A month or so ago I had a bit of a break through in my bullet journal use and finally hit upon the perfect weekly page layout. I’ve been using it ever since and I’m yet to get bored of it or feel the need to add or amend anything. Therefore it’s high time I shared it with you all, as well as some of my other favourite pages in my bullet journal. After all who doesn’t want a bit of inspiration now and again?
So here it is, my new favourite weekly view.
What do you all think? It’s got a box per day, a box for meal planning, space for the blog schedule and a weekly to do list. Plus there’s space for an inspirational quote, a habit tracker and a fruit and veg tracker too. Basically I can’t not be organised with this new layout!
I tend to update it on Sunday night, so adding in all my plans, life, work, food and blog wise, plus a to-do list ahead of the new week. And then I’ll dip into it of an evening or over lunch to update small things – colour in the tracker squares, add what I’ve eaten that day, any notable things that happened that day (a lunchtime sale splurge, Christmas sandwiches arriving in Pret, you know the important things!) and ticking off jobs done.
It’s a good mix of planner and diary and is perfect for looking back over weeks gone by. And I’ve found it really has kept me organised over the last few weeks. What about you, what’s your bullet journal weekly system of choice?
Let’s talk about cupcakes. Cupcakes, are the best thing ever. There’s something about the size of them and the ratio of icing to cake that feels so decadent. Seeing rows of cupcakes in a shop makes me smile and eating one doesn’t feel as bad as eating a slice of cake. Also I think they are my favourite thing to bake, it reminds me of baking with my Mum and my Nanna in my parents’ kitchen. Of licking the bowl, watching them in the oven and then decorating the tops with all of the sprinkles and hundreds and thousands.
With Bake Off being on TV at the moment I had it in my head that I’d bake every week, but it just hasn’t happened, honestly I don’t know where my time goes during the week. Anyway to make myself feel better about this, and because I’ve had this cupcake recipe in my head for months, I decided to do some baking over the weekend.
Like I said I’ve had the idea for mocha cupcakes for awhile and I’ve been looking around for the right recipe. But to be honest with you nothing was really taking my fancy, everything seemed a bit complicated. So I decided to play around with my** own chocolate cake recipe to create a mocha cupcake version.
Also as it’s nearing the end of October, and the spookiest time of year, I turned them into Halloween cupcakes with some gummy Halloween sweets that taste of autumn. Yes seriously! The ghosts are apple flavour, yay! Granted they’re not super Halloween themed, but let’s be honest no one wants orange teeth thanks to orange icing and as long as you put a spooky sweet on the top you’re going to have Halloween cupcakes.
These cupcakes are deliciously fluffy and light and have quite a coffee kick in them, so you may want to adjust the coffee to chocolate ratio. You’ll see I went with a plain icing this was because of the good coffee flavour that the cupcakes already had. If you’re a complete coffee fiend and want to up the flavour even more then you could add ready made coffee to the icing too. But I like these exactly as they are.
For the Cakes
Ingredients: 6oz margarine / 6oz caster sugar / 6oz self raising flour / 0.5 teaspoon of baking powder / 2 large eggs / 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder / 0.5 tablespoons of coffee granules / 2 tablespoons of hot water
Method: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well / spoon in to cupcake cases, filling halfway / Bake for 20 minutes on 170C/335F/Gas Mark 3.
For the Icing
Ingredients: 225g butter at room temperature / 300g icing sugar
Method: Cut the butter into chunks / add the butter and icing sugar to a bowl and mix together / once the cupcakes are cool, top with the icing and decorate with further sprinkles or treats.
What have you been baking recently? What do you think to mocha cupcakes?
**all my baking recipes are actually from my Mum, because she makes the best cakes ever. I like to think that using her recipes gives me a small percentage of her talent. Thanks Mum! x
Good morning friends and welcome to another edition of Friday Favourites. Number 53 to be exact. Which tells me that we’ve had a whole year of these blog posts. Look at us and all our commitment to a weekly catch up post! Surely that should be my favourite point number one, no?!
In all seriousness this has been another busy week, with train strikes as well as two days away from my usual office visiting other sites, so I have been in need of all of the good things that I can find. To be honest with you my fantastic countryside weekend has really helped me this week, I’ve basically been on an Autumn high since then!
Also over the weekend I treated myself to a couple of new bath bombs from Lush. Saying those words makes me feel like I’m 13 again, as I loved that shop way back then, but haven’t really been there for awhile. But there’s something about having a bath during autumn and winter that I love and I wanted some new bubbles for the new seasons. I almost picked some of their Christmas things, but held myself back from that. For now at least!
As I mentioned earlier on I’ve been visiting other offices this week. On Tuesday, I headed to Ealing via Paddington train station, while I was there, between buying a coffee and finding my train, I stumbled across a statue of this little chap and I couldn’t resist taking a snap. So often I find myself rushing around London and through train stations as a means to an end, so it was good to take a couple of minutes and look at what was around me. Something I should try to do more of, more often.
The plus side to all the time spent on buses and trains recently is that I’ve been able to do a lot of reading while I’ve been sitting there. Which is good because the last couple of books I’ve read have been absolutely cracking reads. I’ll do a proper write up with my next Recent Reads post, but for now take my word for it and get yourselves copies of Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. You won’t regret reading either of them.
How has your week been? What have you been up to and what has been the highlight that has helped you through?
Let me tell you about my most autumnal day in the history of 2016. Yes, it actually happened. This past Sunday I spent a blissful day enjoying all the autumnal things.
It started on Saturday night with a giant bowl of macaroni cheese and a lazy tv evening back in the Surrey countryside. Fi and I had travelled down in preparation for a Sunday of Evans family fun the following day. Arriving on Saturday meant everything was less rushed and we could make the most of the extra time for puppy cuddles – a sleepy puppy is a wonderful thing, especially when she rests her head on your feet and proceeds to fall fast asleep. ADORABLE.
Sunday morning started with a lazy breakfast, coffee and attempting the crossword, before we piled in the car and headed to Holmbury St Mary for a frolic through the woods. For as long as I can remember the autumn and winter has been a time for woodland walks. As kids we’d search for the muddiest puddle, collect conkers for school and horse chestnuts to roast in the fire. Even as a grown up, I still love all of these things. However now that the parents have a puppy there is another magical layer to the whole event. Watching the Lunabean race in and out of the autumn foliage or trample through puddles makes me smile so wide. There’s something about the way she cocks her head listening for hidden animals or refuses to give up her favourite stick that makes the whole walk much more enjoyable.
Once our walk was done we headed to a nearby pub in the hopes of it being dog friendly and having space to sit for a drink. Well we stumbled across a real gem of a place, The Volunteer, which the parents used to visit all the time. This pub is so super dog friendly that we ended up staying for a full lunch instead. I say super dog friendly as the landlady opted to get Luna settled with water first before heading behind the bar to start on our drinks. She won us over straight away. So Luna was happy curled under the table watching the world go by and greeting various people as they walked past, while the humans in the group enjoyed a delicious lunch. I can highly recommend the pulled pork burger if you’re even in that neck of the woods. Also the homemade steak and ale pie with mash and the trout also looked delicious. I’ve already added this place on to my must return list.
Now if a woodland walk and a pub lunch wasn’t enough in our Autumnal day there was still one more event to tick off the list before the end of the day – pumpkin picking. I feel so American typing that! But we did go pumpkin picking at a nearby farm. Technically we didn’t get to pick the pumpkin from the field, but we did get to choose from an array that had already been picked. Let me tell you this, it is very hard to decide which pumpkin is the one for you. Which is why I bought three! Not even sorry!
I’ve just realised that finishing the day off by reading my book in the bath has potentially pushed it up the Autumn scale even further. Why, oh why did I not make myself a hot chocolate too?
He was quite a wise man The Emperor of China wasn’t he, well the Mulan version was at least. I tend to agree that adversity and hardship makes something better – whether it’s a person, an experience or an action. Maybe it’s because something was so hard, that it tastes so much sweeter, because you know what went into it – all the pain and the stress and the helplessness that got you to the end point.
Greetings friends! And how are you this lovely autumnal day. I am ill, but I’m hoping coffee and orange juice can help with that! Anyway, on to today’s post… For the littlest sister and her boyfriend’s birthdays we decided to treat them to a day out in London and after much searching (there are an awful lot of awesome things to do in London – no surprise!) we settled on a trip to the Backyard Cinema in Southwark as it sounded pretty cool. It’s an experiential cinema that’s situated in an old warehouse that also houses an Italian food market. It sounds pretty awesome right?
Well it most certainly was, in fact it was ten million times more brilliant than I anticipated! We arrived there an hour or so earlier than our showing so that we could peruse the Italian food stalls and get some yummy lunch. There was so much delicious food to choose from, from ice creams (and ice cream cakes!) and gnocchi, to burgers, sweet doughy doughnut balls and yummy-looking focaccia! After much deliberation we settled on slices of pizza and OH.EM.GEE. it was good. It was almost as delicious as the slices I’ve had in NYC, yes that good!
After eating all the delicious pizza we headed into the cinema, to watch Up. So here’s the thing, the cinema is jungle themed, as in everything is jungle-fied. So the staff wear safari gear, the front facade is jungley and you enter it through a tunnel and path that winds round foliage, with monkey cries all around. And then you get to the rope swing and foam pit. So much fun! Anyway once you’re in, the cinema is rather cool. There are giant bean bags to sit on and a bar at the back where you can buy all the drinks and snacks you could need. We got a ‘free’ cocktail with our ticket so only needed to buy popcorn. As for the cocktails – they were delicious and came in awesome temple inspired animal glasses, so looked pretty special! After much nattering and photographing and cooing over the jungle themed decor we settled down to the film, which was of course brilliant! I defy anyone not to love that film. And fyi beanbags make for pretty comfy cinema seats!
So if you’re stuck for something to do over the coming weeks do head to the Backyard Cinema, its great fun and they’re showing some pretty epic films, like Jumanji, The Lion King, Hook, The Jungle Book, Ghostbusters and Jurassic World. Tickets are £16 or £25 to include a cocktail, which isn’t that steep compared to London prices, or if it’s a special occasion!
Guys we’ve almost made it to the end of the longest week ever. Well done us! Please tell me it’s not just me that thinks this week has lasted 15 days. What’s that about? Despite the crazy length of it, there have been some awesome things to celebrate, big and small! Like my favourite little sister’s birthday meal last night, which was perfect. We had lots of lovely food, all the nattering and putting the word to rights and very good company. Gosh my family is awesome. I’m a super lucky bean.
This week was also a busy work one with a trip to BLE, Brands Licensing Europe, at Olympia. It’s always exhausting and fun and insane and you never know what you’ll run into. Be it Minions or Powerpuff Girls, the Clangers, a floating Pikachu, or even an ex-colleague and friend so you can have a good old catch up! Pretty cool!
Also this week I’ve been treating myself to little things here and there. Like a new £15 jumper from H&M, with polka dots (my fave), and inspirational Harry Potter quotes. Yeah for pre-pay day treats.
When I’ve not been out and about buying things this week I’ve been hunkered down under the blankets watching series seven of The West Wing (including that Leo episode – *all the sobbing*), eating Terry’s Chocolate Orange and bullet journaling. I’ve become super organised and I’m really enjoying my current way of planning and documenting the week. I’ve even started to use it at work too!
Another awesome thing this week was The Backyard Cinema, where we went into the jungle to watch Up, it was so fun and I can definitely recommend it. All the joy to be had (and a proper update very soon – I promise)!
Last but not least, I’ve finally delved into Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha world with Six of Crows and oh my goodness, it’s phenomenal. If you’ve not discovered this author and her two Grisha series’ yet, you must! It’s a phenomenal world of crooks and magic, vengeance and trickery, sleight of hand and wagers, and stars the most wonderful and eclectic mix of characters. It’s epic!
So, tell me, how was your week? What exciting things to discuss?
It feels like forever ago since I shared a yummy recipe on the blog, so it seems fitting to share not only one of my favourite cakes, but one that I’d also completely forgotten about until recently. You could say that means it’s not really a favourite, but I disagree. It just means I’m forgetful!
So this cake is seriously scrumptious – it’s very light and fluffy and exceptionally moist (cringe) thanks to the use of buttermilk in it. It almost makes me tempted to use buttermilk in all cakes, all the time! Oh and the icing, talk about delicious! It’s almost tempting to make double the amount to have loads to lick off the spoon…chocolate and peanut butter is the best icing combo ever. And granted it would be prettier if you leave out the crunchy peanut butter in favour of the smooth stuff – but I have a thing for the crunch of the peanuts so they stay in and the cake looks a bit bumpy!
Anyway if you’re a peanut butter and chocolate fan (if you’re not, I really do question your sense) then you’ll never need another recipe again. Come on, get baking!
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups icing sugar
125g cream cheese
0.5tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
1.5tbsp peanut butter
For the cake:
– Start by setting the oven to 180°C and preparing your cupcake cases – the mixture makes 20 cupcakes or two round cakes, that will make the perfect stacked cake
– In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
– In a new bowl, bigger than the first, use an electric mixer to cream the margarine, peanut butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
– Next slowly add the eggs to the margarine mixture a bit at a time. Make sure you mix well before adding the next lot of eggs in
– Then add the vanilla and mix well
– Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the cake mixture a bit at a time and alternating between the two
– Once smooth fold the chocolate chips into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, ensuring that you only fill them half full (VERY IMPORTANT to ensure they don’t overflow – not that I’m talking from experience of course…)
– Bake for 30 minutes and until a skewer comes out clean. Move onto a wire rack to cool completely
For the icing:
– Cream the margarine and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
– Add the cream cheese, vanilla, salt and peanut butter and mix until combined.
I saw this a couple of days ago and I knew that I would end up sharing it for today’s thought of the day. I like the idea of living a life full of passion, it’s something I want to strive to do more of.
Over the last week I’ve definitely felt Autumn draw in closer. It’s getting darker earlier, I’ve needed to wear a jacket and a scarf, I’ve donned my black tights and I’m rediscovering my Autumn wardrobe once again. Which is all excellent and I love each part of it, there’s something so wonderful about a new season.
But of course I’ve also found myself perusing the new Autumn clothes online and in the shops too. There’s something about the soft warm fabrics and the jewel hues that make me long to buy some new things. I’ve put together a list of the things that have caught my eye in recent days, so for now I’m just going to sit here and look at them and try not to buy them all!
I honestly don’t believe there’s such a thing as having too many jumpers and no one will ever convince me that it’s at all possible. I live in jumpers in the autumn and winter, so I’m very excited to get back to that. I’m actually impressed with myself that I’ve only added 3 to this wishlist. I mean it goes without saying that there are 10 others that didn’t make the cut, but I’m still going to congratulate myself on not inundating this blog post with jumper after jumper.
What are you Autumn wardrobe essentials? And have you seen any jumpers that I need in my life.
Hello and welcome to our blog! Curl up with
a cup of coffee and stay a while as we natter
about this and that.