Yinka’s Braids – A Review

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

This post is a review on hair styling services by Yinka of Yinka’s braids.

Selfishly I almost didn’t write this post because I don’t want Yinka to get so busy that she can’t do my hair anymore. However that’s not really supporting a sista now is it?  I met Yinka at NHW 2014 in London, we had a lovely chat and we exchanged business cards. I liked her work illustrated on her card so a few months later I gave her a call.

I wanted my hair to be canerowed and two-strand twisted without extensions, Yinka explained that as she currently does not have a salon she is unable to offer “wet services” that was fine with me, so we made an appointment and around a week later I detangled, cleansed and conditioned my hair,  hopped on my bike and made my way to Yinka.

  Yinka’s place is welcoming, clean and comfortable. Before getting started on the actual styling Yinka assessed the health of my hair and gave me a mini consultation. Yinka is natural herself and has fine hair – like me so she understands the struggles of not making the hair look “gappy” once the style is finished, in addition Yinka is sooo gentle. I’m used to my natural hair being handled roughly by braiders because they are not used to – or don’t like dealing with natural hair. A lot of braiders are only concerned about the finished look of the style and are not concerned about the health of your hair or damage from manipulation. Yinka did not insist on working on dry stretched hair, she was happy to work on my hair while damp and only used a comb for parting, any tangles we came across along the way Yinka gently finger detangled them just like I would.

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These small fine canerows did not hurt a bit and I loved the style so much, it was a lovely protective style, as you can see I also wore my twists in a bun to protect my ends even more. Since my first appointment I have seen Yinka regularly for twisted and braided styles. Prices start from £20.00 but are individual and based on the length of your hair or extensions and the complexity of the style, I can confirm that Yinka’s prices are very reasonable and very good value for money.

Yinka also braids with extensions and installs kinky twists, Men and children are also welcomed for hair styling services.       I know many of you twist/braid your own hair but I do not have the skill to style my hair as neatly or quickly as Yinka can – even if I could I wouldn’t do it because I don’t believe we are designed to do styles on our hair that take more than an hour maximum. If we were supposed to style our own hair for hours and hours we would have been born with an extra set of eyes to enable us to see the back of our heads clearly ( I don’t know where these eyes would be placed)  and we would have a different type of shoulder joint so our arms didn’t ache so much.

Jokes aside I honestly believe that hair dressing and styling especially of natural African/Afro/Black/highly textured hair should be a special bonding experience. Hair is very personal and has spiritual meaning for a lot of people. In some cultures including my own there are many beliefs related to hair and you are warned not to let just anybody handle your precious tresses.

Ms Yinka Herself.  photo credit Yinkas Braids

Ms Yinka Herself.
photo credit Yinkas Braids

I am very happy to continue to have my hair styled by Yinka and she is extremely talented at what she does, Yinka is happy to chat while she works if you want to talk but she can also sense when I’m too tired to talk or I’m engrossed in my book, there’s no pressure to keep talking the whole time.

To see more photos of Yinka’s work and to like her facebook page – click here

Yinka is based in London and can be contacted on 07869554529.

@yinkas_braids on Instagram

Thanks for Reading

luv

Sian

x

Naked Winter Berry Cake

Hello My Cakers and Bakers.

Happy Holidays!

Of course I’ve been busy baking over the Christmas period.

Below is a Red Berry “naked cake” I made for a customer, in the cross section you will see that the cake has several layers as well as a horizontal pattern. A naked cake is simply a cake without external icing it’s naked so that all the layers can be seen from the outside and it allows for the flavours of the cake to shine through and not be overpowered by heavy sugary icing or frosting.

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Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

X

Todrick Hall Presents Twerk Du Soleil

source: todrickhall.com

source: todrickhall.com

I haven’t shared this with you but I am a massive Musical Theatre fan, in fact I love Musical films as well and I wish I actually lived in a Musical, imagine I’m just cycling through town then I randomly burst into song and rather than thinking I’m crazy the whole town joins in, magically knowing the melody, lyrics and choreography to my song!

 

A couple of years ago I watched a really funny video on YouTube of a young man singing his Mc Donald’s drive through order, not only was the video funny but the young man had a really good singing voice and the Mc Donald’s employee actually got the order correct!

 

That young man was Todrick Hall, and since then I have watched every single YouTube video that he has uploaded and one umm… odd one that was on someone’s channel featuring a duet called “I want you Black”…

 

Todrick has achieved so much in his career both on and off YT and even though I don’t want to be a famous star, Mr Hall inspires me, he is proof that if you are not “given” the opportunity to do what you want in life you can create your own opportunities.

Toddy Rockstar – as he is affectionately known has achieved so much including working with Beyoncé to choreograph “Blow”, writing the song for and starring in an amazing  Virgin America safety video and he also made Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2014.

 

So a couple of months ago I was very excited to hear that Todrick Hall was going on tour and coming to London, I bought two tickets to his show “Twerk du Soleil” immediately.

 

The show was on 24th August 2014 at the Leicester Square Theatre, I decided to go to the show in Fancy Dress if you’re familiar with Todrick’s work then the costume would make sense, I decided on a Disney meets Burlesque theme. I wore a large scarf to cover my cleavage all day I only took my scarf off for this photo.

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I went to the show with my good friend Antoinette as I knew she would appreciate Todrick’s madcap & camp brand of humour and hilarity as much as I do.

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We arrived at 17:00 in time for the 17:30 meet and greet but we were informed that the meet and greet would now be after the show…

 

So off we went to nearby Haagen Dazs Café to kill time until the show started.

(By the way their new Caramel Biscuit and Cream ice cream is AMAZING!!)

 

We were let into the theatre at around 19:00 and found our seats in the intimate space, the size of the theatre is more like a cinema auditorium but that was fine with us.

 

There was no opening act and the main show started at around 19:40 I know this because I was what’s app-ing my friend Dawn (Hi Dawn) at the time.

 

The performance was really good, high energy and a lot of fun, basically Todrick and cast recreated several of Todrick’s YT videos live on stage. I have only included short clips of the show because it wouldn’t have been fair or legal for me to record then upload an entire number, or the entire show.

This is supposed to be a playlist but it seems like it’s not playing properly in this post, you can watch all of the videos on youtube. 

 

They opened with the singing fast food orders, using audience members as the staff from Mc Donalds, Subway and Starbucks it was amazing to see how much Todrick’s fans “The Toddlerz” love him.

 

As much as I admire many people, I have never been one to fawn over celebrities or go crazy when I meet them, I think I’m just too calm for all of that.

 

There was a lot of audience participation in the show and Todrick wished a Happy Birthday and sang (collectively) to every single person in the audience that claimed it was their birthday on Sunday.

 

We also saw live versions of “Beauty and the Beat”, “Once Upon a Crime” and arguably Todrick’s most famous video, the “End of Time” flash mob performance which was the finale.  

 

 

 

I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t see “Spell Block Tango” or “All That Azz” which are “Chicago” parodies, as “Chicago” is one of my favourite musicals but we did see “Twerking in the Rain” which is so darn catchy!!!   

 

 

The show finished at about 20:40 and then we waited about 45 minutes for the meet and greet to begin, it was a small theatre so it was really hot while we were waiting but the crowd was mostly excitable youngsters and there were not many grumbles.

 

Todrick came across in the flesh as he does on his videos, he was really nice to all of the children in front of me in the queue, who were so excited to meet him, below is  a video of Todrick signing a poster for the young girl in front of me.

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I do wish the show had been a longer but I can appreciate that it is hard work to sing and dance live, plus I knew that several cast members were only in the London show so there is a limit to how much they could learn and remember in the couple days they had to rehearse before the show.

 

That’s it for my review, thanks for reading I’m off now to Twerk in the rain…

 

Luv Sian

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Still Baking!

Hello Cakers Bakers & Beauties!

With all of this hair and travel talk you would be forgiven for thinking that I’m not baking anymore,  I am ALWAYS baking…lol

I just don’t always remember to take photos or blog about everything I cook, life has been so hectic lately…Arghhhh!

This weekend I remembered to take a few pics before everything got eaten and it was too late…

Friday night I made a pizza from scratch, we used to get a takeaway every Friday but it’s a waste of money and most of the time it doesn’t even taste that nice. We live 3 minutes away from an amazing Italian deli so I was able to pick up authentic ingredients on my way home from work.

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My Mum also asked me to make her a Banoffee Pie, these requests come about every couple of months and it’s a bother dragging my pie tin around London, so I bought a stack of disposable pie tins from Lakeland, I’ll leave the stack at my Parents’ house so I can just rock up and bake on demand. I made the base with crushed biscuits, butter oats and sunflower seeds, it had a fantastic texture…Yummy!

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I forget to take a pic when it was whole, sorry!

Last week my dear friend CeCe had her 4th baby, I wasn’t able to attend the baby shower as it was the day before my birthday and I was in Vegas so I promised myself I would go and see her while the little bubba was still tiny. I decided to make my own “congratulations it’s a girl” gift, I saw some gorgeous baby socks with a touch of sparkle, one foot has “little” on the sole and the other one has “princess” on the sole, so adorable. I made a balloon bouquet from assorted pink balloons in my decorations box, pink hydrangeas from my garden and the first lily that bloomed in my garden this summer.

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I actually made 12 cupcakes because I wanted to try different toppings and piping effects.

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Then I picked the best 6 to bring to CeCe and her family of 6 (including CeCe and partner.)

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For some reason I decided to be “clever” and I cycled from London Bridge to Croydon on my “new” bicycle to deliver this gift package. I got into a spot of trouble along my way and every single cupcake got flipped upside-down! Luckily nothing else got damaged including me, the balloons and my beloved bike!

CeCe loved her gifts and the cupcakes were still delicious!

Thanks for reading.

Luv

Sian

x

February 8th Part 1 – Pirate Party!

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

Last weekend was really busy and hectic for me, I’ve decided to split that crazy day into 3 parts so that each post is not too long.

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, THANK YOU! You will also know that my nephew Widget’s birthday has rolled around again, last year I made him a cake spelling his name out.

This year my Sister told me that Widget is really into Pirates so he would be having a Pirate themed birthday party.

With a theme like Pirates there are so many ways I could go with the cake, but I knew that whatever I chose to make, planning would be the key to my success.

I considered making various cakes:

a Large Gold Coin – boring

Treasure  Map – too flat

Jolly Roger Flag – not enough colours

Treasure Island- I didn’t think I had enough time

I work a full time day job which  is 35-45 hours per week, by the time I get home from work on Friday Evenings I’m knackered!  On Friday 7th Feb -the night before Widget’s Party, I also had a Princess cake to make which takes 7-9 hours from start to finish. I’d already committed to the Princess cake so I HAD to it but time was of the essence because Wesley’s Birthday Party was starting at 11:00 the next day and I didn’t want to be rushing around in the morning.

I finished the princess cake at around 00:06 in the early hours of Saturday morning, finally I could start on Widget’s cake!

I had decided on a Pirate Ship cake about 2 weeks before his birthday and knew that I wanted it to somehow be in a “Sea” of blue jelly, what I didn’t know is that we don’t make blue jelly in UK, Ugh! So I ordered some from the good old  E-number filled USA.

I also ordered a light blue cake board so that the bottom of the cake wouldn’t get soggy and the jelly wouldn’t get crumbs in it.

I found a huge round serving tray at my  parents’ house which was perfect to pour the jelly into, after I’d placed the cake board into the middle of the tray.

I’d prepared my Sea the night before so it could set  firm before I constructed the cake, once the jelly had set I put cling film over the jelly on the tray so that crumbs would not fall into the jelly (yes I’m obsessed with crumb free jelly.)

While I had the oven on for the Princess cake I’d baked 2 large chocolate cakes which would be the base of my Pirate ship, I’d also made my chocolate ganache so I could crumb coat the cake once the shape was constructed which would ensure my cake would not dry out over night.

I’m sorry I don’t have photos of the process it was really late and I didn’t have much time to spare.

I stacked my 4 cake halves on top of each other and stuck them together with chocolate ganache.

After that I turned my stack over so that they were resting on their  curved side with the flat side facing straight up.

It did look somewhat like a boat and was the right size but I trimmed a couple of centimetres from the curved bottom of my cake so that the boat could sit flat on the cake board.

I used all the spare bits of cake to add more detail to the deck and make the cake look a bit more “shippy”  please bear in mind that I’m not a professional and I have 0% nautical experience.

I just didn’t want to waste any cake so I stuck it all on with ganache, creating  a bow and stern on the ship.

Once I was happy with the shape I covered the whole ship in ganache and smoothed it out as much as possible it was a bit tricky going around the corners and the “steps” on the stern but I managed it.

I used wooden skewers to draw lines on the sides of the ship to represent wooden planks then I put the whole thing in the fridge overnight.

In the morning I was so glad that I only had the decorating left to do!

I used various edible items to add more detail onto the ship, like spraying Cheerios with edible gold spray and stacking them on top of each other to represent the cannons on the ship. I also cut notches and a hole  out of a large chocolate coin for the ships wheel.

I added metallic details to the cake with edible gold piping spelling out Happy Birthday and dots and swirls to look like metal work on the ship.

For finishing touches I poked indoor sparklers in the centre of the cannons, a set of Lego pirates for the deck and a mast sails and Jolly Roger Flag.

The mast was made from bamboo skewers taped together with tea stained paper for the sails, I printed a tiny Jolly Roger from my computer and stuck that to the top of the mast.

I’m aware that I could have made a completely edible ship, but I wanted to make this cake without any icing at all and not too many extra sweets, I was going to carve some figures and details from raw fruit and veggies but my Mum wasn’t keen on the idea

I finished all the decorations to the cake in about an hour and made my way to the venue to set up the cake table.

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I had another event to attend that day so I had intended to drop the cake off early and go to my other event in Brixton for a couple of hours before going back to the party to sing Happy Birthday to Widget  and do all cake cutting stuff.

However the Universe had other plans for me…

Please read Feb 8th Part 2 to find out what happened next.

(Sorry for the picture quality, we forgot to bring the proper camera with us)

Enjoying the last of my Red ‘Fro!

This is just a quick post featuring photographs of the last few days of me enjoying my Red (ish) Free Afro. The first few photos of me and my husband were taken by Raymond of A-Picture Photography please check out his page and book him, he is an amazing photographer!

Please note these are the raw unedited photos.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

This is the very last photo of me and Soleil (my hair) out and about!

The lady on the far right is the beautiful & talented Lucy Lee of House of Loulee the maker and designer of my favourite purple dress!

The lady on the far left is Rachel Miller of The Events Depot she makes amazing balloon decor and also does event and party planning.

The lady in the snazzy red collar (another House of Loulee creation) is Ruby. Ruby does not have a business (yet) but that’s not the point, she is a good friend and so supportive and generous. Yay Sisterhood!

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Thanks!

xSx