Building My Blog – July 2016

building my blog july 2016

Welcome to my 25th monthly blog update, all about what I got up to behind the scenes of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in July 2016.

Apologies that the post is a bit late this month. One of the reason I blog is that it is something I can fit around the boys and the summer holidays have meant that the balance between blogging and spending time with my family has shifted. We’ve been having a great summer with Daniel’s 6th birthday (keep an eye out for his cake over the next few days), a trip down to London and lots of days out, but it has meant that I’ve not had as much time on here as I usually do.

As you know (if you’re a regular reader) I’ve been slowly moving towards earning money from my blog so as the blog building has been a bit quiet, I thought I’d share some tips for getting started with sponsored posts instead.

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Cajun Tortilla Mini Quiches


I’m very excited to tell you all about a new collaboration I’ve just started working on. A few weeks ago I was approached by Oven Pride and asked to make some recipe videos to share across their social media based around days in my Food Calendar. I’d not actually tried Oven Pride when they approached me and I never work with companies whose products I haven’t tried and wouldn’t recommend, so my first step was to head out to the supermarket and stock up on cleaning products (my oven was seriously in need of a good clean to the point where I’d been considering hiring one of those external cleaning companies so the timing was perfect).

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#TheFoodCalendar – August 2016

thefoodcalendar august 2016

Welcome to the #TheFoodCalendar for August. I for one am getting very excited about the Olympics this month, so expect my blog to be very quiet over the next few weeks as I’m glued to the coverage on TV (and probably on my phone, iPad and radio all at the same time :-) ). I’m also looking forward to the return of the Bake Off but I can’t find a start date for it anywhere (so it’s not on the calendar yet), I’m guessing it’s been pushed back because of the Olympics coverage – if anyone knows when it starts then tell me because I don’t want to miss it!

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GIVEAWAY: Win A Voucher For The Juice Premium Worth £36

juice premium mar 16

I know what you’re thinking, you wait ages for a giveaway and then two come along at once! This time I’m back with my monthly The Juice Premium giveaway, your chance to win a voucher worth £36 to treat yourself to a selection of delicious juices from their online store.

The people over at The Juice Premium are in the process of making a few changes and as part of this giveaway they’d love some help to choose a new name.

Before you give us your ideas, you’ll be needing a bit of information about their juice to help get your creative juices flowing…

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GIVEAWAY: My Summer Kitchen Wishlist and Win a £150 Steamer Trading Voucher

steamer trading giveaway title

I’m so very excited to bring you a new giveaway to win a £150 Steamer Trading voucher to use in their online store. As I’ve said before, Steamer Trading is one of my absolute favourite cookware stores – I can get lost for ages in their Chester store (quite literally as it looks tiny from the outside but goes back for seemingly miles and then up three floors ) browsing pretty kitchenware and cool gadgets.

When they offered me a £150 voucher to give away to one of my readers it got me thinking about what I would buy if I won (don’t worry I can’t actually enter :-) ). I suspect in reality I’d end up buying something very practical like a new saucepan set or some knives, but whilst they’d bring me lots of happy cooking hours they’re not very exciting, so as the sun is shining I decided instead to share a summer kitchen wishlist full of all of those things that will make sitting out in the sunshine even better…

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Mini Prawn Cocktail


This post is sponsored by Heinz.

As you know, I love a good recipe challenge and so couldn’t resist when Heinz invited me to create a new recipe to celebrate the launch of their new [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise. There was however a twist to this challenge… it had to fit in a spoon. My immediate thought was to rush out and buy a giant spoon but apparently that’s cheating so I had to think of something dainty.

I immediately started listing out all of the foods I think taste even better smothered mayo and once I’d thought of prawns I stopped. I remember once being on holiday with a big bag of cooked prawns and a tub of mayo and just eating the prawns dipped in mayo for lunch in the sunshine (oh so yummy!). As delicious as it is to serve up a prawn with a dollop of mayo on it, I thought this recipe should be a touch fancier so I decided to create my own version of the 70’s classic – the prawn cocktail.

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Chocolate Buttercream


Over the weekend I shared my chocolate birthday cake recipe and what chocolate cake is complete without a decent dollop of chocolate buttercream all over it? As soon as the chocolate cake recipe was perfected I got straight to work on creating the buttercream to go with it. For some strange and unknown reason I decided to leave sorting out the buttercream until I’d got the cake recipe nailed down, which meant baking even more cakes to test each buttercream with (OK I probably could have tasted the buttercreams without the cake and narrowed it down to a few favourites – but where’s the fun in that!).

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Chocolate Birthday Cake


One question I’ve been asked a lot in the past is whether I can recommend a really good chocolate cake recipe, and I couldn’t… until now.

I hate getting questions that I can’t give a helpful answer to, so over the past few weeks I’ve been a busy bee trying to perfect my chocolate cake recipe. Now this couldn’t be just any old chocolate cake, it had to be perfect for a birthday which meant it must…

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Building My Blog – June 2016

building my blog june 16 title

Welcome to my 24th monthly blog update, all about what I got up to behind the scenes of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in June 2016.

24th update? Yes, that means I’ve now been blogging for a whole 2 years! In some ways I still feel like a complete newbie, but I’m struggling to remember a time before I spent all day long thinking about cooking, photography and social media. I remember after having children wondering what on earth I did to fill my time before they arrived and it’s very much the same feeling I have about blogging.

This month I’m going to be talking about being a loser, my thoughts on Food Blogger Pro and switching from Lightroom to Photoshop for my photo editing.

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How To Make A Character Cake Topper

character cake topper

When I was little I always loved the cakes that my mum made for my birthday. We had a book called Cake Magic and my sister and I could choose from it which cake design we wanted her to make for each birthday. I still look back on pictures of those cakes and smile, and it’s important to me that I can give my boys those same memories. My approach to cake decorating is a little different – I don’t work from a book, I simply let them pick a theme and from there on in I just make it up as I go along, but I have to say I’m really proud of the cakes I’ve managed to come up with.

A while ago I was asked on Facebook how I went about making the characters that I use to top my boys’ birthday cakes. It wasn’t a request for a specific character, more a question about the general approach that I take, so here it is…

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