jess is one of the first bloggers I started talking to and she's always been so lovely! Her blog is filled with lots of different style posts, from beauty to travel and lifestyle. She is also a Disney fan and we will hopefully be doing the Disneyland Paris RunDisney Half Marathon! Definitely check out her blog if you like a wide variety of posts, which I definitely do!

Underland to Wonderland

I love Danielle's blog! It is so different to everyone else's, from Disney posts to posts about making dog-friendly pancakes, I have literally never read a post that I didn't enjoy. It's nice to read something different and Danielle is the nicest person. Plus, she's a huge Disney fan and that's always a winner in my books!

Tres Petite

Amy's blog is another that doesn't just stick to a niche but instead posts about lots of different topics. You can find beauty, lifestyle and fashion posts and they're always really interesting! Amy has also been really fab at helping me stay motivated with my weight loss/fitness journey and I'm glad that I've also been able to help her too! :) Her blog went through a makeover last month, so it's looking all shiny and new!

Cake Crumbs and Pages

Jess's blog is perfect for any food lovers out there, as she posts some fab recipes and creations! However like me, she also does lifestyle posts too which is a great way to mix it up. Her truffle recipe which she posted a few months ago looks delicious and I know you will agree with me when you see it!

Kirsty Talks

Kirsty's blog is another that I found not long after I started blogging and I've really enjoyed all of her posts! A lot of her posts are really funny and she's good at making posts that you can really relate to- I know I always do!

Skinned Cartree

Corinne has some really fab posts on her lifestyle blog and she often has some great blogging tips which I always really enjoy reading. She also has a fitness blog which I actually spent a whole afternoon reading one day because it was so interesting. She's been really helpful with my fitness questions- go check out her blogs now!

Bake then Eat

Emma's blog is another that I found not long after I started blogging, and WOW does she make some yummy food. As well as making cakes and sweet treats, she also often makes savoury dishes and they all look absolutely delicious!

La Coco Noire

I only found Katie's blog a while ago now, but I already love it. Her photography is gorgeous, which is pretty obvious as she's a photographer, but when you see them you will understand what I mean. Her photos really draw you in! Her posts are always really interesting as well, I don't think I've read a single one I didn't enjoy!

These aren't all my favourite blogs, we'd be here all day if I wrote about all of them, but they were ones I wanted to share with those of you who read my blog. Make sure you head on over and check them out! :) If you have any blogs you think I should check out, leave them in the comments below!

23 June, 2015

Cake Decorating by Lakeland (Book) | Review

Complete cake decorating by Lakeland book review
Every now and then I like to do a review of some products I've been trying- especially ones that I've found helpful in my cake decorating! This book I bought a while ago from Lakeland and thought I would share my thoughts!

Similar to the Cake Pops by Lakeland book, this book has a "shopping list" of what you need to start out with which is helpful if you're just starting out! If you read my review of the Cake Pops book, you will know that it really grated on me that they constantly mentioned that everything you need, you can buy at Lakeland. That continues in this book. It's still just as irritating if you read the whole book at once.

One thing I do like about this book is that they divide the designs up into Beginner, Intermediate and Expert. This means that no matter how far along you are in your cake decorating "journey" (haha), you can still buy the book and it will be relevant to you. It would probably be more worth it if you were a beginner though, as the whole book will be relevant to you.

Complete Cake Decorating by Lakeland book review
It's also just good for inspiration, it's nice to see different designs and learn new ways of doing things, which is the reason I bought the book. The instructions are all really clear which is good and I've learnt a few techniques from trying some out myself!

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It's definitely not as good as the first book I reviewed, Mich Turner's Cake Decorating Masterclass, but it's still very informative and helpful, especially if you're just starting out. It's also much cheaper than Mich Turner's book, at just £6.69! (Which was the online price at the time of writing this post)

Has anyone else read this book? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

21 June, 2015

The Disneyland Paris Tag!


When I saw Danielle from Underland to Wonderland had made a Disneyland Paris tag, I just knew I HAD to do it. So here it is! (Sorry if you're getting sick of these Disney posts, but... It's my blog and Disney is a big part of my life!) Also quick note- the majority of the photos in the post are credit to my mum who is a fantastic photographer!

The Disneyland Paris Tag
1. What year did you first visit DLP and how old were you?
I first visited Disneyland Paris in 1993, back when it was Euro Disney. I was only 6 months old so I don't remember any of it, but my mum told me that we all had breakfast with the characters and Minnie Mouse took me off in my pram to go see Mickey and they didn't come back for AGES. Nowadays that would be worrying, but my mum and dad thought it was cute. I'm pretty sure they sprinkled some magic over/brainwashed me and that's why I'm so obsessed with Disney. Haha!

2. Which of the Disney hotels have you stayed in, if any, and do you have a favorite?
I've stayed in three Disney hotels- Hotel Cheyenne, Santa Fe and Sequoia Lodge. I wasn't a huge fan of Santa Fe, I guess I just wasn't THAT into the Mexican theme. I loved Sequoia Lodge, but my absolute favourite would be Cheyenne. It was where I stayed when we were kids so it has more sentimental value. I'd love to stay in Newport Bay and the Disneyland Hotel though one day!

3. Let us in on where the best places to eat within both parks and the Disney Village are.
I love the Rainforest Cafe in Disney Village... I guess I just love that it's so different, with the animals and the atmosphere. In the parks, there's a cute little counter service restaurant called Pizzeria Bella Notte. It's Lady and the Tramp themed and I just love how cute it is!

4. Where is your first port of call when entering the Disneyland Park?
I like to skip Main Street at first as it's always the busiest, so I usually head straight to Fantasyland and go back to Main Street later. Then I'll head straight to Dumbo the Flying Elephant as that always has huge queues later on in the day!

5. Do you have a favorite 'land'? If so why?
Fantasyland is my favourite land without a doubt! I love every part of it and could explore it all day every day. I also love Adventureland though!

6. Which ride could you ride over and over and never tire of?
The Casey Junior train. I don't know why I love it so much but I really do, and the Storybook boats beneath it. I could literally go on those over and over again for the whole trip and never tire of either of them! It's sad that they often close them during quiet periods :(

7. Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios park?
Disneyland Park for me. I do enjoy the Walt Disney Studios park, but when I went as a child it didn't exist, so the Disneyland Park is what I always think of when I think of Disneyland Paris.


The Disneyland Paris Tag
The Disneyland Paris Tag
8. Tell us about your favorite character meeting ever at DLP.
I did talk about meeting Belle at Disneyland Paris in my Disney Tag post, so I'll choose another for this- when I visited DLP as a 14 or 15 year old with my mum, we went to see Alice and the Mad Hatter. I told them that I was a bit nervous about my upcoming GCSE's the following year, to which the Mad Hatter told me not to worry as he didn't have any of those and he'd turned out just fine! Probably wasn't the best advice, but then he is mad! It was nice though and it did help me to stop worrying. I also enjoyed meeting Peter Pan a few years later who told me never to grow up. And I haven't. Well... I'm trying not to!

9. What is a parade/show from any year that is most memorable to you?
I don't remember what it was called, but there was a really good parade that I saw in 1999 featuring pretty much all of your favourite film characters and it went on for a long time. It was to a song called "Dancin' a Catchy Rhythm" which I actually have on CD. I always think it's a shame that they don't feature as many characters in their parades now, especially not the minor ones. I also loved the 15th Anniversary parade!

10. You can only ride one - Mad Hatters Teacups or Dumbo the Flying Elephant?
Oh definitely Dumbo. The teacups make me ill, but I could do the Dumbo ride all day!

11. What do you think is the best attraction in the Walt Disney Studios park?
This is a hard one because there aren't many I can do (I have a problem with getting dizzy a lot, so when I go on fast rides I get really poorly and dizzy for weeks), but I definitely liked the Studio Tram Tour and Animagique!

12. Describe your happiest Disneyland Paris memory of all time.
As I've mentioned, I went a few times as a child with my family and looking back those were definitely the happiest times. It's great when you're a child and you get all swept up in the magic and the fun and your parents get swept along with it too.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! I don't know if I know many people who have been to Disneyland Paris, so therefore I will just say that anyone who wants to do this tag should do it. Let me know if you do because they'll be so fun to read!

The Disneyland Paris tag

19 June, 2015

Chocolate Dreams Cake

Chocolate Dreams Cake
Most people love chocolate. I am one of those people and I've always wanted to make a REALLY chocolatey cake. A close family friend wasn't too well recently so I made her a cake and took it as my chance to finally make my chocolate cake, without me ending up eating the whole thing and ruining my diet pre-Florida!

The cake itself was a chocolate cake, covered with chocolate buttercream (which didn't come out as dark as I'd hoped, but actually looked really nice). I then added chocolate sprinkles and chocolate hearts (not made by me, thanks Dr Oetker!) to add finishing touches.

Again, like some of my previous cakes, it's not the most fancy cake but I often prefer those cakes. Plus I haven't actually made a completely buttercream cake in a long time and ended up not being sure what else to add!

Are you a chocolate lover? Is this cake your dream, or would you rather have a fondant covered cake?

Chocolate Dreams Cake

16 June, 2015

What's in my Hand Luggage? | Lifestyle

What's in my hand luggage?
This is a really different post for me than what I normally do, but I felt that it would be a fun little post to do before I go away on holiday tomorrow *excitement*. For a while, I have been scouring Pinterest for ideas of what to take in my hand luggage to try and stop me from getting bored, as last year's flight to Florida dragged SO badly. I wanted to try and avoid that as much as I could without ending up taking too much stuff!

  1. Phone- A pretty obvious one, so I can keep in touch with people! I'm going to try really hard to stay away from social media, all my blog posts and tweets etc. are all scheduled so I'm going to turn off the notifications and try my best to stay away from everything! I will probably fail, but here's hoping!

  2. Notebook & Pen- In case I get bored and want to jot stuff down. This is actually my blogging notebook, so I'm hoping I'll be able to think of some ideas for posts for when I get back! (P.S., I love this notebook because it's just a plain notebook- but then I made a little floral cover for it so it looks all pretty!). The pen I bought in Walt Disney World last year. It's hard to write with but it's so pretty!

  3. Confirmations etc.- I won't be taking the folder with me, just the bits and pieces that we need- but I tell ya, that folder is full of stuff. I'm pretty sure Dan must be sick of it by now because it's literally organised into different sections. I love it. I should definitely be a holiday planner.

  4. Headphones- We're flying with Virgin and obviously you get the headphones so you can watch films etc., but last year I found the headphones were too big for my head and it was SO annoying to have to keep readjusting. This year I'll just take my own!

  5. Passport- Another pretty obvious one as I'm going to be leaving the country! I'd tell you where I got the passport cover from, but I actually don't remember- sorry! I'm sure you can find one just like it on Amazon or somewhere though.

  6. Eye Mask/Sleep Mask- Or whatever you want to call it. I'm really hoping I'll be able to sleep on the plane this year to help speed up the journey. Our flight leaves late morning, which is good as you don't have to rush around at stupid o'clock, but bad because it's SO light outside. I'm hoping this sleep mask will do the trick! Surprisingly, it's definitely black out even though the colour is so light and it's really soft! I bought this from Amazon.

  7. Kindle- In case I get bored of watching the films or TV programmes, I'm hoping I'll find a good book to read. If I get really into a book, I will happily sit there for hours reading it so fingers crossed! Please recommend any good ones that you like in the comments!

  8. Bach's Rescue Remedy Spray- I don't think I've ever mentioned this on my blog before but occasionally I get panic attacks. Not as bad as some people thankfully, but they're always pretty horrendous. I've found that this spray helps to calm me down, so I always like to have it on me just in case I feel one coming on. It's all herbal so nothing bad. I can't guarantee it will work for anyone else as I'm definitely not a doctor, but it does help me. It's also only 20ml so within keeping of the British 100ml limit!

  9. Tissues- Sometimes you need to blow your nose. 'Nuff said.

  10. Purse- Another fairly obvious one, because you need money! My purse is from Hot Topic, my mum's American penpal sent it to me very kindly last year and I felt it was very fitting for this holiday!

  11. Camera- Not featured in this picture because I had to use it to take the picture! I'm really afraid of losing my luggage and I'd be so upset if I lost my camera. It's not a super duper one, but it's still a good camera, so I'll be keeping that on me for sure!

  12. Magazines- Also not featured in the picture because I haven't bought them yet! But I'm hoping they will also entertain me if everything else fails. Can you tell I was bored out of my brain last year?!

What do you like to take on holiday with you? If you have any ideas of anything else I can do on the plane to help stop me getting bored, let me know in the comments below! As I mentioned before, I will be trying to stay away from all social media, but I will reply to any comments, emails, tweets, facebook messages, etc. when I get back so feel free to still message me!

12 June, 2015

What a lovely little Lady | Lifestyle

"What a lovely little Lady", Darling- Lady and the Tramp
I love reading blog posts getting to know bloggers, so I thought perhaps I'd do a more personal post. On my About Me page I've already done 10 facts about me, so this time I thought I would do a post about someone very important to me... My Dalmatian, Lady. (Also, I love that this should probably be about my boyfriend but nah, I'll write about my dog instead.)
Lady the Dalmatian
Lady is my 6 year old daughter dalmatian, who I have had from a teeny tiny puppy. When we went to go pick her out, she was the first puppy I laid eyes on and I knew from the second I saw her that I wanted her and she loved me too so it was like fate. She was also a troublemaker and woke all her brothers and sisters up... I should have known then that Lady does not like people sleeping in. I thought I'd share a few facts about her!

  • Her grandfather was a puppy in 102 Dalmatians, although we didn't find that out until after we'd bought her, as the breeder didn't want that to be the reason we chose their puppies.
  • She has fits every now and then. We're still not 100% sure what causes them, but we've come to the conclusion with her vet that it must be low blood sugar, as now we divide her food up into 3 meals they've subsided a lot!
  • She's fully grown although she's small! Most dalmatians are tall and long and skinny, but Lady has always been short and podgy. Her parents were like that too though, and I'll love her no matter what!
  • She doesn't know many tricks, but if I'm sitting down and I say "cuddles?!" then she leans her head onto my chest as though she's giving me cuddles. N'aww.
  • She is named after Lady from Lady and the Tramp. If she'd been a boy, I would have called her Pongo like the film, but I just didn't really like the name Perdy.

Lady the Dalmatian
If you are thinking of getting a dalmatian, please don't go into it blind like I did! They are HARD work, they have a lot of energy and are known to be greedy dogs. They also shed fur all the time and are bottomless pits. But they are also extremely loyal and loving, as are most dogs, and I wouldn't change my little one for anything. If you have a dalmatian, let me know how you cope!

09 June, 2015

Planning for Walt Disney World- My Top Tips!

Planning a Walt Disney World holiday
As part of my Disney Trip mini-series, I thought it might be helpful if I wrote some of my top tips for planning a Walt Disney World holiday. I feel like I could also do a Disneyland Paris one, but it actually needs less planning and to be honest, Danielle from Underland to Wonderland has done some fab posts on planning a DLP holiday!

I just want to say that I am in no way an expert, I've actually only been to Walt Disney World once and am going again in a couple of weeks, but these are some things I learnt from last time and am hoping to learn from for this time! I hope you will find them useful!

1. YOU WILL NEED TO BOOK THINGS
Yeah. It does suck a little bit, it's nice to go with the flow on holiday, relax and just do what you want when you want, but at Walt Disney World this kind of isn't an option. You want a table at somewhere like Be Our Guest or Cinderella's Royal Table? You're going to have to book it. Quick tip- You can book a table at a restaurant 180 days before you go on holiday. That might seem crazy, because it's 6 months in advance, but places like Cinderella's Royal Table will book up FAST. You're much better off being prepared than not getting to go to different restaurants because all the tables have been booked for every night of your holiday.

2. FASTPASS IS YOUR FRIEND
We barely used the fastpass last year and this is something we definitely will do this year. We only had a week last year and a lot of it was spent queuing. However if we'd taken advantage of the Fastpass option, we could have cut half of that time and had more fun! You can also book Fastpasses 60 days before you go on holiday. Particularly useful for things like the Animal Kingdom safari and Soarin' in Epcot, which are very popular.

3. YOU WON'T GET EVERYTHING DONE!
True story, sorry. Even if you go for two weeks like we are this time, you still won't manage to fit everything in, there's too much! Really though, isn't that the point- to make you want to go back? Each park is huge and if you've been to Disneyland Paris, each park is bigger than either of the two parks there. Whereas you could probably do everything in DLP and then some, you just can't in WDW. There are four main parks, two water parks and Downtown Disney to see and do, which is fantastic, but just don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get to see and do it all.

4. DO YOUR RESEARCH
This is what helped us out a LOT. We'd already looked into what rides we wanted to do, what characters we wanted to meet etc., so when we got there we just headed straight for those which saved a LOT of time. If you really want to cram in as much as possible, I would seriously recommend doing that, so you don't waste time umming and aahing over which rides to do.

5. USE THE MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP
Disney, you got this one right! This app is incredible, it tells you the waiting times for rides, characters, gives you maps, lets you book fastpasses, restaurants, gives you a timetable of everything you have scheduled for that day, lets you do a wishlist of all the rides you want to go on so you don't forget any... I could go on, but I won't. Just download it.

6. JUST HAVE FUN
I know you won't believe me, but all this planning does actually help you to relax and enjoy yourself. If you know that everything is booked, you know where you want to go and what you want to do, it takes a whole load off your mind and you can just be free to enjoy the sights and sounds and smells of Walt Disney World.

So I really hope that helped! Walt Disney World is one of my favourite holidays I have ever been on. I would never say it is better than Disneyland Paris because DLP holds a huge place in my heart, but it is definitely bigger and it offers a lot more in terms of meet and greets and rides etc. If you are planning a Walt Disney World holiday and these tips help you then please let me know!

...And prepare to be spammed with lots of WDW pictures from June 17th!

05 June, 2015

Chocolate Butter Biscuits

Chocolate Butter Biscuits
I have always been a huge fan of butter cookies, and chocolate biscuits are my favourites so I thought it was about time I tried making some for myself!

Using the same recipe I used for my Cherry Butter Cookies, I made some smaller bitesize biscuits. Actually, they weren't meant to be as small as they turned out. I'm not sure why they ended up so small, I think I thought they were gonna be a lot bigger than they actually were! They still tasted gorgeous though haha. Then I "dunked" them in melted chocolate to make them chocolate butter biscuits!


I've never tried anything like this so for a first try it's not too bad! The chocolate went EVERYWHERE but for me, as long as it tastes good then it's a winner. I think next time I'll try making them more flatter... I'm not sure why they became semi circular!

Let me know what you guys think- go easy on me though, they could be worse! :)

01 June, 2015

Reflecting Back on May

Monthly Reflections
If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that at the end of each month, I reflect back on the good and bad things that happened. If you haven't seen the previous reflections, you can read them here.

I cannot believe another month has gone by already! I also can't believe that in a couple of weeks I will be on a plane to Walt Disney World. I know I've spoken about it a lot on this blog already but I really am SO excited!

May's Accomplishments:

  • Getting back into baking- I don't know why but last month I just didn't feel like baking. I guess it was because I'm trying to lose weight, but I did miss it, it was just getting myself to start baking. I'm also a firm believer that you shouldn't FORCE yourself to do a hobby, it should be for fun, so I just left it and hoped that eventually I'd get the baking bug back. I can definitely feel it coming back!
  • Having lots of time to read other blogs- In April I didn't seem to get to do much of this, I'm not sure why! But this month I managed to read lots of other people's blogs which I always love doing!
  • Having a relaxing spa weekend- I went to The Cheltenham Chase hotel with two of my friends for the weekend which was lovely. We had a really delicious dinner and breakfast and had a spa treatment in the morning. I chose a massage as my body has been aching from all the exercise I've been doing! I don't get to see these friends very often so it was lovely to have a catch up. (Hi guys, if you're reading!)

June's Goals:

  • Keep the blog going while I'm on holiday- So I won't be doing anything, but I'll still be here in a scheduled way... you won't notice I'm gone, hopefully!
  • Enjoy my holiday- I'm not going to set proper goals for June because most of it will be spent enjoying myself in Florida. I'm sure I'll have a million posts planned for when I get back though!

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