Strawberry Cupcakes and a few bits of news.

Strawberry cupcakes.

1. I wanted to share this recipe I made for Strawberry Cupcakes tonight. They are so yum, very moist and natural tasting because they use fresh strawberries rather than a flavoring. I haven't made cupcakes for myself or my family in forever, just for order so it's nice to do that for a change!

Ingredients
225g caster sugar
210g self raising flour
25g cornflour
125g strawberries (crushed)
225 g butter
4 large eggs at room temperature

0ne batch of vanilla buttercream mixed in with two heaped teaspoons of strawberry jam.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 175C

2. Mix together the flour, sugar, cornflour and crushed strawberries in a food processor or electric mixer.

3. Add the butter and eggs and mix until combined. Make sure you do not overmix.

4. Spoon the mixture into your cupcake cases until they are two thirds full.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

6. When cool decorate with strawberry jam buttercream.

2. I have started a new blog, The Feminist Gaze, to coincide with my studies at university. It combines my passions of feminism and film. I would really, very much appreciate it if you could check it out and follow and pass it on if you know anyone who would be interested.

Launched my new blog today, please check it out! www.thefeministgaze.blogspot.com

3. I am so excited! I hand in my dissertation on the 15th of September and then on the 23rd I am off to Tokyo for 8 nights! I have wanted to go back for so long, I first went there when I was 18. We booked our flights and hotel this week and I am just dying with anticipation. Japan is such a wonderful country and I can't wait to share it with you.

Before the storm


Lipstick on your collar.

A few people have messaged me asking what make up I wear, and I always enjoy these posts on other blogs so I thought I'd share! I am a slight make up addict, though I don't wear it every day. These are my most used or most loved products (generally). If I did this for all the make up I'd probably be told that an intervention was needed. This is going to be a photo filled post, apologies if that annoys you.

Since I went from a brunette to a redhead I have bought some new things, I found some colours just clashed really badly. This included my old favourite Russian Red MAC lipstick. I've found plenty of other options to replace it though, and less harsh reds.

I generally stick with affordable brands, except for foundation. I think a lot of the time you're just paying for the fancy packaging and although I am sucker for that, I'm trying to be sensible.

Everyday make up.

Make up.
L-R: MAC Studio Sculpt NW15, Benefit High Beam, ELF Studio Foundation in Fair, ELF Studio blusher in rose, Illamasqua precision ink in Abyss, ELF tone correcting concealer in Rosy Beige.

Make up.

I feel pretty naked without eyeliner, but apart from that none of it is too heavy. If it's a windy day I have to scrap the eyeliner because my eyes water and I look like a panda. I use illamasqua precision ink which is expensive but has better staying power than anything else I have tried. You can get it on ASOS so ocassionaly you can get a deal on it with vouchers etc!

I went for a MAC Makeover to find a decent foundation, this is the lightest the girl could find after 5 attempts and I reckon it's still a bit too dark. I've been told Bobbi Brown is good for pale skin so I'll try them when this one runs out.

Blushers.

Make up.
L-R: Body Shop lip and cheek stain, Topshop cream blusher in flush, ELF rose, Sleek in Pixie Pink, Benetint, 17 cream stain (no idea of shade, it's rubbed off) and Natural Collection in Dusky Pink.

Make up.

I've only really started using blusher since I had it put on at my mac makeover and now I love it. I used to just stick a bit of Benetint on there and that was it. I really love the cream topshop ones, need to get some more as they are fab. The bodyshop cheek stain came free with a magazine, it's pretty expensive to buy in store and pretty rubbish to be honest. About ten times less strength than Benetint, I have to apply it over and over for any hint of colour and then it vanishes after about 10 minutes.

Eye liners, mascara and lashes.

Make up.

Eyes and lips are my favourite to do. I hate not wearing eyeliner, so I pretty much always have it on in a cat eye flick. Like I said Illamasqua has the best staying power but that Rimmel one is pretty good as well and if I didn't have such sensitive, watery eyes I would stick with it. I just use a standard rimmel eyeshadow pencil to fill in my brows. I bought the fill and lift ELF pencil this week and it is horrible, it's like applying clotted cream to your brows - seriously so heavy and messy.

The pink mascara is Models Own. I used to only use Benefit Bad Gal and it was the only make up product I always used and refused to look elsewhere, but then having loved Models Own products so much I thought I'd check out their new mascaras. This Volumize one is an AMAZING dupe for Benefit Bad Gal, and it doesn't smudge as much under my eyes. Brilliant, I really can't recommend it enough.

Make up.

For my water line I use Bad Gal liner. I got it free in a magazine but I love it and will probably buy a new one when it runs out. That Barry M pencil is a great dupe for it, however.

Make up.

For my falsh lashes, which I generally only wear on a night out, I tend to stick with eyelure. I am sad and love anything with Chezza on it (my second favourite Geordie after my twin MessyCarla, way aye!) but those Girls Aloud ones are really good. I also love the ELF natural lashes there and for £1.50 they are amazing value. The glue is rubbish though, so get a little bottle of Eyelure Lash Fix which lasts ages. Also if you want something more dramatic the Nicola Girls Aloud ones are perfect.

Eyeshadows

Make up.
L-R: ELF cream shadows in Mocha Swirl and Black Licorice, Topshop crayons in Zephyr, Sunshower and Blackjack, Sleek storm palette, Models own (?) and Sleek Molten Metal.

I don't usually wear eyeshadow unless I am on a night out, in which case I do a smoky eye. I hate using powders because I get them everywhere, so I love the Topshop crayons which are super quick and mess free. Or eyeshadow creams, like those ELF and Sleek ones. If I have the time to use a powder I use my Sleek palette. It's amazing, really pigmented, long lasting and cheap. I think I paid around £6 for that. Although I lost one in Paris, oops. I just bought the ELF creams this week and I love them.

Make up. Make up.

The Models own is one I was really excited about because I love their other products so much but this was a disaster. It stained my eyelids! I had blue eyelids for about 4 days, no amount of soap, creams or remover would work at all. Has anyone else had this problem? I'll avoid their shadows until I hear otherwise!

Lipsticks.

Make up.
L-R: Utterly Frivolous, Diva, Ramblas Red and Russian Red.

I usually use MAC, they're worth investing in, good staying power. The Russian Red is a matte one so I always need gloss over it or it is way too drying.

Make up.
L-R: ELF Cheerful cherry, Posh and Fantasy.

I love the ELF lipsticks, though I actually find the ones from their basic collection better than the more expensive (but still ridiculously cheap) Studio collection on the left.

Make up.
L-R: Models Own Deep fushia, plum, scarlett, blackberry gloss pot, red hot gloss, blackberry gloss.

I have all of the Models Own lipsticks but typically could only find my least favourite 3 for this. They're still really good, but I bought the plum one online where there was nothing saying it was shimmery and really it's more pink than purple. The glosses are great though I probably wouldn't buy the tubs again as they are really messy to apply without a brush.

Make up.
L-R: Sleek Mulberry, Cherry, Barry M 144 and Touch of Magic Green.

I rarely use those Sleek lipsticks. They are nice colours but they go on really cakey and thick and are just a mess really. Maybe I am doing something wrong. The Barry M ones are brill, the green one changes colour on your lips depending to the PH level. So basically it's a different colour on different people, I bought this for the novelty factor but I actually use it a lot because it goes on a really lovely berry pink on me.

Make up.
Accessorize Coral.

And lastly a new addition, the only product I have tried from the Accessorize make up collection. I really like it, but in general I find their products a bit tacky looking and expensive for what they are (which is quite similar to the cheaper Barry M stuff). I'd be willing to try more though because the quality of this lipstick is quite high.

Current favourite brand: TOPSHOP.

Make up.
Eyeshadow in Sunstar and Stain in Bitten Berry.

I never thought I would like the Topshop make up. I had this thought that it would be a bit half assed and not great quality but I was completely wrong. I love it and can't get enough of it. The colours are amazing and long lasting and right on trend. I especially love their eye products. I have one of their nail polishes and it's okay but for £5 I'd rather just buy a Models Own bottle. The lip and cheek stain is great but make sure you get it right on your first application because it's a total pain to wash off!

Make up.

And this is how I store them. The cases come in loads of patterns from Primark and I think they're around £5 or less. The little case is my everyday stuff and it is from Forever 21. When I move next month I really want to get a set of clear drawers for them. I can only find ones for around £30 or £40 on ebay and that seems way too much (I am cheap) so if anyone has any links send me them to check out please! I hope you liked this post, I know it's not the kind of thing I normally do but so many people had asked so I thought I would go for it. xo.

This Charming Girl

Hello everyone, sorry it has been a while since I posted. Uni has taken over! Today was spent lazing around in comfortable clothes and doing a lot of reading. This means lazy clothes and no make up (I know I will regret posting photos of me with no make up on). I feel a bit scruffy on days like this but I find adding some pretty jewellery makes it all better. Enter This Charming Girl, a lovely British company selling all kinds of beautiful and whimsical jewellery.

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Now, I've said before that I only do promotion for a company I believe in or a company I would buy from so you can trust me when I say that if you are looking to treat yourself this is the place to go. I know that it can get tiresome when blogs are constantly promoting businesses so I make sure when I do that it is a company worth hearing about. I was originally contacted by Rock'n'Rose to do some promo for them, but they then completely ignored my reply and many attempts to get in contact with them via all the social networking channels (bad PR and I can only presume customer service follows), so I went and did some hunting for a company I belived in. If you ask me a business who completely ignore you aren't worth spending money on.

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I had been aware of This Charming Girl for some time but this was my first experience with them. My necklace was posted right away and with me the following day. It was beautifully packaged (always a nice touch) and the item is gorgeous. I have a lot of international readers as well, so you'll be glad to hear that they ship worldwide. I would definitely recommend them, I've added a few of my favourite items below.

And here's the best part, 15% off for French for Cupcake readers! Just enter FRENCHFORCUPCAKE at the checkout!


Similar to my much asked about Birdcage necklace that is no longer in production, you can get this one for £10.

Nest egg necklace, following on with the bird theme here! This is next on my wishlist.

I'm Late, I'm Late Brooch. Simply put, I need this.

If anyone wants the necklace I have on, you can find it here.
And now following writing this post I have The Smiths - This Charming Man in my head. Have a listen!



I would go out tonight,
But I haven't got a stitch to wear,
This man said it's gruesome that someone so handsome should care.

Little popcorn cupcakes!

I'm having my last taught class as a film student today, sad times. I really love my course. I was so glad to stay on another year and take a Masters course but this is it for now, even if I do a PhD it won't be taught. I thought I would make some cupcakes for the class, it's my industries and audiences class and we are watching the Korean film My Sassy Girl (which I am told is lovely despite the terrible name) so it should be a relaxing change to Battle Royale and Oldboy (even if they are two of my favourite films!).

Popcorn cupcakes
I thought I would make the picture a little film themed too!

Since it's film class I wanted to make something a little themed. I went for cupcakes that look like little popcorn tubs. I found the template for the wrappers online on a website called Max and Otis designs. I bought them at $3 which is nothing, printed them on card and cut them out. I think they look great! The cupcakes are just vanilla, and then to make the popcorn effect on top I cut up marshmallows, toasted them and decorated them with a little yellow food colouring. I could have used real popcorn but it would have been soggy and gross, and the toasted marshmallows taste great.

Popcorn cupcakes
I really should have cut these out more carefully looking at these photos, must wear my glasses next time!

Popcorn cupcakes

Popcorn cupcakes

Popcorn cupcakes



Illustration by Sarah Kane.


Please excuse me being really dorky in those photos on the right!

Hello all, anyone who has visited the blog tonight may have noticed it has been given quite the makeover. I know I added a lovely header from Rai last week but that was originally ordered for leaflets while my friend who has been ill was finishing off the work for this new design. I just want to point out I haven't changed it because I didn't like Rai's work, I love it to bits and highly recommend her! It was always intended to be temporary!

Besties.
This is the only photo of mine in this post, all others were taken by Sarah.

My best friend in the world is Sarah Kane, a hugely talented photographer and illustrator. I have done a short feature on her before, when this blog was still relatively small in terms of readership so since that has changed as has the appearance I thought I would do a new post on Sarah's work.


One of my favs that Sarah took of my cupcakes.

In addition to her mad photography skills, Sarah is also an excellent illustrator and did this wonderful blog header for me. Do you recognise any of it from my tattoos?

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Sarah is taking commissions for fine art illustrations as well as prints of her originals at the moment, and offers really reasonable rates. She's perfect for designing blog headers, logos, illustrations for a children's room etc, her work makes a wonderful gift as well so if you are interested then you can contact her here. Also be sure to subscribe to Sarah's blog.

P.S. Check out these awesome photos Sarah took of me decorating cupcakes on our Oscars night earlier this year.



P.P.S. Please let me know if you encounter any problems with the new layout, my code writing skills are a bit sketchy!

Lingerie by Bravissimo.

Bravissimo review

My friend Amelia is constantly raving about Bravissimo so when they offered to send me a set to try out I couldn't resist! If you have read my blog for a while you might remember this post where I complained about finding lingere and clothes that actually fit over my boobs. Here's a snippet from Bravissimo's website,

Bravissimo is a company that provides a wide choice of lingerie and swimwear in D-KK cup, as well as clothing designed especially for big boobed women so that they can celebrate their curves and feel good about themselves!

Bravissimo review

My poor mum was so worried when I told her I was doing a review of underwear, she thought I was going to have to pose in them for you lot! Erm, no Mum! We don't have a Bravissimo in Belfast so I was a bit confused as to how the fitting service was going to work but it was all done over the phone and it was a fun (and funny, at times) experience. Basically it involved the assistant asking me questions such as what size is the bra you have on now, how much give is there when you pull on the sides etc, I had to do the Mexican wave at one point; thankfully I was on my own! I'm pretty sure I looked a bit odd!

Bravissimo review

Bravissimo review

The parcel arrived within two days and the items are beautiful. I would definitely recommend this company to other women who struggle to find pretty bras in their size! They have a really wide range of gorgeous sets as well as swimwear (look how pretty!) and nightwear. Bravissimo have also started selling clothes now as well under the name Pepperberry. When I have a bit more money I will have to place an order, some of the dresses look lovely and I am fed up buying dresses in a bigger size so that they fit over my chest even though they are too big everywhere else!

So do check them out, and Bravissimo - please open a Belfast branch!


Cupcake Camp IE 2011


Cupcake Camp was today! It was amazing! If you had asked me the night before when I had baked over 100 cupcakes and had to be in work for 7:30am I might have said something different but I am so glad I went. The day was brilliant, so well run and well attended and lots of money was raised for Marie Curie cancer care.

Cupcake Camp IE 2011

People keep asking me what exactly Cupcake Camp is, well basically it's a day where both pro and amateur bakers (like myself) bring cupcakes, set up a table and open the doors to the public to come and feast for free! Yep, totally free cupcakes all day. There were competitions as well. Now, I never win anything - or I very rarely do. So imagine how chuffed I was to win a prize, the judges decided when looking at the cupcakes entered to add a category for Best Decorated Cupcake and I won for my Cookie Monster Coconuts! I was really embarassed and had to go up and probably looked really silly but it was lovely to win something, and I got £50 in vouchers to spend in my favourite cake shop so I will be stocking up very soon!

It was so lovely to meet and mix with fellow bakers and to meet some of my lovely blog readers. Thanks to Ciaran for running the event, please do another one next year!

Below are some photos of my set up and my cupcakes, thanks to my lovely little sister and her friends for helping me all day!

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I made the bunting using paint believe it or now. Yay for limited computer skills!

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My niece was on hand to help (i.e. eat lots of frosting).

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And some of the other lovely bakers cupcakes below! I can't remember who is who, if you see your cupcakes here and want a link added please contact me!

Cupcake Camp IE 2011

From Life is Sweet :)

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Cupcake Camp IE 2011