Recipe: Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

These are my favourite. They are so delicious that if I could make them every weekend I really would. This time they were baked up for a family gathering and luckily I had people to share them with, otherwise they’d have been scoffed down entirely by me, and that wouldn’t have ended well. I encourage you to give these beauties a go, and try and tell the different between these and the fresh store-bought ones from the fancy supermarkets. Don’t forget to add that last bit of sugar on top of the warm shortbread right out of the oven, as that really makes them extra special.

Ingredients

  • 230g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 60g milk chocolate chunks
  • 60g white chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix again briefly.
  2. On a slow speed, add the flour until just combined with the rest of the mixture.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Roll the dough onto a floured surface, til it’s approximately half a centimetre thick. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours, until firm.
  5. Unwrap the dough and cut it into squares. Place onto the baking trays and bake for 20 minutes, until the edges are golden. While still warm, sprinkle the shortbread with a little bit of caster sugar.
  6. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 2

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 3

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 4

Chocolate Chip Shortbread 5

How to Wear Fall’s Colours

It can often be daunting to try and follow the latest trends in fashion when you’re not confident in certain styles or don’t quite know what works and what doesn’t. I’m not a trend follower whatsoever, choosing clothes that are comfortable and that look good over anything that is deemed to be ‘on trend’ – it just might be luck that something happens to be ‘in’ at any given time. I suppose that the only way I would purposely choose something that was following a certain trend would probably be with colour – I find it much easier to choose ‘in’ colours rather than styles and make them much more wearable in everyday life. Here I’ve picked out 3 of this fall’s hottest colours and I’m showing you how easy it is to pick out pieces  that look great but are also super popular and trendy in the coming season.

Fashion: Fall Colours

1. Crepe Swing Vest | 2. Nail Paint – Lemon Ice Cream | 3. Alice & You Yellow High Waist Midi Skirt | 4. Epaulette Shirt | 5. Blue Zip Pocket Front Tunic Dress | 6. Sweatpants | 7. Textured Cut-Out Skater Dress | 8. SKY LIT Wide Fit Pointed Heels | 9. Extra soft scarf.

Happy Moments: Hit the Gym

Happy Moments: Get to the Gym

I don’t know about you, but it comes to a certain time of year when my mood tends to drop. As much as I love Autumn, I find it really hard to get on board with the colder weather and the shorter days. I really can’t find the motivation to get excited in the morning, when I’m up before the sun, so I need all the help I can get in picking up my mood and making me feel a bit better about getting towards winter time (not that we’re anywhere near there yet!) One way I know that is guaranteed to help in getting my mood back up where I want it to be is exercise. The Mr. and I are really upping our fitness regime now that we’re less than 10 months from our wedding, and I’m finding it’s such a great mood booster and a way to really get my mind to a good place. I highly recommend putting on your trainers and getting out of the house for a run if you can, it’s a great way to get some endorphins pumping around your body and it makes you feel like you’re really achieving something. So, tie up those running shoes and get out there, your body and mind will thank you later.

Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Twists

Cheddar Cheese Twists

I’ve made a couple of different versions of these now, and they’re always pretty popular at family gatherings – I don’t think there have been any left at the end of the evenings where they’ve been served. And yet, they are so simple to make, they literally take a couple of minutes once you’ve got the three ingredients required together. Now, that’s the kind of party food I’m into. Not to mention the delicious kind that you can easily wolf down in one sitting – maybe it’s best if you make an extra batch just for you on movie night, so you don’t have to leave any for other part-going guests. This recipe makes 12 twists.

Ingredients

  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • Ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
  • 120g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • One egg, lightly whisked
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Unroll your puff pastry and place it onto a chopping board or countertop.
  3. Use a pastry brush to lightly cover the pastry all over with the melted butter.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top, lightly pressing down to adhere it to the butter/pastry – you can use a rolling pin to do this if you like.
  5. Cut the pastry into 12 even pieces along the width.
  6. Pick each one up individually, taking each end of the pastry and twisting 5 times, before putting it on the parchment paper – it’ll have taken on a twisted stick shape.
  7. Once you’ve done this with all 12 of the pastry pieces, use the pastry brush to brush egg on top of each twist, to give it a shiny finish when baking.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and the cheese has melted.

Cheddar Cheese Twists 2

Cheddar Cheese Twists 3

Cheddar Cheese Twists 4

5 Late Summer Date Ideas

Summer Sunsets 4

I’m trying to make the most of however many light evenings and warm days we have left now that Summer is coming to a close. Don’t get me wrong, I love Autumn and can’t wait to really enjoy some crisp, cool mornings and toasty, dark evenings, but I also really appreciate each season individually and want to get everything I can out of Summer before September is upon us. Me and the Mr. are also trying to find date ideas we can share, as we both have a week off from work coming up and we have some time together planned. I thought it would be nice to run through a few ideas I’ve come up with for late Summer date ideas that you might be able to try too. They’re all super affordable, if not free, so they’re easy to enjoy, without it being a big expense.

Sunset Drive

As the days pass by, sunsets are going to start getting earlier and earlier in the coming weeks, and so there aren’t many left to be enjoyed late into the evening, when you jump in your car and pick just the right spot to watch this natural beauty. We’re lucky enough to live in an area where we can watch the sun set right by the sea, so we have been known to sit in the car and watch as it sinks below the surface of the water before going for a quiet walk along the sea front. I love doing this and hope that no matter where we end up in the coming years, that we can still make a habit of spending some Summer evenings enjoying all that nature has to offer.

Afternoon Picnic

If you’re lucky enough to still enjoy some warm weekend afternoons well into August then why not take a picnic to a local park or beauty spot to enjoy a bite to eat? It doesn’t cost a lot to take a few snacks and drinks with you, along with a blanket to sit on, and it’s an afternoon away from home to enjoy with your honey. You could even make it a technology-free time, so that you can really enjoy the company of each other, without being distracted by your smart phone. Make long-term plans, go over ideas for future trips you want to take, continue to get to know as much as you can about the one you love – those are definitely my most favourite kinds of afternoon.

Fairground Fun

A lot of fairgrounds close up for the fall/winter seasons, when they’re affected by low visitor numbers or bad weather, so make the most of any local to you now, while you still have the chance. I don’t know about you, but I love most fairground rides, along with all the treats you can win at the fun amusement stands, so why not have a care-free, enjoyable date day/night by getting your adrenaline going and feeling just like a kid again. I won’t judge if you spend the time eating candy floss and hot dogs, nobody said date nights had to be healthy!

Neighbourhood Walks

We’ve been doing this a ton recently, and I’ve really been enjoying getting out and about in the area we live, getting some exercise and fresh air, while also finding out a bit more about the streets around us. Summer is the best time to spend time like this, as it’s still light when we’re heading out and the weather is still good, but we hope to do this in between the bad going into Autumn and Winter. This is another great chance for us to unwind after our work days, as we talk a lot while we’re moving, but it’s also great to be getting fresh air and to be burning some calories, where we could otherwise be sat indoors watching TV.

Garden Movie Night

If you can get hold of a reasonably priced projector, why not put together a little outdoor movie night. We all love movie nights spent at home, but surely it’s so much better underneath the stars, enjoying your favourite films and home-made snacks. Pick out a couple of both of your favourites, to make things fair, and choose a few different genres, so that you get a good mix of films and enjoy some good old-fashioned movie night fun. I would suggest flavoured popcorn, home-made nachos and anything chocolate as the perfect snacks for this venture and the more pillows and blankets you can find, the better!