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July 27, 2014

Mawnin, did you sleep well?

I’m up early guzzling tea and chucking things in a suitcase ready to squeeze myself in a car and embark on an epic journey up to Scotland. By epic I mean 14 hours. 14 HOURS PEOPLE.

Anyway, it should be ight as I have headphones, cookies and a pillow – bare essentials.

I have been looking forward to visiting my little house by the sea in a small town called Inverralochy for AGES. I can’t wait to slip into the comforting nostalgia you get when you visit somewhere you spent so much time as a child, I also can’t wait to have a whole week to just chill out. It’s so important to give yourself some time away from the madness to unwind and re-energise every so often.

Joruney

Another thing is… We don’t have internet up in our Scottish gaff, none, nada. Despite being pretty much addicted to social media, I am really looking forward to having none of that jibber jabber for a week. Just straight up chillin’ without notifications popping up all over the place and spending longer than necessary deciding if amaro or valencia looks more shexy.

The only downside is that my blog will be a liiiittle bit quiet for the next 7 days.

SO, I hope you have a lovely week whatever you’re up to and I will be back for a chinwag next Sunday.

For now, here’s a little chip playlist I made for my travels.

Ix

 

LOVEBOX Day 2

July 26, 2014

After raining cats, foxes, squirrels, pigeons and dogs through the night, I woke up to blue skies ready for day 2 of LOVEBOX madness. Holllaaaa!

Immy lifestyle blogger

I rolled outta bed in ma nighty, slipped on my DM’s and headed out the door.

Immy May blogger

Juuusst kidding. It’s my new silky number from Forever 21.

It was’t in the Pyjama section, I promise.

Dobbs DJ

Dana’s get up – my fav part is the ‘NO THANKS’ T-shirt. And the bum bag, obvs.

Saturday was a much more sleepy start to Lovebox. The fields where quiet and we were free to roam about and discover all the little bits and bobs lurking beneath the tutu trees. We found a pretty good shady spot on the hammocks.

Hammock

I’ve decided I would most definitely give up my double bed for one of these bad boys, I could have stayed cocooned up all day. Alas, we had people to see and rum to drink.

Rum and ting. Ginger beer in our case, killer combo.

Rum and ting

And some hula hoop action, absolute pros.

Hula hoop

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After pulling muscles we never thought we had, we made our way to the main stage – getting sidetracked by the Yahoo tent on the way (the free cowboy hats drew us in)

Yahoo

And funfair rides.

LOVEBOX

And the Rimmel tent to get our face diiiid…

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For free! Considering the extreme heat, touch ups were needed.

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Aaaaaand result. (As well as a huge bag of goodies from Rimmel – cheers ladies!)

Immy May

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looking phresh, we thought it was about time to try out the roller disco.

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I completely and utterly stacked it as soon as I made my way onto the D floor (I was doing the surf boardt – asking for it)

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After skating and grooving around the floor in a rather sketchy manor, we shuffled off the floor and to the bar.

Kopparberg in hand, we weaved through the crowds in the big top to see the goddess that is Banks.

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She was bladdy amazing and we sang (howled) along to every song and swayed with the crowd. One of those artists that are eeeven more incredible live than they are turn up full volume in ya bedroom.

After banks, my camera remained at the bottom of my bag as we munched on chips and danced (duty wined) to dancehall and reggae music before wrapping up the night with MIA.

WHAT a weekend. Lovebox was an absolute blast and I cannot wait to return next year.

Ix

LOVEBOX

July 24, 2014

Last weekend after all the crazy graduation antics, I let mi hur down and made my way to Victoria Park in Hackney with the lavely Dana for a few days of sun (a lot), thunder (a lot), dancing, kopparberg, music and glitter.

It has been schorchio in London recently. The tube is pretty damn warm (by that I mean HOT and SWEATY) but the plus side is that the sun beams down on all of us bringing good moods and enabling us to wear whateva we please as British festival wear usually involves compulsory welly boots.

Lovebox Festival

The midday heat was intense but check out what I had lurking at the bottom of my bag.

Fan

That’s right, I’m taking it back to the old school and fanned myself and Dana like japanese goddesses whilst other hot looking festival lookers relentlessly fanned themselves with leaflets – I tried to share the love as much as poss. On a serious note: If there’s one thing you do this summer, invest in a fan (couple of quid) they will make the world of difference, truuuusssst me.

When we finally made it through to the festival, after a run of pure joy and freedom (does anyone else do this?) The first thing on our mind was a cold, frosty cocktail. We spotted the bright orange of the Aperol Spritz social winking at us and waltzed right in, sipped on the lovely combination of Aperol and prosecco whilst we bopped about to toonss from live DJ’s.

Aperol Spritz

After getting nice ‘n’ refreshed, it was time to explore.  Aaaand here’s what I wore (I’m a poet and I don’t know it)

Immy May at Lovebox

As you might guess, I LOVE to dance at festivals (and all times I am awake) so wearing something comfy and light is essential, especially in the heat. Simple slips in the summer are my go to as ain’t nobody got time for putting together outfits when you just wanna get out into the sunshine.

Of course, all the ladies with carefully planned festival get ups (lots of co-ords, crochet crops and denim shorts) looked style spot ready. I just grabbed a £12 dress from H&M and donned my Doc Martins as they are always comfortable and will endure ALL weather. Here’s the beaut that is Dana…

Dobbs DJ

Bum bag (best idea ever) and a light kimono to prevent any burning, top festival essentials right there. Who wants to lug around a big ole bag, two free arms for ultimate first pumping/swaying action is essential.

Of course, at any festival it is essential that you are at least 1/8 covered in glitter.

Lovebox

Dana went for the full works, ultimate festival queen yo’

Dobbs DJ

Festivals area all about strolling around, cold drank in hand and discovering everything – there is SO much to see, like this this amazing human…

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And this human?

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We basked in the sun for most of the day, dipping in and out of sets and tents.

Kopparberg

LOVEBOX

We gradually weaved our way to the front in time for Katy B (goddess) and A$AP Rocky – Hella yeyeah.

I didn’t get any snaps of Katy B as she was freaking amazing and we were grooving and singing along for the entire set. Then it was time for A$AP and the crowd SURGED forward like you would imagine at a festival full of late teen, early 20’s youts. I ain’t new to festivals,  have been going to at least one erry’ year since I was about 7, so I am pretty used to being in big crowds of people and feeling completely at ease.

This time felt different, yeah A$AP Rocky is huge and has some absolute bangers but the way everyone turned as he took even one step closer towards the crowd became scary. The vibe wasn’t a mutual love for his music, but a violent testosterone driven battle to lay a finger on the flesh of him or any of his entourage (c’mon now). I had a huge, topless guy behind me who wouldn’t let go of my waist, elbows to my ribs and others were pretty much on the floor as a result. It ended up in a pretty embarrassing panic attack and having to be lifted out of the crowd flashing my red underwear to everyone, buurriiiiliant. This is the first (and hopefully the last) rant I have ever had on my blog, but I feel I needed to say it – festivals are all about sharing the good vibes with people who enjoy the same music and atmosphere as you, not about taking advantage and loosing respect for people when things get a little crazy.

I’ve finally learnt (after a long time of trying to battle to the barrier) that it is SO much better watching your favourite act from slightly further back. The sound quality is better, you don’t get trampled on and touched up and you have room to dance freely. It’s a n0-brainer really, right?

A$AP Ferg

After chilling out, breathing and having an ice cream (solves everything) the party and dancing continued with a spot garage from DJ EZ.  The best groove music, ever.

Festival sky

The big smoke

As the sun set, the dark clouds drew in. There’s something about anticipated storms that make everyone chatter to each other and get excited as the thunder starts to rumble in the distance. We made our way back to the main stage to catch Chase and Status’ set.

I have seen live sets from these guys time and time again but they NEVER get old, there is no way you can’t truly get down with them. The heavens opened, lightning bolted over the horizon as we danced in the rain, magical.

Lovebox

Feeling exhausted, soaked and happy.

I’ll fill you in on day 2 tomorrow.

What festivals are you going to this summer? I saw that the first every blogging festival – Blogstock – is happening in a few weeks, how cool is that? Check out their twitter for more deets, would be amazing to see you there!

 

Ix

 

Graduation

July 22, 2014

ConGRADulations to all you lovely people striding across that stage and officially closing the crazy chapter that is university over the next few months. WE DID IT YO!

 *fist bumps and high fives all round*

Immy May blogger

 

My schooling life has woooshed past in seconds.

It seems like yesterday I was sat in the playground attempting to trade my penguin bar for wagon wheels and iced gems, felt completely euphoric when winning 1st place in Global Rock, all of these (LOL),  revised in the school field for my GCSE’s, travelled by boat erry day for 6th form and having crazy experiences, making memories and meeting people that will stay with me fo’ lyf.

I remember sitting on a packed train three years ago on A level results day and getting a call from my dad saying “weeell, you’re currently in clearing.” I was bladdy gutted that didn’t get my first choice up in Birmingham and the poor lady sat next to the crying 18 year old girl reassured me that everything happens for a reason and it will end up being ok (she was right) I packed my bags, fairy lights and recipe books and hopped in the car up to London where I would embark on 3 of the most incredible years.

I have had spontaneous adventures, learnt important lessons and built so many friendships with amazing people.

All of my experiences and memories from the past three years led up to this day.

Skylon

Kicking off the with drinks and lunch at Skylon with my lovely family (I opted for the cocktail, obvs)

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We haven’t been together as a family for FAR too long, so catching up and feeling completely at ease in each others company (as well as incredible food) was the highlight of my day.

Slightly merry, we shuffled into the auditorium and took our seats.

UAL Graduation

After a few short film, speeches and lots of clapping – it was my time to walk. I was pretty sure this may happen…

Immy May

Immy May

Immy May

But all was well, the whole class cheered each other on as we made our way across the stage in our gowns.

S W A G

Graduation

It was so lovely to see all my classmates so happy and surrounded by their incredibly proud families. You sometimes forget that so many people are there supporting you when you are stuck in your room for what seems like years writing a 12,000 word dissertation but it all seems pretty worth it on this day – I promise!

I shrugged off my gown (ain’t nobody got time for that in 30°C heat) and strolled along to a grassy spot by the London eye for a picnic with my family.

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Picnic

We clinked glasses, ate strawberries and shared various university memories late into the afternoon.

WHAT A DAY. I also received a few presents…

Rules of Life

Happy

Books that everyone should probably read and a handmade necklace from my Dad, what a G.

I had so many lovely words of wisdom for my very supportive family and friends, now really is the perfect time to go out and grab what you really and truly want – whatever that is.

I realise that being a graduate fresh outta uni is tough, you need dollar (I’m getting ready for my first interview as I type) and you also need a structure – calving out a career in the creative industries (or any industry) can make you feel all over the place, but it is SO important to keep on goin’ – even if you have to work on your goals around your day job. I think this video is pretty apt…

Most people who have achieved their dream career have worked insanely hard to get to where they want, and keep up the hard work even when things are quiet and people say no over and over again. Some people are in the right place at the right time, but it is all about dayum hard graft and making your own luck – capish?

So, fellow graduates – keep those wild dreams and visions in tact, lets do this.

Ix

 

Gluten Free G&T Cake

July 20, 2014

When I started this blog, baking was either an attempt to redeem myself for being late or a little treat that brought smiles to media folk, helping me wedge my foot wider into the industry. Y’know, cupcakes, banana loafs, brownies – the norm. As I moved further into the big ole world of blogging, I started to discover a whole new side to baking that I would have never imagined in my wildest culinary dreams.

These days I pop potatoes, avocados and dates into my baking (tastes better than it sounds, I promise). Well, ladies and gents – I have reached the next level of madness by chugging half a litre of gin into the mix. G&T is my favourite alcoholic bevy of choice and a few weeks ago ma mate introduced me to the Pudding Lane Blog where I discovered the lovechild of two of ma favourite things. G&T and cake. It HAD to be done, a gluten free version of course – no one deserves to miss out on this…

Gin and Tonic cake

The original recipe uses regular self raising flour, however in order to make it gluten free yet still nice ‘n’ moist I used half ground almonds and half gluten free self raising flour. It’s always a little bit hit and miss with GF recipes – but I reckon I nailed this one, here’s what ya need:

Cake – 

weigh 4 eggs in their shells –  they should end up weighing around 260 grams! weigh the rest of the ingredients with the same measurements. Easy peasy lemon squeeezay.

unsalted butter – room temp.
caster suger
ground almonds (half)
GF self raising flour (half)
4 eggs
6 shots of gin
2 lemons
Icing – 
Icing sugar
1 lemon
a few shots of gin
Pre-heat the oven to about 180°C
Fist of all, weight the eggs in their shells, note it down then continute the same for the butter, sugar and flour.
1. cream the butter and sugar until light in colour and fluffy.
2. whisk up the eggs then gradually add to the mixture whilst still beating.
3.  Mix in the ground almonds and sift in the flour until nice and combined.
4. add the zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1!
5. finally, add in your gin! I used about 6 shots of the stuff.
6. butter and flour your loaf tin then pour in your mixture – wack in the oven for around 50 minutes.

Av’ a gin and tonic.

Start checking your cake at around 50 minutes – I found that mine took a liiiitle longer than the recommended time to bake through completely, this may be due to the almonds – be patient and check around every 10 minutes to make sure the cake is bouncy and golden on top and the skewer comes out clean. poke little holes right through to the bottom of the cake before you pour over the icing, this will get the sweet gin and lemon icing sinking deep into the cake, LAVELY.

Originally I took mine out on 50 minutes, poured on the icing let it cool and then tried to turn it out of the tin. The top of the cake flopped onto my hand exposing the unbaked cake beneath – It was one of those horrid baking despair moments where there is nothing else to do but go ooooooooh aaaah my gaaaaad, try to briefly rectify the situation, failing then eating the cake. So, patience is a virtue my friend.. always wait until the cake is completely cool, cold even before you attempt to remove it from the tin. Thankfully I carefully sliced of the top and re-iced the beast and waiting until the morning to prize it from the tin. Phew.

So. Here you have it, the gluten free gin and tonic cake – it ain’t much of a looker but tastes bloomin’ marvellous.

slice cake

slice of cake

It was chomped down by the May clan whilst ooooh’s aaaah’s and satisfied smiles filled the room. My granny asked for the recipe, it MUST be good.

What are your views on the cake and alcohol combo? Mojito cake next? OOooo.

Happy Monday folks!

Ix

Guest Post: Michaela’s Tiered Princess Cake

July 16, 2014

Hey guys, I’m Michaela and I’m taking over Immy’s joint today (oh gaaad this is my first ever guest blog post so please bear with me!)

I’m a model and baker from Hertfordshire, and I’ve been baking for eight years. I am completely self taught, with the help of some trusty YouTube tutorials and baking forums, which has allowed me to create and perfect my own tried and tested recipes as a basic starting base. Since then, I’ve collected tools, ingredients, equipment, magazine subscriptions and all important experience which has led me to 1. the urgent need for extra storage space for all of this and 2. where I am today!

My most recent project was for my not-so-little sister’s 21st birthday, she wanted a three tier Victoria sponge cake with a fresh cream and strawberry filling, and gave me free rein to decorate it. I got straight on to Pinterest for inspiration and mind mapped a few ideas until I had a complete picture of what I wanted, which was a pink cake with delicate gold piping, with the addition of gems!

I first set out baking the cakes, six cakes in total. I always do this the day before decorating, as the cakes can be clingfilmed and popped into the freezer to keep fresh whilst you ready everything else. A frozen cake is also MUCH easier to carve when you’re evening out the top, or simply carving into a shape.

Cake
The next day, I made the gems, which were essentially a boiled sweet. I boiled sugar and water until it was at the hard crack stage of 149°C-154°C, added a drop of pink liquid food colour and drizzled the concoction into two sets of silicon gem-shaped moulds, and left to set. I then prepared the cream filling, which I changed into a french Chantilly cream, a sweeter vanilla flavoured version of whipped cream. I sliced the domed top from each cake and neatened up the sides. Having the clingfilm that you wrapped them in spread out underneath the cake makes the cleanup 100000x easier!
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Once this was done I spread over an even layer of Chantilly cream, places as many sliced strawberries into a single layer as I could, and sandwiched each tier together and popped in the fridge.
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Next, I prepared the pink fondant. I use the ones you can buy in the supermarket, as they’re usually cheap and super reliable in texture. I added the smallest drop ever of Wiltons “rose pink” gel colour, which you can see below goes the looooongest way!
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Also if you’re serious about baking and decorating, get a silicone mat as seen above, they cost no more than £10, they’re heatproof, non-stick and are literally a DREAM for when you’re rolling out, measuring and playing with icing and pastry doughs.I kneaded out the fondant until the colour was completely even, then tore it into three pieces, sized appropriately for each cake. I spread some raspberry jam over each cake, which really adheres the fondant to each layer, then carefully placed the fondant over each cake and neatened it all up with a fondant smoother.
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As you might (will 100% defo) see in some pics further on, I didn’t worry too much about the tidiness of the bottom edges as I was piping icing over these areas anyway. I also had to apply a circle of dusted fondant underneath the middle and top cakes whilst I was stacking them up, my sister wanted to dismantle the tiers easily to take and give to family and friends.
Finally I got to decorating, my most favourite part of all!
I made a royal icing mixture from plain old icing sugar, a tiny amount of water and Wilton’s meringue powder, which gives the icing a smooth moussey texture which then completely hardens, perfect for piping delicate details. After this I got to work with a #3 nozzle, making swirls, roping and beading. I became a little worried as the white icing looked completely bloody horrific against the pink but I stayed optimistic as I was to paint it gold later.
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(ew hahaha)
Once all the swirls were in place, I stuck on the gems with water and piped a few decorative bits around each gem. The icing had all set by now so I painted over each bit with metallic light gold food paint, by Rainbow Dust.
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The colour took immediately and so luckily I only had to do a single coat. Once the paint had all dried, I changed my nozzle to a #9 and got to piping large drops around the base of each tier.
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These took a little longer to set as they were quite thick, but once they were dry I coated them again with a single layer of the same gold food paint, which dried looking super reflective! Lastly, I painted some confectioners glaze over the gems to make them ultra glossy and shiny, I’d advise against putting a decorated cake in the fridge as the fondant tends to sweat and can become really saggy and just gross…
So this is the final product!
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I’m always willing to hear people’s comments and to hand out any info and tips that I can! If you fancy it, email me at michaelai91@gmail.com, and check out my Instagram where you can find pretty much all of my recent baking successes.
Thanks again for reading my first ever blog post! Hope you enjoyed xxxx

Wildwood Pizza

July 14, 2014

Social Media is a beautiful thing. Of course, a lot of the time your newsfeed is inundated with dubious hot dogs for legs pictures and 20 things to do in your 20’s Buzfeed articles but sometimes you scroll across a rare gem that enlightens you on something that you would never usually stumble across.

Word on the street is that there is a little van of wood-fired pizza magic cropping up at a different corner of the Island every day, letting people know by post the time and location on their Facebook page – ‘pop up restaurant’ in its most basic sense. After a few phone call exchanges from my chums, we agreed that this was probably the one and only way to spend our Thursday evening so we piled into the car and zoomed across to the other side of the Island to have a little ganders.

car journey on the Isle of Wight

We rolled up to the top of Freshwater bay, clambered out of the car and to the top of the hill where we found the little vintage citroen parked up and surrounded by a little crowd of lucky walkers, families and Facebook savvy folk like us.

Wildwood Pizza

I nipped round the side to get a closer peek inside the van. The vintage van has been transformed into a little cave of pizza wonders, kitted out with a legit wood-fire oven and dough rolling machine that had me mesmerised for far longer than it should have. It must have been as hot as the surface of the sun inside, but the amount of smiling faces at the sight of their fresh, delicious lookin’ pizzas must be worth it.

Ya see, the wood-fire way of cooking pizza is nothing like your usual think ‘n’ heavy slab from dominos. As the heat is so high, the pizza cooks evenly – crusts are crisp, cheese beautifully molten but the rest of the toppers remain fresh, flavoursome and crunchy.

Pizza van

The view wasn’t so bad either.

Freshwater Bay

sunset sky Isle of Wight

After a little wait and a thousand wafts of a-mazing pizza later, we were at the front of the que. Feeling VERY hungry, we hastily scribbled down our orders and walked (ran) to the pub, grabbed a frosty beer and returned ready to go.

Tim and Penny roll out the dough, pop on the toppings and poke in the oven for a brief 90 seconds before being slipped onto a plate and handed over to you. The moment they yelled ‘IMMY!’ I knew it was my time to die and fall happily into pizza heaven. I went for the special of beetroot, feta and cashew (£7) the other ladies went for ham and pineapple and classic margarita. We sat ourselves down by the shore and the chatter ceased into a comfortable silence between satisfied groans as the waves lapped and bottles clinked.

Wildwood Pizza

It was one of those pizzas that was just so good you end up folding it together and eat like a sandwich with all cheese dribbling down your chin – whilst still smiling. Everything was just right, all the favours worked together retaining the beautiful fresh taste of beetroot, crunch of the cashew nuts and soft creamy texture of the feta. Are you feeling hungry yet?

Pizza by the beach

Pizza by the sea

After munching down our pizzas till a mere crumb was left, we noticed the glowing sunest casting a deep orange hue across the cliffs, without leaving anymore time for the sun to dip beneath the ocean, we said our thank yous and hopped back into the car to try and catch the last of the sunset.

Isle of Wight sunset

Going…

Isle of Wight sunset

Going…

Isle of Wight sunset

Gone!

Feeling full and happy, we drove back home listening to Ben Howard through the windy country roads – classic.

Make sure you check out Wildwood pizza and nip a long down to their van when their in your neck of the woods, it is absolutely worth it. I assure you.

Ix

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