• Halloween cake decorating


    Halloween cake decorating:

    I have always really enjoyed halloween baking, you can be silly, you can be a bit gross, you can be extremely childish.

    Though I have plenty of ideas and am not too shabby knocking up a cake, my buttercream skills are not the best. Working with a tremor too means I am often taking slightly different routes to ensure I am comfortable when doing something.

    I wanted to practice and develop my skills and with Halloween fast approaching, now felt like the perfect time.

    Halloween cake decorating

     

    Rebecca’s Cakes:

    I was fortunate enough to have Rebecca from http://www.rebeccas-cakes.co.uk come over to my house to teach me some tricks.

    Rebecca has been providing us with the most delicious cupcakes, biscuits etc for over ten years. She has provided goodies for most of the significant events/parties I have had. She is a cake wizard, a buttercream genius. Her goodies will leave your hips hating you but your hearts begging for more. Having her come to my house was the best Monday ever.

    Arriving with an array of spooky decorations, sprinkles, edible decorations, spiders, coloured fondant, liquorice and ghost mallows. Rebecca was well prepared for a Halloween explosion.

    Rebecca advised me that Tk Maxx are great for themed decorations as well as pound shops, eBay and local cake stores where she stocks up.

    halloween cake decorating

     

    Practising:

    I quickly learnt that one of the reasons why I struggle is that I am too careful and cautious when handling the cake and buttercream. As well as the fact that Rebecca’s buttercream knocked mine to pieces and was not fearful of being slathered and scraped. (Recipe below)

    Rebecca brought a practice cake, where I learnt about crumb coating, how to fill in the cracks (I think I could be a plasterer now) how to manipulate the cake using the right tools and to not worry. Crumb coats are basically like wearing Spanx pants, it keeps it all in and it does not matter how it looks as no one can see it anyway.

    We then had a play with piping. This will not be my thing. My hands are not a fan of it and after a while they hurt from the way you hold the bag.

    It was fun though to have a play with it and my skills were not the worst.

    After a crumb coat applying the outer layer of buttercream was a dream. Any mistakes could be scraped off and gently re applied.

     

     

    Halloween cake decorating

     

    Halloween drips:

    I love a drip cake, I love the way it looks, I love that is the perfect cover up for any “imperfections”.

    Drips can be made out of an assortment of things, salted caramel, icing sugar, candy melts, chocolate, ganache.

    As I was Halloween cake decorating, I wanted to work with ganache so to make the drips I used a sauce bottle to squeeze and drip. This was really easy and a lot less messier than when I had previously used a spoon.

    The drips depend on the consistency of the ganache. (Recipe below) I was not too fussed about them reaching the bottom.

    Halloween cake decorating

     

    Halloween cake decorating:

    Well this bit was fun, I called out for my inner child who quite frankly is never too far to be seen. We sprinkled, used the liquorice skulls, Marshmallow ghouls, fondant bats, spiders and lastly the sugar figures from Tkmaxx.

    The different ways I could have decorated were endless due to a  good stash of decorations.

    I think if you are looking to decorate a Halloween cake but on a budget then I really advise investing some time to head over to the places I mentioned above. Then it becomes so much more fun when you, and if you have any little helpers, can just have fun with it.

    I really picked  up some new techniques from the fabulous Rebecca and I learnt that though I have to respect the cake, it needs to know who the boss is.

    My tummy definitely appreciated it and I am really in the mood for some more spooky baking and practising my Halloween cake decorating.

    Recipes:

    Buttercream:

    300g unsalted butter, 700g icing sugar, drop of vanilla or whatever flavour you fancy and a few tablespoons of water and mix in a mixer. Add more water if needing to soften more.

    Colouring as you wish, though be aware that Wilton colourings I think slightly alter the taste. I prefer Sugar Flair (which usually needs just a pin drop added)

    Ganache:

    Equal amounts of double cream and dark or white chocolate. Whatever type of chocolate you fancy, need not be expensive as mixing with cream.

    Can be either melted in the microwave on short bursts and then whisked, or in a bowl over boiling water.

     

    Head over to http://www.rebeccas-cakes.co.uk if you are looking for cakes, goodies or catering.

    She is also on Instagram as http://www.instagram.com/cakerebecca

     

  • Too cool for ghouls. Halloween kids playlist


     

    I was contemplating making a grown up one, however I knew I would get stuck into 100 hours of awesome tracks that I get the spooky vibe from. Plus there are some ace Halloween playlists out there.

    So instead I made a little halloween party playlist for the Mini ghouls and ghosts in your lives.

     

    29 songs on Too cool for ghouls. Halloween kids playlist on alexandrakristenjane on Spotify

  • Halloween outfits


    Halloween

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!! Okay it is the second most wonderful time of the year!!!.

    Halloween is coming, the air is getting eerie, playlists are getting their spook on, the shops are adorned with fake cobwebs, costumes and teeth rattling goodies. For some it is a time they can stuff their faces with sweets and blame it on the trick or treaters. For me, a large part of it is the clothes!!! Finally I can channel the teenage goth in me and project it onto my “not quite old enough to dictate what she wants to wear toddler”.

    This was also a great opportunity for me to show support to some great parent run businesses I discovered through Instagram, to get creative and put together outfits on a budget and to get my needle and thread out (okay get my mum to do it).

    First of all I would like to share with you two shops I discovered through Instagram starting with Bloody Nora Pam:

    phoebe

    Bloody Nora Pam are husband and wife co-creators Emma and Adam. For so long it had been a dream of theirs to create beautiful apparel and after learning that life is short they realised very quickly that this adventure needed to begin. The name of their shop is inspired by the most beautiful and amazing person that they have ever known and tragically lost too soon. Adam’s brother Josh died suddenly aged 24 due to sepsis. His love, light and positivity inspired them to create clothing that spreads positive messages and lifts people’s spirits in the way he did. Money from every item that they sell is also donated to the UK Sepsis Trust in honour of Josh.

    Halloween outfits

    With a fantastic Halloween range of “support your local ghoul gang” merchandise out, including adults and kids t-shirts, patches and tote bags, you can show your spooky solidarity.

    If ghoul gang is not your thing, then they also have an “eliminate girl hate” range and a Bloody Nora Pam badge from which they give all profits to the UK Sepsis Trust.

    I love the fact that they took an important message and integrated Halloween into it, and I can slightly goth up my child but it is still childish and appropriate.

    The fact that what they are doing comes from great tragedy but they are turning it around and raising money for the Uk Sepsis Trust is fantastic.

    Head to www.bloodynorapam.co.uk to be part of the ghoul gang.

     

    Now onto Skeletots:

    halloween outfits

    I have had a long-standing relationship with Skeletots. Phoebe has been wearing their dresses since she was six months old. I have been obsessing over their awesome prints forever. I believe they may have been one of my first bought via Instagram shops.

    Claire created Skeletots as she wanted alternative baby wear to be more freely available. With a love of skulls, roses, cats, black, leopard print and bows, Claire has an Etsy shop that will please any parent looking for something well made but a little different.

    halloween outfits

    The cat dress from Skeletots Phoebe is wearing, is just the right amount of spooky for a toddler and the right amount of goth for me. Teamed up with some trusty boots, black clothes and cat ears, Phoebe is looking just Purrrrrfect.  Of course these beautiful clothes are not just for Halloween – no gimmicks, well made and cute enough for all year round

    Head on over to http://www.skeletots.co.uk

     

     

    halloween outfits

    DIY and Halloween on a budget:

    I like to think getting creative is one of my things, I live and breathe for the slightly different, the adventurous, the bold, the sweet. Give me a theme and I am a walking talking  Pinterestbot.

    Now I am also a single mum who has not yet returned to work so I need to mostly shop realistically and without making my purse weep ( of course sometimes my purse misbehaves and falls into the arms of a really nice but slightly pricey shop)

    The combination of the two means, I am often looking for ways of creating with bargains. It also means I can beg my mum who is the mistress of making, to sew up my thoughts into whimsical and wonderful outfits for Phoebe.

    halloween outfits

     

    As seen in the picture, Phoebe’s outfit is in homage to The Ghostbusters. Obviously the original, because the new one is quite frankly enough to make any ghost/human want to be sucked up and put in a box.

    I discovered oversized £2 jumpers in the back to school section of ASDA. Then I searched on Ebay for some cheap Ghostbusters patches and voila Phoebe’s Ghostbusters jumper which cost me £5.50

    The leggings were on sale from www.zulily.co.uk which sells a variety of American clothes at a fraction of the price. Ghosts and bats again fitting in with Ghostbusters and Halloween.

     

     

    halloween outfits

    I will often search on the internet for deals, buy from sales for the next year and customise or put an outfit together. I will usually go to pound shops to buy accessories as they are cheap but usually right on point with things like Halloween. The skeleton bag in the picture is from the local pound shop.  The cost of the items make it a little easier when they are met by a bulldog toddler who cares nothing about money.

    Though I usually avoid buying items from Asia on Ebay because well, we have all seen the pictures of their pictures versus their reality, but they do make good socks and tights so I do sometimes turn to them when I need those accessories. (The Frankenstein says Relax top is also from Zulily )

    Hope my ideas have given you some inspiration. Enabling me to exercise my inner goth comes to the fore at Halloween but of course I often channel this look at any time of year !! I’d love to hear any of your ideas and secret sources too.

    xx

     

     

  • Holiday?


    I think we need to come up with a new word for “Holiday”

    If you look up the definition of holiday: It refers to days of rest and recreation…

    Excuse me whilst I pah ha ha all over the computer screen.

    I used to go on holiday, I used to sunbathe all day and drink Pina Colada’s. I used to swim in the pool and read salacious gossip magazines and listen to music.

    Going away with a small one is more like a work trip, a rite of passage. There will be no sunbathing, no cocktails, no flirting with the waiters.

    Instead you are shitting bricks about the bedroom with no black out blinds, and the travel cot that breaks your back. You are cursing because you did not bring enough vests and your small one has taken to crapping up their back.

    That you could of gone away for two nights or three months and still had to take away the same amount of stuff. The stuff that took you two weeks to pack as packing with a small one is a little like torture.

    Sure you have a lovely time and you see things you may not have seen now that you can not lay still for more than ten minutes. You even enjoy yourself and get to have a glass of wine after you have wrestled the small bag of snakes to sleep. *child*

    But Holiday. Nope no siree, not from my experience.

    We need to come up with a new word for it because “Oh my god, I am so exhausted and I am never leaving my black out blinds again, is a little long,

    Ali x