Thursday, 22 December 2011

5 minute microwave chocolate cake

I was given this recipe by a friend. It is perfect when you want something yum and you want it now! ;) It is very easy to make and is rather delicious.The recipe says it serves one, but the boyfriend and I share this and it is more than enough for the both of us.


4 TBS flour
4 TBS sugar
2 TBS cocoa
1 egg
3 TBS milk
3 TBS oil
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large tea/coffee mug

  1. Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
  2. Add the egg and mix well.
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
  4. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Put your mug into the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Eat out of mug or tip onto a plate.
When making it for two, we mix it all up and then separate it into two tea cups. We then put both tea cups into the microwave for 2 minutes. In a large mug the cake will rise over the top, but in the two smaller cups the cake did not rise over the top.

We then make some icing just using icing sugar, milk, and cocoa. If we're feeling greedy, we'll add some vanilla ice-cream or frozen yoghurt. Yum!

Let me know if you give this recipe a try and what you think.

Lv M

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Review: Lee Stafford Hair Products

I wanted to do a review on the Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment because I absolutely love this stuff!

I am not sure about it making my hair grow (I wasn’t measuring my hair growth or keeping track) but it has definitely helped the condition of my hair. If you read my “hair story” blog post you will know that my hair was in pretty bad condition after going from brunette to blonde. This product has definitely improved the condition of my hair. It is just so amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone needing to fix the condition of their hair. The only con is that it is rather expensive and I tend to use a lot, so it doesn't last very long. I followed the instructions on the tub, which says that you should use the treatment between your shampoo and conditioner. Usually I would have used the treatment instead of my conditioner, but using the conditioner afterwards made my hair even softer. And just BTW, I found out about this product from a blog I follow. The blogger is Harriet and I suggest you check it out here. J

VERDICT: I would recommend this product and I will be repurchasing it.

Whilst I am on the topic of Lee Stafford products, I would like to recommend another two products of his. Since I was so impressed with the hair growth treatment, I decided to give his other products a try. 

The first is his Shine Head Spray Shine (on the left in my picture). I spray this on my hair at the very end of my styling session, so basically I spray this on just as I’m about to walk out the door. It makes my hair so soft and silky. After blow-drying and/or flat-ironing I find my hair can look a little dry and frazzled. This helps to tame the frizziness and just make my hair feel and look good.

VERDICT: I would recommend this product and I will be repurchasing it.

The other product is Lee Stafford’s Flat Iron Protection Shine Mist, which is part of the Poker Straight range (on the right in my picture). This product is basically a heat protectant, so I spray it on my damp towel-dried hair before blow-drying, and again on my dry hair before I flat-iron it.  I love the consistency of this spray. I don’t like using cream/mousse heat protectants because I feel like they just weigh my hair down and I get a build-up of product, and I also find my hair tends to get greasy more easily with those type of products. Not with this product! The spray is so light and doesn’t weigh my hair down. Also, I really feel like it’s doing its job. My hair seems to be in better condition since I’ve started using this product.

VERDICT: I would recommend this product and I will be repurchasing it.

So right now I am in love with the Lee Stafford range of hair care products. I can’t wait to try out some more of his products. The next product I’m keen to try out is his “I Hate My Hair the Day its Washed” Solution Spray. I haven’t been able to find it in South Africa yet, but hopefully we will get it here soon.

I bought all my Lee Stafford products from Clicks (South Africa) and I know that you can get them from Boots in the UK.

If you’ve tried any of his other products please let me know. I’m keen to hear what you thought. 

Lv M

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Review: Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Blemish Stick

Yesterday I bought Thursday Plantation's tea tree blemish stick:

My skin is usually pretty decent but lately I have been getting a few more blemishes than normal. I have heard good things about Thursday Plantation products so I thought I would give their blemish stick a try. It is an invisible gel so I could use it under my make-up (I obviously let it dry first, which it seemed to do quite quickly). So far I have used it twice, last night before bed and this morning underneath my make-up. I don't know if I just want to believe that it's worked, but I really think it has! My blemishes have already diminished in size and aren't as red as before. Also, it doesn't feel like it is drying my skin out like I have found other blemish sticks to do. It seems to be gentle and non-irritating, which is great for me because my skin is rather sensitive. I think I have just found a new favourite! I will keep you all posted on how this product works for me :)

Have any of you tried this blemish stick or any of Thursday Plantation's other products? Any blemish product recommendations?

Lv M

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Sweet Cherry Pie... Mmmm

The boyfriend and I went cherry picking recently in a beautiful little town called Ceres. It was a lot of fun and the cherries are so delicious!

Since we had four whole punnets of cherries, we decided to make a cherry pie with some of them. Neither of us had made a cherry pie before so it seemed like a good time to try.

Here is the recipe we used:

900g cherries (de-pipped)
150g caster sugar
1/4 TSP mixed spice (I made up my own mixture consisting of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger)
2 TBSP cornflour/cornstarch
2 TBSP water
We just used store bought shortcrust pastry
  1. Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7
  2. Grease a 23cm pie dish with butter
  3. Line the bottom of the dish with pastry (take it up the sides of the dish)
  4. For the filling: 
    • Put half the cherries and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer
    • Add the mixed spice
    • In a separate bowl mix the cornflour and water to make a paste
    • Remove saucepan from heat and add paste
    • Return to heat until mixture boils and thickens
    • Add remaining cherries
    • Pour mixture into the dish lined with pastry. 
      5.  Cut the rest of the pasty into strips and lay down in a criss-crossing fashion on top of the filling
      6.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes
      7.  Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes

We didn't have enough pastry for the lattice, more would have been better. But it was (and still is because what you see in the picture is what is left of it) delicious! The mixed spice is key to this working! Also, because of the mixed spice, it seemed like an appropriate time of the year to make this... it reminds me of a winter Christmas in London where we drank gluhwein (mulled wine) to keep warm (It is summer here now). It tastes very Christmassy! :)

For Christmas day I am going to be making key lime pie (which I have made before and is SO yum!), so I will put that recipe and pics up when I do that.

Lv M

My hair story

So, when I was younger, about 6 or 7 years ago, I decided that my beautiful blonde hair was getting a bit dark at the roots. It wasn't really that bad but I was young and stupid then. So my mom and I attempted to use a blonde highlighting kit on my hair. Alas, the result was not what I had hoped for. I ended up with canary yellow roots: 

I was extremely upset so I went to the hairdresser to get it fixed. When I emerged a few hours later, I no longer looked like a canary, but rather a zebra:

I was of course even less impressed than before. Not that I had anything against brunettes, I just did not want any brunette in my hair. I loved my blonde hair! The next day I went to a different hairdresser to fix this, and she did a fantastic job:

Sadly though, that was the start of my relationship with bleach and highlighting. My roots always grew out darker than before, so every 6 or so weeks I would need to get them touched up. For years after that I just did that. I was so particular about my hair and what shade of blonde it had to be. Btw, I kept all the above photos so that whenever I felt like doing something stupid to my hair again, I could look at these photos and hopefully be put off.

Fast forward a few years to the end of 2010. I for some reason had being thinking about going over to the dark side. I'm not sure where this idea came from especially because I was such a blonde fanatic. Without telling my family (as I knew they would have dissuaded me), I went brunette (professionally of course):


It was quite a big change and it took me a while to get used to it, but I liked it. I knew what a mission it would be to get back to blonde so I vowed to keep it at least a year. It faded and sometimes it looked nice, other times it was a bit too red for my liking. My hair felt in such better condition and many people said I suited the brunette more. The one thing that did bug me about it was the regrowth: because I had dark blonde growing out, it looked grey in comparison to the dark. I really did not like that. And I found it started looking like this very soon after colouring (my hair grows rather fast). So I was colouring my hair more often than I used to highlight my hair. Grey-looking regrowth is just not my thing.

About 10 months down the line I was done with the brunette. I (ms. blonde fanatic) missed my blonde hair too much. I started feeling like the brunette didn't actually suit me, and I never really quite felt like myself as a brunette. Now comes the fun part: getting back to blonde! Had I known just what a lengthy and painful experience this would be, I am not too sure I would have done the whole thing in the first place. Actually, I probably would have, otherwise I would have always wondered what it would be like to be a brunette. Anyways, thinking that all the bleach it would take to make me blonde again would immensely damage my hair, I cut my hair:

Stupid, stupid decision. Whilst it looked nice with the healthy brunette hair, as soon as I started going back to blonde, the short damaged look was just not working for me. I tried not to do too much styling as my hair was pretty damaged, but a bob with my semi-wavy hair requires styling. And of course I did not go straight back to the blonde I wanted, that took about 5 months. I was rather red/ginger in the beginning:

After some highlighting:

After some more highlighting a few months into it:

This last one was my worst. At least in the beginning it was a decent shade of red. In the above photo it was just plain ginger. I have nothing against gingers, I just don't think that shade suits me and it was not really what I was going for. 

About 5 months down the line I finally got to a shade that I was comfortable with:

The above photo was taken towards the end of October 2011, and I had my hair highlighted that day. I have not done it since, and it actually looks rather nice :) The darker blonde regrowth is blending so nicely into the blonde. I am however going in 2 days to get some highlights and some lowlights (just so that it looks more natural) so that I my hair can look good for my graduation which is coming up this weekend.

My hair is still quite dry but definitely nothing compared to its condition when I did my first session of bleach bathing and highlighting. That condition was horrendous. I have found some wonder products that have helped repair my hair and I will do a blog post on those soon.

So I am finally happy with the colour, now I just want some length again Lol. Waiting for hair to grow is so frustrating! If you are thinking of going from blonde to brunette, maybe have a chat with me first ;)

And that is the life story of my hair! What are your hair stories/nightmares?

Lv M

Monday, 12 December 2011

Now where to start...

The first thing I would I like to say is a huge welcome to my blog! I have been inspired by a few bloggers that I follow to start my own blog. Not only have I thoroughly enjoyed reading their blogs and watching their YouTube tutorials, I have often found them rather informative and useful for my own life.  I hope that by blogging my own findings, reviews, life stories/lessons, tips etc., I can also help and inspire my lovely readers.

So just a little bit about me...

My name is Monique and I am a 24 (almost 25!) year old Capricorn. I have an Honours Degree in Psychology, which I hope to make a Masters Degree one day. I also recently finished a Post Grad in Education, and am employed to be a grade 5 teacher next year. I live in the beautiful city of Cape Town, which is in South Africa.  I lived in the UK for two years on a type of gap year, but returned back to Cape Town as home is where the heart is (and my visa came to an end!). If you have never visited here before, I suggest you do. Cape Town is so amazing! It recently won (for the seventh time) Best Destination in Africa at the World Tourism Awards. It also won Trip Advisor’s Top Destination for 2011 and was in the top ten for Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Cities 2011. So definitely come visit us if you haven’t already :)

When I’m not promoting Cape Town, I like to run, cycle, play squash, swim, mess around with my hair and hair colour, try new beauty products, read glossy and trash magazines, and all the girlie stuff that us girls like to do. I love to bake (and like to think I'm not half bad at it ;) and I am an absolute sushi fanatic!  I live with my amazing boyfriend of 3 years, Simon. We recently moved in together so we are still in the “playing housey” phase :) He is currently trying to teach me how to surf and to kite board.

Anyways, so enough about me! I look forward to sharing my blog with you, and I look forward to hearing all your feedback in the future :) 


PS. ‘Nikki’ is the nickname given to me by my Gran, in case you were wondering the connection between Monique and Nikki :)

The lovely ladies who I follow and who inspired me: 

View of Table Mountain from my apartment

Boyfriend on the beach in front of our apartment

Me :)

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