This Week #3

30 June 2013

Essie nails in Cascade Cool ● Lydia playing at 'ice cream vans' in the playhouse ● Beautiful peonies from my mums garden ● My new favourite chocolate! ● Monday morning shopping spree... accessories from Primark ● ...and new shoes ● ...and new make-up and skincare stuff ● BarryM nails in Prickly Pear ● Having a rest in the deckchairs in Ikea ● And trying out the beds! ● New toyboxes = less mess = happy me ● This is what I do every morning ● Working out what my face is worth ● Beautiful butterfly girl ● Positive words ● Oreo brownies for another  cake sale at work

You can follow me on Instagram @mydarlingsandme

Sunday Soul Food #3


Sunday evenings can be a bit depressing can't they? Well Sunday Soul Food is here to bring you a few words of inspiration to lift your hearts on a Sunday evening. 

So throw out all those negative thoughts and be positive!

How Much Is Your Face Worth?

28 June 2013

Have you ever actually stopped and thought how much money you put on your face every day?! I've seen this tag on lots of beauty blogs and was intrigued to see what my face is worth too. I'd bet my Urban Decay Naked palette that it's not half as much as many ladies! I'm strictly a high street/drugstore girl with just a couple of strategically placed higher end pieces.

So I've taken my everyday summer make-up that I wear on a regular day at work/home. Let's see what it's all worth...

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro Primer £6.99
Rimmel BB Cream £6.00
YSL Touche Éclat £25.00
MUA Eye Primer £2.50
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder £3.99
Sleek Contour Kit £6.50
Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzer £6.99
Sleek Blusher £4.49
Avon Glimmerstick Brow Definer £6.00
Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette £36.00
Rimmel Exagerate Eyeliner £5.29
Avon Supershock Gel Eyeliner Pencil £6.00
Rimmel ScandalEyes Mascara £6.99
Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick £7.19

Total  =  £129.93

My goodness, there's a lot of Rimmel up there ha! I actually thought it would be less than £100 so I'm quite surprised it's nearly £130 and that's not including my brushes! Some of you might think it's peanuts while others might think it's excessive. The fact is that I love make-up and always have. I don't spend much on clothes or going out but make-up is my passion so it's worth every penny to me.

Do you wear minimum or maximum make up? How much is your face worth? 
If you've done this tag, please leave a comment with a link to your post because I'd love to see what your face is worth.

Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake

27 June 2013

I was beyond happy when I baked this cake last week as it kind of ended my baking hiatus. After baking at least once a week for over a year, I didn't bake anything for weeks after we returned from our holiday. It was partly due to the {rare} hot weather we were having at the time... I just couldn't bare to be sweating away in the kitchen when I could be sat in the garden watching the darlings playing. And partly just laziness too!

But making this cake reminded me how much I love baking. The whole process of measuring, sifting and mixing just somehow relaxes me. And the end result is so satisfying too, especially seeing people enjoying what I've baked {and everyone loves a compliment don't they?!}

Victoria sponge cake is something I make all the time. I love the simplicity and lightness of it as well as the classic vanilla taste. As usual though, I wanted to try something a little different so switched the vanilla for lemon. The addition of the lemon gives a zesty twist to the traditional cake and makes it beautifully tangy and summery.

And I can confirm that it tastes divine and was a big hit with the whole family.

Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake

Serves 10-12
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 30-35 minutes

225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
225g self raising flour
2tbsp whole milk
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

300ml tub of double cream
5 tbsp lemon curd
Icing sugar to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Put the shelf in the middle of the oven. Grease the cake tins {I used two x 20cm tins} and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl put the butter and sugar and mix them together with a hand held electric mixer {or freestanding mixer of you're lucky enough to have one!} until it's pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice and a third of your beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. When it's all combined, add another third of your beaten egg and mix again, repeat this once more until all the mixture is thoroughly combined. Sift the flour into the bowl, add the milk and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are fully combined.

Divide the mixture equally into the two cake tins and smooth with a spatula. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes. When they are ready, they will look golden, spring back when gently touched and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to stand in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, pour the cream into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it forms soft peaks. Put one cake onto a serving plate and spread with the lemon curd, making sure you go right to the edges. Then spread the whipped cream on top of the lemon curd.

Carefully place the other cake on top of the filling. Sift some icing sugar on top and voila!

Sunday Soul Food

Dear Reader...

22 June 2013

Hope you're having a fab weekend. The weather here in Yorkshire is dull and dreary so we're just spending some time at home relaxing. I'm having a play with our new laptop following the slow demise of our old one.
Anyway, the reason for this post is a reminder that Google Reader will be closing down in just a few days. If you don't use Google reader then ignore this post! But if you do, I highly recommend switching to Bloglovin' to keep up to date with all your favourite blogs.

I've been using Bloglovin' for a few months and I love it. If you haven't already done so, you can sign up here. And even better, with just one click of a button you can import all your subscriptions from Google reader to Bloglovin'. Yay easy peesy!
 My lovely followers are what keep me blogging and I love writing {and baking!} for you, so please make sure you're following My Darlings and Me.. just click here!
How do you follow blogs? What's your favourite feed reader?

5 things that've made me happy this week

21 June 2013

♥ Family. We had a late Father's day family meal out on Wednesday. I'm always at my happiest when surrounded by all my family. I love eating out with everyone even though it gets a little crazy with all the small people at top volume. But I wouldn't change it for anything.

♥ Lippy. I finally found my perfect shade of red lipstick. I've been looking for a while and after buying a few shades that looked ok but I didn't fall in love with, I found this one. It's Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in  Neon Red 916 which is an orangey red shade that strangely seems to really suit me. Now the search starts for the perfect coral lipstick!

♥ Yummy breakie. I'm still loving my Overnight Oats for breakfast. I try to add something different each day for a bit of variety. I have strawberry & banana, raspberry &  blueberry, apple & cinnamon or my favourite banana & chocolate chip. It's flipping yummy and makes me smile while I'm sat at my desk eating it each morning.

♥ New dresses. A new Simply Be catalogue popped through my letterbox last week and I couldn't resist ordering these two dresses. The coral and black dress was designed by blogger What Laura Loves. I wore the chevron stripe one out to dinner and my sister loved it too.

♥ Baking. I've been asked today if I would bake something for a cake sale at work next week. Of course I said yes! I haven't baked much recently and I've missed it so much. Now to decide what to bake... I usually do Chocolate Orange Cupcakes as they sell out very quickly but I fancy making something different this time.  Maybe chocolate orange brownies?!

What's made you happy this week?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

20 June 2013

I think I've only mentioned a few hundred times how much I love working part time. Most of all I love having Mondays off. Especially if its sunny like it was this week. Monday mornings are for the boring stuff like cleaning and running errands with my little helper Lydia, but afternoons are for fun or relaxing.

This Monday afternoon, I had a very rare afternoon to myself so I grabbed my kindle and sat out in the garden for a bit of me-time. It's great to admire how lovely the garden is looking at the moment. I only planted the new flowers three weeks ago but they're thriving and really brightening up our otherwise boring garden. I'm glad I made a bit of effort this year and fingers crossed that it will give the house a bit of kerb appeal when we put it up for sale in the next couple of weeks. 

Glossybox June 2013

18 June 2013

Yay it's Glossybox time again. This month was the 'Summer Looks' box. I was itching to find out what was in the June box so I sneakily searched for the hashtag #glossyboxuk on Instagram to see if anyone had received theirs yet! Well they had and the selection looked fab.

My box eventually arrived on Monday and I ripped it open straight away {I'm not the most patient person!} My first thought was 'hooray I got the Nails Inc polish' then 'boo I got the hair products for curly hair'. Anyway shall we crack on and take a closer look at this months products?

1  //  Figs & Rouge Natural Tinted Lip Balm in Cherry Blossom {full size}. Love it. This has been gracing my lips every day this week. It's mega moisturising, has a lovely dark pink tint to it and smells gorgeous.

2  //  Paul Mitchell Ultimate Wave Beachy Texture Creme Gel and Full Circle Leave-in Treatment {sample sizes}. I was so disappointed with these products which claim to enhance your curls. Yes I have naturally curly hair which I hate so my GHD's are my best friend. On my profile I put that I have straight hair as I didn't want anything for curly hair, which made me think do Glossybox even use your profile to select your products? Luckily my sister has lovely wavy hair so I gave this duo to her.

3  //  Organic Surge Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser {full size}. I was very excited to try this out. I have dry dehydrated skin that loves loads of moisture so this looked promising. The texture of the cream is more like that of a night cream. It's rich and thick but it sinks beautifully into my skin and leaves it really hydrated and soft. It smells really 'natural' too, if you like the scent of essential oils you'll love it. It's also cheaper than my usual day cream so I might repurchase this when it's finished.

4  //  Helen E Waterproof Protective Lip Liner {full size}. Initially I was pleased to see a lip liner in here as I'm really in need of some new ones. However, when I swatched the colour on my hand I was really disappointed as the colour is really not me at all. It's a really dark cherry colour and not something I would ever wear or that would suit me.

5  //  Nails Inc. Polish in Portobello {sample size}. I absolutely adore this colour! It's a bright neon orange colour which is just perfect for summer. It only needed two costs to turn opaque and a top coat of Seche Vite gave it that extra glossy finish. I've had it on for two days now and no chips have appeared yet. The only negative is that it's not a full size bottle!

Overall it was a good box this month. The nail polish, lip balm and moisturiser make up for the disappointment of the hair products and lip liner. And for only a tenner, it's still a bargain for the actual value of what you get. And it's just so flipping exciting to receive it every month!

Eton Mess

17 June 2013

Barbecue season is officially upon us. Yay! In typical fashion, we had glorious weather last weekend, then my dad suggested having a barbecue for Fathers Day and look what happened. It's been pouring down all weekend. Boo!

I think one of the big mysteries in life is why men always want to be in charge of the barbecue {even the ones who never ever set foot in the kitchen} But why not?! I say leave 'em to it while you prepare a delicious, crowd-pleasing dessert.

This Eton Mess is a true British classic that's the perfect pudding for post-bbq consumption. As you know I'm all about the quick easy desserts and with just three ingredients this doesn't get much quicker or easier. 

Eton Mess
Serves 4
Preparation time 15 minutes

8 meringue nests
300ml double cream
400g strawberries

Put 4 strawberries to one side to save for the garnish. Take 100g of the strawberries and whizz in a blender to make a smooth purée. Hull the remaining strawberries and cut into quarters.

In a large bowl whip the cream with a hand held electric mixer until it forms soft peaks. Break the meringue nests into chunks straight into the whipped cream and gently fold together.

Add the strawberries and fold in gently again then swirl in the strawberry purée.

Spoon into four serving glasses, slice the strawberries you reserved and pop them on top. Serve immediately.

Sunday Soul Food #1

16 June 2013

Welcome to a new feature for Sunday evenings. To brighten up your evening I'll be sharing a little happiness in the form of an uplifting or inspirational quote. Hope you like it.

This week #2

14 June 2013

Lovely bargain make-up haul from Fragrance Direct ● A gloriously sunny family day out admiring the great British countryside ● Another bargain... Glamour mag for £1 with a free lipgloss ● Maybelline Color Show nails in Go Go green ● Yay my June Glossybox arrived! ● Picking buttercups ● Oliver making me nervous on top of a huge wall ● Don't wild flowers look so pretty? ● Rimmel 60 second nails in Coralicious ● Eton Mess for dessert ● I baked a cake! A lemon Victoria sponge cake ● Yummy bacon butty for lunch after work ● The darlings going all retro playing with dominoes ● Lydia made me a birthday cake from stickle bricks.

I'm addicted to Instagram! You can follow me @mydarlingsandme

5 things that've made me happy this week

12 June 2013

Welcome to a new feature that I'm going to be posting each week. It's a warm, fuzzy, feel-good post to help me to think about and remember the good things in life.

♥ I baked a cake! I haven't done much baking recently as the beautiful weather has kept me out of the kitchen away from the heat of the oven. But baking made me so happy and I remembered how much I love it.

♥ Talking of beautiful weather... it's been glorious this week. We have to make the most of every minute of sunshine here in Yorkshire!

♥ We found a new playground yesterday. The actual playground wasn't the best but it's next to a field covered with pretty buttercups. We all picked some and they're looking lovely in a vase on the windowsill.

♥ We had a lovely day out at Castle Hill on Saturday. It's a local landmark with the most incredible views over the town and countryside. The weather was fantastic  and the darlings had a great time running wild over the surrounding fields and looking for rabbits down the rabbit holes.

♥ My latest Glossybox arrived on Monday. It's only my second one but I was so excited waiting for it to arrive. There are some fab products in there which I'll share with you shortly.

What's made you happy this week?

Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer

11 June 2013

Maybelline color show nail lacquer
Maybelline color show nail lacquer
Maybelline color show nail lacquer

The other week I went through my make up box and decided that it needed a major overhaul. So I threw out loads of old stuff and I'm now on a mission to build up a good collection of new, up-to-date products. Now I'm a 37 year old wife and mum who works part time so my budget is *limited*. It's high street all the way for me! But there are some fantastic budget brands out there and amazing dupes of all the popular high end products. 

So moving on... here are three new nail colours I recently bought. They're Maybelline Color Show nail lacquers in Pow Green, Cool Blue and Orange Attack. I'm so into all the bright summer colours at the moment and these fit perfectly in that category. I immediately painted the Orange Attack on to my toes. Swiftly followed by Cool Blue on my fingers. The first coat was quite sheer but the second coat achieved a perfect opaque glossy finish. It dried quickly too which is an important factor for me in a nail polish.

The Cool Blue lasted incredibly well, it was four days before even a tiny chip appeared. I was very impressed. The Pow Green was a different story though. I put it on yesterday and a few chips have appeared already. Very strange. I didn't do anything different and both colours were covered with Avon Gold Strength top coat {fab top coat by the way!}

It hasn't put me off though and I'm sure this trio of polishes will frequently be gracing my nails over the summer months. And at only £1.99 each {at Asda} I won't be able to resist adding a few more colours to my collection.

Have you tried the Maybelline Color Show polishes? What nail colours are you loving for summer?

Overnight Oats

10 June 2013

Let me introduce you to my new favourite breakfast. I call it Overnight oats, some call it summer porridge but whatever you call it, it's blooming delicious.

This kept cropping up on Instagram and Pinterest and I loved the idea of a breakfast that takes two minutes to make on an evening and is ready to eat the next morning {call me lazy!} I'm a big porridge fan but I don't seem to fancy it in the summer so this is a fab summer alternative. 

The first time I made it, I took it into work the next morning. My colleague was intrigued when a glass jar appeared from my bag filled with this! It's absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. And another perk is that it keeps you full till lunchtime so no need for snacking on naughty things throughout the morning.

Overnight Oats
1 serving

1/2 cup of porridge oats
1/2 cup of greek yoghurt
1/2 cup of milk
1 tblsp chia seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon honey
Fruit or berries of your choice

Put all the ingredients in a glass jar {or a tupperware container with a lid} Shake or stir gently to mix everything. Pop in the fridge and leave overnight. In the morning enjoy a yummy, filling, ready-to-eat breakfast.

So far I've made it with strawberry & banana, raspberry & blueberry and apple & cinnamon. This website has some great ideas for different flavour combos. I think I might try banana cocoa next!