Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ombre Cake

I haven't baked in so long, a combination of having our life in storage for a while and then work being so busy meant its been a while. So when I had a cheeky mid week day off and with my friend from work leaving the day after it seemed the perfect time to bake a cake!

I've wanted to try an ombre cake for a while now but its easily the biggest cake I've attempted and boy am I glad I set a whole day aside - I started at mid-day and was still icing at 9pm at night!

I decided given the quantity I was baking to not be adventurous with my flavour (one thing at once) so found a simple vanilla cake recipe and increased the ingredients per extra layer I wanted to make ( x 4 in my case.)

Once the ingredients had been mixed I then divided the batter evenly into 4 small bowls. To create the ombre affect I tinted the layers as follows, then placed each bowl into a greased pan.

  • Bottom Layer: 25 drops blue food colour and 3 drops red food colour
  • Second to bottom layer: 12 drops of blue food colouring 
  • Middle layer: 5 drops blue
  • Bottom layer: 1 drop blue. 

Once baked and cooled on a wire rack (I'm always so impatient at this stage!) I then stacked each layer with butter cream and then crumb coated the whole thing so it looked like this. Then left it to chill in the fridge for two hours. (Ignore the lack of food and ridiculous amount of alcohol in our fridge!)

After making the butter cream for the crumb coat, I split the icing into 2 and made a darker and lighter colour and piped in a rounded layer motion.

 The icing didn't go exactly to plan and its an area I want to continue practising but the inside turned out better than expected and most importantly everyone said it tasted nice!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


The 1st of July marked my 26th year on this earth and its been a good one, in the past year I've become a home owner, celebrated a year married to my best friend and got a promotion - I'll answer to Marketing Manager thank you very much ;)

So it felt right to mark the occasion with a party, I love hosting so it took place at ours and I always feel people let loose a little more at house parties - and boy did we laughed, drank & danced until the sun literally came up (sorry neighbours if your reading this!) it was the best night and I loved spending time decorating the house and catching up with friends.

I thought I'd write a list of 26 things I want to accomplish before I reach 30 as a fun thing to look back on so here we go:

1. Go to a festival (I've never been to one)

2. Go on a girls holiday with my friends from school (this is slightly cheating as we have just booked Marbella for next year!)

3. Buy a new car (I love my C1 but I don't feel like a grown up in it)

4. Travel more see my top destinations here

5. Finish decorating our house, including getting our dream bathroom fitted.

6. Progress further within my career either Senior Marketing Manager or look at a new challenge all together.

7. Go wild and splurge on something just for me as a treat whether that be designer handbag or a pair of Loubs.

8. Pay for my parents to go on holiday as a thank you for all they've done for me and Brett.

9. Start a family.

10. See my parents face when I tell them their going to be grandparents (to say they are keen is an understatement!)

11. See more of the UK I automatically think of abroad when planning a getaway but there's loads of the UK I'd like to visit - The Cotswolds being top of the list.

12. Change my hair, my hair is my security blanket, I've been growing it since an ill-fated haircut at 19 and now its long. Seriously long and has been for sometime I've never experimented with colours or styles and I think its time for a change in that department.

13. Feel happy in my own body, my weight has fluctuated a lot over the past few years and I'd really like as I head towards thirty to feel more comfortable in my own skin.

14. Stop being so hard on myself, I am my harshest critic, I feel I have to live up my extremely high standards and all the time and it can be exhausting, I hope as I get older I mellow more and don't feel the need to beat myself up over the smallest thing!

(wow this is harder than I though! 12 more to go!)

15. Go on holiday somewhere hot and scenic and rent a soft top and drive around and see the sights. I've always wanted to do this in either the south of France or route 66.

16. Keep practicing and get better at baking, I love baking and trying out new recipes but mostly I love the decorating, most of my baking accomplishments can be found on my Insta here

17. Be more patient, the word has never been used when describing me, back to point 14, I really need to mellow out and not get stressed quite so easily, hopefully I'll have that nailed by the time I turn the big 3-0!

18. Visit Harry Potter Studios in London, Brett & I are the biggest HP geeks and keep saying we'll go and never do!

19. Make date night a tradition, I love mine and Bretts date nights or weekends and I want to continue to make time for just us, life has been pretty hectic recently and its important to not get complacent with your marriage.

20. Help plan a close friends wedding, now that my wedding is over I'm itching to get back on Pinterest and plan another. Plus who doesn't love a wedding and when its a close friends its that much sweeter!

21. Get a dog - I wanted a dog for as long as I can remember but my parents weren't as keen on the idea, now me and Brett have our own place I can't wait to get a puppy of our own.

22. Celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and start planning our vow renewal at 10 years - yes I'm already thinking about that and yes I need that long to plan it!

23. Buy our forever house and move closer to Ilkley (which is where Brett & I met)

24. Get more organised, I'm a pretty organised person anyway but recently I've dropped the ball on a few bits that if I'd of thought ahead or planned better I wouldn't have forgotten or been rushed for.

25. Get more confident when driving, I'm great driving where I know but as soon as I have to travel anywhere I don't know I get really bad anxiety and panic. I'd love to be fine driving somewhere new long distance.

26. Remember just how damn lucky I am and be more thankful and give back in someway.

So thats it - wow that was harder than I thought, I'm lucky I've achieved a lot of what I've wanted to do before I was 25, can't wait to see what the next few years hold!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Highlighter Hero

Hi my names Ellen & I'm a make up addict.

I can't pass a Superdrug or Boots without "popping in" so when my birthday rolled around make up was top of my birthday list... and I was a lucky girl!

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit was top of my list from seeing so many other bloggers rave about it and after lusting over insta posts of girls with cheekbones for miles because of this thing!

There are different kit colours available:

Sunburst – Bright, luminous gold with a metallic finish 
Golden Bronze – Sultry, warm bronze with a gold-flecked finish
Bubbly – Rose champagne with a pearlescent finish 
Dripping in Gold – Lavish gold with a vivid, reflective finish
Gleam - more of a blush glow than traditional highlight
Hard Candy – Mood-changing golden peach with a pink pearl reflective finish 
Mimosa – Radiant golden peach with a metallic finish
Starburst – Rush of cool pink with an iridescent finish 
Crushed Pearl – Glimmering pink and silver with a crystalized chrome finish
Sun Dipped - More suited to Olive or darker skin tones
Bronzed – Amber with a penny metal finish
Tourmaline – Warm taupe with a rose gold finish
Moonstone – Radiant quartz with a pearl finish
Summer – Luminous sand with a white gold finish

The kit is so highly pigmented and you only need a sweep for day but can be more build-able for night if your going for that wet highlight look favoured by the Insta elite! 

The colour lasts all day and gives a healthy glow - in short I'm in love!

The second addition to my already over flowing make up collection is The Make Up Revolution Radiance Highlighter Palette.

This is my first piece from the brand and has ignited a need to purchase more. The whole collection is so reasonably priced and so pretty! 

The palette is only £8 and part of the Superdrug 3 for 2 offer at the moment so theres really no excuse for me try more.... for research purposes for the blog obviously!

The colours aren't as highly pigmented as the Anastasia palette but at £31 cheaper its a great everyday alternative and the colours are still beautiful.

The final addition was the MAC All the Right Angles Contour Kit. This admittedly wasn't for my birthday but a gift from my lovely team on my last which was a day before my birthday. 

Its been a hectic weekend!

The kit contains a cream highlight underneath - perfect for under eyebrow highlight, plus powder highlight and bronzer on top. The bronzer is also perfect for my pale complexion a lot of all in one kits look great but the bronzer is always so dark and left unused. 

It's perfect size for travelling as its an all in one kit unlike the Glow Kit which is HUGE!

Whats your favourite highlighter? Any excuse to add to my collection!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Holiday Diaries: Sunset Gondola Ride

I don't say this lightly the Gondola ride is without a doubt one of the best experience of my life. Top 5 for sure (after wedding, engagement party and honeymoon in case you wondered).

A lot of people we spoke with said not to bother with a gondola ride as they are so expensive and you can get a similar experience on a water taxi or water bus. But after chatting to a colleague who said it was one of her biggest regrets after visiting the city I knew I couldn't take the risk.

I'm a big believer in going all out on a holiday, we had dinner at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, upgraded to our own private pool in the Maldives so in my eyes a Gondola ride was non negotiable and I'm so glad we did.

If you are planning on visiting Venice, the rides do increase in price on an evening and singing is extra, so if your on a budget I'd recommend getting one during the day - theres more than enough to choose from with Gondoliers easy to spot in their black and white striped top & straw hats.

We choose to start our ride at the edge of Sans Marcos so our Gondola passed under Bridge of Sighs, legend says if you kiss while you pass underneath your love will live on forever.

The ride was worth every penny as not only was it romantic but it also took us to quieter areas that we wouldn't of seen otherwise and the Gondolier pointed out key landmarks.

Including Casanova's house - if walls could talk ey!

We choose a half hour ride which was more than enough and meant we saw the sights, the sunset and wet our appetite for dinner when we were back on dry land.

Watching the sunset over Sans Marco's square from our gondola is an experience I'll never forget and one I can't recommend enough!