Monday, 29 September 2014

Pumpkin Pie


I've made plenty of pumpkin pies over the years, sourcing recipes from all over the place but this has to be the simplest and best tasting pie I've made. When I was last in the States I picked up a small tub of McCormick's Pumpkin Pie Spice from Walmart but I've only just got around to using it now. I've used the recipe on the back of the tub and it would appear than simplicity is best when it comes to pumpkin pie. I'm aware that British supermarkets don't sell this mix but you can buy it online for (ridiculously) high prices, or you can make your own using a mix of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger and allspice - there are plenty of recipes online that will tell you the quantity you'll need.

Ingredients

1 can of pumpkin
397ml condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 roll shortcrust pastry


Method

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface and place in a pie dish.

Empty the pumpkin and condensed milk into a mixing bowl.

Add the eggs and pumpkin pie spice.


Mix everything together well and pour into the pastry lined pie dish.


Bake for 15 minutes at 220 degrees and then lower the temperature of the oven to 175 degrees, bake for a further 40 minutes.

Cool pie to room temperature and serve with fresh whipped cream. 

 


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Monday, 22 September 2014

Meringue Girls Cookbook - Honeycomb, Chocolate and Salted Peanut Meringues

A few weeks ago I purchased the Meringue Girls Cookbook on a bit of a whim. I've never attempted to make meringue before and as I've been on a bit of a baking kick at the moment I thought I'd challenge myself to try something new. 

The book is full of wonderful photos of various meringue recipes from meringue kisses to giant meringues. After looking through the book I decided to make some Honeycomb, Chocolate and Salted Peanut Meringues as this recipe combined pretty much all of my favourite things.

The recipe was simple to follow although I wish I'd read the instructions properly as I didn't realise they'd take two hours in the oven, hence the difference in the lighting on the before and after photos! When they were baked they were hard on the outside and still nice and gooey on the inside, perfection. I can't wait to try out more of the recipes from the book.








Do you have this book? What are your favourite meringue recipes?


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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Clogau Ring - Finding the one for me


  

I've been wanting to buy myself a new ring for a few months but I've not been able to find the right one. The ring had a lot of meaning to me so despite looking online and in shops I'd come up short, the right ring just wasn't jumping out at me. Then it dawned on me that I wanted something Welsh, my heritage is very important to me so having gold from my own country seemed like a good idea. 

Clogau is a family business based in Wales with all of their pieces containing a touch of rare Welsh gold from Snowdonia, their gold has been used in the wedding rings of members of the royal family including the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

Clogau have a shop in Cardiff so I decided to firstly look on their website to see if there was anything on there I liked, two rings stood out. After going into the shop and trying on both rings my heart was set on the Tree of Life ring. It's made of silver and gold and is set with white topaz. As soon as I tried it on I knew it was right for me. I have small fingers (the finger I'm wearing it on in the photo above is size J - the smallest Clogau go down to) and the delicate nature of this ring with leaves and vines on it suited me. As well as the way the ring looks what I love about this ring is what it symbolises, Clogau's website puts it perfectly:

"...a combination of berries, leaves and vines represent new life forms that intertwine and evolve from the old, creating ever more beautiful natural formations."


To me that settled it. It was everything I was looking for in a ring. Due to the small size of the ring I had to wait two weeks for it to come in but it was worth the wait. I love looking at my ring, it reminds me of everything I've been through and what I have to look forward to in life.


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Monday, 15 September 2014

The Autumn Tag 2014



The lovely Georgina of Makeup Pixi3 has created an Autumn Tag that I just couldn't resist doing, you'll have noticed that autumn is a firm favourite of mine.

1.  Ok we're talking coffee's - what's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero etc?
I'm not a coffee drinker despite loving the smell of it. Instead I stick to my Starbucks Chai Tea Latte. If I move away from that I'll drink hot chocolate and I've just found out that Costa do a gingerbread variety - how could I say no to that!?

2.  Accessories - what do you opt for, scarf, boots, gloves?
Is everything an option? I have far too many scarves as I don't seem to be able to stop buying them so I tend to layer a lot during the colder months. I love the look of dresses or skirts with tights and boots so that's what I tend to live in when the temperature drops. 

3.  Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
I don't really change the music I listen to depending on the seasons, although I do listen to more classical music as the year goes on.

4.  Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
I don't change my perfume throughout the year, up until a few weeks ago I only had one perfume anyway. At the moment I'm alternating between Angel by Tierry Mulger and Peony and Blush Suede by Jo Malone, the latter is perhaps a little too floral for the autumn but that's not going to stop me wearing it! 

5.  Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?
Anything with cinnamon! Yankee Candles are my favourite scented candles with Autumn Wreath, Cinnamon Stick and Christmas Memories being favourites at the moment.

6.  What do you love most about Autumn?
The nights drawing in meaning candles being lit, the fire going on, leaves changing colour and then falling which creates perfect walking conditions. The opportunity to wear knitwear that has been packed away is always good too, not to mention the rugby season starts up again.

7.  Favourite makeup look?
I stick to the same look all year around, although this year I'm hoping to invest in lipstick in deeper colours rather than the pinks I've been wearing over the last few months. 

8.  What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
Pulling out knitwear, hats and scarves then heading out for walks around the park kicking up the fallen leaves. After that coming home for a big mug of hot chocolate and getting cosy in front of the fire. 

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Courgette and Cheddar Soup


Those of you that follow me on instagram or twitter will know by now that my parents have an allotment, this summer it's provided us with lots of wonderful food. Recently the courgette plants have yielded lots of courgettes, which my dad has turned into really lovely soup that I know will be perfect for the coming winter. 

When he said he was making a batch recently I jumped at the chance to watch him so I could show you guys how to make your own courgette and cheddar soup. This soup is freezable so you'll have plenty to see you through the colder months.

Ingredients


500g potatoes - don't bother peeling these but cut up roughly
1kg courgette roughly chopped and skinned
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced
2 vegetable stock cubes
100g cheddar cheese
Nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Method


Put the potatoes in a large pan and cover them in water so it just about covers them.

Crumble stock cubes over potatoes and bring the water to the boil, place the lid on the pan and cook for five minutes.

Add the chopped courgettes, cover and cook for another five minutes.



Add the spring onions, cover and cook for a further five minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the grated cheese, nutmeg and seasoning.


Place the contents of the pan into a food processor to whizz into a thick soup. At this point you can add more boiling water depending on how thick you like your soup.


If you don't want to serve straight away leave to cool and then put into containers for the freezer.


What are your must eat soups for the autumn and winter?


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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Lush Treats


I have an on/off relationship with Lush. Back in my early to mid twenties virtually all of my skin and body products were from there, from shampoo bars to cleansers. Then the products, in particular the skincare products, just stopped working for me. My skin around 23/24 was awful, I was put on Roaccutane and nothing from anywhere was helping me. 

It's taken a few years but I'm starting to get back into Lush skincare, although I've never stopped loving their face masks. Cosmetic Warrior is an absolute favourite of mine, when I'm breaking out it really does help. Grease Lightening is a new product for me, but after reading a few reviews I was hooked. Marilyn was a bit spur of the moment but as I'm really quite blonde now I need all the conditioning and brightening I can get.

Do you have favourite Lush products?


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Monday, 8 September 2014

St Fagans Food Festival 2014


September has rolled around already, this month is kind of a book end for me. The food festival symbolises the last good weekend I had last year, within two weeks of it my life had changed drastically but a year on I'm still standing and doing things I love. Food festivals are definitely one thing I love, all that food? Yes please!

On Saturday I met up with some colleagues (I'm lucky enough to work with a bunch of people who are more like friends) and headed to St Fagans for their food festival. Getting there at about 12.30pm and it was already packed with the festival tents bursting at the seams. 



The food stalls were varied ranging from cheeses to beer. After having a quick look in one of the tents we decided that we'd grab some lunch before looking around the rest of the festival. As soon as I saw the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company trailer I knew that's where I'd be eating, after missing out on eating there at Freshwater West in July due to them just closing when I arrived there was no way I was going to let the opportunity to have a lobster roll pass me by (even if it did cost me £12.50). This was my first ever taste of lobster, and I was pleasantly surprised. I can't say it's something I'd eat a lot mainly due to the cost but it's definitely a treat food. The brioche bun the lobster came in was amazing, to be honest I could have eaten a plate full of them with a bit of butter.

After lunch it was time for a wander around to see what we could find. Highlights included the Chocolate Brownie Company who continue to make mind blowingly good brownies, Samosaco and Subzero Icecream. I was a little disappointed not to see any craft stalls this year, they were really impressive last time around so I'm not sure why there weren't any outside the Workmen's Institute.

In all it was a good festival again and with it being free entry it's an affordable day out, roll on the St Fagans Food Festival 2015!

 
A selection of the pies on offer from Wessex Pantry



Just some of the brownies from the Chocolate Brownie Company

Hannah bumped into a friend at the Spanish food stall



Time for a break and some Benny cuddles

Onion baji scotch egg from Samosaco

Live folk music in what looks like a mother and baby meeting setting - so many prams!


Did you go to the St Fagans Food Festival this year, what did you think?


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Sunday, 7 September 2014

What I'm thankful for #13


This post is particularly helpful for me today as I'm feeling a bit...glum. After spending the day in bed feeling sorry for myself I need to remember the good things I have in my life, and what I'm thankful for.

Having a rough plan for the future
Supportive friends
A good job
Being able to stay in bed all day and not feeling bad about it
New blogs to read
Netflix

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Friday, 5 September 2014

REN's Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial


The buzz in the world of skincare and on beauty blogs up and down the country is REN's latest product, the Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial. This treatment aims to renew the skin making it look more awake, reducing appearance of imperfections and that grey sort of look some of us get from early mornings, late nights and living in the city.

I've been looking forward to getting my hands on this product for a while, regular readers will know that I'm a fan of REN and credit them with helping my skin really improve its condition. After not spotting it in John Lewis I decided not to wait until it was in store and buy it directly from REN, which is always a good way to get their products as they send you two samples with each order meaning you get to try out other products.


The treatment is used after cleansing, it is applied over the face using circular movements followed by going over it again with damp finger tips. Leave for one minute and then rinse thoroughly. That's it!

I've had this product for a week and a half now and have used it the recommended amount (three times a week), so far I'm impressed. The smell of the product is pleasant, the texture is a bit odd at first but it's something you get used to. The results are impressive, my skin looks clean and refreshed after using it, I've yet to use it in the morning but I'd imagine that it would prepare your skin for products very well.


The REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial comes in a 75ml tube for £32.

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Thursday, 4 September 2014

New Books


I love getting new books at the best of times, but when they're full of great photography, tips and advice that's just even better. 






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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Pinterest inspiration: Autumn



I love autumn, it means so many things to me. Not only do the nights draw in, it gets chilly and it means the rugby season has started back up again with another season of standing on the terrace beckoning. When I think of autumn these are the images that I conjour in my mind.

Apple pie / / Falling leaves

Chai tea latte / / Cosy jumpers

The smell of cinnamon / / Conkers

Hot chocolate / / Pumpkin pie

Rainy days stuck inside / / Warm bed socks

New candle scents / / Cosy blankets

What do you love about autumn?



Credit for images: Main1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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