Sunday, 23 February 2014

My week in pictures

As it was the school holidays this last week and I haven't been a college and Ethan has been off nursery I have had a pretty fun filled week so here is my week in pictures
Monday morning snuggles with scrappy!
Tuesday James surprised me with a new mirror for my dresser
Wednesday morning pancakes!
Someone enjoyed their pancakes with syrup or should I say syrup with pancakes
Ethan out on a nature walk looking for birds with his binoculars
Scrappy and Ethan found something interesting...some mud!
Thursday yummy carrot cake baking
Friday face painting I turned Ethan into the joker
Ethan done my makeup to look like poison ivy I think he done a good job... bless him!
Saturday outdoor fun at High lodge
Ethan, James, Granddad and Scrappy after the magical musical forest walk
Sunday football fun Ethan went to his first football match Tottenham vs Norwich

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Precious memories!

For Valentines me and James decided not to get each other gifts but make something instead so we have something special to look back on. James suggested a scrap book which I thought was a fantastic idea, So last Saturday and Sunday we sat down together all weekend and scrapbooked!

We used an old photo album we had that hadn't been used and went to Pound land to get lots of odd crafty bits they had packs of lots of different scrap pieces of paper and they were also full of other little craft bits and bobs. So if you are going to do something similar and have a Pound land near you I would recommend these craft packs they were great and obviously only a pound each! We brought two of them and a pack of coloured pens so all together the whole project cost us £3 again another reason I was so please with outcome.

We collected any pictures we had lying around the house and all the special bits and keepsakes we had kept over the last 3 years of being together and sat down and started gluing and sticking all the special memories in the album, I also added little quotes and lyrics to songs that are special to us also little names and phases we have made up since being together. Ok it may be a little mushy and cheesy but I think it is a fantastic thing to do especially because we can always look back and remember things we've done and little sayings we have shared in the past and when Ethan is older he can look back at memories we shared together of when he was to young to remember.

A few pictures of inside

I am definitely going to carry on with the scrap book in the future and always keep it up to date as their are so many pages left and I still have tonnes of things to add to it from the last 3 years too and when this one is full add another book to the collection.

I love it and think if we did something like this every Valentines instead of expensive gifts that have no meaning and are forgotten about years later we would have a library of memories to always look back at and share with our children in the future!

Thanks for reading

Friday, 21 February 2014

Foody Fridays: Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing

I wanted to bake something different this week that I like but have never even thought about attempting and I decided to go with a carrot cake I was going to make a whole cake but as I'm the only one in my house that eats it and me and Ethan had already made cupcakes on Wednesday so we have a tray full of sprinkle filled butterfly buns to get through! I decided to opt for cupcakes instead as I could make less so they wouldn't get wasted and I could give some away. I used enough ingredients for 12 cupcakes but will put the ingredients down below for 24 and if you want to make less just half the measurements.

Ingredients you will need
125g Flour
1tsp Ground cinnamon
200g Caster sugar
175g vegetable oil
175g Carrots
120g Chopped walnuts
24 Whole walnuts
115g Cream cheese
55g Butter
225g Icing sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract

Utensils you will need
Piping bag
24 Cupcake cases
Cupcake tin

Oven on 180c and 15-20 minutes to cook.

To start off I put the cupcake cases in my tin ready for when the batter was ready. and pre-heated the oven to 180c.

 In a large mixing bowl I added the flour, sugar and cinnamon and gave it a little stir with a spoon until it was all combined.

Then once the dry ingredients were combined I added the oil and eggs and then whisking it on a medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

Next taking the carrots I finely grated them and then added them to the whisked batter along with the chopped walnuts and whisked again on a high speed for 3 minutes or until all the ingredients were all combined.

Once the batter was made I spooned a table spoon of mixture into each case and put in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.


Whilst my cupcakes were cooking I made the cream cheese icing. I creamed the butter and the cream cheese together with a whisk on a low speed and then poured in the icing sugar and the teaspoon of vanilla extract and whisked on a medium speed for a further 2 minutes.


Once my cakes were cooked I took them out of the oven and put them on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, I made sure they were completely cool so the icing didn't melt and run when applied. 

I prepared my piping bag by popping it in a glass and folding over the top so it was stable to pour the icing into, Once the icing was in the piping bag I twisted the top so the icing wouldn't squeeze out of the top then piped the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes and decorated with a whole walnut on each cake.

And the cakes were ready to eat straight away!
I was so happy with these cupcakes, I wasn't to sure how they were going to taste but I was pleasantly surprised as they were lovely and I will definitely be making more carrot cake creations in the future and the cream cheese icing is my new favourite icing it was delicious and went really well with the carrot cake!

I hope you have fun making these yummy carrot cake cupcakes if you decide to give it a go I would love to see your creations so tweet me @hannahnicolab or Instagram me a picture using #hannahnhearts

Also if you have any requests for next weeks Foody Friday leave me a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 20 February 2014

My manicure routine

Today I'm going to share with you my manicure routine, I try to give myself a manicure once a month but I don't always paint my nails as I'm not aloud to wear polish for college so I tent to usually just wear OPI Nail envy as I have very weak nails that always peel, so here's my way of keeping my nails looking healthy and beautiful!
 To begin with I clean any polish I already have on my nails and cutting them all to the same length I use nail cutters but nail clippers or scissors work just as well, Then filing them using a 180 grit nail file. Always file moving in one direction DO NOT seesaw as this causes heat friction which dries the moisture in between the nail layers and causes the nail to peel.
Taking a fine scrub I'm using a sugar scrub from FCUK I then rub this into my hand to help remove any dry skin I may have, To remove the excess scrub I soak my hands in warm water for 5 minutes this removes the scrub and also softens my cuticles.
Now using my cuticle massage cream I'm using a Strictly Professional one from my local beauty wholesalers and applying this to my cuticles using an orange stick or cotton bud and then massaging it in with my fingers, then using my cuticle remover which again Is a Strictly Professional product I got from my local beauty wholesalers and with an orange stick wrapped in cotton wool I apply this to my cuticles. Now taking my metal cuticle tool, In small circular motions I gently pushing my cuticles back, If you don't have a metal tool the orange stick you applied the cuticle remover with works just as well. Next If I have any cuticle that has lifted or is hanging loose I take my cuticle nippers to cut away any excess cuticle that's left. Now to moisturise my hands I use the Body shop rose anti aging hand cream which has a SPF 15, It is very important to use a hand cream with an SPF to prevent ageing of the hands.

 To finish I "squeak" the nails (By squeak the nails I mean clean the nails until it makes a slight squeaking sound) with nail polish remover to remove any oils that may be on my nail so when it comes to applying my nail polish there is a clean base for it to fully adhere to then applying two coats of the OPI nail envy and finishing with a base coat I use Barry M top and base coat to give my nails a shine.
Buy your manicure supplies
Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

DIY Face masks

Facemasks should be a vital part of your skin care regime the benefits they have on the skin are fantastic! Making your own can be even more beneficial to your skin as you know the exact ingredients and you can mix the ingredients to suit your skin. They don't have to be put all over the whole face you can keep certain masks for certain things to a specific area of the face you want to treat. And who doesn't enjoy a lovely 10 minutes out with a face mask slathered over you face making yourself feel pampered!
Different ingredients do different thing to your skin like a whole egg has softening properties but whip the egg whites and pat on the skin and this will tighten and tone. For mature skin bananas are a burst of anti-aging ingredient that instantly softens and smoothes lines and for sensitive skin camomile and cucumber are perfect soothing ingredients, The clay and mud based masks are perfect for oily skin but should never be used on dry skin. And to give your skin a great vitamin boost avocado flesh works wonders. 
Here are a few mask ideas.
For those pesky blackheads combine equal amounts of baking soda and water to form a paste, then rub on the affected area only wait two or three minutes then rinse off.
A blemish buster mask to use is water melon it cleanses, clarifies and clears the skin of any blemishes and leaves it feeling fresh. Apply the pure juice to your face leave for 15 minutes and then splash with cold water to remove.
To help control oily skin mix a teaspoon of brewers yeast with enough natural yogurt to make a loose thin mixture. Thoroughly pat into the oily areas leave to dry for 10 to 15 minutes rinse off with warm water, cool and then blot.
Help sensitive dry cheeks with a gently rehydration mask, combine half a cucumber scooped out of the skin, one table spoon of yogurt a couple of strawberries and one teaspoon of honey. Apply to the face allow to dry then gently remove with cool water.
For a glowing complexion if you have a big night out or a special occasion and want your skin to look its best. Grind a hand full of rose petals into a paste add a little milk and a teaspoon of honey. Apply to the skin and leave for 15 to 20 minutes then wash the paste off with water (no soap) and your complexion will be smooth, soft and glowing!
To get the full benefits from the masks always make sure you cleanse before as it allows your face to absorb more of the ingredients in the mask. Be sure to moisturize directly after! unless the mask is a leave on product or it requires the residue to be rubbed into the skin. The moisturizer will penetrate more deeply into the skin, with the dead skin cells sloughed off and pores unblocked.
I hope you found this helpful if you are a mask love like me and have you own masks you make leave me a comment and let me know!
Thanks for reading

Friday, 14 February 2014

Foody fridays : chocolate macaroons

This weeks foody Friday I'm going to be making chocolate macaroons, I have wanted to make them for so long but always thought they were really hard to make and take a lot of time but after looking up the ingredients and how to make them it actually looks quite easy so I decided to give it a go!
Ingredients you will need:
100g Icing sugar
1tbsp Coco powder
100g Ground almonds
2 Medium free range egg whites
Small pinch of salt
55g Caster sugar
55g Milk chocolate
2 tsp Double cream slightly warm
Equitment you will need:
Piping bag
Parchment paper
Baking tray
2 Sheets of paper
Sticky tape
A round shape to draw round about 2.5 inches (I used a tea light candle)
Oven 180 degrees  Cooking time 15-20 minutes
First I made my template of how big the macaroons should be on the tray, I just simply drew round my circle shape in my case I used a tea light then cut round the sheets of paper so they would fit in my tray next taking the parchment paper I cut it to shape and placed it over my paper guide. on the back I of each paper guide I taped a strip of paper on each so when it came to taking them out before cooking it was easy to pull each piece out without making the mixture run all over the parchment paper. 
This is how my tray looked.
To make the mixture I sieved the icing sugar, coco powder and ground almonds into a large bowl and mixed until it was all combined.
Now taking another bowl and adding the two egg whites I whisked them until they formed soft peaks, then adding the caster sugar until the mixture was thick and shinny.
I then gradually added the icing sugar, coco powder and almond mixture and gently folded it in until it was all combined.
Once the two mixtures where combined I transferred it into my piping bag and piped mixture onto the tray making sure It stayed in the outline of the guide I place underneath the parchment paper.
 What my tray looked like after I had piped all the mixture onto it.
I placed the tray in the oven for 15 minutes, opening the oven door a couple of times to let any steam out. 
 Once the macaroons had cooked I slid the parchment paper with the macaroons on off the tray and let them cool whilst I made the filling.
To make the filling I melted the chocolate in a bowl over a sauce pan of simmering hot water, once it had melted I transferred the chocolate to another small bowl and added the cream and stirred until it was smooth and thick enough to spread. 
Once the macaroons where cool I paired two of similar sizes together so it was easier to just pick two up and add the filling.
 I placed the filling on the bottom on one of the macaroons in the pair not spreading it all the way to the edge as when the other one went on top it pushed it out to the edges.
I continued to do this to all the macaroons and then placed them in the fridge for an hour for the filling to cool down and the two sides to stick together.
 I was shocked at how quick and easy these were to make and how delicious they were I will definitely be making more of these in the future and maybe even braving to experiment in different flavours! 
Someone else seemed to enjoy them his words were "mummy these are delicious"
If you decide to try and make these delicious macaroons I would love to see tweet me your pictures to @hannahnicolab or Instagram me a picture using #hannahnhearts
Thanks for reading