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!