My Homemade Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Hi lovelies!

I’ve made this recipe about five times in the last week so I thought I’d share it in my blog. This is my own recipe so may not be exactly how everyone else makes brownies but my husband-to-be (and chief guinea pig) absolutely loves them so they must be ok!

Ingredients:

  • 150g plain chocolate
  • 80g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites (from medium sized eggs)
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/ 350 degrees farenheit/ gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof baking paper. Heat a saucepan of water to boiling on the hob and then set to a medium heat.
  2. Put the chocolate, butter, oil and sugar together in a mixing bowl and place the bowl on the saucepan of water. Melt the ingredients together, stirring frequently, until the ingredients are blended together. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the egg whites and stir. Add half of the flour, stir in until completely mixed, then add the other half and repeat.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, stirring each time.
  5. Pour mixture into the baking tray, ensuring that the mixture is spread evenly. Place in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool. If you you try to cut the brownies whilst still too hot they will crumble. Cut into squares.
  7. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Miche xx

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Book Review – A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Hey lovelies!

I have been meaning to write this post for a while. It’s been a long time since I posted a book review. I do struggle to find the time to read books, so I’ve just joined the book club in my village and my first meeting with them is tomorrow (20/05/19). I’m hoping that as a result I’ll have to ensure that I make time to read and therefore can write more reviews on this blog.

Anyway, let’s get to it! Today I’m going to review A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Why I chose to read this book:

I first watched this as the series on Sky (I think it was Sky, might be wrong) back in October and absolutely loved it so I had to read the book. There are two more in this series; the trilogy is called All Souls and I am definitely going to get reading the next one as soon as possible. The next two are called Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.

My thoughts on the story:

I loved it! One of the best books I think I’ve ever read. Certainly better than the series as all books are but as I loved the series so much I was rather intrigued if this would still be the case. I think that this book is beautifully written, and captivates the reader constantly; the story just flows seamlessly. I love the fact that Harkness has used these mythological creatures and turned them into her own excluding the common stereotypes. For example, a good witch with remarkable powers that she does not wish to use, a vampire that can still go out in daylight and doesn’t fly, and especially a daemon who’s characteristics are predominately that they are highly intelligent and diligent. I also love the idea of vampires using modern technologies such as mobile phones; I found this somewhat amusing.

My 5 favourite characters:

  • Diana Bishop – The protagonist. I really like Diana. She’s a strong, independent, stubborn and intelligent woman and really likeable. Even when being protected by vampires she still holds her own, and her character doesn’t allow herself to be controlled or protected to a certain extent, despite the danger she is in. Although Matthew does his best to look after her, she is still resilient and able to make up her own mind. I also like that she likes to eat, talk about relatable!
  • Matthew – I also really like Matthew. Although it seems like he underestimates Diana a little, it is clear that this is because he really cares about Diana, and I think he finds the fact that he cannot control everything she says or does attractive, because he is so used to people doing whatever he wants and finding his vampiric beauty and charisma difficult to resist. I feel that his character may change slightly in the next two books, as hinted by Hamish when he warns Diana ‘he wont be the same Matthew where you’re going’, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out through the series.
  • Ysabeau – Although at first Ysabeau is less than warm and friendly, I liked her from the off. She is truly a caring mother for Matthew and is certainly wary of Diana which is understandable given the circumstances of her husband’s death. I do nevertheless like the fact that she warms to Diana when she sees how much Matthew loves her and becomes really concerned and caring for her.
  • Sarah – I’m slightly biased with this as I know that Sarah was portrayed by one of my favourite actresses, Alex Kingston, in the series, however I think that character of Sarah is brilliant. There are many similarities between her and Ysabeau, both are protective of their family and wary of outsiders. Sarah is sassy and straight talking and is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. She’s also very fond of coffee so let me tell you I can totally relate girl.
  • Sophie – although Sophie only appears near the end of this book, I think there is plenty of time to show her characteristics. She is seriously kind hearted and can see the good in everyone. She is not bothered by anyone else’s species and treats everyone with respect. She’s a total dreamer which I love, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Harkness develops her character and how it pans out with her child in the next two books.

What rating would I give?

5 out of 5. There is nothing that I do not love about this book. Harkness is incredibly talented and I’m so excited for the rest of the trilogy. I’d 100% recommend this to anyone looking for a fabulous modern fantasy novel.

Thanks for reading!

Miche xx

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100 days to go until my wedding!! What’s left to do and honeymoon plans.

Ok I should start this off with an edit. I wrote the majority of this when it was 100 days to go, but forgot to publish it like the wally I am, so it is now 98 days from today! (18/05/19).

Hey lovelies!

So I am overly excited and I think the title of the post pretty much sums up why! In 100 days I will be a wife! I can’t believe how quickly it has come around, it’s been two years this week since we got engaged and that seems like only yesterday! I thought I’d do a post about everything we’ve got left to do and what we’re doing on our honeymoon as I can’t shut up about it.

So for the wedding plans, we have pretty much everything major sorted. I have my dress, which my amazing best friend and maid of honour is tailoring for me as she’s a bridal seamstress (isn’t that perfect, didn’t I do well!!), bridal shoes, hair and make up booked, bridesmaid dresses, flowers, church, venue, food, day invitations are sent out, suits are booked, rings have arrived, DJ, cake favours, car is booked… I think that’s everything!

Still to do/buy:

  • Bridesmaid’s shoes
  • Flower girl’s dress (she’s our beautiful little niece and only 10 months old at the moment so still growing lots, don’t want to buy her dress too soon but I know what to get her).
  • Games for outdoors for kids and big kids, e.g giant jenga, snakes and ladders, ball games, skittles
  • Toiletries for bathroom baskets. (My maid of honour’s sister got married last year and they had the idea of putting a basket of toiletries such as combs, hairspray, gel, deodorants, perfumes, tissues etc. In the bathrooms so I have stolen this, shoutout to Kate)
  • Jars and sweets for a sweet table, I’ll probably be there half the time
  • Framed photos of our grandparents who sadly aren’t with us anymore
  • Evening invitations and standby day invitations

I THINK that’s it! I’ve probably forgotten things, if you can think of anything or have any more ideas please let me know in the comments! We’re getting married in our village church and having the reception in a manor house nearby.

Now, the honeymoon! I’m so excited for this! We’re going two weeks after the wedding, on September 5th. We wanted to do something relaxing and new. We’re the type who are always doing something adventurous or active on holiday, always on the go, we aren’t too into the chilling part but wanted to try and do something a little more chilled than usual as it’s our honeymoon. So, we thought we’d try a short cruise! I’ve never really been to bothered about the idea of a cruise but after looking into it we wanted to give it a try, but only going on a short one so that we can see what it’s like. We’ll be flying to Miami on September 5th ready to embark on the ship on the 6th, we’re on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. We’ll be heading to the Bahamas and stopping at Nassau and Coco Cay and I am beyond ecstatic! We’ll be doing a bit of chilling but also have a few excursions lined up, such as an island tour of Nassau and a glass bottom boat tour of Coco Cay (always wanted to go on a glass bottom boat). The ship looks amazing, it has loads of places to eat and drink, pools, casino, shops etc. I’m sure we will love it.

Then, we’re doing something we know we love; we’re flying to Las Vegas where we’ll spend a few night before heading off on a road trip around Arizona, my favourite State. We’ll be heading around Sedona, Tuscon, Phoenix, Tombstone, the Grand Canyon and heading into a few national and state parks. I’m super excited, I think I’ve said that so many times but I am already bouncing off the walls!

Hurry up August and September!

Are you getting married or are married? What have you got left to do and what are your plans? Where are you going on honeymoon? Or have you any advice for a first time cruiser or been to any of the places? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Miche xx

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My Hen Do!

Hi lovelies!

So last weekend I had my hen do (bachelorette party) and it was absolutely amazing! So I thought I’d share it here, because I cannot stop talking about it!

The balloons though!

My best friend/ Maid of Honour picked me up on the Saturday and took me to a beautiful cottage on the outskirts of the Cotswolds, not too far from where I live. She told me to count to 100 and then walk inside. Now me being me, I lost count a few times so who knows how long I waited for! I walked in and there was my cousin/ bridesmaid, my mum and godmother, my mother in law and sister in law to be, and my amazing closest friends were there with streamers, poppers, confetti and pimms!

Pimms O’ Clock

We sat down in the beautiful lounge which was covered in rose gold balloons (rose gold was the theme, my best friend knows me so so well) and participated in some games and quizzes, then we had some cocktail making which was so much fun! I made a champagne margarita and sex on the beach, then my own cocktail which predominately comprised of gin, gin and more gin! (There was a bit of Malibu, peach snapps and a splash of lemonade too).

So shocked hahahaa
My gin cocktail tasting time

We then made our own pizzas which was so much fun and seriously delicious. My pizza was basically a mountain as food is life.

After that, it was time for chilling in the hot tub that had been hired for me. It was so good! One of my friends said I looked like a pageant queen because of my make up, bikini and tiara😂.

Now the main event of the evening was still to come, a proper karaoke set!! We were belting out so many songs, old and new, and I cannot sing to save my life but I still love doing it, and it was the best thing ever! Everyone enjoyed themselves and got involved! This went onto about midnight when we decided to go back into the hot tub (4 degrees outside, that was fun getting out!).

Now for a sing song!

I generally had so much fun, and I really hate loud crowded places so having a cottage to ourselves with people I’m really comfortable with was so me, rather than going out clubbing or something, which makes me feel so anxious! My best friend knows me so well, and I’m so lucky to have her and my amazing friends and family!

Happy Hen

I’m getting so excited now, 103 days at the time of writing until my wedding day (best friend had my hen do booked three months in advance in case I broke my leg or something, I’m clumsy as can be) and 115 days until my honeymoon! It’s going to be amazing!

Anyone else had a hen do recently or looking forward to one? Or are you getting married soon? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading! X

Miche X

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My new obsession – ‘Hinching’

I’ve always quite enjoyed cleaning, but I’ve never been obsessed with it, even after buying my own home with my fiancé two years ago. I cleaned to keep the house up together but I just used whatever generic cleaning products that I had. However, that has all recently changed. If you haven’t heard of Mrs Hinch, (and if you haven’t, where on earth have you been??) she is THE cleaning guru at the moment, and her Instagram generally symbolises the hashtag #HouseGoals. You can check it out here.

Anyway, after learning about Mrs Hinch and becoming obsessed with her Instagram stories and her tips, I joined a few fan pages and cleaning groups on Facebook, and let me tell you, I cannot stop cleaning my house and buying cleaning products! Also, Zoflora is my new best friend and I am loving it.

Last week I went into The Range and Home Bargains and picked up these:

Hubby-to-be thinks that I have gone absolutely mad but is enjoying the fact that the house is now more than just reasonably clean.

As a result, I want to incorporate my ‘hinching’ fun into my blog, so do stay tuned if you’re interested in that, and I will try to post a bit more (I’m currently working 55+ hours a week so it can be a little difficult to sit down and write, but I will try to get at least one post a week in if not more).

Is anyone else jumping on the ‘hinching’ bandwagon? What products are you loving? Let me know in the comments! X

Miche x

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October Goals

Hi guys!

I am a day late but never mind! Here are my goals for October! It’s properly Autumn now and I am loving the beautiful colours, the chilly mornings and the many pumpkin spice lattes that I have consumed.

First of all, a bit of a chatty introduction on what this month holds for me. I have a new job as a Rental Manager and I start Monday 8th October. I’m really nervous because it’s so new, it’s more responsibility and more of a challenge, but at the same time I am so exciting. It’s difficult because I really love the team I work with, but it’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m sure I’ll have a good team at my new job. It’s longer hours so I am a bit worried about having time for my blog so I might designate certain days where I can write to ensure I carry on as writing is my one true passion in life. As a result, a lot of my goals for this month relate to the fact that I’ll have a new job. Please wish me all the luck in the world as I start a new chapter! Now, without further ado, on with the blog.

Blog Goals:

So I read 2 out of 3 of my goals for September. As I said in my September Goals post which you can read here, my goals were to reach 400 followers on my blog by October 1st, 800 followers on Twitter and 600 on Instagram. I only failed the former so I was quite pleased. I’ve well superseded the social media goals, but I was 40 followers under my blog follower goals. I’m still so over the moon to have 360 followers as I never expected anyone to even read my blog let alone follow it, as I started blogging for my love of writing, and I’m so shocked at how well my social media is doing, so thank you to all of you! My blog goals for October are:

  • Blog – 450
  • Twitter- 1200
  • Instagram – 850

I’m aiming high with Twitter as that medium is my most successful. I’m aiming reasonably lower with Instagram and my blog to try and avoid disappointment but I think they are decent goals anyway. Please do follow me on here if you like my content, as well as my Twitter and my Instagram!

Personal Goals:

So of course, this month is going to be scary and stressful and new with starting my new job, so I think practising a bit of self-care is most important. Here are my goals:

  • To have a relaxing hot bubble bath once a week. I’m guilty of never allowing myself time to chill out. I’m always doing something whether it’s work, volunteering with Brownies, seeing friends and family, writing, household chores etc and I feel like I really need to relax once in a whole. I’m always having daily quick showers bit I think at least one day a week I should have a nice hot bubble bath with a bath bomb, relaxing music, maybe a glass of red wine or green tea, just to relax myself. I know self care is more than having a bath but it is a start.
  • Remembering to always carry out my skin routine, morning and night. I’m also guilty of just taking my makeup off with a wipe or Micellar water and having a quick cleanse. I need to ensure I do more than this, exfoliate, moisturise, use more face masks etc. If anyone know of any great cruelty free skincare products please let me know in the comments!
  • Be positive. When changes happen in life, you should embrace them. I’m worried about my new job as anyone would be, you hope that you will be an asset to a new company and that everything will go smoothly. I’m sure it will, and I’ll give you all an update after my first week. Positivity is always key!
  • Enjoy October! I’m not doing Blogtober as I wouldn’t have chance to write every day, but I’m super excited to write some really Autumnal posts! I have some exciting ideas so i cannot wait to get writing. What a beautiful month.

What are your goals for October? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xx

The Deddington Arms Hotel and Resturant Review

Hey guys!

So this evening I visited a resturant that I haven’t been to before, and I just had to write a quick review of it!

The Deddington Arms Hotel and Restaurant is in Deddington, Oxfordshire (a few miles south of Banbury) and as you can tell by it’s title, is a hotel and a resturant. I can’t give you any information on the hotel side of things as I’ve never stayed there (I live like ten minutes away) but as for the restaurant I can say that it is absolutely amazing.

Credit: Google Images/ Tripadvisor ‘photo provided by Deddington Arms Management’

The staff were very friendly, welcome and attentitive which was clear as soon as we walked in. The dining area is beautifully laid out and very light and fresh.

For a starter we shared some artisan breads with oil, balsamic and hummus which was absolutely gorgeous.

For mains, we had catch of the day (pollock) with chips and duck breast with fondant potato, roasted onion in a cherry jus. The fish and chips was beautiful, very flavoursome and battered with ‘Hooky’ beer. If you’re familiar with this part of Oxfordshire you’ll know that Hooky is the name of the signature beer of the local Hook Norton Brewery. The chips were delicious, super fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside; absolutely beautiful. As for the duck, my OH said it was some of the best duck he’d had and that the cherry really works. The presentation of both dishes was brilliant.

For dessert, we had the Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Sorbet and the Honey and Lavender Mouse with candied orange and orange sorbet. The puddings were exquisite, the lavender really does work especially with the sharpness of the orange and white chocolate and raspberry is my favourite flavour combination so we were generally over the moon at these desserts.

As the food was extremely delicious and very well presented you would think that the prices would be extortionate but they were really quite affordable.

I would give this resturant a 10/10 because I could not pick fault at all and I am very happy. If you’re ever in this area I’d definitely recommend visiting, you will not regret it!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x