24 February 2014

Update | My portable office

I'm horrifically messy and have recently vowed to myself to keep my room (slightly) tidier, since this is the space I do most of my blogging from I thought I would take the opportunity to share some pics with you!

If I'm feeling extra lazy I'll sit in bed ( a tartan bedspread to honour my current location, of course) with my phone, note book, diary and a recipe book for inspiration. 

Excuse the horrendous cracks in my phone - the poor little thing had a disagreement with the floor of a takeaway a few weeks ago and hasn't been to get fixed yet. It does have a very sweet cover on it at the moment though....


I absolutely love cooking books and usually have a stack of them on my desk to rifle through for inspiration and techniques!

I usually buy second hand books and found this beautiful hand written recipe in a 'French Cooking for Beginners' book recently. Its so beautiful, I haven't had a chance to try the recipe but can't wait to!

Like I said I'm a sucker for a second hand book and am building up quite the collection underneath my desk, my favourite is my Alice in Wonderland - so pretty!

If I'm feeling well behaved then I'll sit at my desk and blog from my laptop (the poor beast is 6 years old and still going!).

I love the frame above my desk, my parents made it for my 21st birthday - its me through the ages!

And, last but definitely not least, wherever I work is never short of a snack or three! I try and stick to something healthy - sometimes that works! I find, especially when blogging about cakes, that having something to munch on helps me concentrate so much better! That and a huuuge bottle of water!

If you want to make your own post about your work space don't forget to let Curry's know! They are currently running a competition and want to see where you blog from!

22 February 2014

Fashion | Wish-list: Workout Watch

As you all know I like to have my cake and eat it, which means I usually exercise 4 or 5 times a week!

That may seem like a lot but I usually do really quick, effective gym workouts or those that I really enjoy, such as kettlebells! As the old saying goes "Time flies when you're having fun", so I rarely notice how long I'm spending!

However, in the gym world it is often crucial to keep an eye on the time and having a good watch makes a world of difference to a good workout - especially if you're doing a tabata interval workout or trying to hit a new record time on the cross-trainer!

For my usual gym session I like to mix it up with 1 minute kettlebell intervals (repeated 10-15 times), core exercises and a 15 minute cardio session to cool down. These timed exercise mean I always need to have my phone or watch handy.

I recently stumbled across The Watch Gallery and have completely fallen in love with this Unisex Bell & Ross* watch.

I love its clean design, so simple, and the square face gives it a touch of modernism!

It has a large hands which make it easy to read even at a glance (perfect if you're trying to keep your balance on the running machines!) and the second dial that measures seconds is a bonus for when you're doing intervals of less than a minute!

The watch also has a plastic strap which means it doesn't matter if it gets a little sweaty and its waterproof for those of you that like a post-gym swim!

Its definitely on my wish-list for my new gym time-piece!

Recipe | Charming Chocolate Truffles

Yes, I know what you're thinking... these definitely are the ugly ducklings of the blog. But, what they lack in looks (I blame my impatience, its a curse!), they make up for a taste!

Oh boy, do they!

These are easy peasy, total show stoppers and perfect homemade gifts - if you're that way inclined!

With only three ingredients they're also budget friendly!

What's not to like? 

Get cooking!

You'll need:
140g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids (chopped)
142ml double cream
25g unsalted butter

Pink Sugar, White Chocolate Stars, Crushed Pistachios, Edible Glitter. 

1 heart shaped ice-cube mould. (optional) 

Will make about 10 truffles.

In saucepan melt together the double cream and unsalted butter. Take off the heat once the mixture starts to simmer. 

In a bowl pour the cream mixture over the top of the dark chocolate pieces. Keep stirring until it has melted together. At this point you can add flavourings or liquers if you want flavoured chocolates. 

If you want the truffles heart-shaped this is when you pop the mixture into the mould, I placed cake decorations such as white chocolate stars in first so they were part of the truffle.

If you want the truffles round pop them straight into the fridge. Leave the mixture to cool for about 4 hours. (This is where I failed and popped the treats out far too early.)

Once chilled, if you haven't put them in a mould then you'll need to shape them by hand. Coat your hands in a little oil and roll about 2 teaspoons of the mixture in your hands until round. Repeat until you have used up all of your mixture. 

Once shaped coat immediately with toppings by tipping the toppings into a bowl and rolling the truffles in them. The toppings could be anything! Crushed Pistachios, Desicated Coconut, Drizzles White Chocolate - let your imagination go wild!

18 February 2014

Recipe | Chocolate Brownie Trifle

Aidan and I shared the Valentine's cooking this year, he cooked the main and I was in charge of dessert!

For this I dug out my favourite brownie recipe and gave it a bit of a twist with layers of whipped cream, Strawberries and Blueberries!

I loved it.

He loved it.

I'm not sure our waistbands took it too well though...

This recipe will make enough for four people!

You'll need:

165g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
200g dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped
3 flarge eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 vanilla pod, seeds only (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
165g soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch salt
400g Double Cream (Whipped)
1 tbsp Icing Sugar
1 pot of Blueberries
1 pot of Strawberries


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in square baking tin with butter, and line with baking paper with the paper overlapping the sides a little.

Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated (or chopped) chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until the eggs begin to get light and fluffy. Add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so you don't knock out the air that has been whisked in (that's a really important bit!). 

Keep whisking until the mixture becomes stiffer. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate into it (saving a little bit for yourself)- again around the sides so as not to knock the air out.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. 

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes. The middle should be very so slightly gooey. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin - the top will sink and crack a little.

Once the Brownies are cooled you can cut them into squares and start layering them up!

Mix together the whipped cream and icing sugar then, in a crystal or glass dish (I only had a pyrex bowl for mine!) start off with a layer of cream, placing strawberries and blueberries around the edge to create a pattern.

Then, place a layer of brownie, followed by cream and more fruit and repeat until your bowl is full!

Decorate with more fruit and anything extra you fancy - I like giving it a sprinkle of icing sugar and edible glitter.

NB: Best enjoyed with two spoons straight from the serving dish.

16 February 2014

DIY | Sweet 'n Spicy Scrub

I don't know about you but the bitterly cold and windy weather we've had recently has taken its toll on my lips!

They're constantly dried and chapped and, although my Vaseline is working overtime on them, there is nothing that seems to really keep them right!

Until I happened upon this little DIY! I love a beauty trick that cuts costs so this is right up my street!

This is an easy peasy (and most importantly, tasty) creation that will smooth out those poor lips and make them pucker-up perfect, just in time for all that spring smooching!

You'll need:
Brown or White Sugar
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (or Olive Oil)
Chopped Herbs and Fruits of your choice
Flavour extracts and Spices of your choice.

Choose your container and measure out the sugar so it is about half-full.

Measure out your coconut oil, you're aiming for a 1:1 ratio.

Place the oil and sugar in a mixing bowl and add your herbs, spices and fruits. I've chosen my favourite flavours Cinnamon and Maple Syrup! ( I found a dash of Maple Syrup and a tsp of Cinnamon did the trick!)

Gently combine - be careful not to overmix as this will make the sugar dissolve!

Place the scrub into an airtight container and store in a fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you need to use it remove from the fridge for 5 minutes so it softens and is easier to apply!

I've used it once already and my lips have never been so soft!

Let me know how you get on, what flavours did you use?

14 February 2014

Fitness | Workout Songs of the Week

Well... this weather is hardly the type to make us jump up off our sofas and go for a run or dash to the gym! Especially when it's making those summer months feel like years away.

Here are another 5 songs that will instantly make you want nothing more than to be in the gym working for that summer body!

What are you listening to at the moment?

9 February 2014

Recipe | A Bananas Brunch

So I'm thinking because there is some banana in this recipe that it's healthy right?!

Good. (But I'll maybe head to the gym just in case...)

This is the perfect brunch if you fancy a bit of 'me time' or if you've been tasked with cooking up a brunch for dozens of friends.

This recipe makes enough for one so adjust accordingly!

2 Eggs
50ml Milk
1 slice of bread (slightly stale for best results)
2 teaspoons of coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste).
Maple syrup - to serve.

Whisk together the eggs and milk. Dip the bread into the mixture, making sure both sides are well covered.

Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan, once melted fry the bread on both sides until its browned and crisp. Remove from the pan and place on a warm plate to the side.

Combine the caster sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add another teaspoon of coconut oil to the pan and fry the sliced banana with sugar mixture. Remove from the heat once the sugar is sticky and the bananas are softened. 

Pile on top of the fried, eggy bread and drizzle with maple syrup to your heart's content!

2 February 2014

Recipe | Butternut Squash Soup With A Kick

I've had a butternut squash sat in the bottom of my fridge for a good couple of weeks.

It was an impulse buy during one of my more adventurous shops and safe to say every time I have opened my fridge I have been struck by a pang of guilt when I catch a glimpse of the lonesome vegetable.

Today however, its time had come! 


Below is how I turned this unassuming vegetable into a cosy soup, a perfect lunch to warm us up before the rugby!

600g Butternut Squash (One large one) Peeled and Deseeded.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Knob of Butter
1 large White Onion (diced)
2 Cloves of Garlic (diced)
1/2 Red Chilli (more if you fancy it!)
5-7 Rashers of  Dry Cured Streaky Bacon, Diced.  (Add more or less depending on how bacony you want it!)
900ml Vegetable Stock or Bouillon.
4 generous tbsp of Creme Fraîche (and more to serve)


Heat the oven to 200c. Cut the butternut squash into cubes about 1 inch long. Toss in 1/2 of the Olive Oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. 

Or until they have turned beautifully golden and soft. 

Whilst you're waiting for the butternut squash to cook melt the butter and oil in a saucepan and cook the Onions, Garlic, Chilli and Bacon. Leave to cook down on a low heat until the onions are cooked through and soft. 

Once the Butternut Squash is cooked add it to the pan with the stock and Creme Fraîche. Whizz up with a stick blender until it is smooth. Return the pan to the heat, gently reheat and season to taste. 

I find with the bacon in it all it really needs is a sprinkling of pepper and a topping of Creme Fraîche and Chilli!