Workworkworkworkwork

It’s humpday, half way through the working week before a long weekend (soooo glad I get Bank Holidays off!)

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We are off to Woolacombe tomorrow, which means I am currently at work attempting to be really productive before leaving for an extra long weekend! I thought I might as well do a quick blog post whilst I am making lists, not only for what I need to pack but also for what I need to do at work before I can drop my pen at 5pm and walk out. I made the mistake of emailing everyone telling them that I am going away and stupidly asking if anyone needed anything doing.. so I am now swamped!

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(I made the mess look organised for photo purposes!)

It’s been crazy hot these past couple of days, very strange for August Bank Holiday but I’m hoping that it stays this way! I want it to be dry at least for the weekend as we are camping and how ever positive a person you are, if it throws it down and you’re spending most of you time outdoors then you’re not gunna have a super fun time..

We are lucky enough to not have to sleep in a tent which is gooood! Joe has a VW Caddy which he has cleverly made possible to have a double air bed in with storage underneath.

(The photo is last time we went)

We have a camping shelter (basically a fancy gazebo) to go next to it so we have some shelter outside as once the bed is up then there is no room inside to sit/cook/do anything other than sleep.

Once I have taken more photos over the weekend of our set up and what we have been up to I will upload them!

xox

Fitbit One Review 🏃

Now I’m a sucker for a new thing to use for a couple of days and then get bored and I was a bit dubious about getting a Fitbit as I didn’t want to do the same but after a lot of research to the one that I thought I wanted and it being on sale in Argos, I thought I would treat myself to one. (They didn’t have a purple one in stock though?! I had to settle for black but to be honest it blends in to my clothes a lot more and no-one sees it anyway so it’s not too much of an issue)

I work in an office so walking around isn’t something I do a lot of and now I can actually drive and I have my own car to get to work in, I know longer walk to work so that’s  2 miles a day that I no longer do. I have started to become a bit conscious that weight will start creeping on if I’m not careful so I thought being able to monitor exactly how many steps I take, how many miles and how many flights of stairs I do a day it would motivate me to do more!
I have the fitness app built in on my Samsung S5 but I find it unreliable as I can’t always have it on me so it doesn’t count all my steps. I use Strava too for when I go running/cycling/hiking but again that doesn’t do everything that the Fitbit does.

I clip it on my bra when I am at work as it’s not visible and I can just forget it’s there. When I go running, I clip it to the waistband of my leggings (can’t think of anything worse than peeling it off of my sweaty sports bra.. eww!).

It’s tiny, probably only 5cm when it’s in it’s silicone cover (which is has to be in to be able to clip on to your clothes) It’s very sleek and it has a small display screen and one button which navigates through a few screens and tells you the steps taken, floors climbed, calories burnt, distance walked, if you have an alarm set and it also shows a flower (the more exercise you do the taller the flower grows and it gains more leaves.. I think that’s a cute touch)

You can download the Fitbit app on your phone, you can add on there your weight and a goal if you want to lose some. You can set yourself targets, mine are:

  • 10,000 steps a day : I think this is recommended and on a weekday I struggle to hit over 3,000
  • 3 miles a day : This is mainly do-able on a weekday, especially if I go for a run
  • 2,401 calories : The Fitbit set this for me after putting my weight in, I can usually get fairly close to it on a weekday, at the weekend I am more active
  • 20 floors climbed : It was originally set to 15 but I was hitting that everyday so I upped it to 20, I always try and push myself to hit it
  • 20 active minutes : I like to try and get this too even though it is hard at work.

The app also lets you create a meal plan, I haven’t done this yet as I don’t want to get in too deep with weight loss, I just need to get fitter and I eat OK anyway.

I do use my Fitbit every night to track my sleep, I take it out of the silicone case and into a wrist strap (this comes with it, you don’t have to purchase separately). You have to have the app to use this function, through your phone you select “Begin Sleep Now” and it will monitor you the whole night. You can set a sleep goal (mine is 7 and a half hours) and then try and hit it each night. This is my kind of app! It tells you the total amount of sleep and restlessness a night and at what points you were awake/restless.

(I’m currently suffering from a very chesty cough so I am trying to start sleep early as I am up most of the night coughing)

I have set an alarm on it for every weekday morning. It’s the “Silent Alarm” function which is great as it only wakes me up, not my boyfriend. When it is strapped to your wrist it gently vibrates until you click the button to switch it off. It’s doesn’t startle you awake like some alarm clocks.

The battery life is good, it lasts a week until it needs a charge and I usually go a night without monitoring and charge it fully overnight, ready for the next day.

I have had this for a couple of months now, I use it everyday without fail and I love it.

I would really recommend it to anyone who is considering getting fitter, wants to get themselves motivated and who also doesn’t want to spend over the odds. This is a lot cheaper than some of them in the Fitbit range, I paid £59.00 and I think that is a bargain for the piece of kit that I’ve got. I wear a watch, bangle and bracelet so knew I didn’t want a wrist type one (the price tag would put me off even if I did want one though!)

I am building myself up to be able to run 3 miles no stop without wanting to keel over and die. To some people this might not sound like a lot, but looking at my previous posts.. I’m a cake baker and eater, not a runner!

I enjoy it once I am out there and it really helps to clear my head after work, I just didn’t realise how unfit I was until I took up running. I am currently just doing a 2 mile loop a few times a week to build myself up but I think if I stick with it and think positively then I will be fine doing the 3 mile park runs in my area.

I don’t know if anyone has any tips at all? Feel free to comment if you do, I need all the advice I can get!

xox

My first ever proper birthday cake 🎂

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I had the responsibility of baking my nephew’s birthday cake for his second birthday.

I’m not going to lie, I was super nervous and stressy as I have never rolled out and covered a cake in fondant before. Another part of me though “he’s two Becky, he’s not going to be disappointed, it’s cake!”

His party was this Sunday just gone so I spent the whole day on Saturday making the cake and also some matching cupcakes (I don’t know why I make things hard for myself)

I bought myself from my local cake shop a fondant rolling pin, it was £20 but I can see me using it for everything as it’s very sturdy and I prefer plastic rolling pins to wooden ones.

The theme of the party was Mickey Mouse as George is really taken by him which is lovely as it’s such a classic thing to love compared to things like Paw Patrol or Peppa Pig. (I think it would be a lot easier to make a mouse shaped cake too rather than a pig shaped one!) I have done a paw patrol one before but it wasn’t as adventurous.

My idea was to make one standard chocolate sponge cake and then two mini vanilla cakes as the ears. I love and hate how I get these ideas in my head with an exact image of what it’s going to look like.. however in this case it does actually look like how I imagined.

I used my three tired cooling rack, it’s a gift from God because it doesn’t take up any room on the island so i can spread all my ingredients out and i don’t have to worry about avoiding where i have put my cakes. (I got it for Christmas, I think it is from Wilko’s though and it’s good too because you can use them separately as well, they don’t have to stack.)

I smoothed chocolate fudge icing on the outside of my cakes before adding the fondant. I didn’t realise how much of a workout rolling the stuff out would be! I felt like I was at the gym, I don’t think it helped as I had a mahoosive block of fondant to work with but I eventually managed to flatten it enough to cover my cakes.

I added some red and white fondant and some ribbon and he was done!

I baked cupcakes in red and white spotted cases to carry on the Mickey Mouse theme. I made 12 vanilla and 12 chocolate with a mixture of both flavour buttercream and added mini Oreo’s as ears.

These boxes are great for moving them around as it’s really strong cardboard so you can just put it in the boot of the car and you don’t have to worry too much!

They all went down really well and the birthday boy loved everything!

I’m a lot more confident now so I’m looking forward to another challenge!

xox

Independent Women..

I decided to read through my old blog posts just to see how much things have changed and I didn’t realise how much I seemed to not like my job in my office!

I still work in the same place and I love it now, I have been given a load more responsibilities and I have grown in my role. I have really built myself up since I started 3 years ago and I am really proud of what I have achieved.

I think it just goes to show that if you work hard enough and stick somethings out then it will reward you.

I think when I first started, I was an 18 year old who hadn’t really had much experience with the real world and I was thrown in at the deep end, in an office full of grown men and had to deal with it. Nowadays, I am the one telling them all what to do and I don’t take any sh*t from anyone.

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I still dream of having a little tea shop somewhere and people coming in and just enjoying my cakes, and I think if I am determined enough then something like that can still happen.. it’s all about being positive.

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xox

“Hello Fresh” also Hello again everyone 👋

Well I have been super busy recently but I know that’s no excuse for not posting!

A few things to mention this post. I made some amazing looking cupcakes for a charity garden party recently.. I was considering making some business cards to give out with the cakes in the hope of living my dream of making cakes all day 🙈

These were chocolate cakes, topped with milk chocolate buttercream and then some very naughty chocolates which make them look irresistible!

I love lemon cakes, I think the fresh flavour just really does it for me, instead of being too sickly they are lovely and refreshing. Lemon sponge cakes, topped with dyed lemon buttercream and a little fondant leaf to make them look like lemons (I think they look like lemons anyway haha)

These are just your simple vanilla cupcakes with pink vanilla buttercream but with glitter on top and fondant flowers.

They apparently sold really quickly which I’m happy about! I stuck to pretty basic recipes but sometimes “less is more”.

The title says “Hello Fresh” I don’t know if any of you have heard of this type of thing but what happens is this company sends out a box of ingredients to your house for a variety of dinners. They all look super yummy but instead of me paying the subscription, my very kind friend at work has let me copy all the recipes that he has been collecting (it took a long time on the photocopier so it best be worth it!!)

I think it will be good to mix up evening meals as you end up eating the same things each week. Once I get myself sorted I will post the recipes and pics of my attempts so everyone can try them.

I have the super important task of making my nephew’s birthday cake this weekend so I have been spending the week mentally preparing myself for it!

He is very into Mickey Mouse so I am aiming to do a cake that shape with some cupcakes to accompany it.. I keep telling myself it will be fine, I hope I’m right!

He has turned 2 and he is the loveliest little boy (as well as my other two nephews) so I want to make it special for him!

This was us acting hip and cool in the English sunshine (which typically didn’t last long as I’m now watching it rain through my office window) That is one thing that bugs me though as I spent many a time in the heatwave complaining of thigh chafing and it being too hot and now I’m moaning it’s not sunny.. I’m my own worst enemy!

So watch this space for Mickey Mouse cake pictures.. and also please try not to hate me for my lack of posting.. I already hate myself for the pure laziness even though I can just type up posts on my phone! I am the queen of laziness.

xox

Gin & Tonic Cake.. and apologies for my absence :oops:🍸

Well well well, Becky has been slacking again. I can’t believe it has been nearly a year since I last wrote a post! I write them mentally most days but I just never get round to actually clicking my WordPress app and bloody typing one out even though you can usually find me with my phone in my hand.

So kind of a lot has happened since last time obviously but lets not bore you with all my life.. lets get on to this gin and tonic cake!
I do like a spot of gin, its no secret, so when I found a recipe for this cake my inner 40 year old woman was super happy and I had to try it! The only thing I had to buy in was tonic water as I’m not a massive fan, I prefer my gin with lemonade (is this a genuine thing.. do other people do this?) I decided to use my Menorcan gin as its lovely and a lot better quality than the Aldi bottle on my optics (I’m not even ashamed of my Aldi purchase.. branded alcohol is pricey! Also that old lady on the advert with her gin makes me chuckle so I was sold haha)
The recipe itself is from Good Housekeeping (I’m not helping myself with trying to still be young and hip.. first I drink gin and now I’m getting recipes from Good Housekeeping)

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I even got Shweppes as it specified good quality tonic water and I didn’t think the 40p bottle from Asda would come under the good quality category.

Its a fairly simple recipe, just a standard cake mix with lime zest in and gin and then cook for about 55 minutes.

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Now I thought I was going to be bored in the 55 minute cooking time frame but I had to candy some limes too!

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I have never candied anything before but I think it went ok! The sugar syrup is caster sugar boiled with tonic water.

I am cheekily writing this when I have even decorated it yet, its almost like a live feed apart from I’m not publishing it as I go along.

Ok so it’s all cooked and iced and everyone has had a slice too!

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It’s super yummy! It’s not overly gin tasting but you can still taste it (with the amount I was pouring in I thought we were going to be under the table after one slice haha) It’s such a summery cake, I think it would be perfect to eat sat in the garden but we sat eating it looking outside at the rain (England eh? I hope we get the heatwave next week as promised)

I best get going to get ready, off to the pub for tea. Be rude not to on a Saturday night!

xox

Puff Pastry Champion 💪

Saturday. Its all about food today. Breakfast was first priority (obviously, most important meal of the day!) We bought some chipolatas and decided to cook them on the bbq outside (even though it was misty and cold, its still acceptable because it’s England, and it also saves some washing up)

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Joe was in charge of the BBQ (is it a man thing?!) And i made the egg. I love scrambled egg but its sometimes bland so this morning I chucked in some chorizo and cheese and it was sooo yummy! I love chorizo in anything, the flavour is just amazing.

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(OCD arrangment maybe?)

We then went even more wild for a Saturday morning and we had a try of Dragon fruit. All I can say is wow.

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The colour is intense. I researched them and you can get the insides either pink or white. I thought with me buying it from Asda down the road we would get the boring colour white but oh was I wrong when I cut it open! I now have stained fingers (a bit like beetroot stained) but oh well. It has the texture like a mango, and how you cut it and scoop it out too, but it’s also like a kiwi too because of the pips in it. I can’t describe the taste as it hasn’t got a real distinctive one but it was tasty. It’s amazing what you can buy in supermarkets nowadays.

So anyway, my main event of the day was Peacan and Maple stars.

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I have made puff pastry before but it was a while ago and I had to cut the butter into chunks where as the recipe I followed today (BBC Goodfood) it was just a block which was time saving and also it was very theraputic whacking it with a rolling pin to flatten.

It was a pretty lengthy exercise with the whole roll, fold, rotate, roll, fold, chill, repeat. However the main outcome was impressive!

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The filling is crushed peacans mixed with muscavado sugar, maple syrup and butter then you just spoon it in the middle of little pastry squares. I then topped with more sugar and peacans and brushed with a beaten egg before popping in the oven (I then did a typical GBBO move by just staring through the oven door)

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When they had just come out I then drizzled more maple syrup over the top.

Perfect. I am now exhausted, I feel like I have been in the Kitchen all day after all that pastry chilling time!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

xox