Spring Forward!

Isn’t Spring just the sexiest season? 

Yeah yeah most people would say that it’s Summer, for all the hot girls in bikinis or winter for all the sophisticated, glam party looks you see pretty much daily. 

Well you’re all WRONG. it’s defo Spring. 

Why Spring you ask? Well my little loves, Spring is the first time in this fabulous New Year that you’ll be able to start getting your kit off for one! 

No no, not that far. But you’re already dusting off the ankle grazers and possibly even your shorts and throwing that puffer jacket to the back of your wardrobe with gusto! And I don’t know about you but I’m already swapping my over the knee boots for my chunky heeled sandals. 

And what beats actually being able to walk through town wearing something that’s got so much more personality, and not covering you up like a big old duvet?! 

Because that makes me feel super sexy. Not to mention the Spring brights that most makeup brands are currently sporting! 
That’s right, the layered foundation, contouring and dark coloured lips can now be freshened up to be so much more wearable! Swap out your foundation for a tinted moisturiser or BB cream, your burgundy lip for a raspberry/peach one and just ditch the contouring for a light bronzer. 

Or just get out in the sun. Saves a few extra minutes on your makeup routine (don’t forget your SPF though, because who wants sun damage? No one.)

One brand that I’m loving at the moment is L’Oréal. Their new lip lacquers and Lip Paints just make the perfect addition to your Lipstick colour wardrobe. Available in a whole array of nudes, pinks and bold brights, they have the potential to be the statement products of your look. Both Paints and lacquers have an amazing high colour pay off which is what everyone wants in a lippy.

The lip lacquers are more of a hardcore lip gloss that doesn’t give a sticky or gloopy feel, and the Lip Paints are a velvet matte cream consistency. Once applied, the lacquer should last a good few hours (longer than a regular gloss) and once dried, the paint will leave a satin matte finish that isn’t drying or heavy. So really perfect for that Spring/summer vibe. 

At Superdrug they retail at £6.99 and are also included in a 3for2 offer. You literally can’t go wrong.


Also, can I just ask how strong is your highlight game? Have you purchased your iconic illumination drops yet? No? I don’t blame you, I can think of better ways to spend £30.

However I have a cheap dupe that ACTUALLY works! Head to M&S and snap up their Autograph Liquid Highlight tubes in either gold or pink for that gorgeous glow for only….. £9.50. What an absolute STEAL.


Paired with the Rosie for Autograph complexion enhancer tinted moisturiser, you will have the perfect highlighted summer look for under £25. And those products will last all summer long! 

My little tips – pair your fab glowy skin with a gorgeous nude lip for day (I recommend Camisole Blush Lipstick by Rosie Huntington-Whitely) then vamp it up for the evening with a pair of faux mink effect lashes by Eylure and a statement red lip (Eva’s red by L’Oréal) 


But but buuuuut… how can we ever be ready for spring without cake? I’m never ready for anything without cake. So now the January blues are over and everyone has calmed down on the gym front, it’s time to fall back in love with baked goods again people! 

I’ve recently been working on recipes for the most ultimate spring/summery bakes you’ll ever put in your face. I’ve tried out classic cookies, Viennese kisses, melting blondies and many more (recipes to follow :D) 


Because I don’t think my friends or family are happier than when I provide them with fabulous, delectable, home baked goods. I don’t think the fact they’re free plays a part at all. Definitely not. (Crying) 
So guys this was more of just a quick re-intro back into the blogging game. I can’t wait to throw myself back into it! Look out for the odd vid or vlog here and there too ;)!

If there are any products you want me to try out, drop me a message on Instagram @bakingbeautyblogger

Lots of love darlings xo

THE Best Battenburg Recipe

Did you miss me? 😉
Of course you did, I mean how else are you supposed to get your weekly fix of gorge cake and bake recipes combined with lots of fab beauty tips?!

Because we have to face it, reading about products I recommend is just giving you a tiny little excuse to make you feel better about spending the vast majority of the months salary on makeup and skincare. 

Am I right or am I RIGHT? 

Anyway beauties I hope you had the most wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy new year to go with it! How does a nice little gem of a cake recipe sound to start us off for the year?

Okay okay, so you’ve probably read the title and wondered when I was zapped back to the 70’s to actually fancy baking something so retro.

Well as it turns out Battenburg is pretty fab. A tad Passe I’ll admit, but if baked to perfection (which isnt hard since its so bloody easy) you can turn it into a very impressive little bake that all your nans… *cough* I mean friends, will be clambering over each other to get a piece of.

Plus the boyf would eat battenburg for every meal of the day if it were a possibility, so there’s plenty of demand for it at my end. 

So without further ado, let me show you how to make this badass teatime treat.
Ingredients – For The Yellow sponge:

  • 175g baking spread/ softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will do, but paste preferably)
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 55g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional, depending how almondy you’re feeling)

For The Pink Sponge:

  • Copy the ingredients and method for the yellow sponge but replace the almond extract, if you used it, with some pink food paste/colouring. I used 1/4 tsp but add more if you want a richer colour

For The Build:

  • 1kg Marzipan; you can buy ready rolled or just 2 of the blocks will do just fine
  • 220g Apricot Jam

Method:

  1. Get yourself prepped by heating your oven to 160C fan (180C/GM4), as well as greasing and lining your 10×8 inch oblong tin using butter and baking parchment.
  2. Put all of the ingredients for the almond sponge into a mixing bowl and combine for 2 minutes using an electric whisk or using a stand mixer.
  3. Pour the mix into your pre lined tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 27-30 minutes, until it’s springs back when you touch it. After a few minutes remove from the tin and flop it out onto a cooling rack and cover with a tea towel to stop it from drying out.
  4. Line your tin again and make the pink sponge using the same method, but adding the food colouring this time. Once combined, pour into the tin again and bake for the same amount of time. Don’t forget to cover with a tea towel once it’s baked and cooling. 
  5.  Once both sponges are cooled, cut both evenly in half lengthways, then each half in half again. You should have 8 long strips. 
  6. Grab your apricot jam and boil it in a small saucepan, then lay a pink and yellow strip side by side and paint with jam, using a pastry brush and stick them together. Now paint jam across the lengthof those two strips and place two more alternate strips on top – making sure the colours are reversed to create the signature checkerboard effect.
  7. Trim each end to make sure they’re even and put to one side.
  8. Roll out your marzipan to around 2mm thickness on a floured surface. Trim away any excess, and paint the upside with jam. Now carefully wrap your cake in the marzipan, trim away any jagged edges and put on your fanciest serving plate!
  9. Now dust with icing sugar to make it look fancy, and serve to all the people you want to wow.

There, told you it was damn easy!

Give it a go and post your pics on Instagram and tag me @soph__austin – can’t wait to to see all your retro bakes!

I love you all my beauts,

S xoxo

A Lashious Fairytale – Summer Series ep1

Oh darlings if you’ve read my blog before I’m sure you’ll already be well aware that I am personally a HUGE lover of bargain beauty.

Yes I know that my Lancôme foundation is the love of my very single life and I know if I didn’t buy my favourite contour palette from Diego Dalla Palma I would save enough readies to buy at least 4 coconut milk lattes from Starbucks (other less impressive coffee chains are available on your local high street, I’m sure); BUT having said all that, there is nothing more thrilling (well, thrilling as far as beauty goes) than exploring the cheaper brands on the high street and finding some real gems.

So naturally when someone suggests that I try a new expensive product, I’m a huge skeptic.

But my old friend from college has recently become a Younique Presenter and managed to convince me to buy and try the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara duo.

To be honest, the idea of 2 full sized mascara tubes bulking out my beautifully organised (ha that’s a lie) makeup bag was already enough to put me off. Especially since I already use and love a cheaper Fiber mascara that is all in one tube.


HOWEVER, £23 later (yes, I was pretty shocked at those digits too) I’m pleasantly surprised.

Pros:

  • Lengthens your lashes to an unbelievable length.
  • Not much clumpage in comparison to other Fiber mascaras
  •  A REAL false lash effect. I was really impressed with how dramatic it made my lashes look.

(The left is the 3D fibers, The right is Benefit:They’re Real. I haven’t curled my lashes in this photo, I also hadn’t slept much so apologies for those bags for life setting in there.)

Cons:

  • Time consuming to apply since you have to start with the gel, then put the fibers on then go back in with the gel to seal the fibers in. Others on the market are usually fibers and gel combined.
  • As I’ve said before, two tubes. They could made it double ended as a space saving idea.
  • The fibers tend to fall out on my cheeks before my day is out. Nothing major but I could do without it.
  • When removing the fibers you MUST NOT rub back and forth. Use one pad with remover, wipe away from your eye when closed and throw straight away. If you go back in with the same pad, you risk getting fibers into your eye which will cause a lot of irritation!
  • £23 RRP. Most good quality lash extending mascaras are no more than £17 and will do a pretty good job for day to day use.

Despite me being pernickety, this is a damn good product. And if, like myself, you are embarrassingly terrible at applying false lashes (I end up with one on my eyebrow and the other on my knee) then this is pretty much a spot on alternative.

So if you fancy checking out this wonder mascara for yourself, contact Shannon, here’s a link to her Facebook page:

https://m.facebook.com/makemeup95/

I love you all, beauties.

S xo

Summer Series 2016!

Good day to all of you beautiful people! Summer is finally knocking on our doors which has to be the perfect excuse to up your bronzed beauty game, not to mention getting your baking groove on! So get yourself dolled up, crack open a few bottles and invite all your loved ones round for a good old knees up in the sunshine.

The irony here is that as I’m writing this, the weather in sunny Southend on Sea is significantly un-summery, (after todays’ downpour I’m hoping that the lower region of my trousers dries off before I start work. Wishful thinking, I know, since the amount of water they’ve soaked up is enough to make them fall down every time I stand up.)

But there’s still hope! Last weekend saw some utterly glorious sunshine and I’m sure there is lots more to come (well hopefully; but then again this is England)

So, when you throw this epic garden party this summer, there are 2 things I would like you to do:

  1. Invite me, of course. I’m a hoot.
  2. Keep checked in weekly with The Baking Beauty Blog.

I say this because my new Summer Series for 2016 will be your own epic guide to summer. For all my go to seasonal recipes, naturally beautiful summer beauty tips trick and everything you will need to achieve them, plus lots of other holiday posts and fantastic summery delights.

Since the British summer usually leaves a lot to be desired, I think we need a bit of inspiration to make the most out of any scrap of sunshine we are happened to be blessed with.
So check back weekly; Firstly you’ll get a peep into my beauty archive for my go to holiday beauty favourites, then the first wondrous recipe will be the magic that is Lemon Amaretti. Which according to my family, friends and colleagues are absolutely gorgeous; not to mention ridiculously easy to make!

Watch this space beauties,
All my love,

S x

#SpringSummer16 (Did you miss me?)

Good morrow to you all! Spring is already upon us which means Summer and the warmer weather is fast approaching and I could not be happier to be back writing to you beautiful people. Heavens knows I’ve missed it! Since I’ve had a fair few weeks off from the blogging front I think it only fitting to get straight back into the swing of things with a bang and not bore you half to death with why I’ve been absent. Because let’s face it, you don’t really care. You’ve tuned in to radio Sophie due to at least one common reason; and that reason is to find a brand spanking new excuse to splurge the majority of next months salary on fancy new beauty products. And if it’s got good reviews, then you simply must have it, right? Right. Which is also your excuse to your other half when he/she asks why you’re so poor a week into the month – well, that’s what I’m assuming. 
Not that I know because the closest I’ve come to having a boyfriend in the last 6 months is having my personal bubble invaded whilst on the Jubilee Line in peak rush hour (yes, my love life really is that sad) And even if I did have a bloke I doubt he’d question my spending habits unless he actually fancied paying for everything for the rest of the month.

Anyway, I digress. What better to review first of all than some fabulous Spring newness from some fancy brands, as well as one sparkling new brand. 

First of all I can’t NOT mention the Matte lip revolution that’s happening on the high street and designer makeup front! I’ll do an in depth Lip favourites post soon enough but for now let me just tell you how wonderful the Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream collection is. They come in a range of shades (not as many as I’d like) but since I’m in a Nude mood of late, it caters well to my needs.   

  
Matte lip colours have an infamous reputation for being so uncomfortable and dry to wear; however people, if you want to achieve that dreamy, flawless matte lip without your lips looking all gross and flakey, the liquid lipstick/lip cream is the route to go down. I have a whole selection of Matte lip colours ranging from a standard lipstick or a chubby crayon, to lip creams and soft matte balms, and I can honestly say the best long lasting result will always come from a liquid lip cream that dries matte. However make sure you frequently use a lip balm before applying lipstick to ensure your lips stay moisturised which will also keep your lippy on for longer.

Next on my newness list of wonderful products is the brand spanking new Rosie for Autograph makeup range. My goodness, what a joy it is to finally have these products on the shelves after months and months of anticipation. And I can honestly tell you that this range is as fabulous as you would expect anything that Rosie designs to be, and more. I have convinced many friends and colleagues to buy some Rosie products and brushes and none of them have had a bad word to say about them. Rosie’s range is a sister brand – if you will – to the already popular and highly rated Autograph makeup range; so we already knew that the quality would be top class. The range is endorsing a more natural makeup look since there are no heavy products; everything is light and buildable but made to a high enough standard to still be elegant and look exquisite.

   
 My favourite Rosie product – and I know that the majority of other Rosie fans will agree with me here –  has to be the Amazing Radiance cream. This decadent moisturising cream is the most versatile and truly spectacular face cream I have ever used. Formulated with minuscule light reflecting particles and SPF6, you can wear it on its own when you’re having a slobby no makeup day just to look a little more human, or as a perfect highlighting base for your foundation. It will make skin of any age and colour glow, which aids in giving your face some dimension. Alternatively I saw online that a few people, including the fabulous Lisa Eldridge, mix a tiny bit of the radiance cream with the foundation you’re using, which makes both products go a lot further, saves time when finishing and highlighting because it’s already done and it puts you in total control of your artwork. Because that’s what your makeup is, artwork. A true masterpiece. If you are altering products you buy by mixing them up and changing them to suit you and what you like, then painting them onto your personified canvas then you, my friend, are most definitely an artist.

Also, where the hell have all these fabulously pristine eyebrows appeared from?! Alongside the matte lip revolution has come the Big Brow Revolution. And – trust me – even if like me you have thick dark brows already and don’t think you need to do anything to them: take my advice and fill them in, or simply brush them with a clear gel as part of your morning routine. Goodness me what a difference it makes! Give it a go and thank me later. 

Nearly every makeup brand is featuring a lot more brow-defining products of late; however, here are my top products (containing a couple of affordable and a couple of high end ones too):

  1. Sleek Brow Duo Palette – £8.99
  2. Diego Dalla Palma Brow gel/pomade – £15.50 
  3. Rimmel Brow this Way defining pencil -£2.99
  4. PIXI Natural Brow gel/pencil Duo -£12.50
  5. FREEDOM Brow Studio Pomade – £5

So girls (or guys, as I’ve said before, no stereotypes here) whether you’re trying to combat the volume, shape or colour of your brows, there is definitely something on the market that will be able to do the trick. I’ll do an in depth brow know how guide soon for the novices amongst you that may need a little guidance as to what to spend your money on this month brow-wise, and how to use them correctly and get the most out of them.

Before I go, thought I’d let you know in the next week as a gift from me to you, I’ll be posting a short and sweet recipe; and all I’m going to say is MUD CAKE. And it’s delicious. 

And yes I know I’m wonderful, thank you.

All my love, S x

A Two way Pancake Affair…

Buongiorno you wonderful people! I hope you are all fine and dandy and well recovered from the holidays. Personally I could’ve done with another week of rest and relaxation. And wine. And Cadbury selection boxes (other selection boxes are available).

I’m sure now February has arrived in all its’ glory, most of you must already be fretting over what to get your other half for Valentine’s Day. But come on people lets not get too hasty, There is a far more important occasion just around the corner. Well, probably only important to those of you who don’t have someone to get all gushy with on the 14th… And I’m sure from the title, you know that this fabulous occasion I speak of is none other than good old Pancake Day. 

Disclaimer: if you don’t like pancakes and/or have diabetes you should probably cook these recipes for someone else. Copious amounts of sugar were involved in the making of these Pancakes. Sorry, not sorry.

I decided to do a bit of a twist on regular old lemon sugar crepes that most people knock up in this particularly epic day. By all means you can use the basic batter recipes to create whatever flavours you want, but the fillings I’ve put together here are such absolute winners you’ll be eating pancakes for days. Or weeks in my case because I’ve been making them since Christmas. 

Firstly I’m going to share a beautiful sweet American pancake recipe. These little pillows of fluffiness are so delicate you can pair them with any classic toppings like Nutella and banana, maple syrup or simply just a handful of berries and they will taste absolutely divine. 

  
Ingredients

  • 120g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt, crushed
  • 140ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Method

  1. Start by sifting the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and separating the eggs; putting the yolks in with the flour and the whites in another bowl with the salt.
  2. Mix the yolks and flour with a whisk until it is lump free. Whisk up your egg whites until they reach stiff peaks, then fold the whites into the batter very gently, taking care to keep all the air in the mix. Now that is your basic batter done, dusted and ready to go.
  3. At this point feel free to sweeten it with a tablespoon of icing sugar or add any other bits and pieces you want actually in the pancakes. I went for lemon zest and a handful of grated white chocolate. But that’s just personal preference. 
  4. Now heat a large non stick frying pan on a medium heat for a minute or two, then rub a bit of butter over the base to give the pancakes extra flavour and a golden colour. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan, it should be thicker than crepe batter and just be slightly bigger than a jam jar lid. Cook for a few minutes on each side, flipping in between (be brave and go for the toss, it’s much more fun than using a spatula and being a bore)
  5. Once you’ve stacked up your desired amount of pancakes (I got 11 out of my mix) you can use whatever filling you like.  I decided to drizzle mine with a little maple syrup, chop up some more white chocolate and pecan nuts and sprinkle those on top and inbetween each pancake on the stack. And heavens was it GOOD. 

Righteo, now over to the savoury pancakes. I had these for dinner tonight. I feel like I’ve eaten like a princess. I need to cook myself more meals like this. Plus thanks to None other than Jamie Oliver I have learned a ridiculously easy way to poach eggs. So here’s my twist on a classic eggs florentine using beautiful savoury crepes. Trust me when I say you will want some of this in your life.

  
Eggs Florentine: Ingredients

For the crepes

  • 140ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 60g flour
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • 2 handfuls of washed spinach
  • 2 large dollops of Ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce (totally optional, I left it out of mine)

Method

  1. You need to start by getting prepped. With a recipe like this you need to get everything sorted before you start cooking. Your spinach needs to be wilted so either do it on the hob or steam it, there should be instructions on the packet but about 3 minutes in a steamer should do it. But firstly just put it in the pot all ready to switch on.
  2. Next grab two mugs, and cling film each one. Use a small amount of oil to grease them slightly then crack each egg into the mugs.gather up the corners of the cling film and tie in a knot so the egg can’t escape. Fill a saucepan with water and start heating it up so it’s ALMOST boiling.   
  3. Grab a flat frying pan and get that on the hob ready but don’t turn any heat on it just yet.
  4. Make the batter by sifting the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl, follow by the egg and milk. Now whisk it up until it’s completely smooth, resembling the consistency of double cream.
  5. Okay now you can start heating up your frying pan on a medium heat and wilting your spinach. And don’t forget you now put your eggs in the ALMOST boiling water you prepared a moment ago. And time about 4 minutes for those.
  6. Grease your frying pan with butter and pour a small amount of batter in, just enough to cover the base of the pan. Now cook for a couple of minutes on either side, tossing in between (again, don’t use a spatula because that’s boring). I’ve done 2 pancakes per person.
  7. If you’ve followed my lead everything should be ready at the same time so plate it up, folding the wilted spinach and ricotta in between each one. Then gently cut the cling film off of your beautifully poached eggs and out those on top. Add a bit more salt and pepper on top and just stand back and marvel at your skilled pancakery. But not for too long, get it while it’s hot.

And if you fancy a crepe (no jokes please), but you want it sweet, just take the pepper out and add a spoonful of icing sugar and top with any sweet topping you fancy.

I hope you gauge yourself into next week on these beautiful recipes. I had lots of fun making them, and I hope you and your family do too! 

Lots of love, S x