Gooey vegan brownie goodness

Gooey vegan brownie goodness

First in a long line of posts I have prepared for you this week is a recipe I tried yesterday evening – chocolate brownies. Brownies are one of my absolute favourite foods ever, but with my gluten and dairy intolerances it has been difficult to find brownie free of the two. So, I decided to make my own.

However, the last two recipes I’ve used they’ve just not really been brownies. The first one I tried was basically just chocolate sponge cake, it didn’t have that lovely gooey brownie texture at all. The second recipe I tried was nowhere near chocolate-y enough to be a brownie. But I decided to give it another go, third time lucky and all, using Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Brownie Recipe, and oh my god. Oh my god. They are good. You can’t tell that they’re vegan at all, they taste like thousands of calories of carby sugary badness and it’s beautiful.

These are perfect with Valentine’s day coming up; whether you make them as a delicious treat for your other half or you make them as a present for yourself. You can go check out Jamie’s recipe if you want the full recipe, but I’m going to post below exactly what I used, as I tweaked a couple of things.

5 tablespoons sunflower oil
200g dairy-free dark chocolate
170g self-raising flour
3 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
180g sugar
230ml soya milk

Of course all of the ingredients used are gluten and dairy free versions and you should also include some vegan butter to grease the tin. Jamie’s recipe also includes a vanilla pod and some pecan nuts but I chose to leave these out – it’s up to you though!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease a baking tin, then line with greaseproof paper.
  2. Break 150g of chocolate into a bowl over boiling water and allow it to melt, then set aside to cool a little.
  3. While you’re waiting, sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar. Stir in the oil, soya milk and melted chocolate until combined.
  4. Roughly chop and stir in the remaining chocolate and pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out evenly. Then place into the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside, but still gooey in the middle.
  5. Leave to cool for ten minutes, if you can bare to wait any longer, and then I dusted them with icing sugar but you could drizzle melted chocolate over them if you’re feeling super naughty.

This recipe was absolutely fantastic and I feel like I owe Jamie my life. If you decide to give the recipe a go then please let me know! (pls send pictures too!) If you’re a fellow gluten or dairy-free special kid or a vegan then stick around for more recipes – I have a lot in the pipeline as I’m discovering lots of new and yummy recipes at the moment!

P.S. Hey, long time no see! I’m so sorry for the lack of posts in the last two weeks – I started my new job last Monday and the very early mornings and long days have taken some getting used to. I’ve basically been getting up, going to work, coming home and eating food then straight to bed. However, I’ve decided that I’m going to write a bunch of blog posts at the weekend and schedule them to post throughout the week, so don’t worry you’ve got lots of posts coming this week as I’ve spent all day writing!
emmachxrlotte

Drugstore Make-up Haul and Review

Drugstore Make-up Haul and Review

This morning I had the most perfect start to the day when the post lady turned up with a box of make-up goodies from Superdrug. I got myself a few new products, which all came to less than £30, and are going to be absolute staples in my make-up bag.

I’m going to start off with my favourite product of them all because I just can’t even express how surprised and in love I am. When I purchased the Freedom eyebrow pomade for just £5, I really wasn’t expecting a lot. I’d read mixed reviews about the product and how some stated it was a rubbish substitute for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, and so I was intrigued to see what the little thing could do. I was honestly so pleasantly surprised, it arrived in a lovely little box (packagimg_5186ing is so important for me, it’s the first impression) that didn’t look like it could be holding a product so reasonably priced as £5. The product itself is fantastic, it’s long lasting (trust me, I gave it a test and tried to rub it off – it doesn’t), it’s really easy to blend and a little goes a very long way. I also really like the shade, I went for medium brown and for once in my life I’d got the shade right first time. I would one hundred percent say that this is a perfect dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow – just as durable, just as effective and a lot cheaper. I have definitely just found my new favourite eyebrow product!

The second thing I purchased was a colour corrector palette. I’ve always been dubious about these things and have never even tried one, to be honest – I just always figured they’d make my make-up look cakey or that they’d be too much for my super pale skin. However, again I was pleasantly surprised! Just like the pomade, the packaging was really beautiful, I didn’t expect it to come in a box, let alone such a lovely box. It comes with eight different colours to hide all of your blemishes, and it does a really good job too! As I said, I’m super pale, so I always seem to have very vein-y eyelids and super dark circles under my eyes, but the peach on the top right of the palette seemed to solve
img_5184 that problem with just the stroke of a brush. It actually sits really nice under my foundation and is super creamy and lovely. I also tested the green out on my cheeks – again, pale people problems, I tend to get a lot of redness on my cheeks and so far, this seems to have done the trick. A little seems to go along way and the creaminess made it really easy to blend out and work with. Overall I’d definitely rate the palette a strong ten out of ten, I was really impressed and at just £6, I’d call that a bargain. So shoutout to Revolution for winning me over on the colour correcting (and for such nice packaging)!

I finally decided it was time to test out some different primers and mascaras. Since the Lash Sensational mascara came out, that is literally the only mascara I would ever use. But I was starting to wonder whether I was getting a bit behind with the mascara times and so finally pulled myself together and decided to give the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express mascara a shot and I haven’t been disappointed. In all honesty, I don’t really feel like its a lot different to the Lash Sensational. The main reasoimg_5187n that I loved the Lash Sensational so much was because of the curved brush shape, which the Colossal Volum’ doesn’t have, but somehow seem to do just as good a job and for £1 less (it’s £6.99 at Superdrug, a pound cheaper than Lash Sensational). Sure that £1 won’t break the bank but every little helps when you’re 19 and and saving for your mansion and Audi R8. But anyway, onto the primer. So I decided to give the Collection Primed and Ready Pore Minimiser a go – for just £4.99 I couldn’t see how I could possibly go wrong really. The main reason I decided to give this particular primer a go was because it contains Witch Hazel, which I find always works wonders on my spot-prone skin. So to be able to wear a primer that doubles over as a spot zapper sounded great to me! Overall, I wouldn’t say that the primer is as good as my usual go to primer, the NYX High Definition Primer, however, it is half the price so what do you expect? For it’s price though, I’d say the primer is really good and I’m definitely going to stick with it purely for the Witch Hazel – I think it’s worth it. Overall, I was pretty pleased with both the mascara and the primer, I’ll definitely stick with the mascara and I’ll carry on using the primer and get back to you on the effectiveness of its spot zapiness.

Lastly, I decided to try these MUA Mono Eyeshadows. At just £1 per shadow I was half expecting them to be tiny but they’re actually a really decent size. I bought the shades Oyster (a pearly-white), Chamoisee (a champagne kind of colour), Onyx (a dark graphite sort of silver) and Bronze (which has an unexpected pink tint that’s reallimg_5188y nice). As well as being a lot bigger than expected, I also thought they were pretty pigmented. It’s a shame because the picture really doesn’t do them justice – they’re really lovely colours and they’re super sparkly too. I can’t really rate them on how long they last as I only go them today, but I have had Chamoisee on since nine this morning and it’s looking just as good at four, right now. I’d definitely recommend these, I’m loving the Onyx  as a highlighter to be honest and the fact that they’re just £1 each means you really just can’t go wrong. I’d definitely recommend them!

 

Overall, It’s been one really successful drugstore make-up haul and I’m really happy with all of the products and especially seeing as it hasn’t hurt my bank balance too much! If you’ve tried any of these products, why not let me know what you thought? Or if you have some better suggestions then please let me know! Thanks for reading, make sure you stick around for a Book Recommendations post coming tomorrow!

emmachxrlotte

Stationery Haul

Stationery Haul

I am a major stationery loving notebook obsessor and recently I bought a load of new bits and bobs and so I thought I’d share them all with you guys – plus it’d give me a chance to practise taking some good pictures. Nothing makes me feel all motivated and organised like some new stationery. So I went in on a little haul on notebooks, pens and pencils and desk tidies etc, and this is what I got!

Wilkos sell these gorgeous copper desk tidy type things – of course I couldn’t resist the copper. They have the pen holders as shown on the left, which also has a section for other stationery type things such as paper clips and post-it notes etc. They also have filing trays, as pictured on the right, and I’ve got this inside my desk draw to keep all my notebooks and papers together. They also have those folder-holder kind of things that I don’t know the name of. They’re all from Wilkos and they were all £2.99 each, not too bad at all! They go perfectly in my bedroom with my copper theme and they’re really useful! Also, the little pot of paper clips and pins is from B&M for just £1 and is really really useful.

 

If you’ve read my last post then you’ll know that I’m loving journals at the mo. These journals are brilliant because they’re inspirational journals – meaning they contain motivational quotes to keep you going. The “Words of Wisdom” journal was actually bought for me by my friend and I believe it’s from TK Maxx (honestly if it’s the last thing you do, go and get yourself one of these because they’re beautiful). The same goes for the “Believe in Yourself” journal, which is from Amazon for £10. This journal just has little one line quotes at the top of each page, but they’re equally as inspiring. They’re both gorgeous and really do their job of inspiring so I’d definitely recommend both!

 

Notebooks are probably in my top five favourite things, probably right after food to be honest. I am a nightmare for buying notebooks that I don’t even need, but I just can’t say no to a notebook. These notebooks were no exception, I mean just look at them. The “Notes” and “More Notes” patterned A5 notebooks are from Tesco believe it or not and they came as a pack of two for just £2.99. They’re really useful for making check-lists and to-do lists as they’re small – I tend to use them to go grocery shopping because they’re the right size for carrying around. However, the A4 “Dream Big” notebook on the right is equally as useful, I tend to use this to plan blog posts and honestly the front cover is just one of the best front covers I’ve ever seen on a notebook. You cannot deny that it looks fab. It’s from Sainsbury’s (which by the way, are amazing for stationery, I always go there for notebooks) and cost just £2.99!

 

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Lastly, I got myself this A4 weekly planner from B&M – which was a bloody bargain at just £1! Again, if you read my last post then you’all see this planner featured, I could rant and rave all day about how useful this thing is and how it’s helped me organise my life. And an added bonus – it looks lovely! You can’t go wrong with one of these for just £1. Then we’ve got the Zoella pencils. I got these actually for Christmas as part of the bag and coffee mug gift set, and I love them. I am quite partial to doodling so I like to keep a few pencils to hand and I mean, these look really cute so..why not? You can get these from Boots and Superdrug, although I’I not sure how much they cost to buy individually – as I said I got them in the set.

These are all the bits and bobs that I bought and I’m loving them all, especially as they were all super affordable! If you’re a fellow stationery lover then let me know which item you’re loving most in the comments below! Thank you so much for reading, make sure you follow my blog to see my Drugstore Make-Up Haul post coming on Friday!

P.S. Let me know what you think of these pics I’ve taken as I’m really trying to work on taking good pics!

emmachxrlotte

How I Get Motivated

How I Get Motivated

With exam season fast approaching (I’m so sorry if that just made you cry a little) and the most depressing part of the year in full swing, I figured it might be helpful to share my tips on how I get motivated. Don’t get me wrong I’m not some kind of freak that’s positive and motivated 24/7 but from past experience I’ve found that some of these things can really help me to turn my mood around – so why not give them a go.

  1. Setting the right atmosphere. I personally find that for getting work done (be it uni work, school work, work-work or even blogging) I am ten times more productive if I have the right kind of atmosphere – too picky? Sure, maybe. But I find that if I have some music playing and my favourite candle burning and I’m sat to my desk and not slumped in bed, then I’m a heck of a lot more likely to get stuff done. When I did my AS level exams I used to work in bed all of the time and I was so convinced that it was working out for me, but in reality it seriously wasn’t. So, one of the first things I did this year was order myself a cute little Micke Ikea desk and Tobias chair so that I could get all productive. So far, it’s proving to be a winner – I’m sat to the desk right now with my cherry vanilla Yankee candle lit and I’ve got Ed Sheeran playing and I’m actually looking for things to do, I want to work. Another tip, especially for this time of the year when it’s so depressing outside, get a continuous fire place video up. I have an Amazon Fire TV stick and you can get apps with fireplaces and fish tanks that just play continuously with sound effects. I also know they’re available on Youtube, so if you’re someone that can’t work with music playing then try a fire place. I find it so relaxing and cozy, and that makes me super productive.
  2. Diaries, journals and weekly planners. For just general life motivation I find it really helpful to use a weekly planner. When I was doing my A levels and for the few months that I was at uni, I found it so unbelievably helpful to have my little A4 planner up on the wall with everything plain and simple, day by day, for me to follow. It kept me super organised and meant that I was always totally on top of assignments. Not only that but it’s great for if you workout so you can keep to a regular schedule, or for if you have appointments or are meeting friends. I would totally recommend them. I’m also really trying to keep a journal this year. I started one last year but never really kept it up, but this year I’m going in. One of my best friends bought me a beautiful motivational journal (it was from TK Maxx if you wanna grab yourself one) and it’s such a lovely journal that I find I’m always desperate to just write something in it and use it. Keeping the journal so far has definitely helped with stress, as I use it to vent, and has also helped me to be more positive and motivated and I try to write down at least one positive thing that i’ve done every day. Consequently, every day I’m thinking “lets do something amazing today so I can record it in my journal”, it’s really keeping me motivated.
  3. Keep your room and work space tidy and organised. Over christmas I was completely avoiding my bedroom because it was such a tip. I’d literally got piles of books in the corner of my room as I’d ran out of shelves for them and it was just generally a cluttered mess. So I’ve made it my mission to have a serious clear out in my bedroom and treated myself to some gorgeous new shelves to showcase my books and my room is looking fantastic. With everything tidy and organised and nice, my room feels like a really positive space and I honestly feel like it’s the reason I’ve been sleeping so much better this past week. Equally I’ve got myself some nice little desk tidies to keep my work space clear and clutter-free and consequently my mind feels clutter-free.
  4. Be kind to yourself. Yeah okay so life is busy and there’s always things to be done but you’re not a robot and you deserve a break every now and then – don’t be so hard on yourself. Every evening at 8pm I leave my phone in my room and clear my mind of anything that’s stressing me out and I go downstairs and spend time with my family. We usually sit in the living room and watch our favourite TV shows like Midsomer Murders and Endeavour (we all love a good murder), but it’s just a couple of hours where I’m in this nice little bubble that’s totally stress free and all that’s running through my mind is who’s the murderer. Taking time for yourself to just chill and let give your blood pressure a break is so damn important and it really just helps me to go to bed feeling clear-minded and ready for some actual sleep, not just 8 hours of tossing and turning while stressing about everything I can possibly think of.
  5. Eat lots and drink lots. I cannot express how important it is to fuel your body to keep it running. Before Christmas when things were pretty crap and I was feeling low and ill, I was barely eating and drinking. It’s just basic common sense that if you don’t fuel your body then it just isn’t going to run properly. So because I wasn’t eating and drinking properly I was feeling even lower and tireder and crapper (are those words?). I got myself into the mindset that I was just totally broken and there was no hope (drama queen, I know), but luckily my Mom was there to give me a good talking to and a good kick up the arse. After a few weeks of eating lots and drinking loads of water, I’ve got my energy back, I’m thinking straight again and feeling all motivated and productive. It really does go to show that if you live off two packets of crisps and two slices of toast a day then you will just lie in bed in the dark and get nowhere. However, with cereal and crumpets and stir fries and fruit and yoghurts and pasta and lots and lots of water, you can do anything – even become president, as good old Donald has proven that anything is possible. So if you want to work to your maximum ability, get yourself some cheeky brain food.

Let me know if you have any tips for getting motivated because you can never have too much help when it comes to getting motivated. Also let me know if you try any of these and they make a difference for you. I hope this post can be of some use, it definitely would’ve been to me a couple of years ago – if I’d have known these things all along then GCSEs and A levels could have been a lot less stressful for me. So, thanks for reading and I’ll see you again on Thursday when I’ll be posting a stationery haul!

emmachxrlotte

 

 

TV Shows to Watch in 2017

TV Shows to Watch in 2017

In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of watching TV – I don’t like all the typical shows like Big Brother, Pretty Little Liars or Love Island. Instead, I’m more of a crime/drama lover. Reality TV just isn’t my thing at all (with the exception of I’m a Celebrity obviously), not that there’s anything wrong with reality, but I just prefer watching something that really gets your brain going and blows your mind. I’m a huge fan of good old ‘who done it’ shows, like Midsomer Murders, because the whole time you’re watching everything so closely and scrutinising everything, constantly trying to play the detective and figure it out. However, that being said, I absolutely love a good comedy and a relatable family drama.

There are so many new and returning series that I’m so looking forward to watching this year and I thought I’d write a post about it both to organise my life a little, so that I know what I want to watch and when, but also as it might be useful to any fellow murder mystery lovers or drama obsessed people out there. So I’m going to stop rambling and get right to the point with my list of shows!

  1. Number one has to be Sherlock, of course! Which if you didn’t know, has already started! Sunday evening on BBC One is the place to be, guys.
  2. Broadchurch! I absolutely loved series one and two of Broadchurch and can’t wait to see how they wrap up the programme in the final series. Series three is due to start on ITV in February – and I can’t bloody wait!
  3. The Durrells is coming back! I can’t find an actual date, but the Durrells family will be back on our screens this spring and I’m so excited! This was a new series that started last Spring and I honestly loved it. It was such a light hearted, entertaining programme – very different to everything else around at the moment, and I can’t wait to watch it again this spring!
  4. Orange is the New Black. Need I say anymore? Oh my I still have sleepless nights where I wonder about that God damn cliff hanger. I need to know what the hell happened okay, and I need to know now. I can barely wait until the new season is on Netflix this June!
  5. Doctor Foster. You remember Doctor Foster right? That mind blowing series from 2015 that left us all on the edge of our seats after Suranne Jones slayed the scorned woman role. Well apparently series two is coming in 2017. I can’t find any dates anywhere – and trust me I’ve tried. But, it is coming back to BBC and I will be there waiting.

That is all I’ve got for now but I am positive that my list will grow as the year goes on and news emerges of more great TV, so no doubt I’ll be back in the summer with more shows – so look out for that! Until then, why not let me know what shows you’re looking forward to seeing back on our screens this year! Who doesn’t love fingerling over a good show ay? So drop me a comment if you fancy it! Until next time, thanks for reading!

emmachxrlotte