Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

In my quest to develop my cupcake-making skills… I made some vanilla cupcakes topped with salted caramel popcorn this week.

Much to my children’s delight, I didn’t hold back with the sugar and butter.

I must say, they looked pretty amazing in the end!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

I did a lot of careful research and chose a vanilla cupcake recipe, a salted caramel popcorn recipe and a caramel frosting recipe… from three different sources.

Unfortunately I’m not going to share the recipes with you, because I wasn’t 100% happy with any of them in the end. However, I completely accept that my technique and execution was probably a bit off too!

The cupcake recipe I used was much too sweet and a little bit dry. I want my cupcakes to be much more fluffy and moist. They turned out so plain (and boring) that I decided to scoop out the core of each cupcakes and fill it with a bit of caramel frosting.

The caramel frosting, while it had a lovely texture, it was just way too sweet!

The salted caramel for the popcorn wasn’t smooth. The sugar crystalised as the caramel cooled, so it looked grainy. Probably not enough butter? It also made the popcorn go a bit soggy. I’ve made delicious, crunchy caramel popcorn before, so I know I can do it – I just need to find the recipe.

In fact, it was ALL SO SWEET, that even my kids couldn’t eat a full cupcake each.

I pretty much used 1 cup of white sugar for the cupcakes, 3 cups of icing sugar for the frosting and 1 cup of brown sugar for the caramel.

Yikes! That’s a terrifying amount of sugar!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Vanilla Cupcakes

So now that I look at these cupcakes… even though they look absolutely stunning and much like the ones I see in the shops, I don’t think they are worth it. I don’t feel good about making something so unhealthy for my friends and family.

I’ll be looking for much healthier options and substitutes now.

But at the same time, I’m still hoping to make them look amazing.

My quest continues!

Zimmermann Silk Dress and Long Grey Coat

Long grey coat

Outfit: Silk dress from Zimmermann | Grey coat from Sheinside | Boots from Betts

An item that has long been on my wardrobe wishlist was a simple, black, silk dress.

It’s definitely something that never goes out of style. It looks effortlessly sexy with high heels and looks casual-cool with sneakers or sandals.

I wanted a dress that was short and loose fitting. So I had my eye on some silk dresses from Zimmermann. They were beautiful but oh my, they were waaay out of my price range!

I spied a few on ebay, and finally managed to snap up this gorgeous Zimmermann draped, silk dress – the one I’m wearing here!

It’s a size 0, but when it arrived, the straps were too long for my body that it showed so much of my chest and boobs that I was destined for a peek-a-boo accident.

I decided to sew up the straps myself, taking off 5cms from each strap. It sits better on my body now and looks much more proportionate on me.

It cost me a fraction of the original price, I paid a bit extra for dry cleaning, the fabric is in perfect condition… and I’m sooo happy with it. The silk is simply divine!

As for my long, grey coat

Eeep, isn’t it gorgeous?

I had my eye on this coat, but again, at $300 it was outside my price range.

I was also looking to buy this one.

But in the end, I took a bit of a risk and bought this long, grey coat from Sheinside.

It was amazingly affordable and thus I wasn’t expecting much. If you scroll down on the product page, you might be suckered in (as I was) by all the stunning street style photos of the coat. The ketogenic diet is similar to the Atkins diet. It also calls for getting rid of high-carb foods containing sugar to boost the body’s ability to burn fat. However, the keto diet is based on eating high amounts of healthy fats, low amounts of protein in General, and no processed meat in the diet. At the same time, unlike the Atkins diet, the effectiveness of the keto diet is confirmed by research. Keto diet https://magyaregeszseg.eu/keto-diet-kapszula/ can be called a healthy diet, which can not be said about the Atkins diet. She simply recommends increasing any type of fat and a fairly high level of protein as part of the menu.

Anyway, the coat was utterly perfect for me. I bought the size S, and it fit me across the shoulders, back and arms. Usually I have trouble finding coats for my small frame, but this one was great!

My over the knee boots are a pair from Betts. Amazingly I got them 5 years ago (and reviewed them in this post)! Yet since then, I have always managed to take them out every winter to wear them. That’s pretty great value :)

I put together a few of my shopping finds here for you to browse.

Happy shopping!

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HBF Run for a Reason 2015

So… I wasn’t really planning to do another running event this year!

I was just planning to work towards running longer distances and to increase my running stamina.

But the team at HBF asked me if I’d like to join in the fun at the HBF Run for a Reason and to do a bit of social media for them.

I accepted eagerly and committed myself to both the 12km distance and er… learning how to run and take photos at the same time??

Surely there’s an app for that.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

So this was me, the day before the event, picking up my participant running pack at the HBF Event Centre at the Perth Arena.

I asked a HBF Volunteer (a girl on her morning tea break) to take my photo… and I was trying to think of some clever way I could change the word REASON with my silhouette.

But all I could think of was TREASON and RANSOM… and decided they weren’t very appropriate haha. So I was just went with a kind of generic “Y”.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

On the morning of the run, I drove to my local train station and caught the train into the city. Participants were allowed free public transport all day. It was fast and easy.

There were thousands of other participants using public transport too, so the atmosphere of the city was buzzing with excitement.

The only downside of the early morning start was that it was so freaking cold!

I think it was 7-8C?? Thankfully the event had a special service where you can wear a jacket or jumper to the event, wear it for the 30-45 minutes while standing around soaking up the pre-event entertainment, and then leave it hanging on the railings at the start line, where it will be donated to charity!

For me, I clung onto every last bit of warmth from my jacket and waited till the *very last minute* to donate it.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

And we were off!

Unfortunately when I tried to run and take photos, they turned out terribly blurry.

So this is my “stand still and get into people’s way” photo.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

One of the things I looked forward to during this event… was to run through the Northbridge Tunnel (1.6km).

I have never done it before and it was just one of my little running aspirations for my own city. Yay!

Again, I had to stop and take this photo, because I definitely couldn’t run backwards and take snaps.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

The whole event was dotted with photographers, TV cameras, cameras on cranes, camera drones… it was all quite exciting!

When someone wants to buy an electronic gadget that is not readily available in their local store, they often look online. Today you can find electronics-that-can-fly, miniature cameras, and even a flat screen television the size of your credit card on sale online. You know that you can get a drone for under $100? But are they any good,find out at Droneuncover. Many top-notch tech companies usually hold their own separate parties during the year to introduce new electronic gadgets to the public and not debut their newest product at world famous exhibitions.

I spotted two of Perth’s coolest photographers (David Chong and David Broadway) camped by the side of the road. Ok yes, they were my mates, so I slowed down to take a photo of THEM at work.

In fact, I doubled back so I could do a silly slow-motion run for them to photograph.

I pretty much knew then, with all my stopping to take photos antics and uploading to socal media… that my running time for this event was going to be very average! Oh well!

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

The day cleared up and the sun came out.

It was such a beautiful day for a run next to the river!

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

I sprinted towards the finish line, but 10 metres before I crossed it… I stopped to take a photo haha!

Aaah in the end, it was so much fun. I really wasn’t concerned about my running time at all.

I was surrounded by so many people who laughed, cheered, skipped, sang. There were people in all shapes and sizes, young and old, all going different speeds, all getting out there, being active, raising money for a good cause – it was a really enjoyable day and a fantastic event to be a part of.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015
After the event, I was invited over to the corporate sponsor’s area for a VIP breakfast and massage.

That was veeeeery nice indeed! Thank you HBF!

For those interested in my running details…

I did a 12km running event in September last year (after I had a flu) and my running time was 1 hr 30 mins.

For this 12km run, including all my stops, my time was 1 hr 31 mins (which is a pace 7:35 min/km) – how funny!

Usually I run at a pace of 6:00 min/km, so it should have taken me 1 hr 12mins. So I have a small part of runner’s pride in me that is annoyed that these times are set in stone on the internet as my “official times” but as I said, I’m not too fussed about it.

In fact, I’m keen to do it again next year with my kids! And maybe we’ll dress up!

See you there next year :)

xxx

Brain Training with a Rubik’s Puzzle

I’m very INTO brain training these days!

I know it’s a bit of a buzz word at the moment. But my father-in-law has been encouraging us to train our brains for the last 7-8 years, so I actually feel a bit slow to catch on.

Anyway… in the last year or so, I’ve gone back to reading literature, I’ve subscribed to brainy magazines, and started to tinker with music.

But my latest obsession is the Rubik’s Cube Puzzle.

Rubik's Puzzle

It started with my 10 year old son. He recently bought one with his birthday money and he watched some online videos on how to solve it.

I peeked over his shoulder and was amazed to find that you actually have to watch 6-7 VIDEOS, which were all about 8-10 minutes long!

I was intrigued.

So I sat down next to him and we watched them together.

We took notes, we drew diagrams, and we practiced.

Rubik's Puzzle

I am so, so, soooo pleased that I can solve a Rubik’s cube now!

It’s definitely one of those things I can say that I know how to do haha!

There are lots of steps involved and lots of moves to memorise.

I had to refer to my notes A LOT.

The first time I solved it completely, without looking at my notes, this was my record time:

Rubik's Puzzle Record

21 minutes!

Oh man it was painful. It hurt my brain. My neurons were definitely stretched in ways I never thought possible.

I did it 3 times… suddenly my lunch hour had passed in a snap and it was now time to pick up my kids from school.

Possibly not the best use of my time on my day off, but hey I guess it’s better than watching day time TV?? The goal of a reading pillow is to provide the best support for your back so that you can appreciate your favorite leisure activities like reading without putting risk to your health. So, how do you go about choosing the best reading pillow – Scientists recommend that you should always consider taking 5 minutes break after every 30 minutes of reading or watching TV. This is to ensure you don’t put too much strain on your back since an extended time while you enjoy your leisure’s can put too much strain on your spine which can be a serious health hazard. This is what reading pillows are designed for!

I practiced a bit every day… and after a few weeks, this is now my best record time:

Rubik's Puzzle Record

That’s right! 2 and a half minutes!

I’m so proud of my brain!

Yes, so just like learning how to make cupcakes, it won’t solve the world’s problems, but it’s a baby step towards having a higher functioning brain in my old age.

Plus it’s a great party trick.

(Btw I think the world record is 5.6 seconds!)

Feeling Alive on a Sunday Morning!

Footy in the Rain

So this is how I spent my Sunday!

I was wearing 4 layers of clothes, rain boots, sitting on a camping chair, hiding under an umbrella… while watching my 10 year old boy play football in the pouring rain.

Ah the things we do for our kids. Garden tower 2 review at Gardentist. The way that this self-contained Garden Tower 2 works is simple. After setting the container up, you add soil, a small amount of organic waste, and about ½ cup of red wiggler worms. Add new kitchen waste to the bin each day. The worms will feed on this organic waste, turning it into worm castings and worm tea in the process. These castings and tea are two of the most powerful organic fertilizers on the planet. Your plants will feed on this fertilizer as its being made. Excess fertilizer, especially in the form of worm juice, collects in a tray at the bottom of the tower.