Friday, 29 March 2013


It was Mr F's birthday yesterday (he is so not impressed by being halfway to 50 now!!) so I baked him the old family favourite, Chocolate Cake.  Now, this is no ordinary chocolate cake, it is simply the best chocolate cake, in my humble opinion of course!!
Many years ago I started out on a mission to find the best chocolate cake I could & after baking, & sampling, too many to mention of the things, I finally had that hallelujah moment when I found this recipe.  All of the previous recipes I'd tried before this one had been ok.......but that was it, just ok.  Not brilliant or truly delicious or anything I'd particularly bake time & time again.  Until this little baby!!



When I first read the recipe & saw it contained Coca-Cola (or any other full-sugar cola drink!!) I thought it'd be really sugary sweet & a bit bleuurgghhh, truth be told.  But I've never been so happy to be proven wrong!!   It has never failed & I've passed on the recipe to many people who have also loved it & is now a firm family favourite.  So if you're after a really moist choc cake, that will stay moist for days after (not that it lasts longer than a day in my house!) then this is the one for you.  Thank you James Martin!!!


Chocolate Cola Cake                    180C/350F/Gas4              Lined 24cm tin
250g self-raising flour
300g golden caster sugar
3 heaped tbsp cocoa
generous pinch bicarbonate of soda
250g butter
250ml cola drink
125ml milk
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
100g butter
2 tbsp cola
2 tbsp cocoa
200g icing sugar, sieved
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa & bicarb into a bowl.  Melt the butter & cola gently in a pan.  Beat the eggs into the milk & add the vanilla extract.
Pour the butter & cola mix into the dry ingredients & mix well but gently.  Add the milk & eggs & mix well.
Pour the batter into the tin & bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven & cool while you make the frosting.
Melt the butter, cola & cocoa in a pan.  It may or may not split but don't worry if it does.
Pour onto the icing sugar & mix well.  Leave to cool down & thicken slightly.
Spread the frosting onto the cake while it is still slightly warm.
I've also adapted this cake slightly before by omitting the vanilla & replacing with pure orange extract & orange zest or peppermint extract to make choc orange or choc mint cake - obviously!!  It also makes great cupcakes, just lower the oven temperature to 170C & bake for 20-22 minutes.  Makes around 24 cupcakes.
I hope you try & enjoy this heavenly cake as much as we all do!!
Bon appetit!


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Beauty haul #1

I'm really depressed with all this snow that is showing no sign of stopping so yesterday I had a wee mooch around town & bought a few new bits to try in Superdrug.

1.  MUA Primer £4
2. Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Plumping Powder  £5.49
3.  MUA Eyebrow Pencil in Blonde £1
4.  Essie polish in Eternal Optimist £7.99
5.  Sleek Pout Polish in Perfect Plum £4.29

Over the years & through my work, I think I've used pretty much every cosmetic & skin care brand available in the UK but I'm still keen to try new stuff.  Now, I'm a stay-at-home mum of three on a very strict budget but even I am a tad dubious at the quality of the MUA products being that they retail at such low prices.  I really hope to be impressed with these though.  I've used the Primer this morning for the first time under my foundation & I have to say, it felt really smoothing when it was applied.  I can't say that it has made a huge difference to the application or indeed the finish of my foundation but to be honest, I was in a real rush today.  Tomorrow I will take more time & see if I notice a difference.  But hey, for those sort of prices, they've got to be worth a shot right?

Tresemmé is a brand I have a love/hate relationship with.  I really like most of their styling products but I often don't get on with their shampoos & conditioners which is a crying shame as they're such good value!  I've been looking for a volume booster for my hair for when I'm in a beehive kind of mood so it'll be interesting to see how it this space!

Although I have several boxes full of nail polishes, Essie is a brand I've never got around to trying for some reason.  Actually, I do know the reason.....the price!  Normally, I wouldn't dream of spending £7.99 on a nail polish as I tend to buy mine in my local salon supplier so I get them at trade prices but I keep reading such good things about them, I decided to use my Superdrug points & get one!!  I love the colour, a neutral warm pink with a hint of brown so I feel a mani coming on tonight to give it a whirl.  I have to say though that I adore the range of colours offered by Essie but although their stands are brightly lit, this can sometimes be a tad misleading on the colour you're actually getting.  I thought this colour was more brown in the store but it's still lovely so it's all good!

I've tried the Sleek eye shadow palettes before & I LOVE them.  They're really densely pigmented & they have huge staying power but it's a first for me with the lip colours.  I'm hoping it will be as richly pigmented as the powders although the Pout Polish is a tinted lip conditioner, not a lipstick or gloss even but still, I want it to have some impact on my lips!  Incidentally, when trying out lip colours in stores, don't swipe them on the back of your hand.  As a former MUA, I've always taught my clients so test colours on the pads of their fingertips as the thinness & colour of skin is very similar to your lips so you will get a more realistic & accurate colour!!
So I'll be giving these products a shot over the next few days & will blog a follow-up on them asap.  À bientôt!!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Let me introduce myself......

Ok, so after months of deliberating, I've finally made a blog - yay me!!  I'm still tweaking it so it may keep changing but my general witterings will stay the same!

Basically, I'm hoping to use this blog as a sort of mood board for my everyday life.  You'll find my favourite recipes & wines, book reviews, beauty product reviews & well, a bit of everything that I love! You'll also realise pretty quickly how I'm really not looking forward to turning 40......I certainly didn't give my permission for this milestone to suddenly creep up on me like it has - it just sounds so very grown up, not at all how I feel!  I got my blog name from a scene in Ab Fab where Eddie's ex Marshall is in town with his American wife Bo.  She starts to hyperventilate when asked about turning 50 & Marshall states that she hasn't started 'fifty therapy' yet!!  I remember thinking, "yup, that'll be me when I'm about to turn 40!"  so I'm hoping this blog will serve as my very own Forty Therapy!!  Anyhoo........

I really enjoy reading other blogs & feeling like I'm getting to know the blogger through their words but I've decided to make this a bit easier for you by compiling a list that pretty much sums me up in 29 bullet points.........

  • Favourite colours are red & black
  • I am a self-confessed beauty product junkie
  • Favourite patterns are leopard & polka dot
  • I hate bad manners & rude shop-assistants/doctors' receptionists/waitresses etc
  • The best noise is the glug glug of wine pouring at the end of the day
  • I'm a rock chick through & through......unless we're talking about Robbie Williams......I love RW!!
  • Favourite films are Thelma & Louise & Grease
  • Favourite tv show is Friends (yes, even now!)
  • I can't stop buying cook books
  • I love to cook & especially bake.......& then scoff said baked goods!
  • Favourite tipple is red wine, Shiraz for everyday or Chateauneuf du Pape for special occasions
  • I despise tea, I'm a cawfee girl, always have been, always will be
  • I love winter & cosying up in front of the fire
  • I never have bare toe nails....ever, nail polish all the way!!
  • Stationary shops have a strange magnetic draw for me.  Stick me in Paperchase for an hour & I'm a happy camper!
  • Rome & Marrakesh are next on my list of places to visit
  • I love Disneyworld!!
  • Peonies & tulips are my favourite flowers.
  • I don't like roses, chrysanthemums or carnations
  • I'm very envious of arty, creative people
  • I was a beauty therapist & makeup artist BC (before children that is!)
  • I never leave the house without mascara.....I've tried.....I don't like it, I felt naked......
  • Married in Las Vegas in '96, still love my man like crazy :)
  • I love to read & have a ridiculous amount of books & adore my Kindle app on my iPad
  • I'd really love an old VW Campervan....but it must be red with cream leather seats & Cath Kidston curtains!
  • Facebook & Twitter ARE my social life now.....sad, I know......
  • I'm totally addicted to Pinterest, espcially the wedding boards...which is weird seeing as I've been married for 17 years!
  • My kids rock!!
  • In my head, I'm still 18 & a size 8.......& then the mirror is evil & shows me the truth!

So, that's pretty much me.  I hope you keep popping back to read my ramblings whether they be short or lengthy!

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