Friday, 26 May 2017

Double Decker Cookie Bars

As you will probably be able to tell if you've been reading my blog for a while or if you follow me on Instagram, I love baking, it's my favourite hobby. I tend to go through phases of loving certain bloggers recipes. At the moment I'm loving Jane's Patisserie's recipes - in the last two weeks I've made her Honeycomb Crunchie Cake (for my manager's birthday), Cornflake and Malteser Rocky Road (for a charity bake sale) and these delicious Double Decker Cookie Bars. All of her recipes are so easy to follow and that's why I love them so much. I also love her YouTube videos, I love baking videos and seeing her adorable dog Rolo.

You will need:
275g Plain Flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2tsp Salt
1tbsp Cornflour
115g Stork
55g Granulated Sugar
135g Light Brown Sugar
1 Medium Egg, beaten
1/2tsp Vanilla Bean Extract
8x 55g Double Decker Bars, chopped
100g Milk Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 and line a 9x9 tin with baking paper.
2. Mix the plain flour, bicarb, salt and cornflour together until fully combined.
3. In a larger bowl, melt the stork. Add in all of the sugar and whisk for about 2 minutes, until the sugar starts to dissolve and the mixture is smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
4. Add in the chopped Double Deckers (minus a handful) and chocolate chips and mix until a thick cookie dough is formed.
5. Press the mixture to the bottom of the tin and add the chopped handful of Double Deckers in the top for decoration. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they look 'dry' on top. Leave to cool fully in the tin and then cut into 16 squares. 

You can find Jane's post about her Double Decker Cookie Bars here.

Love and thoughts to the 22 victims of the Manchester attack, their family and friends & also the injured. You can donate to the Manchester Emergency Fund here.
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Monday, 22 May 2017

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

On Wednesday I finally got to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, I'd been waiting patiently to go since it opened 5 years ago. Obviously a lot of new sections have been added since it first opened, like the Hogwarts Express and more recently the Forbidden Forest, so I'm glad I'd waited. I'm probably one of the last Harry Potter fans in the UK to go, but if you haven't been, this post might help you to find out what is at the studio tour.

We stayed in the Holiday Inn Watford Junction the night before which I'd highly recommend, we got to leave our luggage there while we went to the tour, and the shuttle bus to the studios was only a short walk from the hotel. Another thing I'd recommend is booking your tickets well in advance if you've got a date in mind to visit. I booked our tickets almost two months in advance, and there were barely any time slots available. We were on a later time slot at 3:30, but we were able to join an earlier tour as there was space and no queuing whatsoever. You go into a little room where you watch a short video about how it all began. In the second room you go into - which is a cinema - I'd recommend sitting near the front, you'll see why. The tour is not guided for long, only until you get to the Great Hall, which is amazing to see in person.

After the guided part of the tour has finished you are free to explore the sets, props and costumes. One of the little touches all around the studio tour that I loved was the quotes from the books on the information placards. It's incredible to see things you've seen on screen in some of your favourite films in real life and also reading about how they got them to work on-screen. The photographer side of me loved looking at the cameras they used to film the Harry Potter series and reading about which scenes they used them for. There were quite a few little activities you could queue up for, we only queued up for the 'up' broom one as you could take your own photo or video. The others were the broom ride and the Hogwarts Express one with the green screens, but I didn't really see the point if I wasn't going to buy the video or photo at the end.

The Forbidden Forest section opened at the end of March and it was definitely worth waiting to visit the studio tour for this. Even with how much I hate spiders I still loved that section and thought the special effects were incredible, I absolutely loved Buckbeak. You can bypass the section with Aragog if your spider fear is severe. We were also extremely excited when we saw the Hogwarts Express, that was one of my favourite parts. After all that excitement, we got a cup of Butterbeer between us, I'd heard it wasn't that nice from a lot of people but we liked it. After the cafe, you go outside where you can see the Knight bus, chess pieces, Privet Drive and the Hogwarts bridge. Unfortunately the bridge was closed due to the torrential rain that day. In the next section you get to see all the masks and how they brought Dobby to life. You also get to see all of the drawings for the models and the cardboard models they made before creating the sets.

The whole tour was amazing and I'd 100% recommend it if you love Harry Potter. Every single part of it was so well thought out, the way they displayed everything was incredible and the Hogwarts Castle model at the end was breathtaking. I will mention that the gift shop at the end was horrendously expensive, this didn't put me off buying Hermione's wand though.
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Thursday, 20 April 2017

2017 Films | January - March

I didn't really watch many films in the cinema last year (or at all actually) and it was one of my aims this year to change that. I thought I'd do quarterly updates this year on films I've seen in the cinema, because I find posts like this interesting. So far in 2017 I've seen 6 films and there are plenty more coming out this year that I definitely want to see.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I didn't think this film was as good as any from the actual Star Wars series, but it was still quite good. I don't think I'd make a special effort to watch it again. However, it was amazing seeing old characters.

La La Land
La La Land was such a disappointment and I'm so sad to say that. I really wanted to love it and the trailer made me think I would. The videography was amazing but the story wasn't great, I didn't really know what was going on half of the time and it was quite choppy. Also for a musical, the songs weren't catchy at all and I only remember one.

Lego Batman
I love Batman, maybe not as much as some people but he's definitely my favourite DC character so I had to see this film. Lego Batman is the first Lego film I've seen and I was so impressed. I loved the humour and it was such an easy watch, I loved it.

Logan
This was an incredible film. I haven't actually seen a single Wolverine or X-Men film before (I don't think I have anyway) and I was really impressed with this. It kept my interest and I'd definitely recommend this to any Marvel fan.

Beauty and the Beast
There aren't many words to describe this film, but I'm going to use magical. I'd been waiting to see this film for so long, since it was first announced, so I was hoping it would be amazing. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney films, so I was hoping it would live up to that and it didn't disappoint. Everything about this film was incredible, especially the soundtrack and the casting, which was perfect. I actually teared up during the finale - it was just the most wonderful film I've seen for a long time. We went to see this at the Everyman Cinema at the Mailbox in Birmingham, which is an incredible cinema, 4K screens are the way forward - it was the perfect place to watch Beauty and the Beast.

Power Rangers
I loved Power Rangers when I was younger, I have many memories of watching Power Rangers: The Movie and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. When we saw the trailer for this we thought it looked pretty good and it definitely was. It was a slow starter but once it got going it was such a good film.
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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Creme Egg Brownies

Happy Easter everyone! I thought because it's Easter I'd share the Creme Egg Brownies I made the other day with you. I haven't done much baking this year so far but I'm feeling inspired and I mainly have Jane's Patisserie to thank for that. I made these brownies based on her Easter brownie recipe here, but instead of adding all the different chocolates, I put frozen Creme Eggs in 20 minutes into them baking in the oven.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter Sunday and if you have some Creme Eggs left over, I'd definitely recommend making these, everyone that's tried one has said how tasty they are. I'm so excited to get back into baking - especially now I've found some incredible recipes to try.

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

LUSH Easter Haul 2017

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know I'm a sucker for Lush's seasonal ranges and just Lush in general. Easter is one of my favourite seasonal ranges from Lush, I love that everything is egg shaped, it definitely makes the bath bombs even more fun. I didn't go too crazy on the Lush website, but I picked up a few things and I thought I'd share them with you. 

Chick n' Mix Bath Bomb - £6.95
I picked this bath bomb for my order simply because it looked interesting. You could technically use this in three parts, but I think it would be most interesting popped in the bath altogether. I'd say this smells a bit musky - I definitely picked this bath bomb for the novelty factor.

The Experimenter Egg Bath Bomb - £5.95
I love the original experimenter bath bomb, so I was extremely happy to see it in egg form. This was a Lush Kitchen exclusive so it's not available in store, but it's available online. The vanilla scent and popping candy make it even more exciting to use, I think this might have to be the one I use on Easter Sunday.

Golden Egg Bath Bomb Melt - £3.95
It wouldn't be a Lush Easter haul without the Golden Egg! I'm pretty sure this used to be just a bath bomb in previous years and now it's a bath bomb melt. This smells delicious because of the cocoa butter and orange - if you're not having a chocolate egg this Easter I think this would be a good replacement.

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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Barbour International Polarquilt Jacket

It's been a while since I've done an outfit post and when I got my Barbour jacket for my 21st birthday, I knew I'd want to do one including it. My Mom very kindly bought me this jacket for my 21st and I'm so grateful for it, I love it so much. Red is my favourite colour to wear, so when I saw that this jacket came in red I instantly knew that this was the one for me.

The Barbour International Polarquilt jacket feels so luxurious, it's lined with polyester fleece lining which keeps me so warm. I wore it to a party over my dress and I couldn't feel the cold at all in it. I love that it has a belt so it can cinch in at the waist, sometimes when clothing doesn't do that it can make me feel a bit frumpy. I love wearing it with a pair of black jeans and my Nike Roshe Runs, and accessorising with my Ted Baker bag.
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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Malteser Cheesecake

This is the first thing I've baked in a while, I've missed it so much! I've actually been meaning to make this since last October and I've only just got round to it. I always find that cheesecakes are quite quick and easy to make, so I thought it'd be a good thing to ease me back in to baking. Maltesers and Comic Relief were also doing something for charity when I baked this, if you used #bakeamillion on a social media platform and uploaded a photo of your Maltesers bake, they'd donate £5 on your behalf to Comic Relief. I found this recipe on UniLad.

You will need:
300g Malted Milk biscuits
125g Butter
75g Horlicks (You can use malt extract if you prefer)
200g Icing Sugar
800g Cream Cheese
300ml Double Cream
300g Maltesers

1. For your base, either put the biscuits in a food processor or a food bag and bash with a rolling pin until they are breadcrumb consistency. Melt the butter and mix in with the biscuits to create your buttery biscuit base. Put the base in a lined cake tin, spread out evenly and then pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
2. While your base is setting, chop 150g of your Maltesers in half and then mix all the Maltesers back in together. Weigh out 150g of the whole and halved Maltesers into a separate bowl.
3. Also while your base is setting, whip your double cream until it is just stiff.
4. Put your cream cheese, Horlicks and icing sugar in a bowl and mix until combined.
5. Fold your whipped double cream into the mixture.
6. Add 150g of the whole and halved Maltesers into the mixture. Then pour the mixture into the cake tin and spread out evenly.
7. Put the cheesecake in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours or overnight. When it is set, sprinkle the rest of the Maltesers on top. Delicious!
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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Disneyland Paris: Day Five

Today was our last day at Disneyland Paris! We all felt sad to be going home, but glad to be getting back to warm England haha. We explored the Disneyland Park, went on Buzz's Laser Blast and then went to McDonald's, before heading back to the hotel to collect our bags.

We then went back to Marne-La-Vallee to get the train to Lille and luckily there was next to no wait to check in for the Eurostar. This Eurostar was newer than the one we got on the way here and it had wifi! When we got back to London, we found out the other two's flight had been delayed. It was so annoying and I felt so bad for them. We got back on our train home and I was so excited to show everyone my purchases.
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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher

Me reading this book is in no way an indication that I want children - not for a long time - it isn't a parenting guide in any way, shape or form. It's more of an autobiographical account of Giovanna's personal experience as a Mother and I think that's what makes it so interesting. I've been a huge fan of Giovanna for a few years now, I really enjoy watching her vlogs, reading her books and seeing her Instagram posts pop up on my feed. The way she writes makes you want to laugh with her, cry with her and feel proud of her, when you don't even know her personally. 

I read Happy Mum, Happy Baby in two sittings, which for me is rather quick as I have the shortest attention span ever. I literally could not put it down until I had to. The opening chapter tugs at your heart strings and you're instantly drawn in. I love how honest Giovanna is in this book - I can imagine if you were a Mom and experienced the same feelings Giovanna has, you wouldn't feel alone. I love how nothing is glossed over and how she has shared some difficult things, which will certainly help other women going through the same things.

The book touches upon breastfeeding, travelling with small children and sleep as a parent, which for a pregnant woman or a Mom are all relatable things. Giovanna's humour comes through in her writing which makes the book even more enjoyable to read. The photos throughout the book are adorable and funny, they're a perfect addition to the text. I'd definitely recommend reading this book to anyone, it would also make an amazing Mother's Day gift.

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Disneyland Paris: Day Four

Today I felt a lot better than I did the day before. We headed into the Studios park after breakfast. We had a look in some of the shops before going on the Aladdin Flying Carpet ride, Cars ride and Slinky ride. When we came off the Slinky ride, we noticed a queue and Mickey Mouse at the end of it. So obviously we joined it and met Mickey!

While the others queued for Crush's Coaster, I went shopping and into the Disneyland Park to watch the Parade. Eugene/Flynn and Prince Adam (Human Beast) said Happy Birthday! I then went back to the Studios park to meet my friends. We got our tea time treat and then went to McDonald's before watching the Star Wars light show. It was absolutely incredible!

We then went to the Disneyland Park to watch Dreams for the last time, this made me sad! But also we were glad we could see Dreams again, we thought the Star Wars show clashed with it. After Dreams, we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner and then to the Sports Bar for the long awaited Glo-Tini which was magical. We headed back to the hotel afterwards to pack.
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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Disneyland Paris: Day Three

Today was my birthday! I felt so ill and achey that I didn't actually get out of bed for hours, I couldn't even go for breakfast so my friend brought me a croissant up to the room. When I finally found the energy to get ready, we headed to Paris on what felt like the longest train journey ever.

We saw the Arc de Triomphe first which I absolutely loved seeing, we walked down the street that it's on and I felt so ill and thirsty that we stopped off at the ever so French McDonald's. I then popped into a pharmacy to pick up some Bioderma as it's my favourite micellar water. We all went into Sephora too, I bought some face masks as I'd heard good things about them and I can't wait to try them. We carried on walking for a while down that street before hopping on a train to the Louvre. We got there when the sun was setting so it was a beautiful time to see it and take photos.

My friend and her boyfriend went in the Louvre, whilst me and my other friend went on a walk along the Seine before we all headed to the Hard Rock Café for my birthday dinner. I loved the music and the food! The pudding I had was especially amazing - who doesn't love molten chocolate cake for pudding. I was also extremely happy about the refillable drinks there. 

After the Hard Rock Café, we went to the Eiffel Tower. I waited at the bottom while the rest of them went up and it was absolutely freezing. We got on the train back for another long journey and went back to the hotel.
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Disneyland Paris Haul January 2017

If you've been reading my blog over the past few weeks or follow me on Twitter, you'll know that in mid-January I went to Disneyland Paris. I had some birthday money given to me before I went and whilst I was there so I spent it wisely on all these lovely Disney things.

The Fox and the Hound Soft Toys (19,99€ each)
One of my favourite Disney films is the Fox and the Hound. I saw these Todd and Copper soft toys in one of the shops in Disneyland on the first day and I knew I had to go back for them. I convinced myself that it was okay to buy them because they were Disneyland Paris exclusives.

Ears
It's an unwritten rule that you must buy some Disney headwear when you go to a Disney park. I knew I wanted to buy more than one pair of ears but I wasn't sure which ones. I ended up going with the classic Minnie ears (14,99€) first of all, then the Alice in Wonderland (19,99€) ones. I love the theming of the Alice ones, the little teapot on the bow and how they say 'Eat Me' and 'Drink Me' on them.

Arribas Tiara (18,99€)
I saw the tiaras in the shop inside the castle and had to buy one. Tiaras are really pretty and this was my favourite one. I don't know when I'm going to wear it, I might just wear it around the house haha!

Arribas Beauty and the Beast Rose (39,99€)
I'd seen this ornament before I went and I also saw this in the shop inside the castle, I bought it because it's just so beautiful. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney films and I just couldn't leave this behind.

Miscellaneous
I got so excited when I saw this Chip Mug (9,99€). It's plastic so not like the Florida Chip Mugs, but it's still amazing nonetheless. I bought the Toy Story Alien magnet (4,99€), because I thought I was imagining that we already had one on the fridge - I got home and we had. I also got the light up ice cube from my Glo-Tini and it's amazing.

Pins
As soon as I saw the pins I knew I'd be buying a few. I had to buy the Hotel Cheyenne pin (8,99€) as I wanted a memory of where I'd stayed. I also wanted a pin with the year I went on, so I picked the 2017 castle pin (6,99€). I picked up a Star Wars Season of the Force pin (6,99€) up for a souvenir of going during that season. Then finally I chose an Ariel pin (6,99€) because she's my favourite Disney Princess and a Mary Poppins pin (6,99€) because I love that it says 'Practically Perfect in Every Way'.

Presents
While I was in Disneyland I also bought some presents for people. I thought I'd write about what I bought in case you're going to DLP so you know these things are available. I bought a Buzz Lightyear baby vest and I bought three keyrings - the Cheshire Cat, Captain America and Darth Vader's Lightsaber. I also bought a Minnie Mouse pen, Maleficent pin and a box of Mickey shortbread.
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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Disneyland Paris: Day Two

We woke up, got ready and went for breakfast where I enjoyed plenty of croissants. Then we headed to the park after popping our Minnie ears on. When we first got there I went to City Hall, I got a birthday badge, sticker and a birthday phone call from a very special mouse! We took plenty of photos in and by the castle, including that delightful one of me pulling the sword out of the stone, then headed for the rides. We went on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs then Pinocchio's Fantastic Journey, which are definitely my kind of rides. 

I took photos whilst two of my friends went on the Dumbo ride, then we went on the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups. This was my favourite mainly because of the Alice in Wonderland theming, but I am also a huge fan of teacups. We went and took photos at the Unbirthday party before heading through the maze which I loved! All the Wonderland theming, to die for. It feels like an unwritten rule when you're at Disneyland to go on It's a Small World, so that's what we did next. I thoroughly enjoyed it haha, the song was definitely stuck in my head for a long time afterwards.

While my friends went on Big Thunder Mountain (I'm not a fan of rides haha), I did a bit of shopping. Afterwards we met back up, got our tea time treat from Casey's and took our spot for the Parade. I couldn't wait for the parade after watching so many YouTuber's Disneyland Paris vlogs, Snow White said Happy Birthday to me. I absolutely loved hearing Magic on Parade.

After the parade, my friends went on Orbitron and then we all went on Buzz's Laser Blast before our dinner at the Plaza Garden - a thoroughly disappointing buffet. All I ate was a cornetto! We then explored the Disney Village a bit, where I bought Alice in Wonderland ears and then we went back to the hotel.
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