Archive | November 2016

Black Friday Bargains

Black Friday is not something which I have ever taken part in as I normally work every Friday. I ventured out to the Black Friday Sales in search of a microwave I saw advertised in the Daily Mail Online this morning. I don’t have much furniture yet for the flat, but as things seem to be moving along rather quickly it seemed like a good idea to go grab this microwave. 

The microwave in question is a De’Longhi 800 Watt Stainless Steel Microwave, looks very shiny!!

A sneaky trip into Robert Dyas resulted in the sneaky purchase of a 12 piece kitchen utensil set. 

So thank you Black Friday for nearly completing the furnishing of the kitchen! First experience of bargain shopping went quite well I think. It nice to know that when I get a moving date I won’t be searching around franticly for anything to furnish the flat.
I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about Black Friday today but is it really doing any harm? So what if it has come from America or caused more traffic on the roads today? Some people really will complain about anything and everything. For people like me who have just bought their first home it was a much welcomed saving on something I needed anyway. A lot of things I have bought second hand, but when it comes to electrics I want these to be new so I know they are covered by warrenty and I won’t be encountering any hidden surprises which might blow my flat up!

 I didn’t find myself wrestling bargain microwaves out of the clutches of other shoppers so what is the drama? If you don’t like it don’t partake, no ones forcing you! 

‘Tis the Season to Give Blood

Anyone who knows me will know that when I’m scared I have this unfortunate habit of breaking out into Christmas Songs as my coping mechanism. Unfortunately for those around me I am not gifted in the vocal department and resemble a poor little ally cat who has trod on a drawing pin when I attempt to sing. I also neglect to take into account the time of year. 

Back in June a few years ago two of my friends were subjected to this torture while they each had a hand crushed by me as a rather brash doctor stitched my head back together. Apparently I was the highlight of the nurses night that night, well I do aim to please. 

Luckily for me due to my amazing rendition of Deck the Halls with the lyrics ever so subtly changed to “Give the Blood” I managed to sacrifice a few tubes of blood to an amazing nurse tonight who actually managed to find a vein! Makes a lovely change to having every vein in my arm prodded and still refusing to cooperate! 

So thank you lovely nurse at the doctors’ surgery this evening who did a quacking job, I apologise for your ears, and thank you for my sticker. 

I do apologise for the pretty boring blog post tonight, but that was sadly my whole day!

Here is a photo of my beautiful boy thinking he is a human in an attempt to make up for it. The absolute sweetheart has stayed with me all day to make sure I was ok. Never underestimate the love of a pet! 

Today’s Crappy Product Award & Birthday Biscuits 

I decided to bake some cookies today.

Unfortunately I also decided to try ProCook’s Christmas 3D Stainless Steel Cookie Cutters. 

Big Mistake. 

400g Butter – 400g Caster Sugar – 2 Eggs – 800g Plain Flour – 2 tsp Vanilla Extract 

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and add the Vanilla Extract. Beat in the eggs and then stir in the flour until you get a dough. Kneed the dough and put into the fridge wrapped in clingfilm and leave for an hour. Roll out the dough and cut out the shapes needed, put on the baking tray and leave to chill for 30 mins in the fridge. Cook for 10 mins at 180 degrees. 

Easy right? Yes, Biscuits taste fabulous, but don’t slot together as the edges arnt long enough 😦 

So that design was scrapped luckily before all the dough was used!

Plan Number 2 

You can’t beat classic round glace iced biscuits. I’m still at my parents and had none of my Cookie Cutters here so had to make do with a yorkshire pudding tin, pallet knife and a (clean) ruler.

Still worked out better than ProCook! 

Why send a birthday card when you can send an edible one? 

Happy Birthday Noodles

The Annual Chocolate Debate

Obviously being at my parents house sick and feeling sorry for myself means that those chocolate cravings are bound to crawl out at some point. Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. 

Unfortunately for me all there was in the house in the way of chocolate was a tub of Cadbury’s Roses which had been stashed away for Christmas. Initially I thought I’d hit the jackpot, but apparently Roses are not what I remember! Definitely got smaller and do not compete with the Heros and Celebrations or even the Quality Streets! 

However if I could take the Hazlenut Whirl out of the Roses and put it with the Malteaser and Galaxy from the Celebrations. Add the Twirl, Dairy Milk, Wispa and Creme Egg Twisted from the Heros and the Purple One and Green One from the Quality Street I think that would make a really decent box of chocolates. Also if they’d bring back the Truffle and Topic in the celebrations my childhood Christmas would really be complete.

How do people make that annual difficult decision which box to go with? Does anyone ever just get them all to eradicate the need to make that decision? Little box of each then put them all together? 

Now that has given me an idea. Instead of everyone going to the supermarket and purchasing their yearly tub of chocolates for Christmas there should be a Christmas Chocolate Tub/Tin Shop. A bit like M&M world, each of these sweets should be available in giant tubes and you can fill your Christmas Tub of Chocolates however you please. Of course this would involve all three confectionary companies getting on and collaborating in this but surly it’s worth it to prevent all those poor lonely unwanted chocolates (*cough* Toffees *cough*) lurking away in the bottom of the tin well into the next year as no one likes those ones?
Now please excuse me while I go fill my tub up with the malteasers. 

Thoughts and Opinions on the yearly struggle between the Roses, Celebrations, Quality Streets and Heros? 

– Chocolate Fiend

Not My Shoes

After the doom and gloom of the previous post I felt it was also fair to share one of the better parts of the day.

My favourite pair of boots are my Black Bailey Bow Ugg Boots. We were in our car on the way to Children In Need and I went to pull my boots up. Suddenly I was very confused as there were no bows on my shoes but then I realised that I wasn’t wearing my shoes! I had shoes on but they were not Bailey Bows and they definitely were not mine!

“These are not my shoes?!” 

At this point my friend is trying to drive while dissolving into hysterical laughter 

I’m now panicking about who’s shoes I am wearing. I normally leave my boots out in the hallway as I hate wearing shoes indoors. My neighbours opposite also do the same so all of a sudden I am convinced I have stolen my neighbours shoes and am currently halfway round the M25 with them on my feet. 

I decide to ring my flatmate because by some coincidence she could have also left a pair of black boots outside the door? Surly it’s a million times better to be wearing my flatmate’s shoes than my neighbour’s? I would hate to have a reputation as a shoe thief! 

Luckily she answers and I franticly explain the predicament and am met with more hysterical laughter. Luckily for me she does own a pair of black Ugg-Style Boots without Bows which have somehow found themselves on my feet and I am no longer a shoe thief, just a shoe borrower! 

An Apology and a Thank You – BBC Children In Need & Busted

So I was so lucky to be able to go to BBC Children In Need’s Appeal Night last night. 

I was 7 years old when I went to a Harvester restaurant with my parents and they had a colouring competition to keep the kids entertained while waiting for orders to arrive. I sat there for half an hour colouring in this picture of Pudsey bear. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist, that bear was coloured in as accurately as possible using perfect colour selection. Yellow for his body, black for his eyes and a white and red spotty eyepatch. There would be no purple and green spotted bear submitted from me! As we left the restaurant Dad pinned my bear up with all the other enteries and we went home. Mum and Dad got a phone call from the Harvester a week later and turns out I had won! I won a meal for four at the restaurant but most importantly I won a cuddly Pudsey Bear. Me and my Pudsey Bear have sat and watched Children In Need from start to finish together ever since even though I am now 24.

This is how I fell in love with this charity and I have fundraised for Children In Need for the past 8 years. 

Anyway back to the purpose of this post

Last night I was at the Elstree Studio watching the filming for Children In Need and I didn’t feel well. I poked my friend who was sat next to me and fainted/collapsed. 

The team at the studio and the paramedic (your name was Brian, but I apologise I cannot remember anyone else’s name, sadly I do not remember much from the evening!) were all absolutely brilliant and really looked after me. Thank you so much for everything you did, I had no idea I was ill, I thought I was just a bit under the weather. I will go to the doctors first thing Monday morning as promised and will not be going to work until the doctor says I can. I apologise for being a really stubborn and difficult patient, I’m not myself after a fainting episode and I promise you I’m a lot nicer and a lot less difficult normally! 

Unfortunately the second time I collapsed they helped me stumble my way out of the studio door. I got just outside the studio door and I am told that I hit the floor in front of Busted who just got off stage. I have camped out for McBusted and Busted several times and really wanted to see you guys perform, I’m gutted I missed you. (I came back in after the first fainting episode after your performance had already ended and the second one occurred shortly after!). I’m a 90’s baby and a massive Busted fan, so I cannot express how embarrassed I am that this happened, and I’m very sorry! I’m told you guys said you wished you could help me, which is so kind so thank you so much. I have always wanted to meet you I just wish I remembered it!!! 

So just a big thank you and sorry to the team at BBC, Brian and Busted. 

I really hope I get to see the show live again some time. It has always been a dream of mine, I just wish I could have actually seen it! Until then it’s time for another cracking year raising money for such a good cause, it’s going to be a busy one!! 

Thank You

– The Girl in the Pudsey Onesie that you spent half your night scooping up off the floor 

Hidden Surprise Piñata Cake

Hellloo, I finally got to make that cake! So we made a piñata cake! This consists of layers of cake with sweets hidden in the middle which fall out when you cut into it.

I used a basic vanilla cake recipe which involves weighing the eggs and using the same weight of flour, caster sugar (I love using golden caster sugar as it gives a lovely taste and a golden darker colour) and butter, along with a tsp of vanilla extract. I know a lot of people  prefer the all in one method but I definitely think you end up with a fluffier cake in the end if you cream the butter and sugar together until it’s really fluffy and airy.

Then beat in the eggs, fold in the flour and divide into 3 cake tins and into the oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 mins. Towards the end of the cooking time test that it is cooked using a skewer, if it comes out clean with no cake mix on it then you’re done!

Place on a wire rack to cool, the sponge should be springy and fluffy to create a light and airy sponge.

While this is cooling you can make the buttercream icing. I use 150g of unsalted butter to every 280g of icing sugar and add a tsp of vanilla extract. Beat the butter with the vanilla extract until it is soft and fluffy. The fluffier it is the lighter the buttercream will be. I like using buttercream icing as you can use so many different nozzles to create different effects.

Once the butter and vanilla extract is fluffy slowly sieve the icing sugar in a little bit at a time and ensure it mixes into the butter completely to avoid any lumps. The more air you can get into it each time lighter it will be. When you’ve got all the icing sugar combined with the butter you can add milk a table spoon at a time and beat in to achieve the correct consistency. If you are planning on piping the buttercream you need it to be a bit firmer to ensure it keeps its shape. To make this much bettercream I used 1400g of icing sugar and 750g of unsalted butter.

Now the cake has cooled you should have 3 layers of cake. You need to cut the middle out of one to create a doughnut shape. Keep the centre piece to one side, it always comes in handy and I hate wasting anything!

I used seedless raspberry jam to create a classic Victoria sponge style cake and some of the buttercream icing we made earlier to fill the inside of cake.

You then flip this over and place it onto the bottom layer of cake on a board and repeat on the other side of the doughnut. It helps to put a bit of buttercream on the board to help stick the cake to it. It would be horrible if it fell off!

You can now fill the middle of the doughnut with any sweets of your choosing. For an ever so slightly healthier alternative you could fill it with fruit, but only if it is going to be served straight away.

You need to make sure that you have packed the sweets in quite tightly as they need to be able to support the top layer of cake which now goes on top.

I then stuck the middle bit which we cut out earlier on the top with buttercream to give me something to ice later.

Then ice all over the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This does not need to be perfect as we are going to ice over it again.

We now need to colour the buttercream icing. I prefer to use gel food colouring as it keeps the consistency of the icing and a darker, stronger colour.

Put the icing into a piping bag (I like to use disposable ones, no washing up!). You can use whatever nozzle you want to use but I like the star nozzle as it creates a nice swirl when piped. As I used three different colours of icing I put it into the bag 1 spoonful at a time in order to create a mixed colour when I piped.

This star nozzle is good for piping swirls. You then need to pipe all around the side of the cake. To do these ones I started in the middle of each swirl and iced outwards. I then iced the extra piece of cake we put on top with different swirls and flowers in darker food colouring

But you can ice this however you want 🙂

And that is pretty much it! I was lucky enough to get a photo of it after it was cut which is always nice to see how it looks inside!

You will need a very sharp knife to get through all those sweets!!!

Otato Nessie Ladle

I was looking for kitchen appliances today after seeing a rather nice slow cooker advertised in between an episode of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I could not find the slow cooker but I did however discover this Loch Ness Monster shaped ladle. 

It is made by a company called Otato and there’s a whole range of Nessie related kitchen utensils including the whole Nessie family in Blue, Pink and Green! Must be the most adorable kitchen utensil of all time? 

How could anyone be sad with this little guy to keep you company in the kitchen while you’re making your soup?

Just when I thought I couldn’t love this range any more I delve a little bit deeper and discover this little guy!!! 

Little Nessie Tea Infuser?! 

As I’m franticly adding a whole Nessie family to my basket and selecting next day delivery my flat mate says to me “Samie, when do you ever make soup?”

Now I’m having to regretfully remove this little collection of adorable little monsters from my basket to make room for the more boring things I need in life like an ironing board!

However if you are a soup maker or you have the benefit of being able to offer a loving home to these adorable little guys why wouldn’t you?! 

1 Week to Go!!!

1 week until one of the most important nights of the year!

BBC Children In Need is such an important charity who make such a difference to so many people. That is why it is so important to show your spots and raise lots for Pudsey! I am so proud to support this charity every day with both work and in my own time and incredibly excited that for the first year ever I will get to watch live from the studio!!! 

This year will be the first since Terry Wogan sadly passed away in January this year and I’m sure the amazing charity that he helped to create will continue to do amazing things.

Plans already in place for the fundraising for next year and it is looking like it is going to be a jam packed Pudsey filled year!