Thursday, 30 September 2010

Apple picking

If there's one thing I love to do in the autumn, it's apple picking! On Sunday the weather was perfect for it - sunny but cool - so I persuaded Scott to come apple picking with me. We took the dogs with us to Eddisbury Fruit Farm and came back with a huge bag of bramley apples for baking with.

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Pepe & Nina thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it now means that summer is officially over and autumn is here. Next on my list of autumnal things to do is go pumpkin picking! I baked some yummy apple crumble bars with some of the freshly picked apples, but I shall share that recipe with you at the weekend. What's your favourite thing to do in the autumn?

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Phone photos

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I love the camera on my phone. It's perfect for snappy photos at those moments when a big camera just doesn't seem appropriate. This pretty much sums up what I've been doing lately, working (the top right photo is a little snippet of the overflow of our railway collection in work), watching Scott finish the Great North Run (2 hours 16 minutes, which was slower than Ellie Goulding AND Joe McElderry, but considering he had an injury beforehand, he was please)and spending time with my niece Sophia.

I am too busy/lazy this week to even look at London Fashion Week, but to be honest I am feeling slightly disinterested in fashion at the moment. Does anybody else go through phases when they feel uninspired and not bothered? I just feel at the moment that there are some more important things in life than looking at clothes I can't afford. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Frosted chocolate brownies

By the time you read this I will be in Center Parcs! Probably splashing about in the mud in my wellies or curled up reading my book relaxing. Hooray for scheduled posts though. I wanted to share these brownies with you and they just couldn't wait until I got back.


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These aren't just any old brownies. These are lovely gooey brownies with chunks of dark chocolate and walnut nestled inside them, topped with a delicious cream cheese chocolate frosting. Yes, frosting on a brown! So indulgent. Brownies are rich and delicious enough by themselves but with a frosting on them they become delicious x a million.


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The recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (my favourite, in case you couldn't tell!) but it was one of the few recipes I hadn't tried yet. I will definitely be making these again, they are so so delicious!

Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 5 eggs
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 250g unsalted butter, melted
  • 30g shelled walnuts, chopped
  • 30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
For the frosting:
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 150g cream cheese, cold
  • a 33 x 23 x 5-cm baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

Put the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the flour and cocoa powder and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Pour in the melted butter and mix through. Stir the walnuts and chocolate in by hand until evenly dispersed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 30–35 minutes, or until the top is firm but the centre is still soft. Leave to cool completely.

For the frosting: 
Beat together the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

When the brownie is cold, spread the frosting over the top.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Zara love

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I put this all on to wear to work on Monday and realised it was 100% Zara, minus the shoes (they are my lovely Topshop t-bars, back when Topshop shoes were reasonable). I love this skirt for work, pencil skirts or tulip skirts are sometimes too restrictive for me when I'm walking about the library and lifting things up, but this A-line shape is perfectly tailored to be smart but practical. 

I also think my hair is getting too long, it took forever to dry for work yesterday so I had to turn up with slightly damp ends! I know normal people would just start waking up a bit earlier, but I am v.lazy and the longer I can spend in bed the better. So do I go for the chop or just one or two inches? 

Ah, I am so tired this week, I have been so busy in work because people have been off. Had a mad day today with an impromptu school visit that I had to do! I really love my job though and if you want to know more about it I am still updating my work blog here. (I don't want to bore everyone talking about it here too much too!

I have a short week this week though, as I'm off on Friday as I'm going up to Center Parcs and on Sunday Scott is running the Great North Run! He is running it for Mind and you can sponsor him here if you would like to. Anyone else have any nice plans for the weekend? I know it's only Wednesday but the weekend feels so close for me! 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Blue




shoes - topshop, dress, h&m, cardigan - zara

shoes - jones, skirt - zara, t-shirt - h&m, cardigan - zara.


nails - models own bluebelle

Well, I haven't updated in a week but I have been busy with work and making cupcakes for a wedding. My friend left to spend 6 months in Brussels as an au pair too so we had a good send off for her. I've also been getting quite excited for going to Center Parcs next weekend for when Scott does the Great North Run, going to Edinburgh in 3 weeks time and then going to Valencia to visit my family again in February! Anyone have any tips for things I need to check out in Edinburgh? 


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Chocolate peanut butter cake


peanut butter chocolate cake

peanut butter chocolate cake

peanut butter chocolate cake

Chocolate peanut butter cake. I think the pictures say it all. Recipe available here

Thursday, 2 September 2010

1 outfit & nails

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This is a pretty terrible photo of me, I look so tired. But I wanted to share my new dress with you all, it's from Zara. I bought it on Monday but today Zara has launched an online store which is very exciting. They have so many nice things in at the moment, in both the women range and the TRF range. I also bought a lovely mustard coloured t-shirt with a bow on the neckline. Zara cardigans are also notoriously good and in so many colours, I may have to stock up on some for the winter. Especially as it seems that our office is freezing in the winter!

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models own

I also received my Models Own order at the weekend, I chose 4 nail varnishes using the 50% discount offer that was on last week. I got Grass Green, Top Turquoise, Purple Passion & Bluebelle. I instantly chose the Grass Green to try first, because it matches my new favourite cardigan. I applied this on Friday night and took the above photo this morning (Thursday), so you can see it's lasted a long long time! I am impressed. My right hand is admittedly slightly less perfect but only on my middle finger really. For nearly a week's wear though, I am very pleased! Going to try out a new one at the weekend. I think pretty much everyone bought some Models Own nail varnish last week, but I am so impressed with the quality I might buy some more! 


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