Sunday, 23 October 2016

WEDDING INSPIRATION: Cakes from the Cake & Bake Show 2016

I went to the London Cake & Bake show this last weekend, and thought it was a treasure-trove of inspiration for brides to be, as well as those looking for cake displays for special events like baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and even just girly tea parties.

I won't post all of the photos of the things I saw (there were just too many!), but wanted to show the variety of themes, styles and cakes out there for those who are looking for more inspiration.

I'll start with my favourite tables, the professionally-made dessert tables - these were beautifully made floral cakes grouped together, made by professional cake companies to showcase their skills. I love that each dessert table had cakes and biscuits to match the whole theme, which looked gorgeous together.

I loved that each dessert table had more than one cake (maybe that's just me being greedy) so that it made the table seem more luxurious and extravagant. I thought this was an interesting alternative to a lot of tables I have seen where the cake is the main showpiece and everything else is centred around the main cake.

I also really liked the colours and textures used for the cakes - lace, floral pieces, ribbons - not to mention some very cool looking mini cakes which looked a bit like bath bombs!

There were cakes on display all around the exhibition, which showed a variety of techniques, themes and colours so that brides aren't just stuck with the traditional plain white cake. I particularly liked the wooden-themed nature cakes below, and the beautiful pearl cakes!

I also loved this beautifully detailed cushion cake - probably took ages to make but doesn't it look beautiful?

The Cake show had a huge number of vendors selling tools to decorate and embellish cakes - there were lots of styles I hadn't seen before such as glittery lace, edible gem stones, detailed beading and beautifully worked icing in a variety of ways.

Macarons are the latest, fashionable edibles for wedding cakes, so naturally we also saw some of these - I loved the giant gold macaron cake below, although not sure how it'd taste!

Another thing that also gets neglected a lot in wedding tables are biscuits - and there were some amazing ones at the Cake and Bake shows. My favourite were these wedding-themed biscuits, such as the wedding dresses, proposal biscuits, floral bouquets and even biscuits for the bridesmaids! I thought this would be great for bridal showers as well as henna night and wedding dessert tables.

There were also some gorgeous cake stands available for those looking to display their own cakes, or even for weddings. I love that these weren't restricted by size or styles (we even saw a huge stand shaped like a horse-and-carriage!)

Another things which has become fairly fashionable recently are cupcake bouquets - they look cute and are fairly easy to make! I thought these looked so pretty, and would made a great centre-piece for a dessert table, or even as a hand-held bouquet!

I also saw some great cake ideas for mehndi events - such as these peacock cakes below. I liked these straightaway because it made me think of the peacock theme I had for my own mehndi - I would have loved to have these on display! I also liked the embellished biscuits below, which reminded me of  a lot of biscuits I've seen for mehndi parties which have a henna design on them.

Cake-pops and meringues are another pretty alternatives to cupcakes or cakes - they look colourful and cute, and would look amazing for a dessert table! My sister has made us cake-pops before and they have looked really pretty on dessert tables (or in our hands!) and I liked the variety of flavours and colours below. I'm less a fan of meringues but I LOVED the rainbows ones available at the cake show - you could have just these on the table and they'd look beautiful!

There were a huge amount of cakes at the show, and we spent a good few hours browsing, buying goodies and also looking at new techniques for cake and cupcake making. It's given me a lot of ideas for future tea-parties, as well as different treats to try out, so watch this space!

You can see more of  my pictures here, and also on my sister's blog here.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Curly Fry's Shopping Therapy! Skincare Haul

As much as I love buying makeup (which my husband always says I have too much of, but what does he know?), over time I've found it pretty important to invest in skincare equally as much as buying good quality cosmetics. I also find that in today's day and age, there is a huge awareness of natural skincare which is better for you in the long-term, not to mention vegan cosmetics and brands which don't condone animal cruelty or testing.

I also have spoken to friends and family before about the concept of 'halal' makeup and skincare - that is products which don't use alcohol or ingredients which aren't halal, which aligns very closely to vegan products. Whereas about a decade or so ago, this was mainly about our dad's (very strong!) alcohol-free perfumes and ouds, these days young women (and men!) look for this in so much more - in their daily skin routines, in their makeup and even in things like hair extensions and false eyelashes. This has become more important to me in two ways - firstly, for religious reason, where I want to do the very best for my skin without going against my principals, and secondly for age reasons, as I get older I want to give my skin a fighting chance to look healthy for its age!

I recently managed to pick up a few products which focus on natural ingredients, and which also look to give clear skin, and gently repair and hydrate the skin without using harsh chemicals.

1. Moa Daily Cleansing Ritual - I loved this concept when I saw this product and what it is for. I've only used this a couple of times but I'm loving it - rub the balm into an oil all over your face, then wet the accompanying cloth to cleanse your face and remove makeup, while getting the benefits of the bamboo balm.

2. Dr Lewinn's Hydrating Cream - This is an Australian brand I'd heard of before but never used. I've read good things about the cream and have been looking for a new face cream for a while now, so this one was one to try for me. Now that I'm in my late twenties (and nearly in my thirties!) I've been looking for good hydrating products which also have a kick of anti-aging. Can't say I've noticed much yet with this so far, so I'll reserve judgement but I do like the hydrating side of it.

3. Renunail Triple Strength - another product by Dr Lewinn's, this is apparently a bit of cult product in the nail world. I'm not a huge nail-varnish expert because I don't wear it much, but I do agree with a bit of nail-strengthening, and this is help protect nails as well as help them grow. Plus I really like the colour!

4. Rio Rosa Mosqueta Cream Cleanser - this is great for sensitive skin and combination skin. Again I've only used this a couple of times so far but I'm liking that it doesn't try out my skin and uses a range of butters and oils - plus it smells yummy!

5. Janjira Thai Lime & Ginger Shower gel - I was given this product and thought the smell was great, not to mention the variety of natural ingredients such as Avocado oil which help plump the skin and provides vitamin for it.

I wanted to write more than the above, but had to keep the reviews shorter because I've only had these a few days! I have high hopes though, and it's made me look into more niche brands which focus on not just natural skincare but 'halal' ingredients too, which I think is important.

Have you tried any of these?

Friday, 30 September 2016

On the Catwalk, On the Celeb...Shilpa Shetty in Ridhi Mehra

I haven't seen Shilpa in the news for a while but recently she's been cropping up again at the catwalks and fashion shows, and is looking good while she's doing it!

I thought I'd post a quick outfit I saw on the Bollywood star that I liked by Ridhi Mehra (makes a change from the constant Sonam-Priyanka-Deepika outfits I keep seeing, as much as I enjoy looking at them!) - let me know what you think of the outfit!

On the catwalk:
I LOVE the oxblood red colour of this outfit, and though it looked very chic on the catwalk - flowy, stylish and very fusion in style, a great balance of westernised jumpsuits and dressy asian wear. The only thing I didn't love about this outfit was the deep V-neck which seemed a little too low, and brings the effortless look of the outfit down a bit- apart from that, I love it, it reminds me of something you'd see on an Italian catwalk, particularly the cinched-in belt added in which gives it a lovely, smart look.

On the celeb:
I think what I like most about this outfit was that it looks a lot more playful on Shipa, and also more girly. She worked the V-neck pretty well here (probably because it's not so low and also looks more chic), and I also love that she accessorised with pretty gold earrings (by Valliyan) and and pretty gold stack bangles (by Prerto) for a minimal but elegant look. For some reason the outfit looks more fuschia in these pictures, but it still works well and I love that she's managed to make it a great dressed-up evening look.

I'm not sure which look I prefer more - the catwalk one is much more stylish and Westernised, but on Shilpa she carried the outfit wonderfully and looks a lot more spunky which I quite like!

So here's a random story -  did I ever tell you (readers) about the time I (kind of) met Shilpa Shetty?

It was while I was working part-time in Knightsbridge at university (I won't say when but it was nearly a decade ago!) a little while after the actress appeared in Big Brother, so she was staying around London for a little while to shop.
My job was to be a 'host' (basically a greeter) for the day at Monsoon in Knightsbridge to greet customers and show them around. In breezes in a tall, pretty brown woman with oversized sunglasses, who walked past way too fast, before I could say 'Hi! Welcome to Monsoon!' in my fake cheery voice.
So while I looked around in a baffled way about why someone had walked past so quickly, another person (later found out this was Shilpa's PR Team) stopped to tell me not to worry and leave the customer alone. I crept up to the main cash till to speak to my colleagues, and amid furious whispers we all realised the beautiful Shilpa was in our store. Unfortunately our managers also caught us whispering and warned us not to approach the actress, ask for photos or autographs (this was before the explosion of selfies, really) and basically treat her like a normal customer.

Shilpa tried on a few dresses, bought a pretty yellow number and then left, and that was the end of it -  none of us got any pictures. It was still pretty cool for the teenager I was at the time though!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Aatiya London x Bubblegum Hijab: An Blogger London Launch Party

I was invited to a special launch party a few weeks ago, for a Malaysian brand which launched last month in London - Aatiya London. This was a pretty special blogger meet, as it involved so many women who I have become friends with over the last few years.

One of these is Bubblegum Hijab, fashion blogger and YouTuber who has some seriously cool acheivements - as well as a PR and events company, she designs clothes, makes and sells bathbombs and still has time to blog and vlog!

Bubblegum Hijab collaborated with Aatiya to design and bring a new collection to London, which was a collection to celebrate diversity and  also show her inspiration of Souh and East Asia. Her collection was inspired from a visit to Malaysia, but also to celebrate 'women of cultures' - women around the world of different background and heritage.

The launch party was held at a pretty French restaurant called Aubaine in central London, at a private room upstairs. It was set out in a really pretty, rustic way - candles, flowers and wood everywhere which looked lovely.

I absolutely LOVED the outfits of the collection - there were several bloggers who modelled a few pieces from the collection, and also a rack of dreses and jackets for us to look at. My favourites were the brocade jackets with accompanying maxi skirts, there were also some very nice pieces which wre versatile. There were a few two-piece outfits inspired by the Malaysian baju kurung, which is a top and a bottom skirt. The top is a peplum one, which is very adaptable and  can be worn together with the skirt or mixed and matched with trouser and dresses.

And of course I managed to try one of the pieces on, which was this lovely white brocade with a split. I loved how comfy and easy it was to wear, and really wanted to take one home with me!

We also stopped for a quick talk with the designer herself and a company representative, as well as a video with the collection's pieces - here's a quick snippet below!


The food itself also deserves a mention - it was delicious! Although this wasn't a halal restaurant, there were some really lovely delicacies and finger foods - my favourite was some cheesepuffs with mushroom pieces, and chunky chips with cheese and truffle oil!

There was a really great buzz to the launch party, and it was great to see old faces and meet new ones. It was also really lovely to see how many people came out to support the designer - literally with women from different cultures, in a French restaurant in London.

Aatiya London also celebrated the company's birthday, so naturally there was a lovely cake for everyone eat - I'm told this was custom-made by Eila's Cake Couture, which was a lovely fruit cake with delicate icing.

I had great fun at the event, and loved how everyone dressed up to have a fun night out. I managed to make a few new friends who I've stayed in contact with, and will be seeing them soon. I have also seen a lot of the Aatiya London pieces at expos and events, and love how popular they are getting.

We also got a lovely goody bag (or really, a box!) to take with us - inside was a pretty chiffon scarf, a purse and a Malaysian cake for us to enjoy, with a chocolate bar! The picture below isn't great because I took it at night time and then forgot to take a better one, but my favourite piece is the scarf, which I love.

The scarfI got was a pretty dusky pink colour, which I have worn at least three times already (including on Eid!) and which I have gotten compliments for every time I've worn it. I'm already considering buying myself a few more of these scarves!

You can shop the Aatiya London's pieces at their website, and also on Modestly Wrapped, which also stocks them - let me know what you think of their pieces!