Cakecetera : A review! *

Hi friends! 

Today I'm going to introduce you to an absolutely incredible company: 



"Hello I’m Pauline the founder of Cake-Cetera,

I was inspired to set up the business after losing my mum to cancer. While mum was in hospital I was shocked to find that flowers were banned from the wards. I found that most people brought in cake instead and so Cake-Cetera was born in late 2011.

Originally making and delivering cakes from home in Glasgow, we have now grown into fancy premises and delighted to now have an amazing team of staff who love cake just as much as me.
We are delighted to now extend deliveries nationwide and are committed to bring you more amazing goodies direct to your door.

Pauline x "
http://www.cake-cetera.co.uk/about/

I was very kindly sent some push pop cakes to serve at my event - but sadly it was postponed at the last minute and the cakes are now in the deep freeze until we reschedule! I couldn't help but try one of each variety that Pauline sent, so here are my thoughts!
 
* ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Our strawberry cake push pops contain layers of vanilla sponge topped with strawberry butter-cream and sprinkles… Yum! Perfect to celebrate the arrival of a new baby girl!"

Oh my. Where to begin.

I tried this one as soon as they arrived as it lost it's little plastic 'hat' when I unwrapped it. I am not kidding friends, my knees went weak! The butter-cream is an absolute work of art. It's not heavy or greasy; it's light, creamy and full of beautiful strawberry flavour.

The vanilla sponge is equally as skillfully made. So light and a perfect compliment to the strawberry.

If you like strawberries and cream - who doesn't?! - you need this in your life.

Chocolate Push Pop


"Who doesn’t love chocolate cake but let’s face it… it’s messy! Our dainty little push pops are much more lady like for those that miss their mouth. Layers off chocolate cake topped with chocolate butter-cream and chocolate curls."

This is, without a doubt, the best cake I have ever eaten.

The chocolate is just..... perfection!

Look at how much butter-cream there is! The best part? It's not over-whelming and sickly. The balance is just right, and I honestly couldn't stop smiling when I was trying it out. Again, the textures are light and perfectly balanced. If you're hosting a party and you have chocolate lovers coming, just get a few batches of these beauties and you'll be a very popular host!

I'll share a secret with you.... I actually got goosebumps while eating this:

You absolutely MUST try these. Get them in for your Christmas party.

Go on. Go on. Go on. (a la Mrs. Doyle)

Vanilla Push Pop

"Kids love cake push pops but they are also a huge hit with the mums! Our vanilla cake push pop contains (Yip you guessed it) vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream. Topped with coloured sprinkles…Yum!"
SPRINKLES!!!!! Who doesn't love them?!

This is such a decadent treat to have on offer at a party or event. I think  these would be absolutely ideal at a wedding or perhaps a christening or kiddies party.

Having been using vanilla in my cakes for a while now, I can definitely appreciate the level of skill involved in finding just the right balance.

Once again the textures and flavours are uniform and the vanilla is not over-powering at all.

Absolute perfection with a cup of tea.

..... and last but not least!

Lemon Cake Pop

"Zingy mouthwatering lemon cake layered with lemon butter-cream and sprinkles."

Now. I'm a huge lemon fan. I love the sharpness and how refreshing it is. I still have my lemon slices in hot water every morning!

Does this cake have lemon in it? Yes, yes it does.

However, I found that the lemon butter-cream was a touch too strong and sickly sweet with the lemon sponge. On it's own, the sponge is beautiful, but with the mountain of butter-cream ontop the flavour was too strong for me.

I can handle some serious sweetness before it gets too much. With the other cakes, I could have devoured every single on if they weren't frozen, but the lemon cake pop is definitely a single dose affair.

Lemon overdose aside, the butter-cream and sponge were as beautiful as the others and I'd still recommend this cake.

Flavours are a very personal thing and everyone has their own palate and what they like and don't like.

With the holiday season upon us, and lots of us planning parties and gatherings, save yourself the stress of baking and give Pauline an email. You'll be a very popular host(ess), that I can guarantee! A box of 12 cake pops is £27, either a single flavour variety of mixed. There is also a carrot cake pop available, however this contains walnuts so I can't review this one sadly! Stupid allergies!!

>>> You can find CakeCetera on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest! <<<

And now; some food porn because I'm nice like that: 










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2true Pro : Salon Shine Nail Polish : Jessie

"Want the salon look without the price tag? With high shine, intense colour coverage and an extra glossy finish the Salon Shine Nail Polishes give you a professional finish nail that you can achieve at home. With five exciting shades to choose from, be it baby pink Taylor or tangerine Mila you'll be spoilt for choice!"


Hands up who remembers my first 2true review? Nope. I didn't either! It's been so long since I braved these waters but I love trying out new 'topics' so here we are again! 2true can be found in Superdrug, and they are currently on offer: 3 for £5 so naturally I indulged. 

I've never worn red nail polish or red lippy until recently. They're very 'statement' colours and although I find security in my red hair, having red nails and/or red lips invokes a tinge of anxiety. Don't ask me why... I'm just weird like that. 

I just had to try the red first. It's called Jessie and I am in love!! Before I used Jessie I applied an undercoat from 17. 2true say to use 2 coats and I can definitely say that this is necessary. I tried one coat and went out, and it chipped. Now, I am really clumsy so that probably doesn't help but perhaps this would have been avoided had the extra coat been on.

Jessie nail polish. David and Goliath 'Come to the Dark Side' PJs.

I do feel like this has given me something of a confidence boost! Whenever I look at my nails, I feel like "oooh, red nails, sexeh" .... Haha. It has a beautiful glossy finish and will last a good 5 days before it starts to struggle. If you're clumsy like me.... I'd say 3-4 days before you will probably need to do a little re-touching.


If you haven't gotten acquainted with 2true yet, I really think you should! Their nail varnishes are a real quality product at an absolute bargain price!

 How do you feel about statement nails like these? Do other colours make you nervous to wear? Let me know! :)

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Adventures in Psychiatry : Hove Polyclinic and Disabled Students Allowance

Round and round we go..... I have lost count of the amount of times I've been to initial assessments now. My old CMHT used community psychiatric nurses (CPN's) to carry these out, and generally there was a student there too. Over in Brighton, to my surprise, I was going to talk to a social worker this time. What a refreshing change. Social workers are all about practical support in the community which is exactly what I need right now, so the conversation was very different to those I've had in the past.

Getting to Hove Polyclinic was scary. I don't know the area and I hadn't used that particular bus route ever before, so there was a double dose of anxiety going on. I do like that some buses have the next stop displayed on little screens at the front now, that helped somewhat, but I didn't know whether I'd have to walk a way once I'd got to the stop. Turns out you get dropped literally right outside the clinic. What a relief that was!!

Hove Polyclinic is HUGE. It's like a mini hospital, that just so happens to be next-door to the psychiatric hospital I don't intend to get acquainted with. The mental health services were on the first floor, which the lovely receptionist guided me to. I didn't have to wait long, but couldn't sit down without feeling like I was going to explode so I just wandered... There were some 'concerned' looks but seriously what harm was I causing by walking to keep my panic under control. If you've ever had 'restless leg syndrome' aka that feeling when you just absolutely have to move right now, it was just like that.

We talked for 45 minutes and I was 100% honest. This is crucial folks. I know it is really goddamn hard to bare your soul to a complete stranger on assessment, but if you play out like whatever is going on isn't that bad then you'll be waiting a hell of a lot longer than you need to and probably won't get the right treatment. It took me a few rounds of assessments and discharges to figure this one out. If you don't feel like you can vocalise what is going on, write it out. They won't mind at all.

I was seen quickly because my GP essentially panicked when I told him I was having thoughts of self-harm and suicide - and that these thoughts aren't my own. I felt bad about it because on risk assessment I am not really considered 'high risk', as I am not drinking and able to maintain control and safety plan. There are no sharps in my house, no alcohol and I don't have a lethal supply of medication. So while these thoughts are very real and scary, at the moment I'm not acting on anything but my history has shown that things can go to shit very quickly, so I'm on the 'moderately high' side of risk.

A few things that she mentioned were a bit..... unsettling. Words like 'psychosis', 'dissociation' and 'bipolar disorder'. Never have I ever heard those words come out of a practitioners mouth before, despite giving essentially the same story over and over again since the age of 18. So now, at the grand old age of 26, I might finally get a solid diagnosis as she has requested a full medication and psychiatric review.

My medication isn't working anymore. I've been on venlafaxine since January, so it's been almost a year which is pretty good going to be honest. Mirtazapine quit after about 5 or 6 months I think before it was augmented with lofepramine. I'm also taking quetiapine but only really for sleep and anxiety management. So if 300mg venlafaxine (150mg slow release twice a day) with 300mg (50mg afternoon, 250mg at night) of quetiapine isn't doing anything, it's pretty obvious it's not pressing the right button.

I don't know when I'll get an appointment with a psychiatrist, but hopefully it'll be before Christmas. In the interim my instructions were to keep on with my medication until the review, and if things turn to shit to call BURS or go to A&E, which apparently has a mental health side ward or something for emergencies. How amazing is that?! To be able to sit somewhere separate from the 'non-crazy' injured people. I always hated being in the emergency ward when children were there. I didn't want to scare them!

BURS is the Brighton Urgent Response Service for out of hours psychiatric emergencies. If you're in crisis, they are the people to call.

Something else happened this week: I told the boyfriend about some of the hallucinations and delusions I have been experiencing. I wasn't actively keeping things from him, I just figured after so long together he already knew. I honestly thought he'd either laugh and call me ridiculous or just leave me right then and there. Neither happened. He was so supportive and obviously worried, which made me feel bad. But I guess him knowing is a good thing, so if I do go off the deep end he knows what to do - get me to A&E sharpish or call BURS if I'm being an asshole.

I also met with the Disabled Student's people this week. That was a long hour of confessing my failings as a student. But once again I was blown away with the support available to make things easier for me. The amount of clever software out there is incredible!! I have been recommended for a lot of things, but I won't know until maybe next week or a bit later whether it's been approved or not as the funding comes from 3rd parties. Things like weekly mentoring will be such a huge help, and just having it 'official' with the university that I really do have these issues with studying and am not just being lazy.

This is the absolute last thing I wanted to happen to me now I'm at Sussex. But I can't control my brain and how it works. I'm sure they'd rather I stayed at home and missed a tutorial or lecture than attend and be hallucinating the entire time.

I'm not throwing in the towel and resigning myself to a life of mental illness. This is just another speed bump on the road that is recovery. I am not my mental illness. I am a student who wants to make something of her life. I'm fighting for my degree, for my relationship with my incredible boyfriend and our little Lily cat.

Whatever this illness I have is called, I don't care. Let's just get the drugs right so I can get back to being a geek.

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The University Diaries : red flag / white flag

.... bugger.

I'm supposed to 'talk' aren't I.

For the past 5-10 minutes I have been staring at this screen and wondering my my mind isn't producing visible words. Although, its a garbled mess up in there at the moment. Not that it's a fleeting or intermittent thing, annoyingly. I've been stuck in this position for a couple of weeks now, at least. I have absolutely no concept of time.

I don't know what to say...

It feels like I've been shot with a tranquilizer, or I've been chained and gagged... Its not in my control. If I say too much or the wrong thing I get punished.

Anxiety is firmly in control sometimes. The other day I took my skin extractor and launched an all out war on my forehead. I have no idea how much time passed, but the damage I did was pretty extreme. It's so embarrassing. There has been a lot of ice, and today I crushed a gram of ibuprofen and have been washing my face every couple of hours with the solution. It seems to be working. My face hurt so much.

Stupid girl.

Further proof of this: I scraped a pathetic 60% for my first molecular biology coursework. My lab partner achieved 88%. What the hell am I doing at university? I'm so ashamed and all I can hear is criticism and laughter...

I am really struggling with this side of things. Just getting out the house - after beating myself into getting dressed - is a massive ordeal and more often than not only seems to happen when I'm on something of a high. Either way, I can't concentrate for shit or absorb much information. I'm clumsy and get really pissed off really quickly.

Example: In my Thursday morning lab session I was approached by my tutor - who happens to be a PhD student that helps out in lab practicals as well as tutoring us lowly undergrads -  and he essentially gave me a 5 minute warning that he was going to quiz me on Lac Operon. I don't know if it was the chloroform fumes interacting with my medication, generally being anxious and struggling to concentrate on the experiment we were working on; but I felt SO angry and really wanted to shout at him to back the hell off and leave me alone. I didn't. I just left the lab for a good 10 minutes or so and got some clean air into my system. I came back into the lab still pissed off but we were too busy for him to be able to interrupt me again. Thankfully.

The anger I feel scares me. I am not a violent or outwardly vocal 'rude' person. I will always be the person to walk away rather than get into a serious confrontation with someone. But it feels like the control is slipping away from me.

I guess I'm losing the war against my genetic code. Slowly but surely, my demon fathers genes are switching on and turning me back into a monster. Only this time the evil can't be chalked up to addiction. It's just me. Stone cold sober, and evil.

I want to drink. I really do. I want my benzos back so I can put myself out for a few hours.

Monday is a full on day. At 11am I have to travel to Hove Polyclinic to meet the CMHT and be told there's nothing wrong with me while being laughed at. Then in the evening it's my event with Kate and Aud. I'm so looking forward to it. It's been my little beacon to aim for. We have been treated to some incredible cakes from Cake Cetera which I can't wait to share with everyone! 

I have absolutely no idea what's going on with my brain but I'm not ill so I'll man up and stop bitching and complaining.
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Duerr's : Baking For Boys : Chocolate Orange Cake *

I'm sure we're all pining for GBBO by now! To ease the transition and keep us going until next year, the boys of Duerr's have produced a series on YouTube demonstrating some amazing recipes.

I opted to try their chocolate orange creation first, as it's quite possibly my favourite flavour combination! I also followed their method exactly, including mixing by hand with a whisk. This isn't something I would recommend unless you have some serious muscle going on.



Ingredients for the cake

175g self raising flour - MacDougalls is best for baking
100g soft butter - Stork!
300g caster sugar or 30g splenda - I opted for splenda
50g cocoa powder - I used Green and Blacks
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
90ml warm water
4 tablespoons milk
zest of 1 orange
1 huge tablespoon of Duerr's marmalade

ThatRedheadSaid : Baking with Duerr's : Chocolate Orange Cake ingredients

Ingredients for icing

Duerr's apricot jam - use freely!
150ml double cream - I used Alpro Soya single cream with no issues
150g chocolate - I used Green and Blacks 70% cocoa, which on reflection may have been too much.. 

Method:

Duerr's demonstration whisks by hand but I honestly don't see how this approach will work for the at home baker. I would rearrange the sponge method to:
  • Cream the sugar and butter together with the cocoa paste to form soft peaks.
  • Add the milk to the eggs and the baking powder to the flour.
  • Add one egg and one tablespoon of flour at a time, along with the tablespoon of Duerr's marmalade, mixing until just combined.
  • Add the remainder of the flour and the orange zest, fold with a metal spoon, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.
  • Divide into two lined sponge tins.
  • Bake at 170 degrees for 25-30 minutes - keep an eye on them though! Adopting the GBBO oven-watching stance is perfectly acceptable.
The rest of the recipe worked fine! As you can see my sponge layers were absolutely tiny, but the flavour was there which is the main thing. I used dark chocolate for the entire recipe so I used extra orange zest to cut through the richness. I would also say that you shouldn't be shy with the marmalade in the sponge mix, and the more apricot jam in the center of your cake the better.

I had great fun decorating my cake, as you can tell! :) It's making for a very indulgent dessert in my house. Even my non-cake eating boyfriend is enjoying it. Once it's all gone I will try this recipe again and hope for a much larger cake! I will update this page once I've done it, just so you can see that my other method worked out alright.

ThatRedheadSaid : Baking with Duerr's : Chocolate Orange Cake

ThatRedheadSaid : Baking with Duerr's : Chocolate Orange Cake

ThatRedheadSaid : Baking with Duerr's : Chocolate Orange Cake


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Lulu's Vintage Fair : Vintage Hair Lounge and HAUL!!!!

Last Sunday I took myself to Lulu's Vintage Fair at the Corn Exchange in Brighton Dome. 

It. Was. Awesome!!!

My day started at 12pm with the absolutely incredible ladies of Vintage Hair Lounge! I had my hair and make-up done for the ridiculously cheap price of £40. I'm no model, so when an audience started to form it felt utterly bizarre, and frankly terrifying when I was bare faced!  I must say, I am now slightly obsessed with the idea of airbrush make-up having experienced it, and Besame Cosmetics do some mind-blowing lipsticks. My entire adult life I have been waiting for them! 

The hair:
























The make-up:






















I can't get over how 'fresh' my complexion looks. It's practically flawless! The Airbase High Definition Airbrush Make Up is the holy grail as far as I'm concerned. I'll never be lucky enough to own one myself, but if I were ever to have the funds, oh hell to the yes. To get anything close to this effect I use Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation and it's so ridiculously heavy it's not something I particularly enjoy having on my face, but if I'm having a breakout then it's a godsend. But the airbase make-up is barely there. My skin could breathe and I didn't get any oily creases in the usual trouble spots. 

Here you can see the Besame Red shade lipstick. It's so heavily pigmented that I apply it with a brush and with one or two delicate coats I can get this shade to last all day! It does struggle with drinks but what lipstick doesn't?! It takes longer than most to start to come off. The best part? It's not oily and it doesn't stick to your teeth!! 

Absolute convert. 




They aren't cheap at £22 a go, but given how little you need per application I am fairly sure this one lipstick will last me a couple of years at least!! I can't wait to explore their entire range.

I absolutely love the design too! It's just so classical and something I'd expect to have found in my nans make-up bag as a child.

* * * * *

 So those are my two 'reviews' if you like. Now comes the HAULAGE!!! 

In terms of clothes; although there were some absolutely mind-blowing pieces available, they weren't something I would have the confidence to wear out! Sizing was also an issue. There was a lot of genuine fur products on sale, which I felt very conflicted about to be honest... Anyway, I bagged a vintage inspired top and a vintage cardigan!







Jewellery. Oh my word the jewellery. I was in my element and spent hours just admiring it all. It's nothing short of a miracle I only brought these pieces back home with me!





70'S HAT ALERT!!!! 
This absolutely beautiful hat weighs a fair amount and is absolutely going to make my winter more fun. It's just so sparkly and awesome. I had to have it. I believe it was £17! 





 Last but not least, I got two pictures for my room! 
I now have Mae West and Joan Crawford to keep me company.



That concludes my vintage haul! 

Expect to see more of these in the future. I'm so in love!!!

3

The University Diaries : depression, letting agency drama and ink.

Dear Diary, 

I'm struggling. I absolutely HATE myself for being in this position. But I also know I have a habit of expecting too much from myself sometimes... 

Depression

The black dog just won't give up pestering me! It's not a seasonal thing, but November-February holds the most challenging months in the land of PTSD. I feel like the stressors just keep on coming and the pressure gauge is on red.

I'm tearful. I'm irritable. I can't concentrate. I'm struggling to sleep. These are all 'red flags'.

In the past I would have hidden away and not seen my GP, but that plan of action would be disastrous for my time as Sussex. Yesterday I went to the drop-in clinic and was able to see my GP after a chat with the nurse. It was good to meet him; he's really nice and I feel like I can trust him.

I explained about my anxiety and mood at the moment, and the issues with people coming into the house at the moment. I'm now on 300mg venlafaxine, which is split into two doses of slow-release 150mg.

  I'm really scared. Both in terms of feeling like something bad is going to happen any second now, but I'm scared of how bad this might get. I know I'm experiencing 'intrusive thoughts' but I have no idea how to manage them. As soon as I even think about leaving the house it starts up and it's like a film playing out infront of my eyes. It's like my worst fears twisted with something satanic.

My mind is a dark place. But I'm not an evil person - as far as I know - so why is this coming into my head? Who or what is putting it there?!

I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

The Letting Agency Drama

It happened again. I freaked out. My not-so-understanding boyfriend basically called me an irrational and volatile person who wasn't to talk to the letting agency because I'd get us kicked out.

Wonderful.

He got his mum involved who drafted emails for him to send. I think we're both thinking the same thing right now!

Apparently the situation has been resolved but I really don't trust that.

I hate this.

I got inked!

On Tuesday I was on a bit of a 'high'. After I got my hair re-coloured at mysalonlooks I went to Inka and got two new tattoos! I called them earlier on in the day on the off chance they had any appointments. I've been thinking about these for well over 6 months, so it wasn't a totally impulsive thing.

Inka have a brilliant reputation in Brighton. I did feel a bit guilty that my usual artist wasn't doing them, but they were only small line-work pieces so it's not a major betrayal! I will always go to her for more detailed work.

Anyway. Here's what I got!





Geeky!!!!!

Obviously, serotonin and dopamine are the key neurotransmitters that have been associated with my mental health. Tattoos don't always need to have a story behind them. It's alright to just have something because you like it, as long as you won't regret it when you're 70.

By far, these have been the easiest to care for by a long shot! There's some bruising surfacing but there's no weeping like you get with coloured pieces or real pain when washing them.

They make me smile whenever I look at them.


So there's that...
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