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Friday, 5 August 2016

French Affair: The 5 Best Parks in Paris

1. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a public park situated in northeastern Paris, in the 19th arrondissement and one of the city's most magical spots. The park was was designed by Adolphe Alphand for Haussmann opened as part of the celebrations for the Universal Exhibition in 1867. It features paths, waterfalls, temples and vertical cliffs.

2. Jardin du Luxembourg


Established by Italian monarch Marie de Medicis in the mid-17th century, the gardens, located at 2 rue Auguste Compte (6e) feature a Florentine-style palace which now houses the French Senate. One of this park's attraction is the beautiful Medici Fountain.

3. Tuileries Garden

The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It was created between 1564 and 1572 by Catherine de Medici, the widow of King Henry II and it stretches over 22.4 hectares.

4. Montsouris Park

Located in the 14th arrondissement between rue d'Alesia and the Cité Universitaire, the Parc Montsouris is one of the largest green spaces in Paris. It's popular with joggers on weekends.

5. Champ de Mars

The Champ de Mars, opened in 1780, is located in the seventh arrondissement, between the Eiffel Tower and the École Militaire. It offers the most beautiful view of the Tour Eiffel and boasts extensive lawns, paths & trees.

Limoncello Swiss Roll

This Swiss roll filled with Limoncello and lemon-flavoured custard is a fresh variation of the classic jam filled Swiss roll recipe. The method is very similar: just make the sponge cake mixture and a sweet custard to fill the roll with. What makes this recipe special, is the addition of Limoncello, a sweet lemon-flavored Italian liqueur.

Ingredients for 8 portions:

For the sponge:

130g white flour
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
50ml milk
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
lemon slices and icing sugar to decorate

For the custard:

300ml milk
1 lemon
2 egg yolks 
50g caster sugar
35g cornstarch
20ml limoncello


1. Prepare the custard first: Gently warm the milk in a saucepan. Whisk the eggs and sugar, and stir in the cornstarch. Add some warm milk to soften the mixture and continue to whisk gradually adding the rest of the milk. Add a slice of lemon peel. Place the egg and milk mixture in a saucepan and heat, stirring. When the custard starts to thicken add the lemon  juice and continue to stir until thickened. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool.

2. To make the sponge cake mixture, preheat oven to 220C and grease and line the base and sides of a 25 x 30cm Swiss roll pan with baking paper. Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and pale and doubled in size. Sift the flour and baking powder over the egg mixture, gently fold until combined and add the milk and vanilla extract continuing to stir gently. 

3. Smooth the cake mixture onto the Swiss roll pan and bake for 6/8 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle a large sheet of baking paper with extra caster sugar. Turn the hot sponge out onto the sugared paper. Remove the baking paper. Using the paper as a guide, roll the sponge from a short end into a log. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Unroll the sponge onto a clean work surface and brush it with the Limoncello. Spread the custard over the moist sponge, leaving a 2cm boarder at the end. Roll sponge to enclose filling.
5. Place on a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar and decorated with the lemon slices to serve.

Monday, 20 June 2016

International Scoliosis Awareness Day 2016

Scoliosis is a disorder with abnormal sideways or lateral curvature of the spine. It is not a rare condition but there is still very little knowledge or understanding about scoliosis and how it affects the lives of patients and their families, which can leave them feeling isolated and unsure where to turn.

Many of you may not know that Jamaican sprinter and gold medalist Usain Bolt has scoliosis. In an interview Bolt described how scoliosis affected his training in the early part of his career:
When I was younger it wasn’t really a problem. But you grow and it gets worse. My spine’s really curved bad [makes “S” shape with finger]. But if I keep my core and back strong, the scoliosis doesn’t really bother me. So I don’t have to worry about it as long as I work hard. The early part of my career, when we didn’t really know much about it, it really hampered me because I got injured every year.”

In 2013 Scoliosis Association (UK) launched International Scoliosis Awareness Day. The aim was to unite people from all over the world to create positive public awareness of scoliosis, promote education, and bring together those affected by the condition.

National Scoliosis Awareness Month takes place yearly in June with the goal of highlighting the growing need for education, early detection and awareness to the public about scoliosis and its prevalence within the community.

ISAD 2016 is on Saturday 25th June 2016. Show your support and get involved in this year's very special Got Your Back campaign!  To find out how you can help visit 

Follow SAUK on twitter @ScoliosisUK     #scoliosisgotyourback

Got your Back Mug £5 GBP available from

Thursday, 19 February 2015

London Fashion Week 2015

London Fashion Week for the Autumn/Winter 2015 collections kicks off this Friday at 9.30am and ends on Tuesday 24 February at 17.30. 

Emilio De La Morena and fashion duo Thornton Bregazzi with their label Preen are among this year's highlights.

Emilio De La Morena is a young Spanish designer who studied at Central Saint Martin and the London College of Fashion and has worked for Rafael Lopez and Jonathan Saunders. With his structured and sculptural collections - mainly centred on evening wear and cocktail dresses in metallic shades - 'he manages to create surprising and fastidiously sexy cocktail looks by modernising old and obscure craftsmanship techniques'.

Emilio De LaMorena A/W 2015
Emilio De LaMorena A/W 2015

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi - one of London's most distinctive and successful labels - was founded in 1996 by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. Their designs are a mix of multicolour fringes, lace and architectural tailoring.

Preen S/S 2015

Unfortunately most shows will be by invitation only but some shows will be live streamed on the official LFW website.

Topshop on Oxford Street will live stream the Topshop Unique fashion show from Tate Britain on Sunday and will also be giving the chance to win a Topshop wardrobe to those who review the show by tweets. Follow this link for more info.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chicken with Peppers

A quick and easy dinner idea.


4 chicken thighs
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pepper (capsicum/bell pepper)
ground pepper
ground nutmeg
dry parsley to garnish


Warm the oil in a pan, Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. Add the chicken, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and cook covered for 15 mins stirring occasionally. Add a few tbsp hot water if it becomes too dry. Add the pepper (washed and diced) and add a little more water, just enough to cover and allow the pepper to cook. Cook for a further 5/10 minutes. Garnish with parsley once cooked and serve with toasted bread or boiled rice.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Mocha Cake

As those of you who have been reading my blog would have grasped by now, I love baking! I love making and eating desserts of any kind! I have a sweet tooth, but I am also devoted to a healthy diet.

Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it's about feeling great, having more energy, and stabilizing your mood.

I like my cakes light, with less fat than ordinary cakes. This way I can eat my favourite homemade baking ideas without too much guilt. There's nothing better than a nice slice of cake with a cup of your favourite coffee to give you the right energy to start your day or a nice sweet treat in the evening to warm these cold winter days! 

Cocoa and Coffee are my favourite baking ingredients in the winter. I just love this Cocoa and Coffee Cake, which I called Mocha Cake. It's so quick and easy to make!  

As this is a dark cake, I chose to give it a bit of colour by decorating it with Hundreds and Thousands. Hundreds and thousands have been around for ages. They bring back everyone's fond childhood memories. 'Hundreds and Thousands' is the British English term. I believe they are called Sprinkles or Jimmies in the US. 

Ingredients (serve 6/8):

3 eggs
250 gr caster sugar
3 tbsp margarine
4 tbsp strong coffee
zest of 1 orange
2 tsp vanilla essence
50 gr cocoa
200 gr flour
2 tsp baking powder

For the glaze:
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp water
Hundreds and Thousands


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with some butter and dust it with flour. 

Beat the eggs with the sugar, margarine, orange zest and vanilla essence until fluffy. Blend in the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth. Gently pour the mixture on to the cake tin.

Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Transfer the cake to a serving plate. 

Prepare the glaze by blending the caster sugar and the cocoa. Dissolve this mixture in water and bring to a boil – boil until it starts to thicken

Glaze the top of the cake. Sprinkle with Hundreds and Thousands. 

Allow the frosting to cool before serving.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Pan di Spagna (Sponge cake without baking powder)

Many years ago, this cake was called Pâte Génoise, or pasta Genovese. Its origins can be traced back to the mid-1700, to Genoese cook Giobatta Cabona. He was sent to Spain to work for the ambassador, marquis Domenico Pallavicini and during a banquet he served a cake of incredible lightness and softeness. The cake was given the name of 'Pan di Spagna' - literally Spanish bread - in honor of the host country. The cake mixture was prepared by mixing all the ingredients inside a bowl which rested on a pot of boiling water. Over time, this method was abandoned and the Pâte Génoise became simply the modern sponge cake we eat today.

Pan di Spagna is one of the easiest and quickest cakes to prepare. However, it's very important to carefully follow the right process in order to get perfect results.

Ingredients (serve 6):

4 eggs
8 tbs caster sugar
5 tbs flour
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla flavouring
pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with some butter and dust it with flour. 

Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Beat the yolks with the sugar, the  lemon zest, the pinch of salt and the vanilla flavouring until pale in colour. Add the flour and continue whisking until completely blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until fluffy and firm. Gently fold them into the yolk mixture with downward circular movements until completely blended. 

Transfer the cake mixture into the cake tin. 

Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden brown (the top must be firm to the touch). Try also inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

Sponge cake is very versatile and can be filled and decorated in many different ways. 

For a creamy frosting I use half a tub of light cream cheese,1 pot of Elmlea Double Light (alternative to cream), 2 tbs honey and 1 tbs caster sugar. I whisk the Elmlea with the honey and sugar until firm, and then gradually add the cream cheese while whisking until completely blended.

The top of the cake can be decorated with either milk chocolate shavings or white chocolate chips.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lemon Drizzle Cake

A quick and easy recipe for a soft cake full of flavour.


3 large eggs
12 tbs caster sugar
1 1/2 spoon soft/spreadable butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
10 tbs flour
2 tsp baking powder.

For the glaze:

3 tbs caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Lemon zest to decorate.


Beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and butter using an electric mixer. Add the lemon juice, the flour and the baking powder.

Transfer the mixture into a pre-greased 21 cm baking tray.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 180 degrees C/gas mark 4, until the top of the cake is golden brown.

Mix the sugar and lemon juice to make the glaze. Spread it on to the cake and decorate with some lemon zest on top. Allow to cool before serving.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Online Fashion - My Shopping List

It's a fact that you don't need to buy expensive designer clothes to be fashionable. The internet is a powerful tool that can help you find the latest trends at a bargain and even allow you to copy the look of your favourite celebs. 

According to what some celebs have been spotted wearing, it looks like ripped jeans - a trend of the 90s - are back in fashion! 

Here are some of the things that you can get online without having to break the bank.

Kim Kardashian often wears ripped jeans

women torn jeans-guess denim trousers
Guess distressed denim trousers
Michael Stars Shine Off The Shoulder Dolman Top in White - Lyst
Michael Stars Shine Off The Shoulder Dolman Top 

large image view

VINCE CAMUTO Platform Evening Sandals - Janene High Heel

Not Hermes but Vanilla Paris - Bertie Bag 
Luv AJ x Stone Cold Fox The Lennon Belt in Antique Silver
X Stone Cold Fox The Lennon Belt by LUV AJ

Ivory Gold Sun Top by Sister Jane at Topshop

ASOS Mini Skirt In Leather

Benni Snake-Print Crystal Sandal, Nude/Salmon - VC Signature

Nina Keiko Clutch
Gold Platted Snake Ring at

Ainsley Cuff Bracelet in Gold by Kendra Scott
Adriana Papell cap sleeve dress

Biba bag - Affordable designer bag!

Golden! Sandals at House of Fraser

My BBQ Chicken recipe

It's summer at last! Time for barbecues, picnics in the park and delicious food you can enjoy whilst sizzling in the sun or relaxing in the garden.

My favourite recipe for this time of the year is barbecued chicken. I have invented my own sauce for this.

This sauce is very easy to make and it does not require precooking.  You just have to make sure that  you marinate the meat in it in the  fridge for at least 3 hours before cooking. This is to allows the chicken to absorb all the flavours of the spicy sauce. The following recipe serves 4 people.

The ingredients you will need are:

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs tomato puree double concentrated
1 tbs honey
2 tbs hot water
1 tbs water
1 tbs dry parsley
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
some chili powder

Circa 800 gr Chicken thighs or other parts you prefer.


Mix the ingredients to make the sauce and stir until they are fully blended.

Wash the chicken and discard any excess fat. Remove the skin if you prefer.

Place the chicken into a bowl and fully cover with the sauce.

Cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge.

Leave to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Grill for 30-40 minutes.