Friday, 25 December 2009

IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!

I hope you all have a lovely day, whether you're a true believer...



(courtesy of the niece.)

...or a bah, humbug type.
(this = a genuine gift)



I hope you got all your Christmas cards sent out on time...

...and got lots back in return.

I hope your day is filled with yummy baked goods...

...beautiful presents...

...and if you're not totally annoyed with it by now, snow.

Merry Christmas!
(as I can't send one to everyone, this - the card I sent out this year - is the next best thing)
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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Let the festivities begin...



It was our Christmas party at work on Thursday and I seized the opportunity to bake some of my tried and tested recipes. I always find with baking that I improve the more that I do it, and this time was no exception. First up were my patented
Best Ever Brownies which came out the best ever. I've tweaked the recipe slightly and edited the original post. You MUST try. They were incredible. Moist, slightly gooey, and I still have some left. Woo.

Next, classic Snickerdoodles. I followed the recipe exactly from here. Awesome. Perfect consistency, and for once, I didn't dump too much dough onto the baking tray, so they spread just the right amount and came out a nice, manageable size. I managed to wrestle two away to take home, but they went FAST. They're so fast to make, I think they'll be coming out for Christmas Day.

Finally, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, which are the easiest thing EVER to make. You don't even need to cook them! And they taste like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but with NICE, English chocolate. Woo. Honestly, so easy, and they were by far my most popular cake. I had to send the recipe around in an email before I went. Recipe below...
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Recipe from
here.
  • 250 grams butter, softened
  • 250 grams crunchy peanut butter
  • 400 grams icing sugar
  • 18 digestive biscuits
  • 2 bags chocolate buttons (or as much as you need to cover your pan)
1. Line and grease a 9×13 inch pan with aluminum foil. In a food processor, grind up your graham crackers (unless you have store-bought crumbs).

2. Add the butter, peanut butter, and sugar to your crumbs and process until a ball forms (you can also beat everything together in your mixer if your processor/blender/whatever can’t do it).

3. Press the mixture into the pan. I found that using my hands worked best.

4. Over a double-boiler, or carefully in the microwave or in a small sauce pan over the stove, melt the chocolate chips, stirring often to prevent burning. Spread the melted chocolate over peanut butter mixture.

5. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour. Allow to come to room temperature before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator, or better yet, the freezer! Makes 20-24 bars.


We also had to dress up for the festivities, and after much agonising about what to go as, I remembered that I had the perfect dress, already in my wardrobe. Add some cheapo Primark tights (although I needed 2 pairs to get the colour dense enough) and a Santa hat, and I was good to go. Plus, an excuse to finally wear the white t-bars that I've been pondering about ever since I got them.


Yep, I know, it's a picture of me! I'm debating more face action on this blog in the future, what do you think? Or do you like the anonymity?
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Thursday, 17 December 2009

The first frost... and then some.



This post was going to be all about how it finally feels like winter. I came out of my house yesterday and was greeted with the first real frost of the season, and promptly ran back inside and grabbed my camera. Pretty!


That sentiment is a little redundant now though, because I'm currently sitting, snug as a bug in my room, while snow falls outside. Real, proper SNOW. In DECEMBER. We really might have a white Christmas! And even though it will only take about 24 hours for everyone to be annoyed by our country's ridiculously low capacity to deal with even the slightest amount of the white stuff, and all public transport goes down while we run out of grit for the roads, for now, let's get excited about the PRETTY.

Woo for random flash effects!

It's even coating my windows!

AHHHHH SNOW.
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Monday, 14 December 2009

In the bleak mid-winter...



December is always the busiest time for me. I'm social, it's a thing.

Anyway, I'm conscious I've been neglectful of late, and it's been bloody ages since I posted any photos here, so I thought I'd post the evidence of a little wander I took the other day.

Have I ever mentioned that I love mushrooms? I do!




I am not a fan of cold weather, but I do love how winter looks. Even bleak, bare trees can look beautiful.
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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

All up in my ears.

After a good few months of listening to the same stuff (I do still love you, Little Boots - and you are totally not fat, by the way, you are cute and tiny and awesome - but there’s only so many times I can listen to Remedy before our relationship suffers), I’ve finally updated the playlist on my iPod with some new stuff! And some old stuff, too. Here’s a list of the current highlights...Nine Black Alps – Everything Is
This album was out a good few years ago now – I remember Cosmopolitan being one of my anthems when I was in my early 20s. I randomly included it the other day and was reminded what an album of TUNES it is. Yes, I said tunes, but at least I didn’t say choons. And it reminds me of when I was 23/24 and went dancing ALL THE TIME. Sigh.



She & Him – Volume One
I’ve made no disguise of my love for Zooey Deschanel (she’s pretty, deadpan, wears lovely clothes and has great hair) and finally downloaded her band’s album the other day. It’s very different from anything else I’m listening to, but really lovely. Zooey has the prettiest voice, and it’s the perfect album to put on at work to see me through a hardcore spreadsheet session.

Alexandra Burke – Overcome
I loved Alex on X Factor, and was totally championing her to win. Plus, when she sang with Beyonce? I cried. And when she won, and literally couldn’t stand? I cried. I love X Factor (although everyone is rubbish this year! What’s up with that? JEDWARD TO WIN. NO THEY'RE NOT GONE.). Anyway, I borrowed the album from a friend and was actually surprised to find that I really like it. Way more than Cheryl Cole’s album (featuring Will.I.Am and Auto Tune!). Yes, some of the songs are cheesy ballads and not all that, but there are some genuinely great tracks. Bury Me does not sound like something a talent show contestant would come out with (it really reminds me of VV Brown, actually) and god, I really want to go dancing to Broken Heels and Bad Boys.

Placebo – Battle for the Sun
When I was battling through my English degree, the only thing that got me through Essay Hell was all three Placebo albums on shuffle. I can’t study to silence, but only certain music will help me concentrate (when revising for my marketing exams, it was all Snow Patrol, Arcade Fire, Elbow... and Placebo, of course). Something about Placebo worked for me. The unfortunate side effect is that I can’t really listen to their older stuff now without getting really depressed – it just evokes that 3am feeling of panic that you’re never going to get your dissertation finished. Their new album seems more up-tempo, with some fantastic tracks. Love it.

Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
After a cracking – if massively overhyped – first album (seriously, I remember seeing them at the height of Arctic Fever in Brixton on the NME Awards Tour, and being terrified. Good, but not THAT good.), my initial fondness for the Arctics waned. Everything since their debut just wasn’t all that memorable. But their latest album is genuinely great. One of the things that I think you can always say about Alex Turner is that he doesn’t rest on his laurels, and Humbug is a really good example of how he’s moved on as a musician. It’s more grown-up, retaining his great lyrics but with some lovely melodies and some real standouts. Cornerstone is my favourite, which I think is going to be the next single.

Glee – OST (1)
OH MY GOD I LOVE GLEE. I’ve been able to watch s1 so far online and, man, I’m in love.

Go on, now your turn. What's getting your ears in a happy state?
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