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Thursday, 17 April 2014

fudgy coconut brownies

This week's 'bake' was these delightful Fudgy Coconut Brownies.

Now, I thought the Philly Cheesecake Brownies I made recently were good, but these, well these were even better...and even easier.

I was fancying making a simple tray bake, and found these over on the BBC Good Food website, my go to for tasty meals and baking ideas.

I would HIGHLY recommend these if you want something easy, quick and of course, delicious.  These went down a treat with friends and family alike, and they've been added to my pile of 'must make again' recipes.

100g cocoa
250g butter
500g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
100g self-raising flour
100g desiccated coconut
icing sugar, to dust (optional)

1.  Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the base of a 21cm square tin with baking parchment. Put the cocoa, butter and sugar in your largest saucepan and gently melt, stirring so the mixture doesn’t catch. 

2.  When the cocoa mixture is melted and combined, cool slightly, then stir in the eggs, little by little, followed by the flour and coconut.

3. Tip into the tin and bake for 45 mins on a middle shelf – check after 30 mins and cover with another piece of baking parchment if the crust is browning too much. 

4. Cool in the tin, then carefully lift out and cut into squares.

Happy Baking.....

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

a healthy life - week 14


I figured that my 'healthy life' posts might be getting a little dull, there is only so many times you really want to read about someone putting on a pound, losing a pound, putting on two pounds, not losing any quickly gets boring.

So, I thought this week I'd give you a little update to where I'm at, how I'm feeling about my new 'healthy lifestyle', and what motivates me.

It's now been 3 and a half months, and I've lost approx. 9 lbs.  I know I could have lost a bit more in that time, but then that would have also meant denying myself which I'm not going to do when I'm out with friends, date night with the boy...or a well needed glass of wine on a Friday evening.

But, I'm feeling much much more confident in myself, clothes that were a bit snug are fitting more comfortably, I'm more or less always fitting into a size 10 now, rather than a 12...and these reasons keep me sticking at it.

I know the real key now to help me lose that final few pounds would be to finally give this exercise malarkey (that so many people rave about!) a go...but for now, realistically I know that's not going to happen any time soon.  But I've come to a middle ground, sticking to my calorie controlled diet during the week, allows me to slacken off a bit at the weekend and enjoy what I want, without worrying too much about those extra calories.

I'm finding the healthy eating much easier, I'm enjoying all of the meals as I cook them myself with ingredients I like, and I'm not as hungry.  

I know there's a lot of other bloggers around at the moment who are also on a diet / clean eating / whatever you want to call it, and that really helps with my motivation too.  It's a great way to find snack alternatives, or great ways to spice up a usually boring meal.

There have been times when I've reached for the chocolate, cake, burger, ANOTHER cider but if I never allowed these treats, I wouldn't be very happy.  But as long as I'm not giving in every time, I know I'm not doing too badly!

So, if you too are reaching a bit of a plateau and have key tips to keep let me know, and remember, visualising yourself in a bikini usually stops me reaching for a second helping!

Monday, 14 April 2014

look again ‘refresh, rather than relocate’ - challenge

I'd seen a few bloggers taking part in this 'Refresh, rather than relocate' challenge and decide that this was definitely something I was going to take part in.  The idea is that a few well selected items can really refresh a room, and one lucky winner can win £750 to do just that!

The boy and I got the keys to our very own first house last July, previous to that I'd spent almost 10 years in rented accommodation, as had he.  Most of the places we'd rented, had come furnished which meant we had very little furniture, and an absolute mish-mash of odd bits and bobs.

When we got the keys to our house we wanted to make the living and dining rooms our priority.  Out 'entertaining' rooms, and therefore have so far put all our time and effort into those, and nearly a year on...they're really starting to come together.

However, upstairs is a very different story...we've started working on our bedroom, although a slight hiccup with a very blue paint means that a few months later, neither of us like it, and we're covering the room in paint patches, c'est la vie.

Anyway, our guest bedroom just hasn't been touched.  It has big fitted wardrobes, which although very useful, I hate how they look.  It's full of furniture which we've bought over the years for our rented pads.  It's the basic ikea range, and while it does the job, pretty it is not.  We've been given an old pair of curtains from my mum, which are so thin...they may as well be made from cling film.  And the rug? Well, this was a birthday present, while it looked great in a student flat, it's time for it to go.
It's highly unlikely that this room is going to get some attention any time soon.  We've put all our time, money and efforts in to the other key rooms in the house, and this little place is going to be staying like this for some time...unless of course Look Again want to take pity on me.

So I've put together some key pieces from their site that will instantly refresh the room, actually tie all the elements together, and spruce up the drab furniture.

I think a bright colour like yellow will bring a bit of life to this room, at the moment it's overwhelmed by wood! So I've selected this beautiful bedding bring the sunshine in shall we say.

I also felt a different bed frame would break the room up a bit, and make the furniture look a little more, delicate shall we say.  And given that the bed we have at the moment is stuffed with pillows because the mattress doesn't quite fit is a sure sign in my mind that at some point, it's going to have to go. 

I always think a bed looks much more inviting with a soft chunky throw, and some scatter cushions so throw those in the mix and I think I'd be wanting to sleep in this room instead of our own.  

Notice all the emphasis so far is on the bed...what can I say, you can't beat a good night's sleep, and it's nice to offer our guests that too.

The room is also lacking just a little bit of personality, I love these prints which would look great above the headboard.  Bringing a little bit of life to those blank walls.

Finally, a rug..with a hint of yellow, and some candle holders to line the top of the chest of drawers just makes the room look complete.

My total look comes to about £650 which would give me a cheeky extra £100 to buy a couple of extra bits and pieces totally bring the room together.

It would be an absolute dream (ha, geddit!) to be actually be able to give this room a little bit of love, at the moment, the door stays shut..and I mainly pretend it doesn't exist.
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