Monday, 30 April 2012

Madame Squirrel's Weekly Report 8

Last week I: 
wore my lucky cat t-shirt... 

had my hair cut and coloured...

*this picture has been instagrammed like crazy

My hair, believe it or not, is actually meant to be blonder *sigh*. Even though the colour is not what I wanted, I've got used to it and I don't really mind it now. My hair is also shorter which hurt *first world problems* but I did need a lot of dried straw cut off...I was starting to look a lot like Worzel Gummidge with dreadlocks.

saw 'We Are The In Crowd' at the O2 Academy Islington ...

Lovely gig. Check. Lovely band. Check. Lovely music. Check. 
 *The fact that I'm calling all these things lovely means I was probably far too old to be at this gig in the first place.*

As you can see it's been a bit of a slow week mainly due to the fact that I'm going on holiday THIS friday and I gotta save me some pennies (or just spend them on expensive hairdressers that don't listen to me; either/or!) 

What have you all been up to? Tell all!

Madame Squirrel.

P.S Big fat smoochies and hugs to my lovely new followers...I really don't deserve you!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Wedding Season

It's that time of year again. The invites are fluttering through the door, the save the dates are appearing in my facebook events and the panic of what to wear is setting in. Yep, wedding season is arriving. I'm going to a wedding in just over two weeks time in America - in humid North Carolina. Lovely! I cannot wait. My wardrobe on the other hand can. Why? I'll tell you why:

One. Whatever I wear (most likely a dress) can't be too short, I'm not going to be known as some hussy who flashes her knickers.

Two. I cannot wear white, cream or ivory (obvs.). Knowing this, every single dress I see and like is of course white, cream or ivory. Stop it brain, just stop it.

Three. Whatever garment I choose has to either keep me cool or stop anyone from noticing I'm a sweaty betty i.e it can't change colour as I perspire like a leaking paddling pool.

Four. The dress I choose has to be nice but not too nice; no one wants to show up the bride or her bridesmaids!

Five. The wedding is on a goat farm, this means that the dress-code is smart casual (and probably goat proof). Every dress I see is smart or casual; there are very few in-betweens and nothing is goat proof as far as I'm concerned!

I've noticed that some other bloggers are trying to deal with the female wedding guest clothing dilemma. Fritha Louise of Fish Tank Fashion is also going to a spring wedding and is thinking of wearing this dress (which is bootiful), Amy of Chestnuts and Cedars is helping her sister choose a suitable wedding appropriate maxi dress, and The Sweetest Occasion is just sorting the dilemma of what to wear to a garden wedding for you. But where does that leave me?

Firstly, I really need to check what I have lurking at the back of my wardrobe. Maybe I've miraculously hidden the perfect smart/casual dress, which has been discarded due to weight gain. Maybe another miracle has occurred and I've lost enough weight to squeeze myself into it (I'm sure the art of squeezing will feel exceptionally cool in the N.C humidity!)

Then there is a jumpsuit. A really pretty jumpsuit I own from BHS (yep, you heard). By wearing this jumpsuit I will rule out any knicker flashing, sweat patches and showing up the bride in one fell swoop*. My traditional brain on the other hand is sarcastically raising one eyebrow and saying ' A jumpsuit, to a wedding? Really?'

Here it is in all it's glory. Trust me this picture really doesn't do it justice.

Can I get away with a jumpsuit? What are your thoughts lovely readers? Would you dare to wear a jumpsuit to a wedding?

Madame Squirrel.

*I am well aware that there is no way that this jumpsuit is goat proof; I swear goats could eat barbed wire and be absolutely fine. Not that I would ever feed goats barbed wire! I love fact I take myspace-esque pictures with goats as soon as I'm near one. I find it hilarious and awesome. The goats don't care - they're usually chewing away on my cardigan.

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Recently, I have been looking at my (bursting) wardrobe and wondering just how many 'classic' pieces do I actually have in there?

I'm a sale (and Primark) the way that magpies pick up silver trash, I pick up sale trash. I almost always buy patterned (or ugly) items, which tend to date quite quickly and lots and lots of tops and dresses (I seem to forget that I actually have a bottom half, which is a miracle considering how rotund my stomach is getting). I don't shop well, I'm a grab and try everything on kind of gal and I really need to change this habit of a lifetime.

Don't get me wrong I still want to look like me (tramp chic remember?) but I want to buy more 'investment pieces' rather than items that I will wear once and then sell on eBay two years later.

Here are some items that I view as the beginnings of a capsule wardrobe. Part of me wants to buy them all and put my existing wardrobe out of its misery (unfortunately I'm not that flush with the monies, so not gonna happen). As I can only (barely) afford the highstreet, I've mostly used items from the UK high street and I was genuinely surprised at the chic loveliness there is out there, probably because I just haven't looked before...

Classic Capsule Wardrobe
L-R Top Row: Silk Crepe Boxy Shirt £45 Topshop, Moto Vintage Skinny Baxter £40 Topshop, Tall Piped Trench Coat £68 Topshop, Moto Oversized Denim Shirt £34 Topshop, Cherry Red Knit Ruffus Dress $195 (ok not quite high street) Sandro via
L-R Middle Row: Polka Dot Peplum Shell Top £35 A|wear, Traditional Leather Jacket £165 Topshop, Jody Dress £39 Coast
L-R Bottom Row: Cotton Breton Top £22 Oasis, Black Super Skinny Jeans £38 Miss Selfridge, Khaki Safari Jacket £35 Dorothy Perkins, Basic Neppy Tee £14 Topshop, Black High Waisted Skater Skirt £12 Desire Clothing

Classic Wardrobe Accessories
L-R Top Row: Brown Leopard Print Bow Ballet Pumps (Sold Out: £15) Red Herring at Debenhams, Leather Satchel, $75 Golden Ponies on Etsy, Powder Ballet Pumps £7.99 H&M
L-R Middle Row: Black Ambush Boots (Sold Out: £75) Topshop, black metal bar detail envelope clutch £18 ASOS , Black Banana Heel Platforms £35 Jane Norman
Bottom Row: Brown Sandals £12.99 H&M

I personally feel that all these items are pretty timeless; they just won't date. To me style is a very personal thing, usually mixed with a big dose of confidence, but there are certain items (a uniform if you will) that are associated with classic dressing; polka dots, the breton stripe, the classic trench etc etc. They are the perfect basics to add touches of seasonal trends to; a pair of neon shoes, an aztec print scarf or a paisley t-shirt for example.

I haven't included any jewellery as I feel that timeless jewellery is made up of the more personal items that people acquire; the gold and silver chains that people wear everyday, the rings and bracelets that have been gifted for a special occasion or passed down from generation to generation.

The items I've used are spring items (I couldn't find any jumpers or coats's not like we need them now or anything is it England dwellers!?) so I may look again around mid summer(!) for winter items that would be wonderful additions to a capsule wardrobe - I'm thinking oversized cable knit jumpers, tailored camel coats and classic navy duffle coats; it makes me feel cozy just thinking about it.

Before I go here are some stylish ladies showing me just how classic stylin' is done:


What are your must haves for a classic wardrobe? Do you agree with my choices?

Madame Squirrel.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Madame Squirrel's Weekly Report 7

Wow, this is a bit late. Yes, sorry about that. I haven't been feeling like myself recently, but I know it will pass. Self- pitying aside though I did have a lovely week!

Last week I...

watched my cat do this...

I thought cats weren't meant to eat dairy. But then again my cat doesn't realise that he is a cat, so I think that's fine...

was quite happy my cat wasn't around to see this...

Yes that is a blue tit in my living room! My friend suggested that he was a sign from God telling me to stop making a tit of myself; she is quite the stand up comedienne. 

accessorised to the max

I have developed an obsession with mint coloured everything (I'm still looking for the perfect mint jeans). I tried to do space inspired nails...this was the good hand. I also think that everyone will agree that dotty socks are awesome.

received a lovely goody bag from Kleenex which showcases all of their new beauty range. 

Yep that is my tweet in the Kleenex advert in Now Magazine. Quick fact: most of my embarrassing stories do involve pants.

ate food and drank tea (shocker)

How on earth did that picture of sangria get in here?!...I would never drink that during the day while walking round Camden Market (actually I would and did). I also had a lovely lunch with the mothership at The Cape, delicious char sui pork buns at Ping Pong and drank rose tea and ate cherries in the sunshine. 

took a cupcake decorating class with The Cocoa Box

I was very lucky to receive a two hour cupcake lesson for me and one other person as a christmas present last year. The class was really fun, I learnt lots of tips for making the perfect cupcake and I really enjoyed working with sugar paste, something I hadn't really used before. All in all I would definitely recommend cocoa box cupcake classes for any cupcake lovers out there. The Cocoa box also teaches cookie decorating and chocolate making classes just in case cupcakes aren't your thing.

What did you all get up to last week? Anything exciting?

Madame Squirrel.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Every Little Helps

Aren't these court shoes from F&F at Tescos just delightful? And whats more they're only £22! I just love their shape; even I might manage to not fall bum over boob in them. 

Personally I have my eye on the mint green ones; in my mind the colour mint goes with absolutely everything, which technically (shoppers logic) would make them an investment. I can't think of a single outfit they wouldn't go with. Ok, maybe, possibly, sort of...they wouldn't go with lime green lycra body suits like the one's that the legend Mr Motivator wears. Luckily for the general public I'm not in the habit of wearing lime green lycra bodysuits (thank god) so I suppose I can live with that. 

F&F Spotty peep toe court shoe

F&F Peep toe court shoe

F&F Peep toe court shoe

What do you think of Florence & Fred at Tescos?  Have you bought any items from them that you love?

Madame Squirrel.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


I just love The Oatmeal...

Madame Squirrel.

Madame Squirrel's Weekly Report 6

This week I...

Have been looking after Robo Cat:

The mothership is currently on a cruise with my aunt and nan so I'm looking after the house and all of our animals. As you can see my pets are perfectly normal.

Took pictures of my own face:

(Well hello massive forehead, someone should really get you a fringe)

After my blog wisdom post I've decided to show y'all my attempts at the tutorials I mentioned. Here's a glimpse at my (poor) version of the smokey to follow.

Took my dad to the theatre:

My dad had a big birthday recently (I won't say what birthday it was as I don't want to risk my life) and to celebrate I took him to see Noises Off at the Novello Theatre. For anyone who hasn't seen Noises Off it's a play within a play (playception?) and it is belly shaking funny. I felt a bit sad that the actors in the play that I recognised, I only knew from television or film, yet looking at the programme they had performed in double the amount of plays. I think it's a shame that most actors or actresses are only 'known' from new media opposed to their acting accomplishments within the theatre.

Ate too much food (again):

After seeing Becky's picture of her pancake breakfast on her twitter @lifestyleflash_ the monsieur and I made and ate 6 pancakes...each. I will blame Becky for any obesity which may occur from following her twitter and reading her (very lovely) blog lifestyleflash.

Following the eating of 6 pancakes (I did insist I only ate four but Monsieur Squirrel kindly corrected me) I decided to be really healthy and make dark chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt (recipe to be posted later this week!).

So in one day I had eaten pancakes, made chocolate chip cookies and then I went to consume my weight in sushi. Hi! Sushi at the Camden Lock have a secret menu (it isn't that much of a secret, you just ask for it) where you can eat 'all you can eat' sushi for £16. 
Now the 'all you can eat' sushi concept is common in the United States but I have never seen it here; let's just say I made the most of it as did the Monsieur. 
The only problem with the restaurant was that we were immediately kicked out after we'd paid the bill! I usually wouldn't mind but the people we went with we hardly ever get to see and they are some of our favourite people in the whole world, we were quite affronted to say the least. Still sushi = gooood:

So today I'm not feeling too clever...turns out that eating that much food in one day isn't a good idea. 

If you want to make me feel better (cheeky I know) why not check out my eBay items that end today in under 4 hours (eek)!

I hope you've all had a wonderful week and are having an even better weekend!

Madame Squirrel.

Friday, 13 April 2012

March Madness: What I Bought.

I may have made a few purchases in March. Oops. 


When Claire (@c_sittingpretty) tweeted that there was a 25% dicount code up for grabs for her Sitting Pretty Shop I tweeted her demanding it immediately (ok I didn't demand it, I was very polite actually). I had been looking at these rings with lust in my eyes for a long time and with 25% off I knew I should finally take the plunge and purchase them. 
And here they are in all their glory. 

L-R: No.5 Red Alloy Stone Ring, No. 2 Blue Alloy Stone Ring, No. 12 Green Alloy Stone Ring. All £4.

I love the colours; the green ring really isn't being done much justice in this photo (stupid camera). It's a really lovely dark emerald green not a dull greeny black as it appears here (chucks camera across the room). I really love them and even without the discount they are a really reasonable price (I'm just a cheapskate). 
Claire has lots of other lovely jewellery pieces to share so have a nose at her shop and why not her gorgeous blog while you're at it.

Yes it's an item from Toppers
When I ordered this online I thought it would only be suitable for evening but hurrah it's not! 

Topshop Black Folded Leather Clutch- £48 (sold out online)

I love the leather and suede stripes and it is so big inside, I can fit all my crap in it (not an easy feat for most bags I own) and carry it as a clutch or over my shoulder (I think that's value for money). At £48 it weren't cheap guvnah but I don't care as I'm in love and love ain't cheap.


 Not really very spring time are they; no pastels here, no sir.

I haven't worn the tunic yet as I've read reviews on the Topshop website that it washes really badly and all the beads fall off (great!); therefore it's going to sit in my wardrobe until the right occasion and then I will tenderly wash it like it's a new-born baby.  

L-R Topshop Studded Cross Tunic £32, H&M Collared T-shirt (sold out online), 

Chestnuts And Cedars and I both bought the H&M collared t-shirt at the same time (yes that is a shiny beaded collar...we were like magpies) so there is a chance we may turn up wearing the same thing. Awkward.
Another aztec pattern to add to my wardrobe (stay tuned for a post on all my aztec print clothing). I don't need this skirt as I already have this skirt, but it is so comfy and soft, therefore I bought it and own it.


I took advantage of the Boots 3 for 2 Mix + Match on cosmetics when I was in Milton Keyenes

L-R: Collection 2000 Big Fake Mascara in Ultra Black £4.99,  L'oreal Paris Infalliable Brush Foundation in Porcelain £12.29,  17 Eye Shadow Trio in Barely There £5.49.

I saw the L'oreal Infallible foundation (in the colour Porcelain) on the gorgeous Katie's Beauty Blog when she did this 60's inspired look. It looked so lovely on her skin I decided to try it. 
I have always had trouble with highstreet make-up brands 'paler' items, they always look too orange or yellow on me, which is always a good look for being out in public. 
This is the best cheaper liquid foundation I have ever bought for my skin tone. It blends perfectly due to the attached brush and you don't need to waste any precious foundation as you rotate the brush head to produce as much product as you need. Score! 
Big Fake is a standard in my make-up bag, I always use waterproof mascara due to my leaky eye syndrome (*not a real syndrome) and this does not budge or flake, also it makes my lashes look almost fluttersome instead of short, stubby and broken. 
The 17 eye palette was my 'I didn't realise it was 3 for 2, rush around Boots like a mad woman' buy. I have used the shell coloured shade every single day since I bought it as it's prefect for day time.

I also had a little E.L.F splurge.

L-R Top Row: Contouring Blush And Bronze Compact £3.50, Studio Golden Bronzer £3.50
L-R Bottom Row: Studio Eyebrow Kit in Medium, Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder £3.50

 I highly recommend the contouring blush, bronzing powder and the eyebrow kit. 
I have almost see-through skin; I'm that pale, and the contouring blush and bronzing set should be too dark on me but it's not (whoop!)...I do have to blend, blend, blend though. 
The golden bronze kit is also perfect for my skin tone; I tend to brush it over my cheeks, forehead and down my nose after foundation and concealer and before I use the contour kit. 
The last item I bought from E.L.F was the High Definition Undereye Setting Powder. Maybe it's my bathroom lighting or maybe it's just my face but I didn't notice any difference to my eyes at all with this and I don't think my under-eye concealer lasted any longer; it's a good idea but it just didn't work for me.

Wow that was a lot of words to describe the results of my shopping addiction. Sorry.

However if you would like to sponsor my addiction; please check out my eBay stuff ;)

What cheeky purchases have you bought recently? Show me your stash!

Madame Squirrel.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Vanilla and Raspberry Jam Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream Roses

One day, one glorious beautiful fine day I will bake the perfect cupcake...again. 2 years ago I managed it. The most perfect, moist, light and fluffy cupcakes and not just one but 40 of them! I baked them for Monsieur Squirrel's brother's wedding. I used the infamous Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe and the bad boys that came out of the oven were perfect. They were perfect in height, perfectly cooked and the taste, oh the taste. Light, fluffy, moist and vanillary (yeah that is a word).

Check out my measuring matroyshka nesting
 doll cups. They are my best friends when I'm baking.

We moved out of that house a couple of months later. I wish I'd baked so many more cupcakes in that oven because since then I haven't baked one perfect cupcake. NOT ONE. And it hurts. Oh it hurts. It haunts my dreams. I feel like every cupcake I see mocks me; and boy are they cruel.

Just out of the oven...before they sunk.

Why does my favourite hummingbird recipe not work anymore? (I have whined this to Monsieur Squirrel a lot; it is not a pleasant sound). So far I've tried the hummingbird recipe 4 bluming times using our current oven. Each time they shrink and are chewy. When they failed the first time, I thought it was because the ingredients hadn't been at room temperature. The second time; because I used the oven fan. The third; I hadn't filled the liners properly. The forth; I just blamed the oven and searched for a new recipe.

Filled with raspberry jam.

The next vanilla cupcake recipe I used worked ok; they were too dense but at least they rose.

Icing! Monsieur said my icing looked like MRM (mechanically recovered meat?!). Always the charmer!

On Saturday I decided to try the ultimate vanilla cupcake recipe. This recipe has been tested by 50 bakers (and I'm sure a lot more have tested it by now too).

Not looking too shabby (but a little bit, dare I say it,like lady parts?)

The recipe: Taken from the cupcake 

Makes around 12 - 16 cupcakes 

  • 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar 
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) plain flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. 
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. You should end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on a low speed until just combined. The batter will be quite liquidy.  
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. These cupcakes shouldn't turn a golden brown.  If they aren't done, test again in two minutes.  If they still aren't done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.
Note: I didn't use a vanilla bean in mine; if you can't afford it, just use a tiny bit more vanilla essence

So this is when I did my own recipe thang and added raspberry jam:

1. Once the cupcakes have cooled make a cavity in the middle of the cupcake using a teaspoon. Try to do this in one movement, so you have a whole tiny piece of cake that you have removed (set aside).
2. Insert half a tea-spoons worth of raspberry jam into the cavity.
3. Take the cake you've removed and place it back into the cupcake, covering the raspberry jam.

(Another way to do this is using a fine nozzle; place the raspberry jam into a decorating bag and insert the nozzle into the centre of the cupcake and squeeze gently)


I used the Hummingbird Bakery's vanilla buttercream icing recipe and added 4 drops of pink food colouring. I then used the Wilton 2D icing nozzle and a disposable decorating bag to make the rose detail. Squeeze the icing from the centre of the cupcake outwards (angling the nozzle tip inwards)in a spiral pattern. 

I will discuss icing techniques a bit more in my next cupcake inspired post!

Pink Vanilla Buttercream Icing Recipe:

500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter softened
50ml whole milk
Half tsp of vanilla essence
4 drops of pink food colouring

The verdict: Not quite ultimate but alright.

These taste amazing, and I thought they looked great but they are too moist and dense. Also they didn't rise; if anyone has a solution for non-rising cupcakes (a cupcake viagra so to speak) I am all ears. I'm just going to blame my oven again and purchase an oven thermometer!! The hunt continues for the perfect cupcake....

Madame Squirrel.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Madame Squirrel's Weekly Report 5

This Week I...

Ate my weight in food:

Check out that grilled cheese sandwich; it was too good.  As always, I burnt my lip as I refused to let it cool and ketchup is lethal when it is the temperature of the sun. 

Tips for the best grilled cheese sandwich:
-use a non-stick frying pan.
-butter the outside of the bread.
-cook it low and slow for 8-10 minutes each side. 

It will damage your arteries but it is so worth it. 

I managed to cancel out my artery damage by eating a lovely salad (as you can see from the photographic evidence) that my friend made (manages to omit that the aforementioned salad contained cut up chicken kiev). I then redid the artery damage with a fried egg and bacon sandwich (I think the fact it was made with gluten free bread makes it healthy though right?). Note: I did not eat all these items on the same day but I would if I could.

I am also completely and utterly addicted to chilli rice crackers...I need to find a supplier that can provide my fix for a lot less (Waitrose Y U so expensive?).

Had to include a standard photo of the easter eggs I received (they are mostly destroyed now).

Enjoyed making some easter treats: 

Classic Chocolate Cornflake Nests:


Mini eggs (obvs)
Cornflakes 75g
Dark Chocolate 100g
Golden Syrup 4 Tbsp
Butter 50g

*Melt butter, golden syrup and dark chocolate in a non-stick pan.
*Eat at least 6 mini-eggs while waiting for the melting to occur. 
*Stir in cornflakes. 
*Add mixture to cupcake cases (will fill about 12).
*Eat most of the mixture off of a large wooden spoon. 
*Make a nest shape and plonk in mini eggs. 
*Leave to cool and set for 30 mins to an hour in the fridge. 
*Nom them all.

Admired my beautiful new clutch from warehouse; come to mama!

Got my bake on cupcake style: 

Stay tuned for a post on these raspberry jam vanilla rose cupcakes (that's a mouthful) next week. 

I hope you have all had a choctastic Easter weekend :)

Madame Squirrel.