Easter bark!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Oh Hello there! I'm not religious so don't really get this Easter malarky to be quite honest (although did use it as an excuse to dress my daughter as a chick!) but hey, who doesn't like an excuse to eat chocolate shaped like eggs and bunnies?! I thought I best make something though, just in case other non religious types decide to throw some goodies our way.  Having said that, I also realised that, whilst I may not have work until Tuesday, I don't wish to spend hours attempting to bake in between stopping my daughter from throwing herself off the sofa/pulling tables onto herself....you get the picture! Step up the easy as cheese (is that a saying?!) Easter Bark:

What you'll need:
Chocolate. Lots of it.  I got the white chocolate Green and Blacks' and you can tell it's the good stuff because there are vanilla pod specks in it. So creamy.
Easter themed goodies to stick in the chocolate (think mini eggs, bunny shaped haribo, hot cross bun shaped buttons etc!)
A fridge
A microwave/hot water
A baking tray
Parchment paper

What you'll need to do:
1. Break up the chocolate and melt.  I usually use the melt-in-a-bowl-over-hot-water method but this time opted for the pop-in-the-microwave-and-check-it-before-it-burns method.
2. Line the baking tray with parchment.
3. Poor the melted chocolate into the tray and make sure it's even.
4. Lay the Easter shaped chocolate/sweets gentley on the chocolate.
5. Pop in the fridge.
And wait.
And wait.
6. Once solid, take out and carve up (literally!) to your pals.  

So there we have it, possibly the simpliest thing you'll do this Easter! Are you planning to make anything for Easter?

Written for a competition being run by Two little fleas and The pink whisk:

<div align=”center”><a title=”Two Little Fleas – Online Bingo Sites” href=”http://www.twolittlefleas.co.uk/”> <img alt=”Easter Bakes Recipe Competition” src=”http://www.twolittlefleas.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/easter-bakes.png

Stationery week wednesday wishlist

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Seeing as it is Stationery week, I figured I'd change my scheduled wishlist post (save it til next week I reckon) and pay homeage to my love of stationery! Someone at work loves stationery and pens almost as much as me, which makes me feel slightly less weird when i'm sitting deliberating over which of my colourful fine liners to use.
Stationery week wednesday wishlist

Taking Tea meal planner
$13 - paperchase.co.uk

Marine Team whale pen case
$9.98 - paperchase.co.uk

Yes, I am 30 next year! Ha.  But seriously, £75 for a personalised house stamp is surely a must have in everyone's life?! I can only imagine how out of control I would get if I had  this.  Having said that, in what instance would you really NEED a stamp with your house on?!

I did have a Cath Kidson meal planner and shopping list magnetic thingy but it ran out a few months ago and i quite like the look of this Paperchase one as a replacement.

I love this whale pencil case, not that I need a pencil case plus I can imagine it would get a bit dirty in my bag amongst the coffee granules!

Wishlist Wednesday: ASOS edition

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Wishlist Wednesday: ASOS

Wishlist Wednesday: ASOS by sophie-wearing featuring a long shirt dress

I was lucky enough to receive quite a lot of gift cards for my Birthday and am struggling to decide what to spend them all on so so thought i'd do a few wishlists for all of them.  First up is ASOS, vouchers for which I was lucky enough to receive from Lauren
So, help a gal out; is there anything you're lusting over on ASOS at the moment?

Fun things to do in Brighton the next few weekends

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

One of the things I love about living in Brighton and Hove is that there is always something amazing going on that I really want to do, in fact this weekend is a prime example of how there is always too much I want to do! Somehow on Saturday I need to spread myself in hundreds of places which is simple not possible, so I'm hoping you'll go to some of these things and tell me all about it!

For the crafty ones amongst you I present to you the live craft window at Super and Super! Super and Super is a great creative space that not only has work desks but they run classes and fun events like this! What I like about this is that if you're out and about in town on Saturday you can actually do this without even needing to take too much time out of your day but it also means supporting the local craft community.  

Next up, something for the foodie/Vegan amongst you; Vegfest.  I love events like this and they always help me become a more concientious consumer.  Whilst I may not be Vegan, I am an ex Vegetarian who now rarely eats meat and I often think about the benefits of being Vegan.  I really wish I could because I agree with quite a lot of the ethics behind it, but if i'm brutally honest I just love cheese far too much.  So much so that i'm concerned I couldn't survive if cheese wasn't in my life.  Anywho, back to the event! Vegfest is on this Saturday and Sunday at Hove town hall betrween 11am and 6pm:with loads of stalls serving awesome food as well as bodycare, clothes, accessories, gifts and also lots of campaigning groups and merchandise, plus stacks of info, talks, demos, performances, passion and positive energy. If you like the sound of Vegfest but can't get to Brighton, they're also coming to Bristol and London. 

It's Dark outside at The Old Market is a play about death, redemption and dementia being shown as part of the SICK festival.  I've manage to miss everything part of SICK festival which is pretty disappointing seeing as it covers both my passions but never mind, hopefully there'll always be next year! If you're at a loss on Saturday night, get yourself down to see this enlightening play.  

And finally, if you wake up on next Sunday and fancy a bit of a run or sadistically watching people suffer, why not do the Brighton marathon?!

What's going on in your town or City this weekend?

Mother's day present ideas; Craft tutorial

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Hi all! With Mothers' Day just around the corner, I have a series of posts coming up on topic (woo).  This one is for a very quick crafty sentimental gift that is perfectly simple.

Here's what you'll need to make it:
All the above supplies are available from Country baskets*

Begin by taking your base and a piece of patterned paper and cut the paper to fit the base shape. 
Next, draw around the inner shape (where the photo goes)- I found it useful to apply pressure to the apeture in order to get a better idea of how big the apeture is.
 The next step is to cut the apeture out; I found it useful to a) use baby scissors b) make a small incison first in order to gain leverage to cut the whole shape.  Use super glue to attach small buttons to the paper, enuring that each is secure before moving on to the next. 
 Then all you need to do is insert the picture of you and your Mum etc and you're ready to rock n roll.

If you're stuck for crafty inspiration, have a look at this crafty ideas library.

*means that these items were gifted to me but views remain my own 

Reflections on cost of living

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sorry about the lack of proper presence round these parts recently, things continue to be quite a hard slog and I've spent recent nights too tired to do anything but fall asleep.

Callum and I are both struggling to function outside work; with both of us working our socks off, not sleeping and then coming home and not doing anything but chores; it got me re-evaluating what we're doing.  When I got pregnant we knew I would have no choice but return to work full time because we couldn't afford to survive and pay the basics if I didn't.  But the reality of juggling the two halves of my life is just impossible, with both parts needing so much attention from me right now that I feel so very stretched from both directions and no mental or physical strength to do much else.  To avoid too much wallowing, I started thinking about how this situation could be avoided or rectified and in the process dreamt up all manner of things.  Callum and I have often talked about the idea of living abroad and i've had moments where i've wondered if we should do this in the very near future.  There are many reasons why we are attracted to European city life; life experience, better work life balance, but the difference in cost of price and tennants rights compared to UK is massive.  Some people might ask why we don't move further out where rental prices are slightly cheaper, trust me we've looked into this but the rent isn't actually significantly cheaper and factoring in the cost of travel (ridiculously high too, lets not get me started on that!) for BOTH of us, plus the fact neither of us would get to nursery in time, it makes that option useless!  

A Thrifty Mrs hosted a twitter chat last week with Moneysupermarket regarding buying a house and whilst it was useful to have questions answered, it just reminded me what the problems we face in this country surrounding rental prices and the amount of deposit needed to buy a house.  Living in the South of England, I'm aware that we're probably in the worst place for cost of living and house prices and so I often wonder if we should consider moving to other parts of the country.  I've always liked Devon and Cornwall but these probably aren't much cheaper, and the cheaper parts of the country don't tend to provide much in the way of job options for either of our careers.  Callum's Dad lives in Scotland and I really loved it when we visited and could see myself living somewhere like Edinburgh which is the perfect balance of City life, cheaper cost of living but great culture.  If you look at the price comparison for property to rent in Edinburgh or main cities in Germany, it is absolutely staggering what you get for your money!

Here's a perfect example, 2 bedroom family home in Berlin for £150 less than what I am paying for a small 1 bedroom flat:

 What do you think? Do you manage to get work/life balance right? Do you ever think about moving or living abroad?

Fruitbroo; Insanely tasty hot drinks

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A few days ago, after I had reached the bottom of my full sized caffitiere by 9am all by myself and spent the subsequent few hours in a blurh of caffeine highs/lows and downright inproductivity;  I realised I probably need to cool down on my caffeine intake.  I have talked about my love for it numerous times before, but this love has both increased and evolved into dependency since becoming a working Mother- something needs to change! I've got cupboards full of herbal tea (much to Callum's disgust), loose tea, ground coffee, beanie's coffee...the list goes on but sometimes none of those things satisfy my quench but it's possible i've just found something that might!

I spoke recently about the lovely people at Bluebirdtea&co and now i'm about to do the same for Fruitbroo.  A few days after some email exchanges, the whole blimmin' range of these eye catching bottles landed in my lap (actually they landed in the post sorting office for about three days first) ready for my tasting.

What is it? 
Fruitbroo is basically a bit like cordial but for adults and in more interesting flavours; rhubarb, apple and cinammon, Elderflower and lime, lemon and ginger, lemon and honey, peach, pear and honey and apple, ginger and spices.  You can heat it up or have it cold but personally at this time of year I'm really keen to try baking with some or whipping up some homemade cocktails-especially the elderflower and lime or the blackberry one! The best bit is that they're gluten, dairy and caffeune free PLUS only 15 calories per cup so quite guilt free too!     

I really am a sucker for the pretty design and these labels are typically my style; fun, simple, non fussy, and in rainbow colours! These little beautful bottles of joy are the brain child of the dude behind Clipper-I evidently need to meet this man because he makes beautiful, tasty things and pays such detail to taste and design.  Apart from the design, my first impression was that the bottles were smaller(100ml$-15cups per bottle) than I imagined, but I actually considered this a good thing; they are the perfect size for popping in my bag to take to work when in a hurry!  The lid and plastic is sturdy and clicks satisfyingly into place when opening and closing, so there's less chance of it leaking all over said bag-am I the only one who places importance on such aspects?!

What to do
Simply boil the kettle, add a few teaspoons of chosen flavour and stir- what I really like about this method as opposed to teabags; is the fact that you can put more or less in dependent on your personal peference-nothing worse than over or under strong tea bags!  I found the lemon and honey one perfect for my cold! I like my drinks quite strong so for this pot of two cups I put about 4 tea spoons of the lemon and honey mixture, I found this amount perfect for a good level of flavour. 

Where to nab them?
 Read all this with your salavating and desperate to get your paws on some? Either buy direct from Fruitbroo or check your local Sainsburys for stock. If you do order from them directly you are lucky enough to have 20% if you use my code "Welcome20".

Have you tried Fruitbroo or got any recipe ideas for baking with them?