lashesoflifestyle

Posts by this author:

Chocolate Drizzled Vanilla Fudge

Part of my Christmas presents to everyone included fudge – Home-made, chocolate drizzled, crumbly, vanilla Fudge.

In a bid to save money this Christmas as on a very tight budget, I was making Christmas presents. After researching different treats I could make to accompany presents and also to form the main part of a few gifts, I decided on fudge – I wanted to make something I’d never made before and you always find fudge at Christmas markets.

It was hard to choose a recipe, as many say you need a candy thermometer to stop simmering when the fudge reaches 115 degrees, but I am no candy maker normally, and I didn’t have the money or time to find a candy thermometer (YES, I left everything to the last minute…something I definitely won’t be doing next year!).

I found a community recipe on Nigella’s website for Vanilla fudge, which was a timed recipe (It did have the temperature too if you had a thermometer) and works very well as long as you stick to the time (The second time I made a batch of fudge I put a timer on my phone for the 15 mins, so that it was simmering for the exact time rather than just looking at a clock, and it worked better).

Here’s the recipe and how it went:

Ingredients for Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 350 grams caster sugar
  • 80 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Milk and White Chocolate to decorate/drizzle

Line a dish ready for fudge to set in – I would recommend lining with baking paper rather than greasing as you can then easily lift it out once cooled.

Put everything in a saucepan (except the vanilla and chocolate). Bring to boil and then simmer for 15 minutes (this is where it’s best to set a timer on phone!).

image  stirring image(1)

It will go thicker towards the end, no need to worry when this happens!

Bring off the heat. Add the vanilla and beat until thickens. Pour into the lined dish, and you should still be able to spread the top to make it even.

image(2)

Now comes the patient part – Wait for it to cool!

I then cut my fudge with a large knife, rocking backwards and forwards on the blade to try get a clean cut. You can break the fudge – I did run out of patience a little so have to admit I resorted to this too.

I warmed two freddos in one mug, and some white chocolate in another to drizzle my fudge in chocolate. I put the chocolate drizzled fudge in the fridge for the chocolate to set.

image(3)

Next comes how to decorate and pack – The arty bit! I tried clear food bags which I tied with ribbon, but they weren’t see through enough, and to be honest it looked awful! With a little help from my creative housemate we came up with making small parcels of fudge out of baking paper and ribbon..and here’s how they turned out…

image(5) image(4)

I can say they definitely went down a treat. Perhaps a little sweet for some, but very tasty and you don’t need to give a large portion. Cheap and Tasty present in an hour!

To see the full recipe and instructions I used, you can go to: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/vanilla-fudge-2281. Enjoy!

Follow:

New Year – Let’s BLOG!

So it’s been way too long since blogging last time, and I actually feel guilty for letting myself get away with it! I love writing, I just didn’t have enough time. It is actually quite hard putting time aside, making sure it’s a time you’re relaxed enough to really love writing you blog ( as let’s face it, there’s no point writing if you don’t enjoy it!!), and a time when you are actually going to be happy with what you write!

My time over Christmas was jam packed! Visiting home, making Christmas presents, seeing friends before Christmas, working (as I’m in retail too), making the most of Christmas, Winter Wonderland, sales shopping and New Year! But now come the New Years Resolutions – TO BLOG being one of my main resolutions!

Today was my first day in my new job – I am now officially an Assistant Account Executive, and I love my job! Back to normality today means more time in the evenings and eventually the weekends; time to keep my new years resolutions.

Along with blogging I have decided that I want to try something new every month – whether that’s learning something new (I want to learn how to knit, how to dance in a different style…), or trying somewhere new (a new restaurant, attraction, visit a new place…), trying a new food/drink,  but 2014 is going to bring many new and exciting things, and I can’t wait!

I would definitely recommend this to everyone – Make the most of life and try everything you can.

 

Follow:

Christmas Presents on a Budget

Christmas is coming, and fast. But we all know that! Have we all finished Christmas Shopping? A lot of people I have asked have said they have,or that they only need to get the odd thing. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has only started recently.

I  started wondering just how much people spend on Christmas. From my experience, my parents have always gone over the top, and still do even though we’ve all grown up, but then I guess it’s always hard to admit your children are now old enough to cut back. I have always wanted my presents to appear amazing and look like I’ve spent a lot, so perhaps this is from my upbringing; but normally this is still budgetted (with a larger budget for the BF – but no where near as crazy as my friend who is spending over £200 on one watch!), I just search for the best options.

This year, things are going to be different. Of course I still want my presents to look amazing, but after 2 months unpaid work experience and living on part time wage, I have little money available for presents so I have decided to MAKE my presents!

My ideas started with sweets and treats which I could wrap, pack into jars or boxes as gifts. With some great recommendations I came up with these ideas:

  • Toffee
  • Peppermint creams
  • Fudge
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Truffles

(Keep an eye out for my post on how my fudge making goes!)

I also decided I was going to use my ‘arty’ side for gifts too. One idea was a collage for my boyfriends mum, along with some other great ideas for certain people who I know read my blog so I have to keep quiet about those!

I used different media, but all were easily accessible, or very cheap! I decided I was going to do one pencil drawing, one with felt tips, one with biro and I really wanted to do a painting (or use paint with a biro outline) but all my paints were at my parents house. Having ventured into a 99p shop (which is amazing!), I found some acrylic paints for 99p which definitely made my mind up.

After getting back I found I didn’t have any paintbrushes (I did think a stray may have been found in one of my boxes – very dissappointing), looking around the house for spares, I realised I could use anything and make it a challenge! I began mixing and painting the one part of my collage with cotton buds, cotton pads and cocktail sticks – so much fun!

photo(7)

I spent the whole day yesterday doing art. I finally finished my 4 parts, putting together my finished work in a photoframe I already had and not used. I also made the most of old magazines, by cutting out peachy colours to use as a background for my collage.

And here is what I made … (Still debating with myself whether to put letters spelling out family in the top corner…)

photo(8)

I have loved my challenge of thinking of cheaper gift ideas, and it is still ongoing as got my family to do now. It feels great when you have made something for a gift, and takes so much effort and thought, I believe it could even make as a better present!

 

Follow:

First Work Event Coming Up? Feeling Daunted? Don’t Be!

Last night I had my first ever work event … yes first ever, apart from when I worked at the wacky warehouse, but I’m sure conferences where they imitated what a kids party should be like – you playing conga, musical chairs, dressing up games and eating buffet food doesn’t really count as a proper work event.

Last night I attended the SmartCookie party at the Covent Garden Hotel – Very swanky location, gorgeous place to have an event!

When I first left the office, I felt nervous. I didn’t know how well I’d perform at a networking event, all I could do is think POSITIVE, CONFIDENCE and cross my fingers (and toes!! Which, just to let you know, were freezing..silly weather).

Me and my other colleague, Alice, turned up a little later than the other half of our team (Work can’t just stop at 5:30pm because we have a party to go to). When we got to The Covent Garden Hotel we put our coats and bags in the cloakroom and made our way into the room where the get together was being held.

We were greeted with cocktails (Yes, there were non-alcoholic versions…No, I didn’t go for those – would you after a hard day at work?!). The canapes being served were amazing, tiny little renditions of meals; fish and chips, shepherds pies, curry followed by bannoffee pie and scones – all tiny so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating dessert.

At the beginning things did feel a little awkward. I met a few people through Alice, and then went and stood with the other half of the team who were chatting with one of our clients. It was all quite interesting, and I joined in when I could.

We were soon all ‘shushed’ and the organiser of the party made a speech. He introduced the band who were playing in the other room – little, cosy space. Such a nice set up!

Everyone moved into the little room to discover this new band. After a short while listening to the music, we moved back into the main room. We got talking to one woman from one of the other companies, and had a great conversation about the difference between English and American culture and travel (She was from America..), and she soon introduced me to other people in her company, and others she had met that night. It was great! I was ‘flying all by myself’. So happy that I was making the most of the night, speaking to other people, and hopefully making a great impression to help with my career.

I really enjoyed last night, and we even came away with some amazing goody bags!

goodybaggoodybag2

Tips I would give for anyone coming up to having their first/one of their first work events:

  • Confidence is everything! Even if you aren’t confident, act confident. SHINE!
  • Look interested, make conversation, and if you get talking to one person they might just introduce you to others – great way to make your way around the room for a beginner.
  • Take cards – (check your card holder  beforehand- don’t forget to fill it! I know someone who has done this, it is quite funny at the time)
  • Don’t get drunk. The cocktails may taste great, BUT always stay less drunk than the others. Keep on top of the ball and make the best impression you can.
  • Anyone can do it…Just believe in yourself!
Follow:

Dogs are a Man’s Best Friend (Woman’s in my Case)

When you’ve been living away from home for a while, you miss certain things – being made cups of tea when you wake up (No I wasn’t spoilt), Cuddling up on the sofa in front of the wood burner, having family there whenever you need them. One thing I really do miss is having my dogs around.

archie

For all you non-dog owners out there, dog owners get so used to having dogs around; Laying their head/paws on you for attention; watching over you when they think something is wrong, just generally being around. They are like an additional member to the family. So for all of you who miss your family, think about having another person you miss.

Currently having an evening where I’m thinking about my parent’s house and home home, as I’m home alone, and thinking about my cute pups (well, not quite puppies anymore, but they have just as much energy!). I’d love them to be hear to keep me warm.

Yes they can be annoying, especially when dog breath comes on the scene – euwwww. The one thing I do love is the walks

.photo (2)

When the weather was nice, and we used to live closer to home home, me and my boyfriend used to go for long walks with the dogs. Well I say walks, but my boyfriend would run off and play chase/tag/races/I don’t know what he was doing. We used to play fetch with them, and we’d all be really worn out when we got back, the dogs (plus the boyfriend, as he spent more time with the dogs than the rest of us) would collapse in a heap on the floor.

photo (1)

I’d love to get a dog in London, but it’s so expensive and so much responsibility whilst I’m building my life here. So, tonight I made the decision, that once I have my life/career sorted I am going to offer dog walking services to neighbours, or volunteer to get my doggy dose (plus when I eventually get weekends off I will be able to visit home more often, and visit my own doggies).

I still need to do my research, but watch this space!

Follow: