Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Quick Easy Biscotti Recipe

I have the sweetest mother-in-law. Since I can remember she's always baked biscotti. She loves to feed them to me and to be honest I could quite frankly eat them all day long. Imagine Homer Simpson and his drooling face - that's me. She always sends me away with a goodie bag of them! Bless her.

If you don't know what biscotti are, they are a kind of 'biscuit' which can also be known as cantuccini, that originate from Italy. Biscotti are usually twice baked making them quite a hard biscuit. I personally don't always bake them twice usually, because I'm too impatient and want them NOW! You can make biscotti how ever you like, just keep the main ingredients the same - I'll highlight the main ones with a *.

I like to double up my recipe to make a shed load of biscuits and if you make too many you can actually freeze them. Winner. Right, let's crack on. Before you get started turn on your oven to gas mark 3 or 180℃ fan.

First, all you need to throw into a large bowl are the dry ingredients which are;
225g/8 oz - Plain flour*
150g/5 oz - Caster sugar*
1/2 teaspoon - Baking powder*
Pinch of Salt*

Once these are combined and mixed together, pop in...
75g/3 oz - Nuts of your choice (pecans, pistachio and almonds work well)
50g/2 oz - Candied peel (I do a mixture of candied peel and glacé cherries)

Now you need to add the wet ingredients. Just make a well in the middle of the mixture.
3 medium eggs* (2 whole eggs and one yolk)
1 teaspoon - Vanilla extract

Mix everything together with a wooden spoon. When you're happy pop the dough on to a oven tray covered in grease proof paper - shape it like a log. Make sure they are reasonably big trays, as the mixture will spread once it heats up.

Set your timer for 45 minutes and go and make yourself busy until the buzzer goes off. When the buzzer on the oven does ring, bring out the tray and check the biscotti are a golden brown. Leaving it on the tray, take a big sharp knife and cut them into slices. Lay them out on the tray and you can then if you wish after cutting them up - put them back in to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to twice bake them. This will harden the inside of biscuit. You can leave them to cool on the oven tray or pop them on a wire cooling rack.

Like I said above, you can switch up ingredients in the recipe. You can add extras like fennel seeds, orange or lemon zest/juice, you can dribble dark chocolate on them or half dip them in it too. If you don't want to use caster sugar, coconut is a excellent substitute.

I will say at the time I was baking these I did plan to pop pecans in the mixture however, but it turns out they were mouldy. Rather than poison myself I decided to go without and add extra candied peel instead. Problem solved. Et voilĂ .

Now, if biscotti doesn't sound like something you'd be into, (cannot see why) then why not try these short bread biscuits or banana oat cookies which I have made previously.


Angela x

Monday, 19 March 2018

'The Sticker Site' Stickers

I know this is rather late considering Christmas has long gone or we could technically say I'm getting in there early *wink wink*, but I thought I'd give a shout out to a company I came across and you might just love all year round.  

The Sticker Site appeared on my personal Facebook one day as something I might like and Facebook was spot on. They are a site where you can get personalised stickers created. It doesn't have to just be Christmas, they have different themes like birthday, baby shower and reward stickers for example. You can chose from a different array of pictures and colours and also personalise with any text you wish - space dependant obviously.

I purchased Christmas stickers for Grace - I didn't go mad sticking them to all her gifts as she was so young, but I thought they were a nice touch for her first ever Christmas. I was sent an A4 sheet of paper with 24 individual stickers in a mat finish. They cost just under £3 and arrived in only a few days after I bought them and that was during the festive time. The sender sends them in a hard back envelope so there are no worries of them being wreaked in transit.

Obviously, I know this is a random post for March, but if you're in the market for stickers then The Sticker Site might be just up your street. Enjoy!

Angela x


Friday, 16 March 2018

My Recent Poundland Haul

Poundland is a really great place to pop into for a bargain. I'm in there most weeks as my local store is close by to where Grace and I attend some baby classes. Last night I popped in there to grab a few bits and I thought I'd share. I said to myself a £10 budget which I kept to - I just didn't include the two packs of mini eggs I bought in the picture hehe.

If you have a little one I certainly recommend popping in and picking up some books. For the price you might think the would be cheap looking but there are some really good quality ones in there. Graces loves Peppa Pig, so obviously we had to get two of those story books. I also noticed Rory's Story which talks about Rory the Tiger getting a sister. I thought this was a good story to read to Grace if we're blessed with baby number two. 

We're currently in the baby weaning stage and even though we're making most meals from scratch I still like to have a jar or pouch in the house as a back up. My Poundland do not have a huge range of foods for babies, but they have a few jars and opted to get Heinz Creamy Oat Porridge.

If you're into crafts and especially crafts for the kids and don't want to spend lots, then Poundland is the place for you. I got a pack of 16 jumbo wax crayons so we could start colouring - I'm not expecting much colouring but its something to do. I also bought some plastic Easter egg containers. I was thinking of using them for a Easter DIY project - watch this space!!

Now it would not be right if I popped into Poundland and didn't pick up two bits for myself or the house should I say. Firstly the anti-bacterial wipes for the floor - a life saver to keep my living room floor looking clean and polished. I cover up the floor whilst Grace is eating - not like she's eating that much however we still manage to get something on the floor. Doh. Also she is now on the move, so it's great that these wipes are anti-bacterial and kills germs on the floor that might get walked in on shoes.

Lastly the one thing for me (apart from the mini eggs) ... this cute mason jar cup/mug. I picked this up as I was inspired by Emily Norris' use of her one from her recent Poundland haul video. She uses hers for pens and makeup brushes. I'm going to pop some flowers in to mine as I think it will look rather sweet on my mantel place in the living room.

I can always buy more in Poundland and I had to hold myself back or I would of gone a little cray cray! Do you have any favourites bits and bobs you like to get from your local store? Inspire me for my next trip :-)

Angela x


Monday, 5 March 2018

Gifts Ideas For A Newborn Baby

Last week my brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to long awaited IVF twins, a boy and a girl. This weekend we popped to shops to get them a few presents as a welcome to the world. As we'd recently had a little bundle of joy ourselves, we are a little clued up in what to buy a newborn. These are a few things I recommend to buy new parents for their little ones.

Outfits | Clothes are the easiest things to buy and to be honest sometimes it is quite overwhelming having a new baby and everyone is giving you new clothes to tackle and wash. It makes me sound ungrateful, but honestly it can be a bit much for a new parent. If you are planning to buy clothes, don't always buy newborn clothes - vest and baby grows are always useful. Lots of people will purchase new baby sizes, so keeping this in mind I would opt for an slightly older age of clothes for example 0-3 and 3-6 months. Just keep an eye on the times of years you are buying for.

Something Personalised | There are lots of websites that create personalised gifts, my favourites are My First Years, UnCommongoods and Not On The High Street. The list of things you can personalise is endless such as a keep sake box with the little ones birth details on. A hooded towel or dressing gown with the bubbas name on. I'd definitely check out the above links if you wish to go down the personalised route.

Toys | Grace has a small selection of toys that she really loves and I took this as a pointer to what to buy the babies. Amongst her favourites are her O'ball, a lion teether and her linkie rings. I'd try to steer clear of cuddle toys unless its something perhaps personalised, however Grace does have a soft spot for a small JellyCat rabbit which she's had since she was a newborn. Other popular gifts you could buy are Sophie the Giraffe teether, Ewan The Dream Sheep white noise maker and That's Not My... books.

A Keepsake | We were bought a lovely soft satin edged cellular blanket from the White Company. I love it so much I think I will end up using it with baby number two. We used it when we brought Grace home from hospital and it's something I would never part with. A newborn photoshoot is something else we were gifted. These can be very expensive and it is a very generous gift. Those little humans are only so little for a short space of time and I love the fact we have so beautiful shots of our little lady when she was so young. Other things you could get are a nice photo frame which is a nice touch - we have some pretty ones from Vera Wang. You could also buy something like a customised family portraita cast of baby's hand or foot gift or a do-it-yourself clay impression kit.

Something Different | Muslin's are always handy for moping up spills, but I really love large muslin's as you can also use them for breastfeeding cover, blankets and to swaddle your little one. I have some from MuslinZ that are made from a mix of bamboo and cotton making them nice and soft, but I have also heard all good things about the Aden and Anais ones too. You could put together a baby toiletries basket with shampoo, bubble bath, moisturiser, sudocream, wet wipes or cotton balls even - the new parents are always going to need those... trust me.

Gift Vouchers/Cards | Vouchers or gift cards might seem boring, but they are useful as you can buy what you want and when you want. You can get gift cards where you can it across a few different stores which is really handy.

I hope this post gives you some ideas of what you could gift to new parents and their little ones.

Angela x

Friday, 2 March 2018

What's Inside My Birchbox

Happy March everyone. I do hope we're enjoying the snow and the freezing cold winds that have come with it!

The other week my first Birchbox arrived. For a while I'd been thinking about signing up - a little treat to land on my door mat every month ... something to look forward to. I'd been a member of Glossybox and Birchbox years ago when beauty boxes first became a thing. I then stopped them, as I'd felt like I'd accumulated a few too many products and was literally drowning in them. This time I signed myself up for a six month subscription which cost nearly £75 including postage. I can cancel the subscription at anytime if I'm not happy with the services.

Well enough of that... fast forward to now and Februarys box. Every month there is a theme with each box and this months theme was beauty through the decades. You could select a 70s, 80s or 90s box. Being a cool 80s baby, I opted for the 80s box. I think they got the design spot on! Thumbs up Birchbox. Anyhow let's crack on with what is inside this month.

Cowshed - Cow Pat Moisturising Hand Cream | I'm not the biggest fan of hand creams and kind of feel like I was the only Birchbox subscriber to receive this. However with all this cold weather my hands have become a little rough. I do love the grapefruit and bitter orange scent, as they are quite strong and they linger on your hands afterwards.

Lord and Berry - Concealer Stick | I do like to try brands I would never pickup myself and I've heard so much about Lord and Berry's makeup. I'm not a fan of the pencil as you obviously have to sharpen it when it gets low. I'd much rather it be a twist up pencil applicator. I was sent the colour beige which happens to be a little dark for my current skin tone, however in summer it might be perfect!

The Beauty Crop - Eyeshadow Trio | These are totally my colours and it was nice to get a full size eyeshadow palette in my box. However if I want to go for a bronzed goodness look, I'm more likely to dig out my original Naked palette by Urban Decay. This is the perfect travel size palette if you just literally want one eye look. Sadly when I gave these a swatch I found the shadows to be dusty and not very pigmented which is a shame.

Luseta - Coconut Milk Hair Mask | This smells divine - I do love a good old coconut product. The sample size I was given was 30ml and I used it tonight on my hair. I have quite thick hair so I ended up using the whole tube. It would of been nice to get a little more than one use out of it. When I sniff my hair I do get a slight hint of coconut and it is quite soft. I especially enjoy the fact this is a cruelty free item. I wish Birchbox would do a whole month of cruelty free options... hint hint wink wink.

Percy and Reed - Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish | What a mouthful of a name! Forget the name length though, this is a finishing product which captures any fly aways hairs with a gentle hold. I've tried this once so far after I had styled my unruly hair with my straighteners. It's a thick cream and you don't need much and you're not left with a crispy hair look you can get with some products.

That's it for the box. I think my only disappointment with my first box is the fact received two hair products. It would of been nice to have something else like a body product or skincare item perhaps. Birchbox usually have offers on when you first sign up for a box, so keep an eye out for coupons and offers. I received a free full sized sample of Smith and Cult lipgloss as part of my offer which I love and wouldn't of ever picked out and bought myself. #Winning!

Have you ever been interested in signing up for a subscription box service?

Angela x


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