Trip to Cambridge

*Warning picture heavy post*

I finally managed to tick this one off the bucket list. It’s only taken me nearly 3 years! Me, Oscar and my mum went up to Cambridge last weekend to see my little brother Jack for his 21st birthday and to have a look around.

We started off with a tour of his college, before we took a bus into Cambridge itself.

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Hopefully we will get to go back again for Jack’s graduation in June.

Bloggers Block

Hello! I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last posted. This week has passed in a blur of nursery runs and normality.

I’ve also got a bit of bloggers block at the moment. Normal life doesn’t involve anything worth blogging about really so then I’m at a loss about what to post. I’ve got make up and perfume coming out of my ears (not literally) but there’s so many beauty blogs out there and it’s not my passion. Most days I don’t even wear it unless I’m going into town. Same with fashion, most days I’m in leggings and a jumper and its a special occasion if I’m not! I’m not one of those mummy bloggers with hints and tips, this is my train of thought most days.

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What would you like to see on this little blog of mine?

Coconut and Lime Slice

After my meringue fail I was determined to crack it this time. My best friend sent me this recipe and as soon as I saw it, I knew I would have to try and make it. Lime, coconut, meringue, raspberries and cream, and seeing as one of the icing sugars i was sent was Coconut and Lime, it was fate I tell you!

The recipe uses 5 egg whites and this time I made sure to whisk them for longer before adding the sugars. I used half caster and half coconut and lime icing sugar. Once all the sugars were added I folded in the dessicated coconut and then spread the meringue out in 3 rectangles
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Once baked I left them to cool while I made some more meringues. I actually then wrapped the cold rectangles in tin foil and stored them in an airtight container for a few days till I had time to do the filling and assemble it.

The original recipe calls for freshly whipped cream flavoured with lime juice between the meringue layers, however I decided not to use lime juice as the icing sugar contained lime. I actually decided to use the mochalicious icing sugar as it would be a nice contrast to the sweetness of the meringue. I also used strawberries instead of raspberries as thats all the local shop had.
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I was so happy with the way this recipe turned out, it was definitely one of my most ambitious bakes and Oscar likes it so it was definitely a winner. I’m really loving these flavoured icing sugars, they’re such an easy way to add flavour to things like whipped cream, meringue etc.

What would you make with coconut and lime icing sugar?

Co Lab dry shampoo review

I go through phases of liking dry shampoo. I’m very lazy with my hair and I can get away with only washing it once a week which is good as it’s up there with other things I hate doing, but have to be done, like smear tests.

Anyway dry shampoo can be a saviour for me when my hair starts looking like it needs a wash, but I just haven’t got the 20 minutes needed (at least) just to wash it, nevermind all the faff of drying it after. However, my hair is dark brown so dry shampoo makes my roots look a bit dull and a greyish tinge, no matter how many times I try and brush it out. I have enough grey hairs to be dealing with never mind my dry shampoo trying to get in on the act. And yes I know batiste do a dry shampoo for dark brown hair. I have it and I’d love it, if the ends of my hair werent bleached so that when I do wash my hair the colour from the dry shampoo mixes with whatever colour I have on the end of my hair.

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I saw this dry shampoo in Superdrug claiming to be invisible so I thought I’d give it a go and test its claims on my dark brown hair. Now I apologise for the following photos but I needed to take the pictures then as I was washing my hair in the morning.

So before I used the dry shampoo…..

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And after….

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Well to be honest, its a dry shampoo, you cant really go wrong with it. It does what it says on the can and it smells nice. I don’t think it gave me as much volume as batiste does but it also didn’t leave as much talcy residue as batiste does. I wouldn’t say its completely invisible though, maybe if I had lighter hair then maybe it would be.

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I’m not completely won over by this and it was probably something they released because Ruth is part of Team Gleam and everyone else is releasing something. As a dry shampoo it’s great and it’s good that it doesn’t leave as much residue behind as batiste does, which is why they probably claim it to be invisible, but I find that batiste works better on my hair, probably because of the extra residue! And I think Batiste is cheaper, this was £3.49 for the big can in Superdrug. If your hair is lighter and you dont need lots of volume then this might just work for you.

Mochalicious Meringue

I love baking, but I don’t often try new recipes in case they go wrong and I end up wasting the ingredients, so i stick to tried and tested recipes.

One thing I have hardly ever made is meringue and earlier this month I was lucky enough to be sent some naturally flavoured icing sugars from the lovely people over at Sugar and Crumbs. Now I didn’t know you could get flavoured icing sugar, I thought it just came in sugar flavour and you used flavouring to add, well, flavour. I was sent 3 different flavours, Mochalicous, Cherry Bakewell and Coconut and Lime.
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First up I love the packaging, rather than coming in a bag like the normal icing sugar I use, these come in pouches which, not only are they resealable so you dont lose any flavour, but they’re Pink! You can never have enough pink things in the kitchen as far as I’m concerned. I was intrigued as to how I would make meringue with icing sugar and would the flavour come across, so I decided that I would taste a little of each flavour. Even on the tiny bit I tasted, you could taste it, it wasn’t bland and a faint taste. No it tasted of exactly what it said it did.

Now I’m going to admit, my first attempt at using these was a disaster. Nothing to do with the icing sugars at all, purely me. Because the flavour is strong, you can get away with using half caster sugar and half icing sugar and it will still taste of what ever flavour you’ve used. I used this recipe which calls for all icing sugar, but as I was unconfident of my meringue making abilities I didn’t want to waste my yummy tasting icing sugar, so I used half and half, which mightve been a mistake. Maybe I should stick to the recipe next time!

100g eggwhite, at room temperature
160g icing sugar, sifted

1.Preheat the oven to 90C
2.Place the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add 1 heaped tablespoon of the icing sugar.
3.Whisk the whites until the mixture holds “soft peaks”. You should still be able to make out bubbles in the mixture.
4.Add the remaining icing sugar. Continue whisking at high speed until the meringue is shiny and holds “firm peaks”, also called a “bird’s beak”.

Anyway, I wasn’t quite patient enough, and didn’t whisk my egg whites enough before putting the sugars in. As a result the micture looked right, it just wasn’t thickening up enough to make Mocha meringue kisses like I wanted. I didn’t want to throw the mixture because it was my last 2 eggs and I hate wasting things. So I decided to pour it into a silicone baking tray and bake it like normal meringue. And you know what, it worked. It came out looking and tasting like meringue.
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The brief I was given by Sugar and crumbs was “celebrate Valentines with meringue” Now the only special man in my life is 3, a roulade or pavlova wouldn’t be appreciated. So I broke the meringue into pieces, put it in some bowls, added some squirty cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce. Perfect for the 3 year old in your life. Oscar felt very grown up with his posh pudding as he called it.
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The mochalicious meringue tasted gorgeous, you could definitely taste the flavour even though I used half caster sugar and half icing sugar. The meringue would also go amazingly with some whipped cream flavoured with coffee or chocolate or you could even make it more “adult” by using tia maria or baileys in the cream. If it wasn’t just me here to eat it I would so be doing that! Or maybe some kind of pavlova with strawberries, nutella, cream and hazelnuts……

Later this week I’ll show you what I’ve made with the Coconut and Lime and Cherry Bakewell flavours, and they were alot more successful.

I was sent these icing sugars for the purposes of these reviews, but all thoughts and feelings are my own

And then there was 1

Ah January. The month of new starts and a return to normality after the hustle and bustle of December and Christmas.

One of my favourite things about Christmas is having the time to spend with my family, and I’m lucky that they all live so close to me. This week saw both my brothers go back to their various places, Jack has gone back to Cambridge for uni and Sam has gone back to California. So now I’m the only one out of the 3 of us near mum. I’m not sure Mum likes the peace and quiet!

Jack will be home for Easter in March and Sam will be back for a holiday over here in September. Luckily we all have Skype and Oscar’s already asking to talk to them both on there. I think he misses them more than I do!

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2015 Bring it on.

Right lets just get this out of the way. 2014 was shit. Like really fucking shit. I’m not even going to look and see whether I achieved my aims for last year. But I’m determined that this year is going to be better, so I thought I’d go through my aims and things to look forward to this year.

I suppose the biggest thing happening this year and the one that will change everything, is that in September Oscar will be starting school. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, in fact I’m completely and utterly dreading it, but it has to be done and he is more than ready to go and learn. He loves learning which I suppose is huge bonus. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my time once he’s at school, which leads me on to my next point.

☆ Try and get a job
At the moment I’m on income support so I’m exempt from having to look for work, but come March next year (2016) when Oscar turns 5, it’ll stop and I’ll have to start looking for a job. In an ideal world I can get something that fits around Oscar’s school, but in reality it probably won’t happen. I’m thinking I might try and get a Christmas temp job at the end of this year, so I’m not going onto jobseekers having not worked for 5 years, however I’m then going to have the problem of childcare in the holidays and I can’t work Boxing day, which counts anything in retail out. We shall see I suppose.

☆ Pass my bookkeeping exams.
I’m currently studying for a Level 1 qualification in bookkeeping while Oscar is at nursery, which I’m really enjoying. I have 2 exams in it, one in Feb and 1 in June and I really want to pass them. I’d like to do the Level 2 qualification but when I go onto jobseekers I get the feeling I’d have to give up the course, I’m not completely sure. The main reason I probably won’t do the Level 2 is the cost of it, this year it was £430 and there’s no funding for it, unlike the Level 1. Even if I spread it out over the length of the course, it’d be more than double I’m paying now.

☆ Travel more
Well I don’t think me and Oscar will be going on a plane this year but I do want to travel if I can afford it. My brother is in the last year of uni in Cambridge and I’ve still not been to visit him, I’m such a bad sister! So I’m determined to go and visit him before he finishes. I also might go up to Manchester again if my friend’ll have us. I want to do it before September as once Oscar’s at school I’ll be tied to school holidays, and we all now how much everything goes up in price in the holidays.

☆ Take better care of myself
I’m the wrong side of 30 these days so I probably should start taking better care of myself. I have a nasty habit of still being awake at 1am, I’ll intend to have an early night but I get sidetracked, usually by the internet and the tv. This year I want to try and change it, I feel so much better when I go to bed earlier, I just need to actually do it more often. I want to lose some weight this year, even if it’s just a few pounds, it’s better than nothing. I’ve lost nearly a stone but I’d love to lose another. However I lack the motivation, I love my food too much amd I was bought lots of chocolate for Christmas. Maybe this one might not be so successful! I also want to try and be more “groomed” this year. Makes me sound like a dog! It’s sad to say but I do feel better about myself when my top lip is waxed (cos I’m a hairy mary. The joys of being 1/2 greek and having pcos) / nails are painted etc, so this year I want to take that time for myself a bit more.

☆ See the positives
I’m naturally a negative Nancy so this year I want to try and be more positive. For years I’ve been meaning to do a happiness jar, you know the one where you write down a good thing that’s happened and then you open it on New Years Eve and see all the good things that happened. Well this year I have actually started it and it’s got a few things in there already, even if they’re just funny things that Oscar’s come out with. I also wrote a gratitude list of things I’m grateful for and put that in the jar too.

What else am I looking forward to this year? One of my best friends turns 30 in December and is having a party, getting more tattoos, I’m going to see Take That in June (yes, even after that post I wrote about the cost of the tickets), one of my other friends is having her daughter christened and I’m looking forward to getting the sewing machine out now I have a table to use it on. But most of all I’m looking forward to just spending time with Oscar, being his mum and making memories.