Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Deliciousaurus Collection

It's been nearly a month since my last post, and what a month it's been. As well as upping my training for the Great North Run (I'm running for the British Heart Foundation this year - click here to check out my Just Giving page), getting a new kitten so Salem has a little friend, turning 25 and going dairy free, I've also been snowed under with Little Miss Delicious work! 

There's been a huge summer sale (sign up to my mailing list so you don't miss out on any future offers!) to help make way for new stock, including the new Deliciousaurus Collection - definitely a personal favourite so far. I've been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was little, and with Jurassic World coming out it felt only fitting to finally make a dinosaur inspired jewellery collection.

Inspired by all things cute and prehistoric, the latest addition to Little Miss Delicious features dinosaur inspired necklaces, rings, felt accessories and a charm bracelet to match. Terrifyingly cute!


As always, each piece of handmade jewellery has been delicately hand sculpted from polymer clay, then baked and painted as uniform as possible, but the joy of handmade means each piece is unique in its own way. No moulds or stencils are used in the creation of any Little Miss Delicious  jewellery pieces, and everything is glazed multiple times to make it super shiny.

The collection has only been up 6 weeks, but it's already very, very close to selling out so if you have your eye on anything, get it quick before it goes extinct! Shop now

Friday, 3 July 2015

Feature Friday: Washed Out Soap Co.

Earlier this year I started stocking beautiful artisan cold process soap from the wonderful Washed Out Soap Co., which is both luxuriously nourishing and vegan friendly. All Washed Out Soap Co. products are handmade by the very talented Chris for everyday use using high quality natural ingredients and traditional processes. 

Every item is created from scratch by hand in small batches, meaning every item is created, prepared and packaged with the utmost care and attention. As well as being vegan friendly and cruelty free, they only use plant-based oils, and don't use palm oil in any of their products, making them even more environmentally friendly.

I'm also very excited to announce as well as The Classic, a very nourishing, gentle soap, and The Barista, made with a concentrated espresso base and packed with brewed Arabica coffee grounds, I now stock Salt of the Earth, perfect for sensitive skin, and a 3 Soap Sampler Mini Pack with a small tester of each soap included to help you decide which soap to try - although personally I recommend them all! 

I caught up with Chris to ask him a few questions about Washed Out Soap Co., how it started and what the future holds.

What inspired you to start up Washed Out Soap Co.?
At some point early last year, finding myself out of work and bored of jumping from job to job, I started looking at my existing skills, as well as some stuff I had been interested in or looking into for a while, and came upon soap-making; I had tried a few more basic soaping techniques and methods in the past, and went from there. I started working with the cold-process method (generally accepted to be the best method for producing the highest quality soap), and went from there. My focus is on providing a range of natural products to enrich and improve the users daily life.

What's been your favourite moment since starting the company, and what's been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome?  

The company is coming up to the 6 month mark right now, and I have a handful of moments i'll remember from this phase - the collaborative projects i've worked/am working on, the Great Cynics soap I made to team up with the bands new record... I've worked a handful of really great events, North East Vegan Festival being the biggest at this point. I think the thing that makes me happiest is the amount of great makers and brands i've happened across and connected with off the back of the business.

What does your average day consist of?  

Every evening, I compile my to-do list for the following day. I'll wake up, exercise a little, make some coffee, then fire into it. I will usually start with an hour or so of admin/emails/research and development and/or planning for new items. I might pack some mailorder, in which case i'll take that to the post office. I tend to start practical work (actual production of soaps/butters/etc) around or before lunchtime. A light day might finish around 6/6.30pm, and a long day will take me to around 8.30/9pm. I generally need to fit in a supply run ever other day too - no matter how much stuff I pick up in one go, I always seem to need something else!

Where does your inspiration for new products and scent combinations come from?

 My inspiration for products as well as scents, comes mostly from traditional apothecary supplies and ingredients, coffee, herbology, and nature. I personally really like earthy, woodsy fragrances; mints, pine, rosemary, etc.

What's your favourite item so far?

My favourite item right now has to be the Barista Blended Butter - though our next soap is pretty amazing too! I can't really talk too much on that right now though, secret projects and such!

What advice would you give to a creative start up?

My advice is basically really simple - if you have an idea and you think it can be a viable business, pursue it. It'd be so easy for you to not follow it through, but honestly, it's not the toughest thing in the world to try it out and see where it could go... I suggest talking with independent business advisors, individuals who have gone a similar route to the one you are considering, and talk it through with friends too. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a supportive group of creative people around me who feedback to me constantly, and it really helps. My main point is, do it. I tell everybody to do it! Make your own universe!

What do you have planned for the future? 

I have so many plans for the future! I am always working on new soaps, but also always working on new lines in general. While I can't mention everything that is on the cards at the moment, I CAN mention I am hoping to have our next three or four soaps out this year, as well as hydrosol linen/room/body sprays and tattoo healing balms. Needless to say, I have a busy few months on the horizon!

Shop the full collection of Washed Out Soap Co. available from Little Miss Delicious here, and keep an eye out for new products being added in the future! 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Today's Workspace: Earrings Galore

While working on a fun wholesale earring stud order recently, I also made a couple extra to top up my own stock levels too for www.littlemissdelicious.com

Earring studs are one of the hardest to sculpt and paint, but also the most rewarding. The battenberg is definitely the most time consuming design I do, and for that reason I think it's also my favourite! 

Stud earrings vary in size, but most are under 1", making them very challenging to paint perfectly, but that's part of the fun! They can take a while to get exactly right, but it's such a great feeling watching them go from a lump of brown clay to little earrings I'm happy to send out.

As always, all designs are hand sculpted, then painted by hand and glazed for a super cute shiny finish. No moulds or stencils are used, making each piece special and unique in its own way!

Which design is your favourite?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

10 Running Tips for Beginners

 When I started training for the Great North Run last year, I never thought I'd still be running now - nevrmind actually doing it again this year! I was always the one that hid at the back in P.E class and avoided doing any exercise in life that didn't involve walking to a fridge or getting up to change the TV channel, so I never expected to get so addicted to running.

Despite running for over a year now, I'm still very much a beginner and thanks to my IC, my progress hasn't been as great as I would have like, but I still haven't let that stop me from falling in love with it. Since I work from home, it's the perfect excuse to have some time out of the house in fresh air, as well as just having some time to myself in general. It's way more therapeutic than I ever would have expected! It's free, you can do it anywhere and it's the perfect way to help boost your mood and clear your head.

I'm in no way an expert, but thought I'd share with you some tips I've learned along the way for any other beginner runners out there to help you in your running journey.

Running doesn't require much investment in gear or accessories, but it's so important to make sure you have the right pair of running shoes - you don't have to spend a fortune, but do your research and make sure you get the right pair to suit your needs and budget. It can also help to invest in running socks (your feet will be extremely grateful) and a good sports bra. The rest of the running clothing isn't as essential, but for longer distances it can help to have proper exercise gear. Most high street stores have sports sections now making it so accessible to work out but stay fashionable, and places like Sports Direct and TK Maxx also tend to have the basics at a super affordable price.

Ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually - try to increase distance by no more than 10% a week. Don't be disheartened if you can't run non-stop for miles at a time right at the start - even if you're doing a short run that involves mostly walking, you're still doing more than if you'd stayed at home on the sofa. Build yourself up slowly and let yourself walk when you need to.

I never believed people when they told me running is addictive, especially after my first few runs when I genuinely thought I was dying ha! But you get hooked so quickly, and it can be very easy to try and do as much as you can as quick as you can, but it's important to remember to take a break. Your rest time is just as important as running - you need to give your body time to heal after each run to avoid injury. I try to aim for 2 runs a week, and mix in yoga and cardio workouts on my days off.

Plan your runs in advance. One thing I really struggled with was trying to consistently fit running into my weekly routine. Running my own business means I work over 15 hours a day, so the idea of being able to fit exercise into that too terrified me. But I've found if I schedule out my weeks in advance, I can set a realistic amount of time aside for running, and it helps keep me motivated if I know I have set running days. Work out when and where you're doing to run in advance, and keep it in a set schedule or diary to help you keep track and make sure it doesn't slip your mind.

Keeping a diary of your runs in general including your route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt is a great way to help keep you motivated - when you feel motivation flagging, you can look back and see your improvement.

There are so many fitness apps out there, and it can help make all the difference when keeping track of your progress. My personal favourite is Map My Run, which I use to keep track of distance, average pace and pace v elevation. It's free and can also be used to keep track of other workouts too.

I'm not sure about others, but I personally find running to music really helps. When I first started, I loaded my phone with all my favourite songs and off I went, but over time I've learned there's a certain beat per minute which really helps me keep my pacing, and oddly it's not the music I would usually choose to listen to! I need faster dance music to help with my pacing, so I've now made myself a playlist specifically for running, with a few wildcard songs added in to give me an excuse to walk for a few minutes every so often.

Whatever your level, setting challenges is a useful way to stay motivated. This can be training for a specific race, distance or even just how you pace out your runs. When I first started I found it easiest to walk for one song, run for one, then repeat until I started feel confident enough to run for two songs, walk for one etc. It also works if you use the same system but with set amounts of time or a set number of lampposts to help structure your run and keep track of your progress.

While running can be great for you, it's important to try and incorporate other forms of exercise if you can too. At least 5 minutes of warm up and cool down is absolutely vital before and after you run to make sure you minimise any chance of injury as well as making it a little easier to walk the next day! There are plenty of other forms of exercise that will help you improve your running. Trying to add in some extra cardio and strength exercises throughout the week can really help too - pilates can help build core strength and swimming can even help stretch sore muscles. Incorporating other exercise means if you're injured or just can't face running, you can always do something else that day to help keep fit.

The few times I've gone out for a run and forgot my water have definitely been the hardest. It's important to not only replace the water you lose via sweat while running, but you should make sure you drink plenty before and after running too. Never underestimate the importance of staying hydrated! You should also try and have a little snack an hour before running, and a post-workout snack within 30 minutes afterwards. I tend to have banana or honey on toast beforehand, then a peanut butter, banana and almond milk smoothie afterwards. If I don't have time to make a smoothie, chocolate milk is always a good shout too as it's supposed to have the perfect post exercise carb/protein ratio!

If you don't enjoy it, you won't carry on. Keep your runs interesting by adding variety. Running the same route over and over again can become boring, so try to vary your distances and routes. Find beautiful local areas to run in, make sure you tailor your music so it's something you enjoy or even listen to podcasts while you run if that works for you. Appreciate the positives even when it gets hard. It can also help to have someone of a similar ability to run with to help spur you on and keep you motivated.

I hope you find these tips helpful - I know it can be hard when you're first starting, but don't give up! Don't be disheartened if you don't see huge amounts of progress straight away, just be proud of the fact you've put on trainers and left the house. 

Are you training for a specific race or fancy trying running in general? If you have any tips or suggestions, please do share them in the comments below!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Shop Update: Happy Ever After Collection

For some reason I go through phases were I just can't bring myself to watch anything but Disney, so thought it only fitting to do a mini collection full of enchanted inspired treats! 

The new Happy Ever After Collection is full of dreamy castles, magical mirrors and other fairytale favourites.


As always, each piece is lovingly hand sculpted, then delicately hand painted and glazed for a shiny finish. No  moulds or stencils are used in the creation process, making each item completely unique and special in its own way.  

It's also the first time I've ever used glitter in the varnish to seal each piece, and it turned out even better than I expected!


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Brownie, Peanut Butter and Snickers Cheesecake Recipe

As some of you may already know, we moved home last week and it's been so unbelievably stressful for so many reasons - I can't believe so many things can go wrong at once! Everything started to get on top of me a little bit too much, so to help me take some time out I thought I'd have a go at a recipe I've been drooling over for months but never actually braved attempting - the Peanut Butter Snickers Cheesecake Brownie Pie on Inside BruCrew Life. They do say stressed spelled backwards is desserts, so it seemed like the only sensible option ;)

Cheesecake with a brownie base, peanut butter and Snickers filling and whipped cream topping - I've officially found my food heaven. It was my first time making pie crust and whipped cream - even just my first time attempting a full cake really! There are definitely things I need to improve next time (especially rolling the pie crust the right size) but I've never been so proud of myself, or so ready for a food coma.

It's definitely not for the calorie counters or healthy eaters since it's a bit like diabetes in cake form, but it's a treat that is definitely worth the inability to move afterwards!

The original recipe features lots of cheats like a pre-made pie crust, brownie mix and tinned whipped cream. I tried to make it from as scratch as possible, adapting Hummingbird Bakery recipes for what I needed, but I wasn't brave enough to make the brownie base from scratch - I still haven't managed to make brownies I'm happy with, so wimped out and got the Betty Crocker mix! I found the Hummingbird Bakery pie crust a little dry and flavourless, but since the filling was so rich it wasn't really an issue.


Basic Pie Crust
  • 260g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110g unsalted butter
Grease a 23cm pie dish. Put the flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Add 1 tbsp cold water and beat until well-mixed. Add a second tbsp cold water and beat until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface with a roling pin and line the pie dish, trimming the edges with a sharp knife. Crimp edges if desired.

Brownie Layer
  • 1 packet of brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
Mix the ingredients in a bowl until combined. Spoon the thick mixture on top of the unbaked pie crust and spread it out evenly. Bake at 180c for 35 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out without any mixture stuck to it.
Cheesecake Layer

  • 227g cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 bag Peanut Butter Snickers Minis, chopped into quarters (326g) 
While the brownie base is cooking, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, and peanut butter and beat again until creamy. Stir in the Snickers by hand. When the brownie base is finished baking, remove from the oven and gently spoon the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie. Cover the edges of your crust with foil to keep them from burning. Return to the oven and bake another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

Whipped Cream
  • 250ml heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Whisk cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. I used an electric whisk and it only took a couple of minutes! 

Top the cheesecake with the whipped cream, and add chocolate sprinkles if desired. Cut the cake into the desired amount of slices, and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days - but there's very little chance it'll last that long ;)

If you try this delicious cake, do let me know how it turns out in the comments below!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...