Wednesday, 29 February 2012

March Photo A Day....

So whilst I was wasting my life away on Pinterest, I found this blog that I'm already in love with called Fat Mum Slim (link here). One of her more recent posts was to kickstart the "March photo a day" challenge and I think it sounds great so I'm doing it! 

I will be posting my pictures on Instagram and Twitter. You can follow me on either one, my twitter (@bailey_ana) or Instagram (@baileyana) and if you're up for it, then take part too. I think it will be pretty cool, join us :) 

 Peace & Love xx
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Monday, 27 February 2012

Havana Santiago

Happy Monday People!

After being in a bit of a funk for the last few weeks, I had a conversation with an old friend who basically told me to get over myself and get on with it... Sometimes you need to hear the truth spoken in love and it's done me the world of good. It's so easy to look at your circumstances and get discouraged but as he said, life will throw things at you but you've got to fight back. Also I do believe that contentment is a state of mind and has little if anything to do with what's going on around you. It's time for me to look within! I even went as far as sending myself a card filled with a loving & encouraging message, I can't wait for it to come in the post...don't judge me! :)

On an even more exciting tip, this Friday - Sunday (2nd-4th March 2012), my friend and her man are staging a Cuban inspired take-over at Rich Mix in East London, following their trip there last year. It will be 3 days of culture including film, music, photography, cocktails and other delights. I'll be there on the Sunday with my cakies so come along and get involved. You can get more details from this site (click here). If you are in the London area on any of those days, especially Sunday, come down, I'd love to meet you!

Have a great week,

Peace & Love

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday Smoothie

Sunday Smoothie Chalkboard

It was a beautiful day today, perfect for drinking smoothies outside in the garden! 

This week, I hung out with my friend Bowbelles, (check out her cool blog here) and she whipped up a beautiful fruit smoothie from just three ingredients; strawberries, bananas & grapes. It took about 5 minutes to put together and tasted delicious, I was like "Why am I not making smoothies?"

So here I am, with my very own tasty Sunday smoothie. You take 2-3 strawberries, 1 small banana, about 10 grapes and blend them together. That's it! I'm going to have to try different combinations but for today this one is perfect.

Sunday Smoothie

Peace & Love


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Thursday, 23 February 2012

7 Links Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I was really pleased to be nominated for my first 'blogger chain questionnaire thing', called the 7 Links Challenge, by Dee-Ann Rice  (I'm not sure what the correct terminology is here). A big thanks to Dee-Ann for nominating me, I gave her a sob story about never being nominated to do one, and she was gracious enough to take pity on me!

In short, the idea is that you pick out and share 7 posts based on the following criteria;

Your most beautiful post
Your most popular post
Your most controversial post
Your most helpful post
A post whose success surprised you
A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved and
The post that you are most proud of

Without further ado, here are mine;

This is the first post that came to mind for this category, mainly because I really love the way that these cupcakes turned out. It took me a while to get all the ingredients together and when the idea came to me for them, I felt like the Mad Professor I was so excited. I still love it.

Most popular post - Christmas Cake Pop Baubles

These cake pops have done the rounds on a few cool blogs and rocketed to the top of the popularity tree. I love it because they are so simple and they're pink :)

controversial post - Are You Gonna Bang Doe?

I'm not one for controversy (on my cake blog at least) but I did base the title & theme of this post on a questionable song that I love! Check it out for yourself and tell me what you think!

I have a love/hate relationship with cake pops but after I did the pink cake pops, one of my friends asked for a how-to post & I had a lot of fun putting this together. I'm pleased to say it's my second most visited post.

A post whose success surprised you - Nutella Cupcakes

The popularity of this is all thanks to the mighty Pinterest. Around New Years Eve/Day this was all over the place. I wasn't expecting a big fuss but it's nice.

A post you feel 
didn’t get the attention it deserved - Florence + The Machine

This is a really hard question because I have some posts that do really well and then I have lots that I'm really happy with that much fewer people look at. I decided to go for this one in the end because this was my first stab at making up my own recipe, they tasted gorgeous and it was a tribute to Florence and the Machine's amazing Ceremonials album. 

The post that you are most 
proud of - Cranberry Jam & Cream Cheese Nibbles

This is an impossible question, I am proud of all of my posts. Under duress though, I picked this one because I can remember how excited I was to have made my own jam! I am a simple person & I felt really clever and domesticated and like a farmers wife or something. I had visions of me running through meadows with the sun on my face and happy barefooted children everywhere! :) I'm a city girl & thoroughly undomesticated but this gave me a taste of a parallel universe me, I like her, she seems like she'd be tidy, organised and able to make her own sausages!

So those were my picks, you can of course link to the actual posts either via the pictures or the titles. Check them out & tell me if you have any other favourites.

My nominees for the 7 Link Challenge are;

Bowbelle from Some Like It Essex
Ash-Lilly from Ash-Lilly's Lacquer Lust
Bangs from Bangs and a Bun

Sarah  from Sarah Akiswombe
Kerry from Life, As I Know It

The rules of the challenge are as follows (taken from here);

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.
1)     Blogger is nominated to take part
2)     Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.
This shouldn’t take you long to do – don’t over-think it!
- Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of
3)     Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.
(Feel free to nominate any kind of blog to take part – we want this project to be as inclusive as possible!)
4)     These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate more bloggers
I hope you enjoyed it!
Peace & Love

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pimp My Cupcake...

A while ago I saw some mini tissue pom-poms being used as cake toppers and I decided that I was going to learn how to make them because they looked soooooo cute. Turns out our good friend Martha Stewart has the simplest ever 'how-to' post on her website. Once I organised myself to get around to  trying one I was really happy with how they turned out. It's amazing how a topper can make a simple vanilla cupcake look a lot more fabulous :)

I got all artsy with it, Andy Warhol stylee :)

“If everyone isn't beautiful, then no one is.” 
― Andy Warhol

Now to pimping my life!

Peace & Love

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Friday, 17 February 2012

Marshmallow Fluff Tarts

Dear Friends,

Order has been restored and happy baking has returned! If you follow my blog at all, you will know that I love makings tarts, they are the simplest things in the world to do and are just so tasty. Mini ones are like mouthfuls of wonderfulness and make me happy.

Today's offering is a simple shortcrust pastry (shop bought), filled with a mixture of whipped cream & Marshmallow Fluff (one tablespoon of whipped cream to one teaspoon of Marshmallow Fluff), topped with a raspberry & some icing sugar. I bought the Marshmallow Fluff from Asda, but I think other shops sell it as well. It wasn't a very scientific bake today, no measuring of ingredients, just a little bit of this & a little bit of that as I had some leftovers to use up.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with them but I think it's time that I stepped away from the ready-made pastry & started doing it myself... Wish me luck :)

Peace & Love

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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Keeping It Real - Skull Cupcakes

This has been a week of ups and downs; Whitney Houston passing (down), two cool birthdays (up), losing all of my photos (major down), finding a forgotten stash of money (up), car making strange 'I'm going to die any minute' noises (down), tea and red velvet cake with a friend (up), I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

The photos for my planned post have disappeared, so I had to rustle something else up in their place. My plan was to blog about a lovely birthday cake I'd made, covered with strawberries and happiness,  but I was just too sad to bake any more happy cakes. I laid out all of my cheeriest sprinkles on the kitchen counter and even tried to imagine myself making sugar flowers but I couldn't. I think we need to be real with ourselves sometimes, don't ignore how you feel, work through it.

So I got out my skull candy mould & immediately felt better. I bought it just after Halloween but haven't quite found the right time to make anything with it. I then picked out some red foil cupcake cases and the juiciest red glitter I could find & the good vibes started rolling in... It's amazing what glitter can do (that and a cheeky glass of red wine!) I reckon it's pretty impossible to stay down when there is red glitter all over the place :)

I stuck with a vanilla cupcake and cream cheese frosting to keep things nice and simple. Once everything was assembled, my mood was officially lightened. My photos aren't back, but all hope isn't gone!

My lesson: Keep it real but stay positive!

What do you do to cheer yourself up?

Peace & Love

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Monday, 13 February 2012

What Makes It All Worthwhile....

I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen and as much as I love it, I also get sick of the sight of it. The constant washing up, the wiping down, the sweeping and the moping. The icing sugar that gets everywhere and the equipment that needs to be cleaned and put back in to it's place. Not to mention the chaffing of my hands from all of the cleaning products and the fact that I can hardly ever wear nail vanish. Plus after spending hours baking & decorating a cake, I STILL have to go to the kitchen to make proper food. It's never-ending and exhausting and I wonder why I do this to myself.

But when it gets to that point, something or someone comes along to remind me. Often, it is my nephew. I love the way his eyes light up when he gets a cake and the way that he is always so full of praise. It makes my heart warm and I feel like maybe I'm not wasting my time after all!

This post is dedicated to my nephew for being an amazing source of encouragement. Happy Birthday my love for thank you reminding me why I do this!

Peace & Love

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Friday, 10 February 2012

Desperately Seeking Approval

Have you ever wondered what or rather who motivates you to do things? I've heard tales of men starting wars to win the affection of a fair maiden and whilst it sounds a bit far-fetched, I do get it. Sometimes that person is a parent or a group of friends but the need to impress someone that you are into is probably the strongest urge of all, you don't even need to be into them in a sexual way.

I have a person like that, someone who I am trying to impress, that I'm almost 100% confident is completely oblivious to my efforts! It's pretty sad really but what can you do, the heart is foolish! :)

Before you get too worried about me, be comforted that my unrequited obsession has in fact given birth to the beauty that you see before you - a heart in a cupcake! Of course I will do a 'how-to' tutorial in the near future so you too can recreate this bad boy - it would be rude not to.

Until then though, please enjoy the mix of vanilla cupcakes with a red velvet heart centre and cream cheese frosting on top. 

Peace & Love

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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

When I first learnt how to make a madeira cake some years back, I discovered two things;

a. It is simple to make.
b. It tastes delicious straight out of the oven with custard.

As good as the above may appear at first glance, it presented me with a very serious problem. I made madeira cakes ALL the time. And when I say 'all the time', I really do mean 'all the time'. In the evenings I'd feel like something sweet and where an ordinary person may grab a biscuit/cookie, I'd bake a cake & eat it. 

Clearly this could only lead to diabetes & so I actually stopped baking altogether for a while - my attempt at going cold turkey!

Luckily for me, I think I have managed the art of balance in this area & am getting my sugar fix from licking cake mixture from bowls rather than eating whole cakes! Only when it is totally necessary, do I bake myself as cake. So when I was asked to make a plain Madeira cake for a birthday, it bought me back to the old days and made me smile. 

Check this link here for a really nice madeira cake recipe. The best part about this cake is that you can get creative and add your own hint of flavour. I used to love adding cinnamon and nutmeg instead of the lemon rind for a warm spicy twist.

I hope you are having a good week so far...

Peace & Love


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Monday, 6 February 2012

Pizza Cake (And Giveaway Winner Announced!)

Is it a pizza? Is it a cake? No, it's a Pizza Cake!!

Hello People - hopefully you all looked at the picture and wondered why on earth I am posting pictures of slightly dodgy pizzas on my blog... Well, the answer is that I'm not. This bad boy is in fact a cake :)

A friend of mine asked me to make a cake in the shape of a pizza to celebrate a year of their blog 'Things We Have Eaten'. The Things We Have Eaten crew is made up of a collective of guys who blog about stuff they have eaten (rocket science I know). It's pretty cool though because they travel around and clearly enjoy their food so check it out...

The 'Things We've Eaten' Crew

When I got the call, I was really excited. The challenge with something like this, is getting the recipe right. The biggest mistake you can make is not paying equal attention to taste and presentation. If I had to choose then taste would reign supreme but you really must focus on both. So the cake has got to look like a pizza, but be a tasty cake. 

I used a moist vanilla cupcake recipe for the base (click here for a link). I figured such a thin layer of cake could dry out pretty quickly so this was important. I doubled the quantity of the cupcake mixture and baked it in a 14" round tin. I also managed to get an empty pizza box (after buying a large pizza first) as it adds to the whole drama of the thing.

Jam acts as tomato and the "cheese" is buttercream coloured yellow. Everything else is made out of coloured sugarpaste icing except for the pineapple which is real. All in all it was pretty convincing, especially at night.

On a totally different note, I am really pleased to announce that Ellena Emmanuel is the winner of the cake pop giveaway and will be contacted soon to receive her prize. Thank you to everyone who entered!

Peace & Love

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