Thursday 18 July 2024

Double Strawberry Sheet Cake Recipe

Double Strawberry Sheet Cake Recipe
After spotting these beautiful strawberry and chamomile cookies from 'Eat Your Flowers', I knew that I had to turn my hand to making them in cake form. I wanted something light and fluffy, but with double the amount of strawberries - perfect for strawberry season in the summer! I adapted my recipe from my Lemon and Blueberry Sheet Cake and this version is now something I think I'll come back to making time and time again. 

There's extra helpings of strawberries in the sponge, as well as decoration on top, but the possibilities are endless with this recipe. You can add a sprinkling of crushed meringue for a take on the 'Eton Mess' or even swap out the double cream topping for a strawberry icing for triple the strawberries! 

Ingredients (Serves 10)

200g butter or margarine 

200g caster sugar 

4 eggs

250g self raising flour

200g chopped strawberries

2tsp vanilla extract

150ml double cream

Sprigs of mint 


Method

Preheat the oven to 180º oven and line a 7x10 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs in the mixture. 

Add in the vanilla extract. 

Sift the self raising flour and mix slowly until combined. 

Add the chopped strawberries and stir gently. 

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and cook for 45 minutes or until when you inset a knife into the cake it comes out clean. 

Leave the cake to cool completely. 

In a clean dish, whisk the double cream until thick. This should only take 60 seconds or so with an electric whisk. Be careful not to over-mix as you'll start to make butter if you're not careful! 

Dollop the whipped double cream on top and with the remaining strawberries, decorate the top of the cake. 

You'll want to slice the strawberries length way and place them facing up. Use a sprig of mint as the leaves of your flowers.

Enjoy! 

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Wednesday 17 July 2024

5 Cosy Home Decor Ideas

Cosy Autumn Bubble Bath
 
Cosy Cottage Bedroom

Want to know how to achieve a cosy and inviting home? Well look no further! As a self proclaimed queen of cosy, I have just the tips for you. From seasonal decorating to all year round comforts, here are five cosy home decor ideas that you can adopt today. 

Soft Furnishings and Softer Light


Are you a big light person or a small light one? Personally, I'm the latter. I love nothing more than switching on my lamps as soon as it gets dark, often lighting a candle for extra ambience. I like a warm lightbulb and pair it with a soft lampshade for the perfect cosy pairing so that the light is not too harsh - you get extra points for a dimmable light! 

It may sound quite obvious, but I like to emphasise my soft furnishings and opt for duvet covers that you want to dive into and always have a blanket to hand no matter the season. 

Don't Neglect The Bathroom


I get it, the bathroom should be a sterile and clean environment, but that doesn't mean it can't also be inviting especially for your bath or shower routines. I have recently made the habit of buying myself a bunch of eucalyptus to hang in the shower as not only does it add greenery to the room, but it gives off an invigorating scent once it gets steamy in there. 

Having candles and bubble bath to hand is always a cosy must have and I also like to have easy access to a way I can watch my favourite TV show or listen to some relaxing music - whether than be with on an iPad or waterproof speaker. 

Sometimes More is More


Think adding different textures and filling up bare spots, covering your walls in art work you love and not worrying that there are clashing rugs in the same room. As someone who struggled for years with trying to love 'minimalist' decor, I have simply learnt sometimes, more is simply more and that having decor that I love to look at is enough to make me feel at home and relaxed. 

Cosy Cottage Living Room

Add A Bookshelf 


Books to me are the epitome of cosiness. With cracked spines and a mismatch of colourful covers, bookshelves bring me joy like no other. I love looking through my endless to-read piles to find my next read, whilst also admiring the books I read many moons ago. For me, having a bookshelf or a way to display my books, instantly gives a room a cosy feel. I love incorporating them in the kitchen, with stacks of them on my open shelves as well as in my bedroom sporadically placed around.

Dopamine Decor 


Dopamine decor is the idea of bringing happiness into your home through pieces of decor that you enjoy without the worry of it clashing in colour or pattern. I personally like to adopt the 'dopamine decor' trend when decorating for the seasons. Autumn to Halloween and through to Christmas are probably my favourite times to decorate for my home and whilst my normal cosy cottage decor doesn't usually go with a ginormous skeleton cushion or pumpkin door draft, I have to ask myself if it makes me happy - then why not?   

How do you make your home cosy? 
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Thursday 4 July 2024

5 Beautiful Rose Gardens To See In June

Haddon Hall Derbyshire Rose Garden

Haddon Hall Derbyshire Rose Garden

Haddon Hall Derbyshire Rose Garden

June is my favourite month of Summer as rose season is in full bloom and I get an excuse to visit all the beautiful gardens. Roses come in a variety of colours, have a delicate scent that lingers in the air and when paired with a stately home, they're something I look forward to seeing all year. If you want some recommendations on where to see the best display of roses, then make sure you check out the locations below. 

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

If I had to be pushed for an answer of where my favourite rose garden is, I'd have to say it's Haddon Hall. The Tudor hall surrounded by Elizabethan gardens makes every corner of Haddon Hall, not only full of history, but utterly beautiful too. The walls are donned with an array of roses in a variety of colours, making it hard to pick a favourite spot of the gardens. 

My one recommendation would be to always have a look out the windows, especially on warm summer days when they're open as you'll often see views you wouldn't be able to see otherwise. 


Bowood House and Garden Wiltshire

Bowood House and Garden Wiltshire

Bowood House and Gardens, Wiltshire

Bowood House and Gardens has been on my list of places to visit for a few years now and it did not disappoint. The Georgian house itself is beautiful with big opens windows and a manicured Italian inspired terraced garden out the front, but it was the roses I came to see. They were well looked after and the gardens had roses in every colour - yellow, red, pink and white!

Whilst I loved Bowood's array of flowers, I was also surprised with how vast their parkland was. You can not only visit the roses, but also go for a walk around their lake on a beautiful summers day. If you time your visit right, you can also get over to Bowood's woodland gardens which has rhododendrons in every colour you can imagine - perfect for a relaxing day out. 

One of the stand out roses of Bowood gardens was a delicate pink rose from David Austin called  'Gentle Hermione', the scent could be smelt all the way around the gardens and I knew I had to ask the gardener what rose it was. 

Kiftsgate Court Gardens Cotswolds

Kiftsgate Court Gardens Cotswolds

Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Gloucestershire 

On the edge of the Cotswolds lies Kiftsgate Court Gardens, a garden created by three generations of women gardeners. I was absolutely floored by how beautiful this spot was as the pink roses were out in full bloom as soon as you entered the main part of the gardens. 

There's lots to explore including modern art installations and their wild garden, but their rose border and terrace were the star of the show. Donned with an array of pink and red roses, you felt like you were stepping into a secret garden. 

They even have a rose called the "Kiftsgate" rose which I didn't manage to see this time as it blooms around early to mid July, but Kiftsgate has claims that it has the largest 'Kiftsgate rose' in England! 

Hever Castle Kent Rose Garden

Hever Castle Kent Rose Garden

Hever Castle, Kent 

Hever Castle in Kent is known for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn with the Boleyn apartment as well as the castle itself with the mote around it to see. I've previously seen Hever Castle when the daffodils and cherry blossom were out and I also now have plans to see the tulips next spring, but it was the roses that I think would be hard to beat. 

I visited as part of their 'Hever in Bloom' event running from late June to early July. They have over 5,000 roses on display in their beautiful walled gardens and depending on when you visit, different roses will be in bloom. Even though I explored as much of the gardens as possible, I'm still not convinced I explored it all which means a return visit is definitely on the cards! There's rambling roses, climbers and scrubs, so you get flowers at every height making Hever Castle a feast for the eyes in the summer. 

Penshurst Place Rose Gardens Kent

Penshurst Place Rose Gardens Kent

Penshurst Place Rose Gardens Kent

Penshurst Place, Kent

Last on the list is a gardens that I personally think are underrated and I haven't heard much about. Penshurst Place in Kent is only 15 minutes down the road from Hever Castle which means you could get to visit the two gardens in a day. 

The manor house itself built in the 14th century is a sight to behold, so it's a strong statement to make to say I think their roses may just come out on top when it comes to choosing my favourite corner of Penshurst Place. Hidden away in their spacious gardens, lies a series of pergolas lined with climbing roses in both white and pink varieties. With benches underneath, you can seriously see yourself getting lost in a book here one afternoon. I wouldn't suggest loosing yourself too much as there's still lots more roses to explore in the gardens! 

They've also got a beautiful peony border which comes in bloom a little bit before the roses, so worth a visit if you're in the area in mid to late May. 

Where are your favourite places to see roses in June? 

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Thursday 27 June 2024

Early Halloween Home Decor Finds

Early Halloween Autumn Home Decor

- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer - 

Each year it feels like Halloween creeps up on us earlier than ever, but with July approaching, soon the shops will be filling up with best Halloween decor. In my personal experience, you've got the snap up the best spooky decorations early as they go quick! I wanted to showcase some of my favourite early Autumn and Halloween decor that you can shop today. 

Matalan, Dunelm and TK Maxx are three websites I like to check regularly from now until October as they often release beautiful homeware that matches my usual Autumn style. I'm getting in the 'Summerween' spirit, by eyeing up this Ghost Cushion which would match this White Ghost Duvet Cover perfectly. 

If you're more into clothing than homeware then I would recommend checking out Modcloth's latest Halloween releases. They've got lots of jumpers out already! 

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Wednesday 15 May 2024

Lemon and Blueberry Sheet Cake Recipe

Lemon and Blueberry Sheet Cake Recipe
 
Lemon and Blueberry Sheet Cake Recipe

Lemon and Blueberry Sheet Cake Recipe
I've seen cakes decorated like this for years now, a delicious sponge topped with sprigs of mint and blueberries, The College Housewife being the main inspiration behind this bake. It's not often I experiment with blueberries in baking, but I was craving a flavoursome sheet cake with a generous layer of buttercream, so I decided to head to the kitchen to see what I could whip up.

My specifications for a sheet cake is that it has to be light and fluffy, but also have quite a sizeable height to the sponge which most sheet cakes don't offer. This is why I use a 7x10 inch baking dish over the traditional larger size pan as it means it has a good rise. This cake is moreish and perfect to take to gatherings and parties. 

Ingredients (Serves 10)

For the cake;

200g butter or margarine
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
100g blueberries 
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon 
1tsp Vanilla Extract 

For the buttercream;
180g butter
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Blueberries and mint for the topping

Method

Preheat the oven to 180º and Line a 7x10 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs into the mixture. 

Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, along with your vanilla extract. 

Sift in the flour and fold in gently. 

Cover the blueberries with a 1tbsp of flour which will make the fruit less soggy and less likely to sink in the cake. Add the blueberries to the mixture and stir gently. 

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until it's golden on top.

Leave the sponge to cool completely on a cooling rack. 

Mix together your butter, icing sugar and lemon juice until it's thick, but easy enough to spread. 

Spread over the completely cooled sponge and top with blueberries and mint for decoration. 

Enjoy! 
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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Maison Margiela From The Garden

Maison Margiela From The Garden Perfume Review

-This product was sent to me, but with no obligation to review- 

Amongst the likes of Diptyque and Jo Malone, Maison Margiela Fragrances are probably some of my most owned perfumes. Their 'replica' range feels extra special as each bottle is labelled with a place name and year alongside the main notes. Each fragrance I've owned by them has been so different from each other and their newest perfume 'From The Garden' is no exception. 

Perfect for the spring and summer season, Maison Margiela's 'From The Garden'* has notes of tomato leaf, germanium and patchouli. For me, this is reminiscent of a summer spent foraging, as myself and others have remarked that we thought it had notes of freshly picked elderflower. It's the first outdoorsy scent of mine that hasn't got any sweet floral notes to it, so it's unique to me.

I found that like many of the Maison Margiela scents, this one smells different on various people and as the day goes on, the fragrance settles more into the skin and begins to change. For me, it starts off sharp and tangy, but over hours of wear, it transforms into a deeper, more sultry scent - like going from day to evening attire.

One of the most important part of fragrance buying has to be longevity. A perfume could have the most beautiful scent ever, but if it doesn't last longer than a couple of hours then it won't be one I'll invest in. Luckily, this does not disappoint and as I previously mentioned, the patchouli notes get stronger the longer you wear this, so it's one that lingers all day long. 

As a self proclaimed floral scent lover, Maison Margiela's own 'Flower Market' scent being one of my all time favourites, I absolutely love that I've got a new fragrance in my collection that I can wear when I want something different. When I've worn this perfume, I've already had several people compliment it, so not only is a hit with me, it seems to be a hit with those around me too. 

If you have a gardener or nature lover in your life, then be sure to add this to the present list and if that describes you, then this scent is definitely one to treat yourself to next time your looking for a fragrance shake up.  

Will you be trying the Maison Margiela From The Garden perfume? 
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Tuesday 23 April 2024

The Best Tips To Buy On Vinted

Best Tips Buying Selling on Vinted

I've switched scrolling aimlessly on social media to scouring the many sections of Vinted looking for my next best purchase. I've found some serious bargains on this secondhand app and I wanted to share with your my best tips, so hopefully it'll help you snag the best deals too. 

THE 'EXPLORE' PAGE 

One of my favourite ways to discover new pieces and find the best deals is through the explore page. At first, this was a place on Vinted I struggled with as I was often recommended items that weren't my style, but my number 1 tip would be to save any item you like the look of as this works in your favour when Vinted is putting together your explore page. After several weeks, you'll notice that with every refresh of the explore page, more pieces come up that you love the look of. 

SAVE YOUR FAVOURITE BRANDS

Use the ability to save your favourite brands. This means you will be notified with a "+1" addition every time someone uploads a new item of clothing from that brand. Sometimes having these notifications on will enable you to get in there quick which is particularly great if someone is a selling a piece under the usual selling price. 

BE LESS SPECIFIC 

It may seem like this is counterproductive, but I've often found the best bargains through not being specific within my search. Whilst a lot of brands name their dresses (for example the "tallulah" dress), this is not the way everyone uploads the dresses they're selling. Often it'll get be labelled as "pink dress" or even just "midi dress", so may not come up under the specific search. 

Another way to work around this, is using different words than you may think. I've found that many items that I would consider "gingham" someone else would name it "checked", so this can bring up different results. 

CHECK FOR RATINGS

This tip may be self explanatory, but just like all selling apps, there's sure to be one or two scammers to keep an eye out for. If the account is only listing one item, has 0 ratings and is selling a clothing piece at a discounted price then chances are they're not legit. However, if an account has cohesive photos when they're listing new items to sell, yet they have no ratings, chances are they may be new Vinted and it's worth messaging them to check if a person responds before purchasing. 

What are your top tips for buying on Vinted?

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Monday 22 April 2024

Spring 'Cottagecore' Dresses

Spring cottage core dresses

- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but sent under no obligation to review. - 

The weather is getting warmer and the evenings are getting lighter, so I think it's safe to say dress season is here. 'Cottage core' style dresses are my favourite to wear throughout the spring and summer as they are often have floral prints, comfortable silhouettes and are midi in length. Today, I have compiled together a list of my favourite dress finds, so hopefully you can find some new dresses to lust after too. 

If you're looking to invest in a spring dress from a small business, then I have a couple of recommendations. India and Mills is a new discovery of mine, their flattering looking style and pretty fabrics are what made me want to look further into the brand. The Peony Stripe Maddie Dress looks perfect for the summer months as it starts to get warmer. If you'd like to turn yours or someone else's pre-loved fabric into a dress then Made By SJP does exactly that. I love the concept and I also appreciate that you know that a lot of love has gone into making each clothing piece. 

Selkie is known for their beautiful fantasy style gowns that look like you should be running away from a castle, but their day dresses are seriously underrated. They're comfortable and stylish with a variety of colours and patterns to choose from. The Yorkshire Day Dress* is a lovely pink floral print whereas the Garland Day Dress* feels like the perfect 'cottage core' dress with the delicate design. 

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Thursday 29 February 2024

Spring Cottagecore Home Decor

Spring Cottage Core Home Bedroom Decor
- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. -

The countdown to Spring is officially on! I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to lighter evenings, warmer days and seeing lots of flowers bloom. I've started to switch out my home decor and if like me, you're someone who loves the resurgence of the "cottagecore" trend each year, I've got just the post you need if you're looking for some new pieces to add your space. 

I recently picked up this Dunelm Green Gingham Duvet Set which is perfect for my Spring bedroom set up. It's a great way to brighten up the bedroom especially when paired with pink and yellow cushions. It looks more expensive than it was (£36 for a double!) and they have a yellow version which I'm very tempted to treat myself too. 

Talking of the colour green, I've been rather obsessed with adding green tones throughout my home after purchasing a velvet green sofa for the living room. First I bought this Frilled Gingham Cushion to match, but then I decided that the gallery wall in my living room needed an overhaul too. I picked out this William Morris Inspired Print which pulls all the green hues together perfectly. 

I love the idea of "dopamine decor" and buying pieces for the home that brings you joy on a daily basis. I spotted this Rattan Shelfing Unit and although I believe it's meant for a child's bedroom, I just love the flower detail and think it would make a great addition to one of my walls - stacked with books and prints of course!

Here are some of my top cottage core picks for the next season: 

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Tuesday 27 February 2024

A Haircare Routine + Dyson Airwrap Review

Dyson Airwrap Long Review
- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. - 

It feels like I've been on my haircare journey for many years now, but it's mainly the last 18 months that I've really stepped up and overhauled my routine. Not only have I aimed to grow my hair longer, but I also vowed to make it healthier in the process. I've found a haircare routine that works for me and I now take better care of my hair when styling, trying to minimise heat and prolong hair styles. If you'd like to know the process I've been going through, then please read on. 

DYSON AIRWRAP

The Dyson Airwrap was on my wishlist for some time and back in October 2022, I decided after much thought and research that I was going to treat myself for my birthday. I tried it out in several places before committing and immediately loved the way it styled my hair. Previously I was air drying my hair, but after some scalp issues and finding that it was causing more hair breakage than anything else, I decided I wanted to try out using a hair dryer to solve these issues. Then the hair curler that I had been using broke, which was convenient timing, so this is how I justified making an investment in my Dyson Airwrap - but was it worth it? 

Whilst I've tried out every attachment that comes with the Dyson Airwrap, I've definitely got my favourites. The 30mm and 40mm long barrel attachments are ones I use every time, the latter being my most used when I want a big bouncy blow out look. The round volumising brush was the one attachment I didn't think I'd get any use out of as I had the long barrels, but after some experimenting I really enjoyed using this when I wanted a more relaxed curl look and for when I'm in more of a rush. 

After being someone who used extreme heat on my hair for years, it's been strange being able to touch the barrel when curling my hair. Whilst it's definitely on the hotter side, the temperature can be changed on three settings depending on your preference. For me, this is what I think has caused such a change in the health of my hair over the last 18 months. With regular trims, my hair has only grown a couple of inches, but my hair now is a similar thickness throughout rather than it thinning at the ends. 

Longevity of the curl was definitely something I was concerned about as I had heard that they can fall out, but this is an issue I have never hard. I sometimes use rollers to add even more volume at the root and if I want the curls to stay looking perfect for the following day. This means that I am no longer using heat on my hair on daily basis which has resulted in my hair feeling and looking much healthier, but without having to give up my usual and preferred hair style. 

Dyson Airwrap Review

Redken Extreme Length Review

HAIR CARE PRODUCTS

I've gone through many bottles of different Redken shampoo and conditioners over the last 18 months and have established my favourites. The Redken Acidic Bonding Duo was a great starter when I wanted to get my damaged, lacklustre hair looking and feeling healthy again. I will definitely circle back around to using this duo again soon as I think it'd be interesting to see how this pairing will help my hair again now that's it's much healthier than when I started. 

I recently started using the Redken Extreme Length Shampoo and Conditioner Duo and immediately was impressed by how clean, soft and smooth it made my hair feel. As someone who shreds a lot of hair every time I wash it, I have noticed the biggest change since using this pairing. I use it alongside a leave in conditioner in the same haircare line and I honestly think this is what has kick started my hair growth again. 

As a lover of multi-use products that promise to protect your hair from heat as well as smooth, add shine and detangle, these type of products usually came with a higher price tag, which I realised was stopping me from using more of the product and thus meaning my hair wasn't always protected from heat damage as well as I would of liked. I set out on a mission to find the best, but reasonably priced heat protectant and I have done just that. The Schwarzkopf Keratin Heat Protect Spray is by far the best I've tried and as it's under £5, I never feel bad dousing my hair in it before using heat. It never leaves my hair feeling crispy and once I style my hair, I've never once experienced any excess grease residue or heaviness from using it - 10/10 would recommend. 

HAIR OILS

During my haircare journey, I researched a lot about hair oils and the best one's to use and after thoroughly trying them out, I can tell you my thoughts. Rosemary oil was top of the recommended oils and I knew I had to try it out myself. I wasn't expecting much and although I haven't grown inches of hair yet, I noticed after a few months use that the hair around my face was a lot thicker and I was getting growth in areas where it was usually rather thin. 

Of course when using rosemary oil, you also need to use a carrier oil. Caster oil was recommend to me, but I found it did more harm than good to my delicate hair as it felt too thick (even when mixed with other oils) and was hard to get out of my hair. I then tried out jojoba oil and got much better results. I love that I could use it when oiling my hair, but also as a way to smooth my ends day-to-day. I've now settled with using argan oil again, which is an old favourite and I love how it makes my hair feel soft. 

After reading up about Scalp Massagers being beneficial for hair growth, I decided to take the plunge and order one. Whilst, I don't believe one product is a miracle worker, when this is used in conjunction with my shampoo routine I feel like my scalp feels cleaner and when use it with my hair oiling routine, I found that it helps to get the oil massaged deeper into my scalp. 

Have you tried the Dyson Airwrap? What haircare products would you recommend for hair growth?

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