Thursday, 27 February 2014

Saw, Adored: Four Ingredient Nutella Brownies

I am a BIG Nutella fan. Give me a spoon and I will eat the pot. It's happened before... When I saw this super simple recipe posted on A Cup of Jo it seemed that all of my evening chocolate and cake related cravings could be easily solved, as long as I kept a ready supply of: Nutella (obviously), walnuts, flour and eggs. Well, I think I can manage that for these tasty little-uns!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A Snapshot of January

  • New Year's Day listening to the rain and making plans for 2014
  • Starting our Q&A A Day three year journal book
  • Planning and enjoying a birthday surprise for M: Dinner at London Carriage Works, watching Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl accompanied by the full Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (absolutely amazing!). Followed by ....
  • Cocktails for two in Liverpool's city centre and...
  • 3am visit to an old pizza haunt before crashing to sleep at Hope Street Hotel.
  • Travelling for more birthday celebrations with M's family
  • Wrapping up for a birthday walk around Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Discovering Sherlock, and then realising that there are only THREE episodes per season
  • Eating a fancy four course home cooked meal and generally agreeing to make more effort to cook for each other
  • Cosying on the couch and watching films
  • Saying goodbye to Christmas 2013
  • A mammoth clearing and cleaning session downstairs and finally moving Christmas boxes from landing to loft on 11th January
  • Walking around Albert Dock with a steamed milk with caramel, learning more about Liverpool's history at the Museum of Liverpool and going for dinner at Gusto at the Albert Dock
  • Ordering and starting to use my yoga DVD
  • Going through 2013's holiday snaps
  • Making 2014's holiday plans
  • Receiving our first supermarket home delivery (somewhat of an anti-climax with short sell by dates and mouldy red onions!)
  • Dinner together with friends
  • Booking a March weekend break to Centre Parcs with my sister in law and her husband
  • An Indian Head massage 
  • Heading out for just dessert (something I've always wanted to do!) at Las Iguanas in Liverpool One 
  • New TV addiction: The Following
  • A Scrabble and cake date at one of our favourite spots, The Moon and Pea on Lark Lane
  • Hen do planning 
  • After work hot chocolate catch ups
  • A new MAC lipstick 
  • Afternoon Tea with a rum punch twist at The Sapphire Lounge with my lovely mum
  • Taking part in Florence Finds' #JanuaryJoy

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Another Joyful January #JanuaryJoy

One thing that has made this January less joyful is our lack of internet connection at home. We've been on the phone to Sky more than I'd like this month and the issue is still not resolved. It's made working from home impossible and I've not easily been able to post here. So, while there appears to be at least some internet connection, I thought I'd share how I got on with the rest of the #JanuaryJoy prompts. 
#JanuaryJoy prompt 13: Go and see a film 
This month, we went to see two very different films: 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle. We also watched quite a few films at home. A pleasant surprise was Barney's Version - it had sat on our DVD shelf for months before we finally decided to watch it - just lovely!
14: Celebrate your family 
Family has always been one of the most important things to me and spending time with them is a priority. We are a family of four– me, Matiss and the two kittens, Lottie and Bruce! I look forward to when Matiss and I have children, if we are able to. I am also lucky to live less than fifteen minutes drive from my Mum and brother. The three of us have gone through a fair deal together and it’s made us very close. I'm very thankful for that.

15: Make a fitness target 
My goal for this year is to become more bendy, through yoga, and develop more upper body strength in the hope that, together, this will help to ease these persistent tension headaches.
Image via Pinterest
16: Try a new trend
I opted for a TV trend here – we decided to try The Following starring Kevin Bacon, which had been recommended to us by so many people. I can absolutely see why. GRIPPED.

17: Make some bread
I’ve not got round to this yet but I've earmarked a recipe and I am planning to make ciabatta for the first time this week to go with this Nigel Slater dish – roasted lamb fillets on ciabatta with olives.
Nigel Slater's roast lamb with olives and ciabatta

20: Plan to re-vamp your garden 
We have a small yard-en. I'm very fond of it but as there are usually so few opportunities to sit in glorious sunshine, it’s neglected except for the two/three months of British Summer. A couple of Summers back, we chipped all of the plaster off the walls but had to re-cover it when we realised what a mess the walls themselves were in. We didn’t feel confident getting a smooth finish so it’s ‘authentically’ bumpy. We painted it in a neutral colour and then added grey painted wooden frames for some potted climbers. We bought a beautiful  mosaic table and chair set and have lots of potted shrubs. We're trying to channel a Mediterranean feel. We can’t seem to keep the poor climbers alive, though.

21: Read something new
I'm going to start reading Caitlin Moran’s How to Be A Woman, which was recommended by a friend. I'm also looking forward to reading Ravens by George Dawes Green - a £1 bargain at a closing down sale at Waterstones!

22: Plan a trip 
We’ve planned a big trip for 2014, if we can save enough. I am already giddy with excitement at the possibility. More details soon!
Image via Pinterest
23: Plan your savings 
We’ve looked at one area where we spend unnecessarily: food shopping. We decided to start meal planning again and ordering the food shop online. We’re now two home deliveries down and it’s really stopped us from spending time and money in supermarkets at the end of each day.

24: Try making pasta
I've tried this in the past and failed miserably. This prompt was a good reminder to try (and try) again.

27: Tidy up (best to head over to Florence Finds for how to interpret this!)
I'm definitely guilty of favouring tights over razors during Winter...

28: Treat yourself 
This month I treated myself to: a pretty top from NEXT, a beautiful £2 necklace in Dorothy Perkins' sale (love a bargain!); an Indian head massage, a new book and some stationary in Waterstones' sale, several slices of carrot cake (at different times), a Dr Jart BB cream; and a spa voucher for my mum and I to enjoy in February. 
A Scrabble and cake date at The Moon and Pea, Lark Lane
29: Have a social media sort 
I really enjoyed reading the comments about social media on Florence Finds. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I'm a lurker and enjoy the quick-fix knowledge that the people I love are happy and healthy or, in the other direction, that something has happened in their life, prompting a phone call. Like others, I use the message facility a lot, but news feed negativity and smug from people who I knew ten years ago gets annoying. In response to this prompt, I tried to cut down the number of people on my 'friends' list. I cut a whopping three people. The worry about repercussions was too much! I blocked a much bigger number from my news feed though.

30: Refocus on your career 
I really like this quote. I took some time to evaluate where I am now, and where I can aim to be. 
Image via Pinterest
31: Clear out
Earlier this month we spent a weekend filling binbags and making trips to charity shops and the tip. Needless to say, the house is back in a state again now.

Did you join in with #JanuaryJoy? What was your favourite prompt? I'd love to see what other people got up to!
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