30 August 2016

It's Biscuit Week || Oat & Raisin Cookies Recipe


With innuendos aplenty, a genoise sponge casually flung against the wall, upside down Jaffa Cakes and an eccentric lady (Val - bless her heart) who listens to her cakes to determine if they're done: the brand new series of The Great British Bake Off kicked off beautifully.

It's a show that has won over the hearts of the entire nation, myself included. I am so happy it's back on our screens and will no doubt be glued to my sofa every Wednesday evening for the foreseeable to witness the shenanigans unfold under the baking tent. 

This week is biscuit week so in true spirit of the bake off, I thought I would make some biscuity creations of my own.

I'm no seasoned baker and biscuits are something I've only dabbled with in the past, so for this weeks bake I thought I'd keep it simple and rustle up one of my faves; oat and raisin cookies.

This simplistic and quick recipe produces around 8-10 large, wonderfully spiced cookies with a chewy, cakey texture (more like cookies you get from supermarket bakeries). They're absolutely perfect served with an ice-cold glass of milk.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 50g margarine
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 80g rolled oats/porridge oats
  • 50g raisins or sultanas


METHOD

  • Preheat your oven to 170c/gas mark 3 and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and margarine until soft and then add the egg and honey. Mix until smooth.
  • Add the cinnamon, baking powder, flour, oats and finally the raisins. Mix until a thick cookie dough batter is formed.
  • Dollop heaped tablespoons of mixture onto the baking sheet flattening slightly, making sure to allow them plenty of room to spread when baking.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the baking tray for a few minutes. The cookies will still be quite soft to the touch.
  • Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to allow them to cool completely.
Told you it was easy.

What's your favourite type of biscuit? Will you be watching The GBBO tomorrow night?


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23 August 2016

20 Signs That You Are A Twenty-Something Grandma


I've always been old for my age but since getting my own house I've practically turned into an OAP. Except, I haven't got the respect of youths or the perk of a free bus pass. 

You may have an inkling already but here's how you can tell if, like me, you are twenty going on sixty.

1.
You call up urban dictionary on a regular basis. What on earth does “throwing shade” actually mean? When did you stop being able to understand teenage lingo?


2. You deem it acceptable to use words like ‘lingo’. What’s next? Frequent use of the word trendy?

3. Sometimes (rather shamefully) you do a mini fist pump when someone cancels big night out plans. You’d much rather be nestled under a blanket watching Grand Designs with your pet, nursing a steaming cup of tea.

4. You express genuine concern for others who aren’t dressed appropriately for the weather outside. You tut at the scantily clad girls huddled like penguins outside the local nightclub - they will catch their death.

5. You’re not afraid to complain when you receive a standard of service that is below par. In fact, writing a well-thought out email complaint is edging its way onto your list of hobbies.

6. Hobbies that include roaming around the garden centre eyeing up all the perennials and fancy Woodwick candles before sitting down to a cafe latte and a wedge of coffee and walnut cake.  

7. If a bar you’re walking into with your friends has no available seating, you don’t want to know. You can’t be expected to STAND for hours on end. Even if you have traded in your 4” stilettos for sensible wedges these days.

8. You punish yourself if you sleep in past 9am on a weekend because GOD DAMN IT WOMAN THE FARMERS MARKET ISN’T GOING TO COME TO YOU, YOU KNOW.

9. Puns are no longer seen as embarrassing ‘Dad jokes’ but instead are a source of great joy and hilarity.

10. Decisions like which vacuum cleaner to buy aren’t taken lightly. God forbid making such a purchase without reading 902 reviews and preferably road testing it in the likes of John Lewis first.

11. You own more pairs of pyjamas then you do 'going out-out' outfits.

12. Nothing floods your heart with joy more than the prospect of wine and cheese night with a few pals. Chuck in a few board games and you're definitely on to a winner.

13. You make sure to get your daily recommended intake of fibre because, y'know, you can't be risking disturbing your regularity now, can you?

14. 96% of the garments in your wardrobe can be described as comfy or practical. Mostly both.

15. You have preferred wine that you will buy. You'll no longer settle for any old cheap plonk that's on offer in Tesco because you're a sophisticated sister and you know how to treat them tastebuds.

16. Your Christmas list consists of practical gifts like a new set of pans or a kettle and toaster set. You're over the moon when you receive them too; what the hell happened to you? You used to be cool.

17. Treating yourself is buying a new throw or Yankee candle, maybe even some Lindt chocolate if you are pushing the boat out and have had a good food week. Your metabolism isn't what it used to be, the brute.

18. You have a signature dish that you like to cook that doesn't consist of bunging something frozen in the oven and warming it through. 

19. You are often sat like a gormless hippo, yawning profusely by 9:30pm when out for dinner with friends. You're craving your bed and everyone knows it.

20. Despite only having 2 people in your household you will buy packs of 18 loo rolls because it's 'cheaper in the long run'. Besides, you can never have enough toilet paper, amiright?

Right, confession time. Are you a twenty-something Grandma?

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15 August 2016

Goals I'm Hoping To Achieve By The End Of 2016.


Oh man, I was not ready for today. 

Last night, whilst cocooned in our bed just before midnight, Ed and I thought it'd be a grand idea to start an in-depth conversation about why I was acting like a petulant child on the weekend every time he tried to talk to me.

It wasn't a short exchange of words - it never is. Around 40 minutes later we arrived at a mutual understanding, reunited again as a happy couple. Great.

However, on the flip side, our early morning heart to heart robbed me of my 7 precious sleep that I need to function as a proper human being.

Right now I'm feeling blah, tired and a little irritable. I kinda wanted to crawl up to bed after we traipsed in from Lidl but I thought I'd do something a little more constructive and write a blog post instead. So here I am, sprawled out on the sofa putting my thoughts out to the world once more.

One month ago Ed and I, plus our 32 guests were loving life on the Amalfi coast; swigging prosecco and consuming our bodyweight in carby, Italian goodness. Our wedding day was the best day ever - for real. I'm still not over it. Hell, I think it'll be Christmas by the time I don't sigh with sadness everytime I see anything remotely Italian.

It's funny because for a year or so, you direct your entire focus on one day and then it's gone in a heartbeat, *poof*. It leaves a hole and an intense feeling of "what now?". 

This is why I think a lot of newlyweds pop one out soon after tying the knot. Being parents-to-be gives a new lease of life, a new focus, something fresh and exciting to fill that gaping void.

However, I'm not ready to drown in Pampers and baby sick just yet. But I do need things to focus on, which is why I've decided to set myself some goals. Things that I can hopefully achieve before this year is up. 

And here they are, in no particular order:

Grow my eyebrows out
This sounds stupidly simple. If I just leave the goddamn tweezers alone I'll eventually be blessed with beautiful, natural, 'on fleek' brows, right? Errm maybe, but before that can become a reality I've got to walk around with two scruffy, straggly lines sitting on top of my eyes.

Learn how to contour
I've got the products, the tools and god knows I've watched and read umpteen tutorials but I can't seem to nail the sculpted face look. Like, I do one side of my face and it's all good, I finally have the definition my baby face craves but as soon as I go to mirror it on the other side things go a bit lopsided and messy. Practice makes perfect eh?

Get myself organised
The fact that I'm so disorganised is my biggest flaw and also the thing that holds me back the most. I could definitely achieve more in life, work, even blogging if I start getting my shit together so this one is of utmost importance. I've already started on my quest for organisation by writing to-do lists and ticking things off as I go. Here's hoping I can keep it up.

Lose a few pounds
I don't really need to as such, I just want to, for me. I felt happiest in my body this time last year and I would like to go back to that. It shouldn't be too difficult, I'm already doing the whole exercise thing. I just need to start being a bit stricter with myself. Indulging occasionally is fine, indulging everyday - not cool. 

Gain a few pounds
Money wise, things are looking a little less than rosy in our household at the moment. We managed to rack up quite a bit of debt pre-wedding so it has been agreed that we will cut back a bit until we are firmly back in the green again. 

Read more books
Growing up, I was the worlds biggest bookworm. I loved nothing more than to escape reality by curling up with a book in my bedroom. In fact, that's where my Mum and Dad would find me 90% of the time, with my nose buried in a good book.

Unfortunately it was something I grew out of. No real reason for it just that other things distracted me and took my attention. I didn't stop reading altogether but it became merely a holiday activity and nothing more. 

However, I've recently discovered psychological thrillers and crime fiction and I've gotta say, WHAT A GAME CHANGER. I'm hooked. My love for the written word has officially been rekindled and I hope it stays that way.

Improve my writing
I'm hoping that by digesting more words, my own writing style will improve. I know that it has got considerably better since I started this blogging malarky but I still find it hard to get my paragraphs to flow as if I were talking to someone. 

What goals are you aiming to achieve by 2017?

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