Raspberry and Blueberry Muffins

27 August 2013

Some of you might know that I work four mornings a week. So when I have the odd quiet afternoon, there's nothing better than a bit of impromptu baking. Actually, most of my baking is spur of the moment nowadays. I simply get an idea of what I want to make {depending what ingredients I've got in} then I'll have a flick through my recipe books and Google, spot something that looks good {and easy} and dive in.

That's exactly what happened when I decided to make these muffins. I was browsing through Pinterest {one of my fave pastimes!} spotted some blueberry muffins and decided to make some myself. I had some blueberries and raspberries in the fridge so they all got thrown in for good measure.

They were one of the quickest and easiest things I have ever made. Ten minutes preparation and they were in the oven, and only 25 minutes later they were ready. The darlings and I sneakily ate one each while they were still warm and I must say they are absolutely delicious. Not overly sugary but fruity, moist and incredibly tasty. These will definitely be my go-to recipe for any last minute baking. You know, I might even make some now and take them to my parents house for tea today!

Raspberry & Blueberry Muffins

Makes 10
Preparation time 10 minutes
Baking time 25 minutes

120g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
175ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Handful of porridge oats
150-200g blueberries and raspberries

Preheat oven to 180C {350F} Gas mark 4. Line a muffin tin with 10 muffin cases.

In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar and give it a good mix. Pour the milk into a measuring jug, add the eggs and whisk to mix it well. Melt the butter in the microwave. 

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the milk/eggs mixture and the melted butter and mix gently with a wooden spoon. The golden rule with muffins is not to stir vigorously or overmix it, it only needs mixing until the flour disappears. Throw in a handful of porridge oats plus the raspberries and blueberries and fold in.

Spoon into the muffin cases, no more than 3/4 full. Sprinkle a few porridge oats over the top of the mixture then pop in the oven for 25 minutes. They'll be ready when they are golden coloured and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Take out of the muffin tin immediately and leave on wire rack to cool.

The best way to eat these is slightly warm with a lovely hot mug of tea... mmmmmm!

Glossybox August 2013

21 August 2013

This is my fourth Glossybox and I think the novelty must be wearing off a bit. This month I completely forgot about it so had a huge surprise when the delivery lady brought it one Saturday morning. I sat down with the darlings and opened it with them and had to laugh at all their ooh's and aaah's! 

This month's theme is High Flyers, with goodies designed for girls on the go by showcasing different brands from around the world.

I've had a chance to try out all the products so shall we take a peek inside and see what I thought?

Olay Regenerist 3 Point Treatment Cream {sample size} // How dare they send me an anti-aging product!!! Ha ha! This claims to be a wonder product that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, retaining elasticity and suppleness. I can't say that I noticed the slightest bit of different in my skin after using the whole tube. I've got pretty good skin that I already take good care of so maybe it is aimed at skin with more fine lines and wrinkles or maybe I would need to use it for longer to see an improvement. Full size 50ml is £29.99

Emite Make Up Eyelash Curlers // My current eyelash curlers are cheapy Boots ones so I was excited about these posh looking Swedish ones.  I have quite long eyelashes anyway, so I save curlers for special occasions where I'm doing more dramatic eye make up, but I've used these every day so far and love them. They give my lashes a fantastic curl and I've thrown my cheapy ones out! RRP is £20

Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 Eye Liner & Shadow {full size} // I was quite sceptical about this and thought it just looked like a fat eyeliner pencil. I gave it a whirl though and was pleasantly surprised. I just roughly drew it over my eyelids and blended it out with my finger. It did pull my eyelids a bit and creased easily {even with primer on}. It's probably a good product to keep in your handbag for when you need to apply on the go. Full size price is £10.50.

Oceane Make Up Remover Pen {full size} // This is a product of Brazil and intended for cleaning up any minor mistakes such as smudged eye liner, mascara etc that doesn't dry out the skin. I really like this as I nearly always put my make up on downstairs and don't have make up remover and cotton buds to hand, so it's really handy to pop in my make up bag. It does the job perfectly when I've used it on the odd smudge of mascara under the eyes. It also comes with three nib refills which should keep me going for a while. £??? as it's not yet available in the UK.

TRESemme Platinum Strength Concentrated Treatment Shot {full size} // This is a once-a-week intensive treatment that claims to transform frizzy and fried hair into beach goddess worthy tresses. Basically you smooth this on the mid-lengths through to the ends of the hair, leave for one minute, rinse and you're left with silky, soft, frizz-free hair. I actually loved it, my hair felt very smooth and silky and was definitely much less frizzy that normal. I will definitely be buying this again.  Full size 15ml is £1.49.

So overall I loved this month's box, it might be my favourite yet and happily I didn't have box-envy like I did last month!

So what do you think? What did you get in your Glossybox this month?

Sunday Soul Food #7

18 August 2013

I don't go out drinking very often. You know, I'm such a home body and love nothing more than staying in with hubby, a takeaway and a film at weekends. But on Friday I had my first night out in a very long time and had  such a fantastic time. I went out with work for an Indian meal followed by a few drinks in town. Except a few drinks turned into too many cocktails and shots with me staggering home at 2am! Needless to say Saturday was a quiet day. We spent most of the day at my parents house where my mum kept up a near-constant supply of coffee and chocolate biscuits... perfect hangover cure. Today we've had a lovely day at the farm, one of the darlings favourite places.

How was your weekend? I hope you had a fantastic one. Here's some Sunday Soul Food to bring you a few words of inspiration, motivation and food for thought to lift your hearts on a Sunday evening.

This Week #6

The darlings love playing with my nail polishes, lining them up and making roads ● Ice cream and outdoor fun at Yummy Yorkshire ● Raspberry & white chocolate cake for my mum's birthday ● Chocolate pretzels... yum! ● Hubby's attempt at doing Lydia's hair ● Pink ombre{ish} nails ● Red and white polka dot nails ● Loving this month's Glossybox ● Dark nails made a nice change ● Pretty wild flowers on our walk by the canal ● Such a peaceful place ● Cool patterns in the sky ● Nails in Essie Bikini so Teeny ● Banana & Honey Loaf ● Somewhere over the rainbow ● I want to marry this nail polish! It's Avon Nailwear Pro in Coral Reef

I post on Instagram LOTS! You can follow me @mydarlingsandme
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My First MAC Lipstick

16 August 2013

Although I lust after every single piece of MAC make-up on a daily basis, the number of pieces in my collection can be counted on one hand. I almost always go for the high street brands and think there are some fantastic budget friendly products to be found.

But a couple of weeks ago I remembered that I had a lovely little Debenhams gift card that had been hiding in the bottom of my bag since my birthday last October {shame on me}. I'd been saving it to buy a new perfume but I think I actually heard it calling "Spend me Debra" so I put it out of it's misery with a trip to the cosmetics department.

It wanted to be spent at MAC.

First I spent the longest time staring at the huge amount of lipstick shades on offer, then an equally long time swatching hundreds {well it felt like it!} on my hand, wiping them off, trying some more, getting really confused as to which was which colour and eventually looking round for help. A lovely boy male assistant came to my rescue and suggested a shade named Ravishing. I have a bit of an obsession with all things coral coloured and it's the most perfect peachy coral shade I have ever seen. It was love. Can you actually be in love with a lipstick?!

I've worn it almost every day since.

Coral lipsticks seem to suit me and this gives a fabulous pop of colour without being too overwhelming. I love the formula as much as the colour. It's creamy, hydrating, buildable and has decent staying power. What more could you want?

I need want more. So with my birthday coming up in about 6 weeks if anyone asks, I'll have another gift card and this time it won't take me so long to spend it.

What do do you think of my first MAC lippy? What's your favourite make-up brand?

Banana & Honey Loaf

14 August 2013

As you know we're a family of banana lovers! I order ten bananas a week with my online shopping and they're usually finished before the end of the week. So on the rare occasion that we have a couple going brown, I get a little excited at the thought of making some sort of banana cake. My go-to banana recipe is Banana and Chocolate Chip Cake but I didn't have any chocolate in the house {shocker!} or buttercream so I scoured a few recipe books and came across this one. The darlings {and me} are loving honey at the moment so I thought it sounded like a yummy combo to try.

To say this loaf is moist is an understatement which isn't a bad thing as no one likes a dry cake! After the baking time it looked beautifully risen. I gave it a poke and it sprung back and when I inserted a skewer in the middle it came out clean. So I popped it on a wire rack to cool but when I came back a bit later it had just completely sunk. After letting out a few expletives, I knew there was nothing I could do so cut a slice off to have a taste. It tasted gorgeous. Phew!

I've read a few other bloggers experiences of baking this cake and some said it happened to them too. I personally think the original recipe had too much banana in it {3 bananas) so I have cut the amount in the recipe below to two bananas which is what I'll use next time I make it. 

They say beauty is only skin deep and I think this applies to this cake. It wasn't the best looking cake but it sure tastes beautiful inside.

Banana & Honey Loaf

Serves 10
Preparation time 20 minutes
Baking time 1 hour 15 minutes 

 225g self-raising flour
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
100g butter
2 medium bananas
100g caster sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons thick pale honey

Preheat the oven to 160C {320F} Gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Measure the flour and nutmeg into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Mash the bananas and stir into the flour mixture, along with the sugar, lemon rind, eggs and honey. Beat well until evenly mixed, then turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Pop the oven for about 1 ¼ hours or until a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover the teabread loosely with foil during the end of the cooking time if it is browning too much. 

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Sunday Soul Food #7

11 August 2013

How was your weekend? I've had a poorly Lydia with a tummy bug so my weekend has been spent holding a sick bucket, washing bed sheets and having lots of cuddles. Last night Hubby was kicked out of bed to sleep on the sofa while I had Lydia in with me... it was really nice actually. She seems to be on the mend now thank goodness and we're all looking forward to spending the day with my best friend and her girls tomorrow.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Here's some Sunday Soul Food to bring you a few words of inspiration, motivation and food for thought to lift your hearts on a Sunday evening. 

Five Things...

10 August 2013

 ... that have made me happy this week.

♥ A peaceful walk along the canal on Sunday afternoon. We live on a very busy {noisy} road but luckily we're not far away from beautiful peaceful countryside which makes me appreciate it so much more.

♥ The smiles on the darlings faces when they opened their 'half birthday' presents. Both their birthdays are close to Christmas so we always buy them something special in the summer.... Oliver got a remote control crane and Lydia got a Disney princess doll.

♥ I bought my first ever MAC lipstick! I've got a few other MAC pieces but I've never had a lippie. I popped into Debenhams with a gift voucher that I've had for agea and treated myself to the shade Ravishing which is a gorgeous coral colour.

♥ I finished work on Wednesday {I just work mornings} and it was such a sunny day that I packed up some lunch and we had a picnic on the field across the road. Simply lovely.

♥ The smell of freshly cut grass after the field across the road has just been mown. Mmmmm.

How are you spending your weekend? We're having a quiet day at home today as Lydia has got a tummy bug. I'm hoping it's just a 24 hour thing like Oliver had earlier this week. At some point we'll be going to the annual Food and Drink Festival in town where I'm sure I'll spend a fortune on yummy food from all stalls.  And as I write this I've just had my new Glossybox delivered, which was a surprise as I'd forgotten all about it this month! Have a fabulous weekend whatever you're doing.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

8 August 2013

Monday was my mum's birthday and such an amazing mum deserves an amazing birthday cake. 

Last week I asked her what cake she would like and she said a lemon drizzle cake. However I forgot to buy the lemons! Whoops! 

So instead I made this, which is a Victoria sponge cake wrapped up with white chocolate fingers and topped with plump, juicy raspberries. Luckily my mum adores raspberries.

The great thing about this cake is that visually it has the wow factor which is obviously great trait for a birthday cake. Plus it also tastes divine. I had a huge slice at my mum's birthday tea and I couldn't help letting out a big 'mmmmmmmm'!

Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

Serves 10

For the cake
Victoria sponge cake recipe here

300ml double cream
6 tablespoons raspberry jam

80g softened butter
250g icing suigar
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 drops vanilla extract

To Decorate
3 packets of Cadbury's white chocolate fingers
300g raspberries

Bake the victoria sponge cakes as per the recipe above. Leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling, pour the cream into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Put one cake onto a serving plate/board and spread with the cream, making sure you go right to the edges. Then spread the jam on to the other cake. Carefully sandwich the cakes together. If the top cake is domed, you can slice the dome off the level it.

For the buttercream, put the softened butter into a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Mix together by hand with a whisk until well combined and there are no lumps. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix with a spatula until combined. Now mix with a hand held electric whisk for about 5 minutes on high speed until it's light and fluffy. 

Spread the buttercream around the sides and top of the cake. There should be enough to give the whole cake a good thick covering. Lastly, stick the chocolate fingers all the way round the cake and arrange the raspberries on top. If you want a bit of extra wow factor you could sprinkle on a little edible glitter too.

Yummy Yorkshire

7 August 2013

Yummy Yorkshire is a recently discovered treasure that has quickly become our ice cream parlour of choice. Firstly the ice cream is incredible. From the more usual flavours like strawberry, banoffee pie and salted caramel to more outlandish flavours such as black spicy chai tea. When we visited last week they had yorkshire pudding, gravy and raspberry vinegar flavour. Seriously! No I didn't try it but I wouldn't say no to a lick if someone offered it to me!

While the ice cream parlour is the highlight for me, the darlings love it because of the fun things outside. There's a play barn with ride-on tractors and a cute little play area with the obligatory bouncy castle and sandpit.

And while the darlings play, hubby and I plonk ourselves on a picnic bench and sit and enjoy the good old British countryside.... and all the wind turbines!

Sunday Soul Food {a bit late!}

6 August 2013

Firstly apologies for being quiet on the blog lately. I had all last week off work so have been doing lots of lovely things with the darlings. We've had a couple of days out that I'll share this week. I've also been busy making a birthday cake for my mum over the weekend... photos and recipe will also follow shortly.

Anyway, here is Sunday Soul Food {2 days late!} for this week. The words are very apt for me at the moment. We've been wanting to move house for around three years now. Our house was up for sale for two years without success and I need to get my arse in gear to put it back on the market. It will happen eventually when the time is right and I need to remember to be more patient.

What do these words mean to you? What have you been waiting for?