Monday, 26 May 2014

Add a Kilo of Love - Mindshackles

"I think, for me, I've always struggled with my moods and my emotional well being. Even as a child I was very melancholy and used to try and run away from home and commit suicide when I was really young. As an adult, I was really surprised at how going through a serious life-changing event [can] bring you back to that place, when you think you've got over it. I realise that the more you're open about those things, the more you give other people the permission to talk about it. To not be ashamed. So yeah, I think it's important that people share their stories." Excerpt from the interview

A good friend of mine, Iesha Small, recently embarked on a multi-media project looking at depression and the ways that people deal with it and asked me to take part. Last week she posted my interview and after spending a week being scared to death of what people would think, I took the plunge and shared it on my Facebook page. I have been moved with the response. So many people could relate and now more than ever, I realise how important it is to keep things out in the open.

It's my personal journey and I hope that by sharing, in some way it can help you or someone you know.

Click here for the link to the full interview.

Peace & Love

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Things I Love Thursdays - Balloons

Sometimes it feels like life keeps throwing obstacles your way. Work is stressful, relationships are tense and the bills keep on piling up! 

It has been one of those times for me, but I am determined to keep my spirits up. I realise that circumstances and situations in life are just temporary. The current ones will go & new ones will step in to take their place.

With the above quote firmly etched in my mind, I am choosing to focus on the little things that bring me happiness, like balloons and baking. 

The other day I saw some cute cake toppers on Pintrest and was able to recreate them using mini balloons & bamboo skewers. I think they make this Neapolitan cake look really cute!

So whatever you are going through at the moment, be encouraged. You are here to do great things and the good times are on the way! :)

Peace & Love
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

After women, flowers are the most divine creatures ~ Christian Dior

Every now and then I become a little obsessed with something and can think of nothing else. My current obsessions are gold painted anything (especially if it's edible), and spring flowers - although to be fair, I'm always obsessed with flowers.

I just LOVE beautiful flowers and spring time is like the gift that keeps on giving. Even in the city of London where grey is the colour of everything; the concrete gives rise to a burst of pinks and greens and yellows, daring you not to notice: Who can help but be moved?

Here are a selection of some flower combinations I've been trying out on a "just-for-the-sake-of-it" 2-tier vanilla cake that I made this week.

I hope they bring you as much joy to look at as they did for me to make (& eat).

"It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses."  

"Let's dance in the sunshine with wild flowers in our hair"

Peace & Love

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Iced Biscuits Are My New Vice...

Iced by meee, inspired by Cupookie

I was at work the other day when I got an email from Emerald Street casually mentioning a competition to win an icing class at the Biscuiteers School of Icing in Notting Hill London.

Magical place of wonderment

I nearly fell off of my chair.

How did the existence of a such a magical place escape my attention?

Like really though...?

Cake :)

I entered the competition twice and then remembered that I can't leave key life events like this in the hands of competitions associated with the Stylist Magazine, so I booked a space on the first available class.

Butterfly cookies

Arguably, that level of urgency wasn't entirely necessary. Arguably, I could have put the money towards fixing my car or paying a bill. You could even argue that I should have waited on the outcome of the competition in case I won.

But what can I say? I'm impulsive like that. 

Plus I've been under a lot of stress lately and my heart skipped a happy beat when I thought about doing the course. It appears iced biscuits are my new vice.

Lorena - my cool teacher :)

Besides, due to a series of (un)fortunate events, I was the only person in the class. I think my excitement at having a 1-2-1 icing session was more than the teacher bargained for. 

Sometimes I wish I was slightly less impulsive & more sensible with my decisions. I wish I knew how to have balance and spend a little time in my comfort zone rather than on a constant knife's edge. And other times I love my life and the fact that I never know what the next day or hour might bring. I love seizing opportunities and being a pioneer in my own destiny.

Mostly though, I like icing biscuits and Notting Hill.

Peace & Love


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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Confessions Of An Introvert

Recently there seems to be much on the web about how to treat introverts. 

Like most people, I thought introverts were quiet and shy, so I didn't apply that label to myself. I can be quite loud, I'm comfortable in groups & I'm definitely not shy. It turns out though, or so I am reliably informed, that introversion is about how people get their energy, not about being socially 'awkward'. Introverts replenish their energy reserves from within themselves, extroverts get theirs from other people.

I've always been an introvert, just a confident outgoing one. I need solitude & thinking time & space, but I really love people. In the midst of my solitude my mind races & my heart longs for the people that I love. But my spirit demands me-time.

So to those that I haven't seen in a while or spoken to, please forgive me & know that I am thinking of you. 

I'm good, we're good & we will reconnect soon.

Peace & Love
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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

Many people say to me "Your children must love that you bake all the time!" That is only a half truth because my oldest son just isn't into cakes. It stems from his aversion to anything with egg in it which I partially blame myself for, because egg (& only egg), was all I ate for most of my pregnancy. He's not actually allergic to them, he just isn't interested at all.

He does love doughnuts though and I've been looking around for a suitable recipe to make my own. I didn't really fancy fried ones and luckily there are many baked varieties out there.

Enter stage left one of my favourite bloggers, Joy The Baker.

I've been following her amazing blog for years & I'm finally getting my hands on a copy of her first book this week. She posted a really lovely recipe for baked doughnuts that I tried out at the weekend (click here for the recipe link).

My tasters-in-Chief (it would have helped to capture them with a doughnut in hand!)
Well, the doughnuts are delicious, and after a little persuasion that they weren't in fact cakes disguised as doughnuts, I managed to squeeze out a reluctant thumbs up! I realise the trick is to hide the whole cooking process so that there are no psychological barriers!

Before I go, can I take a quick minute to celebrate the glorious weekend that we have just had?! The weather has been fantastic and for the first time in ages, I spent almost two full days outside soaking up the London sun (and taking copious amounts of selfies!)

Selfies in the park (because the light was just too perfect!)

Peace, Love & Doughnuts

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Monday, 3 March 2014

Ital is Vital... Vegan Cupcakes

Vanilla Vegan & Gluten-Free Cupcake with Vegan Buttercream and Strawberry Slices

Ital or I-tal (/ˈtɑːl/ eye-tahl)  a diet designed to increase Livity (life energy).

Growing up in a Rastafarian household, there was a time that we ate only Ital food. In it's most purest form, Ital food is akin to a vegan diet minus the salt. In truth though, there are variations on the theme, and it is open to some level of interpretation. For me, when I think of Ital baking, I want to make something that anyone can eat, whether they are vegan, have nut allergies, a gluten intolerance or whatever else can steal the joy of someone wanting to eat a tasty cake.


It's been a while since I did any, but last weekend, I tried my hand at a bit of Ital (in this case vegan and gluten-free) baking with a simple cupcake recipe adapted from Ms Cupcakes new cookery book - "The Naughtiest Vegan Cupcakes in Town"

Cupcakes fresh out of the oven
In my little bit of experience in making vegan cupcakes, I've discovered that there are a million ways to make them. Also once you get the right ingredients it's actually quite straightforward (my kinda cooking!)

Whilst I perfect my own recipe to share with you guys, check out PETA's website for a cool, step-by-step guide on how to make vanilla vegan cupcakes (Click here).

Some extra vegan baking tips;
  • Vegetable shortening use Trex (for the British readers)
  • Vinegar means Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
  • Oil means flavourless i.e. groundnut, grapeseed or sunflower oil
  • I used gluten-free flour mix instead of the usual self-raising flour
  • Work quickly once the liquid has been added to the dry-mix & don't overmix
  • Vegan cakes don't last as long as normal ones so they are best eaten straightaway (which is really no problem at all!)

Vanilla Vegan & Gluten-Free Cupcake with Vegan Buttercream and Strawberry Slices - Ital baking at it's best!

Before I forget, the book is an essential item in a baker's kitchen - it's beautifully put together and the recipes are easy to follow. Get yourself a copy! :)

Peace & Love

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Summertime in London

It's February, it's dark & cold & wet. For some of us in England, it's been really really wet. Flooding has been a major issue for many people, bringing with it power shortages, destroyed train lines & all sorts of disruption. At times like this, I long for summer and reminisce over the happier times.

Last summer was epic for me & whilst seeking inspiration for my latest nail art designs, I remembered this birthday cake that I made for a friend's landmark birthday & just had to go with it!

The birthday girl

The cake was designed to encompass the things that make us happy; London, love, art & music with cherries on top. 

So fast forward to 2014 and I'm in the middle of a love affair with nail art. What better way to bring on the summer than combining my two favourite things, nails and cakes!

Special thanks to L Does Nails for the nail art and Alexia Lenoir for help with the cake design.

Peace & Love

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Fiesta Time....

This weekend we celebrated the birthday of my son and my nephew, with a Mexican Themed party and lots of cake!

The table
The table was put together with the help of my gorgeous niece and Alexia Lenoir, who had the unenviable task of trying to stop her from eating all of the sweets before the guests arrived!

The shot glasses with sweets was just too much of a temptation!
Confetti, confetti everywhere!
On the menu were vanilla cakepops, chocolate & ginger cupcakes and birthday cake.

Chocolate and ginger cupcakes, topped with Chantilly creme, chocolate and sprinkles
The cupcakes are a new recipe I'm working on which were inspired by the Primrose Bakery. All will be revealed soon but for now, check this link for the original chocolate and marshmallow version.

The birthday boys

A word to the wise, sparklers don't make great candles for birthday cake, especially if you are trying to light more than one. That said, they look cool so you will be forgiven for trying anyway!

Peace & Love

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