Mini Creme Egg Cheesecakes

9 Mar

Today I decided I wanted to make one of my cheesecakes, but I didn’t fancy my usual Mars themed recipe, so had to have a think about what else I could try… A few ideas were batted about until I decided on Creme Eggs, seeing as we’re near Easter and all, and I may have just a slight addition to them atm! ;-)

I started out with my usual cheesecake recipe (see my Mars cheesecake entry – http://wp.me/p3COiP-1G) but excluded the caramel. I also substituted the normal hobnobs for chocolate ones to give it a tad more chocolate for Easter!

I separated the batch into 16 individual muffin cases and made each cheesecake individually. Muffin-sized cases are better as their wider and generally slightly thicker… You’ll also want to use a muffin tin to hold the cases whilst setting or else the weight of the mixture will collapse the sides of the cases… Put the biscuit in first, flatten with your fingers or the end of a spoon, and place them in the fridge for about 10mins, then put the mixture on top and place back in the fridge for a further 10mins… After this, I took them back out and placed a small dollop of melted chocolate into the middle of each cake. Then very carefully, I placed the two halves of the mini creme eggs (cut them along the seal line with a sharp chefs knife) on top of the chocolate, giving them a little ‘push’ into the mixture to make it look as if the chocolate had melted off the eggs.

These then went back into the fridge for about 1-2hrs before being ready to serve!

All in all about 30-40mins prep and a couple of hours in the fridge = Easy (and fun) Easter desert!

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My Denby Jet Bargain Buy

8 Mar

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Today I received my delivery of my new Denby dinner set. This purchase was my bargain of the year to date, and made me glad I waited at Christmas.

We’d seen the set we wanted in House of Fraiser’s before Christmas – Denby sets are usually about £250 RRP But you can generally get a 16-piece set for around £130 at different times of the year if your happy to wait. I didn’t want to risk waiting till we actually moved in before buying the set as I was worried it would be just my luck they wouldn’t be on offer when we came to moving, so was starting to think that ‘Spring’ would be the next closet time before we moved that an offer would come on… It was for this reason that I had started doing a daily search on the ‘usual’ sites such as HoF, Debenhams and Denby Direct for any offers on my selected range.

At first I managed to find a deal for £120 for a 16-piece set which I didn’t think was too bad, but the deal seemed to be a long-standing offer so thought I might as well wait until payday – as you do…

The next morning however I noticed that Denby’s outlet store was selling 4-piece versions of the set for £10.75 each! I thought this must be a mistake as the side plate alone to buy singly was £12 and I’d never seen single place-setting sets before… (though come to think of it, it would make sense for buying additional place-settings over the normal 4). I even got my mother to check the page to make sure it wasn’t just a plate! But sure enough it seemed right! Set comprising of 1X Tea Plate, 1X Dinner Plate, 1X Bowl and 1X Mug for £10.75! I thought about waiting for my husband to get home to see what he thought, but then decided sod it, ill just get them as we were definitely buying them either way!

I’d always wanted to work my way up to having 8-place settings worth of crockery, but at this price I thought I might as well buy it all now seeing as its still costing me less than one full set would normally… £86 later I seemingly had two 16-piece dinner sets direct from Denby… I thought it seemed too good to be true considering to buy the one set was still £120 online!
Well anyways, less than 24hrs later I noticed the listing had been removed from the site, and a new one for 3X the price had gone up! I panicked thinking they had obviously made a mistake and realized said mistake, and were not going to honour my order, I darent ring them in case they call me on it, but they had taken payment already, so I thought I’d wait and see what happened…

Well 3days later I have today received my delivery, all 8 boxes worth, and am extremely happy! Can’t believe what a bargain I managed to get there and just proves that both patience and decisiveness does pay off, as otherwise I would only have one 16-piece set right now for almost double what I paid for two!
Definitely a #100happydays moment and can’t wait to start using these in our new house! :-)

Designing Your Own Wedding Stationary…

1 Mar

Quite a few of my friends seem to be getting married this year, or early next, and alot have asked me where I got my stationary made… Well the simple answer is that I made it myself! I can’t say that it was a ‘simple’ process, it was blooming hard work, and took alot of planning and patience on my part (which anyone who knows me, knows patience isn’t one of my best qualities!). But after spending a couple of weeks looking at different designs online, and then contacting local companies to see what their “going rate” was for what I had in mind, I realised that this is just another thing in the ‘Wedding Business’ where companies can just outright rip you off…

So I made the decision to design and make everything myself. I initially spent some time narrowing down my list of “likes” from all of the research that I had done, and then drew out a simple design of ivory linen card (colour to match my dress), with red and gold ribbon (matching the wedding theme colours).

My first point of call was to get the crafts needed to make my stationary… I started out by going to placing like Hobby Craft and looking at the different sizes, shades and quality of card, ribbon and embellishments. Once I’d done this, I wrote down everything I liked, and started to hunt around online for better prices (I wasn’t going to pay their store prices!). I ended up finding some ‘shops’ on Ebay who sold what I wanted, and I contacted each directly with my ‘order’ for each set of items I wanted… I then haggled a bit with each one and came up with ‘package deals’ which all included delivery as below:

1. Ebay Shop1:

  • 70X A4 Sheets Ivory Linen Card 260GSM (pre-scorded)
  • 130X Ivory Paper Inserts for A6 Cards 120GSM
  • 130X A6 Ivory Linen Cards
  • 130X A6 Ivory Envelopes
  • 130X A7 Ivory Linen Cards (RSVP)
  • 130X A7  Ivory Envelopes (RSVP)
  • 100X Ivory Linen Place Cards 260GSM
  • 400X 4mm Round Ivory Glossy Pearl Acrylic Flatback Gems
  • TOTAL PRICE: £50 inc. next day courier service

2. Ebay Shop2:

  • 25M Berisfords 10MM Honey Gold Sheer Organza Ribbon
  • 3M Berisfords 15MM Ivory Wired Sheer Organza Ribbon
  • 2M Berisfords 50MM Red Double Satin Ribbon
  • TOTAL PRICE: £30 inc. next day courier service

3. Ebay Shop3:

  • 5X Sheets Heavy Duty Ivory Embossed Luxury Wrapping Paper – £8.50 inc. delivery

4. Ebay Shop4:

  • 5X Double-Sided Crafting Tape (roller)
  • 2X Precision Super Glue
  • 2X PVA Glue
  • TOTAL PRICE: £15 inc. delivery

5. Ebay Shop5:

  • 3X Black Ink Cartridges – £20

TOTAL COST: £123.50

This made up 130 Day & Evening Invites each with inserts and envelopes, RSVPs & RSVP envelopes, 90 Service/Menu Cards, 90 Table Place Name Cards, 7 Individual Table Name Cards, 1 Large Room Table Plan & 1 Large Decorated Post Box. Still with lots of left over card and ribbon afterwards!

I’d found a downloadable font on one of those free font websites that I liked, and using MS Publisher, I designed the outside and insides of all of the envelopes, and printed them all up… This was quite a stressful process as we found that the linen card was slightly too heavy for our printer, and so wasted quite a few sheets on getting the technique right for printing… This ended up being a single sheet at a time job, which was really time consuming to say the least!!

Once these were all done and sat drying, I started cutting up the ribbon to be the correct length – This was three different pieces for each card, the wide red for the base, a thin line of gold to go over the top, and another thin piece for creating the bows. Once these were all equally cut, I sat and made all of the bows, which was alot harder than it looked to get them to look even – not as easy as tying your shoelaces! Once these were also done, I glued the pearls onto the tops of the bows (and stuck my fingers to lot of them in the process!), and put these aside with the rest of the ribbon for the cards to finish drying… Finally when everything was dry, using the tape I ran two parallel lines along the left side of the cards, and placed the red ribbon flat on top, folding the edges over the top of the card by about 2cm to give it a clean edge. After, I did the same with the thin gold ribbon (the double-sided tape was just thin enough to be hidden under the ribbon) I placed the bow ontop, and glued it down with superglue… This caused a few ‘accidents’ where the bow would move at the last second and cause a drip of glue to get onto the red ribbon… In fact the final picture below does show this, as it was one of my ‘trial runs’ which I kept for reference…

Once this was all complete and dry, I layered the inserts inside the cards to just cover over the edges of the ribbon I had brought over from the front. These were stuck down with the tape and a little PVA glue in the corners. And this gave me my finished cards!

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I followed the same process with all of my other stationary, printing the cards first, then cutting and tying/sticking down the ribbons accordingly, and sticking them on… For our table name cards we chose to use places we were going to be visiting on our Honeymoon; we traveled to Florida and the Bahamas.

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My Ceremony Cards were a 3-piece set, which included a welcome front, the ceremony details and the breakfast menu. I started by printing the three sets of information onto the A4 card I had purchased, and then using a guillotine I cut the sheet into three pieces, each slightly shorter than the other so that they laid ontop of each other with an ‘over-lapping’ effect. I finished by punching a hole in the top, and looping through some gold ribbon to hold them together.

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I did the same with the gift registry cards, as I built my own website asking for things towards our honeymoon (I’ll do another blog entry on this!) and so just printed some little business-card-sized cards with the website address on the back to put inside our envelopes…

Finally, my wedding post box… For this I used an old office box, the kind you get when you order 6-8packs of A4 paper from the stationary shop… And then using my Ivory Wrapping Paper, I covered both inside and outside of the box and lid separately. I then cut a hole along the top, big enough to put envelopes inside, and covered the box in ribbons and a printed sign, sealing the box by putting ribbons through the lid and handles.

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After I had finished, for a laugh I took one of my finished cards (card, envelope, RSVP & envelope, gift registry card) and the ceremony cards into a local stationary making business who advised me that for them to create just the invites and ceremony cards in the same way, would cost me approximately £650… Mine cost me £123.50 and included everything else such as the post box, table place & name cards, table plan etc.

Sorry for the quality of the images attached, I pulled all of this out of storage to take the snapshots, and consequently some of the bits have got damaged from being folded etc. to store. The finished card was also one of my “failed” attempts as I dripped a bit of glue onto the red ribbon, and also hadn’t folded over the edges enough on the top/bottom of the ribbon… Unfortunately the better versions are packed away in a different box, and not easily reachable at this moment to get a picture! :(

Decorating With The Bahamas…

28 Feb

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So recently I’ve been doing lots of research on decorating ideas for our new house…

I’ve started swaying towards the idea of a Blue/Green & Brown themed living room, with a wallpaper feature wall (in brown-blue/green) and then a coordinating colour on the other walls.

Whilst looking at colour options I started to think about how I could decorate the room with matching colours; I really wanted to be able to showcase as much “US” into our new home as possible, without lots of store-bought pieces, but didn’t know how to go about it… It was then that I found an image online which had a blue-brown living room, with a massive picture of a beautiful beach on the wall… This really reminded me of our time in the Bahamas for our honeymoon, and got me thinking… I took some lovely photos whilst we were there, so why can’t I use one or two of those?

Having trailed through my images, I’ve come up with these three as some of my favourite… I’m thinking of either doing one very large print, or else maybe a combination of two or three in slightly smaller frames to stretch out across the wall… I know the prints will probably cost more than buying something in my local store, but this feels so much more personal, and I can honestly say when people ask “Yes, I personally took those photos on my vacation…” not just “Oh yes, it’s a lovely beach… In my dreams!”

I’m still not sure on which will be the final images, but once we’re in and I’ve decided, I’ll get them printed up and some photos up on here… I also have some stunning images from when we took a hot air balloon over Florida, here are two of my favourites, but I’m not sure on using these as A. it’s a different location, and B. the orange/yellow in the balloon throws too many additional colours into my room plan…

Florida Images

#100happydays challenge

1 Feb

So I’ve decided to have a go at this 100happydays challenge which everyone seems to be doing atm… Part of me wants to say “how hard can it be?” but the other part of me however is thinking this is probably going to be alot more difficult than it seems…

Either way, I started today(well technically yesterday as it now into Saturday!) and my first picture? JD, cheesecake and Mario! Would have been better with dissy (ran out) and old-school NES Mario, but this’ll do for now!

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#day1 #100happydays

Long Time No Speak…

31 Jan

OK, so I admit it, I’ve kinda forgotten about my blog for a while!!
But I’ve had soo much going on, and I know you’ll probably say “well that’s the perfect excuse to get blogging” but I just haven’t been feeling it recently… So now, my aim is to start anew, new year (kinda late I know) and all that…

So what’s happened since my last post in JULY 2013? (I know, the shame!) Well quite a bit actually! Here’s just a few of my top/most iconic moments over the past six months…

> I changed job, twice! First I was put onto a 6m pilot program last August to assist getting it up and running etc. Then once this had finished, I was offered a new role within the Solutions Department at my company’s Head Office in Colchester! This started as of January this year, so I’m still getting my bearings – But I’m excited for the challenge!

> We reserved a house… Yep that’s right! After much deliberation, calculating and visiting various developments, we decided to buy a new build property in Colchester near my new office. It’s a bit of a journey for hubby to get to work, but doable with either car or public transport… We decided on a 3-bed detached house just on the outskirts of the town, and as it was purchased off-plan (I know – Scary times!) we’re just waiting for it to be finished building before we can move in – Hopefully this will be around May this year… We actually exchanged a few weeks ago, so it’s moving forward!

> I had my second wedding anniversary! Can’t believe over two years have passed since that day!

> I had another birthday – as did hubby! Eek!

> We had Christmas… Not much to say there really, Christmas is Christmas and mostly uneventful in my opinion…

> We moved out of Writtle and back to Clacton to live with my parents whilst our house is being finished… At first I admit I was dreading it, but a month has gone by already, and it’s not been so bad – Yet *touch wood*. We’re hoping to use this time to save as many pennies as possible to decorate our new home as soon as we move in

> Saw Maroon 5 at the O2 – Which was as amazing as it sounds! They are excellent entertainers, and really put on an amazing show! I’m looking forward to sifting through the pictures which I haven’t yet had a chance to do!!

I think that’s it for the big items… I’ll try and keep up a bit more so that there isn’t too many gaps next time!

Bye for now!

Easy Peasy Homemade Frappuccino!

13 Jul

In light of this hot weather recently, I decided to treat myself to one of my favourite “naughty-but-nice” things in life… A Frappuccino! My all-time favourite is the Mocha Cookie Crumble with Chocolate Cream from Starbucks! I could, and was having one of these every day for breakfast, until I realised I needed to stop both spending the money, and consuming so much sugar every day!!! So, I decided to compensate by making my own version, and as it came out so nice, I thought I’d share! :)

This mix below will make a large glass worth, if you want to make about a pint glass worth, use about 320ml milk instead, and add a little more chocolate/coffee to taste…

Ingredients:

- 250ml Milk (I personally use skimmed, but my husband uses whole for his, and they both come out fine!)
– 2 tbl spoons Chocolate Nesquik
– 1-2 tsp Flavoured Coffee (I use Whittards Chocolate Truffle or Vanilla flavours) – You can use more or less coffee to your taste!
– Squirty Cream (I use Anchor Light)
– 5 Ice Cubes
– Optional: 1-2 tbl spoons caramel syrup (Just the normal type you use for ice-cream is fine)

Method:

- Pour the Milk, Nesquik, Coffee and Ice Cubes into a blender (and syrup if your using any)
– Blend together for approximately 30seconds (anymore and it will start to warm up!)
– Pour into a large glass, and top with squirty cream… Sprinkle a light dusting of Nesquik on top, and Hey Presto! All done!
– Serve immediately! :)

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