Wednesday, 28 July 2010

It was one tough cookie, but I finally cracked it...

9 comments:
... to all cookie lovers, sugar cravers, and chocoholics alike; my friends, I have finally done it. Yep, I've finally figured out the perfect cookie recipe. Years of undeniably enjoyable baking sessions, trying and tasting the results of different methods [*sniff* - it's a hard life] had led me to believe that a recreation of those soft, chewy cookies which seem only to appear on the shelves of extortionate cookie stands [you know the one I mean] was simply impossible. Well rest assured fellow sweet toothed bloggers, I've finally cracked the perfect recipe, and I'll share it with you now...cos I'm nice like that. I actually adapted the recipe from Bakerella's website- if you love all things sugary and heart clogging you should definitely check this out. Oh and beware, this recipe is not for the faint hearted or calorie conscious; we're talking chocolate, nuts, butter and sugar. Yup...allll the good stuff : )



The last cookie recipe you'll ever need.
Dry Ingredients
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
100g rolled oats
150g M+M's [or smarties, or minstrels..hell just chuck 'em all in]
150g chocolate chips [told you it wasn't for the faint hearted]
220g of golden granulated sugar [why golden? Umm....that's all we had in the cupboard XD]
A handful of nuts [pecans are yummm!]
Wet Ingredients
1 egg, beaten
100g unsalted butter, melted slightly in a microwave [10secs should do it]

Method
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5. Then, all you need to do is mix together all of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg. Stir into the mixture and add the butter. At this point it'll seem far too dry and you'll be tempted to add more liquid...DON'T!! If it does seem to be powdery, it just needs time and lots of elbow grease...guys, it's time to get messy. If the wooden spoon ain't working just get your hands in there and squeeze all of the ingredients together til they form a sticky dough. This will make about 12 fat cookies. Yep. FAT. Separate the dough into 12 balls and place on a greased baking tray. Then, bake for 13 minutes.

I know what you're thinking. 13 minutes? Hmm, 15 minutes it is. NO. These cookies want 13 minutes in the oven.... no more, no less. Trust me, bad things will happen. The first of which will be a bad batch of cookies; not good.

Once they're baked bring them out of the oven and let them cool. You don't wanna eat these straight outta the oven... yea. Not a good move. Who knew M+M's held so much heat?!

Anyways, these cookies make great gifts, lovely offerings when friends come round or, y'know...a romantic meal for one.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

WHAT I WORE- Summer lovin'

9 comments:
For those of you who don't know, I am the Editorial Assistant at British Style Bloggers and we have just launched a new feature called 'What I wore'. We are asking YOU to submit an outfit to either our Facebook page or our Twitter that represents Summer Lovin' for you. Please get involved, it would mean such a lot to me and the rest of the British Style Bloggers team. You can see mine and Danni's submissions below.

Festival dressing in a nutshell, Danni has got summer dressing down to a T!


To me, this has summer written all over it, shorts, a hat, a picnic in the park with my lovely boyfriend, taken as a break from revision...ah summer!

So get on over to British Style Bloggers and get involved! 
GOOD LUCK! 
 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

I want to ride my bicycleee, I want to ride my biike.

8 comments:
Greetings! I'm in a right jolly old mood today. Whether this is due to the chocolate cookies waiting eagerly for me downstairs, or simply the fact that finally the clouds seem to have stopped looming so menacingly [it's July for god's sake; why does rain even exist right now?!] I'm not sure. I do know however that since deciding, somewhat begrudgingly, that this summer was going to be an active, all-singing, all-dancing one I've definitely been feeling a lot brighter.

Now, first let me clarify my sheer hatred of exercise. From the age of about five, when school decided to introduce us to the atrocity that was 'Sports Day' and encouraged us to embark on numerous 'team activities', the very mention of the word running has been enough to make me cry. Take year 8 for example, when our P.E. teacher made us run around a track for 12 minutes. Oh there were tears. There were gasps, stitches and tears. Or perhaps way back in year 6 when I was forced to join the Netball team by a particularly imposing tutor. For some reason long legs are seen as synonymous with athletic success. I mean, it makes sense of course - bigger strides for running, longer jumps in, well...long jump and taller reaches in Netball. Sadly, for me my height was more synonymous with downright athletic failure. "Long jump?! You could take on step and beat everyone!" HAHAHAHAHAHA. No."Netball?! You can practically drop it in the net!", yeah sure! If my hand-eye co-ordination had maybe developed a little since I was a foetus. Anyway, dramatic analogies aside, for me it's always been an unfortunate case of want to, but can't......who am I kidding? I love having an excuse not to exercise. Legitimate or not. But recently I've tried to rectify my exercise aversion and I must say I'm definitely enjoying it. The fact that biking isn't a team sport is always a good start for me; that girl who always fell flat on her face in football? Or ran with the ball in Netball? Yea, that was me. You can see why I hate teams...or rather why they hate me. So yes, biking/swimming/running would be my activities of choice. Whittling it down to the old bicycle wasn't exactly hard: swimming costume? HA. Showing off my Pheobe-style running skills? Nah thanks. Biking it is. As wonderful as I'm feeling though for finally peeling my bum from the sofa after about 15 years, and as much as I'd encourage you all to get out in the fresh air and feeeel those endorphines, there are a feeeew downsides to outdoor excercise which I'll share with you now...

Why can't I look this graceful?!
1) The Midges.
Wasps. Bees. Mosquitoes. They ain't got nothing on these little blighters. Seriously, I don't care if you're going out at 3 in the morning, wear a pair of sunglasses and for the love of God keep your mouth closed. Midges don't make the tastiest of breakfasts.

2) The Gear
Oh God. Oh God. It's time to pull on those cropped joggers and that baggy t-shirt. Y'know, the one that's ten sizes too big, fraying and stubbornly stained...in other words, perfect for exercise. Just make sure you go out at obscure times [safety first though kids] i.e. not at 9pm on a Saturday night when your mates are heading out for the evening. Luckily, I've not been recognised yet although that might have something to do with the fake moustache and flat cap...

3) The Sweat
Great. I've finally adjusted to the warmer [or not] season and am just about coping warmth-wise when I decide it's a good idea to engage in physical activity. Outdoors. In the sun. Lovely jubbly. Gory details aren't necessary here; I'm sure you get the picture but yes, deodorant is your friend.

4) The Willpower
As much as I'm thrilled to finally be doing my body some good, finding the willpower to kick it into action is more than a little difficult. I like to think of myself as a fairly strong-willed person; if something needs doing I'll do it [tidying not included] but when it comes to exercise I'm far too easily distracted. In fact no, it's less a case of distraction and more a case of a 'hmm. let's see what we can actively seek out to avoid doing any excercise shall we'. Y'see, I'm still not over the whole EXERCISE-IS-BAD thing, and still expect jeers and laughter as I begin my cycling escapade but hey...all in good time my friends.
This is worryingly familiar.

5) The Wall
I feel somewhat guilty using this term because it's usually associated with hardcore sporting events. I'm talking marathons, triathlons etc etc. I mean, if I'm hitting 'the wall' 10 minutes into a measly gear 4 bike ride I reckon the starting line of the marathon would just about be my hardcore equivalent. Anyway, no matter what exercise you choose to do, no matter what level you're at, there comes a brief but oh-so painful period when you begin to dwindle. Rather than letting your mind wander onto other thoughts, all you can think is 'exercise. exercise. exercise' and trust me, thinking about excercise whilst doing it is about ten times as exhausting as the latter. Thankfully, the wall crumbles eventually and you'll wonder why the hell you were being such a wimp. It all seems easier, you feel freer and you're finally enjoying that wonderful feeling of.....PFFFFTTTTTTTBLERGH. Midges for tea anyone?

Anyone else exercising this summer? I fear I may be the only one stupid enough :)
Laters Alligators

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Interning...

7 comments:
I have just finished my first week of interning for the Civil Service in London and so far I am loving it! Last Sunday, I thought I was actually going to be sick as I was so scared of starting a job in a city where I have never lived. Nervous doesn't even begin to cover it! Selina at Flying Saucer has also written a guide to interning so go and have a look!
Luckily my lovely auntie, uncle and cousins have made me feel very welcome in their house and have been kind enough to let me stay there for the duration of my internship so I haven't had to find somewhere to live- an exercise in itself... So what can I tell you about interning?

#1 Be prepared


First of all, have a good breakfast! I get so hungry at work but I find if I eat a good breakfast I can stave off the hunger pangs until at least 10 o' clock! :P It also saves me a LOT of money as coffee and breakfast from somewhere like Starbucks is EXTORTIONATE and as a poor student who isn't paid until the end of the month, breakfast at home is definitely the best option! I also take my own lunch in as I have more money for socialising networking.

#2 Schmoozing...

Networking is the name of the game when you are interning, often when you are working, it's not what you know, it's WHO you know. I am very shy when I am meeting new people but this internship has really pushed me to meet new people and I have forced myself to get out and meet people. I am really glad I have though! All of the interns seem really really nice and without this internship I would never have met them :)

#3 Enthusiasm

Whilst you aren't going to know anything when you first start, enthusiasm gets you a long, long way. It will make it a LOT easier to get your head around all of the new information you have to retain and it t means that your manager will react more kindly towards you when you ask another silly question! The 'daily grind' will also be much more bearable if you are "alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic!" (Does anyone else remember that from Brownies?!) 

#4 Organisation


Anyone who has ever met me will attest to the fact that I am the most disorganised person EVER. I start off with good intentions and a shiny new diary but inevitably organisation never happens. However, since I started work, I have been a lot more organised, because I HAVE to be. I need to get the train at a certain time and complete certain tasks each day and to have any chance of doing this I have to embrace a system of organisation *shudder*. At work we have Microsoft Outlook and the colour coding tool is a dream come true! Hopefully, this new found organisation will continue into term time too?! I can hope, I guess! I also find that laying my clothes out the night before saves me a LOT of time in the morning, giving me that extra 10 minutes in bed...lovely! :)

Obviously, every job is different, but hopefully you will be able to use these tips to help make your life (and everyone elses!) a lot easier if you are doing work experience somewhere!

Do you have any tips you would add? Have you done any work experience or interning? 
 
P.S. We have some lovely thing over at Frills 'n' Spills wardrobe....why not take a look?

Friday, 16 July 2010

A bit of retail therapy...

1 comment:
...never did anyone any harm! [Hey, I never mentioned bank accounts mmkay?]
I've just put some new stuff up on the Frills n Spills shop - lot's of things from vintage finds to Topshop pieces - and everything for £10 or less : )


Any of that grab your fancy? Lovely jubbly- just head over to Frills n Spills wardrobe [where there's plenty more to ponder over], take a peek and let me know what you'd like - e-mail or comments are fine : )

Later kiddo's!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Danni in a dress? Yeah right...

14 comments:
It's a shocker I know, but the other day I bought my second maxi dress in as many weeks. You'll probably have seen that I'm more your typical jeans and t-shirt girl, more out of habit than concious choice, but for once I decided to break free from buckles and belts and plumped for a long monochrome maxi. Primark of course; I'm not deluded enough to think that I will get much wear out of it, but I think I may brave it a few times on holiday....where thankfully I know no-one and can be as far out of my comfort zone as my heart's content with.


I'm still not entirely sure this buy was very wise! I'm just not a dressy kind of person; more...frays than frills, and I'd choose mess over dress anytime. Hmmm, can change be a good thing? 





 P.S. Hello to our lovely new followers! It's so nice to know that you enjoy reading the blog enough to become regular readers, and I don't think we could ever get over the excitement of sharing our ramblings with new people...enjoy!

P.P.S. Don't forget to check out our little shop where we're [reluctantly] letting go of some of our wears - those poor rails just can't cope! Clickety click!











Thursday, 8 July 2010

Strawberry tarts

6 comments:
This post was inspired by the lovely sunny weather we have been having and also because my mum made a batch of them yesterday...yum! 

 
This recipe is one my mum has used for a long, long time, with excellent results each time. The most important part to get right is the pastry which tastes a lot like shortbread, probably because of the semolina.You can get pre-made pastry cases from places like Marks and Spencers, but where's the fun in that?!

Pastry cases (makes 16) :
 4 oz plain flour
2 oz caster sugar
2oz fine semolina
4 oz butter (at room temperature)

* Combine all ingredients and work all together into a dough. Place dough in a polythene bag and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.


* Roll out onto floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness then cut out 2 5/8 in circles and place in individual foil cake tins. 


*Prick each pastry case thoroughly around the base and sides with a fork, then bake at the centre of the oven at 150 degrees or until firm and golden.


* Once they have finished cooking, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.


Now for the best part...the filling! As it is (supposedly) summer, we decided to add the classic combination of freshly cut strawberries and whipped cream to the pastry cases. 


This just looks like summer to me! 


Add whipped cream to the pastry cases.


 Add strawberries et voila! Beautiful strawberry tarts that are the perfect accompaniment to light summer meals. 


Obviously you can change the filling to suit...I am imagining caramelised nectarines or peaches or maybe mini tarte tatins? I will have to experiment ;) 



Do you have any recommendations for some sweet summer treats? What flavours would you try?
 

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Life is sweet...

5 comments:
Today's been another day of unpacking; I'm keen on the idea that most of the bags I used to bring stuff home in were inspired by Mary Poppins - that bottomless sack has clearly made its way onto the high street without me realising; there's endless amounts of things! Anyway, in favour of procrastination [something I'm becoming worryingly good at] I decided to paint my nails differently for a change. I must give Leia full credit for this idea, and I think it looks great - although the candy colours are making me hungry...
Nails Inc elizabeth street

PLUS

Some random pastel colours

EQUALS  
 Candy tips : )

These sweet coloured polishes were causing serious sugar cravings, so up popped my sister with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. She even made it into a heart, er, totally on purpose of course...


Chocolate chip cookies and candy nails? Today is most definitely a good day.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Second year. Done.

10 comments:
Sorry, what? Year two done you say? Hell Yeah! Finally after weeks of relentless revision, we were able to relax, have fun and listen to our bodies [rather than our alarm clocks] for a change; they told us to sleep, eat and go out; in that order!

Anyone who has been sitting exams recently should a) give themselves a pat on the back and b) relate to the fact that the relief of finishing is overwhelming, and what better place to vent some of that well deserved bliss than the pub?! The first port of call was out for tea and drinks with the lovely Lisa who was jetting off back home to Holland and wanted to say a final goodbye before our three months break. We ate, drank and watched the football [we're secretly middle aged men but shhhh] and had a good old laugh. I wore my bargainous £2 trousers [courtesy of Maria!] over my playsuit; a bit weird I know but I love the pattern and luckily you can't tell it's not a top!
Maria, Lisa and Me
  
The day after, our housemate finally finished her exams and we were treated to Risotto lovingly prepared by Chef Maria which was delicious. We found our inner barmaid and whipped up some cocktails before donning our gladrags and and heading off to Kasbah; a moroccan themed club where we could have a proper boogie!
Nom Nom
 I think I took the idea of 'batwing' a little too seriously
 I wore what's now becoming my go-to going out outfit [I need to switch it up a little!] and Maria looked gorgeous in one of her many playsuits.We had a fabby time but decided that after a few nights out, all we needed was a good old laze about in the sunshine; bliss.

 Maria, Nisha and Me

I realise this post is becoming waaaay longer than I first planned, so if you're still with me you deserve applause [or perhaps something a little more rewarding], but I couldn't break off without mentioning what was possibly the cutest day ever. I know I sound like a five year old Britney Spears [ohmygaah it was soooo cuute!] but bear with me : ) My friend turned twenty and decided to do something a little different; as great as a night out can be, we'd all been there, done that and yes, even got the T-shirts, so she organised a visit to Leamington's own 'Potter Inn' where we each chose a ceramic pot/cup/generic holder-of-something and let our creative juices flow with paints, water and a little imagination. I went for an Alice inspired design [I sound like quite the obnoxious artist] with lots of hearts, dots and stripes...

I think it did us all good to channel our inner five year olds; I mean, who could want more than paints and a blank slate?! It really was in total opposition to the standard birthday outing but this was definitely no bad thing - thank you Sophie!
Aaaaah what an epic post, it feels good to be writing again although apologies if it's a bit scatty- I'm out of touch! I promise to be writing much more though, and hopefully you can enjoy some other posts on British Style Bloggers where I'll be posting some other ramblings on a monthly basis : ) Exciting!!!

On another [very quick- I swear!] note, don't forget to check out Frills n Spills Wardrobe for some great bargains; after a year of cramming clothes desperately onto groaning rails we've both decided to have a clear out and put some of the nicer things online - if you fancy anything up there just contact us and we'll get it to you asap : )

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