Halloween Cupcakes.

If you need a reason to do some baking, or if you still feel need to cry into a large bowl of sugar and flour over the gut wrenching exit of Liam last week. He didn’t deserve that. Then i’ve got just the thing.

You might as well put down the pumpkin and re-think the dead cheerleader costume, because nothing will beat these this Halloween. So you might as well trick or treat yourself.

Halloween Monster cupcakes.  (my recipe makes 10). A chocolate orange cupcake that even Terry would be jealous of.

You will need:

  • 100g of butter
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 80g Dark chocolate, melted
  • 1tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 Orange, juiced
  • 125g Self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
  • splash of milk (if your mixture looks dry)

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Whack the oven on 180 (conventional oven.) I’m no Mary Berry, so just throw everything into the bowl and mix. My only tips are, when you add your eggs put some flour in at the same time as this will stop it from curdling. I melted the chocolate by leaving it by the AGA. But if you don’t have an AGA, even though everyone has an AGA. oooh AGA,AGA,AGA. Melt it over hot water, making sure the chocolate bowl doesn’t touch the water. Fill the cupcake cases, about 3/4 full. Then put them straight into the oven, cook for 17 minutes (15-20 minutes).

Now put last weeks bake off on and cry into the bowl of leftovers.

Icing and decoration.

Buttercream icing is simple. 2:1, Icing sugar:butter.

  • 180g icing sugar
  • 90g soft butter
  • food colour (I’m going purple)

Put the butter in the bowl and cream until light, fluffy and pale, add the icing sugar whilst mixing it all together at the same time. You can either do this by hand if you have Popeye arms, or just take the easy route and use an electric whisk. Next, fold in the food colouring (add as much as you want!). Put the icing straight into a piping bag, pipe a big ol’ swirl onto each cupcake.

As Mcfly said, it’s all about you, decorate your monsters creations in whatever way you want. I won’t judge #lovewins

Anyway! Here are some I made:IMG_2891

DSC_0174DSC_0171Just remember to add the Candyfloss just before serving other wise it will dissolve!  Drumstick lollies make great heads and bodies for monsters and fizzy laces makes #hairgoals.

I would recommend baking them on a Wednesday so you can watch the Addams family. Bet you sang that. 

Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures, we want to see them! #tpsmonsters

TPS.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

PS, you can leave out the chocolate and cocoa powder to make a simple orange flavoured cupcake. You might want to add orange food dye to make them look fangtastic.

 

Cocktails.

The way to my heart is with three M’s: Mojitos, Margaritas and Mcflurry’s. I’m not a massive party gal, i’m more of a drinking cocktails, snapping an Instagram and having a catch up with friends kind. Thats one way Maddey and I are different, she can party the night away in a pair of 6″ heels. It’s rumoured that Maddey was Beyonce’s muse for the song 6 INCH, but I’m not sure if thats true.

I have tried many a time to make cocktails and they always taste a tad rubbish. My presentation skills are also not great. Mainly because my family collected all our glasses from McDonalds, you all know the ones, you bought a large meal you got a free glass. Winner Winner McChicken sandwich dinner.

Wine. Vodka. Lucozade Orange. The ingredients of the last cocktail I made. I think, don’t really remember it to be honest.

If you are reading this and you are not from Newcastle, let me tell you its not as trashy as Geordie Shore makes out. You have a never ending list of drinking spots. If you are like me and love a cocktail or two, here are my favourite places to go.

The Botanist. A pretty building overlooking Earl Grey chilling on his monument. Thank you for the tea sir. It won’t shock you to say these cocktails are very flowery. I would recommend the Raspberry Mojito, classic. The Blackberry and Mint Julep is also berry berry nice.

Jalou. A place dedicated to cocktails and RnB. (thats what they say on their website). The only reason I have added this to my favourite cocktail bars is because of the thursday 2-4-1 offer. I also haven’t been in a long time but I went to the one in York recently so I basically have. The bubblegum Daiquiri is popping.

 

The Alchemist. The list of cocktails is huge! If you go here, you want a cool one. I would recommend the Bubble Bath, Tanqueray Gin, Aperol, Chambord, Lemon, Apple, Fairy Liquid. InstagramableI wouldn’t recommend the Going Menthol, Bacardi Superior Rum, White Mint, Maraschino, Lime, Alchemist toothpaste, it’s like Oral B, but the B stands for bad.IMG_2877.jpg

Yolo Ponteland. Great for those country bumpkins or pumpkins as I thought it was for 19 years of my life. I also found out the saying isn’t ‘lonely’ child but an ‘only’ child.  This place is great for all. So tell your mother, your brother, your sister and your friends. Why stop there? tell your others, your lovers, both past and present tense. Channel your inner Christina and grab the sweet, sugar Candymanpants.

JamJar. Jesmond is not short of bars but this one is up there with my favourite. Cocktails served in a jam jar. I still can’t work out why they named themselves JamJar though, seems a bit random. The drinks are simple, and delicious.IMG_2878.jpg

Sohe. Another Jesmond bar. A bar that whisks you off to the far east, this Asian inspired menu, is not one you would find anywhere else. (Maddey, I don’t miss you, but, please come home from uni soon so we can go for some cocktails.)

Hopefully after reading this, you fancy a cocktail or two. I can’t wait to see your boomeranging Instagram story. Lets hope you go for an actual cocktail rather than a Purple Rain from Wetherspoons. You can get that Instagram pitcher off my feed.

EL

TPS X

PS. I’ll have a crunchie Mcflurry.

Iceland the Land of Fire and Ice.

If you haven’t, you need to go to Iceland. Not the shop obviously. When my dad asked me ‘where should our summer holiday be this year’ I don’t think he expected me to say Iceland. It might surprise you to learn Jet 2 holidays didn’t sell the Land of Fire and Ice as this years best summer destination, I think that award went to Spain. Again. Iceland is cool, in every way imaginable. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it has those upside down question marks like España, ¿what is that all about?.

After playing spot the speed camera on the A68 at 3 in the morning, we flew from Edinburgh on the 7 am flight. Luckily, dad flew us out on a private jet so we didn’t have to mingle with the riff-raff. It was really Easyjet, and such a short flight, the stewards didn’t even have time to give us a complementary drink. Once we landed we jumped on our bus transfer which drove us into Reykjavik. (its worth noting that the airport is about 1 hour away from the city). We stayed in Hotel Holt, a hotel filled to the brim with art. Breakfast was pickled herring and cod liver oil…. or bacon..eggs..cereal…fruit..skyr..toast..ham…cheese…

The three of us went, Dad, Mum and I- Maddey didn’t fancy it, not sure why, guess she doesn’t like things pickled. IMG_2208

The main tour we did was a bus tour of the ‘Golden Circle’, a must for all visitors. Our tour guide, a very funny german, had us laughing from the moment we got on, until the moment we got off. I’m not a very good bus traveller, yes I’m that person puking into a Longchamp. BUT NOT THIS TIME. RESULT.

Stops on the tour:

A tomato farm. As much as a surprise to us as it is to you. I still don’t know why. I had soup, it was souper. IMG_2211

Geysir geothermic area. The water pressure and speed was unbelievable, very similar to the water that comes off the spoon when you try to wash it. Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 01.51.18.jpg

Gullfoss waterfalls: It is one of those that you hear before you see it, bit like girls in a club bathroom. omg love you dress. The fall its self, was mind blowing, the sound of the water was deafening. When you venture, down closer to the waterfall, a beautiful rainbow appears. Magical.Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 01.24.20

Thingvellir- A STORY OF TWO TECTONIC PLATES SEPARATED AT BIRTH. OK OK. It’s not a film but a lovely walk. On one side the North American plate and the other the Eurasian, slowly pulling away. The space between is full of rifts, waterfalls and lakes. Truly spectacular!DSC_0072.JPG

“Bye buddy hope you find your dad”. Well done Buddy you found your dad, sadly I didn’t find a Narwhal on my adventures. When I knew I was going to Iceland I had to go on a Whale and Dolphin watching trip. You take a gamble when you try to observe animals in their natural habitat, the ocean is big but least its bigger than a swimming pool. We were a little lucky, Dolphins lots of Dolphins. Interesting animals, extremely playful. They were more than happy to swim along side the boat for 30 minutes or so. From afar we saw a Minke whale, he didn’t stay for long, must have been late for work. I could have stayed on that boat all day everyday.DSC_0053.JPG

Lets be honest, you are waiting for me to say Blue Lagoon. Well you will be waiting a while, because we didn’t go. But, we did go to a wellness spa, which is basically the same thing, just with a different price tag. Very calming, very warm, very quiet. Bliss.IMG_2287.JPG

Reykjavik is an outstanding city. The best i’ve been too. Imagine walking down the street, and not see a Starbucks, a McDonalds or Poundland. Just independent shops and restaurants. That and a Tiger, which obviously Mum had to go in as it might not have the same stock as the U.K. The art in the city is amazing something for everyone, contemporary, traditional paintings, Icelandic art even street art. Also, Icelanders are so cool. Arty cool. The level of cool I aspire to be. Not what I was expecting, in my head everyone would have impressive ginger beards, red capes and have a massive hammer…. no wait thats Thor.

Places in the city you have to see:

  • Harpa
  • Hallgrímskirkja
  • The Sun voyager
  • whales of Iceland
  • Art Museums (modern art and Kjarvalsstaoir)

Iceland is simply, the best place I have visited and I went to Leeds for university. If you haven’t been, go.

Next time I go, it will be winter and hopefully that time I will meet someone with a massive hammer.

I made a video about our 5 day trip: Iceland Travel Video

EL

TPS X

PS. One last tip, have deep pockets, its not cheap.

Tours and transfers through Reykjavik Excursions. https://www.re.is

 

Coffee, Cake and Bras…all best things come in cups

Hi, my name is Maddey and i’m addicted to buying matching sets of underwear (i wish i was joking)

So, differently to Ellie I have pretty normal sized boobs and so find it very easy to buy bras that fit me well. I buy my all my bras from Boux Avenue…and when i say bras i actually mean i HAVE TO spend the extra £14 (ish) so i can have a matching set! Correct if I’m wrong (I’m not), but there is something about wearing matching underwear that makes you feel like you can conquer the world!

I recently went to the Metro Centre  with my mum to buy some “birthday bras”…best presents ever!! Naturally, we walked in and took the biggest inhale of breath you can possibly do, best yoga class of my life…in through the nose, out through the mouth. There is something about the smell of Boux that i just ADORE and if you disagree then i actually don’t think i can be your friend, “you can’t sit with us”.

Like my sister, I always have a bra fitting. I actually quite enjoy them. A lovely girl called Darcy fitted me a couple weeks ago, she was so so so helpful and gave me recommendations for future. She measured me at a 32E and my recommended style is plunge. She just kept bringing in bra after bra after bra, repeating the same ones but in different colours, and i was thinking to myself ‘why is she making me try all these bras on?’, but i happily went along with it…only to find out it was because my mum was sneakily out there buying other stuff in the shop!! (thanks mum, they’re the comfiest pjs ever!). Once i was finished, we went to the “sale boxes” and did possibly THE girliest thing ever of searching through boxes and boxes of underwear to find some bargains..£2 for knickers!!!! £2!!!

Bra shopping can be and usually is very expensive, and the bras I like are always the expensive ones but they’re pretty so worth the price tag.

Here are some of my must haves that are currently in shops and online:

Sandy plunge bra

Sandy plunge bra. This is part of the Amber loves Boux collection which are stunning bras. The material is super soft and the delicate floral detail is so flattering and pretty. I wish they did this bra is more colours!!! A nice white and pastel mint green or duck egg blue would look amazing.


Annette plunge bra

Annette lace bra. I have it in this blush colour, but can also get it in black, black/purple and dove. The mesh ruching on the cups is very flattering and makes your boobs looks more round. I love the lace trim and now i know you can buy it in so many colours i will be buying more of this style!


Sexy padded low plunge U bra

Sexy Padded Low Plunge U-bra. This bra is a game changer. The low U shape front is finished with a pretty lace trim. Smooth padded cups ensure a great shape, while multi-way straps mean you can wear this style halter neck and cross back too. The bra comes with an additional strap to convert to low back.


Microfibre moulded strapless bra

Microfibre moulded Strapless Bra. This nude strapless bra excels in comfort, support and shape. The super soft and durable microfibre caresses your skin, while the wide elastic back hugs rather than rubs your frame. It also has handy straps that reposition along the cup to hide under any dress.

However, as much as I ADORE underwear in general, there is NOTHING better than taking off your bra at the end of the day!!!

MADS

TPS X


ALL IMAGES OF BRAS FROM BOUX AVENUE

Sandy plunge bra, £30.

http://www.bouxavenue.com/bras/sandy-plunge-bra/101675_20BH30B.htm

Annette lace bra, £30.

http://www.bouxavenue.com/bras/annette-plunge-bra/101311_01DV30A.html

Sexy Padded Low Plunge U-bra, £30.

http://www.bouxavenue.com/backless-strapless/sexy-padded-low-plunge-u-bra/100253.html?dwvar_100253_dressSize=SZ%201&dwvar_100253_color=10NU&cgid=#q=u%2Bbra&lang=default&start=1.

Microfibre moulded Strapless Bra, £28

http://www.bouxavenue.com/bras/microfibre-moulded-strapless-bra/100054.html?dwvar_100054_color=10NU&dwvar_100054_braSize=30A&cgid=#q=microfibre&lang=default&start=4

BIG BOOBS, BIG PROBLEMS

There is no way of hiding it, I have big boobs. Bigger than the UK’s average, biggest in the family.  Big boobs mean big problems. see picture below… big right?!!IMG_2463

One shop and one shop only. I struggle to find a bra that fits, I am aware that I have bigger boobs but they are nothing in comparison to the worlds biggest (thats something like ZZZ). Yet I can only find bras in Bravissimo. It’s a strange shop in Newcastle, upstairs in Eldon Gardens. yes in the place with the stupid water spraying sound. Even walking there you feel like a kid down a back alley getting up to no good. It is definitely not inviting. But, I go as i’m a strong independent woman that can conquer anything. I would like to think I would make it out the last round on Raven, but theres somethings in life that will always remain a mystery.

The terrible lighting is by far outweighed by the range of women working there. Young or old, there is someone everyone can associate with. Walking in your are hit in the face with bras, fruit ninja vibes. Walls full of matching sets. Depending on bra size you start to filter down your selection.

I always have a bra fitting. Its so so so important to be wearing the correct size bra, don’t be put of with the idea of a bra fitting. It is not awkward, not embarrassing and they don’t stare at your boobs the whole time. Did I mention they are free?? Studies show that over 80% of woman are wearing the wrong sized bra. If I told you 80% of woman wear the wrong size shoes, everyone would laugh, and only time you want 80% is in a test.

Big boobs sadly means non of those really pretty bras from Victoria’s Secret, but hey least the underwear fits. Bravissimo are trying to create ‘pretty’ bras.. however, they are still ever so grandma-like. I am 22 not 42. I want to feel pretty in a bra, not just wear one to hold them up so I don’t fall over them. I understand that the lacey bras don’t support you as well as the grandma bras but Bravissimo please start thinking about the age of woman that shop with you.

You might all want to sit down for this. I HIT THE TENTH BRA FREE. A task I thought was impossible. Ten bras don’t sound a lot but, I has taken me years. The last time I visited Bravissimo, the left with a bag full of bra’s and a lot less money.

Hear are some of my favourites in store right now:

Becca Plunge Bra in Lemon. A great fit, its padding free so you boob fills the space making it very comfortable. Soft lemon looks effortless against skin. Another point is that the straps are not that thick. Some straps are thicker than a seatbelt, it’s ever so soul destroying.Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 13.20.47

Elise Plunge Bra in Nude and Black. A simple style that sits flat on your chest. The cup is soft, making a great day bra. A lace top trim makes sure you not going to fall out of it when you do that awkward run trying to get on to the metro before the door shuts. A win win for all.Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 13.21.58

Lola Bra in Nude. Some days I love this bra other days not so much. The fabric is strong, like strong. If you have big enough boobs you could use it as a bag for life. Now and then I feel like it digs in slightly under the arm, but this could be that strange boob fat we all have at the side. The pattern on the cup is lovely, although I find the lace trim on the straps a little irritating. Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 13.21.43

Satine Plunge in Black and Navy. A fantastic day bra that is comfortable. Very soft as it is cotton lined. Great t-shirt bra. One tip, don’t over wash it as it looses its shape very quickly.Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 13.22.18

Unlike Maddey, I don’t buy matching underwear sets. Most days I struggle to match my socks. So please don’t hate me, I just can’t manage it on a day to day basis. That and I can’t afford it.

If you still do the Georgia and Jas pencil test, then I would recommend you go and get measured. Don’t take advice from Georgia, lets not forget that she stalked Robbie, kissed Peter Dyer and listens to whale music.

EL

TPS X

PS. Bravissimo if you ever read this, please change the lighting in the Newcastle Store. Its just as dark as Hollister but without the pretty boys.

Side note: an Olive costume would be great for halloween 2017. 

ALL IMAGES OF BRAS FROM BRAVISSIMO.

Links:

The battle of moisturisers

Think Game of Thrones, Vikings, that big fight in Vegas. You could even think bigger, Jungle Run and it doesn’t come close to the battle of moisturisers.

The three I have been trying lately are all Clinique. A brand that is often associated with the older generation, has now become a firm favourite of mine. Maybe I’m old.DSC_0138.jpg

My skin, what is my skin type?? Every time I sit in a Makeup artists chair I panic. The one simple question. What would you say your skin type is? I normally answer with an “errmm normal, yeah normal.. maybe dry, and sometimes a bit oily”. I should just answer, I don’t know. Its skin-like. But one thing I do know is that I have a very red skin tone, which goes even redder when some says “you’ve gone red” cheers for that.

The first moisturiser, I have been using for the last 3 years or so.. Moisture Surge. Now I’m a BIG fan. A bigger fan for this, than the dreamboat that is Harry Styles. It is very cooling for the skin, hydrating also. When I first put it on, I look like I’ve just ran my face under a tap but my face ‘drinks’ it up. I use it daily, just before bed, as it is a gel, it soaks into my face quickly. It doesn’t feel sticky like many gels I have used. I sometimes, that is if I remember, put some on before my makeup. Now I don’t know if it does anything, but people on youtube do it and I feel they have the key to life, so i’ll happily copy.

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I was given a sample of the Moisture Surge Supercharged Concentrate. I’m pretty sure thats a name of a racing car in Cars but i’ll go with it. I find this product very heavy for my day to day regime. I think it would be perfect for flights. When you step onto an aeroplane you fly so high that the water in your skin evaporates. (I do not know if this the actual fact, but still your face defiantly becomes dryer). Or even after a workout, a thing I don’t do. One day I will sign up for the gym. If you do go to the gym, you can put this product in the fridge next to your water bottle and use as cold refreshing gel after your workout. DSC_0138.jpg

The Redness Solution relief cream, is the final moisturiser. It is a extra- gentle cream that helps with redness. This is a very calming moisturiser, if it could talk it would telling everything is going to be ok. I use this moisturiser when I use the Redness foundation (number 1), it’s a partnership made in heaven. Like Waitrose and free coffee. The only problem with this moisturiser is the price tag. £41. If I was Amelia Mignonette Thermopiles Renaldi Princess of Genovia, I don’t think I would bat a eyelid at the price tag. Unfortunately, my grandma did not tell me I was a princess on my 18th birthday. How rude.

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If this was Rock, Paper, Scissors. Rock is Moisture surge, Paper is Supercharged and Scissors is Redness solution. I would play rock every time.

El-

TPS X

Products:

Moisture Surge. £34- 50ml. 5 STARS: https://www.clinique.co.uk/product/1687/5089/skin-care/moisturisers/moisture-surgetm-extended-thirst-relief/all-skin-types

Moisture surge Supercharged Concentrate. £34-48ml. 3 STARS https://www.clinique.co.uk/product/1687/45043/skin-care/moisturisers/moisture-surgetm-hydrating-supercharged-concentrate

Redness Solution Relief Cream. £41-50ml. 4 STARS https://www.clinique.co.uk/product/1575/6007/best-sellers/redness-solutions-daily-relief-cream

 

 

Baking Mad: Yummiest Chocolate Cupcakes

Thought i would develop a little segment on this blog called Baking Mad…because it’s about baking…and my name…funny right?!

So, one thing you’ll quickly learn about Ellie and I is that we love baking (…and eating)!! It has got to the point were we watch bake off and rather cockily say “hmm..i could do that”. This passion developed from our granny who has her own successful wedding cake business, you could say she taught us everything we know! When i was little i used to LOVE watching her make her cakes, whilst i sat there and ate fondant icing and chocolate chips!

Anyway…I thought I would start off easy, so here are some yummy, quick and easy chocolate cupcakes!!

..and hey my recipe doesn’t call for calories so that means they’re guilt free right?!*

Ingredients:

For the cakes:

  • 70g Unsalted butter, softened (or stork)
  • 170g Plain flour
  • 250g Golden caster sugar or ‘normal’ caster sugar (the ‘golden’ version will give a more buttery flavour)
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. Baking powder (if using self-raising flour instead of plain do NOT add as its already added part of the flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt (simply used to enhance flavour, can miss it out)
  • 200ml Semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate

For the icing:

  • 60g Unsalted butter, (at room temperature so easier to cream)
  • 30g Cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. Semi-skimmed milk
  • 250g Icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3, and line the cupcake or muffin tray with paper cupcake cases
  2.  Mix together the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together until they form a crumb-like consistency. This can be done in either a freestanding mixer or by hand, the choice is yours!
  3. In a separate container, beat together the milk and eggs.
  4. Gradually pour the liquid into the crumb mixture and mix thoroughly until combined. Beat until the batter is smooth and thick, with no visible lumps.
  5. Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water, once melted bring off heat and place on heatproof mat to cool down and mix into the cake batter.
  6. Spoon or pour the batter into the cases, filling them two-thirds full.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly touched (place a skewer into the centre of a cupcake in the middle of the tray, if clear when pulled out they’re cooked!!). While the cakes are cooking, make the frosting.
  8. Weigh all ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Place in a covered container or piping bag and place in the fridge.
  9. Take out cakes and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  10. Spoon or pipe generous amounts of the icing onto each cupcake, then gently smooth over with a palette knife.
  11. Pop on a plate or cake stand, take a picture, use #tpsbakingmad, put your feet up, eat and enjoy!!

Happy baking!!!

Maddey x

TPS

*calories included