Friday 30 October 2020

Current Netflix Top Picks #16

 Netflix are pulling out all the stops at the moment aren't they? I definitely have times where it feels like I've exhausted everything and I feel in a real rut with what to watch but over the last month or so, it's been the complete opposite, there's currently so much on there to recommend, I don't even know where to start. There's not been a great deal to do over the last few weeks (aside from baking) so Netflix has become my best friend. Here's the films and boxsets I've been loving recently.
collage - Netflix logo, Searching poster, Gogglebox poster, Emily in Paris poster, The Duchess poster, The Haunting of Bly Manor poster


It feels like ages ago we watched this actually but it still had to be at the top of my recommendations. Searching is an American mystery thriller film starring John Cho and it's about his character David Kim trying to find his missing daughter Margot after she suddenly disappears one night. The way this is shot is so clever, the whole film is told through technology devices i.e. Facebook messages, Facetime, webcam etc which made it completely stand out to other films. It's brilliantly done. It's such an intriguing story aswell though, I was gripped from the start.


Who doesn't love Gogglebox? Every Friday night I love nothing more than to snuggle up on the sofa with Bear (when he's not barking at the window) and watch Corrie then later that evening watch Gogglebox. Might sound boring to some but those Friday nights are the best in my opinion. Who'd have thought watching other people watch TV would be so entertaining? I just love it so I was thrilled to see a few of the past series have been added to Netflix. I've got through them all already and really hope they add more soon. It's such an easy watch.

Emily in Paris 

I know pretty much everyone has been talking about this since it arrived on Netflix but I can totally understand why! If you like Gossip Girl, I think you'll really enjoy Emily in Paris. Starring Lily Collins, it's such a lighthearted but fun watch and as the episodes are only 30 minutes long, it's very easy to binge-watch in one go! As you might have guessed from the title, the series follows Emily, an American, who moves to Paris for work and it follows the ups and downs that come with that and the people she meets along the way. I really hope they'll be a series 2!

The Duchess 

I can't say I'm usually a massive fan of Katherine Ryan but after I finished Emily in Paris, I watched the trailer for this and thought it was worth a go. I actually ended up really enjoying it and by the end I just wished there was more. Katherine who wrote the series stars in it herself as a single mother to 9 year old Olive. She's decided she wants a second child to give Olive a sibling but how is she going to do that? Is she ready to settle down with her boyfriend or does she bizarrely go back to her ex so her children have the same father? It's a bit crazy at times but so funny. It's another show that you could easily watch in one sitting. As much as I'd love another series, I think it ended perfectly.

The Haunting of Bly Manor 

Well this was emotional! The Haunting of Bly Manor is the second installment in The Haunting series by Netflix, the first being The Haunting of Hill House which came out last year. I really enjoyed Hill House so I had high hopes for this and I think if anything it was even better than I expected it to be. Definitely nowhere near as creepy or scary as Hill House in my opinion but I LOVED the story. I was absolutely hooked by it and found myself just wanting to watch episode after episode. As it's advertised as a horror though, I never thought it could be so emotional. Hannah and Owen deserved their own happy ending and what to even say about Dani and Jamie? 💔 Amazing characters. I actually think I'll re-watch it at some point.

So that's my latest Netflix recommendations! Have you watched any of these? What did you think to Bly Manor?

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Wednesday 28 October 2020

The Secret Of You And Me By Melissa Lenhardt Book Review*

 I received a copy to review but all opinions are my own*

It's been a little while since my last book review which was the brilliant So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter in case you missed it, so it felt like time for another! Today I'm sharing my thoughts on The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt which I was kindly sent a copy of not too long ago.The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt book placed on bookshelf in front of row of other books'You always come back to your first love. Nora hasn't looked back. Not since she left home, and her broken heart, far behind her. But now tragedy calls her back, where she must finally come face to face with ex-boyfriend Charlie, and best friend Sophie. Only now will she be able to confront her past - and reconcile her future. Sophie seems to have everything. Married to Charlie, with a wonderful daughter and a successful career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. A secret that ripped through their town and destroyed her friendship with Nora. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora's stay is short. The life she has built depends on it. But first love doesn't fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites and old feelings resurface. As the forces that once tore them apart begin to re-emerge, both Nora and Sophie must accept that true love is something worth fighting for.'

My Review

The Secret of You and Me is actually Melissa's first Women's Fiction novel and it's the first LGBT book that I've read so before even starting this, I was so intrigued by what was to come. I've not read a great deal of romance books recently so I was so ready to get stuck into it. 

The Secret of You and Me follows Nora and Sophie, two women who were torn apart when they were younger and now decades later, life has brought them back together. Will this be their second chance at love? I have to admit that it took me a little while to really get into this and I found the first quarter or so to be quite slow but I'm really glad I persevered with it. Whilst I wanted to know everything initially about Nora and Sophie and why they had to go their separate ways, by the end I really liked that we were given bits of information throughout and not everything was revealed straight away. I also really liked Melissa's writing style and personally loved that we got both Nora and Sophie's perspective throughout which really allows for you to get to know both characters. 

I liked how unapologetic Nora was and what a strong character she was and I think that worked perfectly with Sophie being really quite broken and having lots of issues to work through. I thought the way Melissa handled Sophie as a character in particular and her journey with her sexuality was perfect. Despite Nora and Sophie being so different in their personalities and having gone down such different paths in their lives, from the very first moment they meet again after all those years, the chemistry was undeniable and I was rooting for them to find a way to be together.

Nora and Sophie's relationship was messy at times but believable and I think in a lot of ways it reflects real life. Things don't always go as we plan but it showed that it's never too late to start again or be who you truly are. The Secret of You and Me is very different to many romance novels I've read before for a number of reasons but that's not a negative. I finished the book feeling like I'd really gotten to know the characters and their story and it made me think a lot about people who could be struggling with their sexuality or dealing with negative comments from those around them, as Sophie and Nora did too. It's incredibly powerful at times and very real which I always love in a book.

If you enjoy romance novels then The Secret of You and Me is the perfect book for you. It's out on Thursday 29th October so only 1 more day to wait!

What books have you read recently?

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Saturday 24 October 2020

The Size Options Available For Handmade Jewellery

 This article is published in collaboration with Media Buzzer

Image source: Pexels

When you are looking for the perfect gift for someone you love, one of the excellent options is to give them jewellery. It's an even better option to give them bespoke handmade jewellery. However, it may be daunting in choosing the correct size and without taking the recipient to the jewellery store and measuring them, you may not know where to start.

Below is all the information that you need on the different sizes of jewellery to help ensure you choose the correct size, so it will fit the person that is receiving it correctly.


Necklaces come in many different sizes, and you will need to consider how the necklace will sit when it is being worn. The standard sizes are as follows: 

14" - This size fits snuggly around the neck and is known as a choker style.

16" - This is the standard size of necklaces in the jewellery industry and usually sit just below the neckline.

18" - This is one of the most popular sizes and is the perfect length of a pendant which would usually sit below the collarbone.

20" - Both 18" and 20" are known as the Princess length and the 20" sits lower on the chest and is good for elaborate jewellery.

22" & upwards - These lengths of necklaces are less common and will usually only suit larger people.


Getting the correct size for a ring is much harder than with other types of jewellery, and the best way is to measure the ring finger, which is not good if the jewellery is going to be a surprise. This sizes go from A to M, and if you are looking to have a bespoke ring made as a surprise without knowing the ring size, ensure that you choose a larger size which will be easier to correct, so the ring fits perfectly. The bespoke engagement rings at Hirsh London are available in all sizes. They can also resize the ring once the recipient has received it to ensure that it is an excellent fit.


Bracelets come in a variety of different sizes but there are four general sizes which are used in the jewellery industry. These are as follows: 

Small - A small bracelet will usually measure about seven inches in diameter.

Medium - A medium bracelet will usually measure seven and a half to eight.

Large - A large bracelet will normally measure eight and a half inches in diameter.

Plus Size - A plus size bracelet will measure around nine inches in diameter.

Image Source: Pixabay

It is vital to keep in mind when having a bracelet or necklace created bespoke, that you also keep in mind the clasp that will keep it in place. If you measure the jewellery and then add the clasp, it may sit too loose when it is worn. Ensure that you use the services of a reputable and qualified jewellery shop and they can then adjust the size of your jewellery if needed. There is a world of choice available when having bespoke jewellery created, and if you look at Pinterest for ideas, you can see lots of designs to inspire you to create the perfect gift that the recipient is going to love.

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Tuesday 20 October 2020

Bear's Brownies & More - My New Baking Business!

I'm SO nervous about this sharing this but also beyond excited. I've started my own baking business! You might not have noticed but I've been a bit quiet over the last few weeks on my blog and especially over on Instagram and that's because I've been putting my all into this! Bear's Brownies & More is my new venture and the shop is officially open! This has been a dream of mine for SO long and after the hell of 2020, I realised there's no better time than now to just go for it! I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I felt I was moving away from blogging a little and whilst I'm not quite planning on stopping just yet, baking is what I've always wanted to turn into my job and hopefully this is the start of that!Bear's Brownies & More Logo

Lockdown gave me many months to bake and perfect loads of my recipes and as you'll have seen over the last year or so, brownies have become a firm favourite of mine. I spent many weekends baking over and over again until I was 100% happy with the result and then I had to work out how to actually launch a business. There's so much that goes into opening a shop like this that I had no idea about so it's been a major learning curve and it's taken a lot of time but now I'm finally ready to go! The first thing I had to think of was a name and if you've read my blog over the last year you'll know we have a puppy called Bear. Well he's probably not technically a puppy anymore but he's still my baby. As much as I'm sure he'd love to be involved, Bear won't be doing the baking himself but naming the business after him just felt like the right thing to do. He's the most special thing in my life so that's how Bear's Brownies came about.

At the moment I'm just planning on selling a variety of different brownies but I'm hoping to add some other bakes over the coming months. I've even started thinking about Christmas flavours too! I have an Etsy store where you can order so it's all really simple so if you are interested, please head on over and have a look where you'll find prices, sizes and all the extra details for each bake. For now though, here's what's currently in stock!

Bourbon Brick Brownies

Delicious fudgy chocolate brownies packed full of Bourbon biscuits with a biscuit topping for extra crunch! These are ideal for any biscuit lovers and they go beautifully with a cup of tea.
Bourbon Biscuit Brownies on flower plate

After Eight Brownies

Mint flavoured chocolate brownies filled and topped with After Eights. Perfect now Christmas is officially on the way!

After Eight Brownies held up over flatlayBiscoff Brownies

Like Biscoff? Then you need to try these! Chocolate brownies filled and topped with Biscoff biscuits with a Biscoff spread swirl throughout.Biscoff brownies in box

Salted Caramel Brownies

Fudgy chocolate brownies with a luxurious smooth salted caramel sauce swirled throughout. My absolute favourite to make and my fave to eat. Gorgeous with a scoop of ice cream!Salted Caramel brownies held up over flatlay
Each batch of brownies is made to order and each brownie will be individually wrapped for extra freshness so you will get at least 5 days out of each flavour (if you can resist them for that long).

I suppose that's all there is to say right now as the rest is over on the shop but I had to officially announce it on my blog. Thank you so much for all of your support on my recipes in the past, I would never have taken the leap and done this without that. It goes without saying but any support for my new business would be massively appreciated. It's not been easy but I'm sure it's going to be worth it. I have an Instagram page for my business aswell which I'd love it if you followed and of course any orders would be amazing! Why not treat yourself?



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Sunday 18 October 2020

My 2020 Reading Challenge - Update #4

Books marked * were either sent via Netgalley to review or as a PR sample but all views are my own
Already it's time for a fourth reading update! It doesn't even feel that long ago I shared the last one but I have somehow managed to get 8 books ahead of my goal according to goodreads. These posts are already long enough anyway as I just LOVE talking about books but now I seem to be reading more than ever, there might be a few more of these roundup posts than I had originally planned. If you're new to my blog then let me explain. Each year I set myself a reading goal and this year I'm aiming for 100 books. Every few months I share the latest books I've read along with a mini review. It's a nice way for me to look back at the end of year on how much I read and pick my favourites and it's also hopefully a way for me to recommend some really great books to you! Let's get started.
3 books on gold mirrored dish next to orange glass pumpkin and DW Home candle

You Let Him In by JA Andrews* - ⭐

I always feel so harsh giving a book 1 star but this was just not for me at all. I actually quite liked the different perspectives throughout which can sometimes be a bit confusing if not done well but apart from that I just didn't enjoy it. I found the dialogue between characters so wooden and there was no excitement, nothing that made me feel as though I was reading a thriller.

Breathless by Jennifer Niven* - ⭐⭐

Whilst I hadn't read anything from Jennifer before I'd heard good things about her previous novel All The Bright Places so I was really excited to get started on this. It took me a little while to really get into it and I found Jennifer's writing style quite different to books I've read before. Whilst there were things I liked about it and I enjoyed the more romantic and emotional scenes between Claude and Jeremiah, I didn't ever get fully hooked in by the story.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney - ⭐⭐⭐

I read Normal People by Sally Rooney earlier this year and I'm still obsessed with it so whilst I wanted to love Conversations With Friends just as much, I was aware it had a lot to live upto. The thing with Sally Rooney's books is that you tend to either love them or hate them, or that's how it seems for a lot people. I definitely wouldn't say I hated this but I also couldn't say I loved it either. It was okay and I enjoyed some of the moments between Frances and Nick but other than that, I found it a bit of a slog to get through.
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney held up in front of bookshelf

The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank - ⭐⭐⭐

How do you even go about reviewing a book like this? It feels harsh to give it less than 5 stars but at times I found myself skipping and skimming parts so I don't feel I can give it more than three. I thought it was a really interesting read that really allows for you to find out how Anne was feeling and the reality of having to stay hidden for such a long amount of time. Fascinating but heart-wrenching at the same time.

The Mistress by Jill Childs* - ⭐⭐⭐

This held my attention right from the very first page! I had no idea where it was going to go and it surprised me several times throughout. I didn't particularly like any of the characters and I felt there was something off with most of them. Whilst it started off great though, the ending felt a little bit flat. It didn't really shock me and I think some chapters needed a bit more detail. A brilliant opener though and worth a read if you like domestic thrillers.

The Bench by Saskia Sarginson* - ⭐⭐⭐

Wow, this was emotional! In alternating chapters, we hear Sam and Cat's love story, one that spans over 30 years. They're pulled apart and brought back together over the years but with completely different lives, is it ever going to be the right time for them? The concept of this reminded me a lot of books like Five Years From Now and One Day In December so I knew I was going to like it. It did take me a little while to warm up to the characters at first but by the end I was in tears. A really lovely read.

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The first five star in a while! I just absolutely adored this! I think it might be the first book I've read by Lindsey Kelk but it won't be the last. I found Ros really relatable and I loved the Bridget Jones vibes I got when she's with her group of friends. It was funny, romantic and uplifting. Just the sort of book I needed! Can't wait to re-read at some point.

The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I waited a long time for this to be released after Covid initially delayed it and it didn't disappoint! Somehow Paige just gets it right every single time. I could have never predicted where she was going to take the main characters, Hannah and Sonny, and it went down a much deeper route than her books usually do so it really did surprise me. Paige has tackled some really tough subjects and brilliantly so too. She's written it in such a way that she gets the importance of the subjects across and really allows you to understand how each person is feeling but it's still light with the perfect amount of romance. Not what I expected at all compared to her previous books but just as good!
The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon on bookshelf with books in background

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I got into this way more than I expected to. I don't think there was anything particularly that really wowed me and I wasn't shocked by the culprit but I still really enjoyed it. It was such an easy read,
short chapters, likeable characters, just something really different to thrillers I've read before.

So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

God I loved this! So raw and believable. I just wanted to hug each of the characters and I was rooting for all of them throughout. I've not read something so funny yet powerful and relatable in a long time. Brilliant.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've seen this advertised as one of those 'books you must read!' and given it's historical fiction, something I really enjoy, I'm not sure how I managed to hold off for as long as I did. I did have high hopes for this and I don't think I loved it quite as much as I thought I would but there's no denying it's a fantastic book. It's obvious how much research Kristin has done by the amount of detail throughout and by the end the characters just felt so real to me. The ending had me in tears and I can't wait to see the film adaptation next year.

The Wife by Shalini Boland* - ⭐⭐⭐

I love how fast paced this was! From the very first page, it's full speed ahead and I was captivated immediately. I had no idea what was going to happen and throughout I was questioning every single character. I had a feeling a few characters weren't as they seemed and I didn't find anyone particularly likeable apart from Zoe's dad but I still couldn't have predicted the shocking ending. I think I read the whole book in about an hour because I just couldn't put it down.

A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot* - ⭐⭐

I might have given this two stars but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I loved the relationships and friendships in this book and I think Mandy has written a book really thought provoking. It made me emotional quite a few times! I did find it quite slow in parts though and it just seemed to take ages for any romance to really get going.

Don't Tell Teacher by Suzy K.Quinn - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was such an interesting book! I'm always after thriller recommendations and this is one that kept coming up again and again and boy am I glad it did. The premise is so unique and led me to believe all sorts of things that could be happening at the school but it completely surprised me and went down a path I could never have guessed. So so good.

Not The Type by Camilla Thurlow - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My first non-fiction book in a long time and maybe the only one this year so far? I was a big fan of Camilla when she was on Love Island a few years ago, just because she seemed so normal and down to earth and her relationship with Jamie was just lovely to watch blossom. I was really intrigued by this because she's had such a varied life! The book documents her experience working in landmine disposal, her charity work, feminism, anxiety and obviously her time on Love Island. A really interesting read. I'd have loved to listen to the audio version of this actually.
Not The Type by Camilla Thurlow held up in front of bookshelf

The Island by C.L. Taylor* - ⭐⭐

I'm a big fan of C.L. Taylor so I was really excited to receive a copy of her first young adult release. The Island has a great premise and pretty much gets going straight away. It doesn't take long for the characters to realise something is going on with the island and they might not be safe so it definitely gets tense very quickly. I was intrigued by all of the characters but because there were so many of them, it was hard to keep track of who was who and their relationships to one another. I also thought the ending was a bit anti-climatic.

Finding Grace by K.L. Slater - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

K.L. is fast becoming a firm favourite author of mine. She writes psychological thrillers and each one I've read so far has been exactly what you want in a book like that. Finding Grace was tense, unpredictable and full of really surprising twists that I didn't see coming. So far The Apartment is still the best I've read from the author but this is definitely up there as one of her better ones.

The Flip Side by James Bailey* - ⭐⭐

I thought this started off really well with Josh having just being dumped (after proposing on New Year's Eve) and I was really intrigued to see where this would take him next but about a quarter of the way through, I just lost interest. I didn't find it quite as funny as the reviews made it out to be but maybe I'm just missing something? A good premise and likeable characters but just not for me.

Be Careful What You Wish For by Vivien Brown* - 

Unfortunately I really didn't enjoy this. I didn't feel there was any tension throughout and by the end I just thought did anything even happen? Definitely didn't feel like a thriller.

All About Us by Tom Ellen* - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was the perfect book to start giving me that festive feeling. It had some really poignant moments throughout yet was so funny at the same time and I loved so many of relationships throughout, not just the romantic ones. It had a time travel/sliding doors element to it aswell which isn't something I'd usually look for in a book but it worked so well in this.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was so emotional. It's based on the true story of a phone box in the small town of Otsuchi in northern Japan, an area that was devastated by the tsunami, that people travel to so they can talk to loved ones they have lost. The phone isn't connected to anything but people believe their words are carried by the wind to their loved ones and it provides a great deal of comfort to so many. The book follows Yui, a woman who lost her daughter and mother in the tsunami who becomes a regular visitor to the phone box and there she meets Takeshi, a man who not long ago lost his wife. It's a beautiful story of love, loss and grief.

The Secret by K.L Slater - ⭐⭐⭐

K.L. Slater can't do much wrong in my eyes. I've enjoyed every book of hers I've read so far so The Secret was no exception to that. I do think there was one character at the end who didn't quite get the comeuppance she deserved but I liked the direction the book went in overall.

The Cows by Dawn O'Porter - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Like So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter, quite quickly I really found myself really enjoying the writing and feeling like it was a comfortable read that I could just take my time with. It had 3 different women with their own stories whose lives all cross paths towards the end, again just like So Lucky and I enjoyed that but there were definitely parts of this that made me a little uncomfortable. It's hard to explain but one character's actions didn't sit right with me near the end and that took away from the enjoyment of it a little. Can't deny Dawn writes great books though, I'd definitely read more from her in the future.
The Cows by Dawn O'Porter held up in front of bookshelf with books and small pumpkin in background
So that's all of the books I've got through over the last couple of months! I'd love to know if you've read any of the ones I've mentioned and your thoughts on them?

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Monday 12 October 2020

White Chocolate Blondies Recipe

It's been a long time since I first posted a blondie recipe, the last one being a chocolate chip swirl version but today I'm sharing how to make simple white chocolate ones. These were super gooey yet somehow still had the cakey texture I personally love in a blondie so the best of both worlds! If you're a blondie fan over brownies, then this is the recipe you need to try.
White Chocolate Blondies from above, next to orange pumpkin and candle
200g butter
125g granulated sugar
125g light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
250g white chocolate chips or chunks
50g white chocolate to drizzle

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (160 fan) and grease and line a large square baking tin
2. Start by melting your butter in a saucepan then pour into a large mixing bowl
3. Pour both sugars into your bowl then whisk with the butter until you have a smooth mixture
4. Add in your eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again
5. Pour in your flour, cornflour and baking powder and mix again until everything is fully combined
6. Add in your white chocolate chunks/chips and give it one final thorough mix
7. Pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes
8. After the required time in the oven, leave the blondies to cool in the tin
9. Whilst the blondies are cooling, melt your remaining 50g of white chocolate then drizzle over the top
10. When the drizzle has slightly set, cut into 12 squares and enjoy!
White Chocolate Blondie help up over flatlay
White Chocolate Blondie view from side
You should get at least 4 days out of these blondies (if you have any willpower that is) and somehow they just seemed to get better as the days went on! These were a mix between gooey and cakey blondies so if you'd prefer them more on the cakey side, you can leave in the oven for a further 5 minutes or so. You could also eat these by themselves or serve warm with ice cream or even custard for an extra special dessert!

Do you prefer blondies over brownies?

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Friday 9 October 2020

5 Things I'll Be Looking For When Choosing Our Next Home*

AD - This post is in collaboration with Flooring365

 I've mentioned briefly before on my blog that George and I are currently in the process of saving to buy our first house and despite the absolute hell of 2020, I'm still hopeful that this will be our last Christmas in our current home. In November we'll have been renting this flat for 6 years and whilst we've had some great times here, we've outgrown it and now I'm on a countdown until we can really get the ball rolling with buying out first house. Whilst lockdown meant that we could actually save more than we intended this year, as I'm sure we all know it's had a real effect on the economy and because of that getting on the property ladder is proving even harder than it was before. 10% deposits are hard to come by now which is really what most young people rely on so it's not exactly a greattttt time to be thinking of moving. It's not stopped me scrolling through Rightmove most days of the week though. By doing that though, it's meant we're really starting to work out what it is we want from our next home so I thought I'd share some of the things on my house viewing checklist.couple sitting watching Harry Potter, holding coffee

Location, Location, Location

One of the most important things with choosing our next home is location. Ideally we'd love to find a house in a lovely neighbourhood close-by to a park, hopefully not on a main road, not too far from a supermarket and as we're likely to be there for quite a few years, we also need to consider the schools in the area. I'm aware we're unlikely to find the perfect house in the perfect location so I'm sure they'll be things to compromise on but it's good to have an idea at least of what we're looking for. We've got a few different areas in mind that we like the look of but we definitely need to do some further research.

Good Flooring

I have quite a clear idea in my mind of how I'd like our next home to be set out and I may already have several boards on Pinterest dedicated to my dream living room/bedroom/bathroom/kitchen but it's good to be prepared! One thing I'll be looking for when viewing houses is the flooring situation. Whilst it may be we need to change the flooring over time anyway, if we could move in somewhere and not have to take on a massive job like that straight away, that would be fab! I'd love wooden flooring downstairs, I love the dark wood style at the moment that I keep seeing and I already have so many ideas for how to decorate the living room around it. With having a dog, wooden flooring is just something that would make life a bit easier.

A Decent Sized Garden

We only have a small shared garden where we currently live so anything more than that will be a bonus. A decent sized garden would be the dream though so we can create a cute seating area, maybe on some decking - a place we can chill in the Summer and enjoy barbecues! I also think Bear would love the extra space a garden would bring, in fact I know he would and as we hope to get him a brother or sister at some point, having easy access to a garden for toilet training would be a dream. It was a bit of a nightmare this time round with several flights of stairs to go!

A Big Kitchen

The kitchen will probably be the main thing I look for when we actually get inside any houses we're viewing. It's where I spend a lot of my time cooking and baking and I just need more space than we have now. I actually quite like our kitchen now and it's not that it's even that small but I'm someone who always ends up using all of the worktops and by the end it looks like a bomb has hit so if there was a bit more space so that's no longer the case, brilliant! We're also quite low on cupboard space in our current kitchen so that's something else I'd have my eye out for.

Storage Space

Following on from my last comment, we're just generally quite low on storage in our current home. As it's a flat, it was always going to be the case but over the years we've accumulated a LOT of stuff and whilst we regularly de-clutter it somehow just never feels like we gain any extra room from it. In an ideal world I'd have a big pantry in the kitchen, they'd be storage maybe under the stairs and lots of wardrobe space but I think all of those things together may be unlikely. Just a bit of extra space in each room would be heaven compared to what we have now.

So, that's 5 things that are currently on my house viewing checklist! I have no idea what sort of house we'll end up in and whilst of course I have quite clear ideas in my head, I'm really excited to just be somewhere new, putting our own stamp on the place and it actually being ours. We're SO ready for it now and it's the natural next step so I'm just hoping the world sorts itself out soon and we can get started.

Have you bought a house before? Do you have any tips when it comes to choosing a home?

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Monday 5 October 2020

My White Chocolate & Smarties Cookie Slices Recipe

I'm back with another baking recipe and today I'm talking about cookie slices. It's been a little while since I shared my recipe for the Milkybar version so it felt like time to make another batch. This time I basically used my Mini Eggs Cookie Slices recipe but added white chocolate this time and I switched out the Easter chocolate for Smarties instead. They were just as delicious as I hoped they would be! If you make these you could switch out the Smarties for M&M's if you'd prefer. That's what I love about these cookie bars, you could change them up in a variety of ways!
Smartie cookie slices on wooden chopping board net to flower trinket dish with cookie slice on, orange scarf as background
115g butter or margarine
55g granulated sugar
135g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
275g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp cornflour
Sprinkle of salt
300g Smarties
100g white chocolate, broken into chunks

1. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees (170 fan) and grease and line a large square baking tin
2. In a saucepan, melt your butter then pour in your granulated sugar and light brown sugar
3. Using a whisk (electric or normal) whisk the mixture until smooth
4. Crack in your egg and add the vanilla extract and whisk again until you have a thick, smooth mixture
5. In a separate bowl, weigh out your flour, bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and salt. Give it a gentle stir then pour into your wet mixture
6. Mix everything together until it is all fully combined
7. Add in about 3/4 of your Smarties and 50g of your white chocolate chunks and mix again until everything seems evenly distributed
8. Tip the cookie dough into your prepared tin, getting it as even as possible on top then gently push in your remaining Smarties
9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes 
10. After 30 minutes, leave to cool in the tin. Once cool, remove from the tin and set aside
11. Melt your remaining 50g of white chocolate then drizzle over the top of the cookie
12. Cut into 12 squares and enjoy!

These will last 3-4 days if stored in a tupperware or something similar, just to keep them as fresh as possible. As they're so nice warm though, I see no reason why you couldn't heat them up too, maybe even serve with a scoop of ice cream? I'd recommend popping in a warm oven for a few minutes or about 30 seconds in the microwave if you want to try it.
Closeup of cookie slices on wooden chopping board with flower trinket dish with cookie slice on in background
And that wraps up my recipe for white chocolate and Smarties cookie slices. Let me know if you give these a try!

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