Thursday 26 February 2015

How I make Chocolate Chip & Almond Cookies

Hi everyone, today I'm going to tell you how I make my yummy Chocolate Chip and Almond cookies.

Now as I've mentioned to you all before in my Chocolate Crispy Cakes post, I'm not a very adventurous or talented cook, but I have started to very much enjoy baking and I'm really hoping to do more.  I've started small with some easy cookies and although my first attempt did not go as planned (more on that later), I think I might have mastered it and they do always seem to taste pretty good!  So if you'd like to know how I make them, keep on reading :-)

click for larger image

I was lucky enough to get a really nice food processor recently (with the aim of doing more baking) and this made the recipe really quick to make but of course these cookies can be made by hand too, just with a spoon, a bowl and a lot of mixing!

After gathering up my ingredients (minus the coco powder in the pictures), I started by cutting the butter in to cubes and adding it to the sugar in my processor, it only takes about 10-15 seconds to make the mixture nice and smooth and all I used to measure out all my ingredients was a basic cereal bowl and a set of scales.

Next, I broke the egg in to my bowl, made sure there were no loose bits of shell in with it and then slightly whisked it with a fork before pouring it in to the food processor and mixing it again.

Then I added the rest of the main ingredients; the flour, baking powder and salt (which I forgot to take a photo off, whoops!)  And then thoroughly mixed it all together.

Finally, I chopped up 150g worth of chocolate into little pieces, ooh yum!  And then to finish off I crushed up about 50g of ordinary organic almonds and carefully added it all in to the food processor and gave it a final mix, just enough to spread the chocolate and almonds evenly throughout the mixture.

Taking a table spoon and a butter knife, I just spooned out a small dollop of the mixture on to my baking tray (after covering the tray with greaseproof paper), and with the knife just patted each one in to a 1.5" 2" flat circle.  I manage to get about 15 little dollops of mixture evenly spaced on the tray, definitely make sure you don't put them too close together, otherwise they'll just end up spreading in to one giant cookie!

Just to add, this recipe makes around 28-30 cookies in all, so you'll need to cook one tray-full then another, or if you prefer, just halve all the ingredients for a smaller batch.

I put my oven on when I first started adding the mixture to the tray, just so it had a few minutes to heat up ready, then I put my tray of cookie mixture in the oven on the top rack to cook.

After about 5 minutes I turned the tray around to make sure the cookies continued to cook evenly, then after nearly 10 minutes, they were all done.  After checking them with a clean fork (as in the instructions above), I just used a knife to cut through where they had joined together and then let them cool.

As I mentioned earlier, this was my second attempt at making cookies, my first attempt really didn't go so well.  I planned to make some cute heart shaped cookies for my boyfriend and I to share on Valentines day, they went in the oven in a reasonably good heart shape, but honestly they came out looking more like a big splodgy crumbled mess!

On the upside, they tasted great :-) but I think I'll definitely make smaller shapes and space them a lot further apart if I decide to make shaped ones again in the future!
I'm really happy with this batch though, they've definitely come out looking a lot more cookie-shaped :-)  So will you try out this recipe, if you do I'd love to hear about it in the comments and send me a photo of your finished cookies on Twitter too.

Until Next Happy Baking

Original recipe from BBC Good Food website
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Monday 23 February 2015

Thank You :-)

Hi everyone, when I first started my blog back on the 5th of November 2013, it was just a little space for me to talk about all the things I'm interested in and share all the things I love with anyone who might care to listen.  Fast forward just over 15 months and I'm astounded by how much I've gained through it, like confidence, knowledge, skills, friends and most importantly all you lovely readers! :-)

I always try to keep up with any new followers I have especially on Twitter and send a tweet to thank each individual person but I recently realised, that on Instagram and especially on Bloglovin, this is not possible to do!  And so for this post, I wanted to take the opportunity to send out a massively huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have followed me and my little blog on Bloglovin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ :-)
I am extremely grateful to all of you and thank you all so much for following and reading my blog, as well as all of you that have ever took the time to write a comment, favourite my tweets and enter my giveaways!

Which also leads me on to my next announcement, the winner for my Valentine Giveaway is Suzanne Giroux from Canada @pinksuzanne, so many congratulations to you! :-)

Finally, I have another cooking post up for you this coming week, where I show you how to make some delicious chocolate chip cookies and tell you about my own disaster when I tried to make them last week for Valentines! :-/

And I also just wanted to add, I'm so sorry guys for uploading my post late this week but in between general life problems, it was also my birthday on Friday and so with that and spending quality time with my boyfriend and my lovely friends at the weekend, things (including this post) took second place!  I hope you will forgive me and I will do my best to get my posts up on time (which is normally every Wednesday or Thursday) every week.

So Until Next Time, Stay Happy and THANK YOU

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Thursday 12 February 2015

Valentine's Day - Home Made Gift Ideas & Giveaway!

Hi everyone, when it comes to giving a Valentine's gift, there are so many choices and the shops are full of pretty trinkets, ornaments, huge fluffy teddys and beautiful flowers but nothing quite beats the personal touch, something special that's made with love and care for your Valentine!

So for this post, I've come up with 7 really lovely easy ideas for you to give your loved one this weekend.  And if you're happily single, why not try making one of these to give to your single best friend!

And if you read to the end, I have a little gift to give to one of you, for a Valentine gift from me to you and to say thank you for being a follower of my blog :-)*

Love Letters
These days we text and email and send messages through social media, but why not go back to old style letter writing?  Write down your soppiest thoughts, tie them up with a ribbon and give them as a very romantic gesture!

Movie Night
Pick out your favourite most romantic movies; like Romeo & Juliet, The Notebook and Twilight or a good horror if you really want snuggle up, and have a romantic inexpensive night in.

Light some candles, have some nibbles in easy reach and cuddle up on the sofa for hours :-)
Or if you're having a 'no boys allowed' girls night to forget about Valentine's, put on some trusty girly films like Charlie's Angels, Mean Girls or Bride Wars.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so why not treat him to some tasty chocolate dipped goodies!  They're really easy to do and there's many things you could use if you can't get hold of strawberries, like other fruits or marshmallows, yum!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
For another foody treat idea, why not try baking some cookies.  This recipe I found on
Drained Beauty's blog, is really quick and easy.  Pop them in a pretty tin and give them as a gift or just make some to share together.

Romantic Keepsake/Memory Box
This is a really lovely idea if you've already been together a good while, collect up all your treasured souvenirs from previous dates i.e. cinema tickets, restaurant receipts, petals from the first time he bought you flowers, photos of the two of you together, any cute things like that, add in some paper hearts, little notes and then decorate the box.  It would make a really beautiful and personal gift to treasure!

A Romantic Mix Tape/Song Compilation
Ok so the days are gone for actually making a mixed 'tape' but the idea is still the same, make a cd of all your favourite 'couple' songs and add in a few of his favourites too.  This is a lovely thoughtful gift that you can both listen to together too.

Love Notes
This is similar to the keepsake box, but just for little love note type messages and it's something you could come up with over time, like writing down the dates of your first date together, first kiss, first time you went away and write cute loving messages too.  Put them in to a pretty box or a nice jar and decorate with hearts and ribbons for a beautiful gift.

Right on to the giveaway :-)

I have this beautiful silver heart necklace that I'm giving away to you, anyone can enter - you don't have to be a follower of my blog!  Just fill in as many of the categories as you can to enter and the more you fill in the more chances you'll have to win.  The giveaway is open for 1 week only and will end at midnight gmt on Friday the 20th of February 2015 (my birthday!)

The Rules:
©    To be in with a chance of winning my 'Valentine Heart Necklace Giveaway', enter via the Rafflecopter widget
©    Please make sure you leave your full name and email address in the comments, so that I can contact you if you win
©    There will be only one winner
©    This giveaway is open internationally
©    You must complete the one mandatory entry before you can access any of the extra entry options
©    This giveaway will run for 8 days from Wednesday the 12th of February 2015 until Friday the 20th of February 2015, 12.00am gmt
©    Once the giveaway is over, I will contact the winner directly via email and twitter (if possible), once the winner has been contacted they will have 72 hours to reply or a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So good luck and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day whoever you spend it with or whatever you do.

Until Next Time, Happy Valentine's Day

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Monday 9 February 2015

Winter Favourites 2015

Hi everyone, this past week has been so chaotic and stressful (hence the late post), that I decided to concentrate on all the lovely things I've been enjoying over the past few months, so if you would like to see my list of Winter Favourites, please read on :-)

To start off with I couldn't wait to tell you about the wonderful slipper-socks that I got from British Home Stores just before Christmas, they were only £6 and I wear them with and without extra socks depending on how cold it is.  They're fleece lined to so they are super cosy, comfortable and soft and wow do they keep my feet warm!  I've been loving wearing these so much over the past month or so and find myself putting them on everyday now.  I really like the patterned too, even though Christmas has been and gone for another year, they're still so festive!

I am most definitely not a fan of the colder weather, in fact I hate it!  The ice, the cold winds, the ridiculous amount of layers of clothing we have to wear, it's awful but there is a silver lining, one good thing that always helps me get through these chilly winter days, hot chocolate! :-)  I know I've mentioned about it before and yes I'll admit I have a slight obsession but I cannot go out the house these days without popping in to my local Costa for one of their gorgeously tasty hot chocolates, they are the absolute best!!

As I mentioned in my 'Last Minute Christmas Shopping' post, I finally manage to get hold of some pretty little fairy lights.  I've been after some for ages but couldn't find the sort I wanted, but I got a really nice pack of 20 lights for just £1.50 in Primarks, I couldn't wait to put them up in my room and I just love them, I think they look so pretty!  It amazes me how much light you actually get from just 20 little lights too!

I also seem to find such great little items in Primark every time I go in there, like these two packs of rings that I picked up last week.  There's 5 rings in each pack for only £1.50 each and they are just so cute, I really love having the option of gold or silver to wear too.  This is the third lot of rings I've bought from Primark and no doubt they probably won't be the last!

On a little shopping trip to Boots a couple of weeks ago, I was very happy to see they had a 'buy one get one half price' on the Soap & Glory products, so I picked up one of their Gloss Sticks in Raplumzel which I've been really enjoying, as well as the Lip Shine Lacquer in Charm Offensive, which is just beautiful and I've been really loving wearing it, it's the perfect shade for me and I love the non-sticky smooth texture.  The staying power is pretty great too, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what the other shades are like!

Another recent purchase that I've been loving lately, has to be the Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette which was a little Christmas present to myself.  After using it for a short while to test it out for my review post (which you can find here), I found that I loved it so much that I've been using it nearly all the time!  It's just so handy and the eye shadows are so versatile, especially my favourite shade called Dive, a really beautiful rose gold, it's so pretty for a day-time look combined with the included eyeliner and mascara, which is what I've used in the pic above.  The lipstick I'm wearing is the above mentioned Soap & Glory Replumzel gloss stick, such a lovely shade! :-)

Last year for my birthday I was bought this gorgeous rose throw from Tesco and for a long while it sat in my wardrobe but over the past couple of months, it has been invaluable in keeping me wonderfully extra warm and cosy at night.  I lay it over my duvet and it really keeps in the warmth, I think it looks really beautiful too and oh my goodness it is SO wonderfully soft :-)

Along with my pretty fairy lights, I've also been loving my little battery tealight.  I have it in one of my Ikea pots and it gives out a lovely realistic glow.  I got it around Halloween from Wilkingsons for just 50p, I've been on the look out for more since then but sadly they've not had them in stock but I'll keep looking because I'd love to have some more dotted around my room!

I've lost count of the times the weather forecast has promised us snow so far this year, but sadly every time, it's come to nothing.  I'm like a big kid when it comes to snow, I just love it and thankfully, usually, we always get a good bit around this time of year even right into March, so fingers crossed, I will get my lovely snow!

Another thing I do love about this time of year, especially as we start to drift into spring, is seeing all the new spring flowers, leaves starting to appear on the trees, the dark nights not starting quite so early and knowing that finally the warmer days are on their way :-)

My final favourite this season, has to be Valentine's Day.  Now normally I try to avoid this particular day like the plague and walk through the shops hiding my eyes!  But this year I decided to get in the swing of things and appreciate the day for what it really means, giving out love to those that I care about!  And so on that note, expect to see a very Valentine-themed post coming up later this week, which will include a little giveaway, a gift from me to you :-)  And if you follow me on Instagram, look out for a little news on there too 

Until Next Time Stay Happy

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