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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Pumpkin Brownies




It's no secret that autumn is my favourite time of year, not just because of the colours and halloween but because it's an amazing time for food. I love all the comforting flavours that this part of the year brings, especially pumpkin. It's also no secret that I'm a sucker for sweet treats, and adore baking, although I must admit it's a hobby I've neglected for some time. In order to rectify this I thought I would combine my two favourite things.

You can never go wrong with a brownie, so I thought that I'd try my hand at baking some pumpkin, caramel brownies. They turned out pretty tasty, if I do say so myself and I love the way the marbling effect turned out. As they actually turned out to be quite easy to make, I thought I'd share the recipe in case you wanted to try and make this delicious treat for yourself.


Ingredients //

Chocolate Chips
Butter
Plain Flour
Baking Powder
Pumpkin Puree
Caster Sugar
Golden Caster Sugar 
Cinnamon
Eggs


Method // 

1.Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan oven.)
2.Line a square baking tin with baking parchment ( I didn't have any so used tin foil and it worked equally as well.) 
3. Melt 200g Chocolate chips with 185g Butter and then set aside to cool
4. Mix 3 eggs, 200g Caster Sugar & the cinnamon with the melted chocolate mixture.
5. Add 100g Plain Flour, 1 and half tablespoons Baking Powder & the Cinnamon into the mixture. 
6. Set aside 1/5 of the brownie batter and pour the rest into the baking tray and spread evenly.
7. Mix the pumpkin puree into a separate bowl with 2 eggs and a dash of milk (I used almond milk.)
8. Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the brownie batter in the tray and spread evenly.
9. Make the caramel by melting 110g of golden caster sugar. 
10. Pour the Caramel evenly on top of the Pumpkin layer.
11. Using a knife, blend the layers together slightly creating a pattern, this will give the marble effect.
12. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until cooked through. 
13. Leave to cool before cutting. 
14. Enjoy these delicious gooey brownies. 






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Sunday, 21 January 2018

DIY Grey Hair // feat. Colour Freedom, Crazy Color & Schwarzkopf Live.

Here we have it guys, a brand new year featuring a brand new hairstyle, is anyone really surprised? I knew I wanted 2018 to start with bold new hair. The cut was something I'd been wanting to do for a long time but hadn't quite felt brave enough to commit to. I have a whole post coming soon talking about the reasoning for the hair cut so keep an eye out for that, today, however it's about the colour. Grey is one of the colours that has been massively on trend recently, which is one of the things that both captivated me and deterred me. It's been awesome to see so many people's interpretations and different variations of grey and silver hair, but at the same time I didn't necessarily just want to follow the crowd. And due to unplanned events I feel like I have ended up with quite a unique colour which I'm unbelievably happy with.


I started the hair dyeing process by using Crazy Color's Slate & Graphite and mixing it with Schwarzkopf Live's Steel Silver. I wanted to mix dyes together to make the overall colour a bit more of a unique and darker toned grey rather than a silver grey. I've used Schwarzkopf's colour range before and have always been so happy with how the colour turns out, the colours are always so vibrant and the dyes don't leave your hair feeling too dry. It was my first time using Crazy Color but after hearing so many positive things I opted to give them a try as they were pretty cost friendly and had a huge range of colours. I picked 'Slate' and 'Graphite' because they were not only quite dark toned greys but they also had a slight tone of purple in them which I thought would give the colour good depth.

Once I mixed the dyes together to create a colour I was happy with I put the dye on my hair and left it on for half an hour to allow the colour to fully saturate my hair. Upon washing and drying my hair I discovered that all hadn't gone 100% to plan; the overall colour of my hair had gone quite a nice silvery grey apart from the front of my hair which I'm guessing is the most damaged which had in fact gone a pretty bright blue. It didn't look terrible but it wasn't the most ideal situation.

In order to rectify the situation I picked up a packet of the Colour Freedom Metallics range in Silver Grey. Colour Freedom is one of my favourite artificial colour brands as the dye's go such a long way and the colours always turn out so beautiful. This one definitely saved the day.

I'm now left with this really cool kind of blue toned dark grey which I'm so happy with, it's such a different colour to anything I've had before and I'm also really excited to see how it will change as the colour fades. My biggest tip when dyeing your hair grey is to try to ensure you start the process with as much of a blank canvas as possible, really light blonde - almost white hair to ensure the brassiness or other colour doesn't counteract the grey tones - as you can see the top of my hair still has a bit of warmth left in it which is showing through. I would also ensure you leave it on for exactly the amount of time that it suggests as I left my first batch on a tad longer than recommended and I have a feeling that's why it turned out so blue. 

I would thoroughly recommend trying all three of these brands out if you haven't already and are looking to try a new colour. I've used the Schwarzkopf live and Colour Freedom dyes before so I'd be interested to see how different colours of the Crazy Colour dyes would turn out.

What's your favourite hair dye brand?
Would you be brave enough to try grey hair?
What colour should I go next?
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Saturday, 2 December 2017

Stranger Things Series 2


Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of months you will know that Stranger Things is back. I honestly don't think I'd been that excited for anything in my life before. I binge watched it in one night and have rewatched it countlessly since, I am a big ol fangirl. 

Having rewatched both series I'm finding it really hard to pick a favourite, but I think maybe season 2 slightly wins just because I feel like theres a bit more depth in this series as we see more character development and background stories. I also love that this season is set in the 80's so we are treated to all the 80's style, pop culture and movie references. 

Since Stranger Things is probably one of my all time favourite tv shows, I thought I would share with you my favourite bits... I hope it doesn't suck. (If you know, you know.)

This post will contain spoilers so if you haven't watched it yet then first of all, what the hell have you been doing? Second of all, make sure you binge before you read because you don't want this show ruined by spoilers. 


Will Buyers.

We barely saw any of this kid in season one and he came across as a bit of a drippy character, but through that you could definitely see so much acting potential. I really wanted them to utilise Will more in season 2 and have him as a more involved character. So, it's safe to say I was very pleased to see how much he features in Season 2. It was so great to see him interact with the other cast members but also keeping that sense of internal loneliness. I love the way they gave him a connection to the Mindflayer, giving him so much more depth and layers. That scene where he has having a fit in the field gave me actual goosebumps. For me Noah Schnapp gave the standout performance of the series, such a talented young actor, this kid really deserves all the awards for that performance. 

Halloween.

The series is set during and around Halloween which just makes it all the more better, the American halloween vibes are so dreamy. I love that the kids went as Ghostbusters and arrived at school being the only ones dressed up. That's definitely the kind of thing I'd have done as a child. It being set around Halloween made the whole thing so much more spooky and gave it an extra sci-fi element. The fact that the series was released in October and Halloween elements in it made it all the more enjoyable and was the perfect autumn night viewing.


Mad Max.

Season 2 introduced some new characters, which I must admit I was apprehensive about because I loved the chemistry between the cast in the first series and loved the set up, but of course it is essential for progression to introduce new characters into the mix. One of the characters we are introduced to is Mad Max, who the boys first encounter when they discover someone has been beating their video game scores at the arcade. She is a fiesty, sassy and slightly cynical pre teen who ends up knocking her step brother out with a syringe and despite the others initial rejection, becomes a valued member of the group. I'm really excited to see how she integrates with the other characters more in season 3, and I'm really hoping her and Eleven will actually get to become friends.

Hopper & Eleven.

I loved their relationship this season, and I love how it came to be. From him finding her to them developing a father and daughter type bond. Being from completely different settings there are no doubts plenty of arguments, and with a confused, angry telepathic pre teen in the house you can definitely expect a lot more than door slamming. I love the way they come back to one another, you can see that they both care and want to protect one another. That final scene when Hopper is given Eleven's birth certificate with his surname on it melted my heart and I love how he made sure she had time outside to go to the snow ball. These two are so cute and I can't wait for more of their relationship next season.


Dustin.

He's always been my favourite of the gang, and this series really reiterates this for me. He has all new attitude, sass and teeth. Prrr. I really feel for Dustin in this series because you can tell he just wants to be accepted and appreciated, and that's why he makes the somewhat careless decision to befriend 'Dart' a 'Demodog.' I loved his and Steve's relationship this series, with the latter even giving him a sick new hairdo for the dance. The scene when no one wanted to dance with him made me sob, and I'm so glad Nancy saved the day for him. Dustin is such a little cutie and Gaten Matarazzo is such a talented young actor. 

Bob.

I'm not entirely sure I can talk about Bob with out blubbing. 

Another new character we were introduced to in season 2 was Bob, Joyce's new boyfriend. Bob is shown to be the slightly clueless but heart of gold, genuine nice guy who I believe was perfect for Joyce. He was so caring to her and to Will & Jonathon. I loved that he was a bit of a nerd, and his entire scene dressed as Dracula was absolute telly gold. I had an inkling in the beginning that there was going to be a twist with his character, initially I was worried he was going to turn out to be a baddie but the truth was much worse. His death scene was so heartbreaking to watch, I had genuine tears. Portrayed by Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee in Lotr.) And much like Sam, Bob was an under appreciated hero. I'm so annoyed that their wasn't any mention of him again at the end of the series.  Not ok. RIP Bob Newby. Superhero. 

Elevens Back Story.

This time around we learn about Eleven's real back story before she was Eleven at all. She finds her birth mother who is barely with it and using her telepathic powers discovers her true identity and that she has a sister with the same powers also. This entire story line was so essential for the character development of Eleven, and also broke up the sci fi action to give raw emotional elements. 

Joyce // Winona Ryder.

Joyce is back being her usual wacky self, just a few steps away from a nervous breakdown, and do we blame her really? I feel like it's not really Stranger Things unless her living room is covered in some sort of random wall scribblings; last time it was the iconic Christmas lights, this time we have Will's scribbled mind map. Winona Ryder in this role will just always be epic, she plays the role so well and I actually couldn't imagine it being the same without her. 

Papa Steve.

And the award for the biggest character development goes to: Mr Steve Harrington. It's safe to say that in the first series that Steve was a bit of a dick. I really wasn't a fan. I'm pleased to say my mind has been changed. I love how we see a more vulnerable and caring side to Steve. I love that he takes on the role of baby sitter and basically keeps the kids alive whilst dealing with their disobedience. The Meme's that have come out of Steve being the typical 'Soccer Mom' are probably some of my favourite things on the internet. I especially love his relationship with Dustin, how he takes him under his wing, the way he dropped him off at the dance was so cute. He's definitely earned his stripes as a proper member of the Stranger Things gang. 

There we have some of the things I loved about Stranger Things series 2, if I'd have mentioned all the things I loved about it, we'd be here all night. 

What were your season 2 highlights?
Which season is your favourite?
What are you hoping to see in season 3?
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Monday, 27 November 2017

Princess Peach // feat. Bleach London.


It's that time again...

I find that I get so bored with my hair during the winter months, it just always feels so dull and meh. I also find that when the weather is so dull outside it's nice to brighten things up a bit. Hence my latest hair venture. 

I've been peach before, around spring 2016 and I was absolutely obsessed with it, but I had it just before I went travelling so it didn't stay too long for practicality reasons. Now it's time to revisit it properly and give it the attention it deserves. 


BLEACH LONDON // AWKWARD PEACH
BLEACH LONDON // WASHED OUT ORANGE 
(not pictured as I forgot to take one before I threw it away...oops.)

We're back with an old favourite; Bleach London. I always come back to these dyes because they are so easy to use, and they always give really nice colours. Awkward Peach was the dye I used when I dyed my hair peach last time so I thought it would be a safe one to go for. 

I'm not sure whether they've changed the formula of the Awkward Peach dye as it came out a lot more pink than I wanted it to and that I remember it doing last time. Once I'd washed and dried it, I added some of the Washed Out Orange dye to try and add some more of the peachy tones into it. 


BEFORE

Despite adding some of the orange dye on top, the overall colour is still quite pinky which isn't ideal. The peach has taken quite well at the top of the hair but the lengths and ends are a bit more pinky than I'd have liked. I do like that it gives it a bit more depth and different layers to the hair though. Once the colour has faded a bit more I will probably just add some more of the orange on to get it to more of a peachy colour all over. 


AFTER

Despite it not turning out 100% how I wanted it, I am still really happy with the colour and for a first run it isn't bad at all. I'm looking forward to seeing how it fades as I think that could add some nice tones throughout the hair.

Once I've got it more how I've wanted I'm sure I'll report back.

What are your thoughts on peach hair?
What colour should I try next?
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Thursday, 28 September 2017

DIY Totoro Cake


Baking is one of my favourite things to do, but is unfortunately something I don't have that much time for. I recently had the excuse to don my pinny and bake a cake for my sisters birthday. I always try to make her a creative cake, honing in on all her favourite things; her last 3 cakes have consisted of Baby Groot Cupcakes, an Olaf Cake & Rapunzel's Castle, respectively. She is currently a huge fan of all things Studio Ghibli, so I opted to make her a cake depicting everyones favourite guy: Totoro. 

This recipe is a lot easier to create than it looks, so if you are no Mary Berry don't worry as all hope is not lost.

Ingredients


For the Cake.

Butter // 12oz
Caster Sugar // 12oz
Self Raising Flour // 12oz
Golden Syrup // 3oz
Eggs // 6 
Vanilla Extract // 2tsps
Milk // if required


For the Icing & Decoration.

Butter
Icing Sugar 
(I've not added measurements as I just eyeballed it until it seemed the right consistency.)
White Chocolate Buttons
Black Icing
Black Food Colouring
Cocoa Powder (optional)

Method. 

Pre heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius (fan oven)

Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla essence & golden syrup
Beat the eggs in a bowl
Sieve the flour & add the eggs slowly to the mixture, folding gently in.
Add milk if it's required
Pour the mixture into two circular cake tins and spread the mixture evenly.


Bake the cake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow the cake to cool and then carve the cake into the desired shape.

To make the icing:

Mix icing sugar & butter to create the icing.
Add black food colouring to create Totoro's grey colour.
Use the white icing for his tummy.
Add White chocolate buttons (or melted white chocolate) for his eyes.
Use black icing for the other details and to create optional soot sprites to use as decoration.

Eat & enjoy.



I'm very happy with how this cake turned out, my sister was absolutely over the moon when she received it. It was almost too cute to eat (almost.)

Would you give this recipe a go?
What's your favourite thing to bake?

Speak Soon
Char xx

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

My tips for coloured hair // dyeing & maintaining.


I think it's safe to say that when it comes to dyeing my hair, I've been round the block a few times. I've been pretty much every hair colour under the sun and I think that makes me a bit of a hair dye connoisseur. As I'm very much a DIY kind of gal, I've had a lot of practice and developed a few tips and tricks over the years. 

So I thought I would share a few tips to help you if you are looking to dye your hair some jazzy colours or just looking to maintain colour you already have.

Dyeing //

One of my biggest tips for dyeing your hair, especially when dying your hair artificial colours is to always put the dye on dry hair. Most packaging will tell you to use it on damp/towel dried hair, but I find putting it on dry hair allows for a more even coverage and helps the colour to fully saturate into your hair.

Conditioner is your friend. Mixing your dye with conditioner not only means you can get more use out of your dye, it also enables you to mix your own colours to get the exact look you are going for. Also, even though most non-natural hair dyes are just vegetable dyes and aren't actually that damaging, adding conditioner to your dye means that your hair will be in the best possible condition from the get go and will hold you in good stead for when it comes to maintaining the colour.

Ensure the hair is fully coated and has been properly saturated. I always make sure to divide my hair and dye it bit by bit and properly work the dye into my hair using my hands. By rubbing it all in and separating the strands it will prevent a patchy dye job which nobody wants (trust me, I've been there) but will also make the colour last longer because it is properly in the hair follicles. 

Do a bit of research into brands to use, some are much better for keeping colour than others. My go to brands are Bleach London (not the best for keeping colour, but I love the shades,) Schwarzkopf and colour freedom. I've also heard amazing things about Arctic Fox and think I'll be trying them next time. All these brands produce really lovely colours, are really good for mixing and building up colour and are also for the most part quite long lasting.

When it comes to rinsing the colour out, make sure you use cold water, it's not the most comfortable experience but will ensure the colour locks into the hair helping it to last a lot longer. Warm or hot water will pretty much just rinse the majority of the colour out straight away.


Maintaining //

This is going to sound super grubby but the best way to stop your colour fading is to wash it as little as possible. I went from washing my hair 2-3 times a week to 1-2 and have noticed a vast improvement in how often I need to top up the colour. If you can just reduce the amount of times you wash your hair it will be a massive help in maintaning your colour.

When it comes to not washing your hair as much, dry shampoo will become your best friend. It is perfect for helping to keep your hair looking fresh during those in between days. Some brands now offer coloured dry shampoos which are also perfect for hiding those pesky roots for a little bit longer too.

If you can find shampoos and conditioners that are specifically designed to maintain colour, this will also help prevent colour leakage when washing your hair as it will help to keep it locked in a bit more. I recently started using the Bleach London pink shampoo and conditioners which actually contain colour, so help top up your dye with each wash. They aren't dyes so aren't a massive help, but they do enough to keep it looking slightly brighter.


These were just a few of the things I do to keep my hair looking as fresh as possible. Obviously these are all affected by the individual hair quality and colour. Some colours do just stay in your hair better whereas others are just a bit more of a ball ache to maintain. Pink is one of these colours, and is definitely more of a commitment than other hair colours I have been, so that is also something to bear in mind when picking a colour to go.

What's your favourite hair colour?
Do you have any tips for maintaining colour?

Speak Soon
Char xx 

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Hobbit Encounters // Alice's Adventures Underground.


“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” // Lewis Carroll

For my friend's birthday I took her on an adventure in wonderland (well, the Vaults underneath Waterloo station) to attend 'Alice's Adventures Underground.'  Returning after a sell out run in 2015, the Olivier award nominated 'Alice Underground' is an immersive theatre experience in an adaption of  - you guessed it - Alice in Wonderland.


The website invites you to 'tumble down the rabbit hole and make a series of choices in a theatrical adventure like no other.'  It is definitely like no other theatre experience I've ever had. When I say it's an immersive theatre experience I really mean that, it's pure audience involvement, major hats off to the actors for their incredible improv skills. Whilst it tells the story of Wonderland we don't follow it from Alice's perspective our adventure is from the perspective of the card suits.


The thing that is so amazing about this experience is that no individual experience is the same, there are so many twists & turns and different elements. Every decision you make takes you on a different path and the audience involvement means that you are always on your toes and ready to set off on another part of the adventure. It's one that can be enjoyed again and again as well because even if you've been before you can guarantee that on your next visit you will experience something different. I don't want to give too much away as I wouldn't want to ruin anyone's experience, but on our journey through Wonderland we met so many familiar faces; The White Rabbit, The Mock Turtle, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum and the Mad Hatter, to name a few. 

I must say that the actors in this show were absolutely phenomenal, all their performances were amazing, they all stayed in character consistently, despite having to involve so much improvisation. They were all so believable that reality felt truly suspended and you could for a minute believe you'd actually stumbled into Wonderland. The attention to detail in this show was absolutely insane, considering how vast the show is, every single prop, set design and costume was absolutely perfect and fit with the theme perfectly. It was so aesthetically pleasing and every where you looked there was a secret little detail or something exciting to look at. I'm a sucker for costumes and the costumes were to die for, I loved the use of props and puppetry to help set the scene. It was a theatre geeks dream I must say.




The fun isn't over once the show is over or even before it's begun because there is a really cool bar that you can visit before and after and I think even separately, which of course carried on the magic. Even the attention to detail in the bar was incredible, and it was the perfect stop for those Instagram snaps as cameras and photography aren't allowed during the actual performance. They even had an area where you can play flamingo croquet -- which of course, I was terrible at. The cocktails were all Alice in Wonderland themed of course, I would recommend a 'painting the roses red' it was so delicious, but I can't actually remember what was in it.





It most definitely wasn't the cheapest experience, costing at £50+ a head depending on when you go, but it is 100% worth the money, especially if you are looking to go as a treat or for a special occasion, it is so memorable and you will be talking about it for weeks after. I would thoroughly recommend going if you have the chance before it finishes, it's a must see in my opinion. 

I absolutely loved our experience in Wonderland, it was truly magical and we had such an amazing time. Me and my friend both left with smiles wider than the Cheshire Cat's. I loved the unique twists on this classic tale. If you love Alice in Wonderland then what are you waiting for? If you're not the biggest fan, you would 100% still enjoy this crazy take on a trip to the theatre. I already want to go back and see where the adventure takes me next time.


Does this sound like your cup of tea?
Have you been? What did you think?
What theatre experiences/shows would you recommend?

Speak Soon
Char xx

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