Monday, 27 April 2015

Fudgy Coconut Brownies

Waste not, want not! Leftover coconut in
a storage jar!
I very rarely bake, due to not being overly good at it but today I had the baking urge and decided to make some brownies. It's a recipe that Dave and I whipped together once, and was really good, so I thought I'd go for it! I'm very pleased to say that I have been successful in my brownie making and have some to share the recipe with you all!

The recipe only calls for a few ingredients; cocoa, butter, golden caster sugar, eggs, self raising flour, and desiccated coconut (plus some icing sugar for dusting, if you fancy it) so it's really easy to throw together! I had most of the ingredients in the house anyway, and just had to get some golden caster sugar and coconut. Here are my fabulous results!

Cue "artsy food pic"
I'm seriously proud of myself! The only bit I would change, would be a little less cooking so that the edges don't go so hard...but I have never been a fan of the "edge of the brownie"'s all personal preference! I am also pleased with the crispy top to them too. The texture is absolutely perfect - they are all really gooey and the coconut flavour is fab. Hooray! Extremely happy, and glad that I took the time to give it a go.

While those were cooling off, I threw together some chilli con carne, which will be dinner for tomorrow night and will just need reheating. And later on I am going to be making a creamy masala, so all in all it will have been a successful cooking day.

If anyone wants to give the Fudgy Coconut Brownies recipe a go, you can find it on Good Food's website here. Enjoy!


Bit of a random Treasury this week! But let's face it - who doesn't love pugs!

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Week 16

Birthday! And my first work stay away in quite a few weeks.

16th - 23rd April

From left to right: my lovely insect hotel from Rich and Sarah, pretty fabric for a new pose at work, Derren Brown's stage selfie from the Bournemouth BIC, my love birds from Dave, the neverending hotel corridor in Exeter Premier Inn, lovely birthday gifts from my nearest and dearest, deckchair season, gift wrapping for Sarah's birthday, and the lovely new mosaic tiles for our bathroom upgrade!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Garden: Stage 2

The second phase in the garden is now underway, and well towards completion! We decided to focus on the flower bed next to the one I did in stage 1 last month, but had quite a few more problems to overcome with it! 

March 2014

The "before" image I am using, was actually taken in March last year, but it's the closest I have, because I forgot to take another before we started working last weekend. Anyway, the hole in the middle of the lawn was turfed last year. Just under two weeks ago, Dave dug out the massive fuchsia bush in the middle of the bed you see on the left of the above image. It had gotten so big and was eating into the lawn, so needed dealing with. So, we decided to take the whole thing out.

Taken from the far right of the first image

Much better! There was also a bush above the dry-stone wall, which you can see there - Dave took that out as well, while I was at work last week, leaving me with a clean slate. He even dismantled the wall to get the roots out, which was a great help.

Measuring up!
This week, I started on the brick border, so that we can divide the lawn and flower bed more tidily, and also prevent any lawn damage similar to that caused by the fuchsia in the past! We had a big pile of bricks left over from a BBQ that we were going to build last year, but the decided against it, so thought we would use them in the border. I dug out the trench on Monday, so that it was ready for me to begin laying the bricks on Wednesday (after my trip to Glastonbury).

The lawn will go right up to the brick edging, once I have sewn the seed into the dead patch, so that it will make mowing a lot easier in the future - an added bonus! This is how it was looking after working on it on Wednesday...


It's a bit wonky in places, and kind of lumpy bumpy, but all in all I was pretty pleased with my attempt! I unfortunately ran out of bricks before I could get to the end of the bed, but I will finish that soon (there's no massive rush). Today after giving everything a good dig over, and Dave taking out the last bits of a massive ivy root, this is what we are left with:

19th April

We like being able to see that tree on the second tier, better. Throughout the year it changes from green, to whites and pinks, which is quite unusual! The smaller birds also quite like flitting around in there, so that is always great to see too, which we couldn't when it was shielded by the fuchsia! The bricking makes it look much tidier as well. I am intending to make this bed red, orange and yellow, so hopefully that will look nice. Dave has ordered me a bird bath, which I am going to build up on a little mound and then hopefully surround it with some rocks and make it more of a feature. We will see what happens though.

Other garden stuff that has happened this week: we gave one of the bushes on that bottom tier a really good pruning. It had gotten so tall and really needed attacking, so that filled yesterday afternoon. I also edged the paving stones that run up the lawn in our front garden, which makes a massive difference! I didn't realise how large the stones actually were under all that grass, so they look nice and uniform now. It's surprising how the smallest efforts really make something look so much tidier! I have put up the insect and bee hotel that Rich & Sarah gave me for my birthday! That now lives in "Nature Garden", and will hopefully attract some different wildlife. I have also put out the beautiful love birds that Dave gave me for my birthday - they're so cute! Finally, I have been enjoying watching my plants from the first flower bed, beginning to flourish.

All in all, it has been a really productive couple of weeks! The next job will be to plant this bed up. I also want to take out another large bush, but our garden recycling bin is currently near overflowing, so I will have to wait until that's been emptied, before I can do any more on that front. This bed should, with some luck, be completed in the next few weeks though. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Week 15

Annual leave! Been on outings, done some gardening, and generally relaxed.

9th - 16th April

From left to right: Hooray for time off, "nature garden" is looking really pretty at the moment, a ladybird I found on one of my work props, cooking with colours (Mexican lime chicken), I spent a whole day making a border for a flowerbed in our garden, my gorgeous new glasses, lovely lawn candles from Glastonbury, my Scabiosa doing what they're meant to do - attracting butterflies, Glastonbury Abbey on a gorgeous day out with Dave's Mum!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Striking Magentas

I am sat looking out into my garden at my beautiful magenta tulips, and thought it'd make a nice colour theme for this week's Treasury!

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Annual Leave

Woohoo! I am on annual leave for the next week, and soooooo badly need the time off! I'm glad that it's finally arrived too. I have loads planned, so I'm sure the time will pass way quicker than I ideally would like, but that's always the way right?

Jobs and plans for the week range over crochet, gardening, and cooking, as well as an outing to Glastonbury planned for Tuesday, and a night out to see Derren Brown on Friday night for my birthday - exciting! So it should be a really good week, all in all. I hope the weather continues to stay as nice as it was last week, so that I can really focus on the next phase of the garden. I am intending to visit another garden centre tomorrow for some ideas and maybe to pick up a couple of plants to add to the latest bed later in the week. I will see where the day takes me though; my main mission tomorrow is to go and get my eyes tested.

I have spent today finishing my book, looking up some new recipes, writing out this weeks meal plan for said recipes, online ingredient shopping, and am now listening to my chilled playlist. Going to go and make some chilli con carne in a second, which tonight is being served up with some chilli and cheese bread that I bought in Dorchester yesterday! Yum yum!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Week 14

A week of colours, bunnies, and outdoors stuff!

2nd - 9th April

From left to right: Dave planted up the grapevines he was given for Christmas, breaking out the colour scarves for Spring/Summer, a new "lucky dip" incentive at work, getting to work (Dorchester) before anything opens, a cute bunny ornament for the garden from Dave's parents, I've worn my feather earrings from Kirsty a lot this week, Easter bunny promotional madness, my first ever toad in the hole, and the perfectly round Camellia flower in the garden.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Fun In The Sun

The sun is shining and it is starting to warm up in the UK! I love this time of year!

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Week 13

Lots of plant pictures this week, because I've not been well!

26th March - 2nd April

From right to left: the Saxifrage I planted is starting to flower, "Traditional Pasty" flavoured rock in Sidmouth (I don't even know...), Grape Hyacinths in the garden, working out new beachy poses for work, my colleague James doing some promoting on a very cold windy day, my tulip bulbs are purple now, my new beach prop for work, a ladybird, and today meant an unexpected journey to Aldershot for work.