Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Brownies.



 Happy Halloween!

For Halloween this year for work I made After Eight brownies and Terry's Chocolate Orange brownies.

To make the After Eight brownies you will need:
250g Butter
100g Milk Chocolate
100g Dark Chocolate
360g Caster Sugar
80g Cocoa Powder
65g Plain Flour
4 Eggs
half a teaspoon Baking Powder

For the icing:
Green food colouring
100g Butter
200g Icing Sugar
2 packets After Eights

To make the Terry's Chocolate Orange brownies you will need:
250g Butter
100g Terry's Chocolate Orange
100g Lindt dark chocolate orange
360g Caster Sugar
80g Cocoa Powder
65g Plain Flour
2 Packets of After Eights
4 Eggs
half a teaspoon Baking Powder

For the icing:
Orange food colouring
100g Butter
200g Icing Sugar
Terry's Chocolate Orange


To make the brownies first line the tin, (this I found out is crucial!) I used a 9x9 tin. And preheat the oven to 180.

In a bain marie melt the butter and the chocolate together. While this is melting weigh out your dry ingredients.

Once all the butter and chocolate has melted mix the dry ingredients in until combined allow to cool slightly and then add in the four eggs and mix well.

If you are making the After Eight brownies add half the mixture to the tin, then cover the batter with two layers of After Eights. Then pour over the rest of the mixture.

If you are making the Terry's Chocolate Orange brownies just add in all the mixture.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.


Once cooked take out of the oven and leave to cool completely before attempting to remove them from the tin!

Then make the icing by creaming the butter, sugar and food coloring together. Spread a thin layer onto the brownies and place in the fridge for ten minutes and then spread the rest of the icing onto the brownies. Then add either a segment of Terry's or half an After Eight depending on the brownie flavour.

Then slice into pieces. Clean the knife in between each slice to keep the icing crumb free!

Enjoy these with a coffee or any drink as they are so rich!!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Ultimate Bacon Sandwich.

Oh the weekend, why can't you be longer! Daytime TV and woodland walks, accompanied with as much comfort food as I can pack in. 

This weekend the turn of my verison of the ultimate bacon sandwich. 



For this I use: 
two slices of seedy brown bread, 
more salted butter than I should,
four rashers of smoked streaky bacon and, 
a dollop of Heinz ketchup.

First I grill the bacon until the edges are dark and none of the fat is still white... on the verge of snappable. 


Once the bacon is nearly done I pop the bread in the toaster, then slather it in salty butter and ketchup. Place the bacon on top, cut into triangles and enjoy with the weekend papers.


How do you like yours?


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Favourite Face Masks.


I have dabbled with masks before. First with those ones everyone has used, those sachet ones you peel off and smell sickly... you know the ones. But things have moved on a long way and these are my current masks and thoughts. I purchased all of these after reading reviews or seeing a YouTube video mentioning them. I now use a mask at least twice a week and I feel like it has really helped my skin as well as helping me keep to a routine which I think is really the key point. 


Una Brennan
This is a reasonably priced mask and does the job, a little drying so I tend to use a more intense moisturizer, or double mask and use one of my moisturizing masks. I'm not sure if they still sell it any more though in Boots and think it has been replaced by Super Facialist salicylic acid anti blemish clay mask. I am yet to try it but at £8.99 and usually on offer I'm sure I will when I have finished this one.

Aesop Parsley Seed Mask 

This is the more advance version of the Una Brennan mask and with that comes a hike in price at £27 it's not cheap but does make your skin feel wonderful afterwards. I use this maybe once every two weeks due to price point! 

Origins Out Of Trouble 10 minute mask

This is my latest purchase. I am a big fan when it comes to Origins so it was only a matter of time before I bought this mask. The texture is very thick and feels like it would be quite drying but after following up with a good moisturizer I haven't had any trouble so far and only good things have happened. At £23 it is quite expensive but I think it is worth spending money on masks compared to other steps in my skincare routine.



These three masks I use on rotation twice a week as they are all the complexion clearing kind. While I also use two masks that are hydrating usually after a drying mask or on a flight I put it on throughout the journey.




Origins drink up intensive overnight 
This is the mother of hydrating masks I use it all over and also put it on dry patches as and when needed. Smells yum and is an essential for plane travel! You only need a thin layer so £23 doesn't seem so bad for how long it lasts.


No. 7 Hydration mask 

I bought this on a whim in boots. It's quite thin in texture and doesn't leave the skin quite as plump, but I have found a use for it by using it on feet, knees, elbows and hands before fake tanning :) at £12.50 I would recommend buying an Una Brennen hydrating mask instead.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup.

I have been trying to make one big pan of soup at the beginning of the week that sets me up for the week. I can just come in after work, heat up a few ladles in a pan and dinner is done. 
This week I made dairy free creamy tomato soup.

This makes probably 10 portions so great for a dinner party or if like me you want to make enough for a week: 
4 cups cashews
4 cups water
2 tbsp oil
2 sticks of celery
2 tbsp garlic
1 tsp italian herbs
half tsp cumin
4 tins tomatoes
2 red peppers
Leave the cashews in the four cups of water to soften overnight. Then blend until smooth (how smooth will depend on your blender) I used a NutriBullet. 


Heat the oil and add the chopped onion and celery and brown. When brown add the garlic, cumin and Italian herbs. After a couple of minutes add in the tomatoes and cook until they start to breakdown. Then add in your ‘cashew milk.’ Cook for a further 10 minutes to let the flavours merge and then blend until smooth.

I was really surprised about how creamy this tasted and I even preferred it to the classic Heinz cream of tomato soup. A definite winner as other tomato soups I have made have not turned out so well!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Singapore.

On the way back from Langkawi we stopped over for two nights in Singapore. We stayed at The Marina Bay Sands and it is safe to say it is a world away from Four Seasons Langkawi! It is huge I don't think I have ever been in a building so big! It is three towers that join at the bottom and also at the top by a pool! But more on that later!



The reception area is quite overwhelming as it is such a large hotel there are a lot of people checking in and out, as well as it being a tourist attraction so there are lots of people milling around taking photos. All in all not the nicest welcome to a hotel but once you get used to it and get up to your room it is fine. It is only the ground floor that is crazy busy. 
We just had a basic room which was perfect for a couple of days. The main reason for staying at the hotel was that so we could go up to the pool as only hotel guest can do this. So it is well worth a night there if you are going.


On the first day we walked round the Marina Bay shopping centre and then went around the Gardens by the Bay. They are beautiful and free to get into. There is a charge to go into the glasshouses, (think Eden Project domes). We went to both, but personally after going inside I would say only the rainforest dome is worth a look. The gardens are huge and definitely worth a visit especially if you are looking for free things to do in Singapore.




After exploring the gardens we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Lu did a great job in finding two fab restaurants for us to go to both nights while we were in Singapore and the concierge booked them for us.


We went to Clifford at The Fullerton Bay Hotel, just across the bay from our hotel for dinner. The food was really good. The maître d' less so. We had booked and the restaurant was half empty yet he made us wait for our table to be ready. He then acted like it was a special table when it really wasn’t!
To start we both had trout with olive tapenade. Really nice fresh and light.
For main I had cod. The piece of cod was huge but I didn't think the peppers went great with it.


Dessert was the real show stopper. Piping hot soufflé with four toppings to pour on yourself.


The next day what go into our bikinis, wrapped up in our robes and headed up to the pool. Get there early so you don’t get anyone else in your snaps! It is so cool but it really is a place where you get your cool photos and get out, I wouldn't want to relax there and just lie on a sun lounger.





 After breakfast we went shopping at Orchard road. It’s all the same shops you would expect but it was really great to get ahead and get in first with all the summer clothes and the exchange rate was reasonable. We then headed over to Arab Street where there are loads of individual shops where you can pick up something unique.


That night we went for dinner at Equinox at The Stamford. The hotel is across the bay from ours and at 70 floors up you get a great view back of our hotel and the bay. We paid the extra to have a window table which was good but you could easily skip this and it wouldn't affect your experience.




To start I had pumpkin soup with truffle cream.


For mains we had my favourite! Black cod with a miso glaze. The piece of cod was huge and had such a creamy texture much better than my cod from the previous night. 


We didn't get pudding there and instead jumped in a cab back to our hotel for a night time swim at the top of the hotel. It really is so worth staying at the hotel just for the pool!

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel (not worth mentioning) and then left for the airport. I really did have the best time and can't wait for the next adventure!   



Sunday, 6 July 2014

Getting Back Into Blogging.

Oh hey! long time no see! Read my excuses for not blogging and look at my instagram photos won't you?!

I haven't felt the want to blog in a while life seems to have just whizzed by these past couple of months with a moment to stop work has been busy and with friends finishing university I have spent more time out and about and the time I have had at home has been spent watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I just can't get enough!


But here I am trying to get organised and thought I would do a quick update on the past month or so's goings on.
Easter weekend was spent eating chocolate and vegging out with the family. University lecturers really should tell you that you will go from having the most free time in your life at the end of uni, to having the least free time. Working world, how is 20 odd days holiday enough?!

I spent 6 of those precious days on holiday in Abu Dhabi at the end of May. It was nice to get away to the sun but 10 days away was more than enough and I think some of my future holidays will be a little shorter or involve more exploring. We stayed at The Emirates Palace and while it is very glamorous, think gold everything it just isn't really my taste!  

Gold Machine Obvs

Gold on my coffee sure!


June so far was spent making the most of the longer evenings with dinners and drinks out with friends but it has taken a toll on my waistline so I am reining myself in.

When your drink is the same colour as nail varnish remover you're in for a rough night

Whipsnade Zoo Teddy Bear
Real Life Jungle Book

Mr. Whippy at Brighton


I also want to broaden this blog's content and sharing my other interests. I really enjoy makeup and skin care but have found most beauty blogs to be so polished and always full of so many new products (which is great for new release) but I want to share things I use on a daily basis those products I buy, use up and then repurchase. I feel like that gives a better representation and a more 'real world' approach.
I also definitely want to expand on the lifestyle travel aspect of this blog maybe even some style posts. Just casual stuff to mix it up!

Afternoon Tea with the Uni girls

Had people round for brunch

Tiny frog from the garden