Apple Crumble Cake

I can’t decide what part of The Great British Bake Off I’m enjoying more this year, the bakes… or Noel Fielding’s patterned shirts.  Honestly, the ice-cream shirt (which I remembered seeing Zoella wear last year) had me furiously googling into the wee hours trying to track it down to no success.  True, GBBO just isn’t the same without Bezza, but I’m actually really enjoying it – and the cakes are just as inspiring as always; I mean, Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake looked INSANE.  I’m going to have to give one of those a go nearer to bonfire night 🙂

Anyway, here’s a much, much plainer apple cake!  I love an easy loaf cake, and this one is full of chopped apples and cinnamon and topped with a crunchy, sugary crumble.  Another way of using up a couple of apples without going down the full-on crumble route.  We scoffed it with lots and lots of custard under a blanket in front of the TV, which – let’s be honest – is what Autumn is all about.

No recipe to this one because I didn’t measure anything out.  It was one of those “just chuck everything in and hope for the best” kind of days!  Have a great weekend everyone! ♡

What I Wore: Joyeux

I can list on one hand the things that make me happy.  Some of them are those small every day mood-improvers – the little things – and others are much, much bigger, can’t live without things and people.  1. Good (bad) food.  2. Fresh Flowers.  3. Writing.  4. Music.  And, 5. My Family.  Of course each of those things can be broken down even further (I mean, the subcategory of what kinds of food make me happy is absolutely fricking ENORMOUS), and obviously there are other things in life that make me happy, but the above are my five great loves in terms of my day to day happiness.

Here’s another thing that’s a little further down the list; T Shirts.  I don’t know why the hell I’ve gone and bought another one – I’ve got a whole heap of them – but every time I wear them they seem to bring a smile to my face so I’m rolling with it.  I picked up this new addition in H&M recently; I love the bold, bright text and of course the word itself; JOYEUX, which means Happy.  And sometimes that just means wearing jeans and t shirt and dancing around in your kitchen with your dog  🙂

Baklava.  Baklava (as I’ve recently found out) makes me very happy.

Look at that grin.  That grin makes me grin 🙂


Happy Monday!  What little things make you feel joyeux?  🙂

Help! I’m too Shy to Blog!

It’s a funny old business Blogging, isn’t it?  It’s a sort of introverted way of being extrovert.  A quiet way of being loud.  A safe way of being ourselves. I think most people start blogging because they need an outlet, a way of throwing their own unique brand of personality, creativity and voice out there on their own terms. Personally, I’ve always found it a bit difficult expressing myself honestly in person (without hitting the gin first…); I’ve always been better at writing than speaking.  Those who know me well, know that when I open up I’m capable of being loud and opinionated, funny and sometimes even smart… but that’s something that takes time.  With blogging though, all the interaction happens through cables, wifi and computer screens with profile pictures and screen names, and that gives us a bit of a buffer zone; we can be as up front and as honest as want about who we are (or want to be) without fearing that dreaded face to face, real life , real time reaction.

Or at least that’s how it is to begin with, when you first start blogging.  After a while – if you’re successful (whatever that means) – you’re going to be forced to step out from behind your computer screen.  You might get invited to an event, or into a collaboration with a brand which (Eeek!) requires real life, real time interaction with actual human beings.  You might suddenly want to write a very raw, very personal blog post, or, after months and months of keeping your face out of your blog photography, you’ll suddenly feel the pressure to reveal more of yourself in a profile picture or outfit shots with yknow, your actual face.  And yes, at some point your friends and family are going to clock what you’re doing and say those dreaded words, “So hey, I found your blog…” *Gulp*

The truth is that at some point, you’ve got to actually own your blog.

For a lot of bloggers this is where things get exciting, but for some, it’s a scary kind of exciting. Suddenly, blogging isn’t an exercise in introverted extroversion (…?!) anymore, it becomes real, and the inevitable question that goes along with that is whether you can actually do it – whether you can take that next step and put yourself out there like that.

So what do you do if you feel like you’re too shy to blog?  If the thought of talking into the camera on Instagram Stories or YouTube makes you feel sick?  When you can’t quite bring yourself to send that ballsy, opinionated tweet, or publish that honest ‘I cried while writing this’ blog post.  What do you do when you’re considering ditching an event because you’re just too nervous to promote yourself, or you’re thinking of deleting every single one of those outfit shots because, ugh, awkward?

Well, the first thing to ask yourself is whether you actually want to do any of those things.  Do you want share everything with the internet? Do you want to post pictures of yourself online or share your most unpopular opinions with the world?  If the answer’s no, then don’t do it. Simple as. Don’t ever feel pressured into fitting into someone else’s idea of what blogging should be.

But, if the answer’s yes and your own insecurities are holding you back, then it’s time to get over yourself, get real and just say, “Screw it, let’s do it.” The blogs that do well are the ones written by bloggers who are human, with flaws and imperfections who – instead of being crippled by them – embrace them and put them out there in the most honest way possible.  They’re not too shy to say f*** it, this is me.

I think this probably applies to everything else in life.  You know that old mantra, Sing like no one’s listening, Party like there’s no tomorrow, and Dance like there’s no one watching.  Wellmaybe we should all   just Blog like there’s no one reading.  😉

Do you ever feel too shy to blog?  Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to post but have been too scared to?

Bramble Bars

I love this time of year.  It’s almost time for crumbles and custard again!  I’ve been watching the blackberries in the field near our house grow over the summer every time I walked Bungle (Walked?  Who am I kidding?  He drags me around that bloody field), and now they’re finally ripe and ready for picking.   I decided to pick a few last week, but instead of going with a bog-standard apple and blackberry crumble, I did something a little bit different and made these Bramble Bars.  They’re basically a flapjack, blackberry and frangipane sandwich 🙂



Bramble Bars

Ingredients

For the Flapjacks:

  • 250g porridge oats
  • 125g butter
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

For the Frangipane:

  • 75g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 100g ripe blackberries
  • white chocolate icing
  1. First, make the flapjack layers.  Heat the butter, brown sugar, syrup and peanut butter on a low heat, stirring until combined.  Mix in the porridge oats and then transfer half the mixture to a greased and lined, rectangular baking tin.  Bake for 15 minutes at 180° .
  2. Next make the frangipane.  Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the eggs, ground almonds and almond extract.  Spread evenly on top of the first flapjack layer, then bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Roughly mash the blackberries and then spoon over the baked frangipane layer.  Add the final flapjack layer on top, then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Once cooled, cut into bars and decorate with piped white chocolate.

Not to blow my own horn or anything, but Sunny was all over these and actually forced me to take pictures of them immediately so he could scoff them.  It’s a nice way of using up those blackberries without resorting to the bog-standard crumble.  😉


Side-note; we discovered that Bungle loves blackberries.  So now instead of getting dragged around the field, I’m being dragged into hedges instead.  Grrrrreat.

Have a lovely week everyone!  

Feline Good

Last Thursday this dog-lady took her favourite cat-lady to Feline Good, Cardiff’s first and only Cat Cafe. I’ve been stalking their Twitter ever since I caught wind of their crowdfund campaign, and when I heard that they’d finally opened their doors over the summer I knew I had to book in a visit for me and my feline-inclined friend, Missy. And the timing turned out to be purrrrrrfect as they’ve just welcomed in two cute kittens.


Tucked away on the edge of Gabalfa Flyover, Feline Good is first and foremost a home to several rescue cats who would have otherwise found themselves homeless had it not been for owner and Cat Mama Hollie Bowler-Brown, and the cats are clearly very comfortable in their cosy cafe (and the £5 surcharge per person ensures that they are well cared for). That much was obvious right from the start when Winston – resident troublesome Tabbycat – happily came to greet us at the door.  Had it not been for the lack of thumbs he would probably have opened the door too, but that job fell to one of the kitty buddies who let us in, showed us to our table, gave us a menu each, and went through the house rules that ensure the wellbeing of the cats and customers.

Half past ten seemed an ideal time to arrive, as all the cats were wide awake and lively – springing from tables, playing with their toys and chasing each other around the room. For perhaps the first time ever I struggled to give a cake menu my full attention because I couldn’t take my eyes off the cats, and everyone else seemed to be doing the same because I’ve never been to such a silent cafe 🙂 I ordered tea and a brownie and ate it very slowly whilst watching the kittens scramble at my feet for one of their toys.






Now that the days are getting colder and darker, I can imagine Feline Good is going to be the perfect place to go to warm up and cheer up during the gloomy Welsh winter. I mean, what’s better than chocolate, tea and a cwtch with a cat, right? Just don’t tell Bungle I said that, okay? 😉

Feline Good
Meridian Court,
North Road,
Cardiff,
CF14 3BE