My Thursday: Blossom Walks, Perfect Scrambled Eggs and Violet Gin

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I feel like I haven’t done a photo diary in ages; sometimes it’s nice to throw things back to blogging back in the day – you know, when it was all a bit more low key and just about the things you did on a random day of the week.  I did want to put an Easter-inspired recipe up today buuuuuut I’ve been a bit busy and came up empty.  So here we are!  This is what my Thursday looked like.

Most days right now begin at 6am when Bungle stomps into our bedroom and barks until one of us either budges over or gets up.  He loves our bed at the moment; he’ll disappear at random times during the day and we’ll find him sprawled out snoozing in the middle of it!  Sunny usually gets up first so Bungle will usually hop in with me for a bit while I scroll through Twitter and Instagram and put off getting up myself. 😉

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Once Sunny leaves for work, I pull on a pair of yoga pants and a hoodie and take Bungle for his morning walk around the block.  You’d think him having the snip a couple of weeks ago would have calmed him down a bit, but honestly he’s even more excitable than before.  He still drags me along and only stops to mercilessly hump my leg.  Buuuuuut, at least on Thursday the weather was nice; we walked around the block and had a sniff around the bluebells and the blossom.

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After his walk, Bungle went back to bed (…alright for some) and I made myself some breakfast.  I’ve been trying to perfect some egg recipes recently and high up on my list was scrambled egg.  I mean, usually I just crack a couple of eggs into a saucepan with some milk and butter and stir until they’re solid, but I wanted to see if I could go one better and make those super creamy, special scrambled eggs.  On Thursday, I think I cracked it (har de har).

Most of my morning was spent ticking off jobs on my to do list, planning a couple of blog posts and answering emails, and then after taking Bungle for another trot around the block I had a quick lunch and then headed into Cardiff.  But it turned out taking me an hour longer than usual because the traffic was a nightmare!

traffic

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Had a quick prowl around the shops.  There’s not really a lot I need in terms of Spring/Summer clothes, but I love looking anyway!  I’m still in lust with this pink polka dot shirt from Zara… but I’ve got a lot of shirts (and a lot of polka dots…).  I’m determined to wait it out and see if lust turns into love.

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At Gin o’ Clock I met up with Lottie from This Girl Is.  We went to Gin and Juice in Castle Arcade which serves up a massive selection of gin (and smoothies) in the most beautiful way.  We chatted about blogging and our beautiful but bonkers doggos.

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Once I got home, Sunny took Bungle for his evening walk and I made dinner.  I’ve really been enjoying making these Burrito Bowls recently.  It started as a solution to those times when “ugh, can’t be arsed to make Quesadillas” – but actually, I prefer it!  And not just because it’s easier.  Last night I served them up with a cheeky side of Nachos – which went down very well! 🙂

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After dinner I started reading my new history book all about the women in Mozart’s life and then Sunny and I broke into some Easter Chocolate in front of Into the Badlands – which is quite possibly the most ridiculous show I’ve ever seen.  Steampunk meets Kung Fu… with Nick Frost.  I mean, what the actual hell?

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Enjoy the long weekend! 🙂

*Furbo: The Treat Dispensing Dog Cam

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(*This post is sponsored by Furbo)

The absolute worst thing about having Bungle (besides when he wipes his butt on my lovely, white bed sheets…), is having to leave him!  He really is part of the family – he pretty much demands to be, it’s what Golden Retrievers are all about – and honestly I wouldn’t have him any other way and I’d take him everywhere with me if I could.  Sunny and I are really lucky that he’s never alone for too long, but then – y’know – sometimes, it happens.  As much as I’d like to wheel him around in the trolley while I do my weekly food shop (…he’d love that!), it just isn’t going to happen, but do you know what? He might as well be there with me because I never stop thinking about him and worrying that he’s okay at home on his own and isn’t wrecking the place while I’m out.

Enter the pet cam!  I used to think they were a bit of a gimmick until my parents got us a Vimtag camera for Christmas.  The idea is that you set it up in a room where you tend to leave your pet while you’re out, then basically link up to your phone via an app, and – via video link – it allows you check in on your pet while you’re out.  We were pretty much instant converts; we never have to worry about rushing back home, we just pop onto the app, make sure that Bungle’s behaving himself (…he’s usually just fast asleep!), and that gives us the option to stay out a little longer! So when Furbo got in touch and asked if Bungle would like to try out their pet cam, I wondered how it could possibly improve on the camera that we already had – what else could it possibly offer?

Well, in a word… TREATS!

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How it works…

One of the many things that sets Furbo aside from other dog cameras on the market is the fact that it allows you to toss treats!  Once you’ve set up the camera (which is super easy – just plug it into the wall, download the free, accompanying app and connect to it once via Bluetooth) you can check in on your pet at any time – day or night – and from anywhere in the world (provided you’re on wifi!).  You can talk to them through the video link (“Get off the sofa!”), hear them respond (“No, it’s comfy!”), record them, photograph them and even flick/swipe the screen to send a treat!  The Furbo will spit a couple of small treats out through the hole in its base, rewarding doggo for being “a very good boy” while you’re out and about doing your thing! 🙂

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The Good

Bark Alerts

As well as the ability to send treats, one of the best things about Furbo – and something that really sets it aside from other cameras – is the fact that the app will send an alert to your phone if it hears your dog barking.  Bungle only tends to bark when he’s frustrated or if someone comes to the door, so having a camera that listens out for that is awesome; if we get an alert, we know we need to check in pronto tonto.

Design

Another thing I really like about the Furbo as opposed to other cameras is its design – it actually looks good!  While our Vimtag camera looks a little bit like a 90s webcam, the Furbo is easy on the eyes by comparison.  It’s a little bit bigger, sure, (obviously it needs to be to hold a decent bank of treats), but sleeker, and with the trendy and kinda Scandi bambo lid it blends really well with the other furniture in our lounge.  The light on the front changes during different modes of operation – yellow when it’s on standby, blue when you’re using the app, and purple when it’s struggling to find a WIFI signal.

Treat Tossing

I mean, obviously, the main draw is the treat tossing function.  It’s great fun!  But what makes it even better is the fact that you can record your own message to accompany the treat toss – a “snack call” – so doggo knows he’s about to get a treat!

Super Wide Lens

One of the only things our Vimtag camera can do that Furbo can’t is the ability to move the camera via the app and follow Bungle’s movements around the room.  Furbo‘s lens is fixed, but, the good news is that it’s a wide-angle lens that has no trouble keeping an eye on the whole room. 🙂

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The Not so Good

The Noise

One of the only gripes I have about Furbo – and there aren’t many at all – is the noise the mechanism makes as it spits out a treat.  It’s a little bit noisy.  I mean, nothing to us humans, but by the way Bungle first reacted to it you’d think the sky was about to cave in!  He’s a slightly skittish dog anyway – he’s never liked sudden noises – and so it took him quite a while to get used to the sounds Furbo makes, even the snack call.  The good thing is that there are plenty of training videos and tips within the app that will help you properly introduce your pup to Furbo that’ll have them loving it in no time!

Depends on the Dog!

Here’s the stickler.  All dogs are completely different.  Some love watching the TV and others barely notice that it’s even there!  Bungle falls into the second category – he always has!  He’s never been bothered about the TV and has never reacted to Facetime or phone calls.  He’s a Golden Retriever with a very finely tuned nose; it’s part of the breed.  So while he’ll always appear behind me when I’m grating cheese on the other side of the house, he won’t react to me if I’m on a screen because he can’t smell me there.  The same applies to talking to him over the camera; he can hear me speaking to him through the Furbo, but won’t really recognise the sound as me because he can’t smell me.  So some of those features – as fantastic as they are – are a bit lost on him.  It’s just a lot of strange noise, and when we first set the camera up it tended to stress him out rather than comfort him.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that not all dogs are going to react to Furbo in the same way.  It depends on how they’re wired!  So if you’ve got a very skittish dog, then it might be worth looking at a more basic camera without all the bells and whistles.  You can always use the training videos of course, but it’s always going to be a bit of a gamble.

Aside from that, as pet cams go Furbo really is top of the pops.  Other than the treat tossing feature, the bark alerts alone are such a simple but really useful feature and it’s the best looking camera on the market by a long way. 🙂

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Big thanks to Karkalis Communications for sending over the Furbo!  Have a great week everyone! 🙂

(This is a sponsored post, you can read more about what that means right here.)

Banana and Custard Filled Pancakes

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Last week I had one of those nights where you ping-pong back and forth between the sofa and the kitchen cupboard.  You know, when you’re craving a lil’ something-something to scoff but have absolutely no idea what it is you fancy.  Sunny and I were in the middle of a Ray Donovan marathon, and as well as rattling through a whole season in the space of a week, we’d also rattled through all the chocolate and sweet stuff in the kitchen cupboard too.  And then I found the solution.  We had a long-life carton of custard and a couple of bananas in the fruit bowl.  Winner.  “D’you fancy bananas and custard?” I called out from the kitchen.  “What!  YESSSSSSSS,” he roared back.

And so we scoffed a bowl each of bananas and custard whilst Ray Donovan buried another body.  It was heaven, I tell you.  HEAVEN.

It’s one of those stupidly simple yet completely satisfying desserts, innit?  Easy.  Awesome.  And then I had the crazy idea of adding pancakes into the mix.  Pancakes filled with custard, and topped with bananas.  If you’ve never filled pancakes before it’s really easy, and once you’ve nailed it, there’s any number of ways you could go.  Just make sure you go for fluffy, American style pancakes because it won’t work with crepes. 🙂

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Bananas and Custard Filled Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 50ml milk
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml fresh custard
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • sliced fresh bananas
  • a little butter for greasing the frying pan
  1. To make the filling, mix the vanilla essence into the custard.  Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place on a tray or plate.  Spoon small rounds of the custard onto the sheet, then pop the whole thing into the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk together your pancake batter, then leave it to sit for five minutes.  Next, heat up your frying pan on a medium high heat, then grease with a little butter.
  3. Bring the slightly frozen custard out of the freezer and keep it nearby.  Carefully ladle some batter onto your frying pan, then place one of the custard rounds in the middle as it begins to cook.  Cover it with a little bit of fresh batter, then flip the pancake over.  Each side of the pancake will cook, leaving the custard nice and gooey in the middle. 🙂
  4. Serve up with fresh bananas, walnuts and maple syrup.  Yum!

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I had to work so quickly taking these pictures; Bungle loves bananas and wouldn’t leave me alone.  Just check out that drool!  Happy Pancake Day (for tomorrow) everyone! 🙂

5 Things I’ve Been Loving Lately

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Monday, we meet again!  But hey, at least it’s not January anymore; now that the longest month of  the year is done and dusted, it feels like we’re that much closer to spring.  It’s the little things that tend to keep me going this time of year.  You know, something decent to binge watch away those dark nights, fresh recipes to try, colourful spring fashion, and a good ol’ routine that’ll help me keep on top of things – as well as slicing in a little time to do the things I really love. So without further ado, here are five things I’ve been loving lately… 🙂

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1. Snow

I honestly didn’t think we were going to see a sequel to last year’s Beast from the East, but last Thursday evening it started snowing in Cardiff and didn’t stop until 4am the following morning.  It was nowhere near as bad as last year and it was pretty much gone by the afternoon – but there was enough of the stuff to get Bungle excited.  He went absolutely mental when Sunny and I took him out for his walk in the field; it always makes me smile watching him roll around in it! 🙂

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2. Pyjama Shirts

As if I need anymore weird shirts.  Except I really, really do!  Even as I tip-toe further into my thirties, I’m still kind of figuring out my own personal style – but what I have figured out is that I’m a jeans and a nice top kinda girl through and through, and the nice tops I like to wear are shirts.  The weirder the better.  Recently I’ve added a few pyjama shirts to my collection for a bit of variety.  They’re so comfortable and I feel like you can easily dress them up or down.  Sunny bought me a beautiful celestial-printed Neon Rose one for Christmas, and I managed to pick up this green one from Toppers in the January sales.

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3. Outlander

Oh man, I feel like I’ve been totally spoiled for TV over the past few weeks.  My absolute favourite show right now is Outlander (bodice rippers, I just can’t get enough…).  I’m deep into Season 4 which is currently being drip-fed an episode a week via Amazon Prime, and I’ve really reached that point when you watch a series where you’re totally invested and adore every single character.  I LOVE IT.  Also on my weekly watch list right now is  the BBC adaptation of Les Miserables, as well as Cleaning Up on ITV.  I think Sheridan Smith is fab! 🙂

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4. Lunch

If you caught my New Year, New Habits post at the start of the year then you’ll know that I’ve been trying to add a few more easy, healthy recipes to my repertoire – especially for lunch.  I’m absolutely useless when it comes to carving out time to eat a proper meal at lunchtime – I’m definitely a grab and go kind of girl – but it’s something I’m trying to change.  I had a little rejig of my weekly routine at the start of the year and decided to make some extra time to make lunch for myself every day – whether that’s just egg on toast, or something a little fancier like this super easy Mango Chicken.  So far, so good!

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5. Yoga

Another new habit I wanted to set in stone this year was to start either yoga or pilates.  I was slow off the mark on this one, but last week – after seeing a few people talking about it on Social Media – I started Adriene’s 30 Day Dedicate Yoga Journey.  I’m not doing it every single day – bam, bam, bam – just whenever I can squeeze in forty minutes in the morning – I’m a total beginner after all.  Sure, I’d like to tone up a little, but that’s not the main reason I’m doing it – I already feel like having forty minutes of focus and relaxation on a daily basis will be really good for my mental health and general mood.  🙂

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What’s giving you a little boost to get you through to Spring? 🙂

Mozzarella Pupcakes

Peanut Butter and Mozzarella Pupcakes

My bestie turned two yesterday – can you believe it!?  He still acts like a clumsy, playful pup most of the time, only now he’s got 32 kilos of fluff to throw around which – obviously – he completely forgets when he’s charging around the house (…and I’ve got a massive hole in the plasterboard on my staircase to prove it…). Before having a dog, I’d have been one of those people who’d have thought it totally weird to bake a dog birthday cakes. It is a bit weird; I mean it’s just another day to him, right? And he doesn’t know what cakes are! But honestly? He’s such a legend; he makes Sunny and I laugh every single day, cheers us up when we’re feeling low – and just generally makes life a little bit – a lot – better (even when he wipes his butt on the sofa cushions or inhales a whole pile of expensive cheese straight off the kitchen counter…). So why wouldn’t we celebrate and spoil him a bit? He deserves it! 🙂

Bungle only gets these special cheesy Pupcakes on his birthday.  He’s got a couple of food allergies so we’ve got to be careful what we give him – but these I know are safe!  And he loves them!  They’re full of dog friendly ingredients and treats, with a piped cream cheese and peanut butter frosting.  Watch out if your dog can’t handle dairy, though, as these are full of the stuff!

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Pupcakes
“Oh wow! For me?! Thanks, you guys!”

Mozzarella (Mutzzarella?) Pupcakes (makes 6)

Ingredients

  • 200g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 50g grated Mozzarella
  • 6 tbsp Natural Yoghurt

For the icing:

  • 200g Cream Cheese
  • 50g Peanut Butter
  1. Set your oven to 170 and lined a muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, natural yoghurt and grated cheese, and then fold in the flour.
  3. Separate the mixture into the muffin cases and then bake for 20 minutes.  Leave to cool.
  4. To make the icing, smear the peanut butter down one side of your piping bag, then fill with cream cheese.  Decorate, then allow doggo to devour.  🙂

Peanut Butter and Mozzarella Pupcakes

Have a great week!