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
Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version206Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version215
Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version130 Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version134
  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

Girly NYC Trip and Let Your Hair Down Expo 2014!

Hello my Lovelies!

I met Candace Kelly – journalist and naturalista at the NHW London Event, Candace was so lovely that when she mentioned she was having her own hair event- the Let Your Hair Down Expo in Brooklyn, NYC in September I knew I had to be there!

I let my pen pal Tonia know I was going to be in USA again and she agreed to meet me in NYC and hang out for a few days, I told my mum about the event and she was keen to come along with me too, so before you know it, a girly trip to NYC had been booked!

Tonia, gave me the heads up on a hotel that was still being built but would be open upon our arrival, the Element hotel in Harrison NJ, upon Tonia’s recommendation we booked a suite at the hotel. The hotel was amazing and you can read my full review here on Tripadvisor under the name Sianthe B.

Views from,in the hotel room and selfie on the plane!

Views from and in the hotel room and selfie on the plane!

The first few days in New Jersey was spent relaxing and eating mainly, we cooked in the hotel suite and went into Harlem to eat at Sylvia’s a famous “Soul Food” restaurant. I know people are going to hate me for saying this but my mum are I were underwhelmed by the food at Sylvia’s it was all quite salty, soft and lacking in depth of flavour, however they could have been having an off day…

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Parked near Sylvia’s was a interesting looking truck, which turned out to be a Mobile Boutique! We met the lovely owner of the boutique/vehicle- Nneka Ingram and all purchased a few of her unique accessories.

Nneka and her amazing boutique-truck

Nneka and her amazing boutique-truck

It turns out that NNeka is also a make-up artist so I booked an appointment for her to do my make up for the Let Your Hair Down Expo.

On Saturday 13th September I made my way to Nneka’s truck a tiny bit late, but she was able to do an amazing job on my face in 30 minutes, then I was back on the Subway and headed to Waverly Avenue in Brooklyn for the hair event.

Excuse the quality this was a selfie taken on the subway

Selfie Collage - This is the makeup  done by Nneka, the photos with me in the grey straps were taken 12  hours after the make up was applied and I'd been rained on!!

The event was split into two halves and I’d bought a ticket for the first session which was 12:00 – 16:00. There was a queue when I arrived but I was happy to chat to the Brooklyn Naturalistas and ogle more gorgeous natural hair.

Hair Porn in the queue.

Hair Porn in the queue.

Session one consisted of two workshops:

Presenting Felicia Leatherwood!

She is internationally known for her natural hair artistry and her Loving Your Natural Hair with Natural Care Workshop where naturalistas learn from her years of experiences. Yes, she does the hair of those on the red carpet but this licensed stylist will help you shape your look. Learn about hair care maintenance, low and high end products and styles that suit you.

2:15PM-3:30PM

Live with The Curl Whisperer! Tameeka’s Transformations

Join the Curl Whisperer, Tameeka McNeil Johnson for Tameeka’sTransformations. Natural hair enthusiasts are flocking to this licensed stylist for her advice. Come out and see naturals get some serious makeovers and get a copy of her bookLittle Black Book of Rules for Curly Girls.

(lavender text from www.letyourhairdownexpo.com)

As well as the workshops, there were many vendors, hourly prizes and a large section dedicated to Hairfinity who were the main sponsors of the event. As always I really enjoyed talking to the vendors and shopping.

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Felicia’s workshop was basically the same workshop she did at events in London and Paris so I’d already heard it before and the audience questions were very also similar.

Tameeka’s workshop was more interesting  to me, because I’d never seen/heard of her before and she was quite dynamic and energetic while giving her talk and demonstration, I liked the fact that Tameeka did her demonstration on a girl with short hair and a kinkier texture, too many times at hair events I see demo’s on girls with long/curly hair which is nice but I appreciate diversity and watching demo’s that give me a better idea of what could work on my mid- length kinky coily hair.

I wore a custom made outfit from House of Loulee to the event and got so many compliments from EVERYONE who saw me that day, if you like my outfit, head to House of Loulee  and contact the designer and founder Lucy Lee to get your own garments made. House of Loulee also have a wide range of ready to wear garments, gifts and toys for the whole family. (Just in case you’re thinking this, no I haven’t been paid to plug H.O.L.L they just have amazing stuff and I think everyone should know!)

Outfit by House of Loulee, Make up by Nneka Ingram hair by Georgy.

Outfit by House of Loulee, Make up by Nneka Ingram hair by Georgy.

All in all, I did enjoy the Expo even though I didn’t learn anything new about natural hair/care and I missed the panel discussion at the end of the day (featuring Rachy of Uk afrolista formerly UK Naturals) because I was so exhausted I had to go back to the hotel and sleep.

The standout part of the day for me was meeting and having a really nice talk with Hairfinity spokesmodel/ambassador  Torsha McElroy – Torsha is a young lady who had a horrific car accident in 2011, she lost all of her hair as a result of the accident and within 20 months of taking hairfinity consistently she had grown her hair back  to it’s original length .                 I first saw Torsha in a Hairfinity promotional video at NHWUK 2014 and I was horrified that Hairfinity was using this lady’s near-fatal accident to peddle a hair supplement, I was really concerned that Hairfinity were explioting Torsha and I was disgusted…

However after meeting Torsha my fears were allayed and she was very open and honest with me about her working relationship with Hairfinity.

Me and Torsha

Me and Torsha

There was a huge turnout for the event and Candace Kelly is lovely, I also met Jenell of  BlakIzBeautyful who is as pretty, gracious and humble in real life as she comes across on YT.

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.

 toddy

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice Skating at the Tower of London

Hello My Cakers Bakers and Beauties!

I live in Central London and every Winter several Tourist Attractions and Historical Palaces erect outdoor “pop up” Ice Rinks.        I loved to ice skate as a child and every year I say –  I want to ice skate at one of the popular outdoor rinks and every year I walk past the rinks wistfully. I’m not sure why I never just book a ticket and go! Even if I went by myself I’d enjoy it.

Scale Model of Tower Bridge

Scale Model of Tower Bridge

I live roughly 5 minutes away from Tower Bridge one of the most famous bridges in the world and at the other end of Tower Bridge is the Tower of London. The Tower of London has an outdoor ice rink so last December I bought 3 tickets and forced asked my Mum and My Sister to go with me. At £13.50 each for a one hour session, it was a bit pricey but everything in Central London is pricey and I’m used to it by now *sigh*.

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I booked an evening session and I was quite impressed with the way they organised themselves, the ice rink asked everyone to come 20 mins early so that we were able to put our belongings away and swap our boots/shoes for ice skates. (Skate hire included in price of admission.

Mum, Me 'n Sis

Mum, Me ‘n Sis

I’m going to be honest with you there were too many small children skating in our session, I have nothing against small children per se but ice skating can be quite dangerous and with inexperienced adult skaters sliding and skidding around it was quite nerve -wracking, especially because the hired skates didn’t have any breaks or spikes on them.

The rink was set up against one of the walls of the castle and it was very picturesque but I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t play any music.

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someone just took a drop!

someone just took a drop!

After 30 mins of skating our feet were killing us! I mean seriously it felt like I had been at a Soca dance for 9 hours, wearing 7 inch stilettos with shards of glass inside them. Just like dancing in stilettos if you stop moving the pain only intensifies so we soldiered it out for about 15 more minutes before throwing it the towel!

Tower of London in the Background

Tower of London in the Background

We had worked up quite a hunger while skating so we headed to the nearby St Katherine’s Dock for a meal and to chat of course!

I love spending time with my family and I have really close relationships with my Mum and my Sister but since my Sister and I moved out of our Mum and Dad’s house, the three of us rarely get to go out alone. We had a really good evening out.

Lets wear Mum's Glasses!

Selfies! Lets wear Mum’s Glasses!

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We should get Sponsored by Colgate!

Just playing around...

Just playing around…

Thanks for Reading

Luv

Sian

x

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February 8th Part 3 The Lovely Little Lunch

February 8th continued…

Hubby and I were instructed by our roadside rescue company that it would take around 75 minutes for the tow truck to arrive, so we were advised by the police to go an sit in a café or somewhere close by to wait to get picked up. Since we were a so close to our destination we decided to go to the event anyway.

We hobbled along to Seven @ Brixton and were led down a dimly lit – slightly grimy corridor and up a tiny crooked set of stairs.

When we got to the upstairs landing the bubbly blonde waitress led us to a lovely little room all done up with hearts and flowers and full of beautiful natural haired ladies!

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The Ladies & their Twitter Handles:
Ayoki – @Ayokibrown
Cherelle – @locsntatts
Cynthia – @KickinKinks
Ketisha – @SugarKinesis
Lola – @LolasCurls
Rachy – @UKNaturals
Sian – @SianTheBaker (ME)
Sister E – @TheCalabashHub
Stacey – @TheNaprika

I had met all of the ladies before except Rachy from UK Naturals but I recognised her from Social Media, I quickly explained why I had brought along  a gate crasher and after showing the pics and confirming that we were relatively ok we got stuck into the fun and games!

I’d like to say a huge thanks to all of the Lovely Little Lunchers for welcoming my Husband into the LLL and helping us to take our minds off the day’s previous events.

Crystal had set up a few games and a quiz and we split into teams to play them, first we were in 3 teams to play a memory game where each team had 40 seconds to memorise a Mood Board full of words related to one of 3 topics, Social Media, Valentine’s Day or Natural Hair, our team (me, Kofi and Cherelle of Locs and Tatts) had to memorise the Valentine’s day board, we did quite well when we had to shout out all of the words we remembered after our 40 seconds was up, but I think that the team that was marking us were cheating, I’m not a sore loser #JustSaying.

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After the memory game Crystal split the room into 2 teams, our team was called Curls n Swirls and consisted of me, Cherelle, Kinesha, Teshna and Rachy,  my Husband was in charge of the keeping scores. Each team took it in turns to nominate a team member to answer a question based on Social Media, Natural Hair or London, each player could choose her subject to answer a question on until the questions on that subject ran out, if the player answered the questions on her own she was awarded 2 points for her team or she could “retweet” the question by  inviting her entire team to help with the answer but a retweeted answer  would only earn 1 point for the team.

My Husband - Crystal's Glamourous Assistant.

My Husband – Crystal’s Glamourous Assistant.

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Me laughing because I lost a 2 points for our team on a really easy question!

Obviously the Natural Hair topic was chosen most because we were all Natural Hair bloggers in one way or another, most of the questions were harder than you might think which actually made the  Game more fun.

I’m happy to report that Curls n Swirls won that game.   Our prize was a goody bag full of natural hair samples that we divvied up between the team.

We were each also given our own individual goody bags literally FULL of individually wrapped natural hair goodies, I really appreciated the amount of Love and effort Crystal put into the event. If you follow my blog you know I gave up going to “Natural Hair Events” because I felt that some of the organisers were simply out to make money and were not offering me anything worthwhile for the price of the ticket.

Please enjoy some more photos of the event…

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If you picked one of the hearts with the marked base you won a larger prize

And the winners are...

And the winners are…

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Custom made cocktail "single strand shot"

Custom made cocktail “single strand shot”

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Excuse the face, it was actually pretty tasty!

I would also like to say thank you to the following companies for their contribution to the event:

 

  • The Venue: Seven At Brixton – @SevenAtBrixton
  • Curly By Nature – @curlybyn
  • Hug My Hair – @HugMyHair
  • KeraCare Natural Textures – @AvlonUK
  • Mane Divas – @Manedivas
  • Shea Decadance – @shea_decadence
  • Sonia Evelyn – @Evelynproducts
  • AfroDeity – @AfrodeityLtd
  • Mmm Hair – @MmmHair
  • Just Things by LX – @JustThingsbyLX
  • Shea Surprise – sheasurprise.com
  • The Calabash Hub – @TheCalabashHub
  • Enwine Couture – @EntwineCouture
  • Adornment 365 – @Adornment365


Photo Credits go to all the other lovely little lunchers, I’d accidently left my camera at home!

Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

x