Coconut Dream Slice

coconut dream sliceThis bake was born out of a very rainy bank holiday Monday. We got back from a trip to Wales yesterday nursing hangovers and tired from all the driving. So when I woke up this morning to pouring rain and bleak skies, I quickly decided that I wasn’t leaving the house. I changed into my track pants, caught up with the world – there is little to no reception where we stay in Wales – and settled in for a day of my favourite things at the moment: reading, baking and watching back to back episodes of New Girl.

I mentioned to Ben that I was going to bake and he said how about a slice? He was thinking one of those fridge slices with condensed milk or real chocolate, but we had none of that. Looking through my Edmonds cookbook, my eyes skimmed over the Brownie and Ginger Crunch and landed on the Coconut Dream slice recipe, luckily we had a lot of coconut.

coconut dream sliceI have never made this one before, and as far as I know have never had it. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like, or taste like for that matter. But with lots of coconut and more than a fair share of brown sugar, I knew I couldn’t go too far wrong with it. coconut dream slice This recipe has a simple base of butter, brown sugar, flour and baking powder which is quickly baked before an eggy topping is poured on. The topping consist of eggs, more brown sugar, vanilla essence, chopped nuts and a whole lot of coconut.  coconut dream sliceI’m not sure if it’s supposed to look like this, I may have slightly over baked it. It tastes delicious though, you can really taste the caramelisation from the brown sugar and I love the chewy coconut and nut topping. It’s good as it is, but I think warmed with cream or ice cream would take this traditional slice to the next level.

I’m not going to reproduce the whole recipe as the Edmonds company might have something to say about too many of their recipes turning up on my blog. But you can buy a copy of the book here.

So Kiwis, has anyone had the Coconut Dream slice? Is this how it is supposed to look?

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Blog Birthday – 1 year on

Green Pastel Birthday Cake with sprinklesYesterday I celebrated my 28th birthday and made my own birthday cake. I love an occasion to make cake and my own birthday is no exception. I went all out with pastel icing, sprinkles and candles – a proper birthday cake. Thanks to those who came out and helped me eat it last night, I had a great night.

Pastel Birthday Cake with sprinklesAs I started this blog on my birthday last year, that means my blog is now one year old. My birthday fell on a Friday last year and I had taken a flexi-day off work as a present to myself. I remember agonising over the first post and goading myself into pressing send before jumping in the shower and getting ready to meet friends for drinks in town.

I didn’t tell anyone about it for the first few months and I didn’t really do much on it. Then after a chance convo with one of my best friends from home, I started putting together my 27 List. Since then I have written 35 blog posts, had 1,010 views, 419 visitors and 41 comments. Not bad, although most of those visits and comments come from my parents, thanks mum and dad xx

Green Pastel Birthday Cake with sprinklesGreen Pastel Birthday Cake with sprinklesSo what’s next?

I have a few things I want to catch up on over the next few months, summer holiday memories and a few more things I have completed on the 27 List. My June update had a lot of gaps and work in progress, so I’ll keep working on that too. Then I’ll be turning my attention to my next set of goals and plans for the blog.

I’m not sure what they will be at the moment, but I know I’m going to keep at it. I’m getting more comfortable with writing and sharing my writing. It’s also a great way for Ben and I to practice our photography and try new things with our camera which is a bonus.

So, onwards and upwards and all that!

Thanks for joining me so far guys xx

Pastel Birthday Cake with sprinkles

4. The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon on London red bus I had been wanting to see The Book of Mormon since it opened in London 2 years ago, so when thinking about what things I wanted to show my friends while they were here, I knew I had to put it forward. They both looked at the press blurb and wrote back something like ‘That sounds so random! But I’m keen’. Yay! I booked the tickets and started getting excited.

The Book of Mormon MusicalUnfortunately, we happened to book on a tube strike day… It was mayhem in the city, when Londoners all forced to be above ground it really makes you realise how many people there are in the city. After sitting on a bus that took about half an hour to get from Liverpool street to St Paul’s we decided we would have to abandon it and walk the rest. The photo above is taken 5 minutes before the show started, we had just finished scoffing down Pret sandwiches and hoping another friend coming in from a day at Wimbledon would make it in time.

It was worth the extra effort though, this show had laughing right from the start. You really cannot have any expectations going into this, because any you do will be swiftly put in their place. The comedy constantly manages to subvert your expectations and I found myself bursting out in shock laughs for most of the show.

The Africa song is just one example of how the show toys with your expectation. The song starts with the woeful take of the plight of Uganda. No food, sun that will kill you, animals that will kill you etc. Then builds into an uplifting crescendo as the Nigerian village people get them all dancing and chanting a Hukuna-Matata-esque catch phrase. The laughs come when it’s translated.

This show takes aim at almost everyone, Mormons (of course),  racists,  homophobics, pedophiles, religious fanatics, and Ugandans to name a few. But where writers Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone (Trey and Stone of South park fame)  went so right was to poke fun at themselves, Americans. From the over happy “Good Mornings” to the jive style dance moves everything about the show was a send up of the over the top American culture that the world knows so well and it was hilarious.

A final mention must go to the actor who played Elder Cunningham, Brian Sears, who managed to slip a one liner about the tube strike and got a roar of laughter from the embattled London crowd.

Go and see it, you won’t be disappointed.

5. Create a Star Constellation Scarf

20150815_Constellation_scarf_0053

I read a fair few blogs, mostly on travel, quite a few on baking and a lot in between. I use the Bloglovin’ app to keep up to date with all the new writers, crafters and travellers I discover, and as I discover more and more awesome content I have started un-following blogs that I just don’t read anymore, as you do with Facebook – there are some random acquaintances you just have to expunge from your daily feed to keep your sanity.

There are two blogs that I always, always come back to though, A Beautiful Mess (ABM) and EnJOY It. They are both written by awesome women who produce intelligent and creative content and although they are both multi-channel lifestyle businesses now, at their heart, they are crafters and post almost daily DIY inspiration. I’m not really a crafter myself, I’m just not set up for it, but when I came to writing my 27 List, I knew I would have to challenge myself to try out a few things.

20150815_Constellation_scarf_0032 I spotted this DIY Constellations Scarf in the ABM archives one day and I was inspired to give it a go myself. I knew I had an old scarf I could use, and I can sew. How hard could it be? So I gave it a go. After a month or so searching for paint and embroidery thread I liked I got started drawing star templates and making stamps.

20150815_Constellation_scarf_0062I enjoyed chosing out the constellations a lot, that is the idea that attracted me to this activity the most, I thought it was an awesome way of personalising something. Above, I’m showing off the Southern Cross constellation, the cross which features on the New Zealand (and Australian) flag.

20150815_Constellation_scarf_PSD_0042I have also managed to put in myself and my sisters’ start signs Leo, Gemini and Aries and two Harry Potter references Sirius and Bellatrix. Although Bellatrix is missing the arrow part, oops.

When I first started making this I had imagined I would give it as a present, but after a few too many sloppy stars and uneven embroidery I think I better keep it for myself. On the surface this is a very simple craft, but like everything it is in the execution and without practice, mine was just not up to it. I am happy with my little effort though and I will wear it over winter, once it’s layered up all the imperfections are hidden.

20150815_Constellation_scarf_0063 So, that’s my first ‘as seen on’ blog attempt. I always wonder how many people reading these two blogs actually try any of what they read about. Have you ever tried any ‘as seen on’ blog crafts?

Photos thanks to Ben xx

Bristol City Break

_MG_0147Easter approached fast this year and 1 week out I hadn’t made any plans, but knew I wanted to get away from London for the weekend. I had been reading a lot about Bristol and when you added up the cost of a train ticket and a cheap business hotel, it was a pretty good option for a last-minute weekend. So my sister and I packed our bags and our books and jumped on the train.

We were a bit hampered by Easter bank holiday closures. But an Easter chocolate fair on the waterfront and sunny winter days made up for it.

Here is what we got up to in Bristol:

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A great first stop when you arrive at Bristol Temple Meads is Hart’s Bakery. They sell lovely fresh breads, a variety of cakes and sweet things and, Kiwi’s will know what I’m talking about here, good cabinet food! By this I mean a good selection of lunch stuff that’s just ready to go like savoury muffins and quiches. I love that stuff.

_MG_0018mint green wall, BristolWander along the colourful Harbourside to Brunel’s SS Great Britain.

_MG_0124When the ship was launched in 1843 it was the world’s largest and fastest ship due to the new steam engine powering it. Technology advanced quickly in the 1840’s though and by 1852 the now obsolete engine was replaced and the ship converted to a sailing ship. The ship worked for decades carrying emigrants from England to Australia. It was fascinating to see how passengers would have travelled. I definitely wouldn’t be able to squeeze into even one of the first class beds. They are tiny!_MG_0070  This is Claire and I goofing around in the first class dining deck.

_MG_0105Beers on Bristol HarbourDrinks on Bristol HarbourDrinks on Bristol HarbourWe saw a few smart souls had grabbed beers and perched themselves on the docks to sit and watch the winter sunset. It looked like the perfect way to rest our legs and we quickly sourced beers from Arnolfini Cafe & Bar and sat people watching as the sun went down.

Garlic bread at The Stable, BristolDefinitely tuck into pizza and the cider tasters at The Stable on Bristol waterfront.

_MG_0141 Take a stroll around Millenium Square at night._MG_0187 _MG_0193Or check out the mirror ball and bronze sculptures there during the day. I just read that there is one there of Cary Grant who was born in Bristol. I didn’t pay enough attention to the sculptures, I have about 5 mirror ball selfies instead.

_MG_0179I can recommend the Glassboat restaurant for a breakfast or a coffee on the water. No surprises for me, I had the muesli and an English breakfast tea when we popped in. Both were exactly what I need to get me ready for a second day of exploring.

_MG_0210We wandered past the Bristol Cathedral in search of street art. Bristol is known for its street art scene and is home to a number of Banksy pieces. We went looking for ‘Naked man’ which is on Park Street, but stumbled across ‘Swinging Girl’ too. We thought this was a Banksy, but reading more about it now it seems it may have been a copy-cat, either way it was nice to look up and see it brightening up a very dull area of town._MG_021320150405 March iphone Bristol 225 _MG_0222_MG_0236Tuck into some gorgeous Indian food at Thali Cafe. This is a Bristol institution, every tourist guide and Bristol blogger mentioned Thali Cafe and I am going to continue this trend. Go and try this fragrant and delicious indian food!! There are 5 branches and Bristol so you’ll never find yourself far from one.

Thali Cafe BristolOur last stop was the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Before we got there I kept thinking that this was the bridge over to Wales. Nope, that’s the Severn Bridge, much bigger than this local one. On the plus side though, we could easily walk to the other side of this one. Well easier for some than others, Claire was holding on to the rails for dear life – she’s not one for heights.

_MG_0253 _MG_0260If you make it out to the bridge do take a stroll through the nearby Clifton Village. It has some interesting boutique shops and cosy little cafes.

We finished off our weekend in Bristol with a warming hot chocolate at Za Za Bazaar where I fell in love with these purple lanterns. I have about 20 pictures of them – no joke.

_MG_0274I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the surface of what Bristol has to offer, so if you have any tips please pass them on. I definitely want to take Ben and show him around one day.

Regent’s Park Wander

20150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_0147 Making the most of the balmy summer nights towards the end of June, we found ourselves strolling around Regents Park.

I’m not a fan of the clichéd adage “tired of London, tired of life” to paraphrase the often quoted words. But sometimes there is no getting around it;  there really is always something new to discover in London. Regents Park is my favourite London Park, and I am saying that having picnicked, run, sun bathed, boot-camped and biked around quite a few others. Regents Park just makes me the most happy and so I spend a lot of time there and I feel like I know it pretty well. On this evening though, we happened to discover the rose garden for the first time. I always knew it was there but I didn’t know where and I had never taken the time to hunt it out before.

20150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_007820150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_004420150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_007120150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_0092I’m so glad we did, it’s a beautiful little space and even though the roses were slightly past their best, it still felt like we had entered a secret garden, or a scene from a Beatrix Potter tale. It was a good chance to practice our burgeoning photography skills too. I have to admit though, most of the photo credits go to Ben as Claire and I spent most of the time chatting. 20150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_013520150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_012020150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_0154As I write Claire is just about to finish her 36 hour flight home and touch down in Wellington to eagerly awaiting family and friends. Its times like these I wish I could be there too, but I still have much more of London and Europe to discover yet.

20150628_Regents_Park_Rose_Garden_0123All the best for your next adventure Claire, miss you already xx

Post Holiday Priorities

20150804_To_Do_List_0656After a month and a half of visitors, holidays, spending time with my sister and just generally having a blast. Saying goodbye to everyone and getting back to reality is a massive downer. I’m back to the daily grind of work, commuting and to-do lists.

The to-do list I wrote this week after settling back into normal life was long – depressingly long. I am always one for lists (see 27 list), as I love the small win I get when I cross something off (#nerdwin). But as I washed my hair in the shower, stressing about ALL THE THINGS!! the clichéd gravestone analogy came to my mind; no one is remembered for the mundane. I don’t want my (far distant) future headstone to read ‘RIP Andie, she was up to date with the electric bill’.

It was a good wake up call to remember to prioritise the things that make me happy. Like this blog, and netball training and holiday daydreaming. I have to remember the other stuff will be sorted in and around the more important things.

It seems that forces in the universe wanted to reinforce this lesson too as, tonight while I sat upstairs editing photos for this blog post, a meter reader knocked at the door and popped in for 30 seconds to read the meter. Saving me a job that would have involved dragging a chair downstairs to copy down the numbers and 15 minutes trying and failing to remember my utility company log on to enter them in. I have already crossed it off the list.

20150804_To_Do_List_0663Note: This nice and organised looking list in the picture was written especially for the blog. I have kept my usual messy scrawl well hidden from public viewing. I did a thorough spell check on it too. Must keep up appearances.