Keeping cosy this winter!

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to buying homeware. The less useful and more pretty the better. I have little interest in things we actually need, but show me a string of birdcage fairy lights or another animal themed lamp and I am all over it. My pal Dawn recently showed me the Asda homeware catalogue and within a day I had already placed an order. It's somewhere I would never have thought of for homeware (there's not a store too close to me so it's off my radar usually). I shared the photo below of my goodies on Instagram and everyone was so impressed with the selection.


My own purchases: Rabbit Lamp //Pink Cushion // Mint Cushion // Birdcage lights // Items not linked are no longer available. 



You can imagine how excited I was to get an offer from Asda to try out some more of their home goods. Now, I had to try really hard not to buy another lamp and to be at least a little bit practical! Before we bought our home we lived in property owned by family, and everything in it was theirs. So when we moved, we had quite a lot of quick shopping to do. Ikea was our savior, and while our ikea items have held up well I have wanted to invest in some long lasting, quality items. A good down duvet like I used to have at my parent's house was high on the list.






So with that in mind, I chose a Fogarty feather and down duvet to try and let the impulsive side of me run riot with throw cushions that we really did not need but had to have, and some candles because for some reason when I became a homeowner I also became a compulsive candle buyer. Asda stock a great Yankee candle range at a really good price, and the Yankee Simply Home range seem to be the same thing as the normal range only cheaper. Win win.




I originally wanted the cushions in our initials but they were sold out, so I went for XO which I now think I prefer!

Do I like my new duvet? I love it. It is my new favourite thing and I tried deep fried cheese for the first time this week. So yes, I think it's fair to say I love it. It creates a warm, airy pocket of comfort over me and I am finding it nearly impossible to part with it in the morning. I would recommend it as a great investment for anyone who loves sleeping as much as I do, I also chose some gorgeous geometrical bedding from Asda in grey and yellow. This is a colour combination I clearly have a thing for as it's the same colour as our feature wall in the living room.





Although I was lucky enough to select these items for free, I woudn't recommend anything unless I really liked it. Do check out Asda homeware for some really unique pieces that won't break the bank, They also offer a free Click and Collect service in stores. Thanks Asda!

Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Cake






Hello all! I thought it was about time I shared a recipe here again. I bake so many cakes and hundreds of cupcakes a week now so I often find it hard to get time to share recipes or bake for myself! Last week I decided to bake a chocolate fudge cake for Ali and I to enjoy and lots of people wanted to know the recipe so here it is!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Ingredients

Cake:
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 170g butter or Stork margarine (butter is preferable for flavour, but Stork still makes a deliciously moist cake so don't be afraid of using it). 
  • 370g plain flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1,5 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 400ml milk
Fudge frosting: 

  • 175g good quality dark chocolate
  • 250g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 200g icing sugar
Method:

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celsius. Line and grease 3 7" sandwich tins.

  1. Cream your butter/marg and sugar
  2. Crack in your eggs and mix in with the creamed butter and sugar.
  3. Melt your chocolate using either a bain marie or microwave (in 30 second blasts, mixing in between until fully melted).
  4. Pour your chocolate into the mixure and combine until silky and smooth.
  5. Add your flour, bicarb and baking powder and combine. Scrape down the edges of the bowl and remix if needed.
  6. Gradually add your milk while your mixer or beaters are on low. Mix until fully combined. 
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between your three greased tins, 
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack for 20 mins before removing from tins. While you are waiting, melt the chocolate for the frosting and allow it to cool.
  9. Once the cakes are fully cooled you are ready to ice the cake. To make the icing, cream the butter and icing sugar on high until fluffy. Pour in your cooled melted chocolate and mix until fluffy and creamy. If you find this too runny then add a tablespoon of icing sugar until it begins to firm up enough to be a spreadable consistency. This isn't likely but if your chocolate isn't completely cool it could melt the butter slightly which is what you want to avoid.
  10. Apply the buttercream to each layer of the cake and then all around the outside with a spatula. I didn't do a crumb coat as it was just for us to eat, but if you want a really smooth finish then go ahead. Personally I like this cake rough and ready! Enjoy! It's delicious with some cream poured over it and a cup of tea to drink with it, of course.


Sainsbury's Treats for Christmas 2014.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Sainsbuys Christmas press day a few weeks ago. I do all of my food shopping, as well as a lot of business shopping there so I was excited to see more of what they had for us at Christmas.

Well, I was not disappointed. I left full of cheese and Christmas cheer. I had already eyed up some of their Christmas decorations but the food ranges were new to me and I certainly ate my share...and maybe a few others shares too.

I was most excited about these magical reindeer, I have already bought the little one for our home and I think they're just super cute. I also had already purchased the tree log candle holder back in October and I love it. I have one of Sainsburys red Christmas candles in it and I just can't put my finger on what the scent is but it reminds me of Christmases of my childhood. It's spicy but not the usual cinnamon and apple combo that you usually see around these months.





How cute is the little Robin candle?





On to the food! This year I am hosting Christmas with my family and it'll be the first time in over 30 years that my mum has not cooked Christmas dinner. No pressure then! I'll be making a huge list and a trip to Sainsburys soon to collect everything I need for the main dinner but I have now also been drawn to the wonderful selection of snacks they have available. For NI folk there is also a wide range of local produce to avail of and many of the brands have seasonal ranges. Alistair particularly enjoyed the glittery mince pies! My  favourite item (apart from all of the cheese of course) were the Juice Press season juices, They're great for something a little different from the usual Shloer and would be delicious warmed up or mixed with the tipple of your choice! I'm thinkin some spiced rum for me.



They come in 2 seasonal flavours: Apple, Pear, Cranberry and Cinnamon and the second flavour is Apple, Pear, Cranberry and Clove. I loved them and I have to say their plain orange juice is also delicious and not from concentrate.





We also stuffed ourselves silly on some Genesis and Howell House baked goods. Those yellow things? Pineapple tarts. Pineapple! I loved them.



The aforementioned cheese which I probably ate half my weight in. I love cheese.

Thanks Sainsburys for inviting me along and allowing me to almost eat you out of business. I'll defintely be heading your way for my Christmas shop.

Please note this post is NOT paid for or sponsored and all views are honest, I was so impressed. Do check out their Christmas range and let me know what you think!