Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Brand Replacement

I'm sure we've all seen those fabulous Aldi adverts telling us that they're own brand products taste just as good as the brands?

No? (I'm pretending you said no so I can show you this one!)
Well this one is my favourite :D

Hehehe, makes me chuckle every time :)

Well anyway, back to the matter at hand; Own brand products often taste just as good, if not better than their more expensive branded counterparts, I've been buying mostly own brand food for a good few months now and can honestly say that I can't tell the difference.

But I have always had one vice. One vice that I could not replace with an own brand. Not through lack of trying I might add! I've tried many, many times to replace this item but just can't find a valid substitute. Meet my branded nemesis....

Nescafe, Cafe Menu Cappuccino.

I love those little sachets of frothy, coffee yumminess, I've loved them for about 5 years and my love for them has never dawdled. Except for once. When they went up in price to £2.99! £2.99 I tell you! When they used to be £1.50! Now, no matter how much I love those caffeine infused, milky, chocolate sprinkle doused delights I cannot justify paying that much for a morning treat (can I? No I can't) so I set about looking for a replacement. That was about 2.5 years ago...and boy oh boy did I try!

I must admit at this point that I still carried on buying my little box of naughtiness - but only when they were on a BOGOFF deal or reduced to £1.50!

Now...the time has come, I can't believe I'm going to say this but...

I have found a replacement!

Drum roll please....

A round of applause for...

ASDA, Chosen By You Hazelnut Cappuccino!

Granted, these do not come with chocolate sprinkles, but the dash of hazelnut syrup makes up for this. At £1.56 for 10 they're a winner! They taste fantastic, are frothy and have a lovely aroma that warms me up in the morning - WIN! They also come in vanilla and caramel (possibly more flavours but I didn't see in store).

I'm so chuffed!

Pointless post? Not for me! I have been waiting for these coffees for a long, long long long long) time!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Jaffa Cakes!

Oh my oh my oh my!

Now I don't know about you, but I have a little bit of a...shall we say...uncontrollable love for jaffa cakes. Once I've eaten one, I usually end up eating the whole packet. Just how yummy are those little chocolate and orange cake, biscuit thingimawhatsits?!

Go on, admit it - you've done the full moon, half moon, total eclipse haven't you? More than once I bet!

So yeah, anyway, I love jaffa cakes! So I was incredible excited to find out just how easy they are to make at home.

Yes lovelies, you can make home made jaffa cakes.

I'm slightly scared that my waist line is going to suffer.

This is the recipe.

Looks pretty easy? It really was!

Here are my jaffa cakes!

The only problem I had was that the chocolate didn't really want to stick to the orange jelly, I don't know why this is, but I'm going to try and make the jelly thinner but wider next time (yes there will definitely be a next time!) and see if that helps.

TOP TIP! I was concerned that the chocolate would just run off of the sides of the cakes and make a mess so I popped the cakes into cupcake cases and poured the chocolate on in those, once cooled I peeled these away to reveal pretty jaffa cakes :)

They didn't last very long ;)

Who else is going to try these? I think they deserve some more investigation.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Let's make this house a home! Part 2

Hello there lovelies! Oh dear, it's been more than a week since my last post. I can see bad habits forming already. In my defence though, it was Easter and I was busy trying to organise a roast dinner and yummy pudding. I also had to look after a poorly fiancé for 4 days so I really didn't have the time :(

Anyway! Back on with the blogging!

So this is part 2 of making our house a home - a handmade home :) One thing that all of us (non) hoarders need is storage boxes. Pretty storage boxes of course, but these are usually ridiculously expensive don't you think? So I'm going to show you how to make a pretty little storage box (a stationary box in this case) for FREE! Yep, a storage box, to match your colour scheme for free! Now...I have to say that I'm probably going to change the colour of this one soon because in hindsight I'm not overstruck, but it was an experiment that worked so I'm still going to show you.

The finished article:

Not bad hey? As I said, I'm not overstruck on the pattern anymore and will probably change it, but not a bad alternative to paying £10 for one in the shops! do this you will need...
1 cardboard box, in this case I used this one:

Yes, my wine glasses are smart price, no I don't care admitting it! At £1.32 for 6 I was not going to pass them up! I decided that since I'm a 'grown up' now and not a student I couldn't really get away with serving wine in mugs instead of glasses so treated myself to these :) They work too - hic.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, you've got your box now you need...a wall paper sample! Yep, simples. Grab yourself a free sample of some pretty wallpaper from your local DIY store and you're good to go.

Oh...don't forget your trusty glue stick!

Luckily enough, the box I have is one that has been folded into place rather than glued, this meant I could unfold it completely to make it much easier to cover. By making sure you cover both inside and out (and folding in the sides of the paper) you ensure that there is no trace of cheap cardboard on show and your box looks pretty.

Once you've covered all the sides, reassemble the box. It should be completely covered with only the base inside the box blank, cut a piece of wallpaper to fit the centre and stick it in! How simple was that? Done.

That was so easy it almost feels like cheating! I'm sure I'm going to make more of these, I have lots of boxes packed away waiting to be used for 'something'.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Waste Not Want Not

I hate throwing things away.

I'm not a hoarder (yeah right) I just hate throwing things away before they are definitely, 100%, undeniably, irrevocably finished with.

Which is the reason I've had this candle for about 3 years.

You see, this candle is lovely - but useless. The problem is that it's burnt so far down the jar that you can't really light the wick without burning your fingers, and if you do manage to light it the wax from the sides will melt and drown the wick so it only stays lit for about 10 minutes...Useless.

Until I had a brainwave!

I actually had this brainwave this morning and put it straight into action :)

Do any of you have oil burners? You know the pretty things with wells in the top for fragrance oils (and water - always add water!) and a space at the bottom for a tea light? Did you know that instead of buying oils, you can also get wax melts for the burner? You pop them in the well at the top and they melt to release a lovely aroma, they then re-set and you can melt them again and again - clever yes?

Well my thinking is that the wax left around the side of my defunct candle is going to be the same as the wax in these melts! Time to start melting!

I've used an old single cup cafetiere that I broke the plunger on for melting (I swear I'm not a hoarder!) as it's heat proof and can go in the microwave. I scraped the wax from the sides of the jar candle and popped it in the cafetiere:

After about 2 minutes it looked like this:

A little note: Your microwave is probably stronger than mine - Keep and eye on it! Watch the wax and make sure it's not bubbling and do not touch it when it comes out - hot wax isn't for playing with (unless you're feeling kinky).

Next step is to try and make the melts pretty :) I poured them into muffin cases to give them a pretty shape and left them to cool, it took about 20 minutes for them to be solid enough to pop out of the casing:

Lovely! Time to use one! I popped one straight on my oil burner to give it a whirl:

Whoops! It's a little too big but that's fine, as it melts it will melt into the well and stay there - I've got a pretty smelling living room right now :)

So there you go, waste not want not!

If you don't have any old candles and want your own wax melts, pop over to The One Stop Pamper Shop where you can buy some utterly gorgeous scented candles and melts along with lots of other goodies. I speak from experience when I say the goodies from this shop smell 100 times better than the candle I've used today! But like I say...I just can't throw things away!

Let me know if you give this a go!

BIG NOTICE! I have been warned by the almighty candle maker that you shouldn't melt wax in a microwave...whoops! So if you give this a go you need to melt the wax in a saucepan over a saucepan of hot water (like you melt chocolate - yum).

Monday, 2 April 2012


I don't know about you, but sometimes I wake up in the morning and think 'I'm going to make something yummy today!'

Yesterday was one of those days :)
As dinner had already been decided (lamb rogan josh in case you were wondering) I thought I'd make something particularly scrummy as an afternoon snack/desert.


At the moment I don't have a cake tin (shock horror) but I do, for some reason, have 3 different sized muffin tins. So muffins it was!

I decided to go for white chocolate chunk ones...mmmmm chocolate....

Here they are fresh out of the oven

Mmmm yummy! But they look a little bit boring don't they? I thought I'd have a go at making them pretty.

But there was a problem with that.

Cake decorating is one thing I am RUBBISH at. Honestly, my last attempt looked like a 4 year old had got some goo and slapped it on a cake. Don't believe me? LOOK!

Have you finished laughing? Or are you offended and know that your four year old could probably do better?

So yeah, I'm rubbish at cake decorating. But I refuse to give up! Yesterday I shut the kitchen door and told my other half not to disturb me until I told him he was allowed to come in and not to worry if he hears lots of swearing and a few cupboards being kicked (not that I would get that frustrated.....)

Disaster! My piping bag has gone walkabouts :( But I have the I fashioned one out of some cling film :D Huzzah! Back in business :)

Take a look at my raspberry flavoured butter frosting!

Oh yes! I'm pretty darn proud of these! You might notice a couple of mistakes (I know how eagle eyed you all are) but the main problem I had was that my blasted cling film piping bag kept splitting :( So not a bad job I think?

But they needed something else...

Ah! There we go :)

And they were delicious too!