Sunday, March 17, 2013

Paddy’s Day Nails!

Ok, so I’m late to the party here but better late than never eh?! I wanted to try out a few ideas, so I put something different on each nail.


Left hand, in sunlight


Left hand with flash

Thumb- Pint of Guinness

Index- a stripy tri colour, probably my least favourite

Middle- A very poor attempt at shamrocks!

Ring- Another poor attempt, this time a glittery harp

Little- Glittery green


Right hand in sunlight


Right hand with flash

Baby- Polka dots

Ring- Green with gold glitter tips

Middle- Green with a gold shatter top coat

Index- Emerald green

Thumb- Tricolour flag

My favourite is probably the baby finger on the right hand, I love the combo of greens and it really stands out. I think next year I’ll just stick to one idea across the board!

If you want to know any of the colours, just ask below and I’ll reply! I’ll probably get around to updating the post at some stage with colours anyway. But for now, bed time! I hope you all had a good St.Patrick’s Day regardless of what you were doing!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dark Chocolate Guinness Brownies

Part 2 in my baking with Guinness adventure! One of the most popular desserts made with Guinness seems to be brownies. And I don’t have a problem with that! My recipes is inspired by the Beer Brownies found at The Kitchy Kitchen. The Guinness really helps to intensify the chocolate flavour, in a way that coffee does.


Dark Chocolate Guinness Brownies

Adapted from The Kitchy Kitchen


100g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces

8 tbsp butter

4 eggs

200g (1 cup) granulated sugar

220g (1 packed cup) light brown sugar

30g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder

130g (1 cup) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

120ml (1/2 cup) Guinness


1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a square pan.

2. Sift together flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside. Melt together the butter and chocolate over a low heat.

3. While the butter and chocolate are melting, whisk together the sugars and eggs until thick and shiny. While still beating, add the dry and wet ingredients in alternatively, until it is all evenly mixed. Do not over mix though.

4. Transfer to pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5. Leave to cool in pan completely before removing.


These are lovely brownies, you definitely get the Guinness coming through but I liked it! Some chopped walnuts would be a nice addition. So I’m now a Guinness fan, as long as it’s in food and I don’t have to drink it!


‘Get these mother f**king snakes off my brownies!’

Cheddar, Ham and Rosemary Guinness Bread

I’m not the biggest Guinness fan. I went to the Guinness Store House last year, tasted Guinness for the first time and this was my impression of it


However, it being almost St. Paddy’s Day, I keep seeing lovely looking recipes (sweet and savoury) which include Guinness as an ingredient. And I must admit I was curious about trying some. So I decided to go with a savoury bread and some chocolate brownies, which I will post later today (sneak peek here).

I got the idea for this recipe from theKitchn, where they posted a Cheddar and Chive Guinness Bread. Not having any chives on hand, I substituted in some rosemary and decided to amp it up a bit by adding in some ham (bacon would do too or you could omit it if you want). This is a very simple bread, easily prepared in 5 minutes!


Cheddar, Ham and Rosemary Guinness Bread

Adapted from theKitchn


370g (2 3/4 cups) plain flour

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

355ml (12 oz) Guinness

115g (4oz/1 cup) Cheddar cheese, grated

2 slices of ham, torn into pieces

Small handful of fresh rosemary, chopped finely

57g (1/4 cup) butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 190° C(375° F). Line loaf pan with parchment paper or grease with butter.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix. Pour Guinness into bowl and mix until evenly distributed. Fold in 3/4 of the cheese, the rosemary and the ham.

3. Transfer into the pan. Pour the melted butter over the top evenly. Bake for 30 mins, then scatter the rest of the cheese on top and bake for a further 10-15 mins, until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Also to cool in pan for 5 mins before removing.

Next time I might leave out the rosemary and add in some caramelized onions. Needless to say, I am obsessed with this right now, it’s amazing!



Close up for that melty cheese and ham goodness!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

YouTube Pick of the Week

Another week, another YouTube pick!

Here’s one which was all over social media this week. Chris Stark has been sent to do his first proper interview with an A List star, not knowing who he’d be interviewing at first. What started off as a joke at Chris’ expense thanks to Scott Mills, it quickly turned into how  much of a LAD Chris is and what a good sport Mila Kunis is, chatting to him about soccer, eating pies and going out drinking with the lads. Mila is clearly enjoying the change from normal, boring interviews!

The Oscars were last week and Halle Berry introduced a visual Bond tribute celebrating 50 Years of Bond, followed by the legend that is Dame Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger. I didn’t think much of the Oscar’s visual, I much prefer this one.

Speaking of the Oscars, Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook. There are so many great moments to pick, from here claiming on the red carpet that she’s ‘starving’, to the fact she fell while going to collect her award to her amazing backstage press interview where she answers some the questions in such a blunt matter. Though this is my favourite, where she’s being interviewed by ABC and Jack Nicholson wanders into the conversation. I love her reaction to talking to him, the fact she’s so quick off the mark to quip back and I love the way she jumps when he wanders back over again and almost scares her. Such a girl crush right now!

While I’m not a huge fan of the original song (it just got sooooooo overplayed!) I do like this rendition using old school computers and other equipment.

My boyfriend and I often send videos to each other, this is one he sent to me. My favourite is the last song!

I love cat videos. LOVE THEM! This video had me in stitches, they can be such brats at times!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

February’s Reads

In February, I managed to finish 8 books. Not bad really considering it was a short month and a very busy month for me helping at out home with both parents sick! Let’s have a look at what I finished.
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
This is book number 4 in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke. I had read 2 and 3 in January and continued reading them into the start of February as they are quick and easy books. In this books, local drugstore clerk Rhonda is found dead and Hannah once again finds herself helping to track down the culprit.



Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Book number 5 in the Hannah Swensen series. In the run up to the Sheriff elections, current Sheriff Grant is found dead and the main suspect is the other election candidate, Hannah’s brother-in-law Bill. Hannah must work quick to try and clear his name. Another quick and easy read by Joanne Fluke which I found enjoyable, I do like the characters involved. I decided to take a break though so this entire blog post wouldn’t be about these books!



Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly
ten days
The first non-fiction read this month. It’s a short account of Nellie Bly, who has herself institutionalised for 10 days. She recalls the shocking treating of the patients who are also institutionalised and the horrible conditions they live in. Set back in 1887, it’s hard to believe people (and more accurately women) were actually treated like that, it made me gasp in places. Interesting read.




Watermelon by Marian Keyes
This is the second book of my Reading Resolutions list. I picked it up from a charity shop because I knew this was the first Marian Keyes book I wanted to read. It’s book number 1 in the Walsh family series. It starts off with Claire, the oldest Walsh sister, who has just had her first child in hospital when her husband arrives and tells her he’s leaving her for another woman. Claire’s life is turned upside down. So she returns home to the support of her wacky family and tries to get her head around what happened and get her life on track. I did enjoy the book, but I don’t think I clicked with the character of Claire that much. However I liked it enough to read the next book in the series.

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes
Book number 2 in the Walsh Family series. It deals with middle sister Rachel, who finds her life spiralling out of control in New York. Her flatmate decides enough is enough and when Rachel is found after a suspected suicide attempt which results in her stomach being pumped, she is sent home to enter Ireland’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. Even though Rachel does not believe herself to be a drug addict, she agrees to go as she thinks it will be like a holiday, all celebrities, spas and the occasional therapy. I found the story very frank and actually laughed out loud at certain parts!


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space by Mary Roach
Mary Roach is one of my favourite non-fiction writers, having previously read and enjoyed Bonk and Stiff. Packing for Mars explores all sides of life in space: eating, what zero gravity is like, how do you go to the bathroom, can you have sex in space. While I did find this book interesting, it’s my least favourite of Roach’s books so far, probably because I don’t love the whole idea of space. Don’t get me wrong, it is well worth the read and is interesting. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.



Angels by Marian Keyes
Book number 3 in the Walsh Family series. This book deals with sister number 2, Margaret (Maggie), who is the goody-two-shoes of the sisters and about to shock the family. After being fired from her job and discovering her husband is having an affair, Maggie decides to be sponateous and leaves to LA, where she crashes with best friend Emily, a screenwriter who is down on her luck. Her Maggie comes to terms with the end of her marriage, while also learning to let loose to mix with the cool, tanned and beautiful LA people. She also deals with some past demons. Again I found myself laughing out loud at certain parts, these books could be classified as chick lit but I find they are cleverer than that.

Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes
anybody out there
Number 4 in the Walsh Family series and this time the focus is on sister number 4, Anna, the one flaky, hippy sister who is recovering at home in Dublin after some injuries, with only one thing on her mind: to get back to New York to her fabulous job and to her husband, Adrian. This book follows Anna’s emotional and physical recovery in New York. I found it sad in places but again I did laugh out loud other times. Keyes can hit certain things on the head so well, especially with Mammy Walsh, who I find hysterical.


February Reading Stats
Number of books read- 8
Ratio fiction to non-fiction read- 6:2
Number of eBooks- 4
Number of books borrowed from library- 4
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 1 (Watermelon)
So clearly more of a fiction kind of month. Not sure if I’ll be able to read as many books this month, I’ll be in London twice, with one of those visits over a week so I doubt I’ll have much time for reading! But hopefully I’ll squeeze it in when I can, the good thing about having a Kindle app on my phone is that I’m always carrying a book, which is handy for waiting rooms and things like that.
Link to January’s Read

Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY: Teacup Candles

Today’s DIY is something I made for Christmas but would be perfect as a Mother’s Day gift, which is this coming Sunday. After I had my tea party fundraiser back in October, I was left with loads of teacups. And while I love them and think they are pretty, I decided I wanted to give them away as gifts and then this idea came about! It’s very simple.


DIY Teacup Candles


Wax (mine was part of a candle making kit, you should be able to find it in craft shops. Though I also melted down some wax tarts a friend passed on to me)


Scented oils

Lollipop stick


Clean teacups


1. Melt the wax as specified with the instructions. I melted mine in a heatproof glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Your wax should come in beads or pellets, which make is faster to melt. However when I used the wax tarts (or you could use old bits of candles, probably bees wax too) I had to chop it up before melting so the pieces would be smaller, otherwise I would probably still be there trying to melt it!

2. Once melted, add in a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to give it a nice scent. If you have plain wax and want to colour it, you’re going to need oil based colouring I think, otherwise it won’t work.

3. Measure the amount of wick needed, leaving enough extra attached so that you can tie it around the lollipop stick, then dip the bottom half into the wax, pull out and leave to harden. It will help it stand up better. Tie to the lollipop stick.

4. Pour the wax into the teacup to desired level. Add the bottom part of the wick into the candle and place the lollipop stick across the top of the teacup, so the wick will stay in place will the wax hardens.

5. Once the wax has hardened, cut off the excess wick and voila! You have a lovely new candle!

IMG_0797 IMG_0797

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