Pretty (and) delicious

Confession never heard before: I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth. Too much sugar does make me sick quite quickly and I don’t tend to crave sweets very often. Not even chocolate. There, I said it.

However, how could one even consider resisting these amazingly pretty cupcakes from boutique cake studio The Pink Kitchen?

Especially when they come hand delivered by baking extraordinaire Aline Wickens, the mega talented cake designer behind the bakery? No way!

They came in time for my birthday celebration and I must say they were a hit with the guests and a feast for the eyes.

The new collection has some cupcakes with pipettes filled with a special sauces that gives them that extra oomph.

After much doubt (as they all sound amazing), I picked the chocolate and Bailey’s, raspberry and mascarpone and lemon and blueberry flavours for my birthday.

To start with, the cupcake dough is fluffy, ever so light, moist and not overly sweet, which I love.

The icing is smooth (and quite dreamy like a sugary cloud), flavoured to perfection.

All the elements (be it with a pipette or not) are beautifully balanced to create a cupcake that is enjoyable from beginning to end – in all the flavours I tried!

And I even got a bonus: amazing Brazilian truffles – brigadeiros – and coconut beijinhos <3, so fresh, with perfect texture and flavour.

More than a small bite

But if those babies are impressive, wait until you see their real business: the cakes. The Pink Kitchen specialises in impeccably elegant cakes for all occasions.

Aline’s sugar skills are amazing, as are her creations, which frankly look like works of art; all custom designed, freshly baked and beautifully decorated.

On top of it all, The Pink Kitchen also specialises in dairy free, eggless and vegan cakes, and cater for many dietary restrictions.

There are cakes, cupcakes, pop cakes and mini cupcakes. The Pink Kitchen also creates personalised cupcakes for businesses, as well as catering for events and photo shoots on top of the usual birthdays, weddings and other celebratory occasions.

I am also told she creates gorgeous dessert tables! All delicious, of course!

Cake wonders aside, Aline is very sweet (see what I did here?), very talented, creative, hard working and strives to meet your taste, brief and budget!

You can check out everything The Pink Kitchen has to on their website and you can contact the super friendly Aline to talk about you requirements.

Yum!

written by Dani

 

So I did *some* cooking…

By the headline you’d think I cannot cook to save my life. That is not entirely true. I might not be the most enthusiastic cook but when I am feeling it I can really deliver. Fact.

I had never tried Flora Freedom before, and when I received my hamper and found out about the new flavours – avocado & lime, coconut & almond and walnut –  and the recipes created by Benjamina Ebuehi using the spreads, I was ready to give a go.

Flora Freedom is a dairy free range of spreads, also free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours and certified by the Vegan Society. The spreads can be used for cooking, baking and of course, spreading. They have 45-60% less fat than butter and 100% of the oils used come from plants.

Obviously, I was immediately drawn to the Avocado oil and Lime flavour and it quickly became my go to bread spread for my usual breakfast of avocados and boiled egg.

Also great for cooking omelettes or adding garlic, chopped herbs or black pepper for a special spread. I like with coriander.

I also used it to make one of the recipes, the avocado and lime buckwheat pancakes, which I really liked as they have two options – one vegetarian and one for the meat eaters.

I went for the veggie one and if you want, you can try them using the recipe below – it’s pretty easy!

Avocado & Lime Buckwheat Pancakes

  • Servings: 4 (2 pancakes each)
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

300ml semi skimmed milk, 55g wholemeal flour, 55g buckwheat flour, 1 egg, 25 g Flora Freedom Avocado & Lime, melted

Filling

Cooked beetroot (diced), 50g goats cheese (sliced), 1 avocado (sliced).

Or

2 avocados (sliced), 4 rashers bacon, 175g cherry tomatoes (halved), handful coriander (chopped).

Preparation

  1. For the batter: place flours in a mixing bowl, add egg and gradually whisk in milk, beating well. Stir in a teaspoon of the melted Flora.
  2. Heat a little of the remaining Flora in a frying pan and pour in a little batter, tip pan to spread. Cook until underside is golden brown and then cook other side.  Repeat until all batter is used.
  3. Divide your chosen filling between the pancakes and fold or roll.

I was, actually, very surprised at the coconut & almond one, it’s delicious on toast! It is the perfect spread for sweeter breads, and Benjamina suggests it on shortbread, in the topping of fruit crumble or – my favourite option – melted to make homemade granola.

The walnut flavour is nutty and great for shortcrust pastry, cheese biscuits and cake icing!

I have to say that overall, I was quite impressed with the flavours in the range, even alone as spreads. I don’t have any dietary requirements, but feel they are not a “tasteless” options to satisfy a special diet, but tasty for every day use.

You might find the coconut one very pale, but it is some proof that no artificial colours have been used!

Each 225g Flora Freeedom Dairy Free tub retails for £1.50 (RRP). There are tons of free recipes on flora.com

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

And… breathe

Anxiety is something I have carried with me for a long time. Although rather manageable most of the time, there are periods that it still gets the best of me, no matter how many defense mechanisms I have against it.

The first time I came across aromatherapy breathing roll ons was after the this works energy bank launch event. I loved the range, but was really intrigued by that little roll on.

Fast forward a bit a few have come into my life. I feel the different scents do evoke feelings of calmness, energy, relaxation but for me, the most important thing is the time you take to breathe.

Sounds weird but most of us do not find time in our days to breathe mindfully. We our always on the go, with our heads on the schedule ahead, with a million thoughts overlapping. And if you are an anxious person, multiply that by 100, on a good day.

For me, the simple reminder of that little fragrant tube begs me to stop (hammer time! Not really), take some time out, breathe deeply a few times and think of nothing. And resume.

At the moment I have a few on the go, with a heavy bias towards the this works breathe ins, which have a natural blend of super oils. I apply them on my wrist, rub against the other and breathe away.

The energy bank fragrance is brilliantly awakening, with soothing orange oil, mood-boosting rosemary and energising geranium.

It is really an awakening fragrance, a fab post-lunch pick-me-up and costs £18 for 8ml.

The deep sleep stress less breathe in shown was reformulated and renamed as stress check and is now part of the fantastic stress check range.

It is calming, refreshing and really opens the airways for even deeper breaths, formulated with eucalyptus, frankincense and lavender oil . The packaging is now white for all this works breathe in roll ons, and they are very affordable at £16 each.

Bamford’s Padmasanainspired by the yoga pose of the same name, is a 100% organic blend of rosemary, ginger and basil oils, for concentration as it helps to restore mental strength and clear the mind.

It is quite fragrant, quite smoky to start with and then quite herbal.

Finally, a little spray from Evolve Organic Beauty, the Tranquility Essence with lavender, bergamot and cedarwood.

Although it contains alcohol in its formula, I really love this spray. It is not overpowering, quite citrus and you can really get the lavender at the end.

This is little helping hand is very useful if, like me, you struggle to naturally take a little time to breathe.

What’s your go to method to get your daily dose of mindfulness?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Get your Shine (Shack) on!

 

My love of glitter is never ending. From the tiny pots mum started to buy when I was around 8 that doubled up as school crafts and hair adornment for ballet presentations, to the same little pots purchased years later to comply with the 90s “glitter round the eye” trend, my love for it never grew smaller.

If anything, it just grew, may I say, exponentially, in the last years. And I have no shame. Glitter Milanese is the goal (#GlitterMilanese/#MilanesaDeGlitter, you saw here first hahahaha).

So you guys have no idea what meant to me to be invited by the amazing girls at Shine Shack to have a glitter makeover for Lovebox at their beyond fabulous pop up at Missguided Westfield Stratford.

I mean, who am I kidding? I’ll never get over the fact my girl crush and glitter goddess Posie Dwyer actually touched my face and glittered me up <3. I’d been Insta-stalking them for aaaages!

So off I went on my “disco ball day”, with my lovely Carol in tow to get to shine even brighter and spread their sparkle even further on the second day of Lovebox.

I got a proper silver holo that was all sorts of fabulous and Carol an amazing pastel-y gradient. The gem design is customised, as well as the glitter combos and obviously Posie and the Angels listen to what you want and deliver extra.

Basically, it is a happy event altogether: they are happy, it’s a great vibe, there is clearly a huge passion behind the brand and work that is done and you can definitely feel that. Plus, glitter IS life so…

Here’s a ridiculously excited story I posted on Insta still at Missguided after being Shine Shacked:

You can have from a simple bio glitter huge sprinkle on the parting of your hair (£3) to lovely braiding (£15, various styles, add rings for an extra £5), as well as glitter on one side of the face, gems, or the full works: glitter on both side of the face, chest plus gems on both (from £7 to £30). Take a look at their divine shimmery menu below.

I mean, I did some glitter on my face on Friday but this was EXTRA. Another level, I cannot recommend enough.

Shine Shack is at Missguided Westfield Stratford (on the right as you come in) on Fridays and Saturdays 10-5pm and Sundays 12-6pm all summer . You can pay at the till for your makeover.

Apart from having it applied professionally and lovingly by the Angles, you can also buy their sparkly range of glitter (from £5.50 – £16.50), accessories (from 2.50) and the brand new mix and match gems (£8) if you fancy DIYing on the Shine Shack website and at Missguided.

Plus, you can catch them at festivals this summer and they are available for private booking – parties and functions: just get in touch and they will have a package to suit you

On top of it all, crushes and love of glitter aside (which might make me biased as I barely managed to remove it all from my face and body as I wrote this), it is amazing to see young, talented women working hard doing what they love,  succeeding and spreading happiness in the process. It is inspiring and empowering and I am a fan, unashamedly.

You might as well just go and follow them on Instagram @shineshack: it will add that extra glam sparkle to your feed!

written by Dani

Yes, I was invited and was lucky to be offered the glitter makover for myself and Carol. But I love the guys and would recommend 10 times over. 

 

Festive, me?

2017. I am doing festivals. What?! I hear you shriek in disbelief. Really?

That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I dipped my toes for a day once, a couple of years ago, but never really got into it.

The fact that on festivals you can get away with copious amounts of glitter on your body is too big an attractive for me to pass.

But fear not, it’s still me and you won’t catch me camping anytime soon.

To open the season, I am going to ease myself with GALA, in Brockwell Park on the 28th May, bank holiday weekend, and welcome summer with Carol in a disco fashion with a very local vibe.

Of course, preparations have started – you know me, nothing happens without due preparation.

I’ve decided silver holo is the way forward for this one, because…disco ball. Stars, chunky and fine glitter are waiting to be devised into some shimmery face adornments.

As for outfit, I am keeping my options open. It’s London after all and the weather will dictate what I wear (plus I won’t tell you in advance, silly!) but expect some fun and comfortable, married with comfy footwear. I might crimp my hair. Just putting it out there.

In my bag, Dove deodorant, Gucci Guilty roll on perfume, the Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF mist, lollipops, lipstick, glitter, a fan and a power pack for the phone.

Juuuust in case it turns into an after party (or just for that post frantic dancing much needed touch up), I will have some powder, concealer, eyeliner and that e.l.f. Baked highlighter/blusher duo at hand.

Now, enough about me. Let’s dissect this. GALA will host the holy trinity of disco: Studio 54’s Nicky Siano, Paradise Garage DJs and Horse Meat Disco.

And that is not all, expect to also boogie to the sound of Late Night Tuff Guy (a Bowie tribute), Moxie, Honey Soundsystem, Afriquoi, Stevie Wonderland, Crazy P Soundsystem Live, Love Glove, Mood II Swing, Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda, Bas Ibellini, Krywald & Farrer and NixWax.

Gala 2016

What if all that dancing get you hungry? Fear not, there will be a feast of South London independent food on offer: The Joint (delish BBQ, bread from prison guys), Kriket (Indian small dishes), Bill or Beak (pulled duck? Drool. You know what I’m having).

They are joined by The Chicken Shop (succulent rotisserie chicken), Kerbisher and Malt (traditional fish and chips), Fatties Bakery (deserts. Amazing ones. Salted caramel dreams. I am not going to disagree), Made of Dough (pizza, pizza!), Killa Dilla (sexy quesadillas) and Oh My Dog (also sexy hot dogs) to make sure you’re suitably fed. Yum.

And to ensure you’re properly watered, the Soulshakers (they are bar and cocktails experts. Here’s my number), Brixton Brewery (local, independent, full of craft beer), Brick Brewery (a Peckham microbrewery) and Canopy Beer (a Herne Hill microbrewery) will be at hand for refreshments galore.

This is a bit of what went down last year!

Now, how much you ask? Tickets started at £20 but at the moment, they are on third release through good old Resident Advisor (how I love thee) for £35 plus £3.50 booking fee, which is excellent value for money.

You can also get a group ticket for £140 for 5 people or early entry (before 13:30) for £25, and the 10% booking fee also applies.

It starts at 12 and goes to 22:30, last admission at 17:00, with an after party at Jamm (£10 + £1.30 booking fee).

And you might bump into me (YAY). I’ll be the shiny disco ball-like girl bouncing around.

To get all the information go to thisisgala.co.uk.

Right, you know the drill… this is a bit of a PR post.

We are better together: Carol Aquino for So Many Lovely Things

Wow. That’s how I am opening. I never thought I’d get someone other than my selfish and picky self to write on So Many Lovely Things.

The day, however, has come. Welcome Carol Aquino *all clap*.

Our paths crossed randomly a few years ago but just recently we realised we may have more in common than previously accounted for. Add to that the fact Carol, originally from Rio but a good old London soul like myself, has enviable credentials and boom.

In all honesty, I am over the moon (surprised and a bit incredulous, tbh) she agreed to become a collaborator on So Many Lovely Things. I cannot say enough how ecstatic I am to get a bit of her shimmering sea of knowledge, professionalism and fun over the blog.

Ms. Aquino brings extensive fashion, style and communications expertise, plus a ridiculous gift for seeing the future (she works in trend forecasting) to the little blog, to make up for some of my shortcomings, mainly in knowledge, but also in, erm… lazy assness time to create more posts.

The low-dow:

  • MA in Fashion Journalism (London College of Fashion)
  • Extensive experience on international trend forecasting (she worked for Stylus and trendwatching.com)
  • A background in economics, mainly providing poignant research for politics.
  • An undying love of glitter and dancing (hello! <3)

Some of you may have already seen her on my Instagram or at an event, so will not be surprised to see her face (and wise words) ’round here too.

Carol will be covering fashion, trends, style, lifestyle and to be honest, anything she wants, gracing us with her fabulous flair and that eye in the future!

Catch her on Instagram (@carolaquino), Twitter (@querouaquino) and of course, here real soon.

Cool down, deliciously

img_7066Summer. The last couple of weeks have really felt there is a summer in the UK, albeit late I’ve been enjoying every bit I can.

And to help me keep cool, and have a deserved break during my working hours, I was sent me some delicious Magnum Double – Chocolate, Caramel and the new (my favourite), Peanut Butter.

img_7063Perfect for these days, The Magnum Double Peanut Butter is one of those indulgences that doesn’t cost a lot, under £2 per ice cream.

The sweetness of the chocolate and the ice cream are balanced by the saltiness of the peanut butter, making this the perfect ice cream for me.

img_7075Each Double has the normal velvety ice cream encased in chocolate, a layer of smooth sauce and another layers of chocolate. Biting into it is pure luxury for the senses: the taste, the textures, the sound of the crunch…

With the scorching sun, I took a break in my busy day to have lunch, clear my mind, enjoy the sun in Bloomsbury Square and treat myself to a delicious Magnum. Yum.

img_7067London certainly looked better that day! And there is still time to grab one to enjoy this warm bank holiday!

You can buy the Magnum Doubles in supermarkets nationwide. Multipacks are £3.35, for 3 and individual ice cream cost £1.90.

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This post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

#BloggersBelowZero at the ICEBAR London

icebar_rocks_barOh, how fun it is to be a blogger…. even below zero!

Well, it was indeed! I was very lucky to be invited by the lovely Lauren from Blonde Vision (who is an event organiser extraordinaire!) to attend an event at the ICEBAR London.

icebar_rocks_rock_girlI had been before, many years ago, so thought I knew it was going to be the same. What I didn’t know is that they change their theme every year.

For 2016, it’s something close to my heart: rock ‘n’ roll. Oh yeah. Think skulls, bleeding hearts and hot rock chicks.

img_7589My favourite bit is, doubtless, the huge skull, which weighs 1 tonne and you can get inside! Huge photo opportunity, right there.

All 40 tonnes of ice, sustainably sourced, come from Sweden, from the same river the famous Ice hotel is built from.

In fact, the same creative team working on the hotel makes the London ice bar! And they are already working on the ext theme, launching September 2016 (maybe for my birthday? Just saying…)

29th JulyThere are extremely detailed – and ambitious – sculptures.  Just check the original artwork from Joey Hifi and spot the hidden references, including Bowie, on the rock singer tattoos.

The walls also have a lot of detail this time, including over 260 hand carved studs.

You can get all the info on the work on the video below – it’s fascinating.

And why not see it being destroyed to give way to the new one? It takes seven days to remove and build a new one!!! Chainsaws at hand!

By the way, I am totally free at the end of August, if you need a hand at operation DESTROY!

And the ICEBAR London is an experience that will not cost you an arm and a leg (and within your allocated slot you shall not lose them to frostbite!).

BloggersbelowzeroRDA-111From only £13.50 or £16.50, you get 40 minutes at -5 degrees and a delicious cocktail (bigger than it looks!) inside an ice glass. Cool, eh?

Also, they have great events packages well worth checking! For all info, check the ICEBAR London website or call

A huge thank you to Lauren for organising and the ICEBAR London team for being so welcoming, lovely and helpful.

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This post was written based on a PR experience. Opinions are my own.

Stepping into another era in Camden, with Collectif Vintage Clothing

100 dresses. No, it is not number I go through every morning before deciding what to wear, silly. It is the number of Collectif dresses donned by lovely ladies at the Collectif Big Camden Party, which lived up to its “night of style, sass and swing” tagline wonderfully.

Choosing from seven beautiful Collectif vintage inspired dresses, we were treated to a fabulous retro hair do as well as a few glasses of prosecco and an unlimited amount of fun at the Collectif shop at Stables Market, in the heart of Camden Town.

I am a huge vintage inspired clothing fan. I don’t make it a lifestyle and don’t really stick to an era, but I pepper it around my own style; and the 50s are by far favourite time.

I love pencil skirts, cinched waists and I think that’s the best shape for my body; I feel comfortable and of course, pretty!

After squeezing myself into the gorgeous Yvonne Hanna Check Trim pencil dress and with my head suitably adorned with Victory rolls (by Lucy’s Vintage Hair) we moved on to Solomon’s Yard for the party.

And what a party it was. We were promised live bands, DJs, burlesque, magic, hoola hooping and Unicorns (yes, UNICORNS) ad boy, did they deliver that and more.

Welcomed by a vintage car and motorbikes, the stage was always filled with the most amazing acts: the Victory Sisters, an impeccable wartime vocal trio wearing pretty Collectif Maria Woodland Bloom Swing dresses.

There was beyond sassy burlesque from stunners The Folly Mixtures, with two cute and sexy acts, music spanning the eras between performances, courtesy of DJ Gem Precious and Diana Thompson.

Fabulous in orange drag queen Meth killed the comedy lip-syncing and got us all singing and laughing, and I even got some bonus spanking from the hilarious Levitating Elvis, with his boxing glove hair, an act so weird that is wonderful.

I do have to single out the not only gorgeous but super talented The Tootsie Rollers.

All five of them wore sultry siren Ingrid Fishtail evening dresses and left me smiling throughout the whole performance of pop sons with a swing twist. Extraordinary.

Finally, the unicorns. They came all the way from The Fabulus of Unicorns, a group of horn wearing, glitter-spreading people whose sole purpose is to disseminate love and happiness among humans. I mean, I just felt so happy around them that it’s not even funny.

I was of course, “kissed” by a unicorn and can still find glitter all over my house.

And there was dancing. Laughing. Such a fabulous atmosphere, fantastic happy people, all supporting a great brand with glamour that keeps giving.

My dress (and all the others I tried – sorry guys, you were fabulous and so kind trying to accommodate me) has an excellent finish and detailing, amazing cut, fits well and made me feel a million dollars.

All their clothes are amazing, the designs are obviously, vintage inspired, but very wearable. I have my eyes on a few little numbers, I tell you!

You can browse the beautiful Collectif Vintage Clothing collection on their website, I highly recommend it.

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To bra or not to bra

Janet agent provocateur

The bra – often an outfit’s unsung hero – has been under fire recently.

Turns out that our always supporting friend could be not that supporting after all. A French study shows some evidence that bras are actually sagging our breasts more! Shock, horror.

Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon from the University of Franche-Comté says that his studies, involving of 330 women between the ages of 18-35 over the last 17 years, show that wearing the garment could actually make the nipples drop 7mm more per year (!!!) than if not wearing it.

Apparently breasts will not develop support tissue when a bra is worn, thus sagging quicker. On top of that, some of the participants also said their posture was improved and they were breathing better.

Although he found evidence that bras don’t help keep our breasts perky, Professor Rouillon said he would not advise straight away that we all go bra-less.

I am not sure how I feel about this one; I certainly welcome removing that restriction, but I don’t know if I could adopt it 24×7.

What about you? Would you revolutionise and burn you bras to free your boobs for good?

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