Tuesday 19 February 2013

Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies

There is something really nice about the chocolate, salted caramel combo in these yummy brownies. This is a such lovely and simple recipe that I ask how could you possibly resist?!


Makes 12-16

150g/5oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150g/5oz plain dark chocolate broken into pieces
100g/3 1/2oz dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce
2 large eggs
75g/3oz soft brown sugar
75g/3oz caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g/ 3 1/2oz self raising flour
100g/3 1/2oz walnut pieces chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes


1/ Grease a 30x30 (12x8) brownie tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat and warm until just melted. In a separate saucepan, gently warm through the dulce de leche or caramel sauce. 

2/ Meanwhile place the eggs, brown sugar, caster sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Using a rubber spatula stir in the melted chocolate, flour and half of the chopped walnut pieces (or similar). 

3/ Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter over the remaining walnuts then drizzle over the dulce de leche or caramel and sprinkle the salt flakes over the top. 

4/ Bake in a pre-heated oven 200°C (400°C), Gas Mark 6 for 15-18 minutes until just firm to the touch, but with a slightly fudgy texture. 

5/ Leave to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then lift on to  a board using the lining paper and cut into squares, serve warm or cold. 

AND then sit back, relax and enjoy. YUM! 

Helly's Top Tip:  I use pre chopped mixed nuts instead of walnuts and it works just as well. If you don't have any brown sugar in the cupboard normal sugar will work just as well!

Helen X

Friday 15 February 2013

NOTD Ciaté Cookies & Cream

I'm not usually one for a neutral nail colour but I'm loving this Ciaté shade which is 'Cookies & Cream 058'. These are probably the cutest nail polishes around, I adore the little bows that come attached to the top of the bottle, gorgeous addition to a polish collection! This particular polish is from a mini collection but you can buy  Ciaté  polishes from Beauty Bay , lots of gorgeous colours to choose from. 


Helly's Top Tip: With it being quite a sheer shade I would definitely recommend two decent coats and finish off with a top coat for added shine and staying power. 

Helen X

Monday 11 February 2013

GlossyBox Review February 2013

I was very pleased to receive my February Glossy Box on Saturday, the theme for this box is (of course) Valentines day and promises make sure I'll have the night of my life.....(hmmm not sure about that!). 

The box itself could not be more 'me' even if it tried, a mixture of baby pinks and hot pinks, completely girly. 

On my first impression I was really pleased, the contents of this box are much more appropriate for me than last months (see January review for more information).  

Glossy Box Contents: 

1. Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose Lip Balm (£3.49 for full size 8ml)  Lovely! Yes it's another lip balm but anyone who reads my blog will know my love for lip balm, so I was more than happy to add another to the collection! It smells gorgeous, very floral but that's OK, lovely and smooth to apply and does make my lips feel soft. 

2. Miners Cosmetics Lip Colour (£3.99 for full size 5g) I haven't seen or heard about Miners for years so I was quite surprised to receive this and see that the company still exists. I received the shade Cinnamon which on first impression I thought would be too browny for me but it isn't too bad, quite shimmery but reasonably wearable. 

3. MeMeMe Beat the Blues in Pearly Pink (£5.50 for full size 12ml) This was probably the more disappointing item for me, I adore Benefit and this is basically the cheaper, high street equivalent of High Beam which is a fantastic highlighter. Although the packaging and colour of the product are similar, in this instance I do think you get what you pay for, the coverage isn't great and the brush is quite brittle making it tricky to apply. I will use this though as it will be perfect for day to day wear but I don't think it gives the same highlighting effect as High Beam. 

4. Micabella Mineral Eye Shadow (£14.95 for full size 2.5g, received in GlossyBox 1g) I received the shade 'Deep Secrets' which is quite a deep bronze shade, I don't really have many eye shadows of this shade so I can definitely work this into my existing collection. With it being a mineral powder it is very pigmented so I will use it sparingly. Lovely product however. 

5. Rituals Magic Touch Cherry Blossom & Rice Milk Whipped Body Cream (£15 for 200ml, £5.00 for 70ml,received 70ml) This I was very pleased with,I love Rituals products and this is one of their best sellers. It smells divine and has a lovely smooth, mousse like texture on application, I tried it on my hands and they felt moisturised and soft for a good couple of hours after. Surprisingly this is probably my favourite item out of this months Glossy Box. 

The freebie this month was a cute heart shaped Glossy Box lollipop, very fitting for the Valentines theme just a shame mine was broken!

All in all I was really pleased with the selection in this months box and also the size of the products. I still think that the paper information leaflet that comes included really lets the box down, maybe Glossy Box can redesign this or bring back the card inserts that were previously included.

I wonder what next months will contain!

Anyone get anything different in theirs?

Lots of Love

Helen X

Friday 8 February 2013

Happy Days Fly By

Happy Days Fly By...........

That they do, time just seems to be disappearing  This time last year I was over half way into my pregnancy and about to start maternity leave, now my leave is nearly finished and one of my best friends is starting her Mummy journey :-)

I saw this cute wooden ornament in my (amazing) Next Store for £6.00. I love Next at the moment, the quality is excellent and there is   always so many lovely things to choose! I am incredibly pleased I don't live closer to our new Next as it's the size of B&Q, I think I'd be there every day if I did! It was a bit of an impulse purchase but it sums up the way I'm feeling at the moment, such a poignant quote. I also love butterflies and it reminds me of my wedding day.

Just a short post as today has been about Alfie cuddles and waiting for the weekend to start. 

Helen X

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Liebster Award

I've been nominated for a 'Liebster Award' by the lovely Lucy from Little Super Sparks. This is an award given to new, up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. 

The rules are as follows:

1/ List 11 facts about yourself
2/ Answer the 11 questions that have been given to you
3/ Create 11 new questions for the bloggers that you are nominating for the award
4/ Acknowledge the person who nominated you by linking back to their blog
5/ Choose 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you feel deserve recognition and post on their blog to let them know about the award. 

Facts about Me: 

1/ I am an only child
2/ My favourite colour is pink (funny that!)
3/  I have 2 cats, Winston & Louie and 1 Chicken called Mavis (we recently lost our other Chicken, Muriel)
4/ I have over 100 pair of shoes 
5/ I am studying to be a Nurse
6/ I love chocolate in any way, shape or form
7/ I use social media far too much
8/ It's taken a while for me to accept that actually, I am a girly girl
9/ One of my weird crushes is Heston Blumethal
10/ I love American TV shows, at the moment it's Revenge, Criminal Minds & The Big Bang Theory
11/ I'd love to write a novel at some point in my life

My Questions:

1. What's your favourite drink? If alcoholic it would have to be Champagne without a doubt, especially Veuve Clicquot, if non alcoholic it would have to be full fat Coke but usually I drink Coke Zero instead
2. If you had £200 to spend on yourself, what would you spend it on right now? I would put it into my New York fund for my 30th in December!
3. What's your favourite season? Spring, I love the warm breeze, seeing all the baby animals and the happy 'spring' feeling that I get
4. What's your favourite colour? PINK - funny that!
5. Who have you been closest to in your life? My Mum, always and my 2 best friends, they are my rocks
6. Do you have a recurring dream? What is it? No recurring dreams, although when I was pregnant I kept dreaming that Alfie would be an alien :-/
7. What sort of bed do you have, and what is on it right now? I have a double bed with a wooden frame that I'm always whacking my shins on! Currently it has a white duvet cover and purple and black pillows
8. What's you favourite meal to cook for yourself? I tend to bake rather than cook, that's the hubbys job! If I had to choose though it would be a medium steak with all the trimmings and a pepper sauce, yummy!
9. Who was your celebrity crush as a teenager? I was obsessed with Boyzone and Ronan Keating, 'back in the day'!
10. What is your secret talent? I don't really have one, how dull!
11. Describe the last time you felt really happy. Holding my baby boy in my arms when he was 1st born, pretty obvious answer really!

The blogs I am nominating for the Liebster Award are Abbey loves AllureAdventures of an Average MummyBeauty is PerfectionWho's that Girl? and Beauty by Numbers.

These are your questions:

1/ What beauty item can you not live without?
2/ Best book of 2012?
3/ Night in or night out?
4/ Favourite animal?
5/ Best piece of advice ever given to you?
6/ Dream holiday destination?
7/ What colour are your eyes?
8/ Biggest fear?
9/ Favourite film?
10/ Facebook, twitter or neither?
11/ Who is your weird crush?

I look forward to reading your answers. 

Helen X

Monday 4 February 2013

Active Alfie

I can't quite believe where the last 8 months have gone, time has flown ridiculously quick in recent months. My maternity leave is rapidly coming to an end and my studies are beckoning. My little man, Alfie, is taking huge leaps and bounds in his development.  Gone are the days where I could safely leave him in the middle of the room to grab a cuppa and he'd still be in the same place when I got back! Now we have a speed demon that chases the cats and wants to eat everything in sight (anyone know the nutritional value of laptop chargers and TV remotes?!). The stair gates are now in place (all 4 :-/)  all reachable items are migrating further and further up and the house is baby proofed, it makes for one tired Mama with all these new found active skills!

I love that every day Alfie is discovering something new that he can do, He can now clap his hands (all the time!), give high fives, pull himself up against the sofa and make various new sounds, although his favourite is still blowing raspberries. The look of delight on his face every morning when you go into his nursery is priceless. He's my beaming, happy little chappy.  

I love my boy, he is quite simply my life and as I write this I wonder what the next 8 months will bring? 

Helen X