Lulu Guinness Benefit Cosmetics Event

Today, I was lucky enough to attend the Culture Cloud, Benefit Cosmetics brow make up demo, hosted by Lulu Guinness at their Covent Garden in central London. It was fun and informative session, where the audience learned how to properly apply brow makeup, and were introduced to the Benefits make-up range.

We are also given the opportunity to browse the new Lulu Guinness Spring/Summer Collection, here’s a highlight video –

For the event I wore my “Round Things” skirt, together with a striped top and a “Marcie” bag from Lulu Guinness.  Unfortunately, the predicted 20 degree weather turned out to be a mini monsoon in reality. So as I write this, I’m loading up with hot cups of tea and any fruit which contains high levels of vitamin C.  To think it’s June in a couple of weeks!

Lulu Guinness Marcie bag in mist with round things skirt

Thanks for reading.

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt – Completed

 

Hello,

A quick note about how I completed the Clothkits Big Birdie skirt –

CKits cover

Planned adjustments:

  1. I added a lining to the skirt, the fabric came from a stall in Walthamstow market.  It is 100% viscose, polka dot, for £2.50 per meter.
  2. To add a little length, I finished the hem with bias binding.
  3. I will add hanger tapes, made from the measuring tape ribbon provided.

Adjustments made:

I finished all the cut edges with an overlock stitch. This not completely necessary, but there is plenty of sewing thread provided should you wish to do the same.

Below is a short video featuring the skirt, enjoy!

Thanks for reading and watching.

Quick Vegan Flat Bread – recipe | Champagne Twist

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for quick flat bread. This recipe is just as quick to make, and perhaps a tad healthier. I even managed to make an extra 2 flat breads with this recipe.

Quick Vegan Flat Bread – recipe by Champagne Twist

quick vegan flat bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 4 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food mixer, until a slightly sticky dough is formed.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the dough to rest.
  3. After resting, divide the dough into 14 equally sized balls.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan over a medium to medium high heat.
  5. Roll each dough ball on a well floured board, into a circle about the size of a tea saucer.
  6. Cook each flat bread in the pan, for a minute on each side.
  7. To keep the flat breads warm whilst cooking, cover a plate with a clean tea towel, and add the freshly cooked flat breads on top. Cover again with another clean tea towel to keep them warm.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Please don’t forget to subscribe for more recipes – Easter is coming up and I have a few treats in store 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Whole orange and fresh coconut cake recipe | Champagne Twist

whole orange and fresh coco nut cake | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I fancied baking today, and spied a couple oranges in the fridge and a very tired looking coconut in the pantry which needed to be used quickly. However, I would recommend you use desiccated coconut instead, if you have a very sweet tooth, or wish to avoid hand grating a coconut.

Whole orange and fresh coconut cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, 1 to be used whole, 1 for decoration
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vanilla caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated or desiccated coconut, plus extra for decoration
  • 1 1/4 cups self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, for decoration (optional)

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180°C/160°C fan assisted).
  2. Grease and line with baking parchment a 22cm diameter round baking tin.
  3. Wash the oranges and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Set aside one of the oranges. Roughly chop the other orange, and then using a food processor, puree the orange until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a food mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the beaten eggs, followed by the orange puree.
  5. By hand fold in the coconut and flour to form a fairly loose batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake tin, and level off the top to help even baking.
  7. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 50 minutes. Check the cake is cooked with a skewer pushed into the centre. If it comes out clean then the cake is finished. If not, bake for a further 10 minutes and test again. You may need to cover the top of the cake with some foil to prevent burning.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes, before transferring  to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Zest long, thin strips from the 2nd orange. Juice the orange, ensuring any seeds are removed.
  10. Sift the icing sugar into a small, clean dry bowl. Stir in just enough orange juice to make a smooth icing and then drizzle over the cake.  Sprinkle the extra coconut and the orange zest on top. Allow to set and serve with a hot beverage, preferably a nice cup of tea!

 

Wednesday Thinking – Music Diversity?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv
Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorial

Is Ed Sheeran’s dominance of the UK music charts a cause for celebration, or does it highlight the lack of diversity in the music industry?

Last week, much was said about Ed Sheeran’s remarkable feat of having no less than 9 singles in the top ten singles chart. News commentators made much of the phenomenon, and music industry experts celebrated the success of the British artist and his huge record sales.

Ed Sheeran is a great talent. He has achieved in his short career levels of success than can only be arguably beaten by the likes of Adele, Robbie Williams and Coldplay. A host of number 1 singles and albums, Brit Awards, Sheeran is a young man, dare I say, precocious talent with a very long career ahead of him. His reputation as a musician, singer songwriter of unique talent, particularly in an overly commercial world, is well deserved.

His dominance in the British Music Charts, in any other era, would rightly be a cause of celebration. However, the Music Charts today, in the time of instant downloads and streaming, have perhaps unintentionally shown one side of the industry’s personally, which if not checked, could signal its rapid demise.

In a world where civil liberties are more under threat than they have been in decades, 2017 has already seen children dying from starvation and families destroyed in war-torn countries. Many in these uncertain times turn to some form of escape, such as music, and therein lies the problem.  In an industry which is still predominately run by white men, it appears that it’s true face is now being exposed by the one young, white male artist who has 90% of the top 10 singles in the chart.

Actually, it’s worse; Sheeran has no less than 16 singles in the top 20 chart. If it wasn’t for Chainsmokers and Coldplay, who are currently residing at number 7, Sheeran would have made a clean sweep of the top 10.  The entire top 20 is dominated by White artists, with Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley, the sole female act featuring the sole Black artist, (who happens to be the grandson of Bob) at number 17. Chainsmokers, a 2 piece DJ outfit from the US, collaborating with Coldplay, a 4 piece British band. The entire top 10 therefore consists of  7 White male musicians – only 3 acts from just 2 countries. Hardly an endorsement of musical diversity.

While the talent of these artists is undeniable, I’m disappointed that there was little mention of the screamingly obvious lack of diversity. When there are so many musical acts, playing a huge range of genres in the UK alone, coupled with the current global political climate, it is more than worrying that there are so few different artists and music genres represented in UK music charts. It is even more worrying in Brexit Britain, that the captains of the music industry, still predominantly white males, are celebrating this, especially in the week of International Womens’ Day.

If after all these decades fighting for equality, today women are only represented in the music charts by Katy Perry, and people of colour are represented by a ‘featured’ artist, then we have a very, very long way still to go in terms of diversity in the music industry. I hope that 1 person dominating the charts in this way, is a fluke. I fear that this may signal the start of a more aggressive move towards exclusion, in the pursuit of profit and we will all be poorer if that continues.

February Favourites | Champagne Twist

February was a fun filled, choc-a-block month. And it looks like March with continue the pace. Here is a favourites video, highlighting the events of the 2nd month of 2017 on Champagne Twist.

feb fav.jpg

 

Get ready for Pancake Day – recipe

pancake recipe champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Pancake recipe by Champagne Twist

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day. This means that Winter is on it’s way out and Spring is around the corner. Shove Tuesday is one of those annual events which sneaks up on you suddenly, and then there is a huge panic to get those pancakes made. But this year, make sure your prepared and make these pancakes today and save yourself the hassle tomorrow.

Pancakes – recipe by Champagne Twist

Ingredients:

  • 2 extra large eggs
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 300ml milk
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying

Method:

  1. In a large bowl or jug, add the eggs and salt if using and whisk for about 30 seconds. Add in the milk and stir until well combined.  Fold in the flour until a batter, with the consistency of single cream, is formed. Then stir in the oil and set aside in the fridge for 30 mins to rest. Note; the salt adds flavour and helps to break down the eggs so that they are easier to whip. Personally, I tend to leave as much salt as I can out of recipes, especially if I know I may be using high salt or sugary fillings.
  2. Add a tiny drizzle of oil to a crepe or frying pan and preheat over a medium temperature. Using a small ladle, when the oil begins to sizzle, carefully pour 1 ladleful of batter into the pan, swirling the batter around until it covers the inside base of the pan.  Cook for about a 1 or so until golden brown, and then flip the pancake over to cook on the other side. Cook for a further minute.
  3. When cooked, place the pancake on a plate and cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Continuing cooking the pancakes until all the batter has been used up.
  4. After cooling you can place the pancakes with the greaseproof paper in-between each pancake into a freezer bag  and freeze them for later use.
  5. When you’re ready to use, simply take as any pancakes as you require and leave them to defrost overnight in the fridge.

Remember pancakes are not just for Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are extremely versatile, and the range of sweet and savoury fillings are endless. These little beauties are ideal for creating last minute meals, or pudding treats when time is short.

Pancakes separated by greaseproof paper
Pancakes separated by greaseproof paper | Champagne Twist

Tomorrow I will post some suggestions for sweet fillings. Enjoy pancake preparation day!

Are you making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday? Please share in the comment section your favourite recipes and pancake fillings.

Thanks for reading.

 

Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

TECHNOLOGY
Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

champagne-twist-logo

What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

February Resolutions – Design Month

Hello,

Continuing with my monthly resolutions series, here is a preview of what’s coming up this February on Champagne Twist.

Design Month, February 2017 - Champagne Twist
February is Design Month, on Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

February has been designated design month. It’s going to be an exciting mix of fashion, crafts and home decor design. What do you hope to achieve this month? Do let us know in the comments box, and please subscribe for more information.

Check out the my 2017 resolution plans video below.

Thanks for reading.

Bergamot Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

Bergamot Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf - recipe
Bergamot Lemons from Borough Market Champagne Twist -champagnetwist.wordpress.com

During a recent visit to Borough Market I came across a stack of Bergamot lemons. I knew that these lemons are a key ingredient in Earl and Lady Grey teas, but I had never seen them in the flesh, as it were.  So I thought I buy a couple to see what all the fuss was about.  I left with my purse £3 lighter, thinking that these lemons had better be the bee’s knees at that price.

They are!

Bergamot Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter or Stork margarine, softened
  • 225g vanilla golden caster sugar
  • 3 extra large free range eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk or milk alternative
  • zest and juice of one bergamot lemon
  • 2 tsps poppy seeds

 Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c, 160c Fan or Gas mark 4
  2. Butter and line a large loaf tin with baking paper or parchment.
  3. In a food processor or mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture if light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one. I tend to beat the eggs separately before add to the butter sugar mix as this ensures that the egg white and yolk are fully combined.
  5. Add the milk, seeds, zest and juice  and stir until well incorporated.
  6. Sift in the flour and fold into the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, making sure that it even.
  8. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for about 40 – 50 mins. Check the loaf at 40 mins with a skewer, if it comes out clean the loaf is done. If not, then bake for another 5-10 mins.
  9. Allow to cool in the loaf tin for 1o minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a rack to continue cooling.  Serve with a cup of tea.
Bergamot Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf
Bergamot Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com