Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Snapshots from Sunday

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Friday, 26 October 2012

Apple Cake

apple cake baking blog uk lifestyle vivatramp recipe

The nights are drawing in, it's absolutely freezing and all you want is a long soak in the bath, your bed and something comforting to snack on. With this in mind, Claire and I decided to spend our day off baking an autumnal treat, and we are pretty glad we did! This 'recipe' is extremely simple, quick, cheap and fun to do so there are no excuses. With its gooey inside and crisp top, you'll be unable to resist its charms for long. If you'd like to see more of our baking adventures, let me know in the comments below. 

Apple Cake - Adapted from a recipe by the marvellous Mary Berry

. 225g self-raising flour
. 1 tsp baking powder
. 225g caster sugar
. 2 large eggs
. 150g butter, melted
. 250g cooking apples, peeled and cored (We used ones freshly picked from an orchard - swish - but you can use whatever). We used two but you could easily use more for a chunkier filling. 


. 25g flaked almonds
 tsp almond extract
icing sugar (for dusting)

1. Get ready: get your ingredients out, slice your apples, preheat your oven (160c/fan 140c/gas 3) and lightly grease your cake tin - It's probably best to go for a deeper tin as we found ours to be a bit too shallow!
2. Measure your flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs and melted butter into a bowl. Mix well, then beat for a minute! If your mixture is looking a little too heavy, add a spot of milk! 
3. Grab your greased tin and pour half of your cake mixture into it. Spread it accordingly before layering your apple slices on top. Don't be afraid, pile them all on!   
4. Spoon your remaining mixture on top of your apples. 
5. Bake for around 1½  hours until it is golden and your knife/skewer is coming out clear.
6. Serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar and a naughty dollop of clotted/ice cream. 

It's as simple as that! This recipe also gets the Luke seal of approval so it must be pretty yummy! The only thing I would say is to make sure you have a relatively deep tin, ours was quite shallow so we ended up with a bit of a soggy bottom; Mary would not approve! What have you been baking recently? What baked goods would you like to see next time? I'm off to clear as much of my to do list as is physically possible. Wish me luck!  ♥ 


Sunday, 7 October 2012

A Day Off Beside the Sea, Plymouth

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Friday, 5 October 2012

The Most Important Meal of the Day....Apparently!

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- 'Absolute Nut' bars and 'Super Berry Country Crisp' courtesy of Jordan's

Ever since I was a platinum blonde young whippersnapper, it was nailed into me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. The thing that intrigues me about breakfast is the whole performance side of it; the freshly laid table, the sleepy faces and the tea stained broadsheets masking said faces. My grandparents were all ones for investing great time and care into our shared breakfasts at the table. Mama's parents would lay on bacon sandwiches and unsugared Cornflakes followed by a few rounds of home made jam smothered toast, whilst Dad's parents would serve muesli followed by loaves of toast with bramble and apple jellies. Both breakfast times would be accompanied by varied conversation, from my Grandad's hilariously inappropriate morning singsongs, which I won't repeat here, to the forced recitals of our nine times table. I'm extremely lucky that I have such fond memories to look back on.

However, over the past few years, I've let breakfast fall by the wayside. I've always got other things to do, or I wake up too late or I just don't want a bowl of soggy cereal shoved down my gullet just after I've managed to deal with the trauma of waking up. Furthermore, lets not forget that cereal always tastes better late at night. 'Proper' breakfast is now resigned to birthdays and Christmas: mine is a smoked salmon with scrambled egg, fyi. 

Lately, things have changed around here. Luke and I have swapped our occasional milk soaked Weetabix for Jordan's 'Super Berry Country Crisp', a flavoursome bowl of sweetness that could convince any non-breakfast eater. Granola is always a winner in my eyes and the berries add a refreshing sourness to the bowl. I've been swapping milk for greek yoghurt and it's absolutely delicious! They also very kindly sent us someone of their 'Absolute Nut' bars. Unfortunately, I'm not really meant to eat nuts but Luke willingly took on the challenge of finishing off the pack. His opinion? 'They live up to their name; they're extremely nutty! Therefore, the bars weren't entirely to my taste; but not bad for a little lift if you're in a rush come breakfast time or if you need a little help throughout the day'. I have to say, I really liked the packaging and the branding, in general, eye catching yet appropriate. 

I've decided that I'm definitely going to make more of an effort where breakfast is concerned, in the hope that we will create breakfast memories of our own. Thanks Jordans! Where do you stand when it comes to breakfast: the most important meal of the day or a little bit meh? Leave me some breakfast inspiration in the comments, I need all the help I can get! I'm off to sit down and write this week's creative piece. Have a good weekend! 

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

50 Things To Do This Autumn/Fall

things to do in autumn blog list uk
- photograph by yours truly

My life is one big assignment at the moment. My second year of university has been pretty good so far but it has also been eating up my blog posting time, along with my sleep time. Thankfully, I've just got an hour of university left this week so I'll be embracing the free time whilst I have it! I'm currently cosied on my bed, watching the rain fall on all the poor souls outside, so I thought it'd be the right time to share my latest list with you all. Today I'm sharing my 50 things to do this autumn/fall period. 

Autumn, for me, is all about attempting to go into hibernation, treating myself to lots of comfort food and embracing time with my loved ones. It's also about abusing our Lovefilm subscription, moaning about university deadlines and braving the buckets of rain! Despite being a summer baby, I have quite an affinity for Autumn, it perfectly illustrates my character: cosy, laidback and a little bit pissy. Luke and I are heading back home next weekend for his 21st birthday and for plenty of cuddles with little Woody bear; it feels so strange to think that Luke will be 21 when I can still remember celebrating his 18th! Life really does fly by! Anyway, enough of my sentimental rambling - here's my list of things to do this autumn. Enjoy!

 Duvet, hot chocolate/tea/coffee/milk, Dexter seasons 1-6
♥ Paint your nails a deep berry tone
♥ Head out for bonfire night: breathe in the bonfire smoke, coo at the fireworks and eat take out food
 Alternatively: hold your own firework show, wrap up warm and serve jacket potatoes from the oven
♥ Bake 
♥ Treat yourself to the ultimate bubble bath 
♥ Take lots of walks in the leaf blanketed woodlands 
 Prepare yourself for the possible outbreak of snow - check your hat, scarf and mitten collection
♥ Make your own fresh face mask  
♥ Go fruit picking amongst the brambles and apple trees
♥ Experiment with different types of tea
 Survey your/the local horse chestnut trees for conkers
 Send out 5 penpal letters noting your plans this autumn
 Go to the theatre and book the good seats, for a change
 Wear your 'big' pants 
♥ Watch a classic film/read a classic book that you've not seen/read before 
 Learn how to make the ultimate roast dinner - keep perfecting it weekly!
 Embrace the produce that Autumn has to offer. Overload on root veggies and fruits.
 Throw out all your holey tights and invest in new ones - heavy derniers very welcome!
 Purchase some good reads and enjoy them by the fire/radiator/under the duvet
 Knit something for someone else. Note to self: learn to knit!
 Learn to knit or crochet!
♥ Make some preserves - these could be little favours for friends
 Make a big batch of soup - pour yourself a big bowl and freeze the rest
♥ Write

 Start an autumnal playlist. Here's one song to start it off: Home

 Feast! Make comforting food, invite friends over and watch it disappear 
 Carve a pumpkin
 Dedicate a couple of autumnal Sundays to country pubs, yorkshire puddings and dog walking
 Surprise someone with a morning coffee and breakfast in bed 
 Get re-aquainted with your blanket and fleecey PJ bottoms
 Watch 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and sing along, loudly
 Find your perfect backpack 
 Brew something - a mulled wine, warming cider or a coffee with a twist
 Get comfy but don't stagnate. Do something that is out of your comfort zone!
 Prepare an autumnal care package for your cupboard - it must include flu-fighting remedies, the perfect autumnal lipstick and a letter writing set, for those days where you really don't want to leave the house!
 Live in your slippers/slipper boots
 Keep the sweet jar stocked, in case of emergencies/autumn weepies
 Purchase a couple of disposable cameras and document the arrival of autumn
 Dust off your slow cooker/crock pot and fill it with stew-y goodness
 Tend to your veggie patch. Not got one? Start considering one now!
 Lie down and do nothing 
 Brave an early morning car boot sale
 If it's not raining, head to the library, pick a topic you've not researched before and READ!
 Erect (heh) an indoor tent/cosy fort in your living room
 Have a fire on the beach (if it is safe to do so, obvs) and don't forget the marshmallows!
 Making homemade gifts for the festive season? Start them now!
 Do something cultured - visit your local galleries, museums...aquariums!
 Blog photographs of your hometown as it adopts a few autumnal changes 

I hope this has given you lots of inspiration for things to do this autumn. I'm definitely going to be perusing this list when I have a spare moment from university work/sleeping. What things are you looking forward to getting up to this autumn? What list would you like to see next? I'm off to cook tonight's roast chicken with all the trimmings. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to shoving it down my gullet! Classy bird, as ever. Bye!  

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