Afrofit African Virgin Coconut Oil – A Review

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Hello My Cakers Bakers and Beauties!

This is a long overdue review, I was given a jar of Afrofit virgin coconut oil to review a good while ago …but then life happened. I won’t go into all the reasons and excuses it has taken me so long to post my review but I did use the coconut oil when it was first given to me, in fact I finished the whole jar which is why I can give an honest and full review of the product now. Before I get into the review properly I owe Damola Ojo the general manager of Afrofit a huge apology.

Mr Ojo – I’m truly and sincerely sorry, for not posting my review sooner.

So as a natural hair/baking blogger I was already using coconut oil in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. I’ll try not to bore you by writing about all of the uses for coconut oil, but I will share a few of my favourite ways to use coconut oil at the end of my review.

If you are in the UK like me, one of the best reasons for you to buy Afrofit V.C.O is because it is sold and distributed by a Black owned U.K business, no crazy shipping prices or waiting time. Afrofit support local economy in West Africa by sourcing their coconut oil from small-scale farmers in Ghana who use traditional methods to process the coconut oil, they also pay the farmers a fair price for their hard work.

Afrofit V.C.O has a nice fresh coconutty scent and does not have the tendency to smell like baby sweat (shout out to Evelyn from the internets!) like some other brands do, the consistency is solid (because U.K is cold) but it melts upon contact with my hands. This coconut oil is not very grainy which can be annoying sometimes when I’m using it for my hair.

As well as applying the oil topically, I also use it for oil pulling (explanation below), I drop a tablespoon into my green smoothies for an energy and nutrient boost and of course I use it for cooking.

Afrofit V.C.O is a good alternative to butter in vegan cakes –  I don’t really use margarine unless it’s specially requested because margarine is a highly processed synthetic food and full of chemicals.

Afrofit V.C.O does taste of coconut but the flavour is not overpowering, for example in baked goods you can’t really discern a coconut flavour but if you use it to make scrambled eggs you can taste the coconut. It depends on what you are cooking with it or combining it with because shallow fried plantain or fish does not taste of coconut but I can taste it in a smoothie that does not have a strong tasting fruit/vegetable in it. I like the taste of coconut so for me I don’t mind that I can taste it sometimes, plus Afrofit coconut oil is the best tasting coconut oil i’ve ever used.

Obviously Afrofit V.C.O is suitable for vegans,vegetarians, people with a gluten intolerance and most people with treenut allergies because coconut is a fruit and even then the oil contains hardly any protein.

Lastly the Afrofit team are basically hotties, I’m not ashamed to admit that they are a bunch of beautiful black men with nice bodies, so ladies if you hear that Afrofit are going to be at an event near you, I highly suggest you book your ticket quickly!!! Not to leave the Afrofit ladies out of the mix because they are reppin fitness,faces and curves in the workout videos and in the promotional material.

As promised here a just a few of my favourite uses for Afrofit Virgin  coconut oil:

  • As a pre-poo (natural, transitioning or relaxed) to help with detangling and to help minimise hygral fatigue – hair damage resulting from the constant swelling and contracting of the hair during the uptake and loss of water. It’s important to do your pre-poo overnight if you can because although coconut oil is one of the very few oils that can penetrate into the hair strand it takes several hours for this happen.
  •  To remove make up.
  •  Added to shea butter to make a softer, multi purpose shea butter whip.
  • Oil pulling – you use the oil like mouthwash to help with oral health and hygiene.
  • Massage oil 😉
  • Used like body lotion on damp skin after a shower to lock in moisture and give my skin a sexy glow.
  • Mixed with demerara sugar for a lip/body scrub.

Afrofit do ship internationally so head over for their website to order and for more information.

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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PicMonkey Collage (5)

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Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

X

Crystal’s 30th Birthday Cake

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties,
Sorry that I haven’t posted in a couple of months, I’ve been travelling again and going through some things…More about that later but for now.
Right let get straight into the blog post…
A Couple of months ago I was asked to make a birthday cake for a very special lady,
Ms Crystal Afro of the United Kinkdom Blog.
Crystal was the ideal customer in the sense that she knew the basic aspects of the cake she wanted – (a Victoria sponge cake in the shape of the number 30 with yellow icing) but was open to suggestions and let me use my imagination for the final result.
For me, people who are too specific are very hard to please because they have an exact image in their mind and it’s not possible to produce an exact match for what is in their imagination, in addition I NEVER copy cakes – yes there’s nothing wrong with that and it takes a lot of talent and skill to reproduce a real cake from a picture/photo but I prefer to use my own original ideas.
My first challenge was how to make the cake in the shape of a number 3 , I considered carving the cake but I wanted to minimize wasting cake and ingredients by not having lots of off-cuts, I decided to hire a couple of number cake tins and found a shop not too far from me that offered this service, I reserved my tins 2 weeks in advance but when I arrived at the shop to collect the tins I was informed that the ‘0’ was not available because it was in Scotland!!! I was not offered any explanation or apology for this, in fact the customer service I received at this shop went from bad to worse but this post is not going to turn into a rant about bad customer service…
I had no choice but to hire the number ‘8’ tin instead because it was the day before Crystal’s party and I didn’t have time to ring around looking for another shop that had what I needed.
When I got home my first task was to cover the cake board with yellow fondant, it was easy to colour the fondant by kneading  yellow food gel into it but I had been misadvised (by the owner of the same crappy cake shop) about the amount of fondant I would need and no matter how many times I re-rolled that !”£$%& it would not fit over the 20” square cake board!
I had to go out and buy more fondant, colour it again knead it for ages and then finally I was able to roll it neatly over the cake board and add the finishing touch of a black satin ribbon.
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Yes there are a couple of imperfections but I was still proud of how it turned out. My next task was to work out how I was going to turn an “8” into a “0” without the whole thing falling apart, I traced the tins out on some cardboard to give me an idea of the final shape I wanted to achieve.
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Baking the Victoria Sponge cake was pretty simple and the “cake surgery” was not as complicated as I thought it would be… Icing around the 3 was actually much more difficult than I imagined it would be and I struggled to get the icing completely smooth in the crevices, I used a buttercream-hybrid icing of my own invention it has a very buttery and creamy texture due to the addition of double cream and yogurt in my recipe.
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I added a few pink highlights as requested by the Birthday lady and a few edible crystals around her name, I didn’t want to go too overboard on the decoration as it was a cake for a grown up after all! After a day of baking and decorating the cake was all packed up and ready to go.
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I was also an invited guest at Crystal’s birthday as well as a few other UK Naturalistas, I asked the ladies to pose and show me their cake faces!
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I had a really great time at Crystal’s Party and thankfully Crystal and her guests really loved the cake, mission accomplished!
Here are some amazing photos of the taken by Raymond of a A-Picture Photography, thank you very much to Raymond and Chelena for giving me permission to use your photos on my blog.
Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version205
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  The “3” cake was demolished in a matter of minutes and the “0” was not far behind…
cakey
I have a lot of love and respect for Crystal, Crystal thanks for letting me make your birthday cake it was an honour and a pleasure.
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Thanks for Reading
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

Birthday Holiday Part 1. New Orleans – Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Hello My Cakers Bakers and Beauties!

This is the first post about the (birthday holiday) I took with my Husband to the United States in May 2014-  we went to 4 different cities/towns in 3 different States, so since I’m prone to writing long posts anyway I decided to split the trip into 3 posts and try to keep each post relatively short and sweet. *Someone* forgot to bring the memory card for our proper camera and decided not to buy one while we were away so all of my photos/videos were taken on my Samsung Galaxy S4. I would apologise for the picture quality but I think that my little phone did really well!

I know that the title of this post is not grammatically correct, “proper French”, it is Cajun French phrase which has been literally translated from the English  “Let the Good Times Roll!”

In this case “roll” is quite literal…

If you haven’t figured it out already our first stop was the Crescent City  aka New Orleans!

We arrived in the dead of night and the first thing that hit us was the heat and humidity, I wasn’t complaining though!

For the duration of this holiday my Husband (who shall be also referred to as “H”or “Hubby”) happened to be in a wheelchair, a manual collapsible wheelchair that he was not able to operate alone which meant that I was pushing him in the wheelchair for the majority of the time.

We stayed in the Crowne Plaza Astor Hotel on Canal St which is on the edge of the famous French Quarter,  the hotel is actually on the corner of Canal/Bourbon street so we had an interesting view in the evenings from the balcony in the hotel.

View from hotel balcony

View from hotel balcony

On our first full day in N’awlins we discovered that the French Quarter is not really wheelchair accessible, the paving is atrocious! The Paving slabs are not at an even height and in some places the paving slabs were not present! Instead there were large holes full of broken glass and murky liquid from the previous night’s activities, it was very, very difficult for us to navigate the streets of the French Quarter and we often had to cross the street because of hazards and obstacles on our side of the street, on Bourbon St particularly we had to cross back and forth about 12 times, because of this we did not experience any of the night life the FQ has to offer, the pavements and roads get very crowded with rowdy and often roaring drunk tipsy tourists at night so we decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle.

Despite only venturing out during the day we had an amazing time in New Orleans and we will definitely be going back.

Just in case you are new to my blog I have to mention that I  love food, not just baked goods but practically everything (except cheese)

Without further ado I present to you a small selection of the best food we ate in NOLA (New Orleans, LouisianA) and some of the places we visited during our 3 day stop over.

We had beignets and chocolate milk/ Café au lait in Café du Monde on Decatur Street,

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I was enjoying my choccy milk until… I read the ingredients and discovered it had High Fructose Corn Syrup in it, I can’t get into why HFCS is so bad for you but Google it if you don’t believe me. HFCS is evil and I avoid it like the plague.

We listened to live Jazz in Jackson Square.

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We visited St Louis Cathedral  the oldest (active) Cathedral in North America,

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We went on the Riverside Walk beside the Mississippi River

 (This was the most accessible part of the FQ the paving was smooth and even)

The Mighty Mississippi

The Mighty Mississippi

Frozen Chocolate dipped Bananas from a street vendor. Yummy!

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We ate a Seafood Platter at Deanie’s Seafood and had cocktails including NOLA’s most famous cocktail, the Hurricane.

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I wanted it grilled, hubby wanted it fried – guess who won? At least I got my veggies even though they were not even on the menu & I had to make a special order!

My "Ice Cream Martini" to the left Hubby's "Hurricane" to the right.

My “Ice Cream Martini” to the left Hubby’s “Hurricane” to the right.

Crawfish Boil! @ The Original French Market Restaurant and Bar,  the ground floor is accessible but the toilets are on 3rd floor !!!(another Hurricane – this one was better I suspect the Deanies one had HFCS & E numbers in it!)

We did try to shop in the actual French Market but I was disappointed in the stalls. On the 3 separate occasions we visited the market not one vendor was selling locally made/crafted souvenirs, everything was made in China or other Asian countries,  I have nothing against China and when I visit there I will be happy to purchase souvenirs made there.

So tasty, boiled in a seasoned and peppery hot base.

So tasty, boiled in a seasoned and peppery hot base.

We also visited the beautiful and historic Louis Armstong Park,

the park was also wheelchair accessible with lots of smooth flat surfaces but there was also a lot of gravel.

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PicMonkey Collage

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We also took the streetcar out of the FQ to the Garden District, the streetcar wasn’t really accessible at all, but H could walk a little bit so the streetcar operators helped me fold the wheelchair and stow it behind the driver’s seat.

The streetcars were quite  slow, obviously I know they are old and I think they are mainly for tourists (kind of like the Emirates cable car in London) because they don’t seem an efficient mode of public transport at all, especially as there are buses everywhere that travel much faster.

If I thought the paving in FQ was bad, Magazine street in the Garden District was even worse, there are a lot of old trees in the GD and the trees roots cause the paving slabs to break up and become uneven and quite frankly dangerous I saw many able-bodied people tripping up on this “crazy paving”  even the dropped curbs were useless as they had been raised by tree roots, I mainly ended up pushing the wheelchair in the road. Yes we could have taken Taxis everywhere but I love walking, pushing the wheelchair was great exercise for me and we were able to spend more money on FOOD!

Lunch at the Rum House

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To be honest our trip to the GD was a bit of a waste of time, yes the lunch was nice but none of the shops/restaurants were immediately accessible, they all had narrow doors and you had to step up or down into the establishments, very few of the places had portable ramps but I had to leave my husband outside in the baking hot sun and go inside the shop to ask if they had a ramp and it felt like such a long process just for a bit of window shopping, if a sales assistant took the hassle to drag the ramp out I felt really bad for not buying anything. Of the few places that had portable ramps we always had to use the side/back/service entrance which really made me feel like we were 2nd class citizens.

I did find a lovely shop called Fleurty Girl which was full of locally made garments and items designed by locals,                                     so I bought his/hers New Orleans t-shirts mine has a design that was  a doodle from a napkin and H’s shirt is a voodoo skull which includes  a lot of  NOLA imagery including the po’boy (sandwich), streetcar, voodoo symbols, fleur de lis, crawfish, alligators, oysters, and many more.

Thanks to hubby for modelling, you can't see my design properly when I'm wearing it.

Thanks to hubby for modelling, you can’t see my design properly when I’m wearing it.

All in all we really enjoyed our time in NOLA despite most of the city not being wheelchair friendly. This was not the first time I’ve visited “The South”  but NOLA has it’s own unique charm and style, for the most part the natives of the city were friendly and helpful. We even met a retired guide called Dave who gave us a map and instructions on how to experience the best parts of the city cheaply/free, we didn’t get to do half the things Dave suggested but we still have that map and we will bring it with us next time.

In many ways New Orleans reminds me of the Caribbean, there is a laid back – easy going vibe, local music is ALWAYS playing when you’re out and about, the people and food are a delicious melting-pot of Cultures and Ethnicities and of course the hot and humid weather.

The Crescent City has much more for us to discover, there was so much local food we didn’t get to try like muffalettas, po’boys, gumbo, jambalaya and anything with gator in it. There are also many, many things we didn’t experience, horse and carriage tours, steamboat rides, cemetery tours and so on.

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I’d also like to learn more about Voodoo (‘Voudou’ is the preferred spelling of some) and Spiritual side of the city but I understand that many aspects of Voodoo have been appropriated by store keepers looking to make a quick buck from gullible tourists looking for love potions and fake “Voodoo Dolls”. Voodoo is a religion and  should be respected in the same way that people respect Christianity, Islam and other “Major” religions. Having Jamaican ancestry I know a bit about Obeah and Myal other Religions that have some similarities to Voodoo and Hoodoo beliefs and practices. Contrary to popular belief Voodoo isn’t a cult, black magic or worship of the Christian devil.

People who practice Voodoo are not witchdoctors, sorcerers or occultists. Voodoo isn’t a practice intended to hurt or control others.

Unfortunately Racism clouds people’s view of Voodoo, it is rooted in slavery and intricately connected to political and social evolution. Voodoo was first practised in America and the Caribbean by slaves of African descent, whose culture was both feared and ridiculed. Slaves were not considered fully human. Their religion was dismissed as superstition, their priests were denigrated as witchdoctors, their Gods and Spirits were denounced as evil. As usual people fear what they do not understand.

Mosaic on the floor of a corner shop

Mosaic on the floor of a corner shop

Anyway as per usual I’ve gone off on a tangent and this post has ended up being way too long, please forgive my digression…

 Until next time don’t forget to Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Our next stop is Las Vegas, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together, it has taken a week to get this post up!

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Thanks for reading, Luv Sian x

Sources: The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook by Kenaz Filan (btw a very interesting read)

             What is Voodoo? Understanding a Misunderstood Religion – Article by Saumya Arya Haas on HuffingtonPost.com