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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.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Principal Yoga poses to help tone and strengthen the ligaments and muscles and enhance the flexibility of the joints and spine.

Celebrities with scoliosis

Scoliosis (/ˌskɒlɪˈoʊsɪs/;from Ancient Greek: σκολίωσις skoliosis “obliquity, bending”) is a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an X-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with scoliosis can resemble an "S" or a "?", rather than a straight line.

Scoliosis is typically classified as either congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (cause unknown, sub-classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult, according to when onset occurred), or secondary to a primary condition.

Secondary scoliosis can be the result of a neuromuscular condition (e.g., spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, or physical trauma) or syndromes such as Chiari malformation. 
(From various sources cited on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Recent longitudinal studies reveal that the most common form of the condition, late-onset idiopathic scoliosis, is physiologically harmless and self-limiting even without treatment. The rarer forms of scoliosis pose risks of complications.

A diagnosis of scoliosis can be scary and people can worry that living a normal life may not be possible. 

However, there are a number of people with scoliosis in the public eye who force the impact of their scoliosis into the shadow of their achievements and careers. It’s truly inspirational stuff! So here are a few famous names who have been affected by scoliosis.

Sports men and women

One of the biggest myths surrounding scoliosis is that it prevents people continuing with the sports that they love. 

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt, ‘the fastest man alive’, has smashed that myths credibility, along with obtaining his three world records for the 100 metres, 200 meters and 4x100meter relay. Bolt was born with congenital scoliosis and initially had a small curve in his lower spine. However, in an interview with ESPN, he reported that it has progressed to a significant ‘S’ curve which caused him discomfort during adolescence. He was able to manage his condition by keeping his core and back muscles strong (and what a back it is!) We look forward to seeing if he can defend his Olympic titles in Rio 2016! Go Bolt!

Jenny Thompson, former Olympic swimmer, didn’t let her diagnosis of scoliosis get in the way of  winning 12 Olympic medals, including 8 gold, during the course of her career. On the tennis scene, current World Number 110,James Blake has had a storming career, reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, and the semi-finals of the Beijing Olympics.

Other well known sports professionals with scoliosis include Olympic swimmersJanet EvansJon Oslon and golfers Stacy Lewis and Dudley Hart. These sports professionals are international inspirations and living reminder that anything is possible!
Actresses and Models

Sadly scoliosis can lead to body image issues and a lack of confidence. Despite acknowledging her own scoliosis insecurities, actress, model, 90’s ‘it girl’, and socialite Chloe Sevigny has built a multi-faceted career appearing in many successful independent films, TV series’ and even appearing on the front cover of Elle magazine.

Chloe Sevigny

Sarah Michelle Geller has also spoken publicly about living with scoliosis
An equally sassy twisted sister is actress Sarah Michelle Geller, most famous for playing Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now retired from her vampire slaying days, Sarah relieves discomfort caused by scoliosis by doing Pilates. Actress and former model Rebecca Romijn is best known for her role as Mystique from X-Men and Alexis Meade from Ugly Betty

A scoliosis diagnosis is something that she has in common with fellow Ugly Betty co-star Vanessa Williams who plays Wilhelmina Slater.

Vanessa Williams

The Queen of Hollywood, actress, singer dancer Liza Minnelli is a true scoliosis survivor. Despite having two false hips, a wired-up knee and three crushed disks on top of her scoliosis, she still manages to dance every day. If that’s not inspiration to dance, I don’t know what is!  Other glamorous superstars with scoliosis include Elizabeth TaylorRenee Russo, and Lisa Howard.

Liz Taylor suffered from Scoliosis

Some of the biggest names in rock music history had a scoliosis diagnosis.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain, lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the band Nirvana suffered from back pain due to scoliosis all his life. Despite frequently experiencing pain due to the weight of his guitar he was able to channel it through his music.

Continuing on a rock tip, John Lydon, lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols, had a hunched back due to his scoliosis. However that didn’t stop him from playing at sold out gigs and touring the world.

Jeffery Tate spent a good deal of his childhood in hospitals and wheelchairs. Not only did he decide to repay modern medicine for teaching him to walk by becoming a doctor, but he also became a fantastic British conductor. Tate’s international conducting career started with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has since been appointed as principle conductor of the Royal Opera House, music director of the San Carlo Theatre of Naples and chief conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Blatt from girl group All Saints, had fairly severe scoliosis requiring surgery. The three metal pins down her spine didn’t stop her from dancing on stage with her fellow band mates.

Scoliosis even has royal representation. When millions around the world tuned in to the royal wedding in 2011, the only unusual thing they would have noticed about Princess Eugenie was her hat. 

The princess was raising money for the Royal national Orthopaedic Hospital and the Marylebone Cricket Club
Princess Eugenie is a patron of the  Royal National Orthopaedic
Hospital where she had surgery at the age of 12 to correct her scoliosis

In fact, Princess Eugenie, who is 6th in line to the throne, had an operation in 2002 to correct her scoliosis. She has since graced the front cover of Tatler magazine and attended university in Newcastle.


Visit the SAUK website to read more about scoliosis and find out how you can help them continue to provide support and advice to people with scoliosis.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

International Scoliosis Awareness Day

Saturday 28th June, 2014 - Speak up for scoliosis!

On Saturday 29th June 2013, the first ever International Scoliosis Awareness Day (ISAD) was launched! Headed by SAUK (, people with scoliosis from around the world united to raise awareness and funds for curvature of the spine!  This was the first international scoliosis awareness day with the online community getting active, photos and stories being shared, and events going on around the country.
The next one will be on Saturday 28th June 2014 and, with your help, ISAD can go from strength to strength!

Download your ISAD guide now!

Scoliosis is a relatively unknown condition and many people have never even heard of it.  The International Scoliosis Awareness Day is a great chance to create positive, public awareness about scoliosis, promote education, advocacy campaigns, and bring people together with the condition.  The day is an opportunity to shout about scoliosis, to help people understand what it is, and the impact that it can have on people’s lives.  We will be working very closely with the Scoliosis Research Society in the USA to bring people together from around the world to run events, feature in the press, and most importantly show off their curves while having lots of fun!
So, what are you doing on Saturday 28th June 2014?
Think BIG: why not run an event for the awareness day?  Hold a fete, have a party, host an awareness BBQ, head to your local park and have a picnic with blue scoliosis cupcakes, set up a stall in your local shopping centre, or set yourself a challenge! The options are endless!
Get media savvy: Why not approach your local newspaper or radio station with your story to see if they will feature you? It is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and to tell people about the great work done by SAUK. Download the ISAD resources (coming soon) and send them to local media outlets - don't forget to tell them your story as they might feature you too!
Help us promote the day: change your Facebook profile picture to one of the special images, update your status to tell people about the day or use our twitter hashtag #ISAD14. The more people that know about it, the more people will get involved to raise awareness and funds for scoliosis!
Don’t just focus on one day: We don’t want a day to be a barrier for people getting involved, so if you want to choose another day close to the 28th that is absolutely fine!  Why not get your work or school involved on the Friday or the Monday?  You could have a dress down, or dress in blue day, or take cakes and biscuits in to sell to your colleagues or classmates!
Fundraise a variety of ways: use Virgin Money Giving for a convenient, user-friendly, and secure way to fundraise. Or use a sponsorship form for easy fundraising from your friends and family!
More information is contained in the ISAD fundraising guide, and we'll be keeping you updated with developments so check back regularly!
Have any questions or ideas? Get in touch!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Libberton dog
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) is Scotland's animal welfare charity.
They encourage kindness to animals, aim to prevent cruelty through education, investigate abuse, rescue animals in distress and find animals new homes.
Scottish Charity of the Year
In 2013 they were named Scottish Charity of the Year and People's Choice winners in the SCVO awards, which they were very proud to receive.
As an animal welfare charity, they receive no government or lottery funding and rely on public donations to continue their vital work rescuing and re-homing abused, abandoned and injured animals in Scotland.
Scottish SPCA inspectors and animal rescue officers save thousands of domestic, farm and wild animals from harm and danger every year, while their vets and staff in their wildlife rescue centre and animal rescue and rehoming centres look after, rehabilitate and re-home thousands more.
Visit their online animal re-homing section to view some of the animals needing new homes including dogs, cats, rabbits and other smaller animals who are all looking for someone to take care of them.
They run an animal welfare education programme in schools, communities and their largest centres. They also campaign for improved animal welfare standards.
Volunteers play a key role working with animals, supporting their education programme and fundraising in their local communities.
The Scottish SPCA is entirely separate from the RSPCA, which operates in England and Wales only. There is no such charity as the 'RSPCA Scotland' or 'Scottish RSPCA'
If you want to help an animal charity in Scotland, you can join the Scottish SPCA for just £1 a week.
You can read their 2012 Annual Review for more information about their work helping animals in Scotland.
If you know of an animal in danger or distress, please call their Animal Helpline: 03000 999 999.
The Scottish SPCA does not put healthy animals to sleep.
Scottish Charity No. SC 006467

Rescue Pets Make Great Pets!

Flynn is an older boy who requires a quiet home.
He enjoys attention however he also enjoys time relaxing and pottering around by himself.
Flynn is looking for someone who can give him the tender loving care he needs, is it you?
If you are interested in re-homing Flynn visit

Help more animals

You can help rescue and rehome more animals like Flynn by joining the Scottish SPCA for as little as £1 per week.
Join today