Friday, April 22, 2016

Easy macaron recipe

I'm super exited to be writing my very first baking post! 

Ever since I was little I've loved baking and in the last year or so since I've had my own house, I've been able to up my game, make as much mess as I like and experiment.

I had always been intrigued by macarons, but because I'm so fussy with food, I'd never actually tried one, but late last year when I went to Brussels, we stopped by a fancy shop and got a box. That's where the love affair with macarons began. 

I never see them in the shops in the UK. Does anyone know where I can pick some up?

After watching loads of tutorials, reading recipes and drooling over images on Pinterest, I decided to give it a go. I prepared myself for failure, because Macarons are known to be really quite tricky to make. I follow the simple recipe below and as of yet I’ve still not had a dodgy batch!

·         60 g Egg Whites
·         65 g Sugar (I used caster)
·         75g Almond Powder
·         55g Icing Sugar
·         Food Colour GEL of your choice


Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper. Once the mix is completed, I blob a little bit under each corner of the grease proof paper to make sure it sticks to the baking tray. 

Take your almond powder (I buy ground almonds) and icing sugar and blitz it in a blender in pulses, to make the mixture as fine as possible. Normally for a total of about 30 seconds. (I didn’t do this the first couple of times – they still turned out tasty but when you do this the mixture is much smoother). Leave to one side. 

Mixing the egg whites takes a looonnngg time. If you’ve got an electric hand mixer, great. If you’ve got a stand mixer, even better. You want to mix the egg whites until they begin to create a loose foam. At this point, I slowly add the sugar to the egg whites and continue whisking until I’ve created a meringue. You want a glossy, thick, white mixture. 

This is the point when I add my food colour, because I don’t want to over mix when the almond and icing sugar mixture is added. 

The next step is crucial in creating a good macaron. You want to slowly fold the almond mixture into the eggs, trying to not remove any of that lovely air you just created in the last step. I read online somewhere that you should count your folds – for me, my mixture is done at around 35-40 folds. 

Then you need to pop your mixture into a piping bag, and pipe on to your baking sheets. Mine are never perfectly uniform because I don’t have a round nozzle, so you can use yours if you have one.

You need to let them rest for at least an hour on the baking sheets before you put them in the oven. I make sure my kitchen is at a normal temperature, don’t do any cooking or have any drying on – the less moisture in the air around the macarons at this stage the better. I believe this stage is the make or break when it comes to creating the ‘feet’ on the macaron. 

After your hour is up, you want to shove these in the oven at around 150 degrees for anywhere between 10-20 minutes. Mine are normally done after around 12 minutes – it all depends on your oven. I keep a watchful eye on mine to see if my little macaron ‘feet’ form, and each time they do, I have a little dance around the kitchen. 

Once done, I leave them too cool for 10 minutes or so, then get filling and sandwiching these together. I use any sort of filling, but Chocolate frosting is my favourite.

I’ll be honest with you, apparently these taste much better if you leave them for a day, but our’s never, ever last that long for me to try! 

Please let me know if you try this recipe out – tag me in your photos on Instagram and send me your links, I’d love to see how you got on!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Getting to know Younique

Younique has always been a brand I’ve been interested about, but I hate buying makeup online and that’s pretty much what has always put me off. You’ll end up getting the wrong shade, or it’ll look nothing like what it did on the website. Sometimes, when you get the chance to look at a product up close and personal, you know whether it will work for you or not. So I was delighted to be given a chance by my local Younique rep to try out a number of the products for a few days! 

The kit is what each Younique rep gets when they begin. It’s packed with eyeshadows, lip products and even self-tanner, so you can get a good idea of the range of products available and the quality too! 

When I first popped my head into the box I didn’t know where to start! The packaging screams luxury to me, so I knew that inside the products would be pretty darn good.

I’ll start off talking about my favourite product from the entire box, the Splurge Cream Shadow in Elegant. I’m a big fan of cream eyeshadow, so I thought I knew what to expect when I tried this out, but I was really surprised. The formula is almost spongy to the touch, much wetter than any of the cream eyeshadow products that I own, but that’s why I love it. There’s no chance of this drying out beyond use. Because of the wet formula, it blends like a dream and the pigment is really intense – a little goes a long way. This shade is just perfect too. You could wear it alone, or as a base for a gold or even a smokey eyeshadow look!

Their Moodstruck Addiction palette is pretty nice too – a perfect neutral palette for those wanting to perfect the Smokey eye. It’s got a range of matte and shimmer shades, any while the pigment of the matte isn’t as good as the shimmers, the colour payoff is pretty decent. There’s soo many looks you could do with this palette, subtle day looks to all out evening looks.

I really like the Stiff Upper Lip Lip stains too – my favourite shades are Saucy and Shy. I’ve always been abit hit and miss when it comes to lip stains, because I’ve pretty much always got dry lips, I find they dry them out even further, but I didn’t have that problem with these – they actually felt quite moisturising. The stain is even across the lips too, not patchy like some others I’ve tried.

The Lucrative Lip Gloss is pretty nice too – not sticky like you’d expect glosses to be. The colour range is quite varied too – definitely some in there I wouldn’t be brave enough to try. I think Lovesick is probably my favourite in this range.

I think one of the products Younique originally got a lot of buzz for was the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes kit. I’ve used this before, and to be honest I struggled because I’ve got sensitive eyes – but I do struggle with a lot of mascara. It’s a fiber and mascara duo, you use the fibers to build up length and volume in the lashes and set it with the mascara. The results are pretty dramatic – no need to use your falsies on a night out when you’ve got this in your kit.

I’m sooo glad I got the chance to try out some of their products before I buy them – apparently all Younique reps are happy to lend out their kits to you to try.

You can visit my local reps page here to see what else Younique have on offer.

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