31 January, 2016

Reflecting back on January!



Well. This month took forever, didn't it?! Although considering how fast 2015 goes I'm kinda okay with 2016 dragging. Otherwise I'll be 24 before I know it.

24!!!

Crazy.

So how has the start to your 2016 been?

Mine has been... eventful. Some good, some bad. Quite a lot of it bad actually, but things seem to be picking up now so fingers crossed February will be a good month for me!

So here's what major things happened for me in January:

  • I had a mini blog revamp!- I didn't change too much but just gave the blog a tidy up and of course added my fab new header by my friend Jess!
  • Getting back into fitness- I've been doing okay with this. I started really strong and then weakened in the middle when I had a lot of stuff going on, but now that things are starting to get sorted I'm hoping I can get right back into this again!
  • Going to the #BloggersBelowZero event at the Ice Bar London!- You can read more about that here, but I had an amazing time and I loved it so much!
  • Learning how to cook- I've been trying to be more adventurous with my cooking this month and actually cook some proper dinners for me and Dan- like our Disney themed dinner earlier this week! 
  • Helping you guys with your baking!- I'm so proud of my little tips posts I did this month, I hoped that they would be helpful but honestly they've had SUCH a reaction on here and on Twitter etc., I'm so happy! If you are struggling with anything baking wise, please do let me know and if I can help I definitely will! <3
Next month should be a good'un, I have another really fun cake order to do, I'm going to a cake decorating class and another Blogger's meet up too, so I'm hoping it will definitely be a good one!
How has your January been? Let me know in the comments! 

29 January, 2016

Fitness Update: January


I haven't done one of these posts for a couple of months because I was doing Fitmas and instead was doing the weekly updates for that- but I am back and with good news too!

This month has been a pretty good one for fitness. I'm getting back into working out regularly, I'm eating fairly healthy (although I still allow myself treats occasionally) and I can tell you that I've lost over half a stone! I struggled a little bit due to having a couple of bad weeks in my personal life, but now things are settling down I'm feeling much better!

I'm trying not to get caught up in weight loss though because every time I do, I fail. I'm focusing on getting fitter, running further, lifting heavier weights etc. I do want to lose weight (quite a bit too), but that will come as I get fitter anyway!

I've also been drinking a lot more water and using a Water Reminder app to remind me to keep drinking regularly. So often I've felt like I was starving but ended up just being thirsty and it stopped me craving loads of junk food etc! My skin already is starting to look better too and it's also helping with my bloating!

You might have seen my post on getting more organised with fitness which honestly has helped me so much. I'm not going to go overboard, no one should live a completely scheduled life because life should be fun, but it is nice to have a plan and it saves me a whole heap of time too.

Next month I'm just hoping to keep it all up- My first and current main goal is to just keep going with the fitness and the healthy eating and not allow myself to slip back into old habits.

I'm struggling with not having a "goal" (Last year I was aiming to lose weight for our Walt Disney World holiday) or something to keep me motivated, but hopefully it will get easier and as it becomes a routine, I'll find it easier to stick to.

In my recent reader's survey (Thank you if you submitted a response!), you guys said you wanted more fitness posts, so I've been thinking of doing bi-weekly updates. Let me know if you'd like that or if you'd prefer I stuck to once a month!

If you're trying to get fitter, let me know how you're doing in the comments!

28 January, 2016

An Adult Disney Themed Dinner!

Yes. Those are Mickey Mouse salt & pepper shakers. You jel?

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I am suffering heavily from the Disney Blues (see my tips on how to cope with them here!).

So, to try and ease the pain, I decided to make a Disney themed Dinner for me and Dan- but don't worry, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm cooking Mickey Mouse shaped burgers or whatever and why am I wasting your time sharing those?

No. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but no.

This is a more grown-up meal, based on meals we ate during our stay in Walt Disney World!

So here's the menu:

Main Course: Steak (inspired by Cinderella's Royal Table's Steak & Shrimp)
Sirloin steak served with gouda-mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Dessert: The Grey Stuff (inspired by the dessert at Be Our Guest Restaurant)

I made WAY too much mashed potatoes...

In case you don't know, one of my all time favourite ever blogs is The Disney Chef, who shares her copycat recipes for the recipes you can find in Walt Disney World and Disneyland California. (Seriously, if you haven't checked her blog out, you really should) I used her fabulous recipes to create our dessert!

Although unfortunately because I couldn't find the right ingredients, I just had to use chocolate Angel Delight which didn't look as good as I'd hoped... so I didn't take a picture. I'll have to hunt for a UK version of Jerusha's recipe!

We were actually meant to have this a different night but the steaks hadn't defrosted enough, so we couldn't. Which is fine, it's not like I'd prepared or anything...


*cries internally*

Also, I feel like I should explain that those are slippers with black leggings and my Minnie Mouse apron. I don't walk round the house in a Minnie Mouse costume, although I do feel like that wouldn't surprise many people.


The other morning, we also had a yummy breakfast of American style pancakes with maple syrup, orange juice and coffee, which doesn't sound very Disney-ish, but it's what we had quite a few times for breakfast on holiday!

I definitely think we'll be doing this again when the Disney blues get too much!

If you've been to any of the Disney Parks, are there any meals that remind you of your stay?

27 January, 2016

#BloggersBelowZero at the Ice Bar London!

On Monday, I was lucky enough to be able to attend my first ever "big" bloggers meet up. I'd already been to a small local one which was amazing (and you can read about that here!), but this time I was going to be meeting a LOT more bloggers, a lot of whom already know each other.

Safe to say, I was TERRIFIED. I'm shy and I have no problem in admitting that. If I find people I can feel comfortable with then you can't shut me up, but on first meeting people (especially if I think they're cooler than me), I just freeze and can never think of anything interesting to say.

But, I had an amazing time. It honestly was SO good and I just want to say a huge thank you to Lauren of LDN Meet up for organising the event and Ice Bar London for having us because I'm so, so glad I went. Get ready because this post may be super photo heavy!

If you haven't been before, the Ice Bar is just the most amazing experience. It's just off of Regents Street and is an extremely popular bar- because it's made entirely of ice!

26 January, 2016

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook | Review



I've been a fan of the Nerdy Nummies Youtube channel for quite some time now, even recreating her amazing Cheeseburger Cupcakes.

Nerdy Nummies was created by Rosanna Pansino, an American baker and Youtube personality. Her cakes and bakes are usually to do with something "nerdy" like video games etc., hence the name. For example, some of my favourite videos of hers are ones where she has created Mario Kart themed cakes!

So imagine how excited I was when I saw that she was getting her own cookbook released! As soon as it was released over here I went searching for it and I really mean searching- most of my local bookstores were COMPLETELY sold out. It took me a while to find it! (I know I could have ordered it but I wanted it then and there, I couldn't wait!)

Finally, at the fifth book store I looked in (over 3 towns, by the way) I found the book and snatched it up.

When I read it? I was fairly happy. I say fairly happy because although there were some amazing recipes (and I'll talk more about that in a minute), they were very generic. One of the big draws to Nerdy Nummies is the fact that she makes things like Star Wars cake pops, Mario cakes, Pokemon cakes etc., whereas in the book there was none of that and that disappointed me. I get why, it's a lot harder to do that when you need to gain permissions etc., but it was something that I felt was lacking that charm.

But that I must say is the only slight quibble I have about the book because the rest of it was great. I loved that it was split into different sections, Maths, Science, Space, Fantasy, Gaming etc., and there were some really fantastic recipes. I loved the Apple Pi Pie (where the apple slices are shaped into numbers which make up Pi), her castle cake and so many more!

Overall, if you are a fan of "different" cake designs and want to be a bit adventurous with your baking, I definitely recommend this book. It's not that expensive and there are SO many ideas inside. You can find the book here!

Have you read the Nerdy Nummies cookbook or do you watch the Youtube Channel? Let me know in the comments!

24 January, 2016

Sticking to your Fitness Goals!

At the beginning of this month, I wrote a post on my goals and included my fitness goals. If you didn't see that, you can read them here but the main goal for me is just to continue with my fitness.

Last year I did SO well because my motivation was looking good on holiday but after I came back, my motivation vanished completely.

So, like many other people did, I set myself some fitness goals for 2016.

Did you know most people give up their resolutions by the 17th January? This actually doesn't surprise me because I think a lot of us get pulled in by the irresistible hype that is "NEW YEAR, NEW ME!" but then actually fail to keep to any of the goals we set for ourselves.

Luckily for me, Workwear Express were kind enough to send me a box of goodies to help keep me motivated with my fitness goals and I thought I would share them with you!


I received this gorgeous hoodie, which has the inspirational quote: "She believed she could, so she did". I actually have always loved this quote because I remember seeing it on Pinterest when I first started running and it made me feel like I could definitely do it! I love wearing this on my way to the gym!


I also received a cute meal planner, which I'm going to use instead of the previous one I spoke about in my fitness organisation post as it saves me printing a new sheet every week!

The water bottle is adorable, it says "H2 Awesome" and if you know me, you know that I love a good pun so this is definitely a winner for me. I normally use my Goofy flask, but as this is smaller and easier to fit in my gym bag, I'll be using this one for the gym instead!

I also received a lovely gym towel to use, which is great as I need another one for when mine is in the wash!

These are definitely already helping me to stay motivated, I'm loving using them all! Fingers crossed they will keep helping me on my way to being a slimmer and healthier me!

I've also been lucky enough to be part of the #FitnessBunniesUnite Whatsapp group with some other fab bloggers, created by Lauren. She also runs the #FitBunniesChat on Sundays from 6pm-7pm, so if you're looking for some fitness motivation then come along and join us! (I'm hosting soon, eek!)

How are your New Year's Resolutions going? Let me know in the comments!

*WorkWear Express were kind enough to send me the items featured in this post, but as always, all opinions are my own! 

21 January, 2016

Vanilla Sponge Cake | Baking Basics

Vanilla Sponge Cake Recipe


When I first started baking, I remember going to make a plain vanilla sponge cake and then thinking "oh... I don't know how!".

Although they're simple, you still need a recipe right?! So I decided I'm going to do a few posts with some simple recipes for those beginner bakers out there or for those of you who think you can't bake (You can, by the way)!

Ingredients

  • 225g Butter
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 225g Self-Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a 8" baking tin.

2. Mix together the butter and sugar until they have formed a creamy mixture.

3. Add the 4 eggs and mix well.

4. Sieve the self-raising flour and then add to the mixture

5. Add the baking powder and vanilla extract and mix well. 

6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

7. Once out of the oven, leave to cool before decorating! 

And that's it! It's SO simple that anyone can do it, I promise you! 


My Top Tips on getting a perfect cake:
  • Too much baking powder will funnily enough, make the cake sink. Only put in 1-2 tsps!
  • Store your cakes in an airtight container for them to last longer.
  • To make a Victoria Sponge, you can either make two of these cakes and sandwich them together with buttercream and jam (as I have done in the above picture), or using a sharp knife, slice your cake horizontally in half and sandwich together using buttercream and jam. 
  • Good quality ingredients will always make a big difference- but sometimes you can pay more for nothing. I find that supermarket own brand ingredients can often be just as good as the rest!
  • Has your cake come out with an uneven top? You can use a cake leveller to cut off the top and to make it level- or just turn it upside down. No one will ever know! ;)

Are you good at making cakes? If there's any recipes or tutorials you'd like to see, please let me know!  

20 January, 2016

My Ideal Workspace | Lifestyle

You might have read on my blog before that Dan and I are currently saving for our own house. We're not doing great, but we are trying to save as much as we can for a mortgage deposit so we can finally have our own little place to live.

Although it's still ages away before we do get our own place, that doesn't stop me dreaming about what our house will look like. In actual fact, a lot of my time is spent on Pinterest (you can find me here, by the way *shameless plug*) pinning images of beautiful houses that will eventually inspire our own.

So when WeWork, who specialise in creating amazing workspaces all around the world (and are now coming to London too!) asked me to share my ideal workspace, it didn't take much convincing for me to start hunting around for ideas!

My ideal office would be light and airy, dark spaces make me feel a bit closed in and sad so I'd love a clean look to my office.

It would obvz have to be organised because, well, it's me and I love a good organisation system!

I love this workspace- I love how it's light and tidy and organised but with a flash of colour to really inject some personality. I'd love an office like this!

I also love this adorable workspace- I love that Dan and I could sit together, although not sure if I'd get much work done haha! But you could also use the space for a craft area when you're not using the computer and that might make me do more crafts, which can only be a good thing!


You can also see the other workspaces I love on my board on Pinterest!

What would your ideal workspace look like? Let me know in the comments!

19 January, 2016

Lulu Guinness cake

If you're a fashion lover, you might know who or what Lulu Guinness is. (I actually didn't before I made this cake, but I do now- haha!) She's a fashion accessories designer and the label is named after her.

My friend asked me if I could make her Mum's birthday cake and wanted this design as her Mum is desperate for the Lips Clutch that is often seen accompanying celebrities to all sorts of fabulous events.

Well, my friend couldn't get the clutch but cake is basically the next best thing to fashion right?

Lulu Guinness

It's a simple cake, a vanilla sponge with jam which I then covered in white fondant.

The lips I moulded using red fondant and I was actually super impressed with how quickly I managed to put them together, it only took me around 15 minutes!

I rolled two large sausages of red fondant, flattened them out a bit and then shaped them to make the lips. I started with the top lip and then shaped the bottom lip to meet i I then left it to dry and harden a bit so that it would be easier to apply to the cake.

Lulu Guinness Cake

After adding the lips to the cake, it was time to ice some writing! I used Royal Icing (see my tips for using Royal Icing here) and piped what my friend had asked for the cake to say. I was so nervous (I haven't done much piped writing) that I was shaking like a leaf!

My friend loves it and so did her Mum so all is well that ends well!

17 January, 2016

Staying organised with Fitness

Staying organised with fitness!


Something I learnt a few years ago is that if there is something I am good at, it's being organised. Well, mostly. Everyone has slips now and then but for the most part I am extremely organised.

So I decided that maybe, just maybe, it might help me to stick to my fitness goals if I could use my organisational skills to organise my fitness. I thought I'd share it with you in case any of them help you!

Fitness Plan
You might have seen last week's post on my fitness plan so I won't go too much into it. I'm much more likely to stick to fitness if I'm organised with it. I've found that when I get home, I now just look at the plan to see what I need to do and I go and do it, rather than spending time deciding if I should do arms, or legs or go for a run... and by the time I've decided I've gotten bored and can't be bothered anymore so I just go veg out on the sofa! (Although I have just realised I haven't been ticking off the days!)

I found my Fitness Plan template HERE, but there are loads of great ones on Pinterest!

Meal Plans
After the success of using a fitness plan, I've started writing a meal plan for each week. It helps because each night I can see exactly what I need to prep and I can do it. It just saves time in the long run. Of course you're always going to get times when you don't fancy something so you decide to go with something else but if for the most part you can plan it out, it will help a lot!

I found my Meal Plan template HERE, but again- Pinterest is fab for these sorts of things!

Weight & Measurement tracking spreadsheet
I actually need to thank Laura who's part of the Fitness Bunnies Whatsapp chat for this because she's created an amazing spreadsheet to help with this! But before I started using Laura's spreadsheet, I just had a notebook and each week would weigh and measure myself to see how much I'd lost.

You can find Laura's blog HERE but I'm not sure if she's planning on releasing the spreadsheet!

Something to keep in mind...
The thing with all of these plans and spreadsheets is that they won't work for everyone. Some people find it too daunting and too much to keep up with and it actually holds them back, but feel free to give it a try because it might work for you!

Something that I truly believe in when it comes to dieting/fitness/healthy eating is that you need to find what works for you, it takes time but when you find what works it will be so worth it!

Do you find it helpful to be organised with your fitness journey, or do you like to go with the flow? Let me know in the comments!

15 January, 2016

The 30 Disney Questions in 5 Minutes Tag!

I recently saw this tag on my good friend Danielle from Underland to Wonderland's blog- 30 Disney Questions in 5 Minutes!

I'm pretty sure we all know by now how much I love Disney, so I HAD to give it a go myself!


1.) Favorite Character
It's hard to choose ONE favourite character, but I'll go with Belle because she's always been a favourite of mine.


2.) Favorite Princess 
Belle again. I've always loved Belle because she's smart and beautiful and stands up for herself! It used to be Ariel when I was growing up though.

3.) Favorite Heroine 
Megara, she's so sassy but also so vulnerable.

4.) Favorite Prince 
Hmm, I'd probably say either the Beast or Prince Eric, it's hard to choose between them!

5.) Favorite Hero 
Hercules! He's so adorable with his clumsiness and shyness!

6.) Favorite Animal 
Lady from Lady and the Tramp or Pongo from 101 Dalmatians- if you put those together you would get MY Lady, the Dalmatian. Get it?

7.) Favorite Sidekick
Lumiere has always been my favourite sidekick!

8.) Favorite Villain 
I'd probably say Ursula because she's such a drama queen!

9.) Favorite Original Character (Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, etc)
Goofy is my favourite, he's adorable <3 Mickey is an extremely close second!

10.) Favorite Love Song 
This is hard! I'm going to go with I See The Light from Tangled, I love that song.

11.) Favorite Song 
It's a really odd choice because it's not a very popular song but I LOVE "Someone's Waiting For You" from The Rescuers. I used to sing it in my singing lessons because I loved it so much.

12.) Favorite Villain Song 
Ooh, definitely Be Prepared from The Lion King!

13.) Least Favorite Song 
I'm not a fan of the Robin Hood soundtrack- I find the songs a little boring!

14.) Favorite Kiss 
Aladdin & Jasmine- when the magic carpet pushes him up to kiss her, I've always loved that moment!

15.) The First Movie You Saw 
I'm not sure because I was probably so young, but the first one I truly remember was watching Aladdin. I got REALLY scared of Jafar and demanded it was turned off!

16.) Favorite Classic 
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs- she's so underrated and it makes me sad!

17.) Song that always gets stuck in your head 
It's A Small World- it's the only one I can think of that gets stuck in my head!

18.) Favorite Pixar Film 
A Bugs Life- it took me years to watch this film but I fell in love with it! They have so many amazing films though.

19.) Least Favorite Pixar Film 
Cars- It's okay, but it's not amazing.



20.) Favorite Sequel
Cinderella III was good- I normally don't like the sequels but I quite enjoyed that one!

21.) Overrated Movie 
Frozen. It's good and when it first came out I was 100% one of those people who was OBSESSED with it, but now it's just getting a bit ridiculous.

(I talk too much, I've already failed the 5 minutes...)

22.) Underrated Movie 
Atlantis was SO underrated and yet it's really good! I didn't watch it for a long time because I assumed it wasn't very good, but I really enjoyed it! I know it has a cult following online but other than that you never hear about it.

23.) Movie That Makes You Laugh 
The Emperor's New Groove- I could quote so much from that film, I love it so much!

24.) Movie That Makes You Cry 
Bambi or The Fox and the Hound- I won't watch either because they break my heart way too much.

25.) The Saddest Scene From Your Favorite Movie 
My favourite movie is Beauty and the Beast so I guess *spoiler alert* when the Beast dies! (Do you still need to do spoiler alerts if a film has been out for 24 years?!)

26.) Saddest Death 
Bambi's Mum. Mufasa's death doesn't affect me anymore, but Bambi's Mum really does. Although, I always cry when *SPOILER ALERT FOR BIG HERO 6* Baymax "dies" at the end, and you think that's it... Even though I know he comes back, I just can't stop crying!

27.) Favorite Quote 
"This is my family. It's little, and broken, but good. Yeah, still good"- Lilo and Stitch. I don't know why it's stayed with me so much but it really has!

28.) Favorite Theme Park 
I can't choose between Disneyland Paris or Walt Disney World- both hold so many wonderful memories!

29.) Favorite Theme Attraction 
The Dumbo ride, OR The Casey Junior ride from DLP (Strangely both based on the movie Dumbo)




(Credit to my mum for this picture- this is from Disneyland Paris back in the 90's!)

30.) Favorite Theme Park Show
I love the Main Street Electrical Parade! I remember seeing it in DLP but it ended years ago, but they still have it in WDW and it was exactly the same, I loved the memories!

So... I failed at the 5 minutes part, this has actually taken me about 15 minutes because I'm too bloody chatty, but I've still enjoyed it anyway- I hope you did too!

I'm going to tag whoever wants to do this tag! :)

14 January, 2016

Tips on getting that perfect Royal Icing! | Baking Tutorials

How to get perfect royal icing every time!

I've been meaning to write these posts for a while but wasn't sure how well they would be received, until people started requesting them after my Perfect Cupcakes post!

You can see my tips on buttercream icing here, but today it's the turn of Royal Icing!

Royal icing is very good for piping writing on cakes but also excellent for when you want to ice cookies- I used royal icing on my Mickey Mouse cookies.

Recipe

You will need:

  • 900g Royal Icing Sugar 
  • 150ml Cold Water 

Simply mix the ingredients together! I've always loved how simple it is to make. There are different recipes and versions but this is my favourite- but feel free to play around! Royal icing has it's own distinct taste so you don't need to flavour it.

Please note though that this recipe will make a LOT of royal icing, so you might want to play around a little bit. If I use a lesser amount of icing sugar, I like to add a teaspoon at a time of cold water until I get the consistency that I like.


How to get perfect royal icing every time!

Piping Royal Icing 

For royal icing, you can use a piping bag and nozzles as with buttercream but I found that the things I was icing needed a bit more precision and a piping bag just wasn't doing that for me, so I bought these icing bottles which help me to ice smaller things much better. I used these for my Mickey Mouse biscuits.

To pipe writing with royal icing, you will need to make sure that your icing has a toothpaste like consistency (I know that sounds weird but that is honestly what it's like!), as it will need to be thick to keep it's shape.

To pipe the icing on a biscuit, you will need the toothpaste like consistency again to pipe the outline of the biscuit and then add a teaspoon or two of water to the remaining icing to make it slightly runnier and use this to fill in the outline. The outline should act as a "wall" to stop the runnier icing going everywhere! (As you can see above, my white icing wasn't thick enough and so all my icing ran into each other!)

The good thing about Royal icing is that it's so simple to make but also so simple to use.

If you have any tips on using royal icing, please feel free to let us know in the comments! Similarly, if you have any more baking tutorials you'd like me to try, please feel free to ask and I will try my hardest to do them for you!

How to get perfect Royal icing every time!

13 January, 2016

Visiting Las Iguanas in Reading | Lifestyle

Las Iguanas Reading

A restaurant that Dan and I love to visit is Las Iguanas in Reading. We love the atmosphere, the food and the amazing cocktails so on a recent date night, that's where we decided to go. 

Las Iguanas is a Latin American themed restaurant with amazing flavours and music. It's probably not for you if you don't like spicy food though!

Dan and I like to go here for a drink sometimes as they do incredible cocktails (I always enjoy an Iguana Cosmo!) and do Happy Hour pretty much all day every day, where you can buy one drink and get another free- OR buy one pitcher get another pitcher for free which is a pretty amazing deal.

Las Iguanas Reading

We had nachos to start off with and added chicken (I didn't even know that was a thing!), which was delicious but SO spicy. We both found it hard to eat it all, although Dan somehow managed haha!

Las Iguanas Reading
As someone who is intolerant to onions and garlic, (I know right?!) I actually find it hard to find a main course on the menu that doesn't have either in so I always go for the burger- without the onions of course! (I think the sauce probably still has some onions it but luckily it doesn't seem to affect me if there's only a little bit!) The burger is always delicious, although this time I seemed to have a burger half the size of the bun! I've never had that problem before though so I'm sure that was a one off.

Dan has recently found that if he avoids gluten, he feels a lot better in himself and I'm so glad that Las Iguanas have started a gluten free menu as we've never been offered that previously! Planet Hollywood had separate gluten free sections in their menu and honestly, I wish more restaurants would do something like this so that people who can't have gluten don't have to hunt around the menu to find the few things they can have!

It's fair to say our love affair with Las Iguanas hasn't ended yet and we can't wait to head back on a summers evening for some cocktails and food!

Have you ever visited a Las Iguanas restaurant? Let me know what you think!




12 January, 2016

Tips on getting that perfect Buttercream Icing | Baking Tutorials

Tips on getting the perfect buttercream icing

Funnily enough, this was a post that I'd thought about writing and then for some reason, didn't. But last week when I posted my "Tips on getting the perfect cupcakes" post, a few people asked me to write one on getting the perfect icing. So, here I am with my tips on making your icing look fab!

Again, I just want to stress that I am in no way an expert nor am I telling you what to do, I'm just sharing what works for me. 

I'm going to give you my tips for Buttercream icing in this post but I will also be posting another on Royal icing too on Thursday if that's what you're struggling with!

Buttercream is the most popular frosting for cakes (especially cupcakes) and is probably my favourite to use! I'm going to try and pack in a lot to this to help those of you who have asked, so get ready for a bit of a long post!


10 January, 2016

Places in the UK I would love to visit | Lifestyle

I've been meaning to write this post for months and I've just never got round to it! Recently I've had a bit of the holiday blues- even though I came back from Florida over 6 months ago!

Dan and I are saving for our own house now, so returning to Florida isn't on the cards anytime soon but that got me thinking- what if we looked a bit closer to home?

I haven't done much "travelling" in the UK and there are so many beautiful places that I really should give them a go!

So here are some places in the UK I'd love to visit:


BRIGHTON
No, not because Zoella lives there. I've just always wanted to visit and see the pier and the beach etc., and I'm hoping that we might get to go down there this summer. It just looks like a nice place- but then I have only seen postcards haha!


LIVERPOOL
I'm not really sure why really, I've just never been up North and I've heard that it's got an amazing shopping centre haha! Also I really like the accent, I've always been fascinated by accents!


SCOTLAND
This is a super general one simply because I have no idea where I'd want to go, just somewhere in Scotland. Preferably not a city though, I want to see the beautiful landscapes! This would be a fun camping holiday! (Albeit a soggy one!)



ISLE OF WIGHT

I've already been to the Isle of Wight so this is a bit of a cop out but I just loved it so much, I'd love to go back. It's so pretty and I love how peaceful it is. If there were more job opportunities etc., out there, I would definitely love to live there!

Where in the UK would you love to visit? Most of mine are up North because I've only really seen the South and never ventured up there yet. I don't know why that is though because there are so many amazing places!

08 January, 2016

2016 Personal Fitness Plan

Fitness Plan

Towards the beginning of last year, I decided to stop sitting around moaning about my weight and the way I looked and actually get off my bottom and do something about it!

If you've been reading my blog since then, you'll know that I've had my ups and downs with fitness. I started off REALLY well, went on holiday and lost my motivation and have since struggled to truly get back into it.

Well, 2016 is going to be the year Sian gets properly fit.

It is. I hope.

I wrote myself a fitness plan back in October which did help me to stay motivated, and Corinne's Fitmas plan also really helped so I've realised that clearly organisation is the way to keep me going (I've always liked a good bit of organisation).

With that in mind, I've written myself a brand new Fitness Plan for 2016, one that I hope I will stick to easily while still having a bit of a challenge.

(P.S I'm using the same planner template as last time which you can find here)

I've tried to keep my plan simple as otherwise I will just assume I can't do it and give up and I've also kept a lot of Corinne's exercises she included in the Fitmas Plan as they worked really well and I already know what I'm doing!

I'm really hoping I won't give up this year, I was a bit down in the dumps over the Christmas period because I kept thinking about how I could have been, you know? If I'd just carried on after my holiday, I could have been so much further on in my fitness journey, rather than nearly back at square one.

But, I'm hopefully leaving all that negativity behind me and we'll see how I get on after that!

I'm not sure if this plan will 100% work for me, but I think the hardest part is finding the right fitness plan for you. If you're also looking to make yourself a fitness plan, Pinterest proved to be the best inspiration for me!

I'm hoping to keep my goals to be purely fitness motivated rather than weight motivated. The way I see it, if I work hard on the fitness, the weight loss will just naturally come with it! This is how the #Fitmas challenge worked and it made it much easier to keep up with!

Wish me luck!

What are your fitness plans for 2016?

07 January, 2016

How to make the perfect Cupcakes | Baking Tutorials

How to make perfect cupcakes

Everyone loves cupcakes right?! They're small, they're cute and you can decorate them in so many different ways.

They're also pretty easy, however sometimes even the easiest things to make require a few tips and tricks to help them reach perfection- so I thought I'd share some of my tips!

I'm in no way an expert nor am I telling you what to do, I just wanted to share with you some tips and tricks I've picked up on while baking! 


How to make perfect cupcakes

The best way to get even cupcakes is to use an ice cream scoop! You know when you spoon your mixture into the cupcake case, then they bake and some are big, some are small, some are medium sizes? If you want to get pretty much the same size cupcake every time, try using an ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture into the cases. That way, you know exactly how much mixture goes in every time!

Don't overfill the cases! I usually do my cases 3/4 full, so they have room to rise but you still end up with a good sized cupcake!

Too much baking powder or raising agent will make them crack! When I first started baking, especially chocolate cupcakes, I'd find that as my cupcakes came out of the oven they'd have cracked on top which made them difficult to ice! I found out that this is because I was adding in too much baking powder which caused them to over-rise and crack in half!

Bake your cupcakes in the centre of your oven! You get the best amount of heat there and they will bake much better!

Never open the oven door until they are cooked! This is true with anything you bake really, not just cupcakes- if you open the oven door before they are properly baked, the sudden burst of cold(er) air will cause them to fall and they won't have a nice rounded top. They may even sink right down so you have a weird bowl shaped cupcake!

Cupcakes won't last weeks on end! If you're making cupcakes for an event or bake sale, your best bet is to try and make them 1 or 2 nights in advance for the best results. If your event is on a Friday, you might be tempted to bake them the weekend before and store in an airtight container but they won't keep as well. For my Halloween Bake Sale, I made my cupcakes on the Wednesday night and stored in an airtight container until I iced them on the Thursday night, then stored back into the air tight container for the bake sale on Friday.

Frost the entire cupcake top if you want to retain moisture! If you do want to keep your cupcakes fresher for longer, frost the entire top of the cupcake right to the edges. The frosting will help it keep it's moisture and they will last longer. You will still need to store them in an airtight container though!

Take the cupcakes out of the tin once they are done baking! I always forget to do this because I don't want to burn my hands, but it does stop the cakes from peeling away from their cases. If you've ever had this problem, this could be why! As you can see above, I didn't do that for these cupcakes and they peeled away from their cases quite a lot!


So there you have it! My top tips for baking cupcakes. I hope they help you and please let me know if they do!

If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments for us all to read!


06 January, 2016

My Personal, Fitness & Blogging Goals for 2016 | Lifestyle

2016 Goals


Everyone seems to have done these sorts of posts already, don't they? So a little late to the party, here I am with my goals for 2016.

I feel like 2015 was a pretty good year for me, I achieved a lot and I actually think I've grown as a person, as cliché as that sounds! You may not know that I am extremely shy when you first meet me, I suffer with anxiety issues and panic attacks and it takes me a while to come out of my shell.

But last year, I felt more confident than normal. I don't feel as shy, I attended a blogger's event and didn't get anxious or panic, I went to some work events and was fine and I'm so happy about that.

I also achieved so much on this blog and I'm so grateful for every opportunity I've had.

Fitness wise, I did REALLY well for the first half of 2015 and not so well for the other half. 2016 is going to be my year for this, I'm determined it will be!

I haven't set huge goals or a lot of goals but instead decided to set a few so that I'm more likely to achieve them!

PERSONAL GOALS

1. To continue to improve my baking/cake decorating and hopefully get further towards starting up my own cake decorating business!

2. To spend a LOT more time with family and friends- I don't feel like I did this much at all last year!

3. To save as much money as I can towards a mortgage! <3


FITNESS GOALS

1. To consistently keep up with fitness and continue with my fitness journey from last year!

2. To be able to run a half marathon by the end of 2016.

3. To be able to improve on my general fitness skills (like actually being able to do a pushup...)


BLOGGING GOALS

1. To start blogging about more topics. I want to teach myself how to cook, so I'm hoping to feature that more. My Christmas crafts posts went down really well so I'm hoping to do a few more crafty type posts on here too!

2. To keep up my regular posting of 5 days a week

3. To improve my blog photography!

I don't want to set myself too many goals because it's easier to fail that way, so I'll stick with these and update/add if I need to!

What are your goals this year? Let me know in the comments below! <3

05 January, 2016

Mickey Mouse Cookies

If you don't know I'm a huge Disney fan by now, then I'm not sure where you've been! Sometimes, I like to make Disney themed food. It makes me feel a bit closer to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Paris and I like that!


Last weekend I made these adorable Mickey Mouse themed cookies and I'm going to show you how to make them too!

Now before you ask, I used some cookie cutters that we brought back from Walt Disney World. But don't worry, because I've already found similar ones for you:
Mickey Mouse Head Cookie Cutters
Mickey Mouse Hand Cookie Cutters
I'm always here to fuel your Disney obsessions <3

So let's get making shall we?!

03 January, 2016

The Happiness Tag | Lifestyle

I chose this picture because nowhere makes me feel as happy as a Disney Park!

It's so easy to feel down in the dumps at this time of year isn't it? The festivities are all over and we're all left with the January blues. Rebekka tagged me in the Happiness Tag last month, but I decided to wait until January to post it as I thought it might help lift me out of any January blues I might be getting!

So here are some things that make me happy:

SONGS
Any Disney song really! Or any song that is super upbeat without being too cheesy- although I do love a good cheesy song now and then!
You know in a musical where the cast come together to sing a song and it's like a big chorus of people singing? I always really enjoy those but I can't explain why!

BOOKS
I love Little Women, it's one of my favourite books! I'm also a bit of a history nerd and I love Philippa Gregory's books on the Tudor times etc.

FILMS
Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favourite film and if I'm feeling sad it's my go to film. After that, probably The Little Mermaid or Aladdin.

I should probably mention at least one non-Disney film, so I also love How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days!

FOODS
Chocolate Digestives are my fave. (You were expecting me to say cake weren't you?) I also love Pigs in Blankets although I've eaten way too many over the Christmas period. Hmm, what else? I also LOVE Tuna Pasta Bake!

WORDS
Erm.. words are hard. I don't know if I have any favourite words, so let's choose some words that are funny. Aubergine, always reminds me of the funny emoji. Schnapps, always a fun word to say. Ooh and Phenomenon. I don't know why, I just like it.

SCENTS
I love cinnamon and vanilla scents! Also- I loved Lush's Snow Fairy and Magic Wand because they smelt like Calpol!

RANDOM THINGS
Christmas, Birthdays, Cute stationery, pastel colours, kind people, funny people, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, clean bedsheets (oof, you know that feeling), new clothes!

BLOGGERS (and the people I tag)
Kirsty, Danielle, Becster & Amy!

What are the things that make you happy?

01 January, 2016

Happy New Year & Revamp!


I hope you're not tooooooo hungover, but I do hope you had a fun night last night! I didn't do much, just stayed in and enjoyed a glass of wine while watching TV. It wasn't much, but it was nice!

Since around October last year, I started taking my blog a bit more seriously. I upped my weekly posts to 5 a week from 3, I took more care of the types of posts I was posting and started to work a bit harder on making this blog something that everyone can enjoy. It's still just a hobby and I have no plans to take it full time or even attempt to do something like that, but it's nice to make it something I can truly be proud of.

I'm going to be posting my goals for 2016 next week, but I wanted to share with you some subtle changes I've introduced on my blog for 2016!
  • My About Me page has been given a little spruce up & update and looks a lot nicer!
  • My header has been given a fab addition thanks to my amazing friend Jess from Cake Crumbs & Pages! It's adorable isn't it?!
  • I have a brand new email address- you can now contact me via sian[at]cakeydreamer.co.uk!
So as you can see, it's not a huge overhaul, but just a bit of a tidy up ready for a New Year.

That being said, I want to make sure that I am delivering what YOU want to see, so I'd love to ask you to take part in my blog reader's survey below. I've kept it short and sweet so it won't take up much of your time, but I'd love to know what you're enjoying reading and what you would like to see more or less of!
Create your own user feedback survey

Here's to a fab 2016 and another year of Cakey Dreamer! <3

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