I made a sticky toffee pudding!

Tell me one thing better than slobbing out in bed on a Sunday morning eating lots of warm, buttery toast and drinking copious amounts of tea? Maybe add in some easy watching E4 american tv show is on in the background, the sun is shining through your bedroom window and Tom Hardy is on his way back up the stairs with another round of breakfasty carbs.Sadly the last part for me didn’t come true, I can’t help but feel Mr Hardy keeps going to the wrong address for some reason? The main feeling that I get from that analogy is comfort. Sometimes that is all you need and it just does the trick. After a horribly long day, getting soaked in the rain on the way home and all you really want is deep fried carbs and chocolate coated errthang.

Creeping into the Autumn and Winter months and all I want to eat is sweet, carb laden foods. To be fair I feel like eating sweet, carb laden foods all year round but more specifically in the colder months. Comfort foods like jacket potatoes, mash potato covered in a thick gravy, pies and any of the types of foods you see on pub food menus that are hearty, wholesome and leave you feeling all warm and gooey on the inside. The more I’ve been trying to get better at cooking and baking the more I’ve realised how I find it so relaxing and therapeutic. It’s a good way for me to escape for a little bit and make a delicious little something to cheer me up, feed the family and also show off on instagram and twitter with a smug little ‘oooooh look what I made, and it was so simple and I made zero mess everyone’.

I decided to bake a sticky toffee pudding one afternoon basically because I really wanted to eat some. I always think of it as a typical pub grub pud  and one that would involve so many technical bits and foods it’s easier to bang a microwave one in your basket than make it yourself. But BOY was I wrong. I went online and had a scout for some simple recipes. I’m a simple type of girl I really can’t be bothered to flambe a fruit or what have you. Trust me when I say how easy this recipe is though and if I can do it I like to think anybody can!

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So I actually used a recipe from the Sainsburys Magazine website and you can use the same recipe found here. It’s a super simple recipe to follow I found and there were a few bits I either tweaked or skipped on.

For this super yummy slice of goodness you will need:

  • 250g of dried dates that have been stoned.
  • 75g softened butter.
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar. The recipe calls for light but I accidentally picked up the dark one whilst I was in Asda. It gave it a richer, more treacle like taste which I like anyway so win, win!
  • 2 medium eggs.
  • Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.
  • Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

That’s all the ingredients for the cake for the sauce you will need:

  • 100g dark muscovado sugar.
  • 100g butter.
  • 150ml double cream.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  1. Start off by turning your oven to 180c and lightly greasing a 20cm by 20cm tin. I love a thiiiiick slice of cake so I used a slightly smaller one than the recipe required. And also because I’m not a chef that doesn’t have ENDLESS supplies of different shapes and sizes in tins. That might have accidentally come across a wee bit passive aggressive but sometimes when you’re watching a cookery show (Love you Nigella but you’re the worst for this) they act like getting things like samphire, tagine pots and himalayan rock salt whilst living in deepest, darkest Dorset to be an easy; and cheap feat. It is not.
  2. Next take your dates and chop them up to smaller pieces. It’ll make it a lot easier on yourself when you come to mashing them later on. Once they are all finely chopped put them in a saucepan and submerge them in water and then bring it to the boil. Let the water boil for a few minutes. Then drain it and mash it until its a mushier consistency. I used a potato masher because I found that a lot easier, less messier and a lot less of a workout than using a fork.
  3. Whilst the dates were boiling I put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat it until creamed together. I had left the butter out for about half an hour so it was softened a little which helps it bind together a lot quicker.
  4. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter and beat until smooth.
  5. To the dates add the bicarb, it will foam up a little bit and then add straight into the batter mix. Following this add in the flour, spice and vanilla extract and gently fold in until it’s all mixed nicely.
  6. Pour this into your tin and then bake for about 25 minutes. Or until the cake feels firm to the touch.
  7. Leaving the cake to cool, I made a start on making the sticky toffee sauce. Putting the butter, sugar, cream and vanilla extract into a pan and bringing to a boil. Making sure all the sugar crystals have melted I poured it into a jug and left it for serving later.

I was super impressed with this AND myself for managing not to set anything on fire nor kill anyone. It was so yummy, food for the heart and food for the soul. I would totally recommend you trying this, I know a lot of people don’t like the taste of dates but they give it a fudgier, treacle like taste and you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

Sticky toffee pudding is one of my fav comfort eats what’s your favourite winter warmer?

 

 

Life Update.

Apparently there are people out who work Monday to Friday 9-5 get home just in time to watch The Chase on catch up and settle in for the evening and can actually switch off. Now to me these people are just like those infamous Nandos black cards, you’ve heard about them, yourself and no one you know has one but apparently they exist somewhere in the world.

I’ve spent all day today updating my CV, which hadn’t been done in years, I was fairly comfortable, or maybe just a little afraid of making the jump or most likely just lazy, I never got round to keeping it up to date in my old job. Traipsing through job sites and search engines to find the perfect career is a job in itself; everything sounding so pretentious/lame/or really not what you’d imagine. Take the sandwich artists at subway for instance (yes that is their job title, no I’m not kidding) I’m sure I can speak for the majority of us when I say I’ve never come away from a Subway with a work of art style sandwich; delicious yes, Monet maybe not. My point being sometimes they make jobs out to be so much better than they actually are.

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I’m not really sure what type of job I’m looking for which makes looking for one even harder. I’ve had so many conversations with people I know about things like this. A lot of people I know, don’t even know what they want to do with themselves and there is often an awful lot of pressure, especially on the younger generation to sort of know what to do. I am at the tender age of 22 and I have no idea. I know what I don’t want to do which helps but I still have a list as long as a piece of string about my possible career options.

One of my favourite things to do is people watch. Much like everyone else apparently, now I feel even more under pressure knowing that as I’m clumsy as sin and anyone could be watching me trip over thin air outside a busy starbucks. But I used to do this with my friend Leah at my previous job and I remember one afternoon we had a couple of the maintenance people instore fixing something and we were both saying after they left how they seemed to truly enjoy their job. Which we thought was kinda strange and a bit of an alien concept to the both of us. PEOPLE ACTUALLY ENJOYING THEIR WORK? Is that a thing?!!?  It’s something I wish sometimes to be honest. I’ve never really known or had a longing to do just one thing in particular but I have always been so jealous of those that had. I am much, much happier since leaving my previous job however where to go from here has left me in a bit of a dilemma, sort of like I’m at a crossroads and the Cat in the Hat has just bounced out of nowhere with a chuckle and ran off with the map.

I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to college and learning a skill, something that will separate me from the rest and perhaps give me a new lease of life and introduce me to something I enjoy. And maybe help me meet new people. I have a small handful of friends and over time that handful is getting smaller. That isn’t a real problem because the friends I do have I wouldn’t change for the world but it can get a bit lonely at times.

Since quitting my job in July, I’ve felt kinda all over the place, I was a shop manager at 22 and I felt like that changed me for the worse and very quickly defined me too. I was stressed out all the time and the only thing I could think about or talk about was work, BOOOOOOOOOOORING. It took a few weeks for me to normalise to regular life, going from high intensity to lie ins (for the first time in months and months and months may I add) and doing whatever the heck I fancied. I felt like I was on a gap yah but remained in sunny old blighty without having to buy a visa to Thailand to find the New Abbie she was discovered on a day trip with my best bud to Weymouth. Not exactly the glamourous moonlight party on a thai beach like most, but hey who wants to be like the others eh?

It came to me on one of those very cheesy 2p machines at the arcade that I wanted to do fun things like this everyday. I want to feel happy, have a positive relationship with my family and friends, make Abbie happy and just do FUN things everyday. So until I’ve found the job that’ll make me do backflips and cartwheels I’m very content with making my own happiness. Whether that be learning something new, I really want to go to a sushi making class or taking up belly dancing, or dying my hair blue, then pink then bleach blonde cos why not? Or booking tickets to a gig or a comedy night or a festival on a whim. I’m sure to keep you all up to date with what I’m up to either on here, on my insta feed or on my twitter too.

What I’m also trying to say, if you’re going through the same thing. Don’t worry because so am I. Everything happens for a reason and life is for living. I have been a bit hesitant in looking for another job as I don’t want to end up in the same way as I was last time. So taking some me time can never work out for wrong reasons. And hey, maybe you’ll see an ad for tap dancing, discover your passion for it and become the new and improved Michael Flatley and you can thank me in your memoirs or in that infamous Ellen Degeneres interview in years to come??

I made a raspberry and almond tray bake!

I haven’t baked in ages, I know it sounds dreadfully lazy of but the thought of going to the shops, buying ingredients, the thrill of bumping into people I don’t want to see. Baking can be quite a lengthy process as well as incredibly messy maybe I speak for myself on that bit, but those things do put me off. When it’s so much easier to watch Netflix and order something unhealthy or living at home when my mum and sister are both confident cooks and bakers they do most of it. However, my sister is on holiday with her boyfriend this week and with a week of peace and quiet also comes a free kitchen space for moi. 

I spent this morning getting very distracted on Pinterest (why is everything and everyone on there so pretty?!) before I eventually searched for easy baking recipes. I wanted to make something easy and fruity. I know I’ve said before I have a big sweet tooth but when it comes to cakes or desserts I’d much rather opt for something fruity than sickly sweet like a double chocolate molten brownie. I spotted a recipe for a Bakewell tart and that’s one of my favourite sweet treats. It goes so well with a cup of tea or coffee but that recipe also called for homemade shortcrust pastry and macerated raspberries so it was back to the drawing board (or the Pinterest boards actually) so I just typed into google for a raspberry and almond cake and one of the top recipes that appeared was from the bbc good food website here. The method sounded super duper easy which sucked me in and the ingredient list wasn’t at all ridiculous so WINNING all round. 

If you want to recreate the recipe you will need: 

  • 140g ground almonds,
  • 140g softened butter (it didn’t specify salted or unsalted so I used salted as it didn’t say to add any salt in,
  • 140g golden caster sugar,
  • 140g self raising flour, 
  • 2 medium eggs,
  • Raspberries, 
  • Half a tsp vanilla extract,
  • Flaked almonds to top.

I freestyled a little bit with this one, I doubled the quantities, cake is one of the main food groups in my household and I knew this wouldn’t last more than five minutes. I also added in some almond extract flavouring. Me and my mum really like the almond taste and flavour so if you aren’t a big fan you don’t have to add it, and it’s still just as delicious. The recipe is so SO simple as well throwing all the ingredients into a mixer apart from the raspberries and flaked almonds, mix it through thoroughly and layer half in a lined tin. Dot some raspberries in the mixture and then pour the rest of the cake batter on top. I put some flaked almonds on top so they would crisp and roast up in the oven. The oven was on 180c and it took about 30-40 minutes. Leaving it to cool I then drizzled some icing over the top to finish it off. 


Not the prettiest picture as you can see it was starting to catch on in places. But I sprinkled a few extra flaked almonds over the top. 


Tastes prettier than it looks you’ll have to trust me on that one. 


I was really pleased with how this bake cake out, I was worried that with ground almonds and flour it might make the batter with heavy and dry but with the raspberries it added some extra moisture but didn’t make it have a soggy bottom either. Totally giggling at soggy botty aren’t I? 

For a quick, simple recipe I’d definitely recommend this one. It was super easy to make and didn’t take too long at all, so if you’re using up old ingredients in the cupboard, having a friend over at last minute or even baking with the kiddies this one is perf. 

The Dancing Moose, Wimborne, Dorset. 

Food is probably my favourite thing in the world. Whether that be trying and eating new things or trying new places, browsing through Pinterest and Buzzfeed for hours daydreaming about what I could try making and baking next or just sat in front of the watching programmes like come dine with me, Great British Bake Off and anything else on the food network really. I think I’ve mentioned it before on a previous post about how I’m not a big fan of chain restaurants, if I go out to town or somewhere new I enjoy traipsing through Instagram or tripadvisor to find somewhere new and delicious to grab some food. I’ve found I’m often far less disappointed when eating somewhere different. Most of the time the food is better as well as the service is massively improved too. 


I’m a bit of a sucker for somewhere with a cool name too so when me and my pally Jimmy we’re searching for some breakfast grub one drizzly Sunday I practically hopped,skipped and jumped into The Dancing Moose. Top marks on the super funky name and as you’ve got two branches I’ve got the burning question of is the plural of Dancing Moose, meese or mooses? I’m not sure either someone get back to me on that though or it’ll bother me for ages. Going back to my original point, I’m a fairly visual person (hey, minds out the gutter you!) but this place looks really cool and would very easily slot right into a bustling street in Shoreditch.  This is my type of place! From the bare brick walls, great food plus I’m a sucker for an offer; taco Tuesdays sounds like my type of night! Plus I loved this sign on the door.


This is the breakfast I had on my first visit. It was really great service but I had to send the waiter away about two or three times because I simply couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat; such a first world problem I know!! I have a massive sweet tooth so pancakes, berries and maple syrup was jumping out to me but then I also fancied something quite indulgent and fresh that I wouldn’t normally make for myself at home like eggs benedict. In the end I decided on the American waffle as you can see above (YUM) it was a base of a sweet waffle, topped with crispy bacon, two sausages, a grilled tomato, some crispy herby potatoes and a fried egg. In the super cute metal pot is some warm maple syrup I poured all over. Personally I wouldn’t have minded a splash more of it but like I say I have a massive sweet tooth. It was really delicious and totally different to something I’d usually make myself or even order for a brunch snack.


I had breakfast there again Sunday just gone and I thought I’d try something else. This time opting for B.A.E which was toasted sourdough with a coated of creamy, mashed avocado, rashers of crispy bacon, two poached eggs and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. I took two different friends who hadn’t been there before and it was really busy. The toast I had was a little bit too well done as was the bacon making it quite difficult to cut. Nonetheless it hasn’t put me off going back, it was really busy which is always a good sign so I would still definitely recommend this place to everyone and still keep going back. The decor is really cool and modern and the menu totally matches this vibe too. Places like this are quite few and far between unless I go to Bournemouth, Bristol or Bath. I’ve only ever been to the one in Wimborne but there is another one in Ashley Cross in Bournemouth if you fancied visiting or one please let me know what you think!

Anchor Inn; Seatown, Dorset.

Today we embarked on a leisurely day out with the family and the pooch. Living in Dorset I am surrounded by rolling hills, quaint little hamlets and beachy coves to explore. I’ve grown up here my whole life and I still haven’t been absolutely everywhere within my own county. Anyhow; we went on a trip out in the car and ended up nearby to Lyme Regis. I spent a lot of my childhood summers that was as my grandparents had a caravan there and my mum has family that way too, so that part of the world has always had a familiar, welcome home feel.

Sweeping round the coastal roads the skies were bluer than the sea and you could see for miles and miles around. We stopped for lunch at a charming seaside gastropub overlooking the beach.

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Lunching with a view Continue reading “Anchor Inn; Seatown, Dorset.”

How I won a CHANEL handbag! P.S this is not clickbait.

Personally I can’t think of anything more typically Parisian and iconic than the interlocking CC on the Chanel logo, perhaps the Eiffel tower or a box of pastel macarons. I have lusted over this label since I can remember, it is something of an icon and something I have always dreamed of affording. IMAGINE MY EXCITEMENT WHEN I SCREAM I AM NOW THE PROUD OWNER OF A CHANEL CAVIAR DOUBLE FLAP BAG.

If you’re the type of person that that name may not mean much to you, well you may wanna skip this post. Soz. But I am here to tell all you lovely people just how easy it was. If you’ve been reading some of my previous whinge posts you may already know that I left my full time job back in July. So in the last week of August on a rainy day at home I decided to enter practically every single free competition going on the web. From cruises round the antarctic to winning a racing bike (in hindsight, I don’t know what i’d have done with that either) but I came across a post on twitter to just simply retweet and win a Celine handbag. I always see those tweets, I nearly always retweet tweet them and I don’t ever win.

Arm Candy website to see what it was all about and noticed another competition where you simply guess how many sweets are in a jar (as easy as that I KNOW) and you could win the dream handbag of your choice. There were so many designer bags it was hard to choose just one. I chose the Chanel because it has always been a dream of mine to own one. I didn’t think I would win and if I’m completely honest I thought it would be one of those ones where so many people enter I’d never think about it after that. And to be honest that’s exactly what I did. When I entered this contest it was free to enter for one guess. I took a gamble on the amount of marshmallows in the jar and didn’t think anything of it.

IMG_3130 These are the said sweets in the jar, I was one guess out which was the closest.

I entered my mobile number and email and clicked out of the tab. I got a confirmation text and forgot about the whole thing. About five or so days passed and I have really poor signal at home and received a voicemail from a random mobile number. Now this happens to me more than anyone I know. I am forever getting odd voicemails from people I don’t know. I once received one from someone asking the whereabouts for ‘greenfly’. I wish I rang back asking who has such a cool nickname and how they acquired that moniker too. Anyhow! I clicked on the voicemail expecting something ridiculous, out of the ordinary, a muffling in a pocket or a wretched PPI call; the audacity when they now leave voicemails was the first thought I actually had.

It was from Robert, one of the directors of Arm Candy congratulating me on winning a Chanel handbag asking me to call back on this number. Even as I called back and spoke to him I still didn’t quite believe it. To be honest as it’s sat in my bedroom I still don’t! I was in complete shock. I never win anything! We spoke over the next couple of days and arranged to meet at a hotel in town. Partly because we have building work going on at home so having nice photos taken wouldn’t be the most ‘instagrammable’. And also, my family were a bit concerned about it all. It seems far too good to be true that I would have got such a fab prize for nothing! My sister and mum came along as I met Robert and Gary last Wednesday.

I was super nervous and excited all at the same time. What if no one turns up? What if this was the world’s most random and elaborate scam? I got a text from Robert to say they had arrived and saw the luxe black chanel carrier in the hotel foyer from the corner of my eye. I made a beeline and introduced myself to the pair. Sitting down with them we had a little chat about it all and my experience on the site. Even with the bag sat in pride of place in front of me I still couldn’t quite believe it. When I entered they were still doing their free vote trial initiative and now it’ll cost you £2 for one vote, £3 for three votes or £5 for ten votes. I think that is really good value considering I’d think nothing of spending about £3ish for my usual skinny vanilla latte.

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Say hello to my baby Coco born on the 5th of September 2017 weighing in at a slight 1lb 12oz it had been a long wait but she is absolutely perfect. Mother and baby are doing well with baby still yet to make her first outing out of the house.

If I have anything to say about Arm Candy other than THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, it would be don’t be afraid to enter. Someone has to win and you never know it may be you? It may sound wayyyyyy too good to be true but I can guarantee to you, this isn’t a scam. If you are a handbag lover like me this place is right up your street.

HAPPY NATIONAL BURGER DAY.

A few years ago, the Legend that is, Kate Moss came out with this gem “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Little did we know, our Mossy had clearly forgotten about the wonderment that is carbs. More importantly burgers. What better way to celebrate National Burger day than showing you some of the most magical burger joints I’ve visited recently.

I had a conversation with my best pal in the car last night (cos we all know that all the most important conversations happen late at night with your BFFL in the car) and I confessed, albeit sounding like a pretentious twonk, that I hate chain restaurants. It’s a bold claim, one you might even see on an Urban Outfitters white tee one day but I love finding hidden little hideaways up a side street that no one else has heard of and having an incredible meal. So much so between me and a couple of my friends, I’ve developed a bit of a reputation of finding hidden gem eateries and I tend to be in charge of picking where to eat too.

IMG_2937 Continue reading “HAPPY NATIONAL BURGER DAY.”

I quit my job.

Hi internet pals. I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time and essentially just get it all off my chest. I have been going through the motions somewhat over the last six months and battling problems that I felt I was so out of my depth with.I never really felt like I had a problem with my mental health or my battles with anxiety until recently. I have been at a bit of a low ebb to say the very least. Pushing those closest to me away. Busying myself by going out nearly everyday or spending all my time sleeping or eating. I hadn’t really thought about what I was to do next all I was focusing on was trying to become myself again and doing anything I wanted to, to make me feel happy again.  I was in my job for four and a half years, and in some aspects of retail work that would class me as an old timer.

It was quite a tumultuous journey I went on in those years and that’s really not me being over dramatic. I made some of the best friends whom I hope stay with me through life (no pressure guys) I also met some of the most eccentric people, here’s looking at you colleague X who used to colour in their food with a biro pen which would help add extra taste and flavour??? Yeah I made that ew noise too. I cried til I laughed and laughed til I cried on plenty of occasions.

I dealt with a close colleague suffering and also beating cancer. That was actually my first taste of the big C. She was my colleague, my confidante but more importantly she was my friend and I can admit I was scared. I hated seeing someone I was so fond of suffer.

I got sexually harassed in the workplace by a customer resulting in me having to take time off work. Too scared to leave the house. Too scared to go anywhere on my own. Having a panic attack on my first day out shopping with my Mum. Then returning to work and being told that I have to get over it immediately and cannot bring it up again.  Fab.

I had to deal with one of the worst people and employees I had the misfortune to come across. Constantly blowing hot and cold, making mine and my colleagues lives hell, seeming almost hell bent to make our lives as much of a misery as possible. Culminating in said employee filing a malicious and false grievance claim, getting the police involved as she was screenshotting personal social media accounts for her own personal vendettas.

I became a store manager aged 21 just last year. Being one of the youngest on my region. I became a new person, feeling very career orientated. I wanted to pursue a path that my teachers at school said I’d never achieve. In doing so I became a sickly sweet yes person. To the point where I would often lose out on days off, working 6/7 days a week without a rest, sometimes even without breaks every day just to prove a point. To prove whatever it was to my boss that I was hoping he’d see. I was made to run a store practically on my own with no staff. Working so much overtime and 7am til late most days.

I became a shell of the person I used to be. I was constantly tired and burnt out. I felt emotionally and physically drained and everytime I thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel the light seemed to keep getting further and further away. I had no support and I simply couldn’t cope with the poor treatment and lack of respect a second longer. Since leaving I’ve felt a combination of sadness, as I didn’t hate my job or my work pals. I’ve felt quite bitter as that treatment was just allowed to continue and no one seemed to care. But now more than anything I’m feeling mighty relieved I don’t have to put up with it anymore.

As mad as it sounds I’m kinda glad it all happened in those serious of unfortunate events. It shaped me to become a better, stronger person. I’ve learnt to not put up with any crap that is hurled my way. Whether that’s from a work environment, family and friends or even in relationships. If something doesn’t make you happy you are worth a hell of a lot more than to have to put up with it. Because you are awesome. And if they, whoever they are, cannot see that, then they can stick it.

All my love, A. x