Archive | July, 2011

You Must Be Having A Loaf

30 Jul

Not bad for a first attempt, is it? I baked this Coffee and Chocolate Loaf yesterday and, even if I do say so myself, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’ve even received rave reviews from family members and friends who I persistently badgered to try a slice, so that must be good! Here’s the recipe:

  • 190g (70z) unsalted butter, softened + extra for greasing
  • 130g(4½oz) plain flour + extra for dusting
  • 190g (7oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 60g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 20ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp strong coffee (brewed and cooled)
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3, then grease loaf tin with butter and dust with flour.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Separately pour milk into a jug, add the coffee and mix together. Add the dry ingredients to cake batter in two batches, alternating with coffee/milk. Mix well after each addition, until finally the batter is smooth and even.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared loaf tin and place in oven to bake for approx. 1 hour, or until sponge is firm and a skewer inserted into middle of loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool for a while in the tin before turning out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Personally, I find that there’s no real need to strictly follow any recipe right to a tee, so in this case as I couldn’t find any soft light brown sugar, I opted for the hard dark brown sugar that I did find at the back of my cupboard, which may sound rather dubious, yet seemed to work perfectly with the coffee to create a dark, rich loaf. I could stick to that story, which sounds quite inspired; or I could just be honest and say that it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever, so to hell with it!

Enjoy!

Advertisements

A Hairy Situation

28 Jul

You know that horrifying moment when you’re halfway through a hair cut, and as you catch sight of yourself in the mirror your heart just sinks? If not, all you need to know is that (as I learned today) it’s the most mortifying and upsetting experience, to watch your hair being tortured by some psychopath with a pair of scissors. And the worst part of this is that I let it happen! I’m one of those people who hates to make the smallest of complaints about anything, yet always ends up whining about it afterwards; which as I’m sure you’ve guessed, doesn’t really work out for me.

So picture the scene: My hairdresser asks me how I want my hair cut. I clearly explain that I only need a trim, as I want my hair to stay long, and just some soft layers to add some more volume. My hairdresser nods, smiling at me as if she understands what I’m asking for. It was only later when I’d realize that this was not the case, as she instead took off a good 4 inches of hair instead of the trim I’d pleaded for, and gave me layers that were short to such an extent, that I now look as if I have a bowl-cut resting on the top of my head, above the rest of my hair.

The saddest part is that as I watched her vindictive scissors chopping away at my lovely long hair, I knew that it was all going wrong; I knew that it was the opposite of what I wanted; and I knew I would cry about it later and end up wearing a shower cap around the house for the next two months, until it grew back. I knew all of this, yet I didn’t say a word and even managed to smile and nod when she asked me if I liked it at the end.

Now, what does this say about me? Why was I desperate to not be honest and tell her that I was devastated with how she had killed my hair and left its remains on my head, ready to be picked at by passing birds? If I’m honest, I felt much better being able to briskly walk away and fall into hysterical panic once I’d arrived back home. So am I too passive, or just a push-over? And what am I going to do about my miserable hair? Well I’m mostly over the shock now, so I’m going to be a big girl and toughen up about the length, but I refuse to accept the monstrous layers so I’m keeping them pinned up, beehive-style, for as long as it takes for them to grow out. Oh and I’m obviously never going to said hairdresser’s ever again, thank you very much!

In other, more positive news, I picked these pink roses from my very own garden yesterday. Lovely!

Rockin’ All Over The World

27 Jul

Ok try not to judge, but I bought this HUGE and amazing-looking meringue from Carluccio’s today (which by the way, is my new and favourite go-to for eating out). Yep, I feel judged… But you can’t blame me really- it’s been calling to me every time I walk past and spot it through their bloody windows! Calling, I tell you! I split it with a friend anyway, so that’s not too bad. And just so you know, it was lovely.

 In other news…

Seeing as the film recently came out in the UK, I was inspired to read the novel Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. Ok, that’s not strictly true. Technically, it was my mum who became inspired enough to download the book onto her Kindle (that’s right, my mum’s cooler than me… in a geeky sort of way) and then force me to buy and read it myself. Anyway, I’ve just finished it and my verdict is this: although at times the story became slightly hard to follow, I overall found it a very exciting, chilling and thought-provoking read… Yay, my mum’s happy.

Finally, this is just a forewarning about a new, monthly post I’ll be doing called ‘5 Things’, in which I’ll choose a theme and photograph/write about the 5 things I’ve chosen in each particular category. It’ll probably make more sense when I actually start the first of these new posts… which should be sometime in the next few weeks, seeing as it’s the summer now and I’ll probably have nothing better to do. And I need to find some way of distracting myself, otherwise I’ll end up getting more ear piercings out of sheer boredom. Night all!

This Shit Is B-A-N-A-N-A-S

24 Jul

In the past when it’s come to earrings, I’ve primarily been a stud gal. So lately I’ve been trying to ween myself off the Stud and onto the Danglies… Yes, I know that I just made that dubious-sounding name up, and no, I don’t care.

So to take the first steps into my new trend of wearing dangly earrings, I bought these fantastically quirky and cool bananas from www.maggieangus.com for £9.00 and I love them! On the website I also found other fruit-inspired jewellery, such as pineapple earrings and orange bracelets- a fruity fix to satisfy any other cravings!

I have to say, the best thing about wearing these earrings is if you don’t mention you’re wearing them when you next meet with your friends. A few hours in, or perhaps towards the end of the night, you’ll suddenly hear: “Oh my GOD. Are those BANANAS?” It’s touching, really.

Night all!

Pink Friday

21 Jul

So I bought this pink lipgloss (Bourjois Paris- Effect 3D, Rose) in order to fit in with my costume idea for a friend’s birthday party. The theme is pop and rock stars, past and present. So being an olive-skinned brunette, I of course took this as an opportunity to experience being a blonde for once in my life, just for the fun of it. Yes, it sounds crazy but when else would I get the chance to experiment with a blonde wig without seeming an utter fool?

When considering my options for music artists, I had to painfully reject the idea of going Gaga (literally)- the most eccentric of my choices, and my personal favourite. This was because although she can get away with wearing almost anything due to her, let’s call it, unique sense of style (hello, meat dress anyone?), I still wasn’t sure of my chances of getting away with being a blondie, as I have tanned skin and dark hair for a reason- blonde just doesn’t suit me, unfortunately.

However, it then dawned on me… Why worry about being judged, looking like a crazy bitch in a blonde wig, when I could choose to do this by dressing as another darker-skinned lady who totally makes blonde work, and owns it?

Nicki Minaj- I had never properly listened to her music before, but you just have to look at a picture of the woman to see how evidently she oozes mad confidence, both in her style and in herself. Given, she walks around with hair in a range of different colours; from bubble gum pink to candyfloss orange and seaweed green; nevertheless, a slick blonde do has frequently been her signature look as of late.

So, as I was saying (oh, I do love coming  full circle), I bought this Bourjois Paris lipgloss in order to fully emulate Nicki Minaj’s iconic new era ‘Barbie’ image. Here’s to hoping I’ll do her justice!

In other news, I’ve learned today that you know when you have a baking disaster on your hands (or ‘baking fail’ as I’ve aptly named it) because when you end up desperately scraping your cookie mix into a cake tin- that’s bad. It can’t get any more ambiguous than that, however my pride won’t let me explain any further at risk of wholly losing any faith left in my baking abilities, once and for all.

Love Me UCAS, Love Me!

19 Jul

I feel like such a volunteer work slut. Literally the only reason I help out at the local Scout group; full of unruly 6-8 year old boys who are- and I’m not exaggerating- CRAZY; is in order to facilitate my UCAS form. I’m desperate to have at least one thing on this bloody form that might make me seem appealing to UCAS examiners! And you have to admit, that in the current circumstances of our country and school systems due to the cuts (ahem, Nick Clegg I’m looking at you), a student has to find some way of REALLY selling themselves to their prospective universities… and I’m not talking about flashing during an interview, because I can assure you that I’m not that kind of girl. Well, not really…

So in short, if you don’t stand out on your university application statement (what we students call the ‘Personal Statement’– makes it seem a little more intense, doesn’t it?), then you’ve got no chance of impressing them enough to even consider you- good grades don’t always do the trick, unfortunately.

Here’s just a few, out the list of things you should really mention in your personal statement, as has been drummed into the mine and my classmates’ heads, by the oh-so-UNempathetic teachers currently manning my sixth form:

1. INTEREST IN YOUR CHOSEN SUBJECT- fine, this is easy so far. I’d be mad if I didn’t know why I wanted to study the subject I’ve chosen, right? Umm, yeah… it’s a lot harder when trying to put into writing, isn’t it?

2. HOBBIES- oh ok, I see how it’s progressively getting harder. Well, I… umm. I like to *ahem* erm, what do I like to do? I, uh, like to write and stuff? Oh dear.

3. VOLUNTEER WORK- brilliant, it now makes sense that everything’s been leading up to this. Oh teachers, you guys are so sneaky leaving this one for the end! Haha… ha… oh my god, I’m going to die before I finish this.

And those are just a few. I’m not really complaining though- I know I’m unimaginably lucky to have the opportunity to go to university. And honestly, I’m really excited about (finally) finishing this UCAS form and heading off to uni. However, if the personal statement is designed for us to each stand out from other applicants, then surely none of us will with all the volunteering and hobbies we’ll end up listing? 

Oh well, it’s clearly not stopping me from chasing my sudden new dream of being an assistant Scout leader to a group of rowdy little people, despite the fact that I just can’t seem to take it seriously. And that’s not just because the group is called the ‘Beavers’…

Sweet!

18 Jul

                             Sweet!                           

Look what I found! I spotted these lovelies through the glossy window of Maison Blanc, the beautiful French bakery shop and home to all my cake envy. I don’t need a special occasion to buy cute cakes, especially in this case! Honestly, I’m probably lucky that I only came away with these treats, as there were so many other mouth-watering creations that caught my eye (the expression ‘Truly Scrumptious’ springs to mind, but it’s such a cliché that I may actually end up killing myself with the overwhelming sweetness of it all).

And actually, that would perhaps be a minor overstatement anyway. I mean, I’m a serious cake/bake fan and I have a huge sweet tooth. You could say I’m a tart tart (haha, sorry… It’s pathetic really). But sometimes that’s exactly what I need- ‘sweet’- and at times the immense richness of some pâtisserie creations from various revered, high-end shops can become just too overpowering for me.

Is it wrong to be just as happy with a good ol’ Snickers bar, as with these perfect, delectable treats? I think not! Yes, this is just a ploy to justify giving myself more choices when it comes to treating myself, but hey!