Monday, 31 December 2012

2012: A Year in Review.

It's safe to say that 2012 has been a pretty amazing year. It has definitely had down points (like starting it unemployed!) but overall, it's been great. 

- WE GOT MARRIED. Yep, it was amazing. The day went as well as we could have hoped for, surrounded by family and friends and I married the most wonderful man ever. 

- Travel - we've been to Italy and Turkey this year, both which were pretty amazing. Italy for our honeymoon as lovely, the food was so tasty, and we want to go back someday. Turkey was busy, hot and the food again was very tasty.

- We moved house in February because we couldn't afford the rent any longer, and then by the end of 2012, we've bought our very own house! 

- I managed to secure a permanent job, for now. I'm so happy. It starts on Monday, and I'm nervous, but very excited about the next chapter!

I have enjoyed lots of walks in the sunshine:

I have baked lots of things:

I have eaten lots of peanut butter:

I have drunk a lot of coffee: 

It's been a very good year. 

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to 2013, I have a feeling it's going to be good. 

N xxx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Chocolate-caramel layer cake.

So, it has been my husband's birthday this week. Being so close to Christmas, it's always a bit of a rush, but I wanted to make it special, as always. 

Now, I've posted before about making a birthday cake on the same day as the birthday party, without having a practice beforehand. This was the same I'm afraid, but had more potential to go wrong! However.....

May I present to you, my husband's birthday cake:

I must admit, this came out pretty well. It has four layers inside. 

There's a vanilla sponge on the bottom, then caramel sponge, then chocolate-caramel sponge and then topped with a chocolate sponge. Sandwiched together with caramel sauce. 

It was then frosted with this delightful bowlful - this is a mix of melted dark chocolate, milk chocolate and double cream. Did I mention this cake isn't healthy?

Mmm. There were lots of oohs and aahs when the cake was cut into. 

 Slice of cake for the birthday boy!


The recipe can be found here at the Good Food website. I didn't use as much caramel to sandwich the cake together as they suggested, but it didn't matter. I also didn't use all of the chocolate mixture on the outside, but you could use it all and make a thicker layer. It also served a lot more people than 12, as the recipe suggests! 

I can also say that it tastes just as good the second day, just in case you were wondering! 

N xxx

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas.

We're in our new house. There are boxes and stuff everywhere. There is much sorting to be done.

But, not today. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. Now is the time for relaxing and spending time with family, and enjoying our first Christmas as a married couple.  

Merry Christmas to all x

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The calm before the storm.

I went for a long walk on a beach near us today. The sun was shining, the sea was calm, and the mood was peaceful. 

The week ahead for us is going to be stressful - we're hoping to complete on the house on Tuesday, move on Wednesday and be sorted by the weekend. I have one week of term left, and it's pretty busy as weeks go. 

So, the calm before the storm. 

N xxx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Small comforts and uncertain times.

Our house is looking a bit sad at the moment. You see, we haven't put up any Christmas decorations. We are the only house on our street that doesn't have any lights sparkling outside. In fact, this:
[sorry for the bad pic] 

is the only thing we have in our house that is at all festive. This is because we could be moving house at any point, and don't want to put all the decorations up to them have to take them all down again. But, our house looks sad. 

As always, small comforts make life better. I did stray from my usual porridge and had this:

This is banana cinnamon porridge topped with chopped berries and peanut butter. It was nice, but not as nice as this:

Cinnamon porridge topped with warmed berries and peanut butter. Can anyone else see a smiley face in the peanut butter, or is it just me? The warmed berries and the syrup they produce is just heavenly. I will not stray again any time soon. 

And, a picture in a magazine made me smile, so I took a [poor] picture of it:


Oh, and happy 12/12/12. 

N xxx

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Meal planning and making your pennies go further.

Things I have done today:
- Used a 10p off a litre of petrol voucher that would have expired today, had I not used it, saving me a whole £2.90!
- Went Christmas shopping with my mum and had a lovely time
- Had a posh brunch and tea
- Managed to buy 4 more Christmas presents
- Wrote most of my Christmas cards

A productive day!

I also wrote our menu plan for the week:
Sunday - mushroom risotto
Monday - soup and a sandwich
Tuesday - summer-in-winter chicken with rice
Wednesday - stir fry with noodles
Thursday - pizza
Friday - chicken with mushrooms and rice

Lots of rice this week, but then we've got lots of rice on the freezer. The chicken with mushrooms dish is already in the freezer, so no spends there, as was the pizza. Soup from the store cupboard and the only thing I needed to buy for the risotto was the mushrooms! 

Today has been a good day. How's your Saturday been?

[I love the house in this picture - it looks magical with snow on as well. ]

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Short and sweet.

The weather is getting colder and colder. Apparently it's meant to snow tonight for us. 

I can't believe it's December - where's the year gone!? I need to get organised with Christmas, I feel like I've not done that much so far. 

I love winter.