Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Sunshine Blogger Award #2
Hello! With the UK currently basking in the glorious weather and sunshine (blink or you’ll miss it I’m sure) what better time to write up the Sunshine Blogger Award post that Ross from Man Vs Adulthood kindly nominated me for. These style of posts are underrated and are one of my favourites to both read and write. I love doing these posts and if you want to have a little nosey at the other Sunshine Blogger Award post of mine from last year I’ll post a link to it just here! These simple posts are easy to read and easy to write, one of the many reasons I like them as they also help you to get to know the blogger behind the blog, is a good way to introduce yourself to other bloggers that have been nominated and also it’s a little bit of fun really isn’t it!? Similarly Ross is one of my favourite bloggers too. I’ve known him for a little while now and he’s always been one of the people I’ve seen who praise and highlight other bloggers, making friends and being so kind and supportive which is what this lovely community is all about!
If you haven’t already, I would totally recommend checking out his blog and his Sunshine Blogger Award post (read it here) He was fab enough to have been nominated twice so have a read of both sets of questions and answers to delve a little deeper into Man Vs Adulthood. 

So the premise of this blog ‘award’ is to nominate those bloggers that you think spread positivity, kindness and are generally just little rays of sunshine. 

The rules are as followed:

  • You must thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog or their original post. 
  • List the rules for this award and a snazzy logo or picture of it in your blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions from the person that nominated you. 
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set 11 fun questions for them to answer.

Questions from Ross:

  • If you had to pick an actor to play you in a film who would you pick?

Emily Blunt or Olivia Coleman. I think they’re both just great. Or if it wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster and just a channel 5 documentary I’d cast Kim from Eastenders. What a woman. 

  • If you could do anything as a career what would you do?

Mmm I think I’d want to be something like Mr Benn (showing my age with this one aren’t I) and have a new job and new adventure everyday. I have a really short attention span and get bored fairly quickly. I like the idea of being a writer, or a charity worker or even a property developer. It changes everyday for me at the moment I really love the idea of opening up my own pub or bar…Not just so I can go full Peggy Mitchell and scream ‘Gerroutta ma Pub’ at someone. 

  • Is Pineapple allowed on pizza?

Of course. It’s amazing. I’m really no food connoisseur because when I was a child I adored the baked beans pizza. That’s how grim I am. A dollop of mayo on the side as well. Honestly you’d think I was 6 months pregnant with the weirdest cravings with the things I eat. Also I think we should be focusing this pineapple on pizza hatred towards those people who put banana on a pizza instead. I think this is a Swedish thing but if anyone has tried let me know what you thought?!

  • When was the last time you cried?

I actually don’t remember! 

  • Would you rather have all your bills wiped for life, or a Million Pounds right now?

I think I’d rather have all my bills wipes for the rest of my life. I know I’d be reckless if I had one million pounds kindly deposited into my bank account I’d have blown it all on clothes I wouldn’t even be able to send back on Asos and bought a giant yacht. 

  • In the garden, do you prefer decking or patio?

I like grass with a bit of patio.

  • In the nuclear wasteland do you think you’d survive and how long for?

I genuinely think it’s not a question of weeks or days but more of hours or minutes for me. I wouldn’t be very good at all at the survivalist stuff and i’m clumsy. I’ve always thought if I had to run for my life I’d probably die from the running anyway. 

  • It’s been a long day at work, you are chilling on the sofa with no energy and motivation. What is your go to meal?

If  I’m being lazy and going to order a takeaway I’d probably go for a Dominos veggie supreme pizza, big garlic and herb dip and maybe some garlic bread dippers if I feel like being a beached whale for the evening. If I’m going to cook for myself I’d probably have beans on toast or a jacket potato as it’s easy to do and my ultimate comfort foods. 

  • Amazon Echo or Google Home?

I don’t have either but for some reason I’m more swayed towards a Google Home. I don’t know why I feel like I’d trust Google more than I’d trust Amazon or Bing searches. 

  • If you could see ANY band or artist – dead or alive, perform who would it be?

There are so many I’d love to see. I wish I could go back in time and see the hysteria for people the The Beatles or Elvis but I think I’d have loved to have seen Amy Winehouse perform live. I was and still am such a huge fan of her music and was so sad to hear of her passing. 

  • If you could have ANY superpower what would it be and why?

I used to think it would be something like telepathy or reading minds but I’m anxious enough as it is I don’t want to hear what people are really thinking about I’d be a nervous wreck! Maybe something nice like I’d be able to heal people or eat whatever I’d like and never put on any weight.

My questions:

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
  2. The strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  3. If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
  4. What is your favourite smell?
  5. What would be your dream meal? Including starters, main course, dessert and drinks?
  6. Who are your five dream dinner guests?
  7. What film/book could you watch/read again and again and not get bored of it?
  8. Do you believe in ghosts and the paranormal?
  9. If money and time weren’t a problem what skill would you like to learn?
  10. Are you a morning or a night person?
  11. Where would be your dream holiday destination?

My Nominees:

Mira

Casey 

Gillian 

Jess

Nicole

Anais

Niamh

Victoria

Alex

Kamilah

Tiffany

I’ve chosen a little selection of some of my favourite bloggers and I can’t wait to read their posts! 

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What’s in my handbag?

Hiya huns! How’s your weekend been? Mine has been quite outdoorsy for a change. It’s been really sunny and warm which I think is a little bit weird for the UK nearing the end of October; considering it’s usually a bit colder and wetter around about this time!

I thought for today’s post I would share an absolute blogger favourite AND blogger basic. It’s almost like a rite of passage to bloggerhood to post the notorious ‘what’s in my handbag’ post.I fancied throwing it back to my old blog days with engaging in more tag posts and more personal posts so you can get a chance to get to know a little bit more about me. Or if you want to mug me in the not so distant future, think of this as a preview or what you could have won.

bag flatlay

For my everyday handbag I actually have a backpack from H&M I purchased last year. I like a handbag or a shoulder bag but sometimes I find that it makes my arms and shoulder really ache whereas I can just shove all my stuff in a backpack and carry it with ease. So many shops have such funky types these days. Especially ones that really don’t look like you’re about to hike up Everest which is always a massive plus.

bag contents flatlay

Aside from the loose change, endless wrappers, hairbands and receipts stashed in my bag I nearly always carry these items. I always like to make sure I’ve got paper, in the form of this lovely red leather bound notebook I picked up in TK Maxx last year and a pen. It’s so useful if I need to write a list or if I need to remember something. I mean a pen and paper are always going to be handy?! I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me as you never know when you might need some shades!

I’ve got a River Island tapestry style purse that I purchased YEARS ago actually. I like it because the pattern is a bit different and it’s actually reaally big with a clasped section one side and a card holdeer on the flap as well as a big coin section.

I carry some perfume at the moment I’ve got Paco Rabanne Black XS. It’s quite a sweet, fruity and floral scent you can wear either day or night so it’s perfect for any occasion.

I think it’s always super handy to keep a little pot of Nivea’s all purpose body creme. I love the smell it always reminds me of my Mum. Plus it’s great to use as a hand cream, to feel a bit fresher or even in the colder months to dab onto skin to avoid it drying out.

I’ve pretty much always got a couple of lipsticks floating around the bottom of my bag usually in nude tones and a pair of earphones.

Lastly, and probably most weirdly. I carry dog kibble. I have a dog and I think I must have left them in their from when I take him out on his walkies. I always carry them with me now, luckily they don’t make my bag smell!

What are your essentials you always carry with you?

MUCH LOVE. X

Best Brownies EVER.

browniess

I won’t lie, these are the only tall, dark and handsome things on the internet you’ll ever really want and need in your life right now. They’re sweet, they’re rich and they’re bad for you but above all, they defo won’t let you down or ghost you like Reece from tinder might do. (No offence to any Reece’s from Tinder). I actually discovered these from my Mum who usually sticks to a Jamie Oliver recipe with her twist on it. Obvs that recipe was before he turned all melodramatic about 2 for 1 pizzas and whether or not a vimto has one or more sugars in. This recipe is certainly not the healthiest, not a pinch of superfood in this and it’s so delicious.

I am not one to toot my own horn but this recipe is quickly becoming my go-to for impressing people with my fine kitchen skillz.  Because I want to be a bit of a Rahul from Bake Off about this all and I want you all to actually like me and be my friend consider this my way of baking this for you…kinda. The method to these are a little bit different to any of the ways I’ve baked brownies, or any other baked good for that matter, so even though it might seem a little bit mental…stick with it. k?

browniesss

 

You will need:

  • 250g butter,
  • 1tsp coffee granules,
  • 200g dark chocolate,
  • 80g cocoa powder,
  • 65g plain flour,
  • 1tsp baking powder,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 360g caster sugar.

HOW TO:

First off, line a square tin or any shaped tin of your choice, with parchment paper or grease it with butter and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Then I put the butter into a microwave safe jug or bowl and heat it for 30 seconds at a time until it is fully melted. You could do this on top of the stove or even in a bain marie if that is easier for you. To the melted butter add the coffee granules you don’t taste the coffee element by adding this it just helps to enhance the richer, chocolate flavour. Add your chopped chocolate to this mixture at the same time as the coffee too, letting it mingle with the hot butter, leave it for about 2 minutes or so and then come back and stir it all together until it has all melted and is a smooth, glossy chocolate liquid. At this stage it’ll still be really warm so you could either put let it cool somewhere, place it in the fridge for short intervals making sure it’s not in there too long in case it’ll set. I actually use the very unorthodox method of putting the plug in my sink and putting cold water in. Just enough water that it comes up to where the chocolate mixture is in the jug, allowing no water actually into the mix.

Whilst that is cooling I crack the eggs and put them in a stand mixer, if you don’t have one of these you could use a hand whisk it might just take you a little longer but think of the muscles you’ll be using! Slightly ironic thought that for a brownie recipe but hey. To that I add in the sugar. If you want a richer, fudgier, more of a molasses taste, I’d suggest using a darker or demerara sugar. I used caster sugar.

I mixed it for about 5 minutes or so until the eggs and the sugar were lovely and combined and plenty of air was whipped through so it had pretty much doubled in size.

When the chocolatey, buttery mixture was cooled whilst the mixer is on a slow speed Ioured in the chocolate a little at a time careful not to knock any of the air out and gradually added more and more until it was all fully combined.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder a little at a time, folding it through gently.

Once it’s all fully combined you can pour it into your prepared tray or if you wanted to jazz it up a bit and add chopped fruit like cherries or some crushed nuts, oreos, peanut butter cups (shout out to Reece from Tinder we knew we wouldn’t have seen the last of you just yet) or a handful of pretzels now is the perfect time to mix it through or push some into the top of the batter once it’s in the tray.

I baked it between 20-25 minutes, checking it halfway with a skewer. I found to get that extra crackly top is once it’s out of the oven, hold it about 8 inches above a cooling rack and drop it down on the surface several times. My dog wondered what on earth I was doing but it helps to crack the top surface (of the brownies not your kitchen work tops).

Leave to cool and then cut into little chunks. ENJOY. ❤

 

brownies
Look at that crackly top tho?????

brownies1

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

MUCH LOVE. x

Winter Warmer Bean Chilli.

chilli

Chilli con Carne is one of my all time favourite dishes to eat and also to make. It’s so versatile and you can change up the whole meal with different sides, different ingredients and different spices every single time. Also in my opinion it makes it one o the harder dishes to recreate as I’m always adding in different little bits every time I can never go back and make the same bowl of it. Everyone in my household eats meat apart from me but whenever I cook I always like to do something non meaty for them. Hence why I decided to treat them to this fab bean chilli this evening. I should add that I’m not one of those hardcore veg heads that force everyone to eat tofu and quorn (I mean I am trying *very* hard for them to all try a Linda McCartney sausage even just a tiny bite but no such luck so far.)
The great thing about chilli is that there is so much room for personalisation, if you like yours with some spice and a bit of kick then you can add as many chillies and chilli flakes as you like, I’ve heard of some people adding a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate to make the mixture smoother and creamier or even a dollop of marmite to give it that salty, well marmitey, flavour.. If you can’t face a meal without meat (my sister to a t) then you can add some diced bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless.
So I thought I’d impart my wonderful knowledge and wisdom of this with a fab chilli recipe because it is so ridiculously easy to make and is so tasty and warming especially in the coming colder months.This was to die for and literally a one pot dish. I honestly thought they were a myth or clickbait seen on Pinterest.
I’m not one for complicated recipes if I have to flambé anything I’m out, this one pot dish is super duper simple there’s literally no room to go wrong.
 Oh I should also add that these measurements may seem proper huge but this made 12 portions so was perfect for leftovers the following day, lunches or even popping in the freezer cos you never know when you might need an emergency bean chilli??

You will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1 large celery stalk.
  • 1 medium red onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped. I roasted it as well so it was easier to squish with a back of a knife. I’m getting proper technical here, watch out Gordon Ramsey.
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 400g tin butter beans.
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans.
  • 1 400g black beans.
  • 1 small tin baked beans (cheating IKR but it works).
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves.
  • sweetcorn.

HOW TO:

To start off I finely diced a stalk of celery, a carrot and a small red onion and fried it off in the pot with a good glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Once that had cooked through and turned a more translucent colour which took about 10 minutes. After that I poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot. Leaving that to simmer a bit, I actually used my handheld immersion blender and just blended the mixture a handful of times. That was more for my personal preference as I didn’t want big tomatoey lumps. (also what I look like on holiday. A big tomatoey lump..)
From there I added in all of the spices and the bay leaf. I never really thought much about cooking before but you are really building flavours upon flavours. That way you can taste a bit see if you need to add anything else or realise your culinary expertise that you’ve made a pretty banging pot of flavours so far.
To save time and energy I use tinned beans. You can use dried beans but it just takes a bit longer as you have to leave them soaking overnight aaaaaand I couldn’t be bothered for that. Sooooorrry.  So yeah where was I? I added in all my funky tins of beans. Even my baked beans, ok I know the whole of Texas and Southern American states will be wanting to burn my kitchen down for that but in my opinion it really works. I had put a sprinkle too much chilli into this and when I say a sprinkle it was practically like a truck had reversed up and dumped a whole skip full of the stuff. Plus I  really needed something to reduce it’s thickness and flavour.
I throw that in the pot. Not literally that would be messy and not to mention reckless. Pls don’t throw anything on my recommendation. Yeah so add in all the tinned things or the beans you’ve been soaking overnight, if you do that…I just want to say I’m already so proud of you. Leave it to simmer gently over a low heat for like 20 minutes, enough time to peg some washing out. I sound like Bree Van Der Kampf but that is genuinely what I did.
In that time you can come back stir it all through and be delighted with the delicious smokey smells filling your kitchen as we speak. And that is literally your one pot chilli done. I don’t even know if I can call it a chilli? Maybe like a bean stew would be more appropriate.
If you want to make yours a bit thicker, I mix a spoonful of polenta (or flour whatever suits you) with some water until it forms a slurry like that consistency and then combine that with the chilli. If you mix the flour or polenta or whatever thickening agent right into it it can create just lumps and pockets of flour and that is really not ideal.  (I’m using some cracking terminology here aren’t I)
Once made you can either eat it immediately, don’t even bother putting it in a bowl just grab a spoon or ladle, depending on your mood and eat it ALLLL. Or heat it up just before serving, y’know whatever you’d rather.
SO hey presto. You made yourself a delicious, heart warming, good for the soul bowl of food. I’ve served this to the meatiest of all meat eaters and they even went back for seconds. I’m fairly certain lions on the prowl for their next slither of food would rather eat this than their usual prey (once again, do not hold me to these ridic claims)
So sit down with a good book and a big spoon or gather round the dinner table for some wholesome home cooking. You can serve this with rice, cornbread which I made for the first time today and it is absolutely divine. On top of a jacket potato or even batch prepare on a Sunday for a whole week of meal preps If you’re that way inclined. I am forgetful and lazy I don’t think I’ll ever be a meal prepper unless it’s cooking a pizza and separating the leftover. cold slices for work lunch. Jokes there’s never any leftover slices. This is great family food as you can lay the table with guac, salsa, tortilla chips and sour cream and all dig in and have a Texan feast.
MUCH LOVE.