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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