Cupcakes #recipe #vanillacupcakes #buttercream

I have been meaning to share this recipe for ages as its the one I get asked about most! This recipe is adapted from a "Primrose Bakery" one but I found theirs although delicious to be just a bit too "cakey" without a cup of tea.

How to Ice and Decorate Cupcakes. #tutorial

Ok so for the Buttercream Recipe see

Cupcake and Vanilla Butter Cream Recipe.
How to Ice. 

Now you can just spread the butter cream on which I prefer because its not too much but piping is easier and prettier if I'm honest but that's the OCD in me. 

So for a piped cupcake you will need.

  • A piping bag - I use disposable as they are cheap and no washing up!
  • A nozzle - I normally use a Large Star tip.

Cut a small bit off the end of the bag an place the nozzle inside. Pull the nozzle out of the bottom and cut a bit more off if more room is needed. Do this carefully, the nozzle should be snug because when you apply pressure it will pop off.

Then curl the top of the bag over on itself a few times at the top to make it easier to put the buttercream in. Then using a big spoon transfer the buttercream into the bag - if you find this fiddly you can put the bag into a large glass to hold it up while you spoon in the buttercream. Then twist the top of the bag around a few times making sure all the air escapes. READY.

Hold the cupcake in one hand and the piping bag in the other. Place the nozzle flat to the edge, of the cupcake, squeeze out some buttercream and move in a circle around the edge, go round twice like a "Mr Whipy Ice Cream" into the middle. Then pull up and away from the cupcake to make the peak. It will take practice mine were awful at first but you get comfortable how to hold them for you, how much pressure to apply etc -just have fun!

TERRIBLE technique but had to take a pic and pipe at the same time...you get the idea.

Then decorate with whatever you want, do each cupcake as you go or the icing starts to dry and sprinkles etc wont stick.

You can get all sorts of decorations and sprinkles now even just at the supermarket but I sometimes make mine if I cant find something special and its really easy!

Petal Paste - this is like fondant but drys much harder
Icing Sugar

I CANT find my box of them at this moment but this is my favourite one got it from ebay.

Sprinkle or dust some icing sugar into a mould.
Work some petal paste into the mould.
Carfully peel out -might need to use a knife
Tidy up or cut off any stray edges.
Leave to dry, ready for decorating.

Tah dah like grown up playdough.


Hair Tutorial. How to curl with a Straightener. #curlyhair #glam #sandrabullock

I must say this is my "go to" hair doo for a night on the tiles but when I saw Sandra Bullocks Oscars style I thought hers just seemed much ....nicer and had to up my game for my own posh night out blog here Oscars and Glam Nights.
 After I posted a photo on instragram and said she was my inspiration, one of her fan sites sent me this picture!!!

I was so chuffed and I've since had several requests for this hair tutorial. I will say now that I am NOT a hairdresser I have worked in salons but as a Beauty Therapist but I learnt how to do this from my hairdresser Steph at Jem. I much prefer it when she does it...isn't that always the case though, but that's not always an option, so I will show you how I do it at home. 

As usual I had no one around to take pictures so it was a bit of a nightmare, I apologise for the quality, lack of make up and ridiculous faces being pulled now. 

Here goes nothing!


Products - from the start to the finish, it is important that you pick the correct products for your hair and for this style volume will be needed. I wont go into brands as I'm a bit of a product whore and like to change about but personally my hair is very thick and frizzy so I used my normal "smoothing" shampoo and conditioner or it would have been out of control but if you have poker straight hair I wouldn't use conditioner on this style as it will just employ gravity to drop the curls immediately.

Hair sections - I couldn't do this with a straightener for ages and used to straighten it and then use a curler...I know backwards. However my mistake was the size of the section I was curling, what I thought was a small amount actually needed to be halved. I thought it would take forever to do smaller sections but I was curling the larger sections a few times so it works out quicker if you do it right the first time.

You will need

Wash your hair, towel dry and comb out any tangles with a wide comb.

7am no make up...delighted.

Apply some product through the hair that protect again heat and add volume - something like a volume cream/mousse is ideal. This is essential for volume, hold and texture.

Section your hair off below the ear - I did this in 5 layers for an idea of amount and I just used a bobble to hold the rest of my hair up in a twist....told you I'm not a real hairdresser.

Take a round barrel brush and dry sections of the hair by twisting the brush round and pulling down the hair...can be tricky but after a few sections you get used to it. It wont look pretty now but this will give loads of volume at the roots.

Keep taking down sections and drying them like that until its all bone dry. Have your straighteners hot and ready.

Next week HAGRID!

Then start again and using a comb section your hair off in a layer below the ear. Take a small section of the hair.

This is wrong.
 Its too much, it shouldn't be loads wider at the top

This is right. 
More like a ruler, even at both ends.

Place the starightner at the top of the section, close it as normal but then twist it around 180 degrees so the hair twists.

Then pull down the hair, the way I would describe it is like curling ribbon on a scissor edge. I also hold the end of the hair section taught until the straightener travels to my fingers. Then release.

You should have a smooth curl. I then with each curl twist it round my finger just to set it a bit more. If your hair is very straight naturally I would also hairspray as you go but I just spray each layer rather than each curl. 

Just keep going until the whole layer is curled. Then let down another layer, section, curl, repeat and keep going to the last layer.

When you get to the top and last layer decide where you want your parting. Personally I wear mine in the middle so I always do this even though this style is on the side. I prefer to curl it completely with a middle parting then when I comb it over on a side parting it has a bit more volume again. 

Part on the side, pull over and comb with your fingers at the top. If yours is a little frizzy or needs extra smoothing feel free to run the straighteners over the front bit. If your hair is long enough like mine sweep the rest over one shoulder and use a few pins at the nape to secure.


Nah right side.

For the true Sandra Bullock style use a bit of smoothing cream or serum to finish and make extra sleek, don't over do it though or it will be too greasy. Give a final spritz of hair spray. 

This is for my Granddad who says "You can smile with your teeth in photos you know!"

Thanks for watching, hope it all makes sense but feel free to contact me with questions.

If you really cant manage it and fancy a treat all the girls at Jem can hook you up for about £20 so get in touch here.

Ash xox  


What would you do? #firstaid #savealife

What would you do if your child started to choke?....seriously would you know what to do? Maybe your thinking "Well I just would or I'm sure someone around would help"....what if your alone?

Now I've been in this situation 3 times with my boys, this is on top of the normal children's heaving, regurgitation and general coughing until sick etc; Archie leading the tally with 2 to Oscars 1. The first time Archie aged one was given a Penguin biscuit from a clueless well wisher at the Rugby Club and he tried to swallow it whole. Luckily our friends a Dr and a Nurse were near by and the ever calm husband extracted it before I could even cross the crowded room. I also blogged last year about Oscar when he swallowed a foil sticker here
Despicable Mammy.... 
all terrifying but the worst has to
be this morning.

Today we went to a café in Tynemouth for breakfast, it was all going fine the boys tucking into their Children size Full English's and we were enjoying  a few minutes peace. Then I just happen to glance at Archie age 4 who was having a little cough and is now quietly retching.

He stops and I think it must have past but then he puts his finger into his mouth obviously trying to move or dislodge what ever is troubling him.

I grab a bowl from the table thinking he is going to be sick and not wanting to be embarrassed in case it goes everywhere.

Archies not really breathing now though...he's chocking.
I start to slightly panic and from a seated position give him couple of big pats.

It doesn't work though.

Archie is really struggling him self now, trying to retch and grab whatever is blocking his airway.
I leap up, its happened so fast I'm not even sure the husband has noticed until I say "He's chocking!!"

I give him two more hard smacks between the shoulder blades but nothing happens.
Archie has started to drool and his eyes are watering, I'm not sure if its from his blocked throat or he's trying to cry, either way he's not making a peep or breathing.

Chris rips him out of his seat and tips his head back trying to yank what ever is stuck in his airway but there is nothing there.

My blood runs cold, I don't even notice Oscar our one year old now screaming obviously distressed. I can sense the café is silent and people have started to stand up. 

I want to grab my little boy back like its a stranger or a dentist who has their fingers in his mouth not just my husband and 'have another go' but I know it will only be made worse by two people wrestling him.

I am inside begging him to cough "it" up or projectile vomit I couldn't care less if it goes on the ceiling now.

Chris has started to give him a good few whacks.

Still nothing.

I frantically look for a spoon thinking I could try and reach whatever it is or at least make him sick.

Chris gives him a hard shake kind of upside down.

Archie looks terrified, I don't notice if he's going blue but his top lip looks grey like dirty chewing gum and his eyes are streaming....still nothing.

Like in the movies I want to scream "Is there a Doctor here??" but I don't know what they will do? Would they even be able to remove it? What if they cant....this.isn't.real.

My heart is racing, I've started to shake and I feel sick myself now.....

Still nothing.

Then like an epiphany I say...maybe I shout "Over your knee" just as my husband is doing exactly that.


A piece of bacon to size of a stamp curled into a thick "C" shoots onto the floor and like the day he was born Archie crys out.

I have never felt more relieved ever and cry a bit my self as I cuddle him on my knee. He is sobbing now saying "He got a big fright". I am still shaking with no interest in the fresh sausage sandwich in front of me now and I think "Yes a big fright indeed"

This all happened in literally 2 minutes.

Even though we made quite a commotion the staff didn't really even notice and although the next table did ask if Archie was OK after, no body actually helped. Could they have? Maybe they wanted to but didn't know what to do. 

Me and Chris did a baby first aid course a couple of years ago and I'm so glad I did although I ignored the first rule "stay calm" and was completely panicked it did come back to both of us and I would have just been about to do the "stomach thrusts". I'm still going to refresh my skills and that's the only reason I've written this blog.

Not to scare anyone but to encourage everyone to do a course, you might save a life, even your own.

There are some free courses available and some more advanced ones for a small fee. Procedures are always being improved and changed so get up to date here.