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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

THE BARGAIN QUEEN & TOO MANY NAIL VARNISHES | #DECORATING DIARIES




If I was going to wait until I was happy with my blog content enough to actually post anything then I would end up never, ever posting! I have been watching so many decorating/moving VLOGS on YouTube at the moment as I have been redecorating my whole bedroom; and I thought why not document it through my blog? I have been wanting for so long to restart this blog - I have so many ideas but the lack of confidence just cripples me and then in the end I just end up not posting enough and ultimately feeling even worse about myself. I decided that redecorating doesn't equate to beautiful surroundings and aesthetically pleasing pictures, but so what? I want this blog to be about my projects and what I am inspired by and that isn't always going to be crisp and perfect. All I will say is you will have to excuse the mess of my bedroom, as you can imagine everything is a little all over the place at the moment. 

When me and my mum moved into this apartment in 2013 the walls were a magnolia colour and over time have just gotten a bit worse for wear. I have always been a fan of clean white walls and never really been too keen on the whole cream/magnolia vibe. I think it just makes a room look a bit dull and dreary in my opinion. Although we are renting we are lucky enough to be allowed to paint the walls and redecorate at we like, so we started off doing the main bathroom which is pink and white (it looks ACE) and then the hallway which is also a really pale shade of pink. For the rest of the apartment we are aiming for white walls with colourful furniture, but before all that I really wanted to start my room. It was just getting me down; I had previously painted all of my furniture white but I began to get a bit bored with it all. As I was scrolling through Pinterest I was inspired to add some more colour into my room, I hoped that waking up in a nice colourful room would both inspire me and enlighten me! I am also hoping to replace my bedding and curtains although I know this can be pricey but I am hoping to also show how you can redecorate your home on a budget and still feel pleased with the results. 

It's my birthday soon and I think that me and mum are going shopping to get some bits hopefully to go in my room like a new brighter duvet - I have seen one in Primark the other week it was very tropical and bright and AH I NEED IT GUYS. I also want some new scatter cushions to go on the bed as the ones I have at the moment are a bit meh now and dated - like they were good at the time but don't really fit with the overall/brighter vibe I want for my room. Don't get me wrong I still LOVE my pastels but I just want to start being a bit more adventurous with my colours 

So where am I up to at the moment with my room? Well it's a hot mess right now guys, seriously. I knew decorating would mean everything was kinda everywhere but to this extent? Nah, it's safe to say I cannot wait until everything is done and back in its place. Having said that I am really enjoying how therapeutic painting/decorating has become for me. 





^ you can tell this was my first painting project...

When you're about to clean any surface spend time washing it down throughly with hot, soapy water. Also it is always a good idea to sandpaper second hand furniture down to ensure the surface you are about to paint on is smooth and even. 



Budgeting was a big factor for me when deciding to redecorate my room - I had to make sure I was able to cover the costs of buying enough paint and tools to do the job done properly. All I can say is it IS possible to decorate and not spend a fortune, the biggest thing to do is shop around and compare prices. The best place I found was my actual sanctuary for homewares B&M's. I managed to use one 11 litre tin of Johnstone's interior matt paint in brilliant white for £11. The quality is amazing, I was really worried that with white paint the walls would look patchy and just rubbish and take more than one coat to achieve a matt finish - but using a roller and brush to feather between the ceiling and walls it didn't come out patchy at all! It was so good I went back and looked at what other colours they had in the Johnstone's range to paint a few pieces of my furniture in; I usually paint with a gloss on furniture but I actually used an interior wall paint for the draws and was pleased with the result. The first piece I wanted to paint was my draws which I bought off a local buy and sell page last April; it was only £15 and I spruced it up with some white paint and crystal handles. I was just getting a bit fed up of white furniture everywhere and although I will be keeping some of my furniture like my dressing table and bookshelf in white, other pieces like my draws and desk will be getting a big splash of colour.


Shopping in stores like B&M's and Wilkos means you can save so much money on paint but still be able to use a good quality paint for your decorating. I bought all my supplies from B&M's including the paint brush, paint roller, latex gloves and paint tray and it all cost me just under £30!

I decided to go for this passion pink for the draws which is a vibrant hot pink and I absolutely LOVE it. Above the draws I am planning on having this canvas I made the other week but I think I might be changing some of the colours on it to perhaps be more cohesive with my new room decor. 

Now onto some new little bits I have found for my room - okay so over the past couple of months with the idea in mind of redecorating and changing things up a bit I have kept my eye out for any bargains I could. I'd say that Primark has been amazing recently for homeware and I can't wait to go back there nearer my birthday and hopefully find some new cushions to go on my bed. But just recently I discovered how good the New Look homeware range is. I knew it existed but I don't know why but I just didn't give it much thought? Anyway... I went in there the other day and when I saw this love heart chalk board reduced to £3 (should have been £6 I think) I was like YES THIS IS MINE. I have wanted a cute little chalkboard for a while now seen as they seem to be everywhere but I guess I am just a bit tight and won't part with a stupid amount for it. I don't know why it was reduced as it was in perfect condition - I can only assume because it was part of the Valentines Day range because there was another one in the shape of a cloud that was the usual price. 




I also picked up this glitter frame that was also reduced... Just call me the bargain queen. The little flamingo tea light holder, pineapple fairy lights and heart sequin cushion were from Primark. 





Also can we also just talk about how perfect this teacup light is? I got it at The Range in the January sales for £9... I think it was meant to be like £20?!



Redecorating my room means a big old clean out too. It can be refreshing to just go through everything and make piles of what to throw away, give to charity and to of course keep. I really do hold on to so much stuff that I really don't need anymore. I think I have serious attachment issues to material things - I just always get anxious when going to throw something away like: "But what if I do want it? What if I do NEED it one day?" That being said I did manage to go through this mammoth pile of nail varnishes and sort them out a bit better although if I am being honest I did keep a majority of them (in my defence they are all mostly different colours!)



But I did organise some of my favourites on an aesthetically pleasing mini heart shelf. It was from Dunelm a couple of years ago and had a shabby chic kinda look but I just repainted it white to make it fit in a bit better with my room.





I still feel like I have a long way to go with it but honestly it's felt so rewarding to feel like I am actually doing something really productive with myself? If you don't know me my mental health is a bit all over the place to say the least and it's felt so nice to have a little BIG project to work on in my own time and I can't wait to stand back and just think, yeah, I did that. Although I almost wanted to chuck a can of black paint all over my walls when I had to re-plaster part of my walls. YEAH RE-PLASTER. I think I am now a fully qualified decorator but I guess we learn something new everyday right?

Thank you so much for reading and I would love to know if any of you have ever thought about decorating or up cycling a piece of furniture you are growing tired of. Let me know in the comments below if you have and also make sure you are following me on social media (links below) to see where I am up too and what other little homeware bits I am loving!


Love, Emily Jayne x

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

MINI EGG COOKIE CUPS | EASTER BAKING







So as promised here is another recipe just in time for the four day Easter weekend! My last recipe was for super gooey Creme Egg cupcakes and I did say in that post that I would be sharing a recipe for all you Mini Egg lovers out there. 

Mini Eggs are so moreish and there are hundreds of recipes on the internet of various baked goods revolving around them. I wanted to do something perhaps a little bit different... so here are my Mini Egg cookie cups! Okay I wanted them initially to be just cookies but the first batch turned out a little bit thicker than I intended them to be. But I kinda had the eureka moment and thought, well why can't they taste like the usual cookie dough but be thicker and more cakey? Am I making any sense? I hope so.

So then I had to think of what else I wanted to add into the cookie cups... There was endless ideas but I really liked the sound of added a nutty flavour and the best combination? ALMONDS! Ahhh these cookie cups smelt DIVINE!! And again they proved to go down a treat... Here is the recipe and how to and I hope you enjoy them just as much as my family did...

What you will need
250g Unsalted butter
120g Brown sugar
300g Self raising flour
150g Plain flour 
1tsp Almond extract/paste
125ml Whole milk (although Semi Skimmed would be okay)
200g Almond flakes 
275g Mini Eggs

Before you start making and baking you will need to set your oven to 170 celsius! This recipe will also make 16/18 cookie cups!

1. In a large bowl beat the butter until a smooth paste and then add the sugar. Continue beating together with an electric mix until both are combined well. Add the almond extract and stir in. 

2. Weigh out the plain and self raising flour and add to the butter mixture. Using an electric mix continually mix until all is combined in a cookie dough like mixture. The mixture will be quite stiff so you may want to use a wooden spoon and manually combine the milk into the mixture instead of using an electric whisk. Place cling film over the top of the bowl and leave in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. 

3. Next you're going to want to add in your almonds. Now for this step I took the dough out of the bowl and put on a floured surface and worked the almonds in myself. I did this by pressing down on the dough on the surface and sprinkling in some of the almonds and then folding the dough over. Continue until all almonds are evenly distributed through the dough.

4. Take a standard cupcake baking tin (ensuring it is either non-stick or lightly buttered to avoid the cookie cup sticking once baked) and distribute your dough evenly among the holes. Once divided take a spoon and press down on the dough so it spreads out in the little hole. 

5. Bake for 15 minutes on 170 celsius and carefully remove from the oven and push 3-4 Mini Eggs into the dough ensuring they are pushed well into the cookie cups. Place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes until your cookies are a nice golden brown. 

6. Remove from oven and enjoy!

What do you think? Is this something you would try? I would love to know if you have any other combination ideas for Mini Eggs, let me know in the comments below...


Love, Emily Jayne xox 


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Friday, 7 April 2017

CREME EGG CUPCAKES WITH HOMEMADE FONDANT! | EASTER BAKING



Hello, Hello, Hello! Wow it's been a long time since I last posted on here and honestly? I have really missed it! But once again I let my perfectionism get the better of me and never really felt I had anything worthy to post. The truth is if I wait until I am 100% happy with my content I will end up never posting and honestly? That's a shame. I like blogging and creating a little space on the internet full of my creative ideas.

With that being said I thought what better way to kick start the old blog again than by sharing a recipe I have done a couple of times now and every time received good feedback from it. Of corse with it being Easter I had to add to theme it around the holiday and so I present to you these gorgeously Gooey Creme Egg cupcakes complete with homemade fondant filling and Creme Egg on top. 


Creme Egg's seem to divide the nation; you either love them and can eat 12 in a row (like my mum did once - true story) or you find them too sickly and would rather reach your hand into a bag of Mini Eggs *ahem obviously you can equally love both too duh*. I will hopefully be sharing a recipe more based around Mini Eggs later this week but for now let us all pay our respects to the sugary goodness that is the Creme Egg. 

Now I am going to split this recipe into three sections purely for the fact that you're going to want to make the fondant first, let it set, make your sponge and whilst their cooling make your icing. 

This recipe makes 12 large cupcakes meaning you could probably make more if you did mini versions. You will need to set your oven at 180 celsius if electric and 350 fahrenheit if gas. Now let's get on to the best bit, making them...


What you will need for the fondant!
170g Golden syrup 
60g Unsalted butter
375g Icing sugar
1-2tbs Yellow/orange gel food colouring 
1tsp Vanilla extract 

What you will need for the chocolate cupcakes!
75g Unsalted butter
150g Light brown sugar
2 Medium eggs 
1tsp Vanilla extract 
30g Cocoa powder (I used Cadburys)
145g Plain flour 
1tsp Baking powder
1/2tsp Bicarb soda
1/2tsp White wine vinegar 
125ml Milk (I suggest whole milk but I regularly use Semi Skimmed and it doesn't seem to make a difference)

What you will need for the topping!
12 Mini Creme Eggs
280g Icing sugar
140g Unsalted butter
2-3tbs Food colouring (orange or yellow to represent the yolk)

Part one: making the fondant!
1. In a large bowl using an electric mixer mix the syrup, butter and vanilla extract until combined.

2. Next you want to measure out your icing sugar into a separate bowl and slowly begin to combine the icing sugar with your syrupy mixture. Do this slowly with your mixer on a slow setting, gradually adding more icing sugar until all is combined together. You will know the mixture is turning into a fondant because it will become thick and when picked up with a spoon it will not fall off. 

3. Ensuring all the mixture is off the mixer, using a table spoon add your food colouring. I used gel because I didn't want a liquid to water down the fondant. You can add as much or little as you want (you don't even have to add any as the syrup gives it a nice yellow tint naturally!) This is going to be in the centre of your cupcakes, so imagine the centre of a Creme Egg! Keep mixing in the food colouring in your bowl until you are happy with the colouring.

4. Now you're going to want to let your fondant set. To do this you can take some clingfilm and place it over your mixing bowl and place it in the freezer for 1 and a half hours. Whilst you're waiting for it to set you can start to make your cupcakes. 

Part two: making the cupcakes!
1. This is more or less the exact same recipe I use to make red velvet cupcakes only we're going to use more cocoa powder and obviously no red food colouring. Firstly you're going to beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and combined then add your eggs separately, then the vanilla extract beating them together well but ensuring it doesn't curdle. 

2. In a separate bowl combine the cocoa powder and flour together before eventually adding into the butter/sugar mix and beating all together with an electric mix.
3. Now you're mixture maybe looking a little thick but do not fear as this is where you are going to add in your milk. Now what I suggest is gradually adding your milk by the tablespoon and continually beating it into the mixture. The consistency you are wanting is what I can describe as pourable. It shouldn't be stuck to the spoon but you also want to ensure it isn't like water too! If you accidentally make it too thin just add a little bit more flour to bring the thickness back. 

4. Once you are happy with your mixture you're going to want to add the bicarb, baking powder and vinegar and give it a quick beating together with there rest of your mixture until all is combined. 

5. Divide the mixture into your cupcake cases - I aim to fill 3/4 of the cupcake cases. Then place in the oven for about 20-25 mins, but I suggest checking on them after 20 mins and doing the skewer test and seeing if it comes out clear; this way you know they are ready.

Part three: making the icing & decorating your cakes!
1. For the icing I just used a really simple/go-to icing recipe that is pretty much linear for every baker. I didn't want to make something that would overpower the sweet fondant filling and be a bit too much, you know what I mean? I mean you don't necessarily have to add the icing and could just add a little Creme Egg to the top of the fondant - but the icing does let you add a nice cupcake aesthetic. 

Wow that seems like it was a long one, but it is so worth it, I promise! I was pleased with the feedback I got for them and they seemed to be a hit especially with it being the Easter holiday. Obviously these don't have to be restricted to an Easter treat and can be enjoyed at anytime during the year. 

What's your favourite thing to eat or bake during Easter? Do you think you will be trying out this recipe? If you do please tell me! I would love to see. 


Love, Emily Jayne xox

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Monday, 7 November 2016

CARAMEL APPLE & WALNUT PIES | AN ALTERNATIVE TO A MINCE PIE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!



So Halloween is over and Bonfire night has been and gone, which can only mean one thing... CHRISTMAS! Some may say it may just been a teeny bit early to be thinking about the festivities and all that they entail and others may already have cracked out the tinsel and be galloping around their house to jingle bell rock. Which ever side you're on, it's inevitable that over the next couple of weeks Christmas will be everywhere.

Lots of words are synonymous with Christmas and I think mince pies have to be right up there as mince pies have always been in my family, annually being very nicely done by my nana. Whether I was leaving one for santa when I was little or having one with a cuppa each day of advent, mince pies and Christmas just sort of go hand in hand. But not everybody shares the love of these fruity little treats, bringing me to create this recipe as an alternative to mince pie but still keeping the yummy, buttery pastry.


Caramelised apple is proving to be very popular in my family either in a traditional apple pie with a crumbly crust or an apple betty - which I will admit I had no idea what one was until my mum literally begged that I bake her one.



For this recipe I used freshly picked bramley apples that my mum got from a friend at work, and homemade caramel sauce. But you can use any bramley apples are good and if you aren't keen on making your own caramel you can easily pick a tin of it up.

The Pastry
375g plain flour
265g unsalted butter (at room temp)
130g brown sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 large egg (and another egg beaten for glazing)

The filling
3 large bramley apples
1 packet of walnut halves 
200ml double cream
250g brown sugar
60g unsalted butter (at room temp)

The method

*Preheat the oven to 220 celsius and grease a muffin tin.  

1. First we are going to make the short crust pastry. To begin with measure and sieve the plain flour and add in the butter, rub together until a breadcrumb consistency is made. Add the sugar and egg into the breadcrumbs and with an electrical mixer (or by hand) mix together. Just be careful not to over mix. 

2. Gently sprinkle flour onto a surface, remove the pastry from the bowl and fold on the floured surface until the pastry comes together. You can then wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

3. Whilst your pastry is chilling you can begin by peeling the apples and cutting them into segments of four. Place them in a deep, medium pan and fill the pan up just enough to cover the apples with normal temp water. Put the pan on a medium heat and add a sprinkle of sugar to the apples and allow to boil for 5-10 minutes. After the apples have boiled drain them as to ensure there is no remaining water. Put to one side for later.

4. Take your pastry out of the fridge and place onto the floured surface again. Roll out the pastry to approx 3mm thick and using a circular cookie cutter cut 16 circles and place them into the greased muffin tray. With the remaining pastry, re-roll it out to the same thickness but this time take your star cookie cutter and cut a further 16 stars out (you can keep these to one side on a floured plate to put on top of your pies later)

5. Now we can make the homemade caramel sauce. Obviously you can buy caramel sauce in a tin if you want, but I much prefer to make my own. Take a medium pan and add your sugar plus 4tbsp of water before putting on a medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved. It is important you keep stirring as the sugar can stick if it is not being watched (yes I learnt the hard way...) 

6. Once the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat and allow the sugar to bubble for roughly 8-10 minutes - just keep stirring! Then take off the hob and add the butter and cream, continually stirring until all is dissolved. 

7. Cover apples in caramel sauce and add the walnuts to the mix. Ensure both apples and walnuts are completely covered in caramel and slowly begin to fill your pastry cups. 

8. With the beaten egg use a pastry brush to brush the sides of the pastry cup before adding your star to the top and pushing down at the edges to ensure it is sealed. You can then finish off the pie by dusting with more egg and sprinkling some brown sugar on top. 

9. Pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes (until a nice, golden brown) and allow to cool for a further 15 minutes before removing from the muffin tins. 

10. Serve to taste, perhaps with extra cream? And enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! I was contacted by Wren Kitchens to come up with an alternative Christmas recipe for their Wren Christmas Campaign whereby each advent day has a blogger share there favourite alternative holiday recipe. I was so excited to come up with this and share it with everyone. What do you think? Is this something you would be tempted to make yourself? Or can you think of any other good, alternative Christmas recipes based on traditions?

You can find other delicious festive recipes here:

http://www.wrenkitchens.com/wrens-christmas-kitchen  



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Saturday, 17 September 2016

8 WAYS TO PAMPER YOURSELF


Once in a while we all need to treat ourselves. Whether this be through a bouquet of roses or binge watching Netflix, we all deserve it and require it. One of my favourite ways to treat myself? By having a good old fashioned pamper day! It's amazing how good it can feel to soak in a bubbly bath and apply a fresh coat of nail varnish. I am terrible for sticking to routine and forget to do all the things we are told we should do in our  beauty routine such as moisturising daily. Although when it comes to people dictating what we should and shouldn't be doing, I truly believe it is all down to personal preference. These are just my ideas of ways you give yourself a pamper day at home.
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Monday, 12 September 2016

WEEK THREE: BREAD WEEK | BAKING ALONG WITH THE GBBO


Bread week always proves hard but this series luck didn't seem on a majority of the bakers sides. And with Paul's words of erm... encouragement it's no wonder the bakers didn't feel confident in their bakes. I don't think Paul was getting enough sleep because he was so harsh, but I guess when you're a professional baker you have the authority to be. But I know I would be leaving the tent in tears if he insulted my bakes...

The signature challenge was to bake a chocolate bread which I will be honest I don't think sounds that nice. When I think of bread I always think of savoury and would much prefer a cheesy, garlic bread as opposed to a chocolatey bread.
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