Sunday, 20 July 2014

Squidgy Chocolate Brownies from Lurpak

Yummy Brownies Recipe


This recipe is from a Lurpak Brownie Set I picked up in Asda a couple of years ago. I've since picked another up in Tesco so I think they get released quite regularly. These are the best brownies I've ever tasted and so easy to make!

Ingredients

350g 70% Dark Chocolate
200g Lurpak Slightly Salted Butter
250g Dark Muscavado Sugar
50g Self Raising Flour
3 Eggs

You'll also need

2 mixing bowls – at least one must be heat proof
Whisk/Kitchen Mixer
Wooden Spoon
Saucepan
Brownie Tin
Greaseproof Paper

Instructions

  • Heat your oven to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas Mark 5 and line your brownie tin with greaseproof paper.
  • 1/4 fill your saucepan with water, break your chocolate up and pop both the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and rest it on top of the saucepan
  • Warm on a low heat, stirring occasionally til everything has melted.
  • Whisk the eggs in your second mixing bowl until they are pale and fluffy, but not too stiff.
  • Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk until it thickens up.
  • Gently fold your melted chocolate/butter mix into your egg/sugar mix and then sieve in the flour. Continue to fold until smooth.
  • Slowly pour the mixture into your tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • When you see the satisfying crust on top, they’re done. They should be all squidgy inside too.
  • Leave to set for an hour or two then cut into 16 squares (or if you are like Mr & Miss Melvis - 9 squares!)
At the bottom of the recipe card it states that the brownies will taste even better the next day! I thought what’s this nonsense, surely they are better fresh from the oven?! But no, they do infact taste even better the next day! They go from being chocolate brownies to being EXTREMELY chocolate brownies overnight, it’s like a chocolate miracle!

Oh, and just a little last minute note before you get started – If you’re like me and short on pennies quite a lot of the time, you’ll find they don’t taste any worse for using a lower % chocolate. I often use 50/55% dark chocolate (Asda Chosen by You is about £1 for 200g) and they taste just as nice, so you don’t have to fork out a fortune for the posh stuff.

Happy Baking x

Love The Little Things - Week 29

Crazy Stupid Love


My favourite weekly link up - Love The Little Things is a weekly feature hosted by But Why Mummy Why, in which we take a moment to appreciate the little moments of joy we've experience over the past 7 days.

Read


This week I've been reading Return To Love by Kathleen Shoop.  When I moved blogs, I had a few book tour dates left to fulfill of which this is one, and my review will be up later this week.

I also read a load of online articles/blog posts, here are some of my favourites:

Recipes from a Normal Mum book

Watched


The Celebrity Masterchef Final! I haven't seen much of this series but I have kept up over the past two weeks and very much enjoyed the final.  I was also thrilled to see that my favourite contestant won ;-)


Heard


There are times when I suddenly remember an album that I once loved and have to listen to it again.  This week I had one of those moments, when a guy at worked mentioned Rockin' The Suburbs by Ben Folds. As soon as I got home, I dug out my CD and listened to it all the way through :)



Made


This week I made mince and dumplings, which I hadn't made for aaaages and it was delicious!

Mince and Dumplings

Wore


I rushed around after work on Wednesday, made the tea in record time, ate it even quicker and had my bottom in front of the lap top with seconds to spare ... for my 7pm VIP slot for the Next Summer Sale.  A lot of the things I ordered were gifts to put away for Christmas, but I did treat myself to some half price jeans, a scarf and a bag - pics coming when they arrive! x


And Lastly ...


Lots of great photographs have been shared on my Facebook timeline this week.  The first from a series of photos marking Duke to dog's last day on Earth.  Beautiful and utterly heartbreaking!

The second was a collection of photographs of baby Sam's first steps into his new adoptive family - some of the shots are amazing!

To celebrate (commiserate?) the final Monty Python show of all time, a giant dead parrot made it's way to London's Southbank earlier this week - this is one of the moments that I wish I lived closer to our Capital!


Fancy joining in?


Just copy the headings and use them as prompts then link up at But Why Mummy Why. Use the hashtag #littleloves if you’re on twitter to share your posts.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Kindle Bargains #1

Bargains are back!



Yes, you read that right - Kindle Bargains are back!

I received a lovely message off a lady last week, saying she used to love the weekly Kindle Bargains post but since I've been posting them on Facebook, she doesn't see them, whereas when I wrote a blog post she got a nifty email to say they'd been posted. 

So they're back although a little different to the old Me, Bookshelf and I posts - a more simple layout but the same idea - books for your Kindle priced at 99p or less.


One Day - David Nicholls


One of my favourite books!  The film was bloody awful a bit of a let down but the book is definitely worth a read - and 99p is the cheapest I've ever seen it.

Thirteen Weddings - Paige Toon


The latest release from Paige Toon just a few months ago is now just 99p and it's got a stack of 5* reviews!

Payback - Kimberley Chambers


Dotty at work, a.k.a "The Queen of Crime Novels" finished this the other day and LOVED it! She's a bit gutted that she has to wait until January for the next book.

Where Have All The Boys Gone - Jenny Colgan


With all the Kindle Bargains recently, Jenny Colgan is really spoiling us!  Another cracker from the chick lit veteran, only 99p!

Thornton Hall - Lynn Marie Hulsman


I believe this is actually called Christmas at Thornton Hall and they've just removed the festive words from the title and changed the colour of the book.  Either way, it's a Harper Impulse Romcom, which have never failed me before and it's got some great reviews.  It'll probably be more expensive come December too!

The French for Love - Fiona Valpy


I recently reviewed The French For Always and I loved it, so I'm hoping it's predecessor is just as good.

Happy Shopping! x



£20 off Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite


Thursday, 17 July 2014

The World Cup may be over ...

... but Izzy's only just begun ...


She's always been more of a tennis kind of girl, but this week Izzy turned her paw to football!

Kick Off


Dog World Cup Kick Off

The Dribble


Dog World Cup

The Tackle


Dog playing football


Attack


Dog playing football


Run really fast with the ball! (Too fast for the camera ;) )


Dog playing football

And ... Nanna Nap!


Izzy Nanna Nap


More from Izzy soon! :) x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Like Love Loathe #1

The L Word(s)


I keep spotting this linky on Futures but I've never got around to joining in before ... no time like the present!

Like Love Loathe

Like | Postcards

Before we go getting all excited, I'm not talking about the Wish You Were Here type with foreign stamps that arrive home about a fortnight after you do.  I haven't been on a fancy holiday and as far as I know, my friends/family haven't either.  I'm always on the look out for cheap yet wonderful postcards.  I use them to write to Post Pals occasionally, to enter postal competitions and sometimes I even frame them on my walls (only the most elite of postcards, of course!).  This week I spotted a set of 100 New Yorker postcards on Amazon for just £6.00 - 6p per card!  Always the bargain lover, I ordered a pack and they arrived on Monday.  They are absolutely stunning, and come in a lovely, reusable presentation box and I'll no doubt be ordering some more.



Love | BBQ Season

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet ... it makes me want to sit outside to eat! Yeah, baby ... BBQ season is upon us and it's fab.  I like the smell of the BBQ when it's warming up, the flame grilled taste of the burgers, sitting in the garden with my feet up ... because as soon as there's fire involved, Mr M suddenly feels like cooking the tea.  I also find just the simple idea of eating outside, in the sunshine a whole lot more relaxing than our usual dinner on the sofa routine, and after a hard day at work there's nothing better.

Loathe | Summer Overtime

It may be glorious outside but I'm not getting the chance to enjoy it as much as I would like to as I'm working overtime most days.  Work is really busy at the moment, and whilst I am glad of that in some ways, I wouldn't be choosing to do overtime whilst it's lovely and sunny outside.  I save that for rainy, wintery weekends instead.  At the moment though, it's all hands on deck (when I say all, I mean those who have any sense of team spirit, so about half of us).  As I'm already full time, it's hard to fit in more than a little overtime on my normal working days, which means I'm now also working on both of my days off this weekend.  Whilst the extra cash will no doubt find it's way to be spent on something, I doubt I'll actually see anything for it, which kind of makes me think I'm wasting away these lovely summer days and merely working my way more quickly towards winter.

What is on your likes, loves and loathes this week?

If you fancy joining in, you can find the linky over at Futures or Life in a Breakdown.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Book Review: The Third Wife

The Third Wife - Lisa Jewell


In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus.

A tragic accident? Or suicide?

Her grief-stricken husband, Adrian, is determined to find out.

Maya had a job she enjoyed; she had friends. They'd been in love.

She even got on with his two previous wives and their children. In fact, they'd all been one big happy family.

But before long Adrian starts to identify the dark cracks in his perfect life.
Because everyone has secrets.
And secrets have consequences.
Some of which can be devastating.

I'll start by saying this book doesn't keep you waiting for the action to kick in.  Maya is drunk, she told her Husband she was on her way home hours ago but instead finds herself stumbling along the West End and straight into the path of a bus - and that's all within the first three pages.

What follows is a delightful mix of history and aftermath as her Husband, Adrian tries to move on with his life, reconnect with his family and find out exactly what happened to Maya.  Was it really an accident or did his Wife commit suicide?

Adrian's been married three times.  He and Maya could often be found holidaying with his two previous families and on the day she died, Maya had been babysitting his youngest children.  Adrian thought they had one big, happy family but soon realises that appearances can be deceptive and that his haphazard family might not be as ideal as he thought.

Then there's the issue of the mysterious Woman who suddenly enters his life.  What is she hiding and does she hold the key to discovering what happened to his late Wife?

It was clear from Page 1 that I was going to enjoy this novel, and as always, Lisa Jewell did not disappoint.  The Third Wife is a gripping, surprising and thoroughly entertaining read.  I loved how we, as the reader know that the outcome of this story is Maya's death, but we are fed information slowly throughout, and kept guessing until we finally discover what happened in the months, weeks and hours leading up to it.

The extended family of characters that the story is built around are all wonderfully written, and it's easy to keep up with them all.  The story flows well between the three households and in the centre of them all is Adrian, whose daughter proclaims is "in love with love", as an explanation for his many marriages.  Despite being in his 40's, throughout the story we see Adrian grow, learn and attempt to make amends with many aspects of his life.  Each time he discovers something about Maya, or his children, or the mystery Woman, he also seems to discover a little something about himself ... and just as he does not like some of the things he learns about others, he also doesn't like everything he discovers (or at least, realises) about himself.

Whilst we only meet Maya briefly in the first few pages, she is featured throughout via the use of flashbacks, which all help to move the story along.  We follow Maya from the moment she meets Adrian to the moment she dies, and we can see how she also changes throughout the years as well as learning of the contributing factors to her death.

My Rating 5/5 - A mix of surprises, revelations, great characters and a brilliant story make The Third Wife yet another winning novel from Lisa Jewell.   The action starts from the first page and although the pace does slow down, the puzzle pieces keep flowing until you finally have a full picture of how and why Maya met her demise.  Lisa Jewell's dramatic novels are proving to be just as addictive as her previous chick lit ones, and this is another book not to be missed.


*I was provided with a copy of this book from the publisher, in return for an honest review.  I have not been paid for my review and all opinions are my own (and my opinion is that Lisa Jewell is a bloody fantastic Author!).

Monday, 14 July 2014

Recycling Birthday Cards - The Compers Way!

Win Win!

I may not enter anywhere near as many competitions as I used to (there are so many other things to do now!) but I do still like to enter certain ones.  I try not to miss the deadlines for the magazine puzzles/entry forms, I remember as often as possible to enter the big money ITV ones, I have a little search around for crafty prizes and other things I'll definitely use and every week, without fail, I set aside an hour or so to enter postal competitions.

Postal Competitions


Postal competitions are the golden oldies of the comping world, the reason the phrase "Answers on a postcard ..." exists.  I'm lucky that a friend of mine visits the cinema often and sends me stacks of postcards a couple of times a year.  Even so, I still run short sometimes and have to source alternative postcard means.

I've been known to cut up cereal boxes but I find the cardboard a little flimsy.  I'm sure it hasn't always been the case, but since the world decided that everything had a little too much packaging, those boxes have definitely got thinner!  



After every birthday and Christmas, I select the sturdiest of the cards and cut them up into postcards.  Cards tend to be nice and bright, so they make good postcards to send.  I draw a line down the reverse, to separate the TO and FROM sections and write away.

  


To save me from writing out my address hundreds of times, I buy personalised address labels from Ebay (I haven't figured out how to make them myself ... yet!).



All stamped and ready to go ... fingers crossed for some great prizes from these beauties!