Sunday, July 31, 2011

The beginning of my epic quest

If you’ve been following any of my New Year’s Resolutions posts, you’d have noticed that I’ve been doing pretty well for most of them. In fact, this week I reached my 3rd resolution; Read 25 books. However, I’ve made no headway with resolutions 5 (eat more fruit and veg) and resolution 6 (Lose weight). I do make some progress in January but it all fell apart. I’m at the stage where I need to start concentrating on this.

It’s not that I don’t know what I have to do. I know it too well, eat less food and exercise more. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, I deep down do. It’s the motivation, I just can’t find the motivation to start. It just seems like such a big mountain to climb. Though I’m almost certain that once I’m in a routine and enjoying it, it’ll be half the work.

I don’t know how much I’m going to blog on it. Or what I’m even going to do this quest. All I know is that I’m going to use August to get a start and grip on all this. If you have any suggestions for me, be it how to get more fruit and veg into my diet to exercise ideas (I plan on using YouTube exercise videos, as well as other things). I’d love to hear all suggestions! Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Decluttering my room (and life)

I warned you all last year, I’m a horrible procrastinator. This time last summer I swore that I’d clean my room out. And did I? No, I bloody well didn’t. Don’t get me wrong! It was tidied and cleaned a bit throughout the year (Despite what others around me might say and think!), but I never got down to it and cleared out all the junk. Two weeks ago, I started this epic quest, to get rid of everything that’s no longer used, has any use or that I’ve grown out of. And boy is it amusing!
It turns out that not only am I a serious procrastinator but I’m also a major hoarder. These do not go hand in hand, it’s just a good thing these are in some weird balance, cause if they weren’t I’d be on an episode of Hoarders or something. We moved into this house in 2001, so it could have been a lot worse. Let’s take a look at what I’ve found in my room so far.

1. Instruction Manual for a Walkman! Bear in mind I was 9 when I got a Discman. So I haven’t owned a Walkman for 14 years. Why the hell do I have an instruction manual for this?! (On a side note, I was on a train in February and I spotted someone using a Walkman. And not in an ironic hipster kind of way. Unless this was a hipster granny. Hmmm, Hipster Granny, sounds like a comic book…).
Dead walkman
2. A bunch of Christmas cards from when I was 10 and upwards. Completely useless! Although hilarious to read as so many people could never spell my name right. Something I’ve addressed in the comments of this post by CherrySue.
Christmas 2000
3. Speaking of hilarious, I have some letters that my now 17 year old cousin sent me when she was probably 7 or 8. Bless! I’m debating scanning them up on Facebook to show her, but I’m not sure if she’d like it or not! (Hi Emma!)

4. Magazines dating back to when I was 12 or so. Yep, teeny magazines that I have no use for anymore. As well as plenty other magazines from the last 10 years that I probably don’t have any use for but keep on to just in case I want to read them again (rarely happens).
5. Beanie Babies. I haven’t counted them, but probably a billion of them (or like 30 maybe?). While I have no issue throwing away magazine and cards from my childhood, I’m not sure I can part with these. Or at least some of these. I spent ages building up my collection and some that were gifted to have very sentimental.
Beanie babies
This is just scratching the surface of what I’ve found. Old clothes that no longer fit. Books that belong to my Aunt, some read, some still unread. Stacks and stacks of blank CDs that have been filled with all sorts of music and no labels on them. College notes from last year. I’m still expecting to find some Junior Cert notes when I dig deep into my storage space! I’m sure there will be a part two of this, once I get some more cleaning done. Not sure when that will be, I have loads of, em, more important stuff to do (like write blog posts, bake and play computer games…).
Pictures from here, here, here and here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rocky Road


Last month was my friend’s birthday and I was arranging a last minute sort of get together and wanted something quick and easy to bring along. So I decided to try make some Rocky Road!

I decided to turn to one of my favourite YouTube cooking channels, Sorted Foods. I love their recipes and how much fun they seem to have while cooking. I think it really shows the enjoyment you can have when cooking. Here’s the video.

I varied my recipe slightly but that’s the beauty with rocky road, you can chop and change the ingredients to suit your taste. You can add different nuts, some dried fruit or some desiccated coconut.

Rocky Road

Adapted from Sorted Food


300g plain chocolate, chopped into pieces

120g butter

30g golden syrup

150g digestive biscuits

Handful of mini marshmallows

Handful of chopped macadamia nuts (or nuts of your choice)


1. Place a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Add chocolate, butter and golden syrup. Melt until smooth and glossy.

2. In a plastic Ziploc bag, add the digestive biscuits and bash with a rolling pin. Don’t crumble them too fine, you want some large-ish pieces.

3. Add the biscuits, marshmallows and nuts into the chocolate mix and stir to coat everything.

4. Line a square baking tin with cling film in both directions and leave some over hanging. Transfer rocky road mixture into the tin and smooth out. Cover the top with the extra cling film and place into fridge for a few hours to set.

5. Remove from tin by pulling up the cling film and cut into squares.


And here’s the spread! A lemon cake, rainbow cupcakes, scones, rocky road and sweeties. Yum!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Blondies

I’ve spoken before about recipes that seem to follow me around. Recipes that I see in books and online that keep pop up and just seem to follow me around, begging to be made. This was certainly the case for this recipe. I first saw it in Rachel Allen’s Bake. Every time I open up that book for find another recipe, I always pass this one and think ‘I must make these some day!’. And yet I always passed over it, despite really wanting to make it! Then I saw it on The Katz Miaow and when my blogiversary came around, I knew it was the perfect excuse to make these! And for those that don’t know, blondies are essentially brownies made with white chocolate.
Peanut Butter Blondies
Adapted from Rachel Allen ‘Bake’

125g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

100g butter,at room temp

150g peanut butter (recipe calls for crunchy,I used smooth)

175g soft brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1tsp vanilla essence

75g white chocolate, chopped

Handful of mini marshmallows

1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Butter the sides of a 20 x 20cm square cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
2. In a bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter together until soft and fully mixed. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence to the bowl and mix until combined.
3. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add white chocolate chips and mix to form a dough.
4. Place dough into the baking tin and smooth until level. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool in tin. This is important, to let it set.
6. Cut into squares and serve! It goes well with vanilla ice cream. I served it with butterscotch sauce.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2nd New Year’s Resolution Update!

I figured since 6 months has passed, I’d do another update on my New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s my original post and here’s the 1st update I made in April.
1. Cook 12 savoury/dinner dishes
I’ve made two more dishes to join the Asian Chicken Noodle Broth and a fish pie. Vodka pasta and turkey spinach burgers. So four out of twelve dishes made. I need to pick up the pace here!
2. Make 12 new sweet dishes
I’m doing a little bit better in the sweet department. Up to April, I had made chocolate mousse and green velvet cupcakes. Since then I’ve made Oreo Cupcakes, Rocky Road and Chocolate Marmalade Cake. So five out of twelve. Sheesh, I really need to get in the kitchen more!
3. Read 25 books
I can safely say I’ve made the most progress with this resolution. Out of 25 books, I have read 24!! Woo! I have several more on the go at the moment and I will keep going throughout the year. I’m really enjoying reading again, which is great!
4. Watch 50 films I’ve never seen before
I’ve doubled the amount I’ve seen since April. I’ve now watched 20 films. Mainly DVDs and TV films with 6 trips to the cinema, 5 DVDs rented from the library (and another one currently ordered) and 2 documentaries.
5. Eat more fruit and veg
I always forget this is a resolution, I need to cut it out and put it on the fridge
6. Lose weight and exercise more
See point 5 for details
7. Write more on the blog
I’m trying!
8. Get a job
Check! Need to start my search again!
In the last post, I mentioned how I had done a sewing course. I had finished it just as I started work, so I’ve had no time to do any more sewing, so hopefully now I’ll be able to knuckle down and finish that bag strap!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!


Well, more Happy Birthday to rare opal than to me. It’s been a year since my first post! Did it turn out how I thought it would after a year? Not really, sometimes it’s bloody hard to be motivated! But I’ve really enjoyed writing again, catching up with old friends  and making new friends through other blogs. Part of the reason I got into blogs is because I had gotten bored with magazines, so reading all types of blogs has been interesting and you constantly find new things to interest you. If you’re lucky like me and land into the right part of the blogosphere, you’ll meet some amazing people and make some real friends.

So thank you to everyone who has read my witterings, took time to comment on posts and who have supported me in general. If you really want to celebrate, go make some cupcakes (any excuse right?!).


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Current Music Loves!

Just a quick post with a few videos of songs I’m loving right now! Most are ones I’ve only discovered in the last week or so.

Let Me Go- Maverick Sabre

I heard this three times on the radio before I finally got the name of the artist! Maverick Sabre is London born but Irish raised and quite frankly I love this song. It reminds me of something Cee Lo Green might do, his voice has a lovely soulful quality. I played this to my boyfriend and he thought it was boring! My brother and sister however love it and hopefully you will too.

Bright Lights Bigger City- Cee Lo Green

Speaking of Cee Lo Green, I am still in love with this song. The beat is from Billie Jean and the violins remind me of ‘You Only Live Once’ by Nancy Sinatra. I’m a sucker for songs with violins really! This is an unlisted video that I had saved before they made it unlisted, I love all the pretty lights from New York.

She Said- CocknBullKid & Clare Maguire

CocknBullKid has apparently been on the music scene since at least 2008, when her debut single came out, but I only came across her yesterday. I’m listening to her other songs on her channel, but I just love this cover version of ‘She Said’ by Plan B. She opened for my 2010 music love Janelle Monae’s UK tour this year so I’m looking forward to getting to know more of her songs.

BE- Rhian Benson ft Jonas

Rhian Benson’s first album came out in 2003 but yet again, I only discovered her yesterday. This song was the second single from her second album and it’s got a dreamy quality to it, while at the same time being a bit quirky. It reminds of something you’d hear from Moloko’s ‘Make and Do’ album.

Moves Like Jagger- Maroon 5 ft Christina Aguilera

I’ve said it before, Adam Levine is a fine specimen of mankind. His voice is as sexy as his looks and this song shows it. I love the music too, it makes me want to dance!

What are your favourite songs at the moment? Both old and new, I’d love to hear them!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chocolate Marmalade Cake


Ok, I think I made it clear that I’m a big fan of Babaduck Babbles, I’ve posted recipes from the blog twice before (here and here). When I saw the recipe for Chocolate Slump Cake, I swear I was drooling. And I put it top of my things to make list.

There’s a bit of work with it, but trust me it’s so worth it. It comes out almost like a brownie, especially around the sides of the pan. Babaduck used a square pan, but suggests that you use round pans if you wish. I opted for the square one and if you want the fudgy brownie like edges, then I suggest you do too!

Chocolate Marmalade Cake

Adapted from Babaduck Babbles


100g Orange Marmalade(I used one with very little visible peel), 125g Caster Sugar, 150g Butter (at room temp), 150g Dark Chocolate (chopped), 4 Eggs (separated), 50g Cocoa Powder, Salt, Icing Sugar (for dusting)


1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and line the bottom and sides of baking tins.

2. Blitz marmalade in a food processor until slushy. I don’t have a processor (sob!), so I used the blender. It takes longer but gets the same results.

3. Add sugar to marmalade and blitz until sugar is incorporated. I added a tiny dash of water to loosen the mixture up a bit as it wasn’t blitzing for me.

4. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and immediately add the chocolate. Allow this to sit for 2-3 minutes before stirring to fully melt the chocolate. Add the sugar and marmalade mixture and transfer to large bowl.

5. Beat the egg yolks into the mixture, then add the cocoa powder and stir until fully mixed.

6. Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until soft peaks form (you don’t want them too stiff). Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.

7. Transfer into baking tin and mix for 30 minutes or until the centre of the cake has fully baked.

8. Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then remove carefully and peel off paper. I was impatient and the centre of mine hadn’t fully set, so when I took it out it fell apart a bit. Still tasted nice though!

9. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

This is a very very rich cake, so a little goes a long way. It’s lovely hot or cold and would go lovely with some good quality vanilla ice cream or some good old whipped cream. I’m dying to make it again, Babaduck thinks it would be lovely with lime marmalade and I have to agree with her on that! It would probably be delicious.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Misquoted Song Lyrics

I was driving with my sister the other day when Corner Shop’s song ‘Brim Full of Asha’ came on. We were listening to it when half way through my sister asked ‘Why is he singing about a Cream Full of Rashers?’. Cue me laughing hysterically. I know the song doesn’t make that much sense anyway, but the idea of a song about a cream full of rashers still cracks me up!

It got me thinking, songs are always misquoted with hilarious consequences. Sure, didn’t I think the lyrics of the Dynamite song by Taio Cruz went ‘I throw my hands up in the air sometimes/Singing Ayo, Galileo’? And there was the whole Tiny Dancer/Tony Danza mix up in Friends!

Here are some other song lyrics I sing wrong.

-‘I’ve got the baked beans’. Fix Up Look Sharp by Dizzee Rascal. It’s actually ‘I got the big beat’. I prefer to sing baked beans though.

-‘I’m loose/Everybody knows I get off the train’. On The Floor by J.Lo. Pitbull’s intro sounds like that, but he actually sings ‘off the chain’. Getting off the train just isn’t gangsta enough I suppose.

-‘I put on a show now I’m naked’. Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. Both my sister and I thought that was the line but in fact it’s ‘I put on a show now I make it’. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, wanting to see Adam Levine naked?!

-‘I got ham but I’m not a hamster’. All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers. Ok, so I don’t really mistake the original ‘I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier’ lyrics for those above, but I prefer to sing it that way (or as toast/toaster). Thanks Bill Bailey!

Do you know of any other lyric mix ups? If so, please leave a comment, I’d love to read them!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes


I love cupcakes. I think it’s been well established on here already! One of my favourite food blogs to look for ideas if Fake Ginger. I’ve been following Amanda since before I even knew what blogs really were! I just love her photography, it’s stunning. I had some Oreos to use up and decided to look at the website to see what I could make. And boy did Amanda pull through with these Cookie and Cream Cupcakes!



Cookie and Cream Cupcakes

Adapted from Fake Ginger


For the cupcakes: 24 Oreo halves (with cream filling attached), 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 8 tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature), 1 2/3 cup sugar, 3 large egg whites (at room temperature), 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup milk , 20 Oreo cookies (coarsely chopped)

For the frosting: 8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature), 6 tbsp unsalted butter (at room temperature), 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, 2 tbsp heavy cream, 6-8 crushed Oreos (optional)

For garnish: 24 Oreo cookie halves


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.Line two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo half in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, stir together with a fork and leave aside.
  2. Add the sugar and butter to a bowl and cream until light and fluffy, either user a hand mixer or an electric bowl mixer. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix in.
  3. On a low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add the milk and whisk until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula or a spoon until evenly incorporate, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat on a medium-high speed until smooth (roughly 1 minute). Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the crushed Oreos if you want even more Oreo goodness!
  7. Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Garnish with Oreo halves.




Friday, July 1, 2011

June’s Using it Up!

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I was using June as an opportunity to use up different beauty products. I’m not the only person doing this, Cornflakegirl has also been using things up! I’m like a magpie when it comes to buying new products, anything new and ‘shiny’ and I WANT it. I have a handful of products I regularly rebuy but I like trying out new things. Considering I don’t buy high end stuff (sob, I wish!), this means my habit is a relatively inexpensive one. The downside to this is what while everything does eventually get used up, I tend to get side tracked and start using new products before finishing the ones I was using. So I have tons of half used bottles and jars lying around. So I rooted through my stash, throwing anything that couldn’t be used anymore and pulling out the stuff I could use in June. Let’s see how I did!


Not too bad I think! I managed to finish off a Dove deodorant, Pearl Drops toothpaste, a face scrub, a L’Oreal Perfect Clean cleanser, Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel, Lush Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion, Trilogy Cream Cleanser, Jelly Belly Shower Gel and Lush Olive Branch Shower Gel. I also finished Schwarzkopf Liquid Silk Gloss shampoo, a small Boots Soltan Factor 25 sun cream and a lip balm. That’s 12 items!

I enjoyed doing this, I only bought new deodorant, shampoo and conditioner (the conditioner has gone AWOL, I think it’s been robbed from me!). I think I’ll do this again for July, I still have loads of bits and bobs lying around to finish up.

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