Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Sunday 29 December 2013

BMB cooks: Chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes

I am obsessed (and not in a small way) with chocolate penut butter combinations, this first steamed from a penut butter kitkat chunky and since my recent trip to Miami where I discovered Reece's peanut  butter cups, I realised it was true love.

So when I was asked to make some treats for my mum's birthday tea party I wanted to recreate my new obsession in cupcake form.

I'm no genius in the kitchen, I like steps to follow, so I combined two recipes to make my Reece's Pieces cup cakes. (Links for cakes and icing) You can use any chocolate cupcake recipe as the icing is where the magic happens...

For the cakes (makes 12)
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder (I used Tesco's own, I don't think you have to go all out...)
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter or margarine (room temperature)
120ml milk (whole is best but I use semi skimmed)
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup (75g) butter, softened
1/3 cup (75g) smooth peanut butter - not the crunchy stuff
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (250g) icing sugar
1/3 cup (40g) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons milk (whole or semi skimmed)

Make the cakes first and while they are cooling crack on with the icing as tha cakes must be completely cool before you pop on the icing.

The cakes:
Preheat the oven to 170C (Gas mark 3)

Measure out the flour (best if you can give it a quick sieve), cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter, then pop it all in a big bowl and beat with an electric whisk (Or use a free standing electric mixer with paddle attachment) on a slow speed until you get a sandy consitency and everything is combined.

In a jug, or separate bowl whisk the milk, egg,and vanilla extract together and slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beating to combine and add the remaining egg mixture slowly.

Then turn the mixer up to high speed (remember to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth, but don't over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes,or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.


In a large bowl (or freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment), cream butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and keep beating.

Stir in the icing sugar (if you use a whisk you will make a real mess...) Cocoa powder, salt and add the milk slowly to achieve a spreading consistency. If it goes too runny, just add more icing sugar to fix.

Then spread/pipe onto your beautiful cakes and volia!


Monday 23 December 2013

Mani Monday: Christmas nails CND Shellac Ruby Ritz

I really try to go for a new nail colour every time I have a shellac. Reason being I love to try out new shades and of course to share with you all. however, when I went for my Christmas mani treat I just couldn't resist going for Ruby Ritz which I also had last Christmas. It was a limited edition last year, but was brought back due to popular demand as part of the Charmed Christmas Collection that I wrote about a while back.

I had been slightly put off as this seasons Ruby Ritz just didn't seem as glittery, which my fav nail lady Natalie at The Little Palour in Weybridge agreed with, but after some time searching on the web we found out that the glitter just settles to the bottom of the bottle in the new version, so if you are having a Ruby Ritz shellac make sure your nail technition uses an organs stick to stir the polish really well and get the glitter evenly distributed prior to application.

For me a shellac over the festive season is a must as with all the family gatherings and meeting up with friends I don't have time on my hands to keep my nails looking pretty, so the 2/3 week mani is my Christmas essential and will keep your nails fabulous well into 2014....


Monday 9 December 2013

Tarte Cosmetics: Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara Review

The US cosmetics brand Tarte will be making its debut in the UK in arch next year on QVC and I've been lucky enough to try out there hero mascara: Lights Camera, Lashes*. Described as a 4 in 1 mascara, for lengthening, curling, volumizing, and conditioning your lashes I was keen to put it to the test.

Before I even drew it to my lashes, I fell in love with the packaging, the quilted look makes it feel special and is unlike other mascaras I've seen before.

As cute as the product looks, what really matters it whether it works, and I was just as pleased. With one coat speedily swept across my lashed, they did look much thicker, longer and fuller - super impressive. 

The wand was a great size, small enough to coat mini lashes, but large enough to give a quick application - Ill be keeping this beauty in my makeup bag! In the US it is priced around the $20 mark, so I'll be waiting eagerly to see the price point at QVC in the new year!

*PR sample

Friday 6 December 2013

L'Occitane Fleur d'Or & Acacia

It is rare that I find a new fragrance that I totally love, however, Fleur d'Or and Acacia by L'Occitane is my new winter scent. Launched last mounth as the latest addition to La Collection de Grasse by their in house perfumer Karine Dubreuil, it combines top notes of lemon and bergamot, heart notes of broom, mimosa and acacia and base notes of white wood and must. Karine's inspiration for the fragrance are the moment when the trees first come into blossom and the golden glow of December light. I must admit I've never had so many compliments on a perfume.

As well as the perfume* (£49/75ml), I have become addicted to some of the other offerings from the range, adding little of the luminous body oil* (£22/75ml) to my body moisturiser daily to deepen the scent and make my skin soft and gleaming. The candle* (£25/270g) is also regularly burning to fragrance my home. I only need to try out the hand cream, shower gel, body cream and soap now...

Monday 2 December 2013

Mani Monday: CND Shellac Tainted Love

December is upon us! It is the mouth where we have the most social events, but the least time it seems to get glammed up ready for them. To speed up my party prep I booked myself in at my favourite beauticians for a CND Shellac manicure as it will keep my nails looking perfect for at least a fortnight.

I was totally tempted to go for Ruby Ritz, a sparkly red, but as always, I can't resist trying a new shade and the lovely Natalie introduced me to Tainted Love. The colour is hard to describe, a wine shade with a pink undertone, it looks luxurious, complimenting my winter wardrobes.

The Little Palour in Weybridge, where I got my mani is running a shellac promotion until the end of this week, costing £25 rather than the usual £35.


Thursday 28 November 2013

QVC Spring/Summer 14 Show

Last night I took a break from the house decorating and headed into Town to see what QVC will be putting on our screens next season for SS14.

I feel in love with these stunning lepard print and tangerine pumps from Clarks, which I just can't wait until the new year to get my hands (or feet!) on. I also spotted some super cute tweezers, I really want the Jessica Rabbit style dress, how much fun would tiding up my brows be with them?!

The homewear department didnt dissapoint, with grey hues still being a massive staple come spring. I love the complimenting blush, but I'm not sure mr bmb would feel the same way...

QVC is my go to for bumper sets of Nails inc and OPI, but I will slso be keeping my eye out for brands such as Tarte and Laura Geller now.

Happy shopping! X

Monday 25 November 2013

Mani Monday: NailArt They Call It The Blues

A very late addition to Mani Monday, however I popped this midnight shade on my nails last night and it is just too pretty not to share.

With two coats and a top coat, this dark navy 'They Call It the Blues' (this seasons neutral) is totally opaque. I do really like Nail Art polishes, they dry super quickly and give a high shine finish for a bargainous £3. It looked very chic today teamed with my LK bennet blue & black wrap dress.

PR sample

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection

Brushing your teeth is just part of my standard routine, I dont really concider it as a health or beauty benefit. However, when I think about it, I do want brighter, whiter teeth and will always pick the 'whitening' toothpastes in the supermarket, yellowing teeth will bot make your latest lip colour look its best!

Last night I headed out for dinner with the Oral B team, including brand ambassador Jo Whiley. They explained that 1 in 2 (yes half of us!) suffer from gum problems, which many of us are unaware of which can lead to tooth loss - mot a good look! I was also introduced to Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste which contains Stannous which kills bacteria and prevents them coming back. This super ingredient has been around a while, however it used to stain teeth but the clever Oral B scientists have stabalised the formula so this is no ponger a problem. In fact, the product claims to remove 96% if surface stains in 2 weeks, helping you get a Hollywood smile. Jo Whiley is a convert - claiming it is her  must have beauty product as her teeth and smile are the first thing viewers notice.

Having tried the toothpaste last night, it tastes really fresh and minty and my teeth  feel nice and clean - Ill keep you updated on any whitening I notice - and I hope I'll now be in the 50% if adults gum dusease free!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Miami baby!

Recently I shared with you my Miami nails from the sunny South Beach and I thought you might be interested in hearing a bit more about my trip.

Miami renowned for where the party meets the beach and people go to be seen - and it was fabulous to watch them. South Beach is home to the famous Ocean Drive filled with gorgeous art-deco hotels and bars, however, we decided to stay a 15 minute strolll away on the opposite 'coast' of Miami Beach at The Mondrian. Getting the evening sun after it was long gone from South Beach, the pool it was the perfect location for sunset cocktails. The staff were friendly, helpful but not overbearing and the hotel deco was eclectic - I didn't quite get used to the lady in the lobby, or our room...

South Beach itself was amazing, the sea was warm and turquoise and the beach huts so pretty. For $10 you can hire a lounger and chill out, or do some serious people watching!

Mr bmb has always wanted to go to a basket ball match so prior to our trip I booked tickets to suport the city's team Miami Heat play The Nets (mr bmb was slightly disappointed the Nicks weren't in town, but an excuse to head to NYC...) it was such a fun evening eating pizza and drinking bud court side (almost) whist waving my foam finger.

Although days of the week mean pretty little on hols (apart from the countdown to returning home!) brunch on sunday is a good routine to keep. We really went to town and headed to The Setai, a luxurious hotel towards the north end of Ocean Drive. For $85pp you are treated to the most sumptuous buffet including freeflowing champagne. Bewarned, after the bacon, waffles, fresh tropical fruit, seafood platters, cured meats, curries, mini butgers you won't be needing to eat again for a while. Brunch commences at 11.30am and we rolled back to our lodgings around 3pm, where I deliberated whether I wanted to get back in my bikini!

With so many resturants bars, hotels and beach spots to try, I think SoBe will be needing another trip sometime soon...

Sunday 17 November 2013

Anna Lou of London Competition

I only found out about Anna Lou of London a few months ago at a bloggers event for fashion week when I met the lady herself and fell in love with her jewelry. Personalised charms, stackable bangles and bold statement pieces gives a wide range to suit all the styles I flit between.

In the run up to christmas I am hoping that a crowned A embossed box is waiting under the tree for me and to help me desided on my favourite pieces I have made a pintrest board to narrow it down, which you can check out here.

In exciting news, if you too make a Pintrest board of your fav Anna Lou of London pieces you could win some gorgeous goodies, see details below on how to enter:

Between 18th Nov and 1st Dec create a Pinterest board entitled 'Christmas Wishlist' Then visit the Anna Lou of London site and start pinning your favourite pieces (you can only pin ALOL items)
Tag every pin with #annalouoflondon, then Follow Anna Lou of London on Pinterest and share your board with Anna Lou once finished on Twitter - and I'd love to see it too!

Monday 4 November 2013

L'Occitane Shea Butter Limited Collection: Flowers of Love

With the cold weather taking me by surprise today, my skin was feeling partched and in need of some nourishment. Help was at hand from L'Occitane in the forms their Shea Butter limited collection which launched last month.

The products in the range are all made using organic Shea butter from Burkina Faso to help nourish, softened protect the skin. The packaging is really pretty too, inspired by the ancient beaded necklaces traditionally given as symbols of love in Burkina Faso.

The body cream* (£16/100ml) is lovely, melts into the skin, leaving it feeling noticeably smoother than other body butters. I tried the Rose Tenderness fragrance which is subtle, but I'm not a massive fan of rose scents as a rule, but it wasn't overwhelming. How cute is the tin!

I always have a hand cream* in my bag and the little 30ml (£8) tube is the perfect size to keep handy, I love that the lid is a cute flower shape too.  A pea sized squeeze is pefect coverage to relive tight dry paws without greasiness and I really love the fragrance of the Passionate Jasmin.  The big 150ml tube* (£19) has permanent residence on my dressing table for morning and evening applications.

The certified organic lip balm* (16ml/£8.50) has also become a fast favourite to keep my lips crack free and I've been enjoying the Purple Lilac fragrance too (not as much as the Jasmin Passion though)

The Flowers of Love collection if finalised by a soap* in Rose Tenderness, which L'Occitane are using100% of the profits to finance eye health projects I developing countries. A beauty product with heart.

*PR samples


Sunday 3 November 2013

Mani Monday: Galaxy Nails

On my return from Miami I have neen non stop decorating, resulting in many nail injuries. When I tried to paint my nails it just didn't work so I reached for the falsies.

An age ago I went to the launch of Elegant Touch Little Mix collection and I hadn't used the Galaxy Nails* (designed by Perrie) and being twinkley and night sky inspired I thought they would be apt for this week's firework celebrations!

They are super easy to apply using double sided stickers and only £6.99 for a set which includes a range of sizes and mixture of the star design and black/green glitter so you can customise your look.

*PR sample

Thursday 24 October 2013

CND Shellac Intimates Collection

A cpuple of weeks ago I shared with you CND Shellac Charmed Christmas Collection, full of rich festive colours. However, if your not ready to dive into full in winter just yet you muggt fancy trying out one of the shades in their othet new range: The Intimates Collection. 

The range is made up of four nude shades all named after glamorous nightwear.
The shades from left to right:

Blush Teddy – a luxurious pearlescent opaque

Nude Knickers – a creamy semi-sheer

Bare Chemise – semi-sheer with a hint of shimmer

Satin Pajamas – a beautiful creamy opaque

Being a massive fan of nudes and pinks, I can't wait to try them out, but which first? Bare Chemise is the top of my whish list, what is your fav?

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