Holga


I wanted to show you my new Holga camera. I got a starter kit in the Urban Outfitters sale, reduced to £20 from £60 and you can get student discount on top of that. This is amazing value since you also get a Holga book, strap, tape and film!


Of course if you're impatient like me and want the Holga effect right now check out the Holganizer.




The yummiest traybake ever!



Does the place you come from have any food that isn't known anywhere else, and you just don't understand why? We have quite a few here in Northern Ireland, such as wheaten bread, soda bread, potato bread (basically a lot of bread) but the best is fifteens. I have yet to meet another Northern Irish person who doesn't love fifteens. When my friends went off to university in England they told me that none of their new friends had ever heard of the wonder of fifteens. They are seriously amazing and so easy and fun to make so I want to share this recipe with you. Make some for yourself and become hooked! My little sister and I made these tonight.

The recipe is really easy, they are called fifteens because there is 15 each of the main ingredients in them. You can of course adapt this if you want to make more (or less, but why would you?). Tonight technically we made twenties. You will need:


  • One can of condensed milk
  • 15 digestive biscuits
  • 15 big pink and white marshmallows
  • 15 glacé cherries
  • Dessicated coconut
You can also add other things to this, my friend Aisling adds walnuts and they go very well with it, but my little sister objected.



First put 15 of the biscuits in a bag, tie it tight and make sure it doesn't have any holes in it and take out some of your rage! Get a rolling pin, your fists or whatever works for you and crush those bad boys to crumbs. When you're done pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Chop the cherries and marshmallows in half and add them to the crumbs.


Next lay out a sheet of tin foil, about 80cm long. Scatter the coconut over it evenly and leave it for later.


Back to the bowl now! Mix in the condensed milk. This is the messy part, there's really no other way to do this or it will just take forever, so stick your (clean) hands in there and mix it up. Make sure you get all the crumbs totally covered and the marshmallows and cherries mixed well. This is very sticky but it'll be worth it I promise!


Once the ingredients are all mixed up, try to clump it all together in a circle shape so that it falls out easily and transfer it on to the coconut coated tin foil. Use your hands to shape the mixture into a log.

Make sure the log is well coated in coconut. Then fold over the tin foil and twist it at the ends so that it looks like this:


Now you just have to wait. Put the log into the fridge, I left mine for about an hour and half (which was difficult for me, I am impatient!). Once the time is up take the log out of the fridge and cut it into as many sections as you would like.

And tada you are done! I put mine into bun cases because they are quite sticky and it's easier to store them this way though lets face it you'll probably not have to store them for long! Remember to keep them in the fridge so that they don't go soft!








Stress relieving cookies


A few more days and my exams will be over! I'm sure any students reading this are counting down the days to freedom as well. What are your exam techniques? I wish I could be sensible and start revision months or at least weeks in advance but it just never works. I think I need to have what I call 'the fear' in order to revise. This means that a week before my exam I will stock up on cans of diet coke, skittles and pro plus caffeine tablets and spend every waking hour (and many hours when I should be asleep, such as now) cramming as much information into my brain as possible. It's always worked for me luckily, although before I developed this technique I just never studied and believe me that did not work at all.

I tend to get very panicky and stressed about exams and something that always calms me down is baking. I think it's important to take breaks during revision (okay sometimes I push it a little and need to realize that a 2 hours is too long). You can have my favorite chocolate chip cookies made up and out of the oven in less than an hour, perfect stress reliever and they taste yum! My friend Barbara sent me a link for this recipe over a year ago and I always use it. We baked these cookies together once and she told me to add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed orange juice and some orange zest and I have done this every time since. Also it's not in the recipe but dipping the base into melted dark chocolate and letting it harden in the fridge for 15 minutes makes them twice as good.



Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ingredients

100g (4 oz) soft vegetable margarine
100g (4 oz) caster sugar
150g (6 oz) plain flour (self-raising is ok too)
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g (4 oz) dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 orange for juicing and zesting
Dark chocolate for dipping

Instructions

1) Beat margarine and sugar until fluffy
2) Add vanilla essence and chocolate chips, then stir in the flour to make a dough. Add a tablespoon of orange juice.
3) Shape the mixture into 16 balls.
4) Space them out onto baking trays and flatten each slightly with the back of a spoon.
5) Bake each tray for about 8 minutes at 200ºC/400ºF until pale brown.
6) Leave to cool slightly before transferring them to a cooling rack.
7) Dip in dark chocolate and cool in fridge for 15 minutes.

Pampering

I am a big fan of anything made by Lush. They are an ethical company and they use quality, natural ingredients in their products and although some of their stuff is slightly more pricey than the big brand equivalent I think they are very good value for money. Their bath ballistics are my favorite - I live with other students in our own house now and we only have a shower but I go home on the weekends to my parent's house and they have a lovely big bath. Last night before going out I used my Blackberry bath bomb from Lush. It was divine! It smelled amazing. I love the way they change the colour of the water as well. I guess I am a big kid really but it's so much fun.


I also used some of my Soap and Glory goodies. I had seen this range before in Boots (a UK pharmacy chain) and I loved the packaging. A few years ago I'd probably have bought anything if the packaging was nice but now I am smarter with my money. I own their Sexy Mother Pucker lipgloss and I love it. I decided to wait until the January sales to buy a few other bits and pieces. Most of it was half price or three for two. So that you can know if the quality of the product is as amazing as the packaging I'll write a short review on each. From left to right:

  1. Hair Supply - This can be used as an intensive hair conditioner or you can leave it on for 4 minutes once a week for a deep conditioning treatment. It left my hair smelling lovely, got rid of any dryness and kept my hair from going frizzy on my night out at a club. It did weigh it down a little though, maybe I left it in a bit longer than I should have but it felt like I had a lot of product in my hair. I'll use less next time and leave it on for about 2 minutes and see if I like it more.
  2. Flirtigo Body Moisturising Mist - I love this! It smells amazing, it's like a perfume and moisturizer in one. It left my skin smelling lovely and my skin was soft, it didn't leave my skin greasy at all like a lot of moisturisers do.
  3. Mist you Madly Body Spray - I was really disappointed with this. When you push down on the pump you just get this overwhelming aerosol hair spray smell - You need to really rub it in to get any real scent off it. It's alright but definately not worth the money unfortunately.
  4. Clean On Me Body Wash - A great shower gel, it has a really nice moisturising effect and you get loads of lather with a small amount. It's £4.88 for 500ml (the one on my photo is smaller) which is more than I would normally pay for shower gel but if you wanted to treat yourself this would be the one to buy.
  5. The Fab 15 Minute Pore Facial Peel - I kind of bought this one on a whim to make up my 3 for 2 offer but I am so glad I did! Out of all the Soap and Glory products I have owned this is without a doubt my favorite. It smells lovely and minty, has little exfoliating beads in it and can be used for a quick wash or left on for the full 15 minutes used as face mask. I left it on for about 5 minutes and wow my skin felt amazing. It really cleans, it gets warm when you put it on and the beads get rid of any dead skin. My skin felt so good after using it. Stress over exams and general new year worries has caused my skin to break out slighty so we'll see if this clears it up! It's £5.86 for 50mls and is well worth the money!
  6. Calm one Calm all bubble bath - Maybe I didn't put enough in but this didn't seem to produce many bubbles. Still it smelled nice and was good as far as bubble bath goes.
  7. The Righteous Body Butter - I am a body butter fiend. I don't know what it is but if it smells good and has the right thick consistency I have to have it. This body butter isn't very thick but after using it my legs felt really soft and smooth.
  8. Flake Away Body Buff - Yum! This smells so so good and it has loads of little exfoliators. I usally use FCUK's Polished for a body scrub but I find it doesn't have enough beads in it. This one is perfect and not too greasy like a lot of body scrubs can be.
Well I guess I would say the proof is in the pudding, or product rather. Bar one these products were all great and I would buy them again. I think I'll be naughty when my student loan comes in and buy a few more bits. I have my eyes set on their Wizard of Flaws luminizer wand next! I'll let you know the verdict when I get it.


Going dancing!

Tonight I am going dancing with my friends. I have revision to do and essays to write but sometimes I just can't resist a good night out. I love getting dressed up, putting on my make up and dancing myself silly all night long. I am not a big party girl. I prefer to stay in and watch a film, bake or go out for dinner or to the cinema. However once in a while the urge takes me to to want to party it up. So the plan for tonight is to have something quick to eat, get ready then go to my lovely friend Amelia's house for drinks then we are heading out for cocktails and dancing. I am going to wear my Miss Selfridge dress I think. I love it!



I can't find a better photo of me in it, I will be wearing high heels not boots. Also I am laughing because Audrey's arms in that poster make it look like I have little antannae.

Cake of dreams

Hello everyone. I want to introduce myself. My name is Claire. I am 20 years old and I am writing to you from Belfast, Northern Ireland where I have lived all my life. My plan for this blog is to write about things I make and do, and things I discover that are too good not to share! I am a film student so expect lots of film related posts. I am also an avid baker and I love to take photos!


I thought I would start by sharing my favorite chocolate cake recipe with you. This is a really easy classic chocolate cake recipe, the result is a yummy chocolate sponge that's light and chocolately, but not overkill! If you don't fancy using baking a whole cake you can also use it to bake cupcakes! I usually end up with about 20 cupcakes from this recipe.



Simple Chocolate Sponge Cake

Preparation time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 25 minutes. Serves: 8 slices. I use two 18cm cake tins, approx 4cm deep. You can pick these up in Sainsbury's for about £3 each!

Ingredients:
  • 170 grams self raising flour
  • 170 grams butter or margerine
  • 170 grams demerara sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
The butter must be soft. The best way to achieve this is to measure out the butter an hour or so before it is needed and leave it at room temperature. If this is not possible, break up the butter with a fork and beat it for a minute or so or heat it in the microwave in two 10 second bursts, mixing in between. Be careful not to melt it though!

Turn the oven on, setting it to 170 C / 325 F / Gas Mark 3.

Next, grease both of the baking trays with margarine or butter.

Mix the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Sieve into a separate bowl. Add the butter, sugar and eggs to the flour mixture and mix well using an electric beater or if you don't have one a fork will do! Mix for around 2-3 minutes. The resulting mixture should fall off the spoon but reluctantly. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water and mix it in well.

Put half of the mixture in each tin. Place the tins in the centre of the pre heated oven and cook for 25 minutes. Be sure not to open the oven whilst the cakes are baking or you could cause air bubbles or an uneven surface. Test if the cake is cooked by poking a fork into it. If the fork comes out with mixture on it return the cake to the oven and cook for a further three minutes then repeat the process.

Leave the cakes in the tin for a minute to cool. Turn them out of the tins onto a wire rack. This is to let the air circulate around them as they cool.

To ice the cake I use the godess Nigella's Chocolate Fudge Frosting recipe. Trust me it is divine!

I love to decorate this cake in halved strawberries. It is so easy but it looks lovely and is so yummy! The cupcakes are just iced with melted chocolate, really easy. Enjoy!