2017 what a year it has been

I haven’t blogged in a while.

There are a multitude of reasons but the main one is that 2017 has been a pretty sucky year and blogging just didn’t come very high on my priority list.

“Oh but why has 2017 been so rubbish?” I hear you say (well, I don’t but for the purpose of this post that is exactly what you said!)  Well…read on.

This year has been tough. Don’t get me wrong, there have been so absolutely excellent parts of this year (a post on that is coming near Christmas/New Year) but overall, I have had better times.

My physical health has been, well…mediocre at best.  I have had 3 stints in hospital this year, all with unexplained lower abdo pain…and every single time I have been told something different. I was usually given pain killers, kept in for a night and sent home with no plans to follow up.  Eventually I took matters into my own hands and was able to get a diagnosis of endometriosis.  I have a post planned for this but the short story is…I was in a lot of pain, every single day and there was nothing people could do.  I THINK I have it under control now (hurrah) but it could all change.  For now, I’m just happy that the pain is gone.

All the issues with my physical health have really messed up my mental health (which in turn has impacted other elements of my physical health – helloooooo weight gain!) I kind of didn’t really register how crappy I was feeling until I took a moment to think about it. I was plodding along ok. In the grand scheme of things, my mental state is ok.  In relation to a few years ago when I was unable to get out of bed…I am practically tigger like (bouncy, you get it?) But I have not been ME!

I thought that some of my friends were being shit friends, too interested in other parts of their lives for me. Actually, I was pushing them away and not saying yes to stuff as I just didn’t want to be with people.  I was pushing my mum away, which, if you know my mum & I at all, that is weird.  We are like Lauralie & Rory, so being distant with her was weird!  All of this is sorted now. I am still not ME but I am SO much better simply for noticing it and taking some time to look after myself.

On to the next and probably the worst reason for me being so bad at blogging this year…

I lost one of my best and oldest friends this year.  I have talked about it a little on both facebook and Twitter but actually I have been pretty closed off about it all.  Just writing those words made me cry.

Scott Waldrup. My crazy curly haired American friend, who I met on my 1st day at Queen Mary University (12 years ago).  The boy who supported me through too many hangovers, boy dramas, coursework disasters and performance breakdowns. I have never met another like him & I don’t think I ever will.

He lost his life thanks to gang violence in Savannah, Georgia.  He died saving other people from being run down by a car fleeing the scene of a drive by shooting on his favourite day of the year, 4th July. He was always my hero, now he is other people’s hero too.

Losing Scott hit me HARD. I was actually sat in Bills Restaurant at the time; about to go to the theatre. I got a message from a friend who wanted to tell me before I saw it on Facebook; a gesture that I will always be grateful for.  I sobbed my way through dinner and then through Romeo & Juliet, not giving a damn that the school girls next to me were talking about how “it’s not that sad” and saying “oh my god I can’t believe she’s crying”.

3 days later I was on a plane to Ibiza for my cousins wedding, having to hold myself together to enjoy myself as much as possible; whilst the whole time my heart was broken and my womb was trying to kill me (my period started the day of the wedding!) Coming to terms with a death and being hormonal is NOT a good mix.  Don’t get me wrong the wedding was AMAZING and I was SO happy to see my cousin get married, it just wasn’t easy to get through the week.  I MAY blog again about Scott and what has happened since. I think there is a story to be told but I am not sure I am strong enough to tell it yet.

So…there you have it…2017 has been tough.  HOWEVER, I have worked out who my true friends are. Those who are willing to drop everything and drive me to hospital, those who were willing to travel across the country to come to my 30th, those willing to travel with me to make sure I turned 30 somewhere awesome.  I have also developed some amazing new friendships with people who I feel will always have my back and I will ALWAYS have theirs. I won’t name names as I know they will not want that but I do hope they know who they are.

I also saw a post on FB the other day that read “may the last 3 months of 2017 be the plot twist you have been waiting for” I am going to MAKE them be and live by the new moto all of Scott’s friends have pledged… What Would Scott Do?

Hopefully this is the start of more blogs. I have lots of stories to tell…

It doesn’t JUST HAPPEN

Ladies, how many of you have been sexually assaulted at some point in your lives?

I am not talking rape (although that definitely comes into the discussion) I mean a “casual” grope, a lingering hand, an unwanted touch?  “But that’s not sexual assault” I hear you cry.  It bloody well is!!!

The legal definition of sexual assault is:

A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) A  intentionally touches another person (B),

(b)the touching is sexual,

(c)B does not consent to the touching, and

(d)A does not reasonably believe that B consents” (Sexual Offences Act 2003. S3(1))

 

Looking at that definition I can think of MULTIPLE times that I personally have been sexually assaulted, the worst led to counselling, a close 2nd led to my best friend nearly roundhousing someone in the face.  Said person ran up to me, in a night club & stuck his face in my cleavage whilst I was on a night out. None of these times I have reported to the police, and not one of them would stand up in court.

Why? Because we live in a society where it appears to be accepted, it is just “banter”, blokes having fun.  People don’t stand up when they see their mates being disrespectful to a woman, women “slut shame” each other all the freaking time and one of the most powerful men in the world thinks it is ok to talk about grabbing a woman by the pussy.

When I worked in the nightclub industry I was VERY lucky that the security staff took my safety very seriously. Even when I was there and not working, if I had a problem, or any of my mates had an issue with a guy, said guy would be politely asked to leave. If he refused he would be removed.  Unfortunately this is not the case everywhere.
Multiple women (and some men) have come forward on Twitter after a post by the WONDERFUL @VixMeldrew stating that they have been inappropriately touched when out and the staff have done nothing. “if it’s not on CCTV there is nothing we can do”. Personally I think that is utter BS. OF COURSE there is something you can do.  In the case I mentioned above, there were MULTIPLE witnesses, many of which made sure I was ok after the incident, but security didn’t care that more than just me & my mate were saying it.

Now, I am not for one second saying that ALL men are responsible for assaults of this nature. I am saying that EVERYONE, men and women, have a responsibility to each other to call out this kind of behaviour. That hand that lingers too long, that grope in a night club that your mate dares you to do (and yes, that means when women do it to blokes too), the total disregard for the words ‘no thank you’.  I can’t go back to the past but if I could I would make sure I took my cases to the police. I would not have let that guy in the club get away with saying sorry to my mate just so she would let him go. I would call out EVERY. SINGLE. TIME that someone made an inappropriate sexual comment or gesture about me or a friend of mine; because that is where it starts.  Sexual assault doesn’t just happen.  People learn that it is OK to talk about women with utter disrespect, that a woman doesn’t own her own body, that it is OK to touch her wherever you want. IT REALLY IS NOT OK!!!

I beg you, men and women alike, educate each other. Because I for one am fed up of a culture where it is the victim who needs to change their ways; the victim who is told they were wearing the wrong clothes, they were walking home alone, they were dancing, they were standing near someone so it must be their fault.

And before all you blokes come in and say “it happens to blokes too” I know it does. And that is STILL NOT OK! If it happens to you, call it out. Tell that girl that it is not ok, ask her if she would think it was OK if it happened to her, I can almost guarantee that she will say no.

Dramalama

Well hi again guys. The kind of unplanned kind of needed blog hiatus is OVER! I am back writing and back loving life post dissertation.

So, since my last blog a million things have occurred, I finished my degree, got myself a job, haven’t found a boyfriend (surprise surprise!) have baked the BEST cake I have ever made and bought a SHIT TONNE of make up.

I was going to make this post a makeup review of some of the Sleek Matte Me Liquid Lipsticks but some recent shit has gone down on social media that I couldn’t ignore. So sorry guys, the review is postponed and you have a rant instead. Warning…foul language ahead

So, I have been friends with one particular blogger on twitter for a MINIMUM of 3 years (yes Alice, that long!) and it all started from a hashtag. #winenot to be precise. I have watched Alice grow as a blogger (seriously people, if you do not already follow her/read her blog…DO IT), and see how bloody supportive she is of other bloggers. Whether they are established, just starting out or, like me are having a reboot Alice will be there to give them a boost.  Unless they are a complete DICK.

This is where the rant starts…

Now, Alice also has a wonderful fiancé (still new, I almost wrote boyfriend) who is also part of the blogging community which is cool.  He was randomly blocked by a certain “hub” a while back and today, the ass wipe that runs said “hub” started a slanging match.  I am not going to go into details as I can’t be arsed (and I am sure you have seen it) but this person, who in the past has slagged off women who is overweight, has been really rather unsupportive of bloggers who struggle with anxiety and has been a less than nice person in general.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident.  I have seen it with another blogger recently who chose to slag off feminism, bitching about bloggers awards and being a general sourpuss.

The blogging community has mainly been lovely. I have met some fascinating people, made some good friends and gain some DAMN good beauty tips!  Why the FUCK do some people feel like they are above others. Why do they feel the need to BRING DOWN other people, other bloggers like that?  Do they not realise how much it makes people worry about putting their writing out there?  If you do not agree with something written then fine, say it, in a constructive way of course because otherwise you are being a dick.  If you feel the need to put women down for how they look…look in the fucking mirror!

The blogging community is usually a lovely one to be involved in. I love my #winenot girls and the others I have started talking to more recently.  But seeing this harassment unfold on my twitter is making me sad.  Alice for one is NOT a ‘troll’ and I get bloody defensive when people are dicks to my mate.

I have personally chosen to not associate with the people who are causing blogging a bad name.  I do not write for anything more than my love of writing, and makeup, and baking.  Friends made along the way are a massive bonus but any drama can go jump!

Rant over. I promise a positive one next time

New Palettes!

Hey ladies,

So, I have been wanting to try the Sleek make up palettes for AGES.  I kind of went on a make up ban (eyeshadow in particular) because it was getting a bit obscene. BUT at Halloween I needed a good blue/green/purple and a DARK lipstick, you know, because we went all out at Halloween.

I popped into Superdrug and checked out the palettes.  I was there FOREVER but I eventually left with a Sleek palette (Vintage Romance), 2 lipsticks (one which I probably wont use again but it was £1 and one which is my new fave!) and a Make-Up Revolution palette (Give Them Nightmares).  I was actually just intending to buy the Sleek palette but the make-up Revolution one was at the counter and it has the most beautiful greens & purples in it so I couldn’t resist.

Firstly, look how gorgeous the packaging of the two is. I am a sucker for packaging!

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I’ll run through the Sleek one 1st.  I did get a bit frustrated by the clasp on the palette at first, it was a little stiff but it worked out in the end.

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Inside the sleek black casing is 12 highly pigmented shadows, all with lovely names like “pretty in Paris” and “marry in Monte Carlo”, a mirror and a double ended applicator (which I clearly wont use!)  As you can see, I have already been using every colour in this palette!

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The shadows themselves are super pigmented and blend beautifully.  They have quickly become my fave shadows. Check out the colour swatches below.

Top Row

sleek row 1

Bottom Row

sleek row 2

Soon I will be posting a couple of eye looks using these shadows.  For only £7.99, You really cannot go wrong!

Now, on to the Makeup Revolution Palette.  £6 from Superdrug.

Again, the palette clasp is rather annoying but you soon get used to it. Inside the black and gold casing here are 18 (yes 18!) 12 shimmer (some with a really light shimmer, some with a more pronounced shimmer) and 6 matte.

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This pic really does not do the colour justice

The colours are SUPER pigmented which I LOVE. I haven’t yet tried to blend them that much (except to create bruises for Halloween!) so I can’t comment on that but they are stunning colours.  I tend to use them to create a dramatic looks and I use the greens a lot for eyeliner.

I want to experiment with this palette a little more but I LOVE it! Swatches below. I have swatched in the same order as they appear in the pallette.

Halloween

I LOVE THEM! Lethal is actually a really bright colour but its not showing that well in the pic which is a shame. Its almost a jade green as you can see from the 1st pic.  I use it to do green lash lines sometimes 🙂

Have you got any of the Sleek or Makeup Revolution palettes? Let me know what you think of them in the comments.

New Year. Not so new me!

Hey lovelies,

So, 2015 has been 7 gone, I had a bit of a mixed bag of a year to be honest. Some AMAZING high points including spending a month in Kenya with the little boy I sponsor, getting to go to more Rugby World Cup games than I could have ever imagined, meeting some of my rugby heroes and making some fantastic friends along the way.

Anyway, this blog is not about 2015, it is about looking forward to 2016.  What I wanted to do this year, instead of making the same old resolutions (lose weight, get healthy, find a job I love, blah blah) and then being disappointed or annoyed with myself when I break them or just don’t achieve them, I have decided to make a commitment to blogging.

I absolutely LOVE writing and love interacting with people who read what I write but I never make the time to do it. Sharing my makeup tip and loves as well as making you all fat with baking recipes is so fun so I am making a commitment that in 2016 I will post AT LEAST once a week on this place I call my blog.  I MAY switch it up a bit and include some crafty blogs as I have been crafting a lot lately!

So, that’s my resolution. What are yours? Let me know in the comments, I may steal some for my own!

Raspberry, Peanut Butter Brownies

So, I took a HUGE break from blogging as I simply couldn’t find the inspiration (or time) to write. But I am back, I think.

I thought for my first blog back I would go with a tasty treat, so I bring you a new recipe…Peanut Butter and Raspberry Brownies.image6

I LOVE making brownies, they make me happy and they are probably my best bake but if you know me at all you will know I love mixing things up and coming up with twists on my fave bakes.

This twist combines rich chocolate, creamy peanut butter and tart raspberries to make a delicious, gooey brownie.

So…how is it made?  I took my usual brownie recipe and swapped out some of the butter for peanut butter and added some blitzed up frozen raspberries….SIMPLE

What do you need?
200g Dark chocolate (I use Bournville as it has a great cocoa %)
100g Unsalted butter
75g Peanut butter
325g Caster sugar (I KNOW…it is loads but it works)
130g Plain flour
3 eggs
A few handfuls of frozen raspberries blitzed in a blender

Blender blitzed raspberries (they look so pretty)

Blender blitzed raspberries (they look so pretty)

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C (gas mark 3)
Melt the butter, peanut butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water…or a bain-marie, your choice! Leave until fully melted and silky smooth. I tend to stir it occasionally so as to make sure it melts evenly.

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Look at the chocolatey goodness!

Remove from heat and mix in the sugar, stir until its fully incorporated
Add the flour…again stirring until it is fully incorporated (it can get a bit tough so I stir it in gradually)
Add in the eggs, again I do this one by one.
Finally add in the raspberries stirring through so they are evenly dispersed.

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Pop the mix into a lined tin (suggested size is 33 x 23 x 5-cm)

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Bake at 170°C for 30-35 minutes.  It becomes flakey on top but is super squidgy in the middle.

Baked, ready to cool

Baked, ready to cool

Leave it to cool for a short time in the tin and then use the lining to help you lift it out. Place on a wire rack to cool before slicing and enjoying. Probably with a cup of tea!

mmmmmmm gooey chocolatey goodness!

mmmmmmm gooey chocolatey goodness!

Just a quick note – I think I would possibly reduce the sugar a tiny bit and increase the raspberry content next time I make these.  They are AMAZING but I wish there was a little more tang to them!

#BoldIsBeautiful

Hi, my name is Gemma and I’m addicted to Benefit. There. I said it.

If you follow me on Twitter you would already have known this fact anyway.  I adore them, their makeup just SUITS me, the packaging is adorable and their customer service is delightful. Most days I am not sure what I would do without them to be honest!
Today’s post isn’t about their makeup. Or their skin care. Or even their perfume (Laugh with me Lee Lee is my fave, just FYI). No, today is about their charity work.
Last year I spotted the campaign “Brow Arch March”. Dubbed as women’s answer to Movember.  The idea behind this campaign was to use women’s obsession with their eyebrows (we spend over £2.3 BILLION a year on them!!) to help raise money for charity.
Throughout March, Benefit brow bars within Debenhams offered free brow shapes but asked for a donation of at least £5. All money raised went to “Look Good, Feel Better” a charity which offers make up master classes to help women combat the visible signs of cancer.
It was this campaign which started my love affair with benefit brow bar.
Fast forward a year and I was eagerly anticipating this years Brow Arch March. March came and went, no Brow Arch. BUT WAIT….Benefit launched #BoldIsBeautiful, this years brow shaping, charity fundraising event.
So, what is the #BoldIsBeautiful campaign?
This year Benefit have not only teamed up with “Look Good, Feel Better” but also the domestic violence charity Refuge. Throughout May, if you get your brows done at a Benefit Brow Bar, 100% of the profits will go to these two amazing charities. So not only will you look great you will be DOING great too!
And, if donating to charity isn’t a good enough feeling in itself, you will get a FREE FULL SIZE Gimmie Brow as a thank you. How cool is that?!
As a Debenhams beauty card holder with a birthday in May, I would usually get my may shape for free but I for one will be paying for mine to be wowed this may!
To find your nearest participating brow bar just click here.
Let me see your brows once you have had them done 🙂 I will be posting mine up on Twitter using the #BoldIsBeautiful tag of course!!!  And keep your eyes peeled for more benefit related blogs, as you now know, I am addicted!

Salted Caramel Millionaire Cupcakes

When I saw that one of my rugby girls Megan, (go follow her!) was hosting a bake sale in aid of Young Minds I simply couldn’t resist the urge to crack out the baking trays again!

The recipe I am going to share with you today came to me in a moment of indulgence in the office one day and I just HAD to try them out!

Basically, I was munching on a Waitrose millionaire shortbread bite (honestly…they are AMAZING) and I wanted to make a salted caramel version.  BUT…I was sitting in a meeting, thinking about what an effort it is to temper chocolate, get caramel to the perfect consistency etc etc so I put that one on hold.  I still wanted to use the idea for Megan’s bake sale though….so I came up with a design for a salted caramel millionaire CUPCAKE!!

Yep…everything you could possibly want from a millionaire slice but in cupcake form!  I have made this up from scratch so if it is similar to any other recipe out there I am sorry but I didn’t know so can’t credit!!

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The cake consists of a chocolate sponge (you can use a vanilla one too which I will probably do next time), a shortbread layer, a soft salted caramel centre, a chewy salted caramel layer on top of the cake all topped with vanilla frosting, drizzled with milk chocolate and a tiny drop of caramel sauce (I LIKE caramel ok?!?)

Sponge (I tend to follow the Humming Bird Bakery recipes for this but a standard cake mix would work!)

  • 100g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder (replace with flour for vanilla cakes)
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 120ml milk (the original recipe says whole milk but ive had NO issues with skimmed)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract (use a little more if you use vanilla essence…it isn’t as strong)

Frosting

  • 250g icing sugar (I know it seems LOADS but its not)
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 25ml milk
  • A few drops (or ¼ tsp) vanilla extract

Soft Salted Caramel (This is thanks to Pinterest where I can across THIS from Jaclyn at Cooking Classy.  just FYI, I have made these and I LOVED them!)

Jaclyn is American…she uses cups, I have changed it to grams for this one!

  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 85g Butter
  • 178ml Double Cream (I KNOW…what an odd amount!)
  • Kosher salt or rock salt…Honestly, it REALLY doesn’t matter!!

Other random ingredients

  • 20g (approx) milk chocolate
  • I bought it because I simply didn’t have the will to make it!!! I would recommend ROUND shortbread but you can use any!
  • Small can of Condensed Milk
  • Caramel sauce (I used ice cream sauce)

Ok, I know that is a HUGE ingredients list but I promise you that it is TOTALLY worth it.

Making the cake part…

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases

  • Pop the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and butter (which should be room temp) in a mixer OR use a hand held electric mixer.  Blend until it has a sandy texture and everything is combined.
  • Next, add HALF of the milk GRADUALLY and beat until just incorporated.
  • Whisk the egg, vanilla and remaining milk in a jug.  Pour this into the flour mixture and continue to mix until just incorporated.  Use a spatular to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl.
  • Continue mixing for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth.  DO NOT OVER MIX.

Now you have a cake batter, you need to build the cupcake!

Pop a spoonful of the mixture in the bottom of each cake case.

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Place the shortbread on top of this layer of batter

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Add cake mix on top until the cases are approx. 2/3 full.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes or until springy to touch, leave to cool on a wire rack when they are baked!

They will look like this…

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While the cakes are cooking it is time to make the salted caramel.  It is REALLY simple if you follow the instructions.

Soft Salted Caramel

  • Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed.
  • In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the sugar and water over a medium/high heat whisking constantly to dissolve the sugar.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, stop whisking and allow it to boil until it reaches a dark amber colour, carefully swirling pan occasionally. Seriously…be careful, its blooming hot!!!
  • Once mixture reaches a dark amber colour, immediately add the butter and whisk until it is melted then immediately remove from heat.
  • Wait 3 seconds (yep, a really precise amount of time!) then carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine (it will bubble like mad).
  • Add salt to your own personal taste
  • Whisk until mixture is smooth.
  • Allow caramel to cool for several minutes then pour into a glass jar to cool fully

The chewy caramel layer is next…

  • Empty the can of condensed milk into a saucepan. Heat on a moderate/high heat for about 10 minutes STIRING CONSTANTLY (believe me, you will get burnt bits otherwise!)
  • Add salt as you mix to your desired taste.
  • The mix will turn a pale gold colour.
  • Remove from heat and continue to stir a little to make sure it doesn’t burn on the still hot pan.
  • Allow to fully cool…it will harden quite a bit in this time and go quite chewy.

Bored yet?!  I hope not. I PROMISE its worth it! Seriously, just take another look at them….

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Its totally time to assemble the cake now!!

I don’t know about you but I actually LOVE this bit.  It is fiddly and can be time consuming but its so cool to see the finished product coming together!!

1st step… cut a hole in the middle of each cake….you know, like you are making a fairy cake…make it quite deep and not as big a circumference as you would for a fairy cake.

This is where the soft salted caramel goes. Spoon as much or as little as you want in to them… personally I like about a teaspoon full. I totally forgot to take a pic of this bit 😦

Don’t worry about replacing the top to cover the hole…the chewy caramel will do this for you!

For the chewy caramel you will need to get your hands involved… it is the easiest way!

Take a bit of what should be by now, pretty mouldable caramel, and press it into shape on top of the cake…honestly, this is so hard to describe….just look at the picture! Remember, this will be covered with frosting so don’t worry about it being perfect!

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You COULD use a fork, spoon or even pallet knife if your caramel isn’t as toffee like as mine was!

Ok, we are almost done.  Just the decoration to do!

Vanilla was my frosting of choice…

(If you can’t be bothered after all this to make your own frosting then I can recommend Betty Crocker as an alternative.)

I would recommend a mixer with a LID for this bit!

  • Beat the icing sugar and butter in a mixer on a medium low speed
  • Combine the milk & vanilla extract in a separate jug
  • Turn the speed of the mixer down (if you can) and gradually add the milk & vanilla.
  • Once it has all been incorporated, turn the mixer up to a high speed and mix until light & fluffy
  • The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier it becomes!

OK, now you have your frosting, you need to top the cake with it! I piped it with a star tip but you can spoon it on and smooth with a pallet knife if you so wish.

Once your cake has frosting it is literally just decoration you need to do now!

Sprinkle some shortbread crumbs on top.

Melt the chocolate in whichever way you prefer…I picked microwave for this time round…its quick & there is barely any chocolate to melt!

Once it is melted simply drizzle it over the cake.

Add a bit of caramel sauce it you want…it adds a bit of extra colour to the cake and I personally think…you can never have enough caramel!!

There you have it…the time it takes is so totally worth it!

Enjoy with a cup of tea. You won’t regret it!

The Liebster Award

liebster-award

So the gorgeous Chanelle from https://chanellehayleyyy.wordpress.com/ nominated me for the Liebster Award.  At first I had no idea what this was but I guessed it was an award so that’s always good! A bit of research (mainly reading Chanelle’s blog) showed that it is an award passed from blogger to blogger for a blog which they like/makes them smile/think other people should read!

The “rules” (which seem to vary dependant on blogger but im going with Chanelle’s format) say to give a few  facts about yourself, answer questions set by the nominator and then set your own and nominate blogs you love for the same award!

Here goes…

Facts

  • I ADORE rugby, so much so that I have spent FAR too many £ on tickets (it’s world cup year it’s allowed)
  • My wardrobe consists of mainly skirts and dresses
  • I can never find jeans to fit so I RARELY wear them (if I do I spend all day pulling them up)
  • My favourite thing in the world to do is bake for others but I rarely get the time!
  • I recently got glasses and I LOVE them (I think they make me look smart)
  • I am currently studying for my masters and it is taking over my life but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
  • The Harry Potter books are my favourite and I won’t hear a bad word said about them!
  • I suffer from depression but seem to have it under control
  • I volunteered in Kenya for a few weeks and it stole my heart

Now for the answers to Chanelle’s questions

  1. What was the last book you read? The last one I completed was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (for the MILLIONTH time) but I am currently reading Gone Girl
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why? Probably Kenya as it pretty much stole my heart when I went and I would LOVE to give something back to them!
  3. Favourite item of clothing? Too many to mention but probably my British & Irish Lions Shirt from 2013
  4. What motivates you? (Blogging, daily life etc.) Blogging wise…The fact that people seem to actually care about what I write (that’s a nice feeling). In life…I want to make something of myself, I have plodded along “getting by” for too long, now I want to succeed!
  5. A fact about your personality? I am actually super insecure but put on a confident front
  6. Your idea of a perfect date? A rugby game…
  7. What did your last text message say? From me “and now despicable me is on…what a Sunday”.    To me “something more exciting to do with rugby?!xx”
  8. 3 of your holy grail beauty products? Micellar Water, Pond’s Institute Moisturiser and Benefit They’re Real Mascara
  9. What nail colour are you wearing right now? I’m not! This NEEDS to change! It was Matte Grey with a Coral ring finger!
  10. Do you have a favourite smell? YES! The smell after it rains when it’s been hot!
  11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Hopefully working my way up the ladder in a Mental Health Social Work team.

I would like to nominate:

My Twinnie (not really but we TOTALLY could be) Laura from The Urban Fox http://www.theurbanfox.net/

The GORGEOUS Alice from Annie Writes Beauty http://www.anniewritesbeauty.co.uk/

Another Blog inspiration… Zoe from Classic Rouge http://www.classicrouge.com/

And a bit of a wild card…. Rich from one of the other blogs I VERY occasionally write for (He does all the hard work!) #rugbyunited http://blog.rugbyunited.info/

 

My questions for you guys…

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. What is your favourite film?
  3. Who inspires you? And why?
  4. What was your dream job growing up?
  5. Are you doing that job now?
  6. Who would you pick to play you in a film of your life?
  7. What is your favourite quote and why?

Thanks again to Chanelle for the nomination.  If I have nominated you it is because reading your blog makes me smile or inspires me to write my own.  Obviously you don’t have to accept the award but if you do I look forward to reading your answers.

xxx

Peanut Butter, Oreo Brownie Bites

So, my first food blog…eeeeek!

I have wanted to tell people about this delicious yet super decadent treat for AGES! I first made them back in 2013 (after finding them on Pinterest) for my housemates and they went down soooooo well!!!

If you like chocolate and peanut butter then this is for you. I will warn you, it is crazy rich, and you will probably need a cup of tea to go with it (let’s be honest, when do you eat cake and NOT have tea?)

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What you need

  • A packet of Oreos (other sandwich type biscuits are available)
  • A jar of peanut butter (I personally used smooth but I guess crunchy would work)
  • A good brownie recipe OR a box of brownie mix.  My NONE secret brownie recipe is below if you want to try it! Sorry guys, I refuse to give out my ACTUAL brownie recipe
  • A cupcake tin
  • Cake cases (I personally use muffin cases for all my cupcake esq bakes)

Brownie Mix

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate (personally I use Bourneville)
  • 100g Unsalted butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 medium/large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 60g plain flour
  • 60g cocoa powder

What to do

First you need to set up your cake cases (if you don’t know how to do this then stop reading now!) and preheat the oven to 180c

THEN make up the brownie batter… here’s how:

  • Break up the chocolate, add it to a heatproof bowl (glass…) with the butter (personally I cut the butter into cubes, it melts better) pop the bowl over a pan of boiling water making sure the water & bowl don’t touch (I always wondered WHY this was, I guess its to stop the chocolate heating TOO quickly and therefore splitting or burning… if you know the REAL reason comment below!)
  • Once its all melted and smooth and delicious looking, let it cool a little and add the sugar, stir it all in (it will get all thick & gloopy)
  • Add in the eggs one at a time. There is a chance of this going wrong and curdling…add a small spoon of flour to stop this happening!
  • Sift in the flour & cocoa powder and fold it in so you have the most gorgeous smooth chocolatey goodness

NEXT you need to prep your oreos.

Basically… just smear them on one (or if you like a lot of peanut butter both) sides with peanut butter.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Building your stacks….

  • Pop a small spoon full of the brownie batter into the bottom of each cake case.
  • Then pop in 2 of your peanut butter smeared oreos. (it should go… brownie batter, peanut butter, oreo, peanut butter, oreo, peanut butter)
  • Cover your stacks with the brownie mix (you need to TOTALLY cover them so you can’t see the oreos or they will burn in the oven.
  • Pop your creation in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The brownie should be firmish to the touch but still a bit gooey!
  • Let them cool in the tin for a little bit then pop them on to a wire rack to cool fully.
  • ENJOY with a cup of tea!

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I hope you enjoy these treats, let me know how you get on with making them and if you have any genius ideas on ways to improve them!!

I have made these with a caramel spread instead of peanut butter (a strange person who didn’t like peanut butter asked for it!) and I THINK you could use a nice thick raspberry jam or curd to make them a bit different and fruity!

P.S. sorry for the crappy pics!!!