16   112
43   235
33   126
17   137
25   121
14   150
21   121
25   114

Make Your Own Rainbow Cake

The other day, I was walking around the garden centre with my mum and something caught my eye. It was this bright and colourful Rainbow Cake Baking Kit by Bakedin. I’ve never seen these before, but a baking kit sounded like the dream to me as I am certainly not a natural baker (See: Make Your Own Gingerbread House). I read the back of the box and discovered that you only needed to buy the kit + an extra 3 ingredients which was simple enough so decided to give it a try. Here is how it went:

After you have bought the kit, all you need to buy is 4 eggs, 500g butter and 120 ml of milk.

Inside the box, you get everything you need: red, orange, yellow and green cake mix, icing sugar, sprinkles, baking tins, baking paper, butter measure and cake board. Each item is labelled with a number to make things even more straight forward. This is my kinda kit.

The recipe card explains everything you need to know and it is easy to follow. Before I began my cake making, I preheated the oven to 180 degrees.

Here is the step-by-step guide to make your own rainbow cake:

Step 1: Prepare your baking tins by lining them with the paper provided.

Step 2: Measure out 60g of butter and add in to a mixing bowl. The handy conversion chart and measuring card helped me out here as my kitchen is lacking in a pair of scales. I love how easy they make this for the most amateur bakers like myself.

Step 3: Empty the contents of bag 1 (red cake mix) into the bowl and mix until it forms a crumb like consistency.

Step 4: Add one egg and 20ml of milk into the bowl and mix until smooth and creamy.

Step 5: Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth out.

Step 6: Wash bowl and repeat steps 2 – 5 with the other three cake mixes.

Step 7: Once all four cake mixes are prepared, pop them into the oven for 20 – 25 minutes and hope for the best…

Whilst the rainbow layers are cooking, you can start making the butter cream (this stuff is seriously delicious).

Step 8: Add 260g of butter into the bowl and mix. It works out that 260g of butter should be left in the tub anyway so no measuring required. Win.

Step 9: Add the icing sugar (bag 5) into the bowl and mix well. Add 40ml of milk into the mix to make the butter cream even creamier.

Step 10: Spread a layer of the delicious butter cream onto the cake board provided. It is mandatory that you sample the butter cream at regular intervals.

Step 11: Once the rainbow layers are baked, let them cool for 10 minutes. Now build your rainbow cake (green, yellow, orange, red) using the butter cream between each layer which acts as a very tasty glue.

I admit at this stage I was feeling slightly concerned about the outcome of my rainbow cake as it wasn’t looking very colourful to me. However, I carried on and hoped it would all magically appear at the end.

Step 12: Smother the entire cake in butter cream.

Step 13: Decorate the cake in sprinkles and hope there is a rainbow inside…

Step 14: YAY! A rainbow! As you can probably tell, I am shocked this actually worked.

Making a rainbow cake took just over an hour – 30 minutes to prepare the layers, 25 minutes to bake whilst preparing the butter cream and finally 10 minutes to decorate. The instructions included in the kit make this a really simple recipe and pretty exciting as you don’t find out if the rainbow has worked until the very end. Have you made a rainbow cake? Click here to buy your own Rainbow Cake Baking Kit by Bakedin.

Bakedin do loads of other awesome looking kits too such as: a Choc Mallow Melt Cookie Kit, Iced Cinnamon Bun Kit, Double Choc Brownie Kit, Chocolate Layer Cake and a Sticky Toffee Cake Mix. If you give any of these a go, let me know how it goes as I would love give another one of these kits a try.

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6 Simple Ways To Improve Your DA Score

In the photo: Notebooks by Pastel Elixir

If you check the #prrequest #bloggerswanted and #bloggersrequired hashtags on Twitter you have probably noticed that for some opportunities a minimum DA score is required. According to Moz: Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It is a score from 0-100 and typically I’ve noticed brands will ask for a DA score anywhere between 20-40. Basically, they are looking for bloggers whose posts will appear high up on search engines, like Google. You can create a Moz account and check your DA here. 

I know there are tons and tons of posts out there with similar titles to this one, so I thought I would share with you things I have done which seem to be working for me.

1. Go self-hosted

I first noticed my DA score increasing when I went self-hosted back in November 2017, which is one of the many reasons why I think you should go self-hosted especially if you are looking to write sponsored posts and work with brands. I started my blog in October 2017 and in a month it had increased from 2 to 12. On average my DA has increased by 2 or 3 points each month. Click here to read my step-by-step guide on going Self Hosted. 

This month, 7 months after going self-hosted, my DA is at 28.

2. Join in with Twitter comment swaps

I never knew this would affect my DA score but after months and months of comment swapping, I think it has played a role. Obviously, you can’t leave comments for the sole intention of increasing your DA otherwise you will get bored very quickly. So if you enjoy reading blogs and giving support then an increased DA score is a happy bonus. After your comment, simply leave your blog URL and this will increase the number of back links you have around the web.

My favourite comment swaps are Tea Cup Club Meetings (Mondays and Thursdays at 5pm), Bloggers Tribe on (Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays at 8pm) and  of course my Sunday Blog Swap all day every Sunday. If you are looking for a Tuesday swap, Sophie from Glow Steady has recently started hosting one at 8pm. I usually do a comment swap for every new post I have written which is normally 3 a week.

3. Link to your own content

Internal link building is a simple way to build your DA score. By adding a few links to your older (relevant) content it keeps visitors on your page for longer, which is good for DA score apparently. Interestingly, Wikipedia has a DA score of 100 as it is full of internal links. Of course, don’t go Wikipedia-crazy with it, but a few links here and there doesn’t hurt. See what I did there.

4. Create a Bloglovin’ Account

Bloglovin’ was a site I signed up to when I first started blogging and to be honest I never really check it. When you link your Bloglovin’ account to your blog, it automatically shares your latest posts for you. Simple. I noticed recently when I checked my DA score that my 7 top inbound links were all from Bloglovin’.  Bloglovin’ has a DA score of 93 so it’s a pretty decent site to have your posts linked on. Another good site is Ko-Fi which has a DA of 77.

5. Collaborate with other bloggers

Collaborations with other bloggers is not only super fun but it also increases your DA score – win, win. Recently, I have collaborated with Kay from Mummy Who on our Pinterest Challenge and earlier this month I did the Comfort Zone Challenge with Alys from Alys Journals. By linking back to each others blogs you are also helping each other reach a wider audience and exchanging a few extra followers in the process.

6. Check for broken links  

Admittedly, I have not done this yet but a quick search using the Free Broken Link Checker has browsed 173 web pages and  found 121 broken links. Yikes. The majority of these are from misspelt or old blog links in the comments section and these can be easily corrected. This isn’t the most enjoyable task but removing dead and broken links ensures your site is of high quality which Google likes.

I hope you have found this post helpful. Do you have any tips on how to improve your DA score? I’d love to hear your suggestions! (Don’t forget to leave your blog link!)

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Snapshots from the beach: Boscombe to Hengistbury Head

It’s been a while since Shaun and I went on a random adventure, so on a bright sunny Sunday I grabbed my camera and off we went to the train station for a day out. After a false start, where the train decided to split in two at the station without telling us and half went one way and half went the other (we were on the wrong half) we eventually turned back and got on the correct train to Bournemouth.  As we are lucky enough to live only 51 minutes away from the seaside, it would have been a shame not to visit the beach on this glorious day. 

We got off the train at Boscombe which is the stop just before Bournemouth, mainly because we were starving a knew a place which did really nice food.

Urban Beach. 23 Argyll Road, Bournemouth, BH5 1EB

Urban Beach has been our favourite place to eat whenever we visit Bournemouth. It’s a chilled out bar/restaurant with a beach/surf vibe. The staff are always so friendly and make us feel extremely welcome. I blogged about our fab experience here in October and today was just as good. As soon as I saw that Sunday Roast was on the menu, I knew exactly what I wanted to order.

I asked if they did vegetarian roast dinners and yes they did! This is the mushroom and asparagus roast with cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes (there are also parsnips and carrots hiding in there somewhere). Yum! Shaun went for a similar but meaty version. As always, the food was delicious and we felt ready to go on a little (8 mile) walk along the beach.

Boscombe is the home of the most colourful instagrammable beach huts. 

When you get the Boscombe pier you can either turn right towards Bournemouth or head left towards Southbourne. We decided to turn left and walk along the promenade. We didn’t have a plan, we just wanted to a leisurely stroll along the beach and see where we ended up.

It was such a lovely day – we saw a game of beach volleyball, people swimming in the sea, families and friends relaxing outside their beach huts. There is something about the seaside that makes you feel instantly chilled and calm.

This is the classic “Shaun stand there and pretend to take a photo, pose”

If you keep walking along the promenade, eventually you arrive at this very scenic grassy bit. We soon realized we were heading towards Hengistbury Head which according to Google is a ‘headland jutting into the English Channel between Bournemouth and Mudeford in the English county of Dorset, it incorporates many different habitats and supports a wide variety wildlife and rare plant species’. 

What would I do without Google hey.

We carried on walking along the very scenic grassy bit until we reached the top of a hill. More Googling tells me that this is grassy plateau of Warren Hill. If you look to the left you can see the bay of Hengistbury Head. If you are walking from Boscombe, these seats are very much needed for a quick rest.

We followed the path which took us right down to the beach huts of Hengistbury Head. These are no ordinary beach huts though, they are like mini homes, equipped with little kitchens, beds, sofas, TVs, outside bbqs, they are pretty cool.

They are located on the beautiful Mudeford Split which has a harbour on one side, a beach on the other and a cafe which sells you a refreshing glass of lime and lemonade for £3.50 a pint.

These were originally fishing huts but now they are a collection of 365 vibrant and colourful beach huts which make up a friendly community by the sea.

I’ve just found out you can even rent these out for a week here if you have a spare £750 – £1,000 lying around.  These must be the world’s most expensive beach huts as one recently went on sale for £300,000 which you could actually buy a house for. Although I gotta say, the views of the harbour are lovely.

After spending a while sitting on the beach, resting our feet after the 4 mile walk from Boscombe. We prepared ourselves for the return journey. Top tip: when you walk a long way, it’s always worth remembering that you gotta walk back.

It was such a warm summery evening though, so we didn’t mind too much.

I hope you enjoyed my snapshots from the beach. My feet have just about recovered now from the mammoth trek. Have you been to Boscombe/Hengistbury Head? Do you prefer relaxing on the beach or walking and exploring? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Paint Your Own Reeves Flower Pots

I’ve been having great fun lately getting creative with Reeves products and yesterday I tried something a bit different – I mixed up some paints and did flower pot painting. Previously, I shared with you how to make Reeves Rainbow Rain, Reeves Colour By Numbers and Reeves Paint By Numbers however, this is the first time I’ve got really experimental with my paints and created my own colours. These are actually really simple to do and are perfect if want to add a splash of colour into your garden this summer.

Reeves believe creativity isn’t about right or wrong, it is all about expression. The cool thing about these is you can completely personalize your flower pots by creating your own colours and using different washi tape borders. No two pots will ever be the same. Here is how I made mine:

All you need is Reeves Acrylic Paints, Reeves Acrylic Brushes and Terracotta Plant Pots. Later on you will need some washi tape and Gorilla superglue. The washi tape I have used is from Paperchase but I’m pretty sure any washi will look awesome for this project. The terracotta plant pots I used were found in ASDA for £1 each which I think is a real gardening bargain.

As I haven’t properly painted since school, I embarrassingly had to Google ‘how to mix pastel shades’. The results were pretty simple – just add white. Thank you Mr Google. So for my first pot, I mixed red and white and created this light pinky colour.

Ta-da! Once the first colour was created I felt slightly more confident with my project. Saying that, I had absolutely no plan or idea of what I wanted the pots to look like, it was simply just a case of make it up as I go along. Having no rules makes everything more fun though, right?

All I knew at this stage was that I wanted to make each pot a different pastel colour, so for the next one I mixed green and white and created this shade.

Pastel blue was the next colour and you guessed it, I mixed blue and white.

My fourth and final pot was yellow. If you don’t like a colour, you can easily lighten it by adding more white paint. 

I decided to give each pot a white border just to see what it would look like.

You can also entirely repaint a pot if you want. I wanted my pink to be more pink so got experimental to create a brighter shade. I also painted the insides of the pot white as I was enjoying myself so much, I didn’t want to ever stop painting things.

The washi tape idea suddenly popped into my head whilst I was painting. I thought the flowers and butterflies design from Paperchase was perfect for the flower pots. I’m sure any washi tape would look awesome though – I can’t wait to try this out with different patterns.

To make the washi border, I folded the tape in half and measured around the top of the pot.

As these are going in the garden, I needed the strongest glue possible. Gorilla glue has never let me down, in fact the Alpaca Pom Pom Pins which I made for my sister earlier this year are still doing their job – there has been no reported pom pom malfunctions.

The gorilla superglue worked in seconds and my flowery borders were stuck firmly. There is no going back with this stuff so choose your washi tape wisely.

That’s it! The pastel flower pots with washi tape borders are now complete! You can have fun creating your own shades and using different tapes to make a totally unique design. The possibilities are endless.

Finally, add some flowers into your pots and they are garden ready!

Here they are in the garden. All I have to do now is remember to water the plants! Hope you enjoyed my flower pot project how-to. Have you painted your own flower pots?   If you give this a try yourself don’t forget to share your creations on social media using #WeAreReeves and #ShowYourColours

Have fun and be creative!

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