Sunday, 30 August 2015

Eucerin Sun Care

Today we're talking all things SPF....

Eucerin sun care review
Eucerin SPF 30 sun creme review


It's important to protect our skin from harmful UV rays from the sun, not just during the summer but throughout the whole year as well. It can be very easy to neglect sun protection here in Ireland due to the fact that we never really get too many sunny days. SPF is always my top priority when I'm away in a hot country but I really should get into a better habit of applying it because even on cold day the sun can still cause damage to the skin. But when Eucerin kindly sent me out some sun care goodies my SPF game completely changed.

The first product I received was the Eucerin Sun Creme SPF 30*. It has a rich creamy texture which is a lot easier and quicker to rub in than most facial SPFs. It also sinks in fairly quickly and it doesn't leave a sticky or greasy residue. Another thing I loved about this was that it had no scent, I can't count the number of times I've come across a facial sun cream and it had a sickly sweet scent that stuck around for hours. It was gentle on my sensitive skin, didn't cause any breakouts and it didn't leave a white cast. It contains an SPF of 30 as well as UVB protection to prevent sunburn and UVA protection to reduce the risk of premature skin ageing. All in all, a really lovely facial SPF that won't break the bank. I'd 100% recommend this!

I was also sent some Eucerin After Sun Lotion* which had a light runny consistency that cooled and soothed the skin. It absorbed quickly and left my skin feeling very soft and hydrated. It's free of perfume so it doesn't have a scent and it also means that it's gentle on sensitive skin. I really liked this after sun and it will definitely be coming away with me on my next holiday..... I'm already thinking about next summer and I haven't even gone back to school yet ;-) 

Eucerin After Sun lotion review

What are your favourite SPFs?
And, have you tried any Eucerin products?

Cliona xx


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Double Denim

The double denim trend is still popular
and today I'm taking it on with a bit of
lace and stripes thrown into the mix too....

Double denim ootd
Double denim outfit
Casual summer denim


One sunny day a few weeks back it was a double denim kinda day for a trip to the farm with my niece. I love the double denim trend especially in the summer. It was one of those trends that I had seen on everyone else and loved, but I wasn't sure if I was brave enough to pull it off. However, after playing around with some outfits in my wardrobe I found two denim pieces that looked well paired together. I discovered that my light-wash denim shirt from Zara (worn in this outfit post) complimented my dark-wash Leigh jeans from Topshop. Pairing a lighter wash of denim with a dark-wash shade is a safe way to sport the trend.

Purchasing the Topshop Leigh jeans was one of the best investments I ever made. They're a little pricier than the likes of Zara, Vero Moda or Bershka's jeans but they're well worth the splurge as they're so soft and comfy - seriously, it's like putting leggings on! To break up the denim on denim I added a few little touches of detail to the outfit. The first thing I paired the outfit with was a white lace top from Vero Moda. Lace is such a timeless piece to have in your wardrobe as it will never date, it looks good throughout all the seasons and it's elegant, girly and classy looking. I have quite a few lace tops and dresses in my collection as I'm obsessed! Another bit of detail I added was through the statement necklace which I picked up in the Zara summer sale last year. The tiny blue beads coordinated with the blue colour of the jeans and added a bit of fun to the casual outfit. Lastly, I went for some statement shoes with these stripy runners from Stradivarius (worn in this outfit).

And there you have a casual, comfy outfit with a few pops of statement!

How  to wear denim on denim
Denim & lace ootd
Casual denim outfit
casual denim ootd

What do you think of the 'double denim' trend?
And how do you add 'statement details' to your outfit?

Cliona xx


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sunday's Were Made For......

Lounging around and doing absolutely nothing.....

Sunday reading


Sunday is by far my favourite day of the week. It's the one day I'm able to fully relax, I like to switch off and just take the time to myself. No blog, no social media until 7 o'clock for the Twitter chats of course ;-) Towards the end of day I also like to prepare for the week ahead. I find planning and making lists very therapeutic so I usually get out all of my stationary, spreadsheets and to-do lists and jot down some weekly goals and plans. This sets me up for a positive week ahead and as they say "a Sunday well spent brings a week of content".

10 things to do on a Sunday:

1. Pancakes for breakfast

2. Wear pyjamas all day

3. Turn off social media

4. Curl up on the couch with a good book

5. Watch a Netflix show.... or ten *wink wink*

6. Maybe go for a stroll
{depending on whether I feel like getting dress ;-)}

7. Have a long relaxing bath with some scented candles

8. Make hot chocolate

9. Write a to-do list for the week ahead

10. Change the bed-sheets
{nothing beats fresh sheets!}

How will you be spending your Sunday?

Cliona xx


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Outfit Of The Evening

Look 2 from our hotel break is a smart,
casual outfit for an evening meal........

Burgundy heels outfit
Autumn Burgundy Boots
Autumn burgundy shoes outfit


Continuing on from my casual travel outfit from look 1 of our little hotel break, we have look number 2; A smart, but at the same time, casual outfit. After our day of relaxing in the jacuzzi we headed down to the restaurant in the hotel which was a lovely Italian restaurant where I had some mouth-watering garlic focaccia followed by a big ol' pizza and then some gourmet ice-cream to finish off. The food was so gorgeous that a couple of times I thought I was away in Italy ;-) 

For my outfit I wanted to wear something that was casual but had a smart, dressy vibe to it as well. I went for a comfortable and flowy dress from Zara which I featured in this outfit post. It's made of a soft jersey material which feels great on and it's super comfortable. But the stand-out piece of the outfit was the shoes. I picked up these stunning burgundy block heels from Penneys and they cost me a mere €21! I think they look way more expensive than that and they could easily be mistaken for Zara or River Island. Penneys have really upped their game in terms of style and quality this year. I went off Penneys for a good while a few years back as I just the thought the style of the clothes were awful but now every time I walk in there I come out with ten bags of stuff *insert monkey with his hands over his mouth emoji*

Autumn 2015 burgundy heels
Primark Burgundy block heels
Irish teen fashion blog
Irish fashion blog
Black & white fashion photography

What do you think of my outfit of the evening?
And have you any nice plans for the weekend?

Cliona xx


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Summer Beach Bag Essentials

I've been making the most of the last of the
summer days before it's time to go back
to school and here are some summer 
essentials I've been using recently........

Holland & Barret Beach bag essentials


Recently I was sent some lovely 'summer beach bag essentials' from  Holland & Barrett. I always neglect SPF and looking after my skin after I've been in the sun. I was delighted to see some SPF as well as some aloe vera lotion that would be perfect to use as an aftersun, so I have no excuses now!

The first thing I received was Aloe Pura Organic Aloe Vera Sun Lotion*. This is kinda like a body lotion and suncream in one. The formula is a lot thicker than a normal suncream which means this lotion is a lot more moisturising and nourishing for the skin. This is an ideal holiday product as you won't need to bring a separate body lotion and suncream. Convenient! The consistency is thick and creamy so it does take a bit of time to rub in. Once it's on it sinks into the skin quickly and it doesn't leave a tacky/sticky residue behind like most other SPFs. It leaves the skin feeling silky soft as well as providing SPF 25 to protect against harmful UV rays. It has a light subtle scent of aloe vera and the scent is natural and fresh unlike the strong perfumed scents of other suncreams.

The next product that was in my goodie bag was similar to the last product just without the SPF. I've been slathering on the Dr Organic Aloe Vera Skin Lotion* for the past few weeks. If you read my beauty essentials for a night away post then you'll know that this came away with me and it's easily my favourite product of the bunch! It's enriched with skin-loving ingredients such as aloe vera, cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, sunflower oil, Irish moss and vitamins A and E which provide hydration and nourishment to the skin. The lotion leaves my skin feeling very soft and it leaves my skin hydrated for up to a few days so that if I forget {read: too lazy} to moisturise one day my skin stays soft and nourished. It's also restored the texture of my skin; I now have smooth skin with no rough dry, flaky patches. It has a lovely consistency; not too thick but not too runny either which makes applying it easy and quick to do. It didn't take too much effort to rub it in, it dried fairly quick and it didn't make my skin greasy. This lotion is gentle and cooling so it's perfect to use as an after sun lotion and I can imagine it would be nice to use when my eczema flares up again. I'm not too keen on aloe vera scented products but due to the cocoa and shea butters it had more of a warm nutty scent with a hint of zest to it - this scent was right up my street as it was light and sweet. Price wise it costs €8.29 or you can buy two for €12.43 which is pretty reasonable for a daily body moisturiser.

I also received Lavera Self-Tanning Lotion and this is a gradual tanner for the body. I'm not a huge fan of fake tan but this provides a really natural colour to the skin. It makes the skin glow and my skin looks ten times healthier and more radiant with this on. It's so subtle and natural looking so it's perfect for fake-tan beginners or if, like myself, you don't like fake tan but you also don't like looking like a ghost #palegirlproblems. It's a white cream so you do have to make sure you don't miss any spots but in the end it turned out even and there wasn't any streaks. It contains macadamia nut and jojoba oils so it's really moisturising on the skin. However, I wasn't that keen on the scent - it was very sweet and overpowering but it definitely smelt better than most instant and gradual tanners. Although, I do feel that it's a little pricey for what it is - €18.65 - considering you can get The Dove Gradual Tanner for only €7. But then again, it's a natural product so I suppose it has both pros and cons. This would be gentler on sensitive skin or eczema so it'd be worth it if you had those skin concerns. The next item that was stashed in my little beach bag was the Vita Coco Natural Coconut Water With Pineapple. I love coconut oil and I use it in my cooking and baking all the time so I was intrigued to see what this tasted like. I'd imagined it would taste sweet but it actually tasted quite tangy. I wasn't really a fan to be honest so I don't think coconut water is for me.

Last but not least was a lovely little hair product: Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Treatment Serum*. My hair resembles a lions mane and it gets very frizzy so any product that claims to "eliminate frizz" has got my full attention. On the first use I was greeted with a delicious sweet smell. It has a warm cinnamon-like scent with a hint of zest to it - it'll be a gorgeous scent for during the Winter! - and it lingers in the hair making it smell nice for days. Lovely! I like to apply it onto damp hair just before blow drying. It's amazing for detangling hair and whenever I apply this my brush glides through my hair with ease. It also leaves me with sleek shiny locks without making my hair greasy.

Overall, I was most impressed by the Dr Organic products and I'll definitely be checking out more of their products as well as repurchasing the Aloe Vera Skin Lotion.

What are your 'Summer beach bag essentials'?
And have you tried any of these products?

Cliona xx

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*This post contains PR samples but my review and thoughts are my own and 100% honest as always :-)


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What I Wore | Casual Travel Outfit

Look 1 from our little hotel break is a casual
comfy outfit perfect for Sundays.........

Casual ootd
How to style jeans
Casual jeans outfit

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you'll know that on Sunday night my family and I headed down to Kildare to stay in The Westgrove Hotel for a night. It was my sister's 30th birthday so all of the ladies in the family went for a mini spa break. I didn't get any treatments as I felt that it was bit dear {we all know I like to spend my money on clothes and beauty products *wink wink*} and I wouldn't have enjoyed it anyway due to my anxiety. None-the-less I enjoyed relaxing in the jacuzzi and lounging in the steam room. It was my first time to go into a steam room and the heat was intense! It took some getting used to but it was amazing for sinus relief {I suffer from sinusitis a lot. It's a pain!}.

Although the journey was only a half an hour long, I still needed a comfy outfit for our car journey and I also needed to wear something that would be easy to change into after we went to the pool/jacuzzi. I opted for the comfiest pair of jeans I own which I picked up in Bershka a few weeks ago for only €20! I was delighted with that little bargain as they're a great fit and they're made of a stretchy material which makes them very comfortable. I decided to throw on my wrap cardigan from Zara. I love the wrap style of this cardigan as it's loose and comfortable to wear. It'd also look great on pregnant women and it's also a good one to wear when eating out as it covers any food babies that might occur after a tasty meal ;-) I didn't want to be faffing about with jewellery at the pool so for accessories I went for a printed scarf from Parfois. This tied the whole look together and added a splash of colour. For shoes, I debuted my new espadrille sandals from Penneys. I had been eyeing these up the whole Summer but I didn't want to pay €21 for a pair of sandals that I probably won't get much wear out of, knowing Irish weather. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw they were reduced to just €7! I snapped them up quickly and I'm so glad I did because they are incredibly comfortable and they go with everything in my wardrobe. These will be a summer favourite next year!

Stay tuned for look number two and to hear about the rest of our trip in Saturday's blog post......

Parfois scarf outfit
Summer jeans & sandals ootd
Zara cardigan outfit
Camel wrap cardigan
Primark lace up sandals

What's your ideal Sunday outfit?
And have you picked up any fashion bargains lately?

Cliona xx


Sunday, 16 August 2015

My Beauty Essentials For A Night Away

What's in my travel makeup and beauty
bag? Well, probably too many things for 
just one night but I am a beauty blogger
after all...........

Travel makeup bag


I'm off to a hotel in the countryside for the night to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday. All the ladies in the family are going and I'm looking forward to unwinding in a big hotel bed and relaxing in a warm bubbly jacuzzi. We're having a gorgeous Italian dinner and I can't wait to dress up in my new heels.

I don't normally use primers but recently I've been enjoying using The Body Shop Instablur. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth which makes applying my foundation a lot easier. For my base I'll be bringing my current favourite foundation, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat. I love this foundation because it gives a gorgeous glow to the skin and it has good coverage. For concealer I'll be bringing my Seventeen Stay Time concealer* and the L'oreal Lumi Magique. I use the seventeen concealer for both under my eyes and any blemishes - it covers blemishes well and it doesn't look cakey on. I then pop on the l'oreal concealer under my eyes to brighten up the area. For my bronzer I'll be using The Body Shop honey bronzer; it provides a gorgeous subtle, natural glow to the skin and the light colour suits my pale skin to a tee. For my cheeks I can never go anywhere without my Benefit Dandelion blush (review). It's a light pink shade with a hint of shimmer running through it and it's just the most perfect everyday blush.

To ensure my eyebrows are on fleek *wink wink*, I'll be bringing my new brow favourite, the Soap & Glory Brow Archery. It's super pigmented, really easy to use and the shade 'hot chocolate' is a perfect colour match. If you read my Mac haul then you'll know that I've been loving my eyeshadows that I picked up. These are perfect for day wear as well as for my evening makeup look. I'll be wearing a berry lip colour so the golds and browns will go perfectly. For my lashes I'll be using a new mascara that I picked up recently: Maybelline lash sensational. I haven't used this yet but I've heard nothing but good things so I'll let you know how I feel about it soon. And finally for the lips I'll be bringing my Mac 'Modesty' lipstick which is a gorgeous nude perfect for daytime wear and then for the evening I'll be sporting a berry lip in the form of Rimmel Kate Moss '107'. I've never used this lipstick before but it's another hyped up product in the blogging world so I'm looking forward to seeing what the fuss is about. I've never worn a dramatic lip, I normally stick to my comfort zone of nude shades so hopefully I'll like it. If you follow me on Instagram then you'd of seen that I picked up a pair of burgundy shoes and I think the lipstick shade will really compliment the shoes. 

Travel beauty essentials

For skincare I've packed fairly light {well, for me anyway ;-)} and I've just brought the bare essentials. For my body all I needed was shower gel and moisturiser as we're only here for one night. My shower gel companion is of course Soap & Glory's Orangasm body wash, I love the citrus orangey scent of this and it's really creamy and moisturising. I've been using a new moisturiser recently, the Dr Organics Aloe Vera body lotion*. I've a full review of this coming soon so keep your eyes peeled for that! For my hands I'll be using The Body Shop honeymania hand cream. A lightweight hydrating formula that doesn't leave a greasy residue. Lovely! Another favourite from The Body Shop is their Shea lip butter. This smells gorgeous and it leaves your lips feeling oh-so-soft.

For facial skincare I've got my all-time favourite cleanser, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (review). My night-time cleanser is Superfacialist Vitamin C cleansing oil. I spoke about this in my 'recent skincare favourites', it's amazing at dissolving my makeup and leaving my skin feeling silky soft. Another new skincare product I've been loving is the La Roche Posay Serozinc. This is a brilliant toner for oily/blemish-prone skin and it doesn't dry out the skin. I'll be using my Eucerin Replenishing face cream and the SPF 30 sun creme*. I love both of these as they provide great moisture without leaving a greasy residue. 

Packing for a weekend away

What are your travel beauty essentials?

Cliona xx


Friday, 14 August 2015

Recent Skincare Favourites

I've been trialling some new skincare products
recently and three products have made the cut
and are now staples in my skincare routine.......

Top 3 skincare products


The Cleanser: If you read my recent review of two Superfacialist products then you'll know that ever since I first tried their products I've fallen in love with the brand and I haven't come across a product of theirs I don't like. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to you that my recent cleansing favourite is one of their bestselling products! The Superfacialist Vitamin C cleansing oil gets a lot of hype amongst the blogging community and it's easy to see why.

This lightweight silky oil is amazing at dissolving the bulk of my makeup. I like to apply it to a dry face, massage it in {at this stage my eyes resemble those of a panda!} and wipe the oil off with a damp muslin cloth. It leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft but it also leaves the skin feeling clean and it removes most of my makeup; I usually follow it up with a milk, cream or balm cleanser. It also doesn't leave a greasy film and it's gentle on my sensitive skin. It contains skin loving ingredients such as vitamin C, olive oil, grapeseed and rosehip oils which provide hydration and nourishment to the skin whilst also providing the cleanser with it's delicious sweet scent - it smells quite like oranges and could rival the famous Origins GinZing scent! 

The Toner: I had heard so many great things about the La Roche Posay Serozinc but it was impossible to get my hands on, unless of course I hopped on a plane to France but that would be one very expensive toner ;-) But I nearly cried in the middle of the skincare aisle in Boots when I spotted it one day. 

I have a love/hate relationship with toners. I love the idea of them but I'm always disappointed when I try them. I've never liked any of the toners I've tired before except for The Body Shop Vitamin E hydrating toner; they always leave my skin feeling tight and dry but not with this little bottle of magic! It's a zinc sulphate solution designed for oily-blemish prone skin. Now, I have dry sensitive skin but I also suffer from congested skin and am partial to more than a few breakouts. This toner is great for keeping spots at bay, as well as mattifying the skin and controlling shine. But the greatest improvement I've noticed is the texture of my skin; it feels a lot smoother and I no longer have any under the skin spots (which I used to always get!). Another great thing about this is that it doesn't dry out the skin - this is the first toner that isn't a hydrating one that doesn't dry out my skin. Score! 

The Moisturiser: For moisturising I've been using the Eucerin Replenishing Face Cream. I hadn't heard anything about this moisturiser before but it was on offer and I needed a new moisturiser so it ended up in my Boots basket (along with 100 other things. But shh, don't tell anyone *wink wink*) I had heard good things about the brand Euecerin but this was my first time to try something from them. I was pleasantly surprised because this moisturiser is brilliant considering the price. A rich creamy moisturiser with a luxurious texture that moisturises and hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy film. It completely banishes dry patches and always leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and hydrated. 

Skincare favourites

Have you been using any new skincare products recently?
And what's your all-time favourite skincare product?

Cliona xx


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Dubarry Loafers

It's almost 'back to school' time once again
and today I'm styling two looks to go
with my new Dubarry loafers*......

Back to school lookbook
Dubarry Oxford Loafers


Recently I received an email from Dubarry of Ireland asking if I would like to try a pair of their loafers to review and I was delighted to be able to work with the brand not only because I'm a loafer fan but also because I love to support Irish brands. I've been wearing them lots since I received them and let me introduce you to the perfect Autumn shoes....

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was the beautiful burgundy colour of the shoes. I absolutely love burgundy for the Autumn months and it's such a versatile colour that will go with a lot of colours in any wardrobe. I'll be pairing my loafers with a lot of cream, pink and even khaki green. At a closer look I spotted the neat trimming around the edges and the little Dubarry emblem on the outer corner; I thought this was a nice little touch of detail. They're a classic penny loafer with a round toe - I'm fond of how the pointed toe loafers look but they can get quite uncomfortable around the toe area after a few hours wear so I prefer this style as they're more comfortable.

When I first tried them on they slid on effortlessly and they fit like a glove. I'm a size five and I didn't need to size up or down with these. They're very comfortable to walk in and they're still comfortable after a few hours wear. But they were to put to the real test during this shoot as you can see it was rough terrain. I was sure I would need to change into a pair of runners to walk through this field but I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to make my way through the field and walk stony ground comfortably and with ease. They're made of leather which feels soft and luxurious as well as looking chic and stylish. These loafers are also very versatile as they can be paired with skirts, overalls, jeans, dresses etc just like I've shown below. They cost €90 so they're a little bit dearer than high street loafers but I think the quality is well worth the price and I can tell these are going to last years.

I never knew they had a flagship store in College Green but I better hide my wallet because who knows what might happen if I'm in College Green anytime soon..... 

Look 1:

For the first look I went for a more dressier option. Smock dresses are my favourite style of dress to wear on an everyday basis as they look very casual and they're also comfortable to wear too. I bought this one online but it's a little bit too big on me so I decided to pair it with this sleeveless blazer from New Look and a pink belt to cinch the dress in at the waist. This is a great little tip if a dress is a bit too big and it was a lot easier to do than going through the hassle of sending the dress back. Smock dresses are also very versatile because you can wear them on their own with a pair of converse and frilly socks for the ultimate casual outfit or you can also throw a gilet on over it paired with some ankle boots and you have a dressy option. I of course finished the look off with the Dubarry loafers*. As I said before I love the burgundy colour of the shoes but I think the colour goes particularly well with the hints of pink in this outfit. The classic style of the loafers compliments the look very well and both the sleeveless blazer and the loafers add a sophisticated and chic vibe to the outfit.

Look 2:

For outfit number two I went for the classic jeans and loafer combination. I love pairing jeans and loafers together as they add a girly, classy feel to a casual outfit. I thought the rich burgundy colour of the loafers complimented the light wash denim jeans very well. I paired the outfit with a casual long sleeve top from Vero Moda which was featured in this outfit post. I love this top as it has silky soft material and it's a loose fit which makes it very comfortable to wear. I also love the dark blue colour, it's very different from any of the other colours in my wardrobe and I think it looks particularly well paired with the burgundy loafers; I think it brings out the colour in the shoes and makes them stand out. There's also a gorgeous lace detailing at the top and if you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll know that I love basic tops with a touch of detail. I'm not a fan of wearing jewellery to school so for accessories I always opt for a scarf. They keep you cosy whilst looking stylish and adding details to an outfit - what's not to love?

What does your 'everyday style' consist of?
And are you a fan of loafers? If not, then what's your favourite style of shoes?

Cliona xx

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*This post contains a PR sample but my review and thoughts are my own and are 100% honest as always :-)

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Another birthday means another batch
of cupcakes; grab your aprons folks
because today we're making chocolate
salted caramel cupcakes.........

Chocolate salted caramel cupcakes
Chocolate caramel cupcakes recipe


During the week I decided to watch The Great British Bake Off for the very first time. I don't know why it took me so long to watch it as I love baking { have a read of some of my baking posts here and here}. I don't really bake sweet things as often anymore because I like to bake healthy treats for during the week but whenever there's a birthday I dig out my apron and gather all of the chocolate and bake up a storm. This show has given me the baking buzz and by the time the season is over I'll be in a permanent cake coma *insert monkey with his hands over his mouth emoji*

I tried to find a good recipe for these cupcakes but I couldn't find a good one anywhere. They were all really complicated with American ingredients that are impossible to find here in Ireland. So I ended up using a standard chocolate cupcake recipe and tweaking it a little myself. I used the one from the BBC Good Food website as they do best recipes! I was going to make my own caramel sauce but because my sister wasn't buying any cakes she was relying on my cupcakes and my mom's roulade. So I decided to play it safe this time and just buy pre-made caramel as caramel can be tricky to make especially for the first time. I added the caramel to the middle of the cupcakes and the gooey sensation when you bit into it felt incredible. I was really happy with how they turned out; the cupcakes were soft and moist, and they raised evenly. The icing had a gorgeous soft fluffy texture and it wasn't overly sweet. Mary Berry eat your heart out....

The Ingredients:

< For the cupcakes >

~ 100g plain flour

~ 20g cocoa powder

~ 140g caster sugar

~ 1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder

~ 40g butter

~ 120ml milk

~ 1 egg

~ 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

~ Chocolate chips

< For the icing >

~ 125g butter

~ 225g icing sugar

~ 1-2 tbsp milk

~ Few drops vanilla essence

< To decorate >

~ Pre-made caramel (I used Nestle Carnation) or recipe here

~ Cadbury's dairy milk slices

The Cupcake Method: First I preheated the oven to 170 degrees because those cupcakes ain't gonna cook in a cold oven *wink wink* Next it was time to mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and butter with an electric mixer. I beat it until it turned to a sandy, grainy consistency. Then, in a separate bowl I whisked the milk, egg and vanilla extract together, and when the whisking was complete I combined the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients by pouring half the milk mixture in first and then stirring it before I added the other half. The mixture should look smooth and creamy at this stage. Next, I chopped up a few of the Cadbury's dairy milk slices and stirred them into the mixture. I then did the usual; spooning the mixture into the cupcake cases and popped them into the oven for around 20-25 minutes.

Now it's time for the icing: Whilst those cupcakes are baking and filling the house with a gorgeous sweet chocolatey scent I made the icing. Making the icing was a piece of cake {pardon the pun, hehe!} All I did was beat the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla essence together until a thick smooth creamy icing formed *drools all over keyboard* 

To decorate: Now for the fun part; decorating the cakes! Be prepared to get messy though as drizzling the caramel neatly onto the tops of the cakes is a harder task than it looks. But before I could decorate them I needed to prepare the caramel. I spooned it into a bowl, stirred the lumps and popped it into the microwave for about ten seconds. The reason I did this was so that it was easier to drizzle. I then stirred in a tiny amount of sea salt - make sure not to add to much! Next, I cut open the top of the cakes and poured in some caramel to the middle, and then popped the top back on. They look a bit weird with the tops cut off them but once the icing was added you don't notice it. Once they were all filled with the caramel I spooned on the icing and smoothed it out with the back of a spoon. I then drizzled the caramel and placed a slice of Cadbury's dairy milk on top. Et voila! There you have some mouth-watering chocolate salted caramel cupcakes! *says in homer's voice* Mmm CUPCAKES....

What are your favourite cupcakes?
And have you baked anything recently?

Cliona xx

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