Sunday, 14 December 2014

Baking Challenge I Mince Pies

Every year me and mum make nearly 200 mince pies. My mum likes giving them to all of her clients along with friends and family. (and obviously we need a load too!) So every December we set a date in the calendar to batch bake all the mince pies. After years and years of doing it we've got the process nailed! I start making the pastry and then when it starts coming together mum takes over, she'll then roll it out and cut out the bases and the star tops. I put all the pastry into the tins and fill them with the mincemeat. 

We don't follow a recipe so i can't give you that but making the pastry is pretty standard and as far as putting mincemeat in them goes, it's pretty simple. 

The pastry we make is a simple butter, flour, caster sugar and water pastry and then we're partial to a bit of brandy mixed into the mincemeat too! (only a little bit though!) Some people suggest coating the pastry or using a glaze but we prefer not to and keep them real basic. Over the years they've gone down really well and we've had nothing but praise for them. 

In case you were wondering, we freeze the mince pies and only take them out as and when we need them. We sprinkle some icing sugar on top - the snowy look - and then put them in a cellophane bag with a couple of choccies too! They look super cute! 


Check out the picture of the BIG mince pie on Instagram too!


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Hand Written Letter.

Too much of our lives are spent online and avoiding contact with people. We send a text, an email or post on a Facebook wall rather than getting up and going to speak to whomever it may be. It's a shame really, human interaction is a beautiful thing! 

When my friend went off to uni we made a promise to send each other hand written letters, it was a way of keeping in touch and having something tangible to keep rather than just always calling, Skyping or texting each other. Don't get me wrong, we do that too! But by sending a letter, its a way of sending something more personal and my friend always tells me how lovely it is to receive something from home.

We've been keeping up with it for some time now, we go through phases of sending a few a month to not receiving or sending one for a few months. It will all depend on how busy we are and what else is going on in our lives at the time. But we will always reply to the last letter. Even when there isn't a lot to say. 

Me and my friend often make more of the letters by including different things in each one, it makes them even more exciting. I sent my friend a calligraphy/typography sketch I did in my last letter and i'm sure I will come up with something Christmassy for my next one! It can be as simple as an old photograph to a little present like sweets or chocolate!

It's difficult to understand the feeling of receiving a hand written letter until you get one. It's one of the best feelings, it's an instant mood booster and will put a massive smile on my face every time! I got home from work today to receive a letter from said friend and I instantly went from "I had a crap day" to "ooo a letter from my friend". 

So, I challenge you to send a letter to your best friend, a family member or someone you just haven't spoken to in a while. Make their day. 

If you're worried about what to write, trust me, it really doesn't matter. Me and my friend can go absolutely ages without having anything interesting to say but you'd be surprised what you come up with when you start writing. Just tell them about your day, it's more interesting that you think and it could spark a really interesting conversation, you never know! 

Let me know how you get on in the comments. Do any of you already have a penpal?

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

20 small reminders.

I can't remember where i saw this list but it's one i really like (i'm pretty fond of lists!) and i think you guys will be able to take something away from it too. Let me know in the comments what you think. 

  1. Be thankful for what you have before asking more of yourself and others.
  2. You will only regret the things you don’t do.
  3. Forgive AND forget, not letting go of the past will fester into bitterness.
  4. Eliminate negativity.
  5. Eat well.
  6. Have a consistent sleeping pattern.
  7. Stop worrying so much.
  8. Say ‘yes’ more.
  9. Read more, you can never learn too much.
  10. Why walk when you can run?
  11. Dance like nobody’s watching.
  12. Love fiercely (and fearlessly)
  13. Take more photos.
  14. Swap excuses for apologies, even if you’re right it doesn’t hurt to be wrong.
  15. Spend more time outside.
  16. It’s never too late to learn a new skill.
  17. Do what you love and love what you do.
  18. Listen to criticism but don’t take it personally.
  19. Quality not quantity.
  20. Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Pinterest Top 5 Favourites | November Part 1

Okay so i totally blanked on doing October Part 2! 

Can you believe it's November already! I don't know where this year has gone and i definitely don't feel like i've achieve as much as i could have done. Maybe that's something i'll aim to work on next year. I've got my New Years Resolution sorted already..

Here are my Top 5 for November Part 1:

I love how thin the lines are and how simple this is.

I adore white/cream coats this year.

Start a fresh one tomorrow.

mmmm... Mustard knit. 

The perfect winter night in a picture.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

5 ways to can those cravings.

Right now, i'm sat at my desk trying to avoid the temptation to grab a packet of crisps and a couple of biscuits from the kitchen. I'm as guilty as most for feeling as though it's okay for me to indulge because i went to the gym this morning. Which, don't get me wrong, it totally is. But, within reason! 

That's where i go wrong. 

I suffer with the incessant desire to feed my boredom most of the time my food of choice is biscuits or a very sugary tea if biscuits are unavailable. That's why, after this mornings gym session, i rushed to Waitrose and grabbed some healthy choices. Green tea with Cranberry and some bananas were my chosen options.

The benefits of green tea is a post in itself but i'm definitely starting to drink more especially in the build up to Christmas. It's essential to clean out the body before filling it with more sugar and twice the food you normally eat. (don't deny it, we all do it)

So how do i can my cravings? Don't worry about it. It's pretty easy really.

There's a couple of things you can try:

1. Put if off. 
It's a known fact that cravings don't last forever, in fact i think statistically they only last about 10 minutes. Therefore, if you put off the craving and do something else like make a cup of tea or tidy your make-up draw (we all need to do that too!) then the chances are you won't feel the desire for the sugary snack. 

2. Have healthy snacks to hand.  
I always make sure i do this, at work especially. If i want a snack at work the chances are i don't have a lot of time or resources to make something lavish so the obvious choice is to raid the biscuit tin. 
If you make sure you have some healthy grab-and-go snacks you'll be fine, they might not be what you really want but you'll soon forget about the craving you had before.

3. Sleep.
Willpower is significantly reduced the sleepier you are, hence the late night binging! 
Make sure you get enough sleep to avoid giving in to the nasty cravings throughout the day. The evenings are down to you to be strong though - try a green tea in the evenings rather than the biscuits you think you really want. 

4. Reward yourself right.
Doing a workout in the morning doesn't mean you can then eat whatever you want and however much you want. However, it doesn't mean you can't reward yourself for getting up and going to the gym. That's a feat in itself if you ask me! 
Rewarding yourself with the right things will boost your willpower and desire to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle. Try giving yourself a new nail varnish for going to the gym or rewarding yourself with a day trip after 10 workouts.

5. Exaggerate.
It's not very often us women are told to exaggerate but in this instance it might work in our favour. Try overestimating the fat/calories of the snack you're craving, that way you stand a better chance of resisting the temptation.

Let me if any of these tips help you resist the temptation to have just one more slice of choccy cake.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Halloween make-up

I did my Halloween make-up prep today and i have to say i actually quite liked it. I was worried that i wasn't going to be able to pull it off, and being a bit of a perfectionist i thought i was going to have to think of a different idea.

Scrolling through Pinterest for ideas, i came across the really pretty Day of the Dead skulls. They can be really colorful and flowery or understated. I found on that i absolutely loved, it was a cross between a normal skull and a Day of the Dead skull in black and white. It looked absolutely gorgeous on the girl that was showcasing it.

Anyway, my work are hosting a Halloween party for the employees which i've helped organize so i'm pretty excited! We've organized a Halloween themed pub quiz with some really mean forfeits, it should be a right laugh and i'm hoping everyone is going to really enjoy it.

It was actually surprisingly easy to do, for those of that are worried about giving it a go i'd say to just give it a try. I was worried before hand but once you start, provided you've got the right 'tools' you'll be fine! I used black face paint for the solid colour round the eye and nose and white face paint for the lips, everything else used a form of eyeliner. I used a liquid/pen eyeliner for the detailing around the eye and the 'stitches' and the a charcoal pencil for the cheek detailing. I also highlighted some bits using a white eyeliner which i think adds something to it.

I choose to only do one side of my face and keep the other side natural. I did a dark smokey eye but other than that nothing special.

I posted a photo on my Instagram but take a look at my the outcome below:

Not my usual weekend selfie!

What are you guys doing as for Halloween this year? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Top 5 Pinterest Posts I October Part 1

Hey sweethearts!

So, once again, it's the worst blogger ever here! I forgot to take pictures of any of my meals on Wednesday and instead of just making it up and having a hefty written post i decided to just not bother this time. I had a load of projects on at work it just completely slipped my mind so for that i am really sorry!

I did however remember that it's time for my Pinterest favorites for the first half of the month. Now that we are getting in to Autumn and Winter, my favorite kind of pins start appearing.. you know, the cosy knits, the autumn leaves and yes, the christmas ones!

Here are my top 5 posts for October (so far). So without further ado, enjoy!

New York Cheesecake, the way to my heart!

The colour, the rings.. perfect.

I'm going to attempt something like this
for Halloween this year. Wish me luck!

How beautiful is this scarf though?

Cake bake at work.. option 1?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

What I Ate Wednesday #3

I wrote this yesterday but got distracted by GBBO and didn't input the pictures or upload it last night so you're getting it on Thursday!

Okay, so one day i will get the hang of this and remember to take photos of everything i eat/drink but until then you have another WIAW with dated photos and where i have no previous photos you will have to rely on my description of the meal i'm afraid.

I was going to blame it on the fact that i have to work so taking photos of my food isn't at the forefront of my mind but that's a rubbish excuse so i won't!

I didn't go to the gym this morning because i was suffering with pain in my hip and back so had Breakfast at home. I had Bran Flakes with Porridge Oats and skimmed milk. I've recently started using the My Fitness Pal App and it's been really useful for making you aware of what you are eating and how much of everything you consume.

I had a glass and a mug of green tea infused with cranberries, it was actually surprisingly okay. I wouldn't say i loved it but i really fancied a hot drink and am conscious of not having too much cows milk and sugar!

For lunch i had the same as i've had the last 2 times i've done WIAW. The beginning of the week i was having soup and thought it was going to be nice to have something different to write about today but obviously by lunch time today i really didn't fancy anything else. Typical!
Instead of having cheddar cheese this week i've opted for Mozerella after a recommendation from a colleague and it's actually really nice in the pitta. Will definitely be doing that again, yum!

The same picture you've seen for the last 2 weeks!

I had another glass of water in the afternoon and for dinner i had beans, 2 slices of red onion and cheese mini flatbreads (i'd eaten one before remembering to take the picture) and a smoked haddock, cheese and leek fish cake.



Tucked in, them remembered to take the picture!
I couldn't help myself and had 3 plain digestives in the evening but shh

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What i Ate Wednesday #2

Worst blogger ever!

I've forgotten to taken photos of my breakfast and my lunch today. But don't fear i have a back up plan.

For breakfast i had Kelloggs Crunchy Nut. I had to be in work early this morning so didn't have time to eat breakfast at home or go to the gym so it was a work time breakfast this morning. It was a standard bowl of sugary cereals really.

I had a glass of water between breakfast and lunch. For lunch i had the same as last week, brown pitta bread with cheese, chorizo and baby spinach. I toast the pitta with the cheese and chorizo in it which makes it takes so much better! I'm not a huge fan of bread so thin pitta's toasted are a perfect solution. I didn't have the additional cucumber slices and tomatoes this week, didn't feel like i needed it but was just having it for the sake of it. 

My photo from last week but i ate the same thing pretty much!


I didn't have any snacks today! However, I did have a glass of orange juice and a cup of tea in the afternoon though.

For dinner i had pasta bolognese with a glass of water and I was really naughty and had a Fudge cake bar for pudding! 

With added bacon.. 



Top 5 Pinterest Posts I September Part 2

First off, i apologise for this being a day late! I had a hectic night last night, i rushed home from work to be ready for my Pilates class at 6:10 and then got home at 7:25 and went straight round to babysit for my neighbour. By the time i had got home from that, eaten and bathed it getting late and i hadn't even started the load of work i had to get done for work this morning.

None the less i have compiled my top 5 Pinterest Posts for the second half of September.

This bear pillow is so adorable. By Sweet Reverie.

I love the positioning of this.

The nail colour and rings are lush!

Says is all...

The perfect date.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What I ate Wednesday #1

Have you ever heard of WIAW? "What I ate Wednesday" is basically a post for bloggers to document what they ate.. on Wednesday. I initially spotted Anna Saconne's posts and have since started reading other bloggers posts. If nothing else, it's a brilliant way to get inspiration for what to eat throughout the day. The idea is to blog your meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day.

Because i love reading other peoples so much i thought i'd hop on the bandwagon and join in. Be aware that the chances are that these posts will be incredibly dull. I tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch for weeks on end but dinner will be something different every week so watch out for that! As i live at home i have little control over what i have for dinner and therefore no control over the presentation of the meal so please don't judge the nutritious value or presentation of my dinner, focus on the meals i can control!

For breakfast this morning i had my usual bowl of Kellogg's Crunchy Nut. I know it's not the healthiest breakfast but it's bloody lovely. I've never been one to avoid eating breakfast, in fact i usually wake up hungry so really look forward to my breakfast. I don't have a drink with my breakfast but had a glass of water between breakfast and lunch.

I was inspired by Anna Saconne's paninis and am having 2 small toasted pittas with cheese, chorizo and baby spinach. I usually have some cucumber slices and tomatoes with it too along with a glass of water. We don't a toasty maker or grill at work but i've made do and in order to melt the cheese (an obvious must!) i fill the pitta with the cheese and chorizo and then when they're toasted put the spinach in before indulging!

Absolutely delicious.

By 4 o'clock i was peckish! I grabbed an apple with some smooth peanut butter and another glass of water. This snack is my absolute favourite at the moment, it's the perfect healthy snack and a great sweet and salt combo!

Fave snack ever!
For dinner mum had cooked chips (in the air fryer) beans and sausages. She was in a rush this evening so just did something quick, hence the lack of nutrients and vegetables! Afterwards i had a 100% real fruit juice ice lolly which was lovely and very refreshing. 

I also had a glass of milk whilst watching the Great British Bake off and another glass of water before bed. 

How much of a rubbish blogger am i! I forgot to take pictures of 2 of my 3 meals, well you all know what cereals look like anyway! Sorry guys, i will make more of an effort to remember to take a photo before i dig in next week. I hope you enjoyed this post anyway,  i certainly enjoyed eating it all. 



Sunday, 21 September 2014

Breakfast at Bill's.

This weekend was the same as most, out in town on Friday night and then suffering for it on Saturday. My friend was home for the weekend (She's at uni) so we decided to meet up, with Saz for breakfast, something i've never done before. I've always loved the idea of going out for breakfast but never got round to doing it, especially as my best friends used to work the weekends up until a few weeks ago so it wasn't really a possibility. 

We decided to go to Bill's in Windsor and then spend the afternoon having a ganders around the town, there are some particularly nice things in the stores at the moment. The Autumn/Winter lines are all out now and i was in a very happy place walking round, unfortunately due to a ridiculously phone bill from Vodafone i was reluctant to spend much money. (If you follow me on Twitter you'll know about that!)

Anyway, off topic! 

The menu at Bill's was perfect, there was something for everyone. I was so tempted by the pancakes with syrup and fruit but due to my hungover state i opted for the Full English. It was your ordinary Full English though, it was a pretty one, the presentation was brilliant and the food itself was delicious. It wasn't disgustingly greasy and the portion size as perfect! Best Full English i think i've ever had. As with any meal there is always a sense of food envy, although it was delicious, i do wish i'd tried the pancakes. I guess it's just another excuse to go again!

Have you ever seen such a good looking full english?
The decor in Bill's is like my ideal for a restaurant like this. It's so beautiful and rustic, the kind of style i want for my own home. The service was pretty good as well, i mean the people serving are really friendly and you get served pretty quick. (they were quite busy) If you guys are looking for somewhere new to go or just fancy a recommendation for somewhere in Windsor (they do have restaurants all over the place though) then i'd definitely suggest trying Bill's out. I for one will definitely be going again. 

Oh, they also had a leaflet on the table for their Christmas Dinner - which you can pre-order and book a table for and i have to admit i was very tempted. It was like £25 i think for a 3 course meal and the choices for each course looked divine, if it was anything like our breakfast it will be good! 

Have you guys ever been to Bill's, what did you think of it? 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Top 5 Pinterest Posts I September Part 1

So I stumbled across a fellow bloggers post about their Pinterest favorites and it inspired me to start doing a similar post on a weekly basis. I absolutely love Pinterest and am always pinning new things, inspiring quotes/hand lettering, fashion or home inspo etc. I also love reading weekly/monthly posts so what better way to combine the two!

These are my favorite posts of September Part 1:

Beautifully Simple. 

One pot Pizza/Pasta

How beautiful are these stools?

Gorgeous cardigan, perfect for Autumn.

This makeup is ideal for Autumn. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Reasons to be creative 2014.

On Wednesday last week i was given the opportunity to attend 'Reason to be Creative 2014' with some colleagues from work. For those of you that have never heard of it, Reasons to be Creative is a conference for anyone with a creative mind. It takes place in the beautiful Brighton, UK and is a 3 day event full of inspiration and education! 

The amazing titles by FormForm

I only attended the Wednesday and boy were there some train palavers, there and back! Our train from Reading to Gatwick was cancelled on the way there and the train from Gatwick to Reading was cancelled on the way back. Annoyingly, all train sites were saying that they were running, but we made it though and it was so worth it! 

The day started with the Elevator pitches which are fast paces, exciting and fresh. There are 20 speakers each given 3 minutes to present their pitch and the audience are then given the opportunity to vote for their favourite 3 who are in turn invited back next year for a full session. Unfortunately, due to travel issues we missed most of these but the ones we did see were really interesting. It's amazing how much information people are able to present in such a short space of time. 

The Elevator Pitchers

Throughout the day there are 3 theaters running different speeches alongside each other so it's a case of deciding which talk you most want to see out of the three. Being creative bodies, we chose the more creative of the talks. The first one we went to see was Lizzie Cullen and her talk 'Owl and the murderous unicorn'. Lizzie is a multi-award winning illustrator based in London, she spoke really well and her talk was fun and enthusiastic. She put on a performance alongside her talk which the whole audience was engaged and enthused by. 'Owl and the murderous unicorn' was all about creativity, what is it, how to find it, how to use it and what to do when you lose it.

She spoke about finding your creative style and how once it has been found, it's one of the most beautiful things artistically. Lizzie mentioned that research and process go hand in hand, in order to produce work that makes sense and really portrays the vision of the work, you have to first understand what the work is about, to understand it's theme or subject.

She talked about her experience of losing her creative mojo and how she went about getting it back. Lizzie said that what really matters is how you are in yourself. In order to create your best work you need to be happy within yourself, if you feel like you're in a creative rut and have lost your muse or inspiration then take time out to fix it, to find it again. One of the most interesting points i thought she made was about being kind to yourself, Lizzie explained how being a dick to yourself and putting yourself down won't help anything and it certainly won't help in finding your creativity again. 

Her talk was incredibly interesting, engaging and thought provoking, i'd definitely recommend seeing her talk if you have the opportunity. Check out some of her work in the mean time!

Sara Blake was our choice for the second session. Sarah is an illustrator, fine artist and designer based in New York. Her talk 'Be a Snortvart: Process, Creativity, Business, and being yourself' was based around her personal path with illustration, where she started and where she is now. 

Sara Blake and some of her work

Sara explained how design serves a purpose, it has to fulfill a purpose whereas art doesn't have to, art it free and completely subjective. She said the big difference between art and design is that art requires you to love what you do.

"Every child is born an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up" - Pablo Picasso.

She spoke about the notion that we are who we were as kids, it's that simple, the key is being brave enough to listen to that inner child that's got all the answers. Despite the creative discipline, despite the tool, creating what you want to create is really important.

Don't wait for someone to hire you to make your work, do it in your spare time. Finding the time to create what you want to create is so important and she explained how that was how she managed to get to where she is now, on top of that, separating your love of the work from your want for the money will inspire you to create your best work. Sara told a personal story about how she was working her 9-5 and in the evenings working on some awesome illustrative portraits for Nike.

I loved her point about allowing yourself to make mistakes and get lost, she told another story about her journey down to Brighton and how she got lost along the way. She explained how she stumbled across these piano's that had been set up in some stations and how she was intrigued by the people playing them and their stories. The moral was that it's okay to go wrong and make mistakes because in the end you never know what you might discover in the process. Food for thought!

Probably my favourite talk of the day was Gavin Strange's 'The Aisle of Silly'. Gavin is a jack of all trades, a senior designer for Aardman animations, a creative 'berk' as he describes himself and by night goes by the name of 'JamFactory'. He's a 'polymath', someones who's knowledge stretches across many trades. He oozed passion and enthusiasm, the talk was engaging the whole way through and was just fun and really inspiring.

Gavin Strange and his awesome slides.

His talk was all about having the courage to be anything you want to be and saying yes because you never know where it might lead. Gavin explained how, as designers, our biggest stress is having to get the work done and to the client on time which, in the grand scheme of things, is so insignificant.

He spoke about not waiting to be asked to do something you want to do, much like Sara Blake, don't wait for opportunities to find you. Everyone has time, instead of watching another episode of Breaking Bad (or whatever it is you watch!) do something useful, create something beautiful. 

"If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life" - Marc Anthony

Gavin talked about the idea that it's okay to be crap, it's liberating. Quantity makes quality, making mistakes through trial and error is the best way to create your best work, it will help you to achieve what you are striving for. Using and abusing the trends is okay, use them, abuse them, mix them up and learn from them, there is no shame in that. He said not to care what any one else thought of you or your work, be weird, be wonderful! 

My favourite point of his was to dream big and see how far you can go and most importantly make sure you are enjoying what you are doing, you can't make fun if you aren't having fun.

Gavin included Mary Berry!!

If you haven't had the opportunity to go to 'Reasons to be Creative' before, i'd definitely suggest getting down there next year. I came away feeling more motivated than ever with a million and one ideas for side projects and totally inspired to create my best work.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Inspirational post for the day.

Source: Pinterest

I went to see "If i stay" at the cinema last night. For those of you that don't know what it is, it's a movie about a young girl whose life changes forever when she's in a car accident with her family which leaves her in a coma. During an out of body experience she has to decide whether she lives and wakes up to a very different life or dies. 

It's a really good, emotional, very thought provoking film.

I walked away from the film realising how much we have to appreciate in life and how quickly it can all be taken away from us. I can't imagine the pain of losing your family but the thought of not having appreciated them enough, almost hurts more. It made me realise that as a species we take everything we have for granted, wether it be clean water, shelter, friends or family. There's a lot we will never really understand the value of until we lose it. 

I guess the point of this post is to make sure you appreciate at least one thing today that you would normally take for granted. Appreciate the fact that you have a family, that you have good health or that you get to go to school. Whatever it may be! 

And if you haven't, go and see "If i stay". It's a brilliant movie. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The worst brownies ever!

The title says it all! Me and Sarah attempted to make smoothies and brownies last week and i'm not even joking the brownies were bloody terrible, in fact the whole thing went straight in the bin!!

We followed the same recipe as i posted about recently, when they turned out amazingly except this time, for some reason, the mixture was really runny but we just went for it anyway and baked it at the temperature and for the period they say. When we took them out the oven the mixture was wobbly but had a firm film over the top which is when the recipe said to take them out, we left them to cool for a bit and then tried to get the mixture out of the tin, for a start it didn't seem to be getting any firmer and then when we got it out and turned it over the chocolate had all sunken to the bottom of the tin. It didn't look particularly appealing. 

When we cut into the cake itself the centre was completely uncooked and the sides where rubbery and not very nice at all. 

Doesn't even look like a brownie!

Me and Sarah sent the rest of the evening trying to work out what we did so wrong and still can't work it out. The only thing that we did differently was using milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate but that should only change the taste and not the consistency. 

Literally can't think what we did wrong, if anyone has any suggestions as to what we did please comment! 

We tried making smoothies as well but couldn't find a recipe we liked so we ended up making milkshakes instead. We followed this recipe that we found on Pinterest, that used Milk, Ice Cream, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips and Caramel Sauce. They actually turned out alright but were so sweet it was ridiculous. The first couple of sips were alright and then after a while they just started tasting disgustingly sweet. Neither me or Sarah managed half of the glass we each had. 

We didn't have any normal glasses!

So i guess it wasn't a very successful night in terms of attempting new recipes. It won't stop us trying again though! 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bank holiday baking challenge no.2 - Mini Victoria Sandwiches

Mum and I were inspired by the Lakeland catalogue to bake some mini sandwich cakes, there was a picture of some next to a special tray you need. We ordered the tray along with the Savarin mould and a 2lb loaf tin (look out for the loaf tin next weekend!) and then found a recipe to bake the cakes.

We used a 8 8 8 4 recipe. 8oz of flour, 8oz of caster sugar, 8oz of butter and 4 large eggs. It made a beautiful sponge that cooked lovely in the new tray. We didn't know whether the tray would need greasing or not - it was a non-stick tray so we just went for it and didn't grease it and they didn't stick! Result!

We put butter cream icing in the middle of the cakes along with raspberry jam. The recipe said to put milk in the butter cream which we haven't done before but will definitely be doing again. It makes a much thicker consistency which would be great for piping the icing on to the cakes, we didn't pipe them this time because they were just for us and we weren't giving them to any one else or taking them to a party or anything like that.

The cakes were delicious and looked really cute when we'd done. We will definitely be making them instead of cupcakes from now on!

So cute!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Mary Berrys Cherry Cake

Another weekend, another baking challenge. It's become a thing recently that me and mum will set ourselves a baking challenge every weekend, this week was Mary Berrys Cherry Cake. It's our way of making sure we are always trying new things and not baking the same old cupcakes again and again. (Don't get me wrong, they are lush!)

We followed BBC Foods recipe which was pretty simple to follow and has a picture of the desired look, ours wasn't quite as successful!

The recipe was easy to follow and we did that bit fine, filled the savarin mould with the mixture and put it in the over for 30 minutes rather than the 35-40 they suggest. (mums oven is notoriously quick and a lot hotter than you set it to) Up until this point it was going swimmingly, baking cakes has become like second nature to us so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary to add a few cherries and almonds to the mixture.

Then came to taking the cake out of the tin, which went fine again - a few whacks to the bottom and the cake slid out. That's when we were presented with a burnt bottom. Unfortunately the oven was set too hot (even though we put it lower than it suggested) and the outside of the cake burnt.

Just a tad burnt...

Mum wasn't happy with my idea of just hiding it with the icing and too a knife to the poor thing in an attempt to scrape off the burn bits. We had a right laugh - it looked a state!

By the time it had cooled and we'd decorate it though it looked absolutely fine and tasted really good.
As we've both been watching GBBO (that's where our inspiration to make this cake came from) the first thing we both wanted to know was wether the cherries were throughout the cake or whether they had sunk to the bottom, much to our excitement they were evenly scattered throughout the cake. Success!

So all in all i think it was pretty successful, if it wasn't for the burnt edges it definitely would have been a 9/10!

The end result!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Summer Roadtrip!

Last month, with money being tight, me and my best friend, Sarah, decided that a roadtrip was our best bet at being able to take a week out from our home town and all the drama that comes with it! 
It didn't take us long before we were set on the idea and had started planning where we were going, when we were going and what we were going to do each day. Unfortunately Sarah couldn't get any time off work so I took Monday - Friday off and we had a 5 day holiday rather than the desired 7! Nonetheless it was an absolutely brilliant break and one we will definitely look to do again in the future. 

Typically a road trip holiday involves a group of people but with it only being the 2 of us and with us having so much in common there were very few disagreements. (In fact the only disagreement i remember having was over which biscuits to buy!) It was absolutely brilliant and i would thoroughly recommend the route we took to anyone looking to go on a road trip in the UK.

Taking a risk with a holiday in the UK we were incredibly lucky with the weather and had 26 degrees or higher all holiday, resulting in a lot of sunburn but a brilliant, beachy break.

The typical 'Holiday Selfie'

A 10 o'clock start for us on Monday morning marked the beginning of our trip, we stuffed everything in the car, literally stuffed everything in the car. (The back seats even came down for the first leg of the journey) Turns out i'd badly packed my stuff in the car meaning that Sarah's didn't fit. To say we were only gone for 4 nights, we both took a pretty decent sized suitcase. 

That's definitely something i need to work on, packing light! Any top tips, leave a comment below!

We headed down to Brighton to start and spent the day there, went on the Brighton Wheel, played with the pebbles (we actually spent most of holiday throwing pebbles, who knew they could provide hours of fun for two 19 year olds!) and had a lovely walk down the pier. Staying the night in Brighton would have been expensive so we opted to stay a little outside of Brighton, about a 15 minute drive, thats a holiday on a budget for you!! 

Tuesday meant the next drive to Portsmouth where we stayed in Sarahs brothers uni house whilst he was home for summer. On the way to Portsmouth we stopped at Bognor Regis and spent most of the day there, which we both absolutely loved! It's a little town with a beautiful pebble beach and really small pier, definitely one we both want to return to at some point, it was so cute! We decided not to spend the day in Portsmouth as we'd visited for a night the year before so wanted to try somewhere new.

Bognor Regis - Our favourite stop!

The night we spent in Portsmouth was great fun, it was the only night we had a kitchen so took the opportunity to cook dinner for ourselves. We spent the night having a laugh and doing the puzzles in the puzzle book we'd bought, believe it or not a crossword can bring a night of laughter and fun! 

Wednesday morning was a right palava. As we were packing the car back up there was a slight issue with the house door. I'd left the key on the inside of the door and Sarah, being the last one out, shut the door without realizing meaning that the tenants of the wouldn't be able to get back in when they came back! Big woops! We rang a lock smith and the people that were living in the house and after about an hour of messing around with the door (including hitting the lock with a brick!) we had no choice but to leave and wait for the owner of the house to fix it and send us the bill!! So much for a free night! 

We spent Wednesday in Bournemouth where we laid on the beach all day and then went for lunch at the Slug and Lettuce before driving to Weymouth where we spent Thursday night. Thursday night we sat on the beach and watched the sunset with a bottle of wine, it was so cute and because of the great weather we had all week it wasn't too cold either! 

Friday marked the end of our road trip and to end it on a high we decided that going to Longleat Safari Park would be a great way to finish off our holiday! We'd both been looking forward to it and it didn't let us down, it was a brilliant day out. There were so many animals to see, we took the boat round the lake to see the Hippos, Gorillas and Sea Lions and also took the train round the park to see some beautiful scenery. I also took the car through the Safari (twice!!) and we both managed to get some pretty awesome pictures of the animals, i chose to avoid the monkey bit after being warned that they are notorious for chewing on your windscreen wipers! (A shame but neither of us had the money to replace any damaged car parts!)

All in all, despite the sun burn, broken lock and numerous wrong turns it was a welcome break and one we both thoroughly enjoyed. 

Penguins! - Longleat Safari Park

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Saturday fun - Cookies!

Believe it or not, i love being healthy but i also love baking! Luckily for me, my dad and brother have no problem with eating anything i make so i can bake whatever sugary rubbish i want, guilt free!

I woke up this morning really wanting to bake something, i was going to make a treacle cake that i've made before which is absolutely amazing! (Another BBC GoodFood recipe) but today i decided to go simple and make some cookies and save the treacle cake for tomorrow so it's fresh for family dinner night.

I spent ages sat on the kitchen floor looking through the cookbooks trying to find something to bake, it must have looked hilarious. I found this old cookbook from when i was really little, looked through it and found some really basic chocolate chip cookies. I knew the boys would love them.

The world brightest cook book!

We didn't have all the ingredients we needed to make them so we kind of improvised. We were supposed to have used soft brown sugar but we only have Demerara so had to make do with that, we used self raising flower instead of plain flower and baking powder as well. Other than that the only other issue we had was the chocolate chips, we had about 45g of them and needed 150g odd. Luckily, found a bad of milky stars so just cut them up and made do!

They still taste pretty god anyway to be honest, nice and moist! Slightly too brown for my liking but none the less they taste good, especially with a glass of milk. (You are never too old for cookies and milk)

Cookies and milk!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Cake Club

At work, a couple of us girlies have started up a little Cake Club - it's pretty much just the 4 of us baking every now and again and bringing in a bit for the others to try. It's not an official office club or anything like that.

It's a pretty new thing and it's based on the idea that whoever wants to bake, bakes. There's no rota and no limitation to what you can bake or when! I love it.

Last week I made Brownies (for the first time ever!) and if i may say so my self, they were lush. They were just plain brownies, nothing fancy and the decor was lacking. With the baking being served at work obviously there was no additional cream and fruit compote, that's how i totally would have served it at home!

I used the BBC GoodFood recipe, worked a treat!

They're pretty basic and really easy to make, i had a lot of fun making them and would definitely do it again. Unfortunately, i didn't take a picture before they got gobbled up but they definitely looked something like this:

Source: BBC GoodFood

I'm in the middle of deciding what to bake for my next time. Obviously GBBO (Great British Bake Off for those that don't watch it) is giving plenty of inspiration but nothing has grabbed me yet, well other than the cherry cake which has been grabbed by one of the other girls. Can't wait to try that, we will all be expecting a well presented cake with cherries scattered throughout, the icing dripping just right and the sponge cooked to perfection!

If any of you guys have any suggestions for what i can bake for Cake Club next time, leave me a comment. I need something good!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Back in February i wrote a post about embarking on a new fitness adventure, don't worry i'm not about to tell you that i gave up and made no progress! I am however going to tell you about a new fitness regime i am undertaking.

The workouts i was doing back in February, i carried on doing until 3 weeks ago when i heard about Kayla Itsines. Kayla is an inspiration woman with an amazing figure! I follow her on Twitter and she is always posting inspirational and motivational posts, through following her Twitter has suggested other fitness and motivational accounts to follow. My Twitter feed is now my biggest motivator!

The 'Bikini Body Guide' is a step by step workout program to help you achieve the body you desire, it's a 12 week program with set circuits workouts for each week. It's informative as well though, it's more than just a training plan. It explains how to do each exercise and suggests how much/what to do each week.

I've been doing it for 3 weeks now, going in the morning before work and i have never felt better. Every day is easier to get through, with having more energy and being awake before i get to work is so much better - i start the day with a clear head and loads of energy, it's hard to believe i never went in the mornings before!

Believe it or not, after only 3 weeks, i have seen results - other than just feeling better within myself and feeling more motivated than ever, i think i look better because of it. I have more confidence and feel better in the clothes i wear. I've never been confident within myself but finally i'm beginning to get there. I don't judge how well i'm doing by how much i weigh, i don't care how much i weigh. I haven't got i clue how much i weigh, and i don't wish to know! I feel better and to me that's all i need to continue to motivate myself.

I can't post anything about the guide as you have to pay for it, i'd definitely recommend giving it a go though! If what i have to say about it isn't enough then just check out her Twitter or website - that should give you all you need to give it a go. The transformations can appear a bit extreme for 12 weeks or less but it depends how far you take it, the guide is just that, it's a guide. I haven't gone to the extreme - i don't eat any differently and if i miss a training session i don't feel guilty.

Personally, i think the BBG is definitely worth the money, if nothing else, i've really enjoyed the sessions themselves! I have been inspired to learn more about fitness and health, it's become a new hobby. (who'd have thought!) I'll keep posting updates as i go through the 12 weeks and let you know how i'm getting on - follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with what i'm up to.

If you decided to try it or are already doing it, let me know, i'd love to hear how you're getting on and whether you're enjoying it or not.

My Monday morning workout.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Lets go Boho

The time has come to get rid of my childish ornaments and miss mash of styles, today my mum and i sat and went through everything in my room and my mum was not letting me get away with not being ruthless!! I'm a sentimental person so i have boxes and boxes filled with random things that will mean nothing to anyone else but to me, tell a story. She wasn't having any of it - i do agree with her though, some things i kept were pretty silly.. like all my school books, i'm not going to want to take them with me when i move out so why keep them now!

Anyway, the point being that i got rid of a lot of stuff, 2 black bags full, and that doesn't include clothes - that is the one thing i am absolutely terrible of getting rid of, i always think that everything will come back in to fashion or that it can be made to work for the new season style so just never throw anything away! Bad i know, but it's one of those things..

I have 3 floating shelves on the back wall of my room which are now housing my Company magazines and sentimental ornaments rather than the silly little things that were sat on there before!


My re-decorating of the room, doesn't involve painting or anything like that, it's more of a clean up and prepare for a proper re-do next year! I've been bugging my parents to let me get a double bed for well over a year now and they finally agreed that i could get one next year so this is all just in preparation for that.

I found an absolutely beautiful bed cover when looking through a magazine and panicked that it wouldn't be in the store by the time i came to having a new bed so i bought it anyway.. It's from Bedeck, i'll upload of picture of it on Instagram or Twitter when it arrives and i've got it set up on my bed!

I'm going for a very boho eek style in my room this time round and am super excited for the end result. I gathered loads of inspiration before settling on this style, i'm one for changing my mind a lot when it comes to design of things so i wanted to be sure of this before i went ahead with buying things for it. Urban Outfitters hone section will play a part in inspiring the quirky items that will sit around the room, i'm a massive fan of their home stuff (and their clothes) just not a fan of their prices!

Because of the size of my room, in order to get a double bed in there i have to 'amend' the layout.. this is when dad gets roped in!! I have to put my chest or drawers underneath my built in desk and them drop the desk top on to the chest and remove the shelf above the desk. My plan is to make this in to a window seat style with a quirky patterned cushion to make it comfy!

Keep up to date with what i'm doing by checking out my Twitter and Instagram. Comment below if you are planning on undertaking a re-design in your home.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Making Big Plans!

I've always been one for making big plans in the spur of the moment and never really following them through properly, or thinking them through thoroughly. So, i've made it a personal goal of mine to work on this and always consider the big ideas as a potential opportunity and really research the actual posibility of the idea becoming reality.

Anything is possible after all!

I can spend hours searching through Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter... the lot of them, just getting ideas and gathering inspiration for my dream house! (Don't lie, we all do it) But at the end of the day i still haven't accomplished any of the things that i have told myself i will do. So, now is that time.

For years i have been inspired by Bloggers, Writers and Tweeters from all over the world - seeing how they express themselves and the how they write their posts in their own unique ways. That's what i aim to do - instead of just watching other people do it and wishing i could, i'm going to. There is nothing to stop me from doing it. It will take time to get used to it and finding the time to write will be a challenge, but if i stay determined.. i can do it, anyone can!

You will have to bare with me, there will be times when i won't be able to write as often as i'd like, with working full time and all. I also need to do some major maintenance on this blog, i'm sorry for the state of it at the moment! Once i've got it up and running properly i will invest some time in fixing it up and making it suit the personality of the blog itself and me..

There are loads of you out there with the same plans and ideas, i'd love to hear from you and read what you post so please leave your blog and twitter links in the comments below.

I have loads of other plans that i am determined to complete at some point, not sure when and not sure how, but i know that i can do it. We can all achieve anything if we set our minds to it!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bloglovin!

Hey guys,

I've just claimed my blog on Bloglovin so if you enjoy reading my blog please follow me, i will leave the link at the end of this post.

Bloglovin is a great site for following loads of blogs at the same time, they have a news feed which shows all recent posts by everyone you are following and then you can chose to view posts in more detail or visit the bloggers site! It's great fun, i've spent many hours reading countless blog posts this way! Bloglovin has an app as well so you can ennjoy reading posts on the go on your mobile or tablet too.

It's all your favourite bloggers in one place, whats not to love!



Thursday, 27 March 2014

Finding inspiration.

One thing I often struggle with is finding inspiration for things, whether it be an outfit for a night out, a project I'm working on at work or what to have for dinner.
The internet is an incredible place, it's crazy to think what people did before the interwebs! I spend most of the day on the internet (my job involves being on the computer all day) and it's amazing how much you can find if you know what to search for. I've found inspiration for literally everything on the internet. Most of you will have heard of the sites I use for inspiration, I tend to head straight to Pinterest as my go-to place. Failing that, tumblr is always my second website. I don't think Tumblr is as good as Pinterest on any level, it's more of a blog that an inspiration site but still has so much on it that you can pull inspiration from. 

I've recently started eating healthier and have planned most of my meals through Pinterest, they have an awesome filtration system so you can find exactly what you're looking for. If you haven't signed up to Pinterest, then you definitely need to. I'll leave the link to mine at the end of this most for you to check mine out for any ideas or just to see how I use it. 

Despite all that, I'd definitely say that you will find the best inspiration from what you see during day. Literally anything can give you inspiration, I work for a graphic design company but look for inspiration in magazines, on the tv, on billboards, anywhere. 



My Pinterest: hannahcox10
My Tumblr: http://buddy-pebbles.tumblr.com



Where do you guys look for inspiration? Let me know in the comments below.