Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day 2014

Whatever you’re doing on this Friday, 14th February, enjoy it! I hope your day is filled with loved ones, laughter and lots of hugs, telling those around you how much you care for and cherish them. Me and my boy will be having a quiet evening in, probably catching up on good TV and eating some tasty grub, enjoying our 6th Valentine’s Day together.

Valentine’s Manicures

It’s pretty fun during the holidays to add a little festivity to your beauty routine, and the way I like to do that most is with a pretty little manicure. At Christmas that might be red, green and gold, at Halloween it’s orange and black – of course, that means at Valentine’s Day those colours should be to reds and pinks, with little bits of sparkle. Below are a few of my favourite shades that are catching my eye.

Valentine's Manicures

1. Pansy / 2. Privacy Please / 3. St James / 4. Funhouse / 5. Sophie’s Pink / 6. Untold / 7. Follow Me / 8. Red Wine / 9. Cranberry Aluminum / 10. Peach and Love.

Valetine’s Parties, DIYs and Eats

I love looking around at the best Valentine’s Day parties, DIY projects and recipes – there are so many hearts to enjoy, as well as one of the cutest colour palettes you could ever want. Today I’m just bringing you a couple of my favourites.

Valentine's Favourites 1

Valentine's Favourites 2 & 3

Valentine's Favourites 4

Valentine's Favourites 5

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Recipe: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes are one of those sweet treats that I’ve always loved eating but never given too much though to making myself. But they also seem like just the right Valentine’s bake, with the red tint and the chocolate flavour, so I thought this was the perfect time to give them a go. This recipe, from Cake Days, is just delicious, really lovely and I very much recommend you giving them a go this Valentine’s week. Plus, who doesn’t love baking something for their loved ones, just to show them you care.

Ingredients

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • A 38ml bottle of red food colouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and 375 degrees F. Line two 12 hold muffin tins with muffin cases (this recipe makes around 16 cupcakes, so you’ll need the two tins).

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

In a separate bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla essence to form a paste. Add the paste to the batter and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Sift together the flour and salt in another bowl then add to the batter in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and mixing thoroughly after each addition. Lastly, in another bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate or soda together and add to the cake batter, again mixing thoroughly.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases until they are two thirds full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a cocktail stick stuck into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 125g full fat cream cheese

Mixing on a low speed, beat the butter and icing sugar together until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is sandy in texture. Add the cream cheese and mix together slowly until everything is incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat the frosting until it is soft and fluffy.

Cover each cupcake with the cream cheese frosting, smoothing with a palette knife.

Top the cupcakes with a topping of your choosing – I decided on sugared hearts for Valentine’s Day.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 1

Red Velvet Cupcakes 2

Red Velvet Cupcakes 3

Red Velvet Cupcakes 4

Red Velvet Cupcakes 5

Red Velvet Cupcakes 6

Red Velvet Cupcakes 7

Red Velvet Cupcakes 8

Red Velvet Cupcakes 9

Novelty Valentine’s Gifts

Even if you’re not the type to celebrate the most romantic holiday of the year, it’s hard not to get swept up in all the lovey-dovey stuff. Valentine’s Day is not just for those in relationships, you can show your love for plenty of special people in your life, whether that be your BFF or your boyfriend, a small gift can say so much. You don’t have to spend lots to really show someone you care, and the gifts below are the perfect way to put a smile on that special someone’s face.

001. Bamboo Travel Mug; 002. 12 pack red heart shape balloons; 003. Sweetest Valentine Yankee Candle; 004. Lolita Red Hot Wine Glass; 005. Love Heart Globe; 006. Heart Shaped Drinking Straws; 007. Heart Lollies Pack; 008. Heart Shaped Umbrella

Valentine’s Food Ideas

It’s always nice to go to the trouble of making a home-cooked meal for that special someone on Valentine’s Day, just to show them just how much you care. It’s great to be able to give presents, but if you’re saving up for something special (say, a wedding!) then taking the time out to just spend an evening at home together with some good food means more than all the gifts in the world. And one of my absolute favourite things is to put together a meal for me and my boy, with a glass of wine and a movie to finish it off right, so here are a few of the recipes on BBC Good Food that have been catching my eye – I might even choose a couple of them for the day itself.

Valentine's Day Food 1

1. Mediterranean fig & mozzarella salad | 2. Roquefort toasts with peppered pears | 3. Goat’s cheese chicken with warm lentils & sweet beets | 4. Beef & beer pie.

Valentine's Day Food 2

5. Tiramisu with honeycomb crunch | 6. Chocolate fondant | 7. Amaretto fizz | 8. Vodka & cranberry blush.