Benedicts Bakery Review

Hello!

Just a quick post for now but I really wanted to share something with you now that the dreaded C word is upon us! A little while ago I was offered the chance to try out two pre-mix jars from the lovely Benedicts Bakery for half price! I love baking and trying out new recipes but sometimes it’s a little bit of a faff going to the shops and trying to justify buying a massive bag of raisins when you only need 20grams worth for a new bake you’re not even sure you will enjoy eating once baked.

So what and who exactly is Benedicts Bakery I hear you shout?

Benedict’s Bakery is focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction – we will do everything we can to meet your expectations. We are a family business who are passionate about baking! We will always put our customers first and be flexible to any needs.  We are affordable and reliable when bringing you cute baking gifts!

Products range from pancake mixes to cookie mixes, including gluten free jars. I was lucky enough to try out the fruit & nut flapjack mix and the chocolate chip cookie mix! The products were delivered in the post promptly and were very well wrapped to prevent any breakages which I was a bit anxious about. Both mixes were incredibly easy to use with an instructions label and an ingredients label attached  with a cute red ribbon. Once cooked both cookies and flapjacks were demolished in barely any time at all; I think that speaks for itself really!

In the true spirit of making do and mending the ribbons were re-purposed as hair ribbons for my little lady and the jars are now used as storage jars for button and beads!

Be sure to have a look over on their website as I really think these cute little jars would be perfect as Christmas presents but do make sure you order with enough time to spare for delivery before Christmas!

http://www.benedictsbakery.co.uk

If you’re on the twittersphere find them at @benedictsbakery and say hello

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Tasty goodness!

How to make an Olaf cake

Here is my walk through on how I made an awesome Olaf cake. Perfect for any little or big Frozen fan!!! Do you want to build a snowman?

First things first you need to build up his features.
Use strawberry straws a bit like laces to make his arms, cover in chocolate flavour fondant. Eat fondant;  realise it doesn’t taste too bad. Pause. Watch the first episode of The Strain. Comfort eat the rest of said strawberry straws because you’re minorly freaked out. Figure it’s a bit late to start making delicate carrot noses at 11pm. Sleep.

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Next, ply yourself with plenty of caffeine and mould two eyes, mouth, teeth and eyebrows. It’s ok to go out shopping before the next stage you know. Come home and warm a blob of white fondant in your hands, add a mix of yellow and red food dyes into the icing because buying orange colouring is cheating. Mould into an odd carrot shape and leave to dry out. Giggle that poor Olafs nose is looking a bit umm droopy shall we say.

Make up a madiera cake with lots of glacé cherries as you know you suck at making a victoria sponge successfully. Reward yourself with a nice long rest when the cakes come out the oven beautifully. Sleep.

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Realise you don’t actually have enough cake for Olafs body. Remake another sponge. Don’t panic when the mixture is thicker than the previous days cake. Add a little milk; it will all be fine. Take the cake out the oven. Try to avoid looking horrified when it looks more like a rock cake than a lovely soft sponge because you totally meant to make it that way.

You then need to mix equal amounts of butter and icing sugar to make the buttercream. Taste the buttercream. Make a cup of tea.

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Now for the tricky part. Sandwich the cake together with buttercream and cut edges to make a more rounded snowball shape. Add a layer of the cream to the top surface of the cake to avoid all those crumbs going everywhere. Some people call this a crumb coat I call it boring.

After a few about 6 hours you can start on the final stage; adding the top layer of fondant.  Roll out a block of white fondant Olaf sized. Place said fondant on to the cake and smooth down any bubbles. Add your premade facial and body features including that droopy nose.

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Remember you’ve forgotten to make his hair. Roll out chocolate fondant into spiking hair and place on top of his head.

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Ta’dah!!!!

When anybody asks about his cheeks just mention that he is absolutely full of cake. And that scary look he is portraying….well it is nearly Halloween!

Now to wait for my little birthday girls reaction!!!!
Carla
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The Doctor Who Experience

Back at the beginning of summer I told you about some exciting things that I was going to be up to whilst crossing things off the list and I was so very excited! Days were had and posts were written up and published. Then I sat back and enjoyed my summer months wondering why I had ZERO response to said posts. I have since realised half a dozen posts never actually got published. I’m still gutted.
However, it’s now autumn and with the cold nights drawing in I want to just share a few photographs from my time I had in Wales. Yep; I went to Cardiff Bay AND went to the Doctor Who Experience! I was in Whozian heaven!!! The whole building has since had a makeover to welcome the new doctor and add all the new characters and monsters to the museum side of things. It reopened a few days ago with its new look so if anyone would like to pay for me to go again I would be more than willing to supply them with lots of tea, coffee and cake!!!

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What picture is your favourite? Are you a fan of Doctor Who?
Let me know what you think!!!
Carla
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Naansters review

Naanster Logo

Are you a Naanster?

That is the question penned on the back of a clever and delicious hot or cold Indian inspired snack that I was offered the chance to try for free a little while ago. I had written this post alongside a few others and my silly blogging platform hadn’t actually published them and I hadn’t noticed! Gutted is an understatement!

So what exactly is a Naanster anyway I hear you say!

Naanster is a unique and convenient handmade snack that comes in four tasty Indian flavours! Made with freshly cooked naan bread, our Naansters are filled with fluffy pilau rice with a topping of meat or vegetables and smothered in a Tikka, Madras, Rogan Josh or Balti sauce. To finish and complement the entire Naanster, we add a little mango chutney! 

I was sent two each of each flavour which had come at a really good time. I had been missing lunch or tea because I was so busy and I didn’t have time to cook a microwave meal. I needed food that was warm, filling and that would actually taste of something. Bung a curry filled pitta/naan into the microwave for about a minute and bobs your uncle I had some tassstttteeey food.
Many convenience foods don’t tend to have much in the way of filling; a blt sandwich may only have half a slice of bacon in it or a cheese and onion pasty won’t even contain a teaspoon of cheese. Needless to say I was impressed with the amount of curry and rice that was actually inside the naan bread!

I think my favourite flavour was the Balti one. It was so rich in flavour and the beef pieces were so soft and not chewy like some beef can be! It made me think of how much I really enjoy having a cheeky takeaway with a yummy curry and a warm soft naan; oh yes I can so have this for lunch now and not even feel guilty about it. So overall, yes, I do think I am indeed a Naanster now!

Beef Naanster Chicken BaltiChicken TikkaVegetable Tikka

World Mental Health Day

This week marks the annual mental health awareness day on the 10th of October 2014 with today in particular being bipolar disorder awareness day. Now this subject is a rather sensitive one for me and I’ve debated a long time in whether I could even bring myself to write about it. If you do want to comment, like or share on this post please be empathetic as you’re doing so reminding yourself on how it may make others feel.
Disorders of the mind are no laughing matter and are often toned down in conversation so as to not offend those who think it is still a taboo subject. It shouldn’t be though as one in four people will be diagnosed with at least mental health problem in their lifetime. And they do not just effect the individual diagnosed it also can have a dramatic impact on the family and friends surrounding them. I can’t talk on behalf of someone with schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder but I can talk about a few.

In August 2008 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2 Rapid Cycling.

There I said it. Wasn’t so hard to write down was it? Well actually it was. So many people are ill informed and ignorant to what this disorder entails with far too many misusing the term bipolar to describe someone or something as being regularly changeable. I have people ignore me, turn their noses up at me, talk about me behind my back for being the crazy one and others have cut a conversation short with me just for admitting I have said illness. You wouldn’t do that to someone who said they had a different life long illness like diabetes; or would you? I write life long illness loosely. For me it’s like a life long sentence. A life time of dealing with other people’s ignorance, verbal abuse and general discrimination all for something I have no biological control over. Imagine going to bed every single night not knowing what kind of mood you will wake up with, constant fear of a brilliant day trip ruined by a depression so random so terrifying that you don’t want to leave your home. Fear of waking up like a child excited for their birthday when all there is to do is doing the housework. Don’t get me wrong being manic has its uses, it enables my creative side to flourish and with my confidence heightened I tackle challenges with a positive outlook with limited fear. But when I’m down I’m down. And it’s hell.

So what is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar – sometimes known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness characterised by significant mood swings including manic highs and depressive lows. The majority of individuals with bipolar experience alternating episodes of mania and depression. Both males and females of any age and from any social or ethnic background can develop the illness. The symptoms can first occur and then reoccur when work, studies, family or emotional pressures are at their greatest. In women it can also be triggered by childbirth or during the menopause. The key to coping with bipolar is an early diagnosis, acceptance of the illness and adapting your lifestyle so you are in control of the symptoms as much as possible. Management of the illness can be achieved through strategies involving medication, health care, therapy and self management.  ( Taken from Bipolar UK )

For many years, even prior to diagnosis, Bipolar has been like a black cloud over my head always there waiting to start raining on my parade but since I have started to accept that I have Bipolar rather than saying I am Bipolar and I am always finding more ways to manage my stressors to keep my self stable.

Now for the big questions….. Does having Bipolar make me a bad person and does this mean in turn I am a bad mum??     NO I am a good person with a good heart, I have done bad things in the past and equally hurt a lot of people but any person with or without a mental illness is capable of doing this. Life happens it isn’t always a bed of roses. And like hell am I a bad mum. I work hard to give my children everything and more. Yes they’re aware that mumma has bad days and sometimes I’m tired and I don’t feel like doing much but they also know that I am exciting, we have fun and that I love them to the moon and back…plus one.

Plus there’s nothing wrong with dancing around with knickers on your head to silly music with my children!

Thank you for reading and please click on the links above, educate yourself and if you want to hear more about my battles with mental illness or have any questions..please…just ask. We’re all human.

Carla

Mirabilia Organic Olive Leaf Tea Review

Today I wanted to inform you about something I was lucky enough to try out a little while ago.  Majority of people love a good cup of tea right? But do you stick to the standard ‘english breakfast’ tea bags you can buy in your local supemarket or do you branch out into the wide variety of flavoured teas made from the leaves of different plants. Are you brave enough to venture into the world of loose tea? I did and I love it. Olive Leaf Tea bought to you by the brand Mirabilia is an organic, tanin and caffeine free loose tea grown and hand picked in the olive groves in Abruzzo, Italy.

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Doesn’t sound too appealing olive tea does it? I was sceptical about the taste I’m used to my english breakfast, earl grey, peppermint and chai teas but I am so glad I shook myself out of the childish mind set of that it would be gross without even trying it….Mind over matter and all that jazz…… although I must admit it did feel like a luxury digging the cafetiere!

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Opening the packet I was surprised by quiet a fruity smell, sweet almost despite the leaves being rather hard like bark. After leaving the tea to brew for about 5 minutes I poured myself a large drink to enjoy whilst I sat down and relaxed for a while! Looks good doesn’t it? And it was good; it was light and refreshing, a bit sweet and it didn’t leave any bitter after tastes like other teas have done before. My friends won’t try it they’re still a bit wary of it but I can assure you once you get over the initial fact that it isn’t your average tea you’ll love it. I am definitely buying more once I’ve finished this batch!

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Be sure to check out Mirabilia Tea site http://www.oleaft.com/olive-leaf-tea or @mirabiliaTea on twitter

…..I was sent a packet of loose tea for the purpose of this review, all opinions expressed are my own……

Olympia Beauty 2014

Hey All
It’s so weird listening to myself on playback on that mini vlog. Makes me want to never speak again.
I’m pretty sure I don’t sound like that in real life?!!!

Anyway, Olympia Beauty. Amazeballs!

One of UK’s premier beauty trade events – The Olympia Beauty Show – returns to the Olympia
Grand, on Sunday 21st and Monday 22nd September 2014, offering therapists,
salon and Spa managers / owners, make up artists, hairdressers, nail technicians
and students the best in professional beauty, nails, tanning and complementary therapies.

I went on my own. It was terrifying; my first event leaving my home county on my own in years.
The anxiety played up especially seein as I had to take the tube- which meant ESCALTORS!!
I hate them friggin things.
But I really enjoyed myself. I met lots of new people, talked about new products on the market,
trialed out products and even spent money on myself; I had actually saved money just for me
and do you know what? I didn’t even feel bad. It felt good to actually have a treat day to myself!
I am sure I’ll be able to write another post shortly to tell you all about the goodies I got!

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Over the last few weeks leading up to the event I have been a bit chatty with a few brands that
would be exhibiting to really get a feel for what to expect on the day. One in particular is the awsome
ART PRO NAILS.

ArtPro Nail UK Limited is the sole UK distributor of ArtPro digital nail art printers and associated ancillaries.With a wealth of entrepreneurial and international beauty industry experience, the team behind the innovative British beauty brand are passionate and enthusiastic about working with only the finest, cutting-edge, unique beauty innovations.

“We are delighted to be the exclusive UK distributor for the revolutionary ArtPro digital nail printers. The traditional mould of nail art design has been broken, and digital beauty is now paving the way forwards.” Hannah Bawden, General Manager.

Imagine finding a funny picture, a photograph of your child, a piece of art you that you really love
now imagine if you could have that image on your nails. There is no chance that even the most
skilled of nail techs could ever get that much detial onto one tiny nail. However here comes the
exciting part ART PRO NAIL are a company that prints off ANY image on either a false nail or onto your
own nail!!!!!! I was so curious about these printers that I just needed to see them for myself.
I can honestly say that I was even more impressed than I had originally been.
The staff were so down to earth and it really felt like I was ‘wanted’.I was curious when just
last week they asked me what my five favourite things were and sneakily said they would have
a little something for me when I came to say hello.

Look at these beautys!!!!!!!
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I am sooooo chuffed and I can not say thank you enough to the lovely staff that took the time to organise creating these print nails for me and to then also take extra time to talk to me today despite it being VERYYYY busy!!!! I felt very special indeed!!

Please do check out their website, I know you want to!!!!!

Again thank you Olympia Beauty for organising a cracking day!

Carla
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Word Of The Week

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I’ve joined in with Word of the Week from the lovely Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence!
Here’s a little summary about this linky taken from her page ( hope you don’t mind J!!! )
If you’re new here, Word of the Week is a nice and simple weekly linky, with everyone welcome to pop by and share. You reflect back on the past week and sum it up in one word. Then share your word with us in a blog post, with as little or as much explanation as you like. I comment on and tweet out every post, and it’s a friendly place, so come join in! All that I ask is that if you link up, you link back to me, and visit as many of the other blogs as you can and comment on their words, please.

My word is HELPFULNESS

This week has been tough. I feel like I’m a clown in the circus juggling with fire. I would not have been able to get through the week without peoples kind words combined with simple positive gestures just to make me smile. I have the best of friends and family and they have helped me so much as of late. Today I am still unwell so the children decided that they would be helpful to organise and fix the shoe rack and shoe box all on their own. I didn’t ask them to do it either I’m a lucky mumma indeed!
Over and out Randomers,
Carla
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The Reading Residence