The Libra Cupcake: Banana recipe with chai buttercream frosting

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I’m writing this post from my hotel room in sunny Dubai, so expect some day-by-day posts of what I’m getting up to!

Keeping on with my zodiac-themed cupcake posts, today it’s Libra.

 

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Libras (September 23-October 22) are known to be fair, balanced, and diplomatic—which makes the most simple sense since its symbol is the scales. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that they’re quite people-oriented, whether that’s with their partner or family and friends, and like to keep everything in harmony and peace. They can’t tolerate injustice and root for equality and fairness in all they care about, and this mentality makes them the idea partner.

 

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They’re flirtatious by nature, which comes as no surprise since this sign is ruled by the planet Venus—also known as the Roman goddess of love. Along with Aquarius and Gemini, Libra’s element is Air. People ruled by this element tend to be quite social and communicative.

But, as with all good qualities come the not-so-good and Libras can be indecisive and even gullible; they’re good at helping other people, but they’re not as headstrong as when it comes to themselves.

 

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For these reasons, I wanted a flavour that was balanced—something sugar and spice (and everything nice), so I chose CHAI. Also, I love banana, and cinnamon (which is one of the make-ups of chai) pairs so well with it.

For the banana cupcakes, I used this beauty of a recipe by the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart.

For the chai frosting, I used:

160g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter, room temperature

Splash of coconut milk

1-2 teaspoons of Drink Me Chai

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl so it doesn’t go lumpy, then add the butter. I went for 2 teaspoons of chai powder, but add to taste. And enjoy!

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The Cancer Cupcake: vanilla marshmallow recipe with coconut buttercream frosting

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It’s a sunny Sunday here and I spent all afternoon walking around the city, having iced coffee and ginger beer, and counting down the days ’til we leave for Dubai (three!)

But it’s that time again: new post, new zodiac-inspired cupcake! Today I’ve got Cancer going on. My sun sign’s Virgo (check out that cupcake!) and my moon sign’s Cancer, so this is another one I’ve especially enjoyed doing.

 

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Cancerians are born between June 20 and July 22 and, as their element is water, they’re known to be emotional, responsive, and sympathetic. They’re really good at giving advice because of this sensitivity and deep-rooted ability to empathise and to tap into other people’s emotions. Their heart rules their thinking. This also makes them loyal and dependable; a Cancerian’s a great friend to have.

With this strong tie to their emotions, they can also be moody, oversensitive, and self-pitying.

 

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The flavour I’ve chosen is vanilla and marshmallow! Sweet, just like Cancerians, and with all the fluff that emotions bring.

The cupcake recipe is from ‘Lemon Sugar’ which you can find here. When they’d cooled from the oven, I cut out some of the middle, filled it with marshmallow creme, and replaced the top.

 

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Frosting recipe:

80g unsalted butter, room temperature

160g icing (confectioners’) sugar

Splash of coconut milk

Handful of desiccated coconut

2-3 tbsp blue food colouring

Mix all the ingredients together—make sure to sift in the icing sugar so it doesn’t get lumpy.

 

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And that’s it! Check out my other zodiac-inspired cupcakes: Leo / Gemini

LIBRA will be up tomorrow!

The Virgo Cupcake: Simple lemon rosemary recipe with lemon glaze

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Happy Hump Day! I’ve already done two zodiac-themed cupcake posts (Gemini and Leo) and today is all about Virgo, which is also my star sign! Also, another tribute to my blog’s name, The Virgo Violet!

I find Virgos to be maybe the most understood of the 12 signs—we’ve certainly got the worst rep in terms of being nit-picky and overly black-and-white on how things should be done.

 

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For sure, Virgos are the ultimate perfectionist. Not necessarily ‘anal’, but just that presentation and the way things are say a lot about a person. Personally, when I bake or cook anything, the whole process has to go perfectly, and it has to look great, simply because the end result is the only thing everyone’s going to see.

 

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Virgos are also known to be analytical and skeptical; they are great problem spotters and solvers because they see the detail. If you’ve got a problem, go to a Virgo for advice because they’re helpful and good at finding a solution. Unfortunately, this also means they can be critical of both themselves and others when they see the bad since it doesn’t fit into the bigger picture. They mean well, though, no matter how inflexible and interfering they come across!

 

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With all this, they can be introverted—definitely not the kind that like being centre of attention! That’s why I decided on a herb/citrus infusion, and landed on lemon and rosemary! Definitely delicious—I used this recipe from Kitchen Aid. The glaze—which uses both lemon juice and zest–is by Martha Stewart, which you can find here!

 

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The flavours are so subtle and fragrant, kind of like Virgo’s tendency to appear reserved—nothing special—but underneath are a bundle of misunderstood emotions and warmth. And, no, I’m not jut tooting my own horn as a Virgo!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts—Libra’s next!

 

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1970s-Inspired Look: Keep it classic with fringe, gilet, and a-line skirt

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— Scroll down to the bottom of the post for outfit details —

Happy Monday! Today needs to be easy and low maintenance; it needs to be something to ease you into the first day of a long week, but it can’t be unstylish. My style, before it became classic, colourful, and quite feminine, it used to be 100% bohemian. Think fringe, flared jeans, patterns, and layered jewellery. Then, it changed as I got older, and I did away with most of my boho pieces—something I actually deeply regret. Sometimes you’re just in that flower child, Woodstock hippie vibe, right?

Thankfully, I didn’t get rid of all of them. I kept the pieces I knew could give a look a little something-something, but not hurl it under the ‘boho’ category.

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This shirt from Reiss, for example, has the cool, graphic pattern, but still the classic, silken structure of a more put-together look. With just the skirt and shoes, you could wear it to the office. Add the fringe bag and the gilet, and it makes a pretty cool, semi-relaxed Sunday look.

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These necklaces are two of my favourites, I’ve got to say. The beaded one is slightly lower-sitting than your average choker, but it still sits comfortable under the choker umbrella, which keeps it way on trend. The necklace (it’s gold, by the way, but the grey sky sucks any and all colour out of pictures!) my parents got custom-made for my 21st from a jewellery store in my dad’s hometown in Lebanon. It’s my name in Arabic, and keeps a little of my heritage with me even when I’m feeling the full weight of my mum’s English side.

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OUTFIT: ShirtReiss / Skirt + GiletDorothy Perkins / ShoesClarks / BagStradivarius / Beaded necklacevintage / Gold necklacecustom-made

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The Leo Cupcake: Simple chilli chocolate recipe with cayenne, cocoa, and cinnamon

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It’s that time of week again! One day to go, then it’s back to the weekend! Last week I did the Gemini Salted Caramel cupcake, so, for my next zodiac-themed sweet, I wanted something dramatic. Which brings us to…Leo (July 23-August 22).

 

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Life can be especially dramatic if you’re a Leo; this is the sign that thrives being the centre of attention. In fact, I call it ‘Limelight Leo’ for this very reason.
People under this sign are super extroverted, confident, and bold, and I guess this makes for a great leader (to a point) since they’re courageous and enthusiastic—always a great inspiration to the team!

 

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Along with Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius, Leo is a ‘fixed sign‘. This means that they stand their ground on issues they believe in. This determination and persistence is obviously great when something needs getting done.
But, this also means they can be stubborn, inflexible; maybe even aggressive when they want to get their point across. This single-minded, opinionated side to them can be hard to work around.

 

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Its element is Fire, so right there you get a sense of how powerful this personality can be. Also, its zodiac symbol is the Lion—talk about king of the jungle! People under this sign are as protective of their loved ones as a lion is of its pride.
One thing about Leos is that, with their confidence, they can be pretty egocentric. This is definitely a characteristic of the Leos I know! If you want to stay on their good side, don’t ignore them.

 

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On to the cupcakes:

With all these Leo traits in mind, you can straight away see why I chose CHILLI CHOCOLATE! It’s dramatic, fiery, and honestly? You either love it or you hate it!

I used this recipe from All Recipes, and it is delicious! Really simple to make, and it doesn’t take too long. Just a note, though: the recipe says the batter needs only a few drops of milk—I needed so much more than that. But see how it goes.

 

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Stay tuned for the next zodiac cupcake post, ’cause next up is Virgo! Obviously my favourite to do since it’s my star sign!

The Gemini Cupcake: simple salted caramel recipe

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Happy Thursday! One more day until the weekend! Two things I love in this world are astrology and desserts. One enhances my spirituality and sense of self, the other just tastes damn good.

I’ve decided to do a series on zodiac-themed cupcakes—basically, I’m going to assign a flavour to each sign according to the sign’s characteristic. I’m a Virgo, so I’m especially looking forward to that one!

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First up is Gemini (May 21-June 21).

One of my cousins is a Gemini, as are two of my other friends, and let me tell you: they are all or nothing. Not as full-on as the Fire signs—Gemini’s element is Air—but I’d definitely say people in this sign are of the more extroverted variety. They’re known to be communicative—definitely sociablefriendly, lively, flexible, and original. Their flexibility weaves in with the fact that, along with Sagittarius, Virgo, and Pisces, Gemini’s a mutable sign; people under this sign like to go with the flow. They’re also quite volatile, indecisive, and impulsive.

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Because of their restless, curious nature, and the fact that they love experiencing new things, I wanted a flavour that would have impact. So, I chose SALTED CARAMEL! My other reason for choosing this particular sweet-and-salty combo is the sign’s symbol: The Twins. They make up the Gemini constellation, and are associated with Castor and Pollux of Greek mythology.

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Recipe Details!

I used the cupcake and buttercream recipe straight from Jane’s Patisserie here, and it’s so easy to follow! The recipe makes about 22, with some buttercream left over. Also, it says cooking time is 18-20 on 170ºC. I have a fan oven, so I put it on 150ºC. Since my oven also seems to cook things way faster than I want (I’ve burned some things in there oops!). I put the cupcakes in for 8 minutes—when I took them out, they were baked to perfection on the outside, but I stuck the tip of a knife in and it came out with a bit of batter. TIP: cover the cupcake with aluminium foil, then put them back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. They’ll bake evenly, then, and the tops won’t burn!

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The caramel recipe is by Nigella Lawson here, and it’s so good and also so easy to make—you don’t need a thermometer! You can use it to drizzle over the cupcakes when they’re iced and finished, and also in the buttercream itself.

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Hope you enjoyed this 1 of 12 upcoming posts, and stay tuned for the rest!

Taste For Turquoise: how to style stripes with a midi skirt

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— Scroll down to the bottom of the post for outfit details —

With all the grey and gloomy weather—and the horrible hair day I’m currently having—it’s important to wear an outfit that takes your mind off the negative. And how can you be mad when you’re wearing turquoise? It’s the colour of the ocean, of summer, and of all things good—plus, it always makes me feel happy and calm (VERY important when you’re having a bad hair day!)

Also, another Summer essential of mine is the classic striped top—in black and white, of course. It’s so preppy yet Parisian chic, and is the one pattern that goes with everything. See how I styled it in my Valentine’s Day post!

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This jersey midi skirt from Topshop is my favourite. It goes with nearly everything, it’s stretchy, and it’s super comfy! A little too warm to wear during the hot summer months when I go to Lebanon, but perfect for this 11ºC weather!

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Let’s talk ACCESSORIES. The great thing with figuring out outfits for this blog is that it’s pushed me to dig out all my jewellery that—for some reason—I stopped wearing altogether. I LOVE the chunky beads (and the turquoise!) on these necklaces.

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This bag might just be my lifeline. Yes, it can be a little on the small side when I’ve got a chunky purse to stuff inside, but it’s perfect for all-day shopping trips and for touristing during the holidays. It’s light and compact, and ultra-feminine with the big bow! It’s also red, one of my favourite colours, and the fact that it goes with nearly everything makes it a perfect suitcase/travel essential!

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OUTFIT: TopBHS / SkirtTopshop / CardiganSuite Blanco / Bag – Stradivarius / SocksNew Look / SneakersJennyfer / Necklaces / EarringsI AM