Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Love Hearts


Today I'm sharing with you a super easy 'no bake' recipe to make a sweet treat gift ideal for your loved one and perfect for Valentines Day! Not so long ago I purchased a heart mould that I've been itching to use and this was a great opportunity to start using it. Whether these are for a romantic gesture or a sweet gift for a friend, they'll love these dark chocolate & raspberry love hearts!

Here's what you'll need -

200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) - broken into pieces
4 tbsp freeze dried raspberries (or any preferred dried ingredient's)

medium bowl
wooden spoon
tea towel
palette knife
heart shaped mould

1. Place two-thirds of the broken chocolate into a mixing bowl and place it over a saucepan that's half filled with water but the water shouldn't be touching the bowl. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and don't let it boil or the chocolate will burn.

2. Leave the chocolate to gently heat and melt, stirring occasionally. When it has all melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and wrap a tea towel around the bowl to prevent the chocolate from cooling too quickly.

3. Place the remaining third of the chocolate into the bowl and stir. When the chocolate has melted, leave to one side whilst you prepare the heart mould.

4. Make sure when you use a mould that its clean, dry and lint free, then use a teaspoon to transfer the chocolate into each heart. Use a second spoon to scrape the chocolate away from the first spoon. each heart should be full but don't worry if it goes over the edges.

5. Once all the hearts are filled, holding the sides lightly tap on the surface so any trapped air bubbles disappear. You'll also see if any of the hearts need topping up if they're not filled completely. If any of the hearts become overfilled, gently scrape away excess chocolate with a palette knife. Smooth it from one side to the other and then place the excess chocolate back in the bowl.

6. Time for the fun bit! Pour a handful of the dried raspberry into your hand, sprinkle over each filled heart so that each heart is fully covered. Repeat this process until all are done.

7. Now place the mould in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes, when the chocolates are ready they should be hard and would have shrunk away from the sides a little. To remove the chocolates from the mould flex the sides and the chocolate should pop out.

8. Flip the chocolates over so you can see the glossy surface of your sweet treats! One key thing to do when removing the hearts from the mould is make sure your hands aren't too warm. I have really warm hands and nearly melted mine whilst doing this.

9. Your sweet treat loves hearts are done but why not make them more personal by wrapping each heart in gold foil. Place in a either a small box with tissue paper or clear bag with ribbon. Either way your loved one will love these delightful love hearts!! Enjoy!

I'd love to know if your making anything for your loved one? Do you have anything planned?

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ModCloth Make The Cut Contest: 'Prints Charming'

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Have you always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer? Well now that dream can come true! The ModCloth Make The Cut program is a recurring design contest that invites the ModCloth Community to design garments, graphics, or fabric prints. Its main purpose is to further their mission of democratizing fashion by producing clothing designed by community members. YOU can become a designer at ModCloth!

How does the contest work?

Entrants will design a new print for a private label dress silhouette that is already being produced! Contestants have two weeks to submit designs. After the submission period, the ModCloth Creative Team will narrow down the submissions to 20, which will be sent to the guest judge, Amanda Needham, Costume Designer for Portlandia. After Amanda has chosen the 10 finalists, they will be posted on the Be The Buyer page for voting. There will be a week for the Community to vote, then ModCloth will contact the winner and update the contest announcement with the big news!

•    Contest is Live Now!
•    End of Submission Period: Friday 02/14/14
•    Launch voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/03/14
•    End voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/10/14
•    Winner announced on ModCloth Blog (winner will be contacted personally): Wednesday 3/12/14

Send your entry in now and good luck!!

(This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.)

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Bake Days - Coffee & Walnut Cake


Good evening dears,

I hope your all having a wonderful week and depending on what part of the world your situated in I hope it's warmer and drier than here in the UK! It's been raining badly for about a week now and the temperature has dropped along with it. It's started to bring my mood down so I decided to do some baking to cheer me up.

My dear husband has been saying how much he wants me to try baking a Coffee & Walnut cake. He just LOVES coffee cake so I couldn't say no! A couple of weeks ago I managed to purchase the Cupcakes From The Primrose Bakery book for a snag price of £3 from Home Bargains! I jumped up & down like a kid in a sweet shop when I found it ha! Inside I found the perfect recipe to try the cake out and boy it turned out awesome if I don't say so myself :)

Here's what you'll need -

For the batter

x2 8inch cake tins
175g unsalted butter at room temperature (I used soya butter as a replacement)
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs - free range or organic
175g self-raising flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
75g walnut halves
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder mixed with a little water

For the syrup

1 tbsp instant coffee
50g demerara sugar
55ml hot water

For the butter cream & decoration

150g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk (I used soya milk as a replacement)
2 tbsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in a little hot water
500g icing sugar, sifted
10-12 walnut halves

Preheat your oven to 170c (fan)/190c. Grease and line two 8inch cake tins.

1. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale & smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the flour gradually and beat well until all combined.

2. Grind the walnuts in a food processor for about 30 seconds or so though they should not be too fine. Add the coffee & ground walnuts to the batter and mix again but for no more than a few seconds. The mixture should have a marbled effect and it is important not to over mix or you will take out all the air in the cake batter.

3. Divide the delightful batter mix evenly between the prepared tins, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until raised and golden brown. Insert a skewer in the centre the cakes and it should come out clean.

4. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the tins. Whilst they're cooling down, make up the syrup. Combined all the ingredients in a small bowl or jug and stirring well to ensure the sugar has dissolved completely. After about 10-15 minutes, prick the cake sponges with a fork then brush on the syrup and let the syrup soak in.

Now to make the yummy coffee butter cream!

5. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, espresso powder mixture and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar a bit at a time until the butter cream is smooth & creamy. Place in the fridge until your ready to ice your cake.

6. When you're ready to decorate the cakes, carefully turn them out of their tins and remove the baking paper. Place one cake on a serving dish/plate and spread a thin layer of the coffee butter cream over it. Place the second cake on top and use the rest of the butter cream to cover the rest of the cake. Spread over the top first and then around the edges using a spatula to smooth it out. Once covered, add the walnuts around the edge. Ta Da!

Adapted from Cupcakes From The Primrose Bakery

(Photo taken by Lulu)

This was my first attempt at making this cake and I gotta say I'm pretty proud with the turn out. My husband Paul loved it too! :)

Do you or your other half have a favourite cake?

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Liebster Award Q&A


Hello my lovely readers!

Can you believe it's February already!? The beginning of the year for me always goes so quickly and before you know it'll be Spring! (Secretly excited about that though!) After taking a few weeks away from all social media and my blog I'm happy to be back to start posting again, I'm looking forward to catching up on all the blog post's I've missed in my absence.

Yesterday afternoon I received the most wonderful news of being nominated for a Liebster Award from the ever so lovely duo Amanda & Katie. These two gals are seriously the sweetest ladies and I was so excited when they started their own blog. I've been following both of them on Instagram for a while and have a major gal crush on both of them! I've been nominated a few times before but for those who haven't heard of a Liebster Award its basically the person who receives it answers a set of questions from the previous blogger (whoever nominated you), and then creates the same number of questions to be answered by those they pass it along to. It's a great way to meet and get to know fellow bloggers and also for readers to get to know you by answering the questions set. Check out my first ever Liebster Award nomination here.

Here are my questions from Amanda & Katie -

1. What is your favourite non-fashion related hobby?
Hmm I'd have to say reading a good book that I could sit and read for hours. I've always been a keen book reader since a child, though I'm currently not reading anything at the moment. My next book purchase I would like to get is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. My book collection is a mixture of everything though, from fashion related books to horror!

2. If you had a super power, what would it be?
Oh this is a tricky one...I'd say being able to vanish (Teleport) and appear somewhere else in the world that I'm thinking of. Lately all I've been thinking of is planning our next trip to visit my friends in Portland, Oregon.

3. What is your favourite place that you have ever visited?
My favourite place so far would be visiting California last year!! It was my first time to the States for a friends wedding in Palm Springs & our honeymoon in San Diego. I'm not a keen flyer and had to dose up on medication just to get me on the darn plane! It changed my outlook on life and we'd love to move to the States in the near future. Check out our honeymoon adventure here.

4. What is your favourite thing about yourself?
I'd have to say my favourite thing about myself is my small waist! I only wear dresses or full skirts so I like the fact they shape me well. I'm kinda short so having the illusion of curves makes me feel more like a lady!

5. Do you have any pets? If yes, what are they?
Yes I do! I have a sweet but stubborn little 3 year old lady kitty called Sookie. If you follow me on Instagram you'll see how much I'm a crazy cat lady and how weird Sookie is! (Yes she's called after Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood ;) )

6. What is your favourite makeup product?
I'd have to say my Rimmel Liquid Eyeliner in jet black that I use everyday. Its been my go-to eyeliner since I was 15 years old and I can't seem to stray away from it. It's almost like my comfort zone and I feel lost without it!

7. Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?
Is baking cakes a hidden talent? I don't really know if I have any "real" talent Haha!

8. What is your favourite piece of clothing?
My favourite piece of clothing would be my first Polka Dots & Petticoats peach floral fifties dress that I got from my Mama for Christmas. It fit's perfectly and pulls in my tiny waist that I want one in every colour/pattern possible!

9. If you could go back in time and attend a party (think Cinderella), whose party would it be?
This really is a tricky question and it's took me nearly 30 minutes to think of one! I'd love to attend the Met Ball and be able to mingle with all the fashion designers and style icons! Plus I'd get to wear a pretty vintage dress!

10. If you could erase one fashion faux-pas from your teenage years, what would it be?
Oh my goodness I'll have to say my 'emo' stage through my teens where I wore skinny jeans with my studded belt every single day, complete with a fitted hardcore band t-shirt! My jet black hair had to cover my left eye and be back brushed until my hair fell out! Worst hair fashion faux-pas ever!! 

11. Favourite book or author?
My all-time favourite author would be Stephen King! The Shining is an awesome both book & film!

Here are my lovely nominees:
Claire/ Claire Bakes
Jewel/ Jewel Sha'ree
Jordyn/ Pretty Lovely
Diana/ Retro Glam
Alyson/ The Cats Will Play
Sandra/ Anchors & Honey

Basic instructions to make a post-
Answer the below questions, link back to the page that nominated you, and in turn nominate 11 more blogs and supply them with a list of 11 questions. I didn't nominate 11 blogs as I've nominated most of my favourite blogs previously, but that's the general idea. Blogs with under 1,000-ish followers can be nominated. Also don't forget to let the bloggers you nominated know that you did so. You're under no obligation to participate, it is just for fun & to meet new blogger friends!

My questions for you-
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
2. What is your favourite thing about yourself?
3. Do you have any pets? If yes, what are they?
4. What is your favourite makeup product you just can't live without?
5. Favourite genre of music? Least favourite genre of music?
6. All time favourite movie?
7. If you could only keep one vintage item that you own what would it be?
8. Most memorable day/night out?
9. When was the last time you had a day that felt like 'The Best Day Ever'?
10. Are you an early riser, or a night owl?
11. If you won a competition that gave you the chance to spend a whole day with you idol, who would you pick? (It can be a style icon/musician/author/reality star etc)

I can't wait to read what you answer for your questions! You gals are amazing!!

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