Tuesday, 23 June 2015

How To #21: Death by Oreo Cupcakes

Okay, so my sugar detox thing isn't exactly going to plan, but this is cupcakes we're talking about.

It was Fathers' Day on Sunday, so I whipped up these as a treat because I totally didn't forget to buy a present.

Thanks to Pinterest, the possibilities of oreos are endless- oreo cheesecake, oreo tray bake, oreo pie- you name it.

This is why Pinterest is the greatest social media platform ever invented.

I used a packet mix to make the chocolate cake- because ain't nobody got time to whip it up from scratch, and I'm broke.

I also went through three and half packets of oreos, hence "death by oreo," this is not a hyperbole.

I also put oreos in the bottom of every cupcake case so they have a surprise oreo crunch at the bottom. So, yeah, surprise!

These are hellishly good, which is why I do not recommend making them whilst on an attempted sugar detox. Your willpower will fail you.


1 box of chocolate fudge cake packet mix (such as Betty Crocker, pictured below)

2 eggs, vegetable oil and water (to add to the packet mix if stated on the box)

Bucket loads of oreos (although 3 or 4 standard sized packets should do it)

Cream cheese style icing (also Betty Crocker, but you can make your own by using cream cheese and icing sugar)


1. Preheat oven to 180˚̊c/360˚̊F gas mark 4

2. Line a muffin tray with cake cases, placing one oreo in the bottom of each case, like so (below) 

3. Follow directions on the packet mix. For the love of God, DO NOT bake it.

4. Roughly chop half to 3/4 of a packet of oreos and combine with the cake mixture.

5. Spoon mixture into cases

6. Bake in oven for 15/20 minutes until well risen. If you poke the cake with a skewer, it should come out clean.

7. Leave to cool completely before icing.

8. With the remaining oreos (if you haven't eaten them all whilst you were waiting,) combine them with the cream cheese icing.

9. Ice cakes by hand or using a piping bag (although I find the icing goes further if you do it by hand.)

10. Use mini oreos or oreo pieces to decorate your oreo cupcakes as desired.

Had enough oreos yet?

Put on a plate and consume all immediately

Thanks for reading!


Check back soon for more How Tos, Daily Rays and Reviews.

I've added two new blogs to my 'Must Read' list, by my very good friends Kyle (author of the "What To Do With My Life" blog) and Chantelle (author of the "So It Must Be True" blog)- check them out!

Friday, 19 June 2015

BLOOD, SWEETS AND TEARS: Episode I; The Coffee Menace

Okay, there was no blood involved, but there may as well have been. Two days into my no caffeine or sugar thing, and I’m ready to tear the head off anyone who dares to speak to me before 9:00 in the morning.

It’s said that you should always look on the bright side of life. Well, I’ve seen the bright side of life, and it has coffee and oreos.

This is not the bright side of life; this is a different kind of miserable existence.

Truth be told, I did allow myself a cup of tea in the morning- because I feel like I may give up on life without it. I also had a party ring for breakfast because there was no other food in my flat and it was just sitting there, waiting.

They were just there okay?

Quick tip, if you’re going to lapse, make sure it’s in the early hours of the morning or in the dead of night so no one is witness to your shame.

By mid-afternoon, I was either ready to kill someone who dared mention the ‘C’ word or take a nap- there was no in between. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and eat ice cream, which I couldn’t do because of the sugar, because the world is a cruel, dark place.

The starting benefits of this crazed health kick were few and far between, but there were some. Or maybe I was just delirious from a lack of sleep.

Cutting out sugary snacks, which I usually ate, hmmm, let me think…EVERY FRICKIN’ HOUR OF THE DAY, meant I was more inclined to eat bigger meals. Terrible news for my summer 2k15 body goals, but I had an appetite that could only be parallel to that of the kid from Matilda who ate all the chocolate cake (childhood hero).

 I went out to a Turkish restaurant to eat and ordered the same meal that before I could only eat half of, instead polishing off the lot. I wasn’t sure whether to feel shame or achievement, but at least I didn’t throw it back up like last time (there was vodka involved, another story for another day.)

Since I had a nasty break up with coffee, I started to replace my usual caffeinated beverages with water, you know, that stuff that comes out of the tap (or mountains, depending on your water sourcing preferences.) Despite needing to pee all the bloody time, water is great- I don’t know why I’ve never discovered it before. My skin has already started to clear up, although don’t expect to see me in a Maybelline ad anytime soon. Or ever for that matter.

Water, you say? What a wonderful invention!

So despite being fat, miserable and extremely agitated, I’ll start to see the beneficial fruits of my labour soon, right?


Oh Christ.

Want more? Of course you do. Check back soon for more Daily Rays, Reviews and How To Guides. 

As always, thanks for reading.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Cutting the Caffeine Ties

Two of my biggest vices in life are sugar and caffeine. Without them, I would probably be an alcoholic because really, what else is there?

Thus, because I like putting myself through unimaginable pain, I decided to cut out caffeine and sugar from my diet. This is probably going to be a terrible idea, but it will make a good article.

Long story short, since starting university a year ago, my diet and lifestyle is awful. I used to eat three healthy square meals a day and exercise regularly, now I live my life on coffee, biscuits and sweets and just the mere thought of walking to a gym makes me break out in a sweat.

It’s really started to affect my skin too, which is what bothers me the most. I’m more prone to break outs than I was the entirety of my teenage years and my teeth are no longer the pearly white they once were, tainted by coffee and tea stains.

The coffee life chose me 

I can’t imagine a time when I didn’t drink tea or coffee, so much so that I plan my entire day around cups of caffeinated beverages. My intake started to become worrying when I got jittery if I missed my morning cup of tea, and began to substitute food for coffee in a desperate bid to shed the pounds (because wooo no calories!)

When coffee becomes your best friend, you need to revaluate your life choices.

There’s loads of health benefits to cutting down on sugar and caffeine, apparently. I convince myself that most of them are probably made up to oppress the coffee drinking class, but some of them have to be legit because, you know, science.


Caffeine can raise your blood pressure according to SCIENCE, so drinking less of it would lower it, obvs.

Caffeine can reduce the amount and quality of sleep- that’s why workaholics and restless nutters like me drink it to stay awake whilst I listen to your boring conversation. Drinking caffeine too late in the day can interfere with sleep patterns. People who had no caffeine after 12 noon reported a better quality of sleep after quitting caffeine, says some study someone smart did.

3.       BETTER MOOD
Caffeine alters the mood (duh, that’s why pessimists drink the stuff.) This helpful graph explains the mood swings of a caffeine addict.

You know what makes me anxious? Having no damn coffee, that’s what. Apparently, coffee is a no no for people with existing anxiety issues (exhibit A). I don’t know why, it has something to do with how caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands.

Caffeine is a major trigger for headaches. So are people telling you about the health benefits of cutting out caffeine.

One of life’s many dilemmas- coffee or white teeth? (Why not both? Damn you, universe.) Coffee and tea stain teeth to the point of no return, eroding tooth enamel and causing decay.

7.       WEIGHT LOSS
I take my tea and coffee with a dash of milk, no sugar, so I thought this wouldn’t apply to me. Then I thought about my love affair with Starbucks (the best relationship I’ve ever had.) Quitting just one Starbucks Vanilla Latte saves 250 calories per day, 1,750 calories a week, or 91,250 calories a year. RIP Vanilla Latte.

Bottled coffees, teas, energy drinks and fizzy drinks often contain an assortment of preservatives designed to give them a longer shelf life. Thought sugar free would keep you safe? Sugar free fizzy stuff contains artificial sweeteners which can also negatively affect your health in ways that we will never know because they are so terrible. IS NOTHING SACRED?!

Like a phoenix rising from the coffee granules. Consuming caffeine daily quickly causes the human body to build up a tolerance. The same dose of caffeine then causes a person to achieve a sense of normalcy rather than the euphoric “I can change the world,” feelings it once did.
Quitting resets your body’s caffeine tolerance, allowing it to work super well when you need it to.

Storm (Troopers) in a teacup 



Well, that escalated. Caffeine stimulates the heart muscle, causing it to beat with more forceful contractions. In the words of Demi Lovato, give your heart a break.

While black coffee actually has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, drinking sugary coffee and caffeinated beverages actually increases your risk of diabetes. According to a Harvard University study, people who consume sugary drinks regularly have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Stupid Harvard, ruining everyone’s fun.

Cutting out sugar is more or less the same health story, (newsflash, it ends with “happily ever after.”) Benefits include weight loss, clearer skin and increased energy. Blogger Grace Koelma feels “amazing” after giving up sugar for good. I don’t believe her for a second, but if you’re willing to be convinced, check out her blog here.

No one is that happy without sugar 

So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to bore you profusely with the ups and downs of my “just say no” project (or suicide mission, whatever works.)

I imagine I’m going to be extremely agitated all of the time and start throwing things at people (it’s going to be hell on earth for the both of us, but just be thankful that you don’t have to live with me.)

Check back soon!

As always, thanks for reading x 

Friday, 12 June 2015

How Nail Art is Taking Over the World, One Talon at a Time

NOT many people consider nail art as a fashion statement, and even fewer consider it an “art.” Painting nails is seen as something you do if you’ve got time to kill, rather than a component of your daily beauty routine, because nobody’s got time to literally watch paint dry.

Now, with our increasing obsession with Instagram and all things social media, nail artists have been given a platform to showcase their work, and nails are proving to be a game changer in the beauty and fashion industry.

Nail blogs are becoming increasingly popular, with bloggers like Fleury Rose’s designs featuring on the runways of London Fashion Week. 
Fleury Rose's designs featured in Seventeen magazine 

Search the Instagram hashtag ‘nail art’ and the possibilities are endless. You no longer have to be a professional to gain a following. My close friend Ayla O’Keeffe, who has just started out in the nail art bizz, uses Instagram to showcase her creations and market herself [below.] 


Like with many aspects of the beauty industry, you can only forge a career out of it if you’re insanely good. Traditionally, the super talented work at the top end of the industry with the A-Listers and the mediocre wind up hanging up their nail files for good or working in a nail salon, which, if you’ve ever been, aren’t always the best place s on earth.

Sure, you might come out with a nice set of talons, but it’s what goes on behind the scenes that are causing a stir in the beauty sphere. In May, The New York Times, wrote an exposé on the realities of the nail industry, highlighting the dire conditions, long working hours and diabolical pay that New York manicurists receive. Some of the manicurists interviewed were found to be illegal immigrants, often untrained and without a proper license.

The conditions, however horrific, are not surprising when many people, including me, would refuse to pay over £15 for a manicure. Partly because I’m a cheapskate, but also because I convince myself that I’m paying over the odds for something I could attempt (and epically fail at) for a fraction of the price at home.

“Getting a pedicure is so personal; someone is up close with your feet!” argues New York based manicurist Raquel Nevarez, “I don’t think I’ve ever paid less than $30. They [manicurists] should be paid well.” 

New York based manicurist Raquel Nevarez
Photographed by Meredith Hattam

It begs the question why nails sit at the bottom of the beauty totem pole- I’ve paid hundreds over the years to get my hair done, but would never dream of doing the same for my nails. 

But some feel that it isn’t just about getting your nails done, “It’s like therapy,” says Navarez, “I have a client who recently broke up with her husband, and she just broke down while I was doing her nails. But she said it actually made her feel better. That’s what I love about doing nails- it has the capacity to make you feel better.” 

Although you wouldn’t think it, that’s what’s amazing about the nail experience. It’s this bizarre ceremony of female bonding, with the nail polish being the glue that holds it all together.

I sat there, surrounded by my girl friends whilst I had my nails done and we actually talked. Talked in depth about things that I don’t think I would have ever disclosed otherwise, and it was therapeutic, and something worth paying for.

In summary, I guess that nail art can actually do a lot of things that we weren’t necessarily expecting it to do. It can be an outlet for creativity, and the innovative endeavours of manicurists are now being put on the same pedestal as that of fashion designers. It puts amateur nail designers on the map, making them Instagram it-girls overnight.

However flimsy it may sound, the social side effects of nail art can’t be denied either. Even people like me whose artistic skills are extremely limited can try their hand at nail art with friends. And for a society which constantly pits girls against each other, opening a bottle of nail polish (and maybe a bottle of wine or two) among friends can establish that female bond.

And that is why, above anything, nail art is girl power at its best.

Coming Soon: How To: Nail Art Guide! 

My top Instagram accounts for nail art inspo!

Also published on hot new lifestyle website #SpiceUK, click here to check out their site!

As always, thanks for reading x