A long weekend in pictures

As I mentioned last week I spent four days on a short break ‘up north’ with the family to celebrate a birthday. It was blissful so of course i’m going to share some of the fun times with you. Be warned this post is mainly going to be about the pictures, because that’s what I like best and honestly I don’t write well enough to describe my adventures and the beauty of The Peaks half as well as my pictures do!

So my trip went a little bit like this…

  • Road Trip! Queue good music, lots of talking and picking the service station we stop at depending on the coffee available. Hence the 16 miles of crossing my legs in order to go to a Starbucks!
  • Arriving in Sheffield to skip down the hill and meet the youngest Evans sister. Then touring her house before setting off to Bolsover Castle.
  • Promptly falling in love with Bolsover. Cooing over wall paintings, cute windows and fallen down ruins. And taking lots of pictures of course – the magic of smart phones!
  • Somehow finding our way into Matalan and exiting 90 minutes later with lots of purchases. You’d think that my sisters, Mum and I would have learnt not to shop together by now!

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  • Heading into the Peak District and discovering the lovely town of Bakewell.
  • Eating the best lasagne ever (thanks Mum)

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  • Training it to Leeds to have lunch with one of my favouritest people in the world. Lots of talking, lots of eating and lots of laughing!
  • Discovering the Chestnut Centre a conservation and wildlife park. A lovely long walk around the place and seeing otters, deers and owls. Along with pole cats, pine martens and field mice. Seriously if you are ever in the area go check it out.
  • Also if you are there then stop in at The Beehive pub in Combs for lunch – totally delicious grub.

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  • I also managed to fit in a run – I know I was surprised too. But having my Dad there made me do it and it was great fun. I left my headphones at home and we chatted away for a three mile explore around Bakewell. I, of course, had to stop a couple of times for photos as we saw rainbows. Yes we ran in the rain.

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  • The other plus point of going for a run was that I didn’t feel too guilt over the amount I ate (and drank) that evening! We headed to another lovely foodie place recommended by our neighbours. The Pointed Dog and Duck in Bakewell town. Checkout the trip advisor views here. Another excellent meal and the perfect place to celebrate Becca’s birthday. Plus she loved all her presents. One of which I made myself! So will be sharing soon.
  • We of course managed to fit in more board game time. Like that was ever not going to happen!

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  • Our final day started with a walk, then a trip to Costco before a long drive home. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend away with my family.

Honestly it’s trips like these that I live for. So much fun, full on relaxing and surrounding yourself with people that get you.

Lau xxx

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Favourite Things #32

Greetings chums, I’m back again with this week’s favourite things.

First the holiday countdown is in full swing, yippee yay! I know I’ve only just been away in Wales but I already feel like I need another holiday so this trip couldn’t come at a better time. The below views are in my not too distant future.

Also I have discovered Itsu. There’s been an Itsu next to my office for at least a year now, yet it’s only over the last week that I’ve actually ventured inside and fallen in love with the food. Especially their duck a l’orange. The honey cashews are delicious.

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I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter Crunch Creams on averymellybake the other day and it’s definitely a recipe that I will have to try myself sometime soon. This picture makes them look absolutely delicious, if only we could eat them off the screen, hey!

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Another food favourite this week is Metcalfe’s Sweet Cinnamon Spice popcorn. It’s unbelievably yummy. My favourite popcorn is actually a savoury Propercorn version, but this cinnamon one is definitely fighting its way to joint first.

Also there’s a UK Kindle advert. I didn’t realise it but apparently this is the first time they’ve done a UK specific advert with British actors. The kids in this advert are incredibly cute and remind me an awful lot of myself and my relationship to books when I was younger.

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What about you lovely people? Any favourite things to share this week…

Lau xx

Chocolate whoopie pies with vanilla buttercream

Sunday was my lovely work buddy’s birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HER! To celebrate I decided to do a bit of a baking to help her get through her first day back at work after the glorious event. The whoopie pies that I chose went down so well that I decided to share the recipe with you lovely people. You’re all cake fiends aren’t you let’s be honest now?! I picked whoopie pies purely because I hadn’t made them for a while, plus this time I changed the colour of the icing to a lovely purple just to be different! This recipe is from The Baking Book by DK and I’ve actually blogged about it before on Cook Bake and Eat here.

What you need
For the cakes –
175g unsalted butter
150g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
75g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
150ml whole milk
2 tbsp Greek yogurt

For the vanilla buttercream –
100g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp milk
Food colouring – as much or as little as you want – it really depends on how deep you want the colour to be.

What you do

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Cream the butter and sugar together with a whisk until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat.
  • In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together. Then fold a spoonful of the dry ingredients into the cake batter. Follow this with a splash of milk and mix. Repeat alternating between the dry ingredients and the milk.
  • Blend in the yogurt to moisten the pies.
  • Place heaped spoons of the mixture onto lined baking trays – I actually like to spoon the mixture into muffin trays as then you can (almost) guarantee that you will have 12 equally shaped pies. As I use muffin trays I tend to get more cakes out of the batter – this time I made 17 pies.
  • If you don’t put in trays then make sure you use a teaspoon dipped in warm water to smooth the surface and shape the batter into neat circles.
  • Bake in the oven for 12 mins and cool.
  • Mix together the buttercream ingredients by hand then use a whisk until light and fluffy.
  • Spread the buttercream onto half of the cakes and then sandwich together to form a whoopie pie.
  • Now eat!

 

Don’t they look delicious? These were so delicious and most importantly went over very well with the birthday girl.

Lau xxx

Food Glorious Food – my week

So according to my pictures all I’ve done this week is eat. Clearly lunch and dinner has been the highlight of my week. It’s been a pretty quiet one which I have completely loved as I was totally exhausted after all the tourist fun for the second half of last week.

As well as all the food I have managed to walk into work twice (Tuesday and Thursday) as well as get to the Gym – a run and spinning on Monday night. So hopefully any damage from all the eating has been halted! Tuesday night I headed to Cobham for a farewell dinner with the Aussie visitors. We found ourselves at Carluccio’s where I went for a tomato & mozzarella salad, Spaghetti Carbonara and a rhubarb tart. All were so delicious, I forgot how good the food was. It’s also another restaurant that has a great GF menu – aren’t I the font of all knowledge? Whilst we were there my cousins imparted the Evans family with some gifts. Not only did I receive a Bundaberg rum stubby holder – the perfect thing for an ice cold can or beer (or diet coke) and a lovely new keyring, but they also gifted us a pile of Tim Tams – only the greatest Australian chocolates of all time. Plus there were new flavours that we hadn’t tried yet. Take it from me the Double Chocolate Vanilla ones are delicious.

Thursday night was all about the baking – fresh bread and eton mess – ready for Friday night’s Guilty Pleasures evening -basically a night of good food and films with friends. As I’ve already mentioned the theme was guilty pleasures – pretty self explanatory – we watched Jerry Maguire and Step Up and gorged ourselves on bread, crackers, cheese, pringles, sausage rolls, pesto pastries, salad, dutch apple cake, strawberries, eton mess and lemon and poppy seed cake – a perfect Friday night time if you ask me.

This weekend I actually managed to have a lie in until 10:15 on Saturday. We all know how miraculous this is for me, it was amazing. After this perfect lie in I decided to make the most of the extra energy and head out for a run. I managed 4.92 miles in 53 mins. I know right, I was totally impressed with myself too! Saturday night it was cinema time. I finally got around to watching Man of Steel, the Superman film. As a huge Superman, Kevin Costner and Russel Crowe fan I knew I was going to like the film, but it wasn’t as amazing as I was expecting. I think it was the flicking between the past and present, plus I think there should have been more of a background for each characters, rather than jumping straight into the action. Talking of action, there was a bit too much (can’t believe I just said that) and it was all too similar. I mean let’s be honest there’s only so many times a superhero can get thrown through a building. Sunday was another lazy morning, doing productive admin bits and blog stuff of course. Plus I meant my Mum for some lunch at Del’Aziz, a place in Clapham Old Town that I’ve been wanting to try for ages. My parma ham and parmesan sandwich was delicious. Then it was a cozy evening out of the wind watching Miss Marple and Big Bang Theory.

I hope your week has been good.

Lau xxx

Lau xxx

Sunshine, five days at work and lovely eats out

What with all the long weekends I’ve had recently it probably doesn’t surprise you when I say that this past week was my first five day week at work for quite some time. And by golly was it hard! Clearly I’ve gotten too used to having four day weekends! The week has also been incredibly busy and yet I inexplicably have hardly any pics to show for it. Oopsy! My week has gone a little something like this…

  • Two sunny walks to work
  • One catch up with friends that included West Wing episodes, fish finger sandwiches, holiday chatter and belated birthday presents – I finally got that address book and gorgeous Cath Kidston goodies, plus i’m returning a duplicate present for (hopefully) pug cushions!
  • A trip to the gym – 30 mins on the cross trainer for me.
  • Yo Sushi to use my birthday voucher – I swear it actually tastes better with 30% off
  • Spotted 2 ‘celebrities’ around the Southbank post Yo Sushi! fun
  • Wore summer clothes – a long skirt so I still haven’t got these pasty white legs out!
  • Spent a couple of chilled out hours in Green Park
  • Dinner at The Wolsley – which included whitebait, rib eye and vanilla millefeuille, plus wine. Delicious.
  • Spotted David Heyman, Jemima Khan and Emma Watson, all dining in the same restaurant!
  • Listened to a lot of music on Spotify – Bastille, Nashville soundtrack, John Mayer and Lady Antebellum.
  • Friday night viewing of Iron Man 3 – such a fun film. I love RDJ.
  • Finally had a weekend lie-in. Waking up at 10:30 was amazing and definitely needed.
  • Shopping in Clapham for final bits for next week’s jaunt to Newcastle. New shoes from M&S – I love that they do half sizes.
  • Gym Time.
  • Finished my final Easter Egg – sad sad times. How long until they’re back in the shops? Anyone know?
  • Early Sunday run through London town – saw Trafalgar Square, Picadilly, Green Park, Buckingham Palace, St James’ Park, Horse Guard’s Parade, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge and The Southbank.
  • Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen Somerset House with the parentals. I went for the the French Toast brioche (and a champagne cocktail!)
  • Sofa time with Game of Thrones. Almost through Season 2.
  • Spinning class – nope I didn’t cancel it for a nap this time!

Lau xxx