Christmas in New York

This is long overdue, but here are my pictures from my trip to New York. I had an amazing week with my Mum and I would love to make another visit. Another post will be coming soon containing all of my experiences moments I enjoyed from my trip!

I hope that when the next time I make a visit, I will be able to take my Nikon D3100 and get some better quality pictures.

Charlotte x

What I got for Christmas 2016.

This Christmas was amazing, I spent a lot of time with my family and loved catching up with everyone that I don’t get to see very often. I wanted to create this post to not only remember what lovely gifts I got, but to give a huge special thanks to everyone who took the time to think of me over the Christmas period.

Mum:

These are a selection of the gorgeous things my Mum got for me! She got me a few tea lights in my favourite Yankee Candle scent, Snowflake Cookie. She also got me some Minion salt and pepper shakers as well as an amazing bowl for me to eat soup out of! She got both Joe and I the same one and I am very excited to get to using them. She got me a trusty tin of Vaseline, she gets me one every year so it was only right. She then got me a Tsum Tsum plush that contains a bag for life, cute and practical. She also got me some dairy free caramels that I had been asking for, for ages! Mum got me a wire Gingerbread Man filled with potpourri and a huge set of Real Technique’s brushes. I love this brand of make up tools so this was an amazing gift to receive. My Mum also got me a brand new dressing gown, it is grey and soft and to go with it she got me some furry slippers. I have barely changed out of both of these items since I got them.

My Mum also surprised me with tickets to see Wicked on Broadway when we went to New York. Wicked is one of my favourite musicals of all time so it was amazing to be able to see it when we were in New York.

Ian and Mandy:

Joe’s parents got us a whole range of copper cookware including the one pictured above. It is nice to have a complete set of the same pots and pans, plus they’re copper. I love them and I am so grateful that they managed to get them for us for Christmas! They also treated me to this gorgeous notebook. It has a cute little sausage dog on it and I love it!

Dad:

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My Dad very kindly gave Joe and I some money towards our wedding and as a little treat he also got me the Miss Saigon DVD. I wanted to see this when it came to the cinema so I was very happy to open this up on Christmas Day.

Joe:

Joe got me this gorgeous lipstick from Too Faced in the shade Clueless. He bought me this as one of my favourite films is Clueless and it is such a me colour, pink and glittery. I love this colour so much and I actually wore it in my New Year’s Day make up look so you can see it on me over there. He also got me a copper wire to go with my iPad as well as a gorgeous velvet travel case for my make-up brushes. I tweeted a few weeks ago saying that I would like Niomi Smart’s cookbook for Christmas due to the amazing Mac and Cheese recipe inside. Joe was thoughtful enough to get it me for Christmas so expect some posts about that on my blog soon! Another thoughtful gift was the tea set Joe got me. Joe and I went to Wagamama’s a long time ago and got some green tea to finish off our meal. Traditionally, green tea is served in small cups with no handles and ever since we had that meal I have been looking for some cups just like it. I did buy some from TK Maxx although soon realised they were actually plant pots so my mini cacti sit in them now. Amazingly, Joe remembered and picked up this little set with a beautiful matching tea pot.

I love everything I received this Christmas and I especially loved the fact that I got to spend so much time with my family around the holidays. Christmas is a really special time of year and I love it!

I also received some lovely gifts that I haven’t managed to grab a picture of; Joe’s brother and his girlfriend got me a really nice DisneyxCath Kidston notebook and pen which I will definitely be using when University rolls around again. My brother and his family printed out a really lovely group shot from his wedding last year. I love this picture and I will definitely be getting it framed. My Grandparents got Joe and I a pair of rose bushes as well as soil, compost and the plant pots to be able to plant them ourselves. My younger brother and my Dad also got me a Baylis and Harding body wash, my brother made sure to check it was cruelty free too which was a nice touch. My cousin got me a Lush gift voucher which came in good use in the Boxing Day sales and another of my cousin’s got me a Candy Mountain bubble bar from Lush as well as a vegan cook book which I cannot wait to start using!

I again would like to thank all of my family for thinking of me over the Christmas period and choosing such thoughtful presents! I have had an amazing Christmas and New Year and I cannot wait to see what the next year will bring.

Charlotte x

The Trafford Centre at Christmas.

Over the Christmas period, I decided to take a shopping trip to The Trafford Centre in Manchester and I thought I take some pictures of the beautiful decorations they had up!

I love going to the Trafford Centre at Christmas because it is so festive and the array of shops makes my Christmas shopping so easy!

Charlotte x

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs.

This week I made a lovely vegan spaghetti and meatballs, Joe has even said it was the best meal I have ever made! It was quite simple and took barely any time at all.

Ingredients:

– 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

– 1 onion

– 2 cloves of garlic

– Vegan meatballs (I used the Sainsbury’s own brand ones)

– Spaghetti

Method:

– Cook the meatballs in the oven, the packet I used took 15 minutes so I let them cook for 5 minutes before I started cooking the sauce. This is a good opportunity to cut your onion.

– Cook off the onions until they’re golden brown. Whilst doing this, start cooking the spaghetti.

– Add the garlic cloves and the tin of chopped tomatoes.

– Everything should finish cooking at the same time, so take the meatballs out of the oven and let them stand. Take the sauce off the heat and drain the spaghetti.

– You can then add the meatballs into the sauce mixture then top the spaghetti with it.

– Serve up and enjoy!

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Charlotte x

Food Diary Friday.

Ideally, I would have published this post on Saturday but it was Linc’s birthday so I wanted to make a special post for him. Regardless, here it is and I hope you enjoy!

Joe and I started slimming world last August, I lost one stone and Joe lost three so we did well. We decided to leave 2 months ago due to struggling to fit it around us being vegan and various personal circumstances that were occurring at the time. We are now in a more stable position and vegan quark has been released so low syn creamy pasta dishes, our favourite, are now much easier to create.

We decided it was about time to go back and as a part of this I have decided to do Food Diary Friday’s. I do not have the opportunity to record my meals everyday, especially with my new job, as I am often on the go although once a week is good enough to keep me on track.

On Friday I started with 25g of Frosties (Hex B) and 90ml of rice milk (1/2 of Hex A). I also had a bottle of water to accompany it.

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For lunch I had to have something quick as I had a lot of work to do. I had a packet of button mushrooms (speed), fried with frylight (free) and mixed in with cooked baked beans (free). I also had 100ml of chocolate oatly (1/2 of Hex A) to make up the rest of my Hex A limit for the day.

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To finish the day, we made Katsu curry for dinner using Yutaka Japanese style sauce (5.5 syns) with rice (free), onions (speed) and Linda McCartney sausages (1 syn). We initially were not sure about the addition of sausages but they were surprisingly great! Would definitely recommend trying them.

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I finished the day on 6.5 syns, generally I have a little more but I am glad I got at least the minimum of 5.

Charlotte x

Broccoli, cauliflower and potato soup.

Whilst this soup sounds bland, it is actually so gorgeous! Try it out, it might surprise you.

Ingredients:

– 1 whole cauliflower

– 1 whole broccoli

– 5 small or 2 large potatoes

– 2 vegetable stock cubes

– Salt

– Creme Fraiche and Crutons (optional)

Method:

– Chop all the vegetables into small pieces and put in a large pot.

– Prepare the 2 stock cubes as directed on the packet (usually with 1 litre of boiling water).

– Put the stock mixture into the pot with the vegetables and leave on a medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes.

– Once all the vegetables are softened, place everything into a blender and blend on a low setting.

– Season your smooth mixture with the salt then you’re ready to serve!

I like to garnish my soup with Creme Fraiche (Oatly vegan version) and garlic croutons for a different texture in the soup. I also heated some olive focaccia to accompany our meal.

Vegan Halloween Shortbread!

With Halloween and baking being two of my favourite things, I thought why not combine them and create some delicious treats! 

To get the Halloween inspired shapes I wanted, I decided to buy some cookie cutters. I bought a big pack from Lidl for around £1-£2 and they did the job great. They create quite small cookies but they’re the perfect size for children to enjoy.

Recipe:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 225g butter (I used pure spread)
  • 100g caster sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 170c.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  • Combine both sets of ingredients.
  • Chill the dough for around 10-15 minutes.
  • Roll dough out until at desired thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  • Use the cutters to create your shapes then place onto a baking tray.
  • Bake in the over for 10-15 minutes and until they’re golden brown.

I left my shortbread in for 10 minutes and due to some of them being a thinner biscuit, they browned slightly on the edges. Try to ensure all of the cookies are the same size or remove some from the oven once they’re cooked. Nonetheless, they still look cute and fun and they’re really delicious!


Happy Halloween!

Charlotte x

Tanya Burr Rocky Roads!

I picked up Tanya Burr’s new baking book, Tanya Bakes, and decided to have a look through and see if there were any recipes that could easily be made vegan. I was very excited to see that the Rocky Road recipe that Tanya included was quite simple and it didn’t take much to change the non-vegan ingredients.

Recipe:

150g butter (or a vegan spread)

350g dark chocolate

4tbsp golden syrup

250g Maryland cookies (or Tesco vegan digestives)

150g marshmallows (Freedom vegetarian mini marshmallows)

icing sugar to finish

Method:

Melt the butter, chocolate and syrup together in a saucepan on a low heat. Bash the cookies (in a plastic bag or inside a tea towel) with a rolling pin and aim to be left with big cookie chunks and crumbs too. Pour the crushed cookies into the chocolate/butter/syrup mixture. Pour in marshmallows and stir well. Pop the mixture into a tin and let it set in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Once your Rocky Road is set, dust it with icing sugar and cut it into bars.

I followed the above recipe although I did not include any biscuits and instead opted for a few more marshmallows. I included the correct amount of marshmallows according to the recipe then I added a few more until the consistency seemed right.

I also did not have a large enough, flat tin to be able to spread the mixture then cut it when set, so I decided to use a tin I have which has lots of small squares. I am not sure where I got this tin from (sorry!)

After making do with what I had in my kitchen, they turned out great! Me and Joe tried some and they were so delicious, even without the crushed up biscuits.

Charlotte x

Recipe from: http://www.tanyaburr.co.uk/2015/05/my-rocky-road-recipe/

Tanya Bakes: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tanya-Bakes-Burr/dp/1405927208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475519263&sr=8-1&keywords=tanya+bakes