Pancake Tuesday is later than usual this year so I’ve kind of been using that as an excuse to stack them up. I’ve definitely overindulged — I’ve feel like I’ve had (almost) enough to last me ’til next year!
I’ve pretty much eaten nothing else today. Breakfast was mini pancakes with Nutella and strawberries; in work I treated myself to a classic crepe with lemon and sugar; and finally this evening, I had three pancakes layered with a mix of Nutella and berry jam and topped with a dollop of yogurt. Not exactly balanced but as it’s only one day a year, I think I can get away with it ;-).
What do you like to put in your pancakes?
We all need to find ways to brighten up our Monday morning and today for me, it was my purchase of the latest issue of Glamour (UK edition). I love settling down with a good glossy magazine and leafing through its pages. It’s even better when the mag comes with a little gift — or in this case, two!
This month, Glamour readers can choose between mascara, lip liner, eye liner and two shades of lip gloss by Australian beauty brand Model Co. Some time last year, the magazine offered these exact same gifts so I already knew what I wanted this time around. I just had to have the eye-liner and so I searched the shelves of three different shops in order to get my hands on it! It was worth the effort. This is such a great product — it’s jet-black, wears really well and has an in-built sharpener. In other words, eye liner perfection! Also with this issue was a gift card for 25% off at H&M. It’s valid not just in the UK but also here in Ireland. H&M’s spring/summer collection for 2014 has just arrived in stores and if we didn’t have an excuse to check it out before; we certainly do now ;-).
Confession time (I’ll just come straight out with it): I don’t like Creme Eggs. A lot of people seem completely obsessed with them but definitely not me. I’ve always found their taste a bit too rich and — despite the fact they’re so small — almost sickly.
So when I saw the new Cadbury’s Creme Egg Pots of Joy, I was somewhat conflicted. I’ve been a fan of Pots of Joy since they first came out last summer. I love their full chocolaty flavours and smooth chilled creaminess. They come in twin packs and I could easily polish off both pots in a single sitting.
These new Creme Egg pots looked so appealing but the thought that they would be as intensely sweet as the Eggs themselves was putting me off a bit. In the end, since they were on offer for just €1, I decided to give them a go. They turned out to be pretty tasty. Each spoonful was light and velvety and satisfying. The top layer had the same pure delicious taste of the Dairy Milk Pots of Joy. Underneath, there was a the subtle taste of Crème Egg. Sweet but not overpowering, the Creme Egg Pots of Joy are sure to be a hit with fans and non-fans of the original treats.
I’m a bit of a sucker for traditional desserts such as apple pie, trifle, rice pudding and thick creamy custard. I generally believe that homemade is always better but before today; I’d never actually made custard completely from scratch. I’d usually use the powdered stuff which I figured was one better than buying it completely ready-made! When I realised that I could easily make this classic treat with just a few simple ingredients, I had to give it a go.
I used this recipe although I omitted the cream and substituted the full-fat milk for semi-skimmed. I try not to have desserts during the week but if I really can’t resist, I like to make them a little less sinful. It turned out pretty great too — obviously not quite as rich and creamy as a full-fat custard but still pleasantly sweet and silky smooth. This is equally delicious served hot or cold. For a (even slightly) healthier treat, I like to have my custard chilled with fresh fruit on top — seriously yum!
I turned 25 last month. It’s hard to believe that I’m already halfway through my twenties but I’m happy to say that they’ve been pretty good so far. Of course there have been low points but thankfully, the better moments far outnumber the bad. I’ve definitely grown up (at least a bit) but some things about me will never change — one of those things being that I’m always thinking about the future. Knowing that I now have five years until I hit the next big milestone, I decided to compile a list of thirty things I want to do before I reach the big 3-0.
This turned out be an interesting little project in itself. I’d definitely recommend that everyone come up with a list like this of their own. It really makes you think about what you want from life. Take your time with it and you’ll undoubtedly come up with some potentially life-changing ideas. It’s exciting to think of all the great moments you have yet to experience. It’s also pretty satisfying to realise all the amazing things you have already done. Who would have thought that making a list could be so much fun?!
1) Read 100 classic books
2) Get married
3) Live abroad for at least six months
4) Do a First-Aid course
5) Get my full Driver’s Licence
6) Donate blood
7) Completely redecorate at least one main room
8) Publish a book
9) Draw up a family tree
10) Visit London again
11) Take a photography course
12) Go skiing
13) Adopt another puppy
14) Eat lobster and drink champagne in a beautiful restaurant (preferably by the beach!)
15) Get my Master’s degree
16) Become a mother
17) Become a godmother
18) Visit all 32 counties in Ireland
19) Learn to knit
20) Run a marathon
21) Hold a baby lion or tiger
22) Meet and chat with someone really famous
23) Learn to make bread from scratch without needing a recipe
24) Go to New York
25) Go to Los Angeles
26) Do a cooking course at Ballymaloe
27) Meet my pen-pal from school in real life
28) Open a saving’s account for the future
29) Take a wine class
30) Go on a hot air balloon ride
Served hot and salty, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it’s no wonder that fries are so popular. They make a perfect accompaniment to so many dishes but work just as well on their own. I like to change it up every once in a while and make fries at home with sweet potatoes. Baked in the oven, they become an even healthier alternative. Better still; they’re easy to make and taste unbelievably good.
One large sweet potato will make enough fries for two people (or a single portion for one hungry person!). Peel and slice up the sweet potato in to long thin strips. Spread the strips evenly on to a lined baking tray. Season with a little sea salt and paprika before drizzling on a dash of olive oil. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°Celsius for thirty minutes. Serve immediately as a fun snack or a tasty side.
Rooting through my little beauty box recently, I came across a nail polish that I’d only used once a long time ago. Number 704 in Rimmel’s I Love Lasting Finish range is aptly called Sweet as Sugar. Sounds cute but the first — and only — time I tried this, it turned out to be a streaky nightmare. Whatever I was doing that day, it just would not go right. Once I had rubbed the damage off my nails, I’d pushed the little bottle to the back of my collection and promptly forgot about it.
When I found it again the other day; I fell in love again with the pretty delicate colour. Rather than totally dismiss it, I decided to give it another chance. The first coat turned out as awful as I suspected it would. I carefully applied a second coat and while it still wasn’t great; there was a slight improvement. Two more coats and I had what I wanted — a smooth opaque finish. I love how the colour is so pale and yet it really pops. It’s fun and fresh and particularly suits this time of year as we move from winter in to spring (yay for spring!)
hello smudges! I was applying the fourth coat when I should have been leaving for work so please excuse the untidiness
Last year, when we were in Barcelona, I found Milka/Tuc cracker bars in a supermarket and — regretfully — didn’t grab them as soon as I saw them. When I returned the next day to stock up on them before flying home, I was fairly devastated to find the place closed (they had also been selling litre bottles of Smirnoff for something like €12 so it was kind of a double blow!).
Fast forward, anyway, to last weekend. While picking up some shopping in my local Tesco’s, I couldn’t help but notice (in the distance, kind of like a mirage) a stand promoting a new chocolate bar. When I got closer and realised it was Dairy Milk Ritz, I didn’t need any more persuading to give it a try. I mean, Milka/Tuc and Dairy Milk/Ritz must be fairly similar, right?
This latest bar from Cadbury’s consists of 4 pieces of chocolate with a mini rectangular Ritz cracker on each side. The chocolate is deliciously creamy and the little Ritz offers an interesting contrast. You get a lovely hit of sweet and salty with every bite.
The only fault I can find is that the chocolate is quite delicate. It’s more like the thin Dairy Milk bars you find in a Christmas Selection Box rather the chunky 8-piece slabs that are more popular. It’s still a tasty bar and it’s a good alternative if you want a quick fix. However it’s a bit too light to be really satisfying — and with 10g of fat in a single 35g bar, you’d kind of want it to be worth it! Overall, while I did enjoy the Dairy Milk Ritz bar, it’s not something I see myself buying on a regular basis.
Most likely due to the extreme weather conditions, my hair has been looking somewhat lacklustre of late. I love trying new products but unable to find anything exciting-looking in hair care, I turned to an old reliable last week.
I’m a big fan of the Herbal Essences range — I use their shampoos and conditioners almost exclusively. However, as I needed something a little more intensive than a regular product this time, I looked to the hair masks. Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends Intensive Mask is specifically for dry and damaged hair. It comes in a 200ml tub and has a thick and creamy texture. Made with red raspberry extract, it smells irresistibly sweet and fresh.
The guidelines on the tub recommend using this just once a week. It can be used in place of your regular conditioner so as soon as I wash my hair, I slather on a large handful of this stuff and leave it to work for ten to fifteen minutes. I can immediately notice the effects when I rinse it out. My hair will feel softer and smoother and after a quick blow-dry; it’ll look glossy and shiny too. I think as fun as it is to try out new things; it can be just as satisfying to use a familiar product, knowing you’ll have guaranteed great results.