Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter Chocolate Nest Cake

After my last post, I was hoping to have loads of new stuff up, however, now I have the time to write posts, the battery on my laptop decided to completely die. Therefore, all the pictures I had taken are lost for now and I haven't been able to write about the things I really want to, which is so frustrating and just typical! I'm down in Exeter now for Easter so am borrowing Matt's laptop and am having to take new photos.

This week I decided to get back to baking, at Uni I don't have the time or appliances, so it has been really nice getting back to doing something I really enjoy. I decided on a chocolate cake because everyone loves chocolate and decided to put an Easter twist on it as something to take to Exeter. It is quite simple but effective and is a good one to make with kids. The nest is made of shredded wheat and chocolate so if you have any left over you can make mini nest cakes too.

* 150g caster sugar
* 150g margarine
* 3 eggs
* 110g self raising flour
* 40g cocoa powder

For the icing:
* 125g unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 200g icing sugar
* 50g cocoa powder

For the nest:
* 3 weetabix biscuits
* Nob of butter
* 100g dark chocolate
* 100g milk chocolate
* 1 tablespoon golden syrup
* 1 pack of Mini eggs


1. Grease and line two sandwich tins and preheat the oven to 190 degrees (fan).

2. Cream together the margarine and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add an egg at a time to the margarine and caster sugar mix. In between each egg, add a little of the flour into the mixture to stop it from curdling.

4. Mix in the rest of the flour and cocoa powder.

5. Half the mixture evenly into the two tins and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Cook for 15-20 minutes until light and springy to the touch.

6. Leave to cool in the tins for around ten minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

7. Now is time to make the icing. Make sure your butter is cut into small cubes and softened, you can do this  with a quick blast in the microwave if you need to. Sieve in the icing sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time while beating the mixture, then add the milk and beat this in too.

8. Once really smooth and soft, using a palette knife spread half the icing onto one half of the cake. Sandwich the other half on top and smooth the rest of the icing on top.

9. Snap or cut the chocolate into small pieces and melt over a ban marie or in the microwave with the butter until smooth and glossy. You can use just milk chocolate or dark chocolate if you prefer but I like a mix of both.

10. Crumble around 3 biscuits of shredded wheat into the chocolate mixture and stir in thoroughly so all of it is covered. Add in the golden syrup and mix it in thoroughly.

11. Trace around one of the sandwich tins to get an idea of how big your nest should be. Arrange the shredded wheat and chocolate mixture inside this stencil, leaving a hollow in the middle. It doesn't have to be exact or perfect as it will look more realistic. 

12. Once you have finished this, place into the fridge to chill for a few hours.

13. Once chilled, you can add the nest to the top of the cake. Fill in the middle with mini eggs and you are done!

As a word of advice I would cut the nest into pieces and then slice the cake separately as the nest can be pretty tough to cut! There is only one slice left after being down in Exeter for two days so this recipe has gone down pretty well. Let me know if you make this over Easter weekend by tweeting or instagramming me (lilmisslifestyle) :) Hope you all have a lovely weekend and get lots of chocolate! xxx

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Mini Catch Up

Hello :) I haven't posted in well over a week so I thought a little catch up post was in order. It was the last week of term for me this week and I had SO much Uni work in - two essays, a dissertation and a presentation to be exact! Therefore I had no time to do anything blog related or remotely fun :( But I am now off for Easter and ready for a break (lets just forget about the 5 exams I have to revise for....).

I'm looking forward to getting my blog on, catching up with home friends and family, catching up with other peoples blogs/youtube videos and all the other programmes I have neglected and the Easter weekend itself. If you have a blog or youtube account, let me know because I love discovering new people! I've got some lovely things planned for over Easter, one of which is to go down to Exeter to visit Matt's family which I'm really excited about as I love it down there. There are so many things I want to post about including reviews, beauty posts, lifestyle and hopefully some cooking posts thrown in for good measure! I'd love to know if you have any news or what you have been up to recently in the comments :) xxx
Thursday, 14 March 2013

Goodbye GFC...?

Hello! I just wanted to write up a quick post today because there has been an announcement from Google that they are phasing out Google reader. This therefore means that GFC as a way of following blogs will also be phased out (maybe) I think this is really sad because it is the easiest and quickest way for me to read and follow blogs so it will definitely be missed. Plus I really hate change haha.

So incase this does happen and you don't want to miss out on any posts and would still like to be part of my little community, I wanted to notify you of the other ways you can follow Little Miss Lifestyle.

If you have a Bloglovin' account you can either click the icon at the side of the page or click here to follow me through that and get updated on any new posts.

If you are more of a Hello Cotton girl (or boy) you can sign up for updates here or again click the icon at the side of the page.

I don't think comments on my actual blog will be suspended, but you can also comment through those platforms too. If you have also have a blog, link me up because I am having to go through all the blogs I follow and sign up through both these platforms.

I am also on twitter, instagram and pinterest if you fancy following me on there too :) xxx
Wednesday, 13 March 2013

NOTD: American Apparel | Neon Orange |

At the beginning of last week you may remember when the UK actually saw some sun and life was generally better because of it. I think the very brief spell of warmth went to my head as it influenced me to put some colour back into my very boring essay filled life, and I opted to paint my nails the brightest shade I could find.  Now, a few NOTD posts ago, I blogged about a neon yellow shade from American Apparel that I had been bought for Christmas and was left bitterly disappointed by. Well, that has since been returned, but I still had a neon orange that I had also received so thought I might as well try it out.

Thankfully, the quality of this nail varnish has been a million times better than the yellow, so I'm hoping it was just a duff one rather than a representation of all of the range. I love that the colour really does live up to the neon name and I got many compliments when wearing this. Even when the fog returned (I think I jinxed it) this still managed to shine from my fingertips and brighten up my day. The wear time was also incredible and it lasted around 5 days until minimal tip wear set in - pretty fabulous in my opinion.

In regards to application, I used two thin layers to achieve an opaque finish and the wide brush made it a doddle. This polish dries to a matte finish so you could follow up with a matte top coat if you have one. I don't so I opted for my standard Sally Hansen.

I've now got my eye on more colours - especially the glitters (5 in total!) - and am hoping that the rest of the ranges can live up to this quality after being sorely let down before. What do you think of this colour? xxx
Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Restaurant Review: Lasan

While February can seem a pretty blah month for most people, I was excited as the end of the month marked one year of Matt and I being together. Our relationship is a lot different now to a year ago - we first met at our Student Union (classy) when he was studying his Masters and I was in second year so we were able to see each other easily and very often. Now he is down in London, making life a bit more difficult for us, especially as I have so much work with essays and dissertation now third year is coming to an end. We had always planned to go to the same place we went on our first date for drinks but as an extra surprise Matt booked a restaurant called Lasan, which is based in the Jewelery quarter of Birmingham.

When he first told me it was Indian food I wasn't sure - I was picturing standard greasy curry which is all well and good but not what I was imaging for a romantic meal! He reassured me the food was amazing though and that the restaurant had actually won Gordon Ramsay's F word. I'm glad he was right; the food was amazing! Everything was cooked perfectly, and the flavours were more fusion cooking rather than a standard curry. Matt kept on laughing because I couldn't get over how they could make even rice and naan taste so incredible!

We started off in the bar and ordered a drink while having a look through the menus. They have a large selection of spirits and wines, but it might be worth noting they don't offer cocktails in case that is your thing. I think that set the precedent for the night though - everything was simple, from the decor to the food but it really worked as sometimes getting simple right is the toughest thing. One of the coolest things in Lasan was the F word trophy encased in glass in the bar which I obviously had to take a sly photo of! The atmosphere is also really nice and relaxed, and I really liked that the tables were all quite far apart so you could have a quiet and private dining experience.

Once we had ordered, a selection of free tasters were bought to our table. There were 3 dips; mango chutney, a yoghurt based one and the other I can't remember (woops) along with some popadoms and spicy chickpeas encased in thin puff pastry which were a yummy surprise.

For a starter we decided to get a sharing platter as it was our first experience and we wanted to try as much as possible. It was the best choice as we got a selection that included spiced chicken sheesh, lamb chops, tandoori salmon and spiced potato cakes served with tamarind and mint sauce. It was literally the best salmon and lamb chops we have ever tasted as everything was flavoured beautifully and so tender.

For mains we ordered two dishes but shared them, with rice and peshwari naan (like I said before they were incredible too haha). The first one we ordered was more lamb in the form of lamb lababdar - the winning dish from the semi-finals of the F word so naturally we had to get it. This was our favourite of the two and consisted of 'Wiltshire Downs free range lamb, marinated cutlet, 10 hour confit shoulder, braised shin pattie and tempered lentils, with smoked braising juis spiced with nutmeg and cinammon.' 

The second dish was Kodi chettinad a 'Tamil style rustic curry; spring chicken in a spicy masala of roasted coconut, star anise, sundried chilli and black peppercorn.' I found this a little bit too spicy but again it was cooked to perfection and all the flavours worked really well together. 

By this point we were absolutely stuffed and had no hope of ordering pudding even though there were a few that caught my eye! We also ordered an amazing bottle of red to go with our meal which went down a treat, although resulted in us being a bit tipsy by the end of the night - we got to and from the restaurant by taxi though so it was ok :) 

In regards to price it wasn't as expensive as we thought it would be for such amazing food, although I don't know the exact bill as Matt wouldn't let me know! Mains range from £15.95 being the lowest to around £25.95 each. The service was also excellent as they helped us with any queries, were attentive but not domineering and even ordered us a taxi home. I really wish I didn't have to use an iPhone for pictures as it didn't really do the food justice, but I guess that means you will just have to visit Lasan and see for yourself :) I don't think I can ever go back to a bog standard curry now and will definitely be visiting again xxx

Friday, 8 March 2013

Review: Lush | Think Pink Bath Bomb |

Last night I was really craving a bath, so thought writing up this post may help to satisfy my cravings! I received 'Think Pink' as birthday present from Matt, and I don't think there is bath bomb that sums me up better. 

The bomb is a good size, as sometimes at Lush they can be so large I feel like I am wasting it when using it all in one use, where as with the bubble bars you get multiple uses out of them. The flowers on top of the bomb which also dissolve are made of candy, but the best surprise was in the middle of the bomb - loads of pink confetti hearts that float around the hot pink water (which I did a crap job of capturing on camera!) As usual, the scent fills the bathroom, this time its lavender, tonka, vanilla and neroli combined together to create the smell of sweets.

It's safe to say this is a definite repurchase for me as this is a perfect girly bath bomb. What are you favourites from Lush? xxx
Monday, 4 March 2013

Review: Barry M Lipstick in '101'

I've been meaning to put up a lipstick review for a while as I have quite a few to share. From now on I will accompany these posts with lip swatches, rather than just on my hand as I find the former the most useful. I've been putting it off though because although it seems silly I'm a bit scared to put up zoomed in pictures of my lips! The swatches below are my first attempt so please be kind :)!

Anyway, onto the review... I received this lipstick in my stocking at Christmas which was a nice surprise as it was something I had wanted to try for a while. I love Barry M nail varnishes, but was yet to delve into their make up range. The rubber packaging is rather basic but I don't think its anything to complain about as it is sleek and simple. The formula isn't too bad either for a budget lipstick, although I did have to apply a few coats to get an even colour. 

By itself, the colour of this lipstick is nothing like how it is in the bullet! I thought this would be a peachy nude, but it comes out as a really milky pink shade, which washes me out completely and looks like I've coated my lips in concealer! The swatch down below doesn't show how white this looks in person, but as I have to apply quite a few coats to make it opaque as I have naturally pigmented lips I end up looking a bit ridiculous. 

I've found the best way to wear this is with a light pink lip gloss over the top to brighten it up a bit (like this one), dabbed onto my lips as a colour corrector before a brighter lipstick or the way Lisa Eldridge showed in a recent video like I did in this post - dabbing a favourite bright as a stain onto your lips then applying this over the top to stop it looking so 'dead'. I  used the Kate Moss for Rimmel lipstick in 107 in the swatch below. 

Overall, the quality of this lipstick isn't bad but the colour is just awful for me! Luckily I've managed to find different ways to make it wearable - next time I will have to swatch them in store to make sure the colour matches up to that of the bullet!

Lipstick on its own.
Lipstick with pink gloss over the top
Lipstick over the top of Rimmel's shade 107

Have you tried anything from the Barry M make up range? Do you have any suggestions for a nice peachy nude? xxx
Friday, 1 March 2013

Review: Soap & Glory | Whipped Clean |

A few months ago I bought this on a total whim when having a look round Boots, and I am so glad I did! The idea behind this is that its formulated to be a body wash and butter in one, saving you time when you just can't be bothered to moisturise. I find this especially useful on those chilly mornings when I don't want to wait around ages for my moisturiser to sink in.

The product is a thick white cream, which lathers up really nicely. A quarter of the shower butter is made up of 'moisture oils' including sweet almond oil (one of my faves) grapeseed oil, macadamia oil and cocoa and shea butter. All of these ingredients combined make this product smell SO GOOD! Seriously if you could actually eat it, I no doubt would! The scent is ultra sweet and reminds me of marzipan and vanilla cake... mmm! The combination of the creamy formula and the smell makes this a really indulgent shower time treat. It has lived up to its moisturising claims too as my skin does get more dry when the weather is cold and it has helped to keep that problem at bay.

I would say the only downside is that it is more expensive than the large shower gels from Soap and Glory yet you get half as much product. This still wouldn't put me off repurchasing this but I like to save it as more of a treat rather than an every day shower gel.

What are your favourites from Soap and Glory? xxx

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