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.

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