Food | Baking: Triple Chocolate Brownies

As much as I love trying to bake new things, I still love going back to some old favourites. This particular favourite is something I have made since I was 18, living in a rickety house in the Mumbles in Swansea with my two cousins. The recipe is based on Antony Worrall Thompson’s Triple Chocolate Brownies found on BBC Good Food Website – Triple Chocolate Brownies.

Recipe
275g/10oz plain (dark) chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
275g/10oz unsalted butter
85g/3oz pecans
85g/3oz milk chocolate
85g/3oz white chocolate
175g/6oz plain flour
1tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1tsp vanilla essence
325g/12oz caster sugar

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  • I start by placing a bowl over a pan of water over the heat (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  I break up my dark chocolate into pieces (I used 300g of chocolate – why waste any!?) and add to the bowl to melt along with the butter which I chop up into small cubes.

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  • Once the chocolate and butter melted and I had stirred it through to combine, I removed the bowl from the heat (please be wary doing this, the bowl will be hot!) and added the sugar to the chocolate and stirred to combine.

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  • Next I lightly whisked the eggs in a jug and added the vanilla essence to the eggs.

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  • I then added the eggs to the mixture in installments and made sure to mix well after each addition (the mixture might start to separate whilst you’re doing this but don’t panic – it just involves a little elbow grease and continuous mixing!).  After this I then lined a tin with greaseproof paper which I lightly greased with some butter and as I have a fan oven I preheated the oven to 150C (the original method says 170C).

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  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and then add this to the mixture in installments.  Gently fold the flour into the mixture well after each addition.

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  • Once all the flour has been folded into the mixture, chop up the white chocolate and milk chocolate roughly into different sized chunks (I used 100g of each – waste not want not!) and then add to the mixture and carefully fold them in.  You can add nuts such as pecans like the recipe suggests but I tend to leave them out unless it’s requested.

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  • With the help of a spatula, I pour my mixture into the greased tin and then using the spatula I attempt to even out the mixture in the tin.

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  • I the put the tin in the oven and leave it to bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.  You want to slightly undercook the brownies so that when you take it out, the top is firm but the inside should feel soft.  The residual heat from the tin will help gently cook the rest of the brownie without the use of the oven and give you a nice fudgy/gooey brownie.

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  • Leave the brownies aside while they cool and be sure not to cut into them straight away otherwise it will definitely fall apart.
  • Serve with a good helping of vanilla ice cream or double cream – YUM.

What brownie recipe do you use?  Does it have lots of chocolate in it or do you use healthy ingredients like avocado?  Do you put in nuts?  Let me know!  As you can see, there is no photo of me enjoying a midnight brownie as I made these quite late!

Until next time! x

Food | Baking: Profiteroles

Ok, ok so I sort-of-but-not-really promised a post about making profiteroles almost a week ago now and as you may have noticed – no profiterole post.  Oops.

In all fairness, I have been fairly busy this week and have been playing “mum” (my actual mum has gone to Pakistan).  I have been looking after my little sister who had just started school again, and it has been somewhat horrific waking up at 7am to make sure she has everything she needs for the day.  Also, I have been helping out with the school run with my dad to help take special needs children to school in the mornings and afternoon.  On top of that I have been cleaning the house and cooking so we don’t all starve to death in a dirty house!  I told you I was busy!

Anyway, back to profiteroles. I don’t know about you but I LOVE profiteroles – pastry = good, whipped cream = good, chocolate = GOOD.

I could probably eat a whole batch by myself.  I’m not sure why, but I always thought it might be difficult to make choux buns for some reason (perhaps it’s the fancy French name that put me off) but after I read a couple of different recipes it didn’t sound so hard.

I typed “How to make profiteroles” into the search engine and BAM!  There they were, recipes galore!  I finally settled between two BBC Good Food recipes.  The first was a recipe which included a step-by-step video with Lesley Waters and the second is a recipe from James Martin.  I used the James Martin recipe to make the choux pastry and the Lesley Waters for the chocolate sauce as I thought it sounded nicer.

The Recipe:

Choux Pastry

200ml/7fl oz cold water

4 tsp caster sugar

85g/3oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

115g/4oz plain flour

pinch salt

3 medium free-range eggs, beaten

 Chocolate Sauce

100g/3½oz plain (dark) chocolate, broken into small pieces

3 tbsp golden syrup

½ orange, juice only

  • I started by putting the water, sugar and butter into a large saucepan and heated it gently over a low heat until the butter melted.

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  •  When the butter had melted, I turned up the heat and added the flour and salt straight into the saucepan in one go.

(The next few steps require some good ol’ elbow grease!)

  •  I then removed the pan from the heat and using a wooden spoon I beat the mixture as thoroughly as I could until it became dough-like and came away from the sides.

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  • I transferred the mixture to a large bowl and then left it to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

When cooking or baking, it’s always good to use a little bit of initiative rather than just following a recipe word for word as sometimes I find I need a little more or a little less of certain ingredients in order to achieve the finished result.  For instance, in recipe here, it tells me I need 3 medium eggs (beaten) in order to achieve a “soft dropping consistency” but I found that I needed one more to get it just right.

  • I beat in the eggs a little at a time until the mixture was smooth and glossy and had a soft dropping consistency.

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  • At this point I preheated the oven at 180C and placed a small roasting tin at the very bottom.
  • I lightly greased a baking sheet and then filled a piping bag with the choux pastry mixture and then began piping small balls in (very wonky) lines.

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As you can see, I started off well(ish) but I probably shouldn’t have added the ones at the bottom as it didn’t leave enough space between them – what can I say, I had a bit trigger-happy!

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  • Just before I placed them in the oven, I wet my finger in water and gently rubbed the top of each ball – as according the recipe this meant that the tops would be crisper.
  • I placed the baking sheet into the oven and just before I closed the door, I put in half a mug of water into the roasting tray I placed at the bottom – this helps create the steam needed to make the pastry rise.  I then shut the door and baked them for about 30 minutes (or until they were golden brown).

In all honesty, I didn’t have any faith my pastry would rise as they started looking quite flat because of the heat, so I left them to it for about 15 minutes and when I got back…they had risen, HURRAH!

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So my first batch didn’t turn out as greatly I was expecting, as you can some of the ones at the front were a little bit squashed looking, but I still had another batch to go so I wasn’t too worried.

  •  I pricked a hole in the base of each profiterole with a skewer and returned them to the oven (which I had turned off for this step) upside down in order to help dry out the inside of the profiterole – I only left them in a couple of minutes here.

(I actually wish I skipped this step as I found that my nicely risen profiteroles came back out a little squashed – ho hum.)

IMG_3982At least the second  batch turned out better!  I put aside all the profiteroles to cool down while I made the cream filling.  Instead of following any of the recipes, I just did some guess and taste work.  I actually thought I had two pots of double cream but it turned out I only had the one and didn’t have time to go and get a second one, but nevertheless I cracked on.

  • I poured the double cream into a bowl and using my electric hand-held whisk I beat the cream until it formed soft peaks.  Then using a metal spoon I folded in a little icing sugar (I didn’t really use measurements, I just sifted some in).  I didn’t want the cream to be too sweet because of the chocolate I would be adding later on.
  • Once the profiteroles had cooled down, I spooned the cream into a piping bag (fitted with a small nozzle) and began filling the profiteroles.

In hindsight, I should have filled them from the sides but dopey me filled them from the bottom instead!

  • For the sauce, I placed a pan of water over the heat and placed a bowl over the top (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and I added 100g of milk chocolate broken into pieces (I couldn’t find where the dark chocolate was stashed so again I improvised!).

(It was at this point that I uncovered some dark chocolate chips so I added that to the bowl to melt as well.)

  • I then added three tablespoons of golden syrup to the melted chocolate and began mixing until everything was incorporated.

As you can see from the recipe, it mentions adding the juice from half an orange, but I skipped this step – I wanted my chocolate sauce to taste chocolately and not orangey.

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Instead of pouring the chocolate over a tower of profiteroles, I dipped the top of each one into the sauce so that each profiterole got an even helping.  And here is the finished result – not bad for a first try, eh?

IMG_3993And as it is customary, I got the first try!

IMG_3989Have you ever tried to make profiteroles? If so I would love to know how yours turned out in the comments below and whether you tried anything differently or used different flavours.

Until next time! x

Food | Baking: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Before I begin, I did some research into copyright laws about me posting recipes/methods from cookbooks (I don’t really fancy getting into trouble!) – from what I have read and have understood on a common sense basis, it’s ok for me to write about the recipe/method as long as I don’t copy the cookbook word for word.  Additionally, I will always make a mention of where the original recipe came from (with links if I can find them) as I have done so below.

Red Velvet is one of those classic cake recipes that I’ve always wanted to try making.  The recipe I used was from The Hummingbird Bakery‘s Cake Days cookbook.  What I like about this cookbook is that the quantities are for muffin-sized cakes rather than cupcakes (which are smaller) – so essentially these recipes allowed me to make bigger cakes, which is always a good thing!

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This is actually my second attempt at making Red Velvet; the first time I made a cake and it didn’t go as planned.  After using 40ml of red food colouring (which is more or a less a whole bottle) into my cake batter, after adding the cocoa powder, I found that it totally ruined the brilliant red colour I managed to achieve in my batter and it turned it…well, brown!  So that really disappointed me.

This time, I stuck to making cupcakes.  I made a few changes here and there as I went along due to how the first attempt turned out, but also because I am one of those people who will taste as they cook – if something doesn’t taste, smell or look right to me (regardless of what a recipe/method tells me) then I will use my initiative and change it up a little.

Cookbook Recipe:

Sponge

120g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened

300g (10 1/2oz) caster sugar

2 large eggs

20g (3/4oz) cocoa powder

40ml (1 1/2fl oz) red food colouring

1tsp vanilla essence

300g (10 1/2oz) plain flour

1tsp salt

240ml (8 1/2fl oz) buttermilk

1tbsp white wine vinegar

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

Frosting

100g (3 1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened

600g (1lb 5oz) icing sugar

250g (9oz) full-fat cream cheese

Coloured sprinkles to decorate (optional)

I won’t be mentioning any specific brand of ingredient as it will feel like I’m favouring; I just used whatever I had in the house!  On another note, there must be some kind of nation-wide shortage on red food colouring these days as I must have gone to five different shops and they had diddly-squat!  Eventually I did end up finding some food colour gel which was labelled ‘bright red’ – it was the only choice I had so I went for it!

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Often, most recipes require you to preheat the oven right at the beginning but I waited until a little later to do that as we recently got a new cooker and as the ovens are fan-assisted they work quite quickly.  I like to start off by weighing out all my ingredients so I have them ready and I also lined a muffin tin with muffin cases.

  • With a hand-held electric whisk I creamed the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  I cut the butter into small cubes to help the process along a little quicker.

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  •  I then added one egg at a time and mixed it thoroughly, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Here is where I start to make a few changes to the method:

  • I added 1tsp of vanilla essence to the cake batter and mixed it in well.

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  • I added the red food colour straight into the batter and kept mixing until I achieved the right colour – however I was a little disappointed with the result, I think it turned the cake batter more pink than red.
  • Here is where I added a very small pinch of cocoa powder to the cake batter to help deepen the red colour.
  • I sifted the flour and salt into a separate bowl; I then added half of the flour/salt to the cake batter and folded it in with a spatula (I was too scared to use the electric whisk for fear of covering the kitchen in flour).
  • I poured in half of the buttermilk to the cake batter and mixed it well.
  • I added the other half of the flour/salt mix to the cake batter and made sure to fold it in well.
  • Finally I added the rest of the buttermilk to the mixture and mixed that in (the buttermilk I bought was 250ml, which I used it all rather than leave a measly 10ml behind).

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As I don’t imbibe in alcohol I am always looking for ways to substitute alcohol ingredients for non-alcoholic ones and sometimes it proves a little difficult.  This recipe calls for white wine vinegar (of which I didn’t have) and I spent hours trawling the web for a suitable substitute and in the end I settled for using white vinegar instead.

  • Finally, in another bowl I mixed together the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda but I also added about 1/2tsp of sugar to the mixture to combat the very sour taste a little.  I then added this mixture to the cake batter and made sure to incorporate it all.

Because I have a fan-assisted oven, I actually lowered the temperature to 170 degrees celsius rather than 190 degrees celsius.

  • While the oven preheated, I spooned the cake batter into the muffin cases in the muffin tray using two spoons (or you could use an ice-cream scoop) until they were two-thirds full.  I then popped them into the oven and after 20 minutes they were done.

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After letting them cool in the tin I transferred the cakes onto a wire rack to cool while I made the frosting.

  • Using the electric whisk I beat together the butter with only 200g of the icing sugar as I didn’t want my frosting too sweet (this is an American style recipe after all) until the mixture was sandy.
  • I then added the cream cheese and mixed it slowly until it was incorporated into the mixture well enough before I increased the speed on the whisk and beat the frosting until it became soft and fluffy.
  • Once the cupcakes had completely cooled, I added the frosting to all but one and swirled it with the back of a spoon, until it achieved the desired effect I wanted.

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  • With the last remaining un-frosted cupcake, I popped it into the food processor and blitzed it into crumbs (alternatively you can do this by hand) and then sprinkled them over my frosted cupcakes as decoration.

Processed with RookieSo there we have it, my second attempt at making Red Velvet cupcakes and all in all, I don’t think I did a bad job.  You know what they say, practice makes perfect!

I look far too happy about this midnight cupcake feast…

IMG_3809Are there any recipes that you love using or struggle to get right?  Do you have a better Red Velvet recipe that you use?  Don’t forget to leave a comment below 🙂 x

Fresh New Look

If you haven’t already noticed, my blog has undergone a slight change.

Firstly, I have a new domain name – I did think about using a creative and/or obscure title (I did title my blog as ‘The Toasted Brunette’ for a little while) but in the end I stuck with using my name… well, a shortened version of my name anyway!  Let’s face it, ‘Samaiyyah Siddique’ is a tad too long and I only have but 25 years of experience of just about everyone getting the spelling wrong.

Secondly, I have moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress.  No offence to Blogger, I think it’s a great tool for beginners to use and plenty of well known bloggers still use it but personally I feel that WordPress offers me more.  My blog now has a clean, fresh look to it which will hopefully allow my writing and photos to take centre stage.

Thirdly, you may have spotted the sub-title now reads ‘Lifestyle | Food | Travel’.  For a while now, I have wanted to expand the contents of my blog as I seem to have been concentrating on the ‘Lifestyle’ genre more than I originally intended to.  

I absolutely love to cook, especially if it’s baking.  I will be hoping to do more posts about the things I cook and bake (including any kitchen mishaps) along with the recipes and method I use so you can also give it a go!

In case you are wondering, the cake below was a 4 tiered spiced apple birthday cake I made – it smelled like Christmas ❤

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Another passion of mine will be to start blogging about the places I have travelled to in a little series called ‘Exploring Britain’ which I aim to start soon as I have been to some wonderfully lovely places this year right here on my doorstep.  It will be nice to share that with you all as people often tend to overlook the things nearest to them.

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Now that I’m feeling more confident about how my new blog looks and feels, I am looking forward to churning out a lot more posts!

Eid 2014

For anyone who is friends with, or knows any Muslims then you’ll probably know that they have finished the month of Ramadan in which they take part in fasting.  During this month, food and drink is only to be consumed during sundown hours and fasting takes pace during the day.  This of course seems like utter madness considering it is the middle of summer where the days are longer and we have had a fair few heat waves!  But fear not, Ramadan is over and Eid was celebrated.

For me, Eid is a day of food, family and more food!  Seriously, my family will use any excuse to have a large, lavish feast any time of the year.  Every year, someone will take turns to host Eid at their house and everyone will do their bit of cooking, where some form of roast chicken usually features.
Eid is also a day where everyone will wear new and/or fancy clothes and will make an extra effort to look nice (for photos of course).  I decided to wear an outfit my sister Farah bought for me as an Eid gift last year.  I don’t normally wear this colour pink but I thought it looked really nice with the paisley design.  As luck would have it, the weather was insanely nice with blazing hot sunshine, so it was all well and good that the material of my clothes were quite thin and light!
At one point throughout the day, my aunt braided one half of my head as the fringe I am currently attempting to grow out was becoming bothersome.  I also dug out my Naked 3 palette to take advantage of all the pretty pink colours to match my clothes.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of food, but to compensate, here is a picture of the Amazing Spider-Man bouncy castle that we hired for the day.
LOOK HOW AWESOME IT IS.
And because we’re such big kids, Naz and myself kicked the children off so we could have a go.

 

 

 

 

After many a selfie on a trampoline, the kids decided to raid it — needless to say, the trampoline broke and Naz and Zuli tumbled into the fallen corner (er, do round trampolines have corners?).

 

So there we have it. A successful Eid was had by all – involving scoffing a lot of food, a Spider-Man bouncy castle, far too many in the sun selfies and one broken trampoline.
Eid Mubarak to everyone who celebrated this year!

Super Gorgeous May So Far

I really need to write down some sort of schedule for posting regularly, obviously posting daily is something I am not quite used to yet!
 
I did have a week where I sort of went AWOL from Instagram due to work commitments but I managed to catch up!
 
Speaking of which, here is a catch up of the days I have not yet shown you:
 

Day 4 – On my Wishlist

This Wishlist makes me want to cry because I am trying not to spend any money!  This list consists of the original Naked palette (which I do not own…yet), Benefit’s new cheek and lip tint LolliTint (which is a gorgeous candy orchid colour), Clinique Chubby Stick, Revlon ColourBurst Matte Balm, MAC Quad Eyeshadow and finally Sugarbomb.  I must have these!
 
Day 5 – Something I’m Proud of
 
 
The online news blog I started with Elena Cresci back in 2011 – The Siren was so fun to create and I really believe we made something unique compared to other university publications.  It makes me so happy that new generations of students are continuing this baby and winning some awards such as ‘Best Student Media’ at the Guardian Student Media Awards 2012 and ‘Best Student Media’ at the NUS Wales Awards 2014.  So proud!
 
Day 6 – Purple
 
 
I really don’t own that many purple items it seems… I used Buzz from the Naked 3 palette as it has pink/purple tones to it.
 
Day 7 – Golden Tones
 

 

But my Naked 2 Palette has lots of golden tones, yay!
 
Day 8 – What I’m Reading
 
 
I started this book last year (I know) but in my defence it is a very heavy read because it is SO descriptive but that also means you need to be alert when reading it in order to take in all that information at once.
 
Day 9 – Storage
 

 

As my makeup storage is quite poor and not very pretty, I decided to share my clothes and book storage.  Ikea is just wonderful.
 
Day 10 – Nails of the Day
 
 
Spring is here!  And to celebrate, I thought a nice dash of pretty pastels (which I’ve only just realised that they compliment my bedspread) would be just the ticket using 17’s Lasting Fix polishes.
 
Day 11 – Holy Grail Products
 
 
Most moisturisers are too heavy for me and cause breakouts.  I have been using Garnier’s Pure Active moisturiser for years and it is perfect for me.  Vaseline is a staple of mine, especially the Rosy Lips version.  Lush’s Helping Hands Cream is great for my hands but I also use it as an evening face moisturiser before bed.  Garnier’s Pure Active Spot Roll-On is my magic wand in banishing breakouts.  MAC eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown is what I use to fill my brows in with as it’s the perfect colour and lasts all day, I apply this using the 266 brush. (I have Tanya Burr to thank for that!)
 
Day 12 – Matte Lips
 

 

I don’t actually own anything that gives me a proper matte lip, so I faked it using Max Factor’s Lipfinity Lasting Lip Tint to cheat the look.
 
Day 13 – Celeb Inspired Look
 
 
I don’t have naturally thick eyebrows (*sob*) so what I was going for here was to practise my strong brow look a la Lilly Collins because hers are magnificent.  Again I used MAC eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown although I could invest in a slightly darker shade to achieve the effect better.
 
Day 14 – Drugstore Favourites
 

 

As I can’t afford luxury products by the bucket load, my daily makeup essentials are made up of cheaper alternatives which I think work just as well.  It seems that mousse foundations are a bit like Marmite but I love how Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse looks on my face (as I fear looking glowy or shiny will just make me look greasy). Again Vaseline Rosy Lips is a favourite and you can’t go wrong with it.  My Maybelline Eye Studio Lastinf Drama Gel Liner works just as well as the MAC or Bobbi Brown versions and at a fraction of the price too!  Plus it comes with a cute little liner brush.  I have only just recently started wearing bronzer and it has made such a difference to my face and I look healthy instead of washed out – at the moment I am using Rimmel’s Natural Bronzer.
 
Day 15 – Throwback Thursday
 
 
Me rocking my curls.  I miss those curls.
 
Day 16 – Current Favourite Eyeshadow
 
 
*Sigh* Need I say more!?
 
Day 17 – Trying for the First Time
 

 

After using up all my Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer (as raved about by Zoella) I thought I would try the recommended (as by Tanya Burr) Collection’s Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer.  I have to say it is not bad (if maybe a tad too light for me even in the darkest shade they do) and a little of this product goes a long way as long as I blend blend blend!
 
Day 18 – Recent Purchase

 

 
As I am trying not to spend money, my recent purchases are not that glamorous.  The penguin I purchased from a gift shop at Longleat Safari Park because I cannot resist buying penguin things.  Penguins are cool.  The next is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter which I absolutely love because it smells like chocolate and is amazing as a moisturiser and I feel like I get a lot out of it.
 
Well that’s about it on this very long catch up (sorry about that!).  But do check out #SuperGorgeousMay on Instagram to see what everyone is posting as part of the daily challenges 🙂

Super Gorgeous May – Day 2 and 3

Day 2 – Eyes

As I didn’t actually manage to blog about day 2’s challenge yesterday (let’s just say there was a red velvet baking incident) I have decided to combine it with today’s post.
Yesterday’s photo challenge was ‘Eyes’ so I thought I would show my every day eye look.  I’m not really one for using colour on my eyes because I have really heavy, bad a** dark circles.  Instead I prefer doing nude looks as I think they help brighten my eyes and make them pop better.
I absolutely love love love Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette for creating nude eye looks.  The colours are really pigmented and I find that the shadow can last all day, which of course is really good!
I always start by using the colour Strange as a base by sweeping it all over my lid and up to my brow bone.  By doing this, it helps other colours to show better when applied on top.  I then use Burnout over my lid and really blending in it, the colour is a pale slightly shimmery pink which I think helps compliment my skin tone.  I then blend the colour Trick on the outer corner of my lid to give it a bit of extra oomph!  To finish, I use my Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner (such a mouthful!) and I like to create a thick line with a flick.  I top it off my applying two coats of my new favourite mascara from Maybelline – The Falsies on my lashes.  If you don’t already know, makeup guru Tanya Burr always raves about this mascara in her tutorials and I have to say, since I bought it I haven’t looked back!  I have quite naturally long lashes anyway and this really enhances then a step further.
Day 3 – Orange
As you have already read (and seen) I am not one to wear much colour and this includes clothes as well as eye makeup.  I don’t know why but I am always drawn to black, blue, greys and nudes in my wardrobe.  I did however remember that I had a wicked orange jumper bought for me as a gift from Gap.  It’s actually a really nice jumper and can be worn with lots of things.

 

For the photo challenge for today, I decided to team this with my denim skirt from Pull & Bear as I thought they looked quite cute together.  I did notice from the Super Gorgeous Matly hashtag on Instagram that a lot of people were simply focusing on makeup for the photo challenges, so I wanted to incorporate fashion in there as well.
Of course, I did my face as well!  This time I used my Naked 2 palette starting with the colour Foxy all over my lid and up to my brow bone to create a base.  Then I swept Chooper over my lid because it has a slight golden/metallic orangey colour to it.  I then blended a. It of Snakebite to to my outer corners to give it some depth.  As usual I finished it off with my trust Maybelline gel liner and The Falsies mascara.  In aid of the ornate theme for the day, I also used a bit of Benefit’s Cha-Cha Tint on my cheeks and lips to complete the look.
So far, I am quite enjoying Super Gorgeous May and it’s lovely to see all the different interpretations of the challenges every day and it’s given me some good ideas that I would like to try 🙂

Super Gorgeous May – Day 1

I have decided to start doing a photo a day challenge called #SuperGorgeousMay which I have seen a lot of people participate in last month including my friend Rachel and it looked like a lot of fun so I thought I would join in and have a go!

Instagram user @SuperGoreous has posted the following photo a day challenges on her account.  These are the challenges for this month:

 

I will attempt the different challenges throughout the month of May on my Instagram account (@ubersupersam) but I will also try to blog about my photo a day each day if I can!

So let’s get to it!  Today’s challenge was to capture something that had ‘pretty packaging’.  A lot of people have been taking snaps of something makeup related so I thought I would do the same (after all it’s called ‘Super Gorgeous May’ isn’t it?).
I really love creating nude looks on my eyes as I don’t think colour suits my skin tone very much as I have really dark circles.  Urban Decay’s Naked range is amazing (in my opinion), the shadows are really pigmented and the colours are so pretty.  Even though they are nude colours I really think they help make my eyes pop and I find that it last all day!  I do love the packaging on the Naked 3 palette the best – it kind of reminds me of melting chocolate or silk.  I have always been a fan of Benefit and I love their little kit boxes you can buy as they have small samples of lots of different products that compliment each other and work together.  This is especially great if you don’t want to spend lots of money on just one product that you won’t use very often and instead can have a little bit of everything and they are the perfect size to pop in your bag!  The other thing I love about these little kit boxes is that because the packaging is so pretty, after you have finished with the products you can re-use them as keepsake boxes.  I just love the cute vintage feel you get from the Benefit range, I always want to buy something from the counter whenever I walk past because everything looks so tempting!

 

As today’s challenge was simply to do with packaging I have tried not to go into too much detail about the actual product themselves (but maybe I can do some posts in the future on those).
People mentioned in today’s post:
You can check out Rachel’s Instagram account on @rsgrey to see what she did for Super Gorgeous April and her blog http://nothingrhymeswithrachel.blogspot.co.uk
#SuperGorgeousMay is brought to you by @SuperGorgeous as mentioned earlier.  If you want to give it a go, do check out the hashtag and get snapping!

"That is SO fetch!" – Happy 10th Anniversary Mean Girls!

If you don’t know what “fetch” is then STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING IMMEDIATELY.  Instead, I urge you to go out and purchase or borrow a copy of Mean Girls from a friend, teacher, boyfriend (trust me, someone is bound to have it), change into some pyjamas, get some popcorn and brace yourself for whole load of fetch coming your way.
I feel quite old knowing that the hit film is in its 10th year and as fate would have it, the anniversary so happens to fall on a Wednesday.  Anyone who has seen the film hundreds of times knows that it is one of the most quotable films…EVER.
This is definitely one of my favourite films that I can watch over and over and still find it funny.  I think the casting was perfect (yes, even Lindsay Lohan) and it is one of those films that I think will always be relatable no matter how much the world may change.  One thing I have yet to do is to read the book on which the film is largely based on.  Called “Queen Bees and Wannabes”, it looks at the way high school cliques are formed as well as aggressive teenage behaviours and how to deal with such issues.
As a little tribute, here is me celebrating Mean Girls’ 10th Anniversary…
“On Wednesdays, we wear pink!”
What are your favourite quotes from the film… are they SO fetch?

RAWR! (Bank Holiday weekend at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park)

Yesterday was my niece Nina’s Birthday so we decided to go to Longleat Safari and Adventure Park.  Though I think I have been there once in my childhood, I certainly don’t have any memories of going there.
 
Saturday really was a lovely and sunny day to start with but as we got further to Longleat (situated 45 minutes outside of Bath) the weather grew a little colder and cloudier which was a bit of a shame.  Due to the Easter holidays this meant that every man, woman and child had also up and left their nests early in the morning to go and explore the Great British outdoors.  Unfortunately for us that meant the queues when we had arrived at the Safari Park were overflowing like no tomorrow!
 
We had four cars full of people and as usual we had to park up on some grassy knoll near the African Village and wait for them.  Apart from the fact that we were eating out cars, it was actually not a bad picnic spot and there was plenty of scrummy food to go around (and lots of snacks too!).  Once the final car had turned up and we had a chance to chow down, we went on our way into the Safari.
 
There was an immense amount of traffic through the park that stretched for miles on end.  This also meant that the line was slow moving and I don’t think I touched third gear the whole time I was in there.  As you can imagine, the hold up wasn’t helped by the fact that cars would want to stop and take pictures of all the animals they could find, my car included!
 
 
One of the best areas of any Safari drive would have to be the Monkey Drive Thru!  Though, you are warned prior to entering the area that not only do the monkeys climb on the cars but that they will cause some sort of damage.  Of course, this didn’t put anybody off.  My little sister and cousin were quite disappointed that no monkeys wanted to climb on my car (maybe they have a thing against Nissan Micras?) but I did get some great shots otherwise.  Can you spot the monkey in the first picture?
 
 



 

 

I always find it quite cool to see exotic animals just roaming about minding their own business, and though safety is imperative you can see that the animals are so used to seeing humans and cars that it has become the norm for them to be ogled at.
 
 

 

The longest of the queuing was spent in the Big Cats section.  Everyone wants to see a big, beautiful and powerful animal in the flesh.  Of course you are warned that you are strictly not allowed to open your windows or get out of your cars (though some people did sneakily open their windows) because tigers, lions and cheetahs are dangerous and unpredictable.
 
 

 

 
The thing I was the most excited to see was the penguins!  They are by far my most favourite animal.  They are awesome!  When I found out you were allowed to feed them we went and inquired but they had run out of fish to sell us!  How could they run out!?  I was almost tempted to kidnap a penguin… But don’t worry, I didn’t!  Pretty sure that’s a felony (please don’t go kidnapping penguins!).
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Little yellow trains can be rickety too!
 



 

 
Shameless “outside the dodgy toilet” selfie.
 

 

Beware, big cats can be dangerous – RAWR!
 

 

And finally, Madame Butterfly (who looks a tad moody because she was tired out) on her Birthday.
 

 

Did you guys do anything fun this Bank Holiday weekend? 🙂