25.3.18

Vegan Chocolate and Chilli Cupcakes

I often make cupcakes, they are quick and simple.


When I was a Rainbow leader I used to make them with a team of 5 year olds, if you were wondering how easy they are are to make.

But now my teen is a vegan...yeah I know....so what to do?

Help is at hand! In the form of egg replacement. I was sceptical so I tested the Orgran brand (other brands are available), and the recipe, so that you can make them with confidence.


For a deadly twist I went for chilli chocolate flavour, but dried fruit, just chocolate, or other flavours are simple to substitute into the basic recipe.

I tend to make double this recipe and make 12 cupcakes, it's a bit odd as I realise the maths doesn't add up, but they seem to not rise as much as cakes with real eggs, feel free to experiment based on your pan/cake case size.

One of the things you will notice is that the consistency of the baked cakes is changed due to the lack of egg, the cakes don't seem to hold together as well, so always let them cool a bit before removing them from the pan, even if they are in paper cases they will still crumble if you move them when they are hot.

Using chilli oil rather than fresh chillis or crushed chillis means that the heat spreads evenly through the cakes. I decorated the cakes with vegan butter cream icing (using the non dairy margarine) and vegan chocolate drops.

Warning: depending on your chilli oil - this recipe may be extremely hot.

Ingredients

• 3oz Vegan (dairy free) margarine
• 2oz Sugar
• 1 egg replacement portion
• 3oz self raising flour
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons chilli oil

Method

Cream the margarine and sugar together.
Mix the egg replacement powder with water and add to the mix.
Add the flour and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Add 2 teaspoons chilli oil.
Divide into 8 paper cake cases.
Bake for 15 minutes at 180c/250f/gas 4.


This post is not sponsored, but contains affiliate links.

24.3.18

Even the BodyShop is going Vegan

If you follow me on other social media you will have seen that the other week I was invited to the Body Shop in Chichester to check out all the lovely products, and have a sneak preview at the new ones.


I'm far from a beauty blogger (as you know) but I need to wash, I like a nice bubble bath, I sometimes need to moisturise my elbows and as I age I'm finding I need to pay more attention to my face too. Though I draw the line at makeup. Of course I'm mum to a teen and she uses make up, so she was thrilled to accompany me to see what the Body Shop had to offer.

I haven't been to a Body Shop in a years. Like many people I fell out of love with them when they were bought by L'Oreal in 2006 and seemed to give up on their natural credentials. It was nice to hear that they are now a subsidiary of a Brazilian company, having been bought by the ethical Brazilian cosmetics B-Corp, Natura in 2017.


Body Shop now have the coveted 'leaping bunny' (cruelty free) logo and in even bigger news most Body Shop products are now vegan! And the few that aren't (they use honey in some products) will be having ingredient changes to move them to vegan soon too. Vegan products are being clearly labelled on the packaging too. Body Shop are against all forms of animal testing forever. (Join in and sign the petition here)

But on to the fun things! They have some really nice, and very reasonably priced items in store. The old favourites like White Musk are still there (now using synthetic musk obviously) and a Frosted Plum range smelled very like Dewberry to me, but there are also some lovely new (at least to me) scents too. I am an old lady so this may explain why I loved the British Rose scented body cream, but Raffy is young and she loved it too, and the mango scents.


The Body Shop has a range of products within each scent, so that you can mix and/or match.

The soaps smelled gorgeous, starting at £2 a bar and nicely scented. Need a 'not chocolate' easter gift? This limited edition olive oil soap bunny is too adorable!

Looking for a scrub without plastic microbeads, but still with 'bits'? Body Shop have French Grape Seed Scrub, have a nice glass of pinot and be grapey inside and out!

For anyone keen to try a new face mask, Body Shop have a lovely Himalayan Charcoal Mask, vegan, and formulated without parabens, paraffin, silicone or mineral oil.

I've been trying out some of the products and have been happy with the quality of them. It's nice that they are vegan, and if you can't pop into a store you can order online with free delivery if you spend over £20

Thanks to the staff at Chichester for a fun evening and for sharing your favourite products with us.

Disclosure: I was invited to the event and given a goody bag, I was not paid for my time and all the views in this post are my own.

23.3.18

Just sometimes the world is a lovely place

On Thursday my lovely daughter, Rafaela, was excited to be heading up to London after college to see one of her favourite singers, Anne-Marie.


Rafaela was travelling alone and like many of us, was slightly panicked about the thought. She had bought her train ticket in advance, had planned her travel across London, had both phone and mental maps of the tube trains she needed to get etc etc.

What she hadn't counted on was her shoe falling apart just as she arrived at the station. And not just a tiny crack in the sole or a loose aglet either! Her entire sole ripped off the shoe. Leaving her in tears. But after a bit of deep breathing, thinking, looking at timing, (could she make it to a shop and still make the concert? no. Get home and still make the concert? no) she decided the only thing to do was to ask for help from the people that would understand. Anne Marie fans. And the best place to get in touch with them was via Twitter.

colourful boots with sole ripped off


What happened next became a Twitter Moment.

First an urgent request to anyone that was attending the concert, I imagine she hoped maybe someone could bung a pair of spare trainers in their bag to give to her at the gig, or would be able to get some to give her at Victoria station, because by the time she arrived in London the shops would be closing and she had a concert to get to.

But it was Anne-Marie herself that saw the tweet and said she'd sort it out. Even then Rafaela assumed she meant that she would tweet about it, boosting the post. When Anne-Marie asked what size shoes Rafaela wore, she again thought it would be about sharing the problem, but a DM (private twitter message) from Anne-Marie explained more. Anne-Marie planned to get some shoes to Raffy herself.

A thrilled and now relieved Raffy continued her journey to London. But she still had some travelling to do before collecting her shoes. Cinderella-like she wandered in her socks down to the tube and onward across the city, trying to ignore the odd stares of other travellers. Her feet became increasingly cold, but finally she arrived.

Once at the concert venue she joined a queue of fans already there. Now, mildly famous, people in the queue were laughing and chatting with her. She messaged Anne-Marie and was overjoyed when someone from Anne-Marie's team came out to give her some new shoes. A JD Sports bag was handed over.

Raffy was stunned to find inside, a pair of new black Nike AirMax in her size. And just like in the fairy tale they fitted perfectly, and Rafaela did go to the ball. What a fabulously generous act by Anne-Marie.

Anne-Marie wasn't only generous to Raffy either, she sent pizza out to her fans that had been queuing for a long time in the cold.

And there is another thing about this story that I really loved; twitter Anne-Marie's fans did see the initial tweet, and they did respond, with ideas, love and sympathy. And once Anne-Marie stepped in to solve the problem, and after Raffy shared a picture of the shoes, they continued to be lovely, sending supportive tweets and friendly messages. It's really lovely to see a group of people brought together by an artist who go on to really become like a family. I know that sounds gushy and soft, but really it was so nice to see.

Just pop over to twitter and look at the sweet replies to this tweet


So thank you Anne-Marie for saving my daughter's day, making her evening and turning a disaster into a really special memory. And thank you to Anne-Marie's fans for being so lovely too.