Tag Archives: Bark Time

Infographic: The importance of a good night’s sleep

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
― Ernest Hemingway

I like this quote.

I love sleep too and the same as Ernest Hemingway, sometimes I feel that everything is falling apart once I am up. But this isn’t really true is it?

Sleep gives us strength, it gives is the ability to battle through the day so we can actually “make it”. Sleep is an essential part of our daily circle and without it we simply cannot function properly.

So the simple solution to making our life better is getting more sleep, more good quality sleep. Apparently most adult humans need eight hours of sleep a night to be fully rested and functional. That’s a lot of hours spent sleeping… but as it is needed we should really make the most of it.

Oldrids & Downtown commissioned this great infographic to show the importance of a good night’s sleep. It illustrates the basic rules for a good night sleep, stages of sleep, effects of sleep deprivation and my favourite part: relaxation techniques for a better sleep.

The importance of a good nights sleep

Do you sleep peacefully through the night?

I personally struggle with sleep. I have problems falling to sleep, most likely because I can’t switch off. I can lie there for hours thinking about mundane stuff which will have to be done the next day or about any problems I have at the time, trying to find a solution to fix it. I wish my sleep was deeper so that every little squeak in the house wouldn’t wake me up. I wish my sleep was longer… once I finally get to sleep I have troubles with waking up… probably even more than with going to sleep. Waking up for me is the worst part of the day; most days I just want to pull the quilt over my head, hide in my cocoon and go back to sleep but I can’t…

So any tips on how to improve my sleep or the quality of it are very welcome.

Please share with me if you know something that could help me sleep better.

* This infographic has been designed on behalf of Oldrids & Downtown.

23 Comments

Filed under Infographic, What's new

BFree Bagels with Smoked Salmon #NationalBreakfastWeek

#NationalBreakfastWeek - BFree Bagels with Smoked Salmon

“I know family comes first, but shouldn’t that mean after breakfast?”
Jeff Lindsay, Dearly Devoted Dexter

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet so many of us are neglecting it… me included. I try to have breakfast but most days a cup of coffee keeps me going until lunch or even dinner time. I know this is not a good idea but… I try my best to remember about breakfast, especially this week…

In celebration of #NationalBreakfastWeek I decided to “play” with the BFree range.

BFree was developed to bring tasty, ‘good for you’ breads to the market.

Often, people avoid bread or feel poorly after having a sandwich and this may be due to sensitivities to wheat or gluten. There is No Guilt associated with eating BFree as the nutritional composition of our products is Extraordinary!

When wheat is removed from bread products, it is as if the ‘scaffolding’ that holds the structure together is pulled apart. BFree has developed a recipe and composition that replaces the gluten and wheat and with natural ingredients…

BFree range includes: soft white loaf, brown seeded loaf, brown seeded rolls, white rolls, plain bagels, multi-seed bagels, multigrain wraps and fajita kit. You can find some BFree products in Asda and their full range can be purchased from Ocado.

But… back to my breakfast…

Bagels with smoked salmon have a very sentimental value for me. When I first came to the UK, I used to live close to Gants Hill in London. There was this small bakery on my way to the tube station and every morning I would buy myself breakfast from them – a cup of coffee and a bagel with salmon. After a few months I moved and it was bye, bye to my favourite breakfast… so now from time to time I prepare it at home… it is never the same but… close enough.

So what will you need to create Bagels with Smoked Salmon (besides the obvious?)

  • BFree bagels (I used plain ones)
  • Good quality smoked salmon
  • Salted butter
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Fresh lemon

Now all you need is to put all together.

Cut the bagels in half. If you like, toast them but I like my ones as they come from the pack.

“Apply” a generous amount of butter, don’t miss the corners!

What?!?! 😉 What corners?!?! Lol

Carefully add the smoked salmon.

Grind some fresh pepper all over your creation.

Finish with a squeeze from half a fresh lemon; just a little; just to give that extra bite.

Make a cuppa of your favourite beverage, find a place in the warm with a view of something green, and enjoy a me moment.

#NationalBreakfastWeek BFree Bagels with Smoked Salmon

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Did you make something special in celebration of #NationalBreakfastWeek?

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Pet Box Subscription – Purrfectbox and Pawsomebox – Review & Giveaway

Pet Box Subscription – Purrfectbox and Pawsomebox – Review & Giveaway

Lately box subscriptions have become a very popular phenomena, you can get almost everything this way: food, make-up, cosmetics, even clothing… so why should pet goodies be left behind?… well… they aren’t, not anymore!

Purrfectbox and Pawsomebox offer a box subscription for your cat or dog respectively. Every month you get a lovely box delivered to your door packed with goodies suitable for your beloved pet. The boxes aren’t totally personalized but they do take into consideration the breed and size of your pet.

Cost?

Well that depends…

If you want to order just one box or don’t like making long term commitments, each box will cost you £19.90 but if you were to subscribe for a year, the price drops 20% making each box only £15.90 (this price includes delivery charges).

So what’s inside the box?

January Pawsomebox

This month our Pawsomebox contained:

  • A Basketball rawhide chew, which can double up briefly as a toy
  • A Nobbly Wobbly Ball
  • Some Mutt & Jeff Crunchy Chicken Bites from Hollings
  • A delightful Hot Dog Squeaky toy
  • A collar LED light from Pet Gear
  • Some bacon strips from Trixie

January Purrfectbox

And…This month our Purrfectbox contained:

  • Sanicat Clean wipes
  • Cat toys
  • Food selection from Scheshir
  • Scratching post from Wasabycat
  • Kitty treats from Zolux

Is it worth it?

Looking at the prices yes, both boxes offer good value for money and savings comparing to the cost of the separate purchase of each item included in the box.

But this isn’t just about prizes and savings. For me these boxes are treats for my little guys. We all treat our pets (at least I hope so) and sometimes it is nice for someone else to make a treat choice for you. It is not because I am lazy and don’t want to go to the pet store, it is simply due to the fact that I personally can learn something, I can discover new brands I’ve never heard of or some product I would otherwise never came across.

Looking at the content of two boxes I shared with you above, we will use most of the items included. The food and treats will get eaten for sure, as for the toys… we have banned all squeeze toys that squeak from the house, so there is no way my guys are getting their paws on this Hot Dog! But as we have a lot of friends with dogs, I am sure one of them will get on our “black list” soon enough and we will have the perfect gift for them next time we see each other – an annoying squeaky toy 😉 (ooh I feel like an evil villain plotting my sweet revenge).

My favourite item from our January cat box is: The bathing Mitt from Sonicat, simply because I’ve never heard of this product and I am really keen on trying it out. As for our doggie box it will be without doubt the Collar Flash Light. We have a few similar lights like this already but they are getting lost from time to time so having a spare one will defiantly come in very handy.

Do you like the idea of pet subscription boxes?

I hope you do because if so, you will have a chance to win 1 of 5 boxes for dogs or cats depending on your choice.

Purrfectbox and Pawsomebox Giveaway

All you have to do is follow me, Purrfectbox and / or Pawsomebox on Twitter, RT the giveaway tweet and tweet us with a hashtag #purrBT if you want to win a a kitty box or #pawBT for a doggie one. If you own both, cats and dogs, and you can use both boxes, you can use both hashtags in your reply.

#Win a #pet goodie box! FLW me @pawsomeboxUK @purrfectboxUK RT and use hashtag #purrBT or #pawBT Full T&C http://wp.me/p3l2gI-1wd

Good Luck!

T&C:
1. Open to UK readers only.
2. One obligatory entry per reader – follow me Purrfectbox and/ or Pawsomebox on Twitter RT the tweet as stated above and tweet us with a hashtag #purrBT for a cat box or #pawBT for a dog box.
3. There will be 5 winners in total.
4. Each winner will receive one pet goodies box for either a cat or dog. The prize will be provided by Purrfectbox or Pawsomebox.
5. Winners will be picked at random and informed within 2 working days via Twitter.
6. Winners will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
7. Closing date is Friday 6/02/2015 at 23:59pm, any entry made after this time will not be counted.

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions
Loquax – Home of The Lucky Duck
SuperLucky Blog Giveaways Linky

***

7/02/2015 WINNERS UPDATE

Well done to:

@felixisfriend
@marjoleine72
@bobbylolly570
@cripaltron
@ChanetteKennedy

19 Comments

Filed under Giveaways, Reviews

The Alphabet Project | C is for Chocolate

The Alphabet Project  - C is for ChocolatePrint

14 Comments

Filed under Weekly Challenge

Flavour profiles – what goes well with what?

Flavour profiles – what goes well with what?

After my successful Chocolate and Orange Drizzle Cake experiment I have developed a taste for more… as in more experimentation with different flavours.

Right now I have 6 ripe kiwi fruits which I would love to turn into a cake.

I was just browsing the net in search of something to complement the kiwi flavour when I stumbled upon Nouveau Raw website and their fantastic Flavour profiles that pair well in recipes article.

Experiments in the kitchen are fun but it is nice to have something to check if your picked flavours will pair well.

Nouveau Raw created this awesome chart which I will shamelessly re-blog here for you.

  • Allspice pairs well with: apples, beets, cabbage, caramel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, juniper, mace, mustard, nuts, nutmeg, onions, pears,  pumpkin, root vegetables, yams.
  • Almond pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, cherry, coffee, fig, honey, orange, peach, pear, plum
  • Anice pairs well with:  apples, beets, caramel, carrots, chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, coconut, coriander, cranberry, fennel, figs, fish,  garlic, peaches, pomegranates,  pumpkin
  • Apple pairs well with: caramel, cardamom, chestnut, cinnamon, cranberry, currant, ginger, hazelnut, mango, maple, rosemary, walnut
  • Apricot pairs well with: almond, black pepper, caramel, cardamom, ginger, hazelnut, honey, orange, peach, vanilla, plum
  • Asian Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey, macadamia, nutmeg, raisin, vanilla
  • Banana pairs well with: caramel, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, ginger, hazelnut, honey, mango, molasses, papaya
  • Basil pairs well with: capers, chives, cilantro, garlic, marjoram, oregano, mint, onion, parsley, rosemary, thyme,  artichokes, eggplant, green vegetables, mushrooms, olives, Sweet Basil is the best basil for pesto and tomato salads.
  • Bay leaf pairs well with: artichokes, beans, garlic, grains, juniper, lentils, marjoram, mushrooms, nuts, oregano, parsley, potatoes, sage, savory, thyme and tomatoes
  • Beets pair well with: Apples, basil, beef, butter, cabbage, caraway seeds, carrots, cheese, chives, dill, hard-boiled eggs, garlic, honey, horseradish, lemon, mint, mustard, olive oil, onions, orange, pepper, pistachios, salt
  • Blackberry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, lemon, other berries, peach, plum
  • Blood Orange pairs well with: almond, cardamom, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, fig, ginger, honey, other citrus
  • Blueberry pairs well with: other berries, cardamom, mango, lemon, hazelnut, ginger, fig, lavender, other citrus
  • Butternut Squash pairs well with: sage and rosemary, either of which can be used fresh or in dried form.  The warm “pie spices” of nutmeg and ginger are a good match for butternut squash, both underlining and balancing its sweetness. For a savory approach, consider cumin.  Chilies provide sweet-and-spicy flavor combination.  The naturally sweet taste of butternut squash is enhanced when paired with fruit, such as fresh and dried apples, fresh pear, orange juice and dried cranberries.
  • Caraway pairs well with: apples, beets, broccoli, cabbage, pears, sauerkraut, allspice, almonds, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, coriander,  dill,  fennel seed, juniper berry, onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, parsley, thyme.
  • Cardamom pairs well with:  apples, bananas, beans, caramel,  citrus fruit, coconut, ice creams, nuts, mango, allspice, almond, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, ginger, mustard, paprika, pears, pepper, star anise, turmeric, saffron
  • Carrot pairs well with: anise, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, walnut
  • Celery pairs well with: cabbage, cilantro, cucumber, cumin, garlic, ginger, mustard, onion, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, tomatoes, thyme
  • Celery Seed pairs well with: tomatoes, allspice, black pepper, caraway, chili, cinnamon coriander, cumin, fennel seed, ginger, sage, turmeric
  • Cherry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, nectarine, peach, plum,  vanilla
  • Chestnut pairs well with: apple, caramel, chocolate, coffee, pear, vanilla
  • Chives pair well with: asparagus, basil, cheese, cilantro, dill, fennel, green vegetables, horseradish, mushrooms, olives, paprika, pasta, parsley, tarragon
  • Chocolate pairs well with: oranges, nuts, Allspice, almond, aniseed, cinnamon, clove, curry leaf, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint, nutmeg, onion, vanilla
  • Cilantro (coriander) pairs well with: apples, apricot, avocados, berries, cherries, citrus, coconut, nectarine, peach, plum, tropical fruit, Allspice, Cardamom, clove, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, garlic, ginger,  mint, sun-dried tomato, turmeric, tomatoes.
  • Cinnamon pairs well with:  allspice, apples, bananas, cantaloupe, caraway, cardamom, clove, cacao, chilies, caramel, cauliflower, chocolate, corn, curries,  coffee, coriander, cranberry, cumin, dates, figs, ginger, mint, nutmeg,  grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, winter squash, star anise, sun-dried tomatoes, tamarind, turmeric, vanilla
  • Chervil  pairs well with: artichokes, asparagus, carrots, chives, citrus, grains, green beans, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, onions, parsley, tarragon, thyme,and  vinegar
  • Clove pairs well with: allspice, apples, beets, bay leaf, cakes, cardamom, cacao, carrots, chocolate, citrus, coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, ginger, mace, nutmeg, orange, peaches, pineapple, pumpkin, red cabbage,  star anise, tamarind, turmeric,vanilla
  • Coconut pairs well with: Allspice, banana, basil, black pepper, Brazil nut, caramel, chocolate, citrus,  cumin, curry leaf, garlic, ginger, guava, lemongrass, passionfruit, pineapple, sun-dried, tomato, turmeric, vanilla
  • Coriander pairs well with: allspice, apples, bananas, beans, chili, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, cumin, curry, fennel, fish, garlic, ginger, mace, mint, mushrooms, nutmeg, onion, parsley,
  • Cranberry pairs well with: apple, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, mango, mint, pear
  • Cumin pairs well with: allspice, anise, avocados, bay leaf, beans, cabbage, cardamom,  cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, coriander, cucumber, curry, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger,  lentils, mace, onion, nutmeg, parsley, tomatoes
  • Currants, Black and Red, pairs well with: cassis, chocolate, citrus
  • Dill pairs well with: anise, basil, cabbage, capers, caraway, carrots, chives, coriander, cucumbers, cumin,  fennel, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mint, mustard, oregano, onion, paprika, parsley
  • Elderberry pairs well with: apricot, fig, honey, lemon, mandarin, other berries, peach, plum
  • Fennel pairs well with: anise, artichokes, basil, beans, cabbage, cheese, cilantro, cinnamon, cucumber, cumin, dill, eggplant, fenugreek, figs, garlic, lemon balm, lentils, mint, olives, onion, oregano, parsley, pork, thyme, tomatoes
  • Fig pairs well with: almond, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, pear, vanilla
  • Garlic pairs well with: basil, caraway, chili, coriander, cumin, curry leaf, marjoram, mint, mustard seed, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sun-dried tomato, thyme
  • Ginger pairs well with: allspice, almond, anise, apple, apricot, banana,basil, berries, Brazil nut, caramel, carrots, chives, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus,cloves, coconut, coriander, cranberry, cumin, curry, dates, fennel, grape, hazelnut, passion fruit, peach, pear, pineapple, plum,  nutmeg, onion, peaches, pears, pepper, pumpkin, raisins, turmeric, vanilla
  • Gooseberry pairs well with: citrus, hazelnut, honey, other berries, white chocolate
  • Grape pairs well with: chocolate, citrus, fig, honey, ginger, raisin
  • Grapefruit pairs well with: basil, black pepper, caramel, citrus, mint, rosemary, thyme, tropical fruit, vanilla
  • Guava pairs well with: citrus, lime, coconut, huckleberry, kaffir leaf, pineapple, strawberry, tropical fruit
  • Hazelnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, berries, caramel, cherry, chocolate, citrus, fig, mandarin, peach, pear, plum
  • Jicama pairs well with: acidic fruits and juices such as lime, lemon and orange juice.  Red pepper and hot pepper sauce,  avocado, cilantro, cucumber and grapefruit.
  • Kaffir Leaf pairs well with: banana, citrus, coconut, lemongrass, tropical fruit, watermelon
  • Kiwi pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, cherry, citrus, coconut, mango, tropical fruit
  • Kumquat pairs well with: berries, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, persimmon, plum
  • Lavender pairs well with: chocolate, lemon, blueberries, vanilla, thyme
  • Lemon pairs well with: apricot, berries, black pepper, cardamom, cherry, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, prickly pear, tropical fruit
  • Lemongrass pairs well with: cherry, berries, citrus, coconut, ginger, guava, kaffir leaf, coconut, tropical fruit, vanilla
  • Lime pairs well with: apple, berries, cherry, ginger, papaya, plum, strawberry, tropical fruit
  • Lychee pairs well with: citrus, ginger, gooseberry, tropical fruit, vanilla
  • Mace pairs well with: allspice, asparagus, beans, cabbage, carrots, cheese, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, cranberries, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, peaches, pumpkin, potatoes, vanilla,
  • Mandarin pairs well with: cardamom, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, fig, ginger, nutmeg, tropical fruits, vanilla, star anise
  • Mango pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, caramel, citrus, coconut, melon, tropical fruits, vanilla, cinnamon
  • Marjoram pairs well with: artichokes, basil, cinnamon, cumin, eggplant, fennel, garlic, mushrooms, onion, oregano, parsley,  thyme
  • Melon pairs well with: berries, citrus, lemongrass, lemon verbena
  • Nutmeg pairs well with: allspice, asparagus, cabbage, cardamom, carrots, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, coriander, cranberries, cumin, ginger,  mace, onion, peaches, pumpkin, thyme, vanilla
  • Orange pairs well with: almonds, basil, berries, brandy, cherry, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, coffee, cranberry, fig, ginger, grape, hazelnut, mint, nutmeg, persimmon, pineapple, vanilla
  • Oregano pairs well with: basil, cinnamon, cumin, eggplant, fennel, garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, onion, parsley, thyme, tomatoes
  • Paprika pairs well with: allspice, caraway, cardamom,  garlic, ginger, legumes, oregano, parsley,  rosemary, saffron, thyme, turmeric, vegetables
  • Papaya pairs well with: citrus, black pepper, lime, mango, tropical fruit
  • Parsley pairs well with: basil, bay leaf, chives, dill,  garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, grains, onion, oregano,thyme, tomatoes
  • Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, caramel, chestnut, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, hazelnut, vanilla, walnut
  • Persimmon pairs well with: apple, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, kumquat, pear
  • Pineapple pairs well with: basil, caramel, cilantro, coconut, macadamia, rosemary, tropical fruit
  • Plum pairs well with: almond, cinnamon, citrus, chestnut, black pepper, hazelnut, honey, vanilla
  • Pomegranate pairs well with: apple, citrus, cucumber, mint, tropical fruit
  • Prickly Pear pairs well with: citrus, lime, tomatillo, tropical fruit
  • Raspberry pairs well with: apricot, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, lemon, nectarine, other berries, peach, plum, rhubarb, thyme, vanilla
  • Rose water pairs well with: saffron, cardamom,jasmine, almonds, pistachios and coconuts.
  • Rosemary pairs well with:  apples, asparagus, basil, citrus, cranberry, fennel, garlic, grains, mushrooms, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, thyme, tomatoes
  • Rhubarb pairs well with: apple, apricot, berries, black pepper, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, strawberry
  • Sage pears well with: apples, bay leaf,  capers, caraway, celery, citrus,  garlic, ginger, marjoram, onions, paprika, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes
  • Sesame pairs well with: citrus,  garlic, ginger, thyme
  • Sorrel pairs well with: chives, beans, leafy greens, oregano, parsley, thyme, and squash
  • Strawberry pairs well with: apple, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, coriander, mint, rhubarb, vanilla
  • Thyme pairs well with: bananas, basil, bay leaf, beans, carrots, citrus, dill, garlic, mint, mushrooms, onion, oregano, parsley, sage
  • Tomatillo pairs well with: berries, citrus, mango, prickly pear, tropical fruit
  • Walnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, rum

I hope you will find this chart as useful as I am.

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Chocolate and Orange Drizzle Cake

My Chocolate and Orange Drizzle Cake.

Last Sunday yet again I was asked to bake a Lemon Drizzle Cake. Don’t get me wrong, this is a lovely cake but after two weeks of baking it every other day I’ve decided it was time for something new. I didn’t want to disappoint nor, for safety reasons stray too far from the requested type of cake, so I decided to bake a “off spin” drizzle cake, or in cook-speak take it to the next level. It was my first attempt and I really wasn’t sure how it would turn out but in the end I needn’t have worried as it was quite something if I may say so myself; a bit more moist and sweater than a lemon version but extremely tasty and satisfying.

I present to you the Chocolate and Orange Drizzle Cake.

Chocolate & Orange Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, soften
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 1tbs of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2tbs chocolate shavings

For the orange drizzle:

  • 50g granulated sugar
  • Juice of one large juicy orange

The above ingredients will make a cake that fits perfectly in an 8” loaf tin.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Grease and line your baking tin, or just grease it.

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients being: flour, sugar, chocolate shavings and baking powder; add zest from one large orange, soften butter, eggs and fresh squeezed orange juice – mix all ingredients until smooth.

Pour into your earlier prepared loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45min or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

Prepare your drizzle by mixing the sugar with the orange juice. “Stab” your cake repeatedly with a toothpick and then slowly drizzle it with your mixture allowing it to soak in deep inside the cake.

Let it cool completely.

Cut, serve and enjoy!

Chocolate and Orange Drizzle CakeChocolate & Orange Drizzle CakeMy Chocolate and Orange Drizzle Cake

Happy Baking!

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What makes Sydney so dreamy?

What makes Sydney so dreamy

There are a lot of wonderful places around the globe and some of them stick in our memories more than others. Some we simply like some we don’t but there are also the ones we love; the ones that given the opportunity we would never leave; the ones where we could see ourselves living happily ever after…

One of those places for me is Sydney.

So why is Sydney so dreamy you might ask?

Well… there is the outstanding architecture, weather to die for, good food and even better drinks, 100s of great pubs with live music and so on and so on… but once you actually look behind the obvious, there are few hidden reasons which make Sydney one of the kind.

Jogging along Port Jackson Bay

Jogging along Port Jackson Bay

Wide sidewalks with stunning views of the harbour and the sea breeze wafting over you. This is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day. You are still seeing and feeling the city, but at the same time you are in sync with nature. There is something magical about that. It is a deep soul stirring moment that is quite hard to describe. The best time for a jog is just before sunset, when the “white sails” of Opera House are changing its colours and the whole city is slowly lighting up ready for the night.

Coastal walk form Coogee to Bondi Beach

Coastal walk form Coogee to Bondi Beach

One of the most wonderful things about Sydney is its location. Living there you really have no need for holidays. All you have to do is to start walking… The Coastal walk form Coogee to Bondi Beach takes about 2 hours; during this time you can see some beautiful nature, feel the warm sand under your feet, admire the sharp cliffs but you can also see this magnificent city with a whole new perspective. Far away from the noise of the city centre, from our busy lives and daily troubles… this walk can give you power and inner peace and should you make it to Bondi Beach you can admire surfers battling the force of nature.

Sydney Mardi Gras

Sydney Mardi Gras

In general Mardi Gras refers to events during Carnival, but the Sydney Mardi Gras is a bit different. The Sydney Mardi Gras celebrates gay rights. The Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is one of a kind, not only is the organization perfect but the atmosphere is truly wonderful’ you can really feel the love. This festival really underlines the character of the people of this city, their open-mindedness, tolerance and love of good times!

I love Sydney

*This post is my entry into “A Tale of three Cities” competition run by Accor

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Weekly Photo Challenge _ Express Yourself

Challenge set by The Daily Post

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3 Comments

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Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lately we seem to have become obsessed with a Lemon Drizzle Cake. In the last 2 weeks I have baked one seven times 🙂 It was proving very hard to “save” the cake until I could actually take some pictures, but a few days ago I succeeded, so here you go – my Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe.

Ingredients:

1. Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

For the cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Icing sugar for decoration

For the lemon drizzle:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • Juice of one large lemon

The above ingredients will make a cake that fits perfectly in an 8” loaf tin.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Grease and line your baking tin, or just grease it if you have problems with making a perfect lining like me 😉

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients being: flour, sugar and baking powder.

2. Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Add the zest from one large lemon. Due to possible wax coating on the lemons nowadays remember to wash it well before grating the zest (I like to keep it in a bowl of hot / boiling water for a few minutes first).

Melt your butter a little, so it is nice and soft (20sec in pulses in a microwave should do the trick).

Add the butter and eggs to your mixing bowl and beat all the ingredients until smooth.

3. Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Pour into your earlier prepared loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45min or until golden brown.

4. Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake5. Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

6. Quick and Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Mix lemon juice with sugar and prepare to drizzle.

I like to remove my cake from the tin before drizzling begins and place it on a cooling rack.

“Stabbing” the cake all over with a little toothpick will help your drizzle to soak deeper into the cake, but it is an optional extra.

Drizzle your cake and allow it to cool…

When totally cool, sprinkle the cake with a little bit of icing sugar, which will give it a nice even finish.

If you want a more crunchy drizzle, use granulated sugar and for even more crunch go with icing sugar.

If you decided to give this cake a try and it is not lemony enough for you, just add a bit of lemon juice inside the cake during the mixing process and it will boost the lemon flavour right up.

Quick & Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake

Happy Baking!

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Time for a change, time for entertainment

With New Year comes the obligatory New Year’s resolution.

I’ve made a few “promises” to myself and one of them is to entertain more (aka stop being a cave-dweller). I would like to have our friends over much more often, maybe throw a few more dinner parties and in general be more sociable. To achieve it, I need space. So the question becomes: What do I do?

Currently, we have a kitchen / dinner with a table set for four and a front room designed around our family entertainment – large sofa, space to play jumpy console games and to chillax in general. I think the front room will have to stay as it is simply because it is our family space and besides I don’t know how to tell Mark his front room is about to change. Now the dining room part of the downstairs area might just be the subject of a make-over.

My Dining Room

In order to entertain I will need space. If we have more than two people visit us be are quickly reminded of a major drawback to us entertaining. Sitting for hours on little wooden stools is not very comfortable, no matter how good the food, the company or even how many drinks you have had 😉 and there is no room to add full size chairs as the table just isn’t long enough, oh and it has very fat legs that don’t help.

So, what to do now?

The easiest solution would be to just buy a new set of slim chairs, but as our furniture’s quite old I am not able to find anything to match it nicely.

I like dark wood; solid wood, heavy furniture is very me but they make the space seems smaller and darker than it actually is. The more I think about it the more I feel I might be ready for a change.

I had a look around for some inspirations and I have a few ideas for my new dining room. I think I would still like to stick with the wood and keep the same rectangular shape of the table, but maybe this time we should get something lighter, with a more modern look…

Carlton Copeland Rodgers of YorkCarlton Derwent Rodgers of YorkClemence Richard Massive Rodgers of YorkKettle Stamford Dining  Rodgers of YorkQualita Goliath Rodgers of York

What do you think about my choices?

Would you attempt a make-over just to satisfy your need for fulfilling a New Year’s resolution?

Do you think I should just stick with my old furniture and maybe invest in some soft cushions to make long evenings by the table more comfortable?

I know this is a long list of questions but I am quite in the pickle and unsure what to do next.

* Post written in collaboration with Rodgers Of York

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Filed under Home and Garden