“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
― Joseph Chilton Pearce
With the all clear on cosmetic application and a birthday party rolling ’round, it only seemed sensible to pop into the Victoria Quarter’s Illamasqua store in Leeds for a play.
After being taken upstairs to their ever-so-glamorous makeover room, my appointed MUA – Charli Butterfield (Charlixo, to fellow Instagrammers) – got straight on to stealing my heart with ‘holy grail’ recommendations and her general loveliness.
Over the hour, we harped on about tattoos, the magic of Illamasqua’s Furore pigment (used in the finished look), our shared girlcrush on Alex Box, and the woes of looking ten years younger than you actually are.
When the final look was revealed, I made a personal vow to return to her chair for every and any big event ahead. Then took an unreasonable number of selfies.
Every time, Illamasqua. Every time. :’)
I spent the last week playing ‘Top Gear’ with one and it was an absolute treat. At the end of last year, Ford released two new editions – black and red – to add to their Fiesta Zetec S catalogue. For your viewing pleasure, I have reviewed the gorgeous little eco racer on video (so click that red play button below!).
This might be the most financially-threatening blog hobby to date.
With my next birthday approaching and no wedding or funeral on the horizon, I decided to throw a very glittery birthday party to get my nearest and dearest surrounded by fun, noms, and each other’s greatness.
…with packs of 16-inch metallic confetti balloons and 34-inch giant gold numbers from Bubblegum Balloons (the latter of which are still floating strong). Because the main room we held the party in has quite low ceilings and LED spotlights, we chose not to secure them but them them float just above people’s heads like confetti-filled clouds. The numbers, however, were held down with Bubblegum’s adorable little weights.
The majority of other supplies were all from Partyrama and their party superstore; the inflatable beer pong trophy, clear beer pong cups, gold and silver cups, gold and silver serving trays, table confetti, printed gold napkins, et al. It’s all in the details.
…cake pops to amuse the bouche and the incredible 10-inchers from Pizza Loco and their mobile pizza train. As well as being an insane visual addition to the party, the train delivered specialist pizzas as fresh as they come; the Magic Mushroom (chestnut and field mushrooms, oven roasted garlic, cheddar and mozzarella sprinkled with Parmesan and truffle oil), the French Melt (mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, French Brie or Camembert, and rocket), and the Analucian (mozzarella and Manchego cheese, spicy chorizo, and mixed marinated olives).
…for hours upon hours in the ingenious Booth Revolution photo booth. With ex-policeman Nigel manning the booth (and ever so kindly catching flyaway beer pong balls for us), the four-person booth became Party Central.
And often filled with more than four people.
Though Booth Revolution have deluxe-sized booths, the ‘classic’ option was party perfect and came with three hours hire time, the lovely Nigel (though I’m sure he doesn’t come with every party), a props box, backdrop, unlimited instant 6 x 4” prints, a password protected online gallery, unlimited downloads (6 x 4” size), a disc of all the images, and full set up and break down.
…and drank and drank. Beer pong, a magnum of Prosecco, and an emptied bar cart on top of my generous (and loose) punch pouring makes for happy faces all ’round.
To this month’s party playlist on Spotify, obvs.
In preparation for my birthday party (more on that tomorrow), the Manfriend’s mum and I trialled a fair share of cake pop recipes, selected our favourites, and combined the most foolproof and delicious results to create this very easy cake pops recipe.
The final three variations were red velvet cake with white chocolate (and sprinkles!), vanilla cake with milk chocolate (and edible glitter!), and lemon cake with dark chocolate (and desicctaed coconut!), though the recipe will allow you to make any flavour combination of your choice.
– A cake (each cake makes roughly 12 cake pops – I chose to make three cakes as I wanted a variety of options for the party guests to choose from)
– A tub of icing (you can use fresh if you have the patience, but Betty Crocker icing is a fantastic alternative)
– Cake pop toppings (I chose edible glitter, coconut, and sprinkles)
– A large ‘family sized’ bar of chocolate (I chose three so each cake had a different ‘coat’)
– Lollipop sticks
– A styrofoam block or something similar
1. Make your cake! I did this one day in advance as I had three to knock out, but if you are making this on the day just ensure you have left one hour for the cake to completely cool.
2. Blend your cake for 10 seconds using a blender or food processor (it should all be milled, but not be too fine; photo guide, below).
3. Get out a sheet of greaseproof paper.
4. Put the blended cake into a large bowl and mix in a heaped spoonful of icing. Mix together until you reach a doughy consistency – adding more icing if needed – and roll into cake balls.
5. Put the cake balls on the greaseproof paper and refrigerate inside plastic containers for at least two hours.
6. Take the cake balls out of the fridge and place to the side while melting chocolate over the hob (best results come from placing in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water).
7. Dip the end of your lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and stick that end into a cake ball. This helps secure the ball to the stick as you load weight (chocolate) onto it.
8. After a minute, coat your cake ball in chocolate – smoothing out with a spoon when required – and stick it into your styrofoam block.
9. As the chocolate dries, sprinkle your toppings on top of each cake pop so they attach securely.
10. Rinse and repeat until all cake pops are made!
11. Let the cake pops stand for one hour in a cool spot. Remove from the block and refrigerate in your container of choice until ready to serve.