The best oreo cupcakes ever!

So last night I spent the evening at a friend’s baking the most delicious cupcakes, so just had to share them with you!

We got the recipe from a blog full of sweet treats and scrummy cakes called Sweethartscakesandbakes.

Ours didn’t look as pretty as the ones on the blog, as we didn’t have a piping bag, but I can assure you the tasted amazing! The best part was that the oreo in the bottom of the cake was still crunchy!

oreo

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Handmade Christmas Part I

This weekend I had a crafty day with one of my dear friends. Over the last few weeks we’ve been saying how much we’d like to try making handmade gifts for our loved ones, and coming up with different ideas. So over the next few weeks I’ll be posting the things we actually get round to making.

We both love Domestic Sluttery, we each have a copy of their book, follow them on twitter, pinterest and regularly read the blog. So when they posted ideas for Boozy Christmas gifts we had to give them a try! I decided to make the Blackberry Rum, but using whisky, and my friend wanted to make the Limoncello, but it wasn’t to be as she couldn’t get hold of a bottle of vodka with more the 45% vol. If anyone can suggest where she might find such strong vodka we’d be very grateful!

I started out by sterilizing my kilner jar that I’d bought from Lakeland. It really is very easy. I first washed the jar and the lid in warm soapy water then set them on a clean tea towel to dry. I then pre-heated the oven to 180 degrees then placed the jar on a metal tray in the oven for 10 minutes. While the jar was in the oven I popped the lid in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. I then placed both on a clean tea towel again to dry out and cool down.

Mean while I got my ingredients ready:

1 vanilla pod

350g blackberries

100g caster sugar

70cl light whisky

Next I split the vanilla pod and popped it into the jar, then added the blackberries and sugar, and finally poured the whisky in until the blackberries were completely covered and the jar was full. I put the lid on then gave it all a gentle shake.

Now I just need to wait 3 weeks, keeping the jar in a cool dry place and mixing it every so often. Once it has all infused I’ll then need to put the liquid through a coffee filter and put my Blackberry Whisky into presentation bottles ready for gifting.

So fingers crossed it tastes as good as I’m hoping it will! I will post the verdict and the bottling process in 3 weeks!

If you’re planning on make any other boozy Christmas treats like a Christmas cake or Christmas pudding make sure you get started soon to give enough time for the flavours to really develop.

Recipe for a perfect bath

As the days start to get colder and darker, it starts to get harder to keep a bright and positive spirit. The lack of sunshine, vitamin D, and constantly cold toes start to get us down and even worse more prone to catching colds. So this weekend as a way to keep the cold and darkness out of my warm and happy heart, I prepared myself a luxurious bath. What was most special about it was that I created my very own piece of heaven out of a few very simple things.

I ran myself an extra warm bath and added my favourite bubble bath, Cinnamon cakes bath crème, by Waitrose Essentials. I was a bit sceptical, but I fell in love with it after my first bath using it. The cinnamon scent is warming and soothing, but not too sweet, and the bubbles are a great consistency and last well. I also added about a table spoon of Sweet Almond Oil, to make the bath water extra silky and give my skin a treat. Other oils great for use in the bath are Bio Oil or Grapeseed Oil. I then strategically arranged some tea lights around the bath.

As I sank into my very own warm cloud of sweet cinnamon warmth, I forgot all about the cold and gloomy weather outside.

So here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon cakes bath crème

Sweet Almond Oil

Tea lights

A cosy dressing gown or PJs to get into

Lobster and Soufflé at Pennyhill Park Hotel

Earlier this year I joined up to a foodie member’s club called Design Restaurants; you pay an annual subscription and you get special member’s offers at lots of different restaurants nationwide. So last Friday night my sister and I decided we should start making the most of my card and went for dinner at The Brasserie at Pennyhill Park Hotel, Bagshot.

Despite our sat nav sending us to the deliveries and staff entrance, we managed to get to the hotel just on time for our table booking. We were greeted by really friendly and welcoming front of house staff that promptly showed us to our table. Once we had ordered, we were given a choice of breads to nibble on. They had lovely soft rolls of rosemary bread, which I’d highly recommend.

As a starter we had goats cheese parcels. It was all really light and deliciously fresh and crispy, which made the goats cheese that bit more luxurious.

For my main course I went for the poached lobster glazed with thermidor sabayon and butter sauteed baby spinach. I had no idea what ‘thermidor sabayon’ was, but thought you can’t go wrong with lobster. When they brought it out I was pleasantly surprised as there was not a shell in sight! The sauce smelt divine. The portion was a lot bigger than I’d expected, there was a very generous amount of spinach, so I could have done without the side of double cooked chips. The whole dish was perfect. I was able to dig into the lobster without having to worry about battling with the shell, and the sauce was perfect, full of flavour but not over powering.

We were both almost full by the time we finished our mains, but I managed to convince my sister to share a dessert. As soon as I set eyes on it on the menu I knew I had to have it, Passion Fruit Soufflé with coconut sorbet. Best dessert I’ve had in a while! Although the sorbet did taste a bit like sun cream, the soufflé made up for it.

The best part of the meal was when we paid…drum roll…my sister and I shared the starter and dessert, I had lobster and she had an 8oz sirloin steak as her main, we had a glass of wine each…and including the service charge it came to…just over £50. Yay!

As it was dark I didn’t take any photos of the hotel and the grounds, but they are beautiful, and definitely worth a wonder around if you’re ever there over night or during the day.

Harrods’ Disney Themed Christmas

One of my passions and things that have made me happy without fail ever since I was a little girl are Disney films, especially the classics. If you were to ask my two closest childhood friends to describe me in one word it would be ‘Princess.’ They even remember me suggesting we play Cinderella in the playground one day and I suggested I be Cinderella and they be horses. Well at least I didn’t suggest they be the ugly sisters?!

So when I was in Knightsbridge this week I HAD to go and check out the Disney Princess themed Christmas windows at Harrods. As a saw the twinkling lights I got that wave of child like excitement and almost skipped to the first window. Each Princess had had a dress designed by a different designer, from Roberto Cavalli to Elie Saab.

Here are a few snaps of my favourites. The quality of the shots isn’t that great as it was night time and I took them with my phone, but if you want a better look I’d definitely recommend popping down for a look. And if you go while they’re open I hear they have a Disney themed Santa’s grotto this year!!

Cinderella by Versace
Cinderella’s pumpkin
Pocahontas by Roberto Cavalli
Rapunzel by Jenny Packham
Sleeping Beauty by Elie Saab (my fave window)

Sleeping Beauty by Elie Saab