22 January 2014

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies



We had a very lazy weekend which involved very little apart from some baking. My brother surprised me by asking if i'd like to bake with him. I rarely see him off his Xbox so as you can imagine baking with him is a rarity! He fancied some chewy chocolate chip cookies..my favourite. I always like to try new recipes to find the perfect balance of a crisp edge and chewy centre. This recipe is definitely up there with some of my favourites so be sure to give it a go. 



Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies 
Adapted from BBC Good Food

You will need:

250g of plain / all purpose flour
2g baking soda/ bicarbonate of soda
170g unsalted butter, melted
150g light Muscovado sugar
130g caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 egg
1 egg yolk
300g chocolate chips ( I used half white and half milk chocolate)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 165c / 325f . Sieve the flour and the baking soda in a large bowl. Melt the butter and mix in the sugars. Add in the vanilla and eggs and beat until well mixed. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and finally stir in the chocolate chips, leaving you with a yummy cookie dough. 

Line your baking trays with grease proof paper. Using the palms of your hands, roll the dough into golf size balls, leaving 2-3 inch gap between each ball. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden on the outside and slightly pudgy in the middle. Leave to cool slightly before putting on a wire rack.





These cookies were absolutely delicious and each one was of a decent size. Everyone said how chewy they were and tasted like they were from Millie's cookie shop. Hopefully you will give this recipe a try, it is definitely a keeper for me and will be going in my recipe book!

Do you like a chewy cookie? Or do you prefer a crisp tea dunking biscuit?

Gemma xXx

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16 January 2014

Easy Banana Flapjack Recipe



This afternoon I was getting hunger pangs and just couldn't stop thinking about the chocolate sitting in my drawer upstairs. You see Ian & I made a little pact to not eat anything chocolatey all week long until the weekend. Everything was going fine until he admitted to me that he ate a Chocolate Eclair at work, so although I was completely ready to give in myself, I am now even more determined not to eat any (you've got to love a little couple rivalry!).

So to help my sweet tooth I decided to instead bake myself some Banana Flapjacks. These little square treats are perfect for using up ripe Bananas and are really simple to make.

You will need:

  • ½ cup butter
  • tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • tablespoons golden syrup
  • cups rolled oats
  • 1 mashed banana

Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a microwavable bowl/jug and put it into the microwave for 20 seconds at a time until the butter has melted. Mix in your mashed banana and oats until you have a thick mixture. Spread out into an 8" tin and bake at 180c for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let it cool, cut it up into squares and serve!

Have you tried Banana Flapjacks before? They are perfect served with a cup of tea.

Gemma xXx

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13 January 2014

Transform A Room With Fairy Lights


I really love Fairy Lights. There is just something about that warm pretty glow that makes me feel all relaxed and happy. Walking into a room with this said glow is like receiving a big welcoming hug...Ahh I love it! A lot of people think they are just for Christmas time, but I like to keep mine out all year long.




I have two sets of Fairly Light, one with star shaped bulbs which is draped over a canvas down one end of my room. The other is intertwined on one of those twig trees. I love to hang some of my little hearts and other pretty treasures on it.


I just love that relaxed feeling sitting in my bedroom listening to Frank Sinatra, with just the fairy lights on. These decorative lights definitely transform the atmosphere in any gloomy room.

Do you have fairy lights anywhere in your home?

Gemma x

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10 January 2014

Friday ♥

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I am so pleased that it is Friday! It is always such a struggle getting used to life post-Christmas, the early dark wet mornings certainly haven't helped. Although the week has gone by slowly it hasn't been all that bad, I have in fact been extra productive....

* I went for a trial day at Ian's company to do some occasional work for them and it went well. I'm going back in next week.. Eeek! It will be great for extra money plus it's lovely spending my lunch break with Ian. We even managed to sneak in a quick drink at the pub!

* I've also made a big push to get some of my Interior Design coursework finished. It's been in the back of my mind for a while now so it will be good to get it handed in and onto the next thing.

* Some of you may have noticed a few changes on the blog. My clever sister redesigned my banner, isn't it cute? I love the sweet bunting! I've also gone ahead and bought the domain name for the blog... I am now Musingsofagem.com! Very official ;-)

We don't have too much planned for the weekend. I'm hoping to do a quick run tomorrow but apart from that I can foresee a few good movies, good food and hopefully a start to my embroidery hoop art that I mentioned yesterday.

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you having a lazy day in or are you out and about?

Gemma xXx

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9 January 2014

Hoop Art Inspiration

Something I have wanted to do for a long while now is to try my hand at Embroidery. I've decided 2014 will be the year that I make my own wall of 'Hoop Art'. If you are unsure as to what that is, it is simple wooden embroidery hoops with just pretty fabrics or embroidered designs sewn onto them. It's a great way to add interest and colour to a bare wall!

I have seen so many beautiful hoop embroidery ideas online so when I received a Hobby Craft voucher for Christmas I knew exactly what I wanted to spend it on. I have been looking on Pinterest for inspiration.





Images Via Pinterest



Aren't they lovely? If we ever have a little girl I can imagine so many pretty hoop designs for her bedroom. Until then I want to make some pretty hoops for my own bedroom. This will be the first time doing Embroidery so I think i'll start with something simple like the 'Be Happy' hoop on the top right. Do you like it? 

Fingers crossed I will enjoy this craft. I can foresee some cosy nights in front of the TV doing a little stitching. Exciting! Yes - I am a complete old lady at heart ; )

Have you ever embroidered before? 

Gemma xXx


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6 January 2014

A Healthy 2014 With Bimuno

I find that I always get cold after cold at this time of year. One year I had a rotten cold over Christmas and I couldn't taste a thing...absolutely nothing! As you can imagine I wasn't a happy bunny. To try and avoid this happening again i've been taking Bimuno Immunaid* for a few weeks to help boost my immune system. They support your defence system by helping to encourage and sustain a healthy level of your gut’s ‘good’ bacteria.



Bimuno Immunaid come in little round orange pastilles. These small pastilles don't necessarily taste the best, I thought it would have an orange flavour but they instead have a weird indescribable taste.

Apart from the flavour, since taking them I have felt good in so many ways. So far I don't have a sniffle in sight but what I am loving the most is how I have avoided that bloated feeling over the festive season. Usually when I eat a little more than I should I suffer with digestive problems but Bimuno has helped me avoid that! I reckon my tummy is even a little bit flatter because of it! Some of my family members suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) so I am recommending that they give Bimuno a go. There have been so many glowing reports that it has helped other IBS sufferers so it's definitely something to look into.

If pastilles aren't your thing then it comes in a powder form too! Simply add it to your food/drink and stir until dissolved. If you would like to know more about Bimuno then check out their Facebook page.

I would definitely recommend giving them a try if you would like a health boost for 2014! You can purchase Bimuno products from Boots or directly from Bimumo. The RRP for the Bimuno Immunaid pastilles is £9.99 but they are often included in Boot’s 3 for 2 offers so be sure to stock up!

Gemma xXx

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NB: This was a sponsored review but as always all opinions are my own and honest.

3 January 2014

Review - Enrapture Encode Totem Styler





I was a lucky girl over Christmas and was given an Enrapture Encode Totem Styler! If you aren't familiar with this hair curler it is very different to others on the high street. The Encode Totem styler has a unique barrel which is separated into three zones. Each zone can be heated to up to 3 heat settings which allows you to create an array of different curls. From tight ringlets, boho curls or a loose curl, you can create a ton of different looks with this one styler! 

Heat settings range from 1-3... 1 being the coolest, 3 being the hottest. I have had a little play and love the 1-1-2 look. I find it gives me that perfect loose curl which looks perfect for a day or night look. The next day my hair has that so coveted 'bed head' look that is so hard to create! My hair is thick so it usually falls completely flat after a few hours when using other curling tongs but the Encode Enrapture Totem Styler held my hair for 48 hours without any use of holding products. It's safe to say this is a keeper!























Something else that I love about this styler is the quality. As soon as you open it you can see and feel that it is made to last. I was particularly impressed with the clamp as it didn't create that 'crimped' look at the ends of my hair. Instead it helped to make the curl look natural which is what I want for my hair. 

The curlers heat up really quickly. I turned it on, applied my heat protectant spray and the curlers were ready to be used. I think it took me about 10 minutes to curl all my hair which is fantastic for when you are pushed for time!

All in all I absolutely love it! I am really happy as I can finally curl my hair and rely on it to last all day long. I'd definitely recommend it if you are looking for a high end curler or something that can create lots of looks. The RRP is £60 but Amazon are currently selling them for £35.

Have you ever used this hair curler? What setting do you like to use?

Gemma xXx

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2 January 2014

2014

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Happy 2014! Sorry I've not been around as much as usual. I always seem to neglect my blog at this time of year. It's only because i'm spending lots of time with family and making the most of the festivities! 

It's that time of year when everyone is thinking of their resolutions.I don't tend to have New Years resolutions as such. Instead I like to make a little list to look back on throughout the year to remind myself of what I want to achieve / do better at. 

Read
I'm ashamed to say that I barely read in 2013. I have a pile of new books that have just sat there. My aim is to get into bed early every other night and dedicate some time to read. Fingers crossed I can read all of them throughout the year!

Say Yes
Along with many other people I want to say YES to opportunities that come my way. A little something has already come up which I have said yes to.As long as it works out then it will be a positive change for 2014 (I will tell you soon!).

Health
This is always on everyone's list but I am still not where I want to be health wise. We took a little break from running over December but we are back on track and easing ourselves with a few 10 minute runs. I also really want to make the effort to eat better...not just avoiding junk food but to try and buy more organic/natural produce and less processed food. This will be easier once we have our own house but we have already made a start by making our own pizzas instead of opting for shop bought. It's so much more tasty and definitely makes me feel less guilty!

What are your aims/goals for 2014? Can you relate to any of mine?

Gemma xXx

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