Sunday, January 15, 2012

New phone, beauty stuff and Tabby 2.0

So, let's start with the least prominent point: nails.

Having been an acrylic/gel nail fan for a really long time, nobody knows the advantages as well as disadvantages of gettin' 'em done as well as I do. My nails needed a rest; so when I'm not toying around with every available to me Shellac shade every two weeks, in that rare colour break, I've been looking for new stuff to try. I got Sally Hansen's 'salon effects' kit in a lace print a few months ago and only just put it to some use.

What can I say.. all in all, it's definitely easy to use and took me all of half an hour, between watching my show and watching my fiance enjoy some quality time with the Wii, mind you, much deserved as we had an awesome Sunday. More about that in a second.

Nails: easy application, evidently good quality material, albeit needless to say, not comparable to a salon experience.

The day was great because we got out to our favourite restaurant in the neighbourhood, the one where our engagement party was hosted. They offer entertainment for the kids while the parents enjoy an undisturbed meal. Nika loves it and we are always happy with the service as well as got pleasantly surprised by a discount card we had asked for in return for them catering our party. In Moscow, unfulfilled promises are the norm if not even more common than the promises that are kept, so thumbs  up for the Bocconcino at Novoslobodskaya.

Now to more important things..a change in my life, an unexpected one: moving from the Sony Ericsson cult into the HTC coven. I am now a very impressed owner of the HTC Rhyme in a lush shade of plum purple. Within 24 hours of life with me, my new pet has become customized to its absolute potential. It has proven to be not only an impressive member of the smartphone gang but also made me giddy with joy upon the sight of all the shiny accessories that are not only new and exciting but also efficiently functional and light up super cute.. needless to say I'm talking about the charm here. The docking station is a cool touch as I love listening to my playlist whilst getting ready to go out but this has always proven to be somewhat a pain with my old phone due to power cords in the way, and it overheating and not charging much during the music play. Headphones are also really pleasing albeit I'll be switching to cordless Bluetooth again once those charge up.


And now for Tabby.. 'Tabby' is actually the 3G Samsung Galaxy tab I accidentally drowned in the rain last holiday. I was hopeful that there was a chance to salvage it, alas, that was actually not the case as it rejected a generic part and the repair centre has not been able to have an authentic Samsung one shipped here, presumably because it suits Samsung better to have customers replace tabs altogether in lieu of just a single part, sucks but oh well. I was relatively upset to hear that a repair wasn't possible and I could hear disappointed my fiance was at the news.. and so, thinking quick, I figured out a few innovative ways to replace the expensive tab in under a week. On Saturday, I was buying the tab again, the reason why is simple: I felt guilty for breaking something and couldn't not replace the thing being that I could.. and so I did, and I feel much better. I think it's part of being a family or rather, part of being a part of a family - when given the chance, making up for your mistakes.



Friday, January 13, 2012

The Big 4

What's the big 4 like? Well, bigger than the big 3, that's for sure!

It's rather shocking how time flies. And my little big 3 year old, turns into a little big 4 year old.

This year, Rainbow Cake ambitions cake true, and wow was it an interesting experiment!


Using this batter recipe:
 http://www.azcookbook.com/zebra-cake/

Preparation time: 10 minutes ---> took us 20
Cooking time: 40 minutes
  --> ours was in for about 30 min
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake

INGREDIENTS for Rainbow Cake recipe
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz / 250 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) oil (corn, vegetable or canola is fine)
2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 tablespoon (equals 3 teaspoons) baking powder (if not available, substitute with 1 teaspoon baking soda)


There's also cocoa in that recipe but we  didn't use any due to using food colouring.


I chose Wilton, a set of 4: red, orange, yellow and blue. In the end I wasn't happy with my choice of food colour because I didn't manage to get purple from the particular shade of blue and red - I need a cyan and a magenta. 


I lost some red during transportation, so getting a bright red colour was difficult due to me needing to scrub the botton of the little tub to get what was left over. I left the first batch sitting around too long, due to no fault of my own, and made the mistake of starting with the blue colour in the middle (which then spread out into the bottom of the pan, thus getting cooked first and ending up not so vivid), anyway.. my other mistake was having the convection on in the oven, making the first layer cook too quickly.


I lost some batter on my purple colour attempt so the recipe had yielded much more than I got, which in turn left me making another batch. Being much more cofident this time, steadier hand while pouring, I ended up with this result:







I got that by pouring the batter right into the middle of the pan, hand as steady as possible, and never moving the man and never spreading out the batter manually, that would mess the effect up.









I was super happy with its appearance but I definitely wasn't happy with the air bubbles I got inside it. No biggie, some Italian maringue frosting later (provided by my fiance who is ace at making frosting of any kind), I was super happy with the result





Used left over batter (because the second layer was made without even attempting purple, and being that I wanted them to be similar in size, I decided not to make too much coloured batter and so, having some left over, zebra cake!)