Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mars Bar Cornflake Cakes

For Easter this year my mum is arranging a 'buffet' style lunch for our family. My contribution will be Mars Bar cornflake cakes.
I love baking and wanted to trial the recipe first - partly to make sure the recipe worked but mainly because I love cornflake cakes and just couldn't wait until Easter weekend.

They were delicious and I cant wait to make them again.

Here's the Recipe...

(makes 8 large or 12 small cakes)


3 standard size Mars Bars
100g Milk Chocolate (preferably Cadbury's Dairy Milk)
50g Unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
150g cornflakes
75g sultanas, raisins or mixed nuts (optional)

Corn Flake Cake Ingredients


Melt the Mars Bars slowly over a bain-marie on a low/medium heat - be careful not to boil the water or the chocolate in the bottom of the bowl will burn, mix constantly.

Bain Marie

When the Mars Bars have started to melt add the Dairy Milk and butter gradually, again mix constantly to keep the mixture from burning. 

Once the mixture has fully melted add the Golden Syrup (the consistency will still be quite thick because of the nougat).

Corn Flake Cake Mixture

Next add the cereal, I'm using cornflakes but you can use Rice Crispies if you prefer (also my bain-marie bowl wasn't big enough to mix in the cereal so i had to transfer the mixture to a larger bowl).

Then finally add the sultanas, raisins or nuts (or all three if you want to go really wild).

Now the cornflakes are covered in the chocolate mixture spoon into cupcake cases, as I said at the top this mixture should make 8 large or 12 small cakes.

Put the cakes on a tray and place on a shelf in the fridge, ensuring the tray is level.

Now we play the waiting game...

The length of time you leave the cakes to set depends on how sticky you want them, I like them quite sticky so only left them for around an hour, then covered them and left them out at room temperature until we were ready to eat them (more or less straight away). 

End result...
Mars Bar Corn Flake Cakes

If you like you could melt a little more of the dairy milk and add a dollop on top of each cake with a few mini-eggs for that added 'Easter' feel.

All that's left to do now is tuck in. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe, why not check out my new recipe for Jaffa Cake Cupcakes!

Recipe ideas taken from:

Nigella Lawsons Mars Bar Cake


 "Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery" by Martha Swift.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Brooch fever continues!

Any excuse for an opportunity to showcase some more of the stunning brooches I've been gifted by my wonderful mother and grandmother...

Butterfly Brooch


Dragonfly Brooch


Ornate Brooch


I think they're the perfect accessory! I love earrings but having quite long hair you don't always see them. 
Unfortunately, after lots of research, I don't know much about these particular brooches.
The Butterfly and Dragonfly were my mums which she bought in the 80's.
The ornate one was my grandma's. I've no idea what decade its from, it's sterling silver and has a Hallmark but even with a magnifying glass I couldn't make it out. My mum took it to be valued about 15 years ago and was told it wasn't worth much, I still love it though!

Sunday, 17 March 2013


So yesterday evening (Saturday 16th March 2013) at approximately 8.14pm BBC Radio Manchester's Introducing show played a song called Out of my Dreams by new duo Chasing Ourselves...

Chasing Ourselves is my collaboration with instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Ian Gordon.

Chasing Ourselves

There's never been a more surreal moment, listening to myself on the radio. 

I've always been into music and have sung for as long as I can remember. My dad and grandfather were musicians and I've taken a great deal of influence from them.
Music was my favourite subject at School and I continued to study it through College and University, earning myself a music degree, but hadn't done anything with it since then (I left Uni in 2007).

Then in September 2012 I met the other member of the duo, Ian, and the collaboration progressed very quickly.

We have very different music backgrounds (mine is more classical, contemporary and pop whereas Ian is a self taught progressive rock lover) and though our tastes in music differ we both say we'll listen to anything once and both like a wide variety of genres.

It's this eclectic taste that's created such a unique sound.

My background as a performer and songwriter is limited, I was never very good at writing songs or lyrics and the only performances I'd ever done were School, College and University examinations (so you can imagine the audience I had was made up mainly of teachers, a handful of fellow students and my mum). And because of this the beginning of the collaboration was difficult for me.

The first time I recorded vocals I was a nervous wreck, couldn't get through a line without cracking, then struggled having to listen to myself while the track was edited (like many other people I absolutely hated the sound of my own voice). But I managed to overcome that with support from Ian who's a pro and been writing/performing since the age of about 12.
Now it's the best feeling - laying down the vocals and then editing and mixing them into a brand new track, excited for what the final edit will sound like.

We're completely independently produced and have worked on a mini album of 7 songs, in a mixture of styles, all having a Synthpop element.

In February we began uploading our tracks to BBC Introducing and were a first play for BBC Radio Manchester yesterday.

I'm now full of excitement as to where we could go in this roller coaster of an industry.

I'd love it if you'd check out our songs on YouTube or you can listen to the full album on BandCamp

Here's 'Fly' for you...

As always I'd love to hear your thoughts so please leave me a comment!

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

What I'm Listening To Today

Today I've been listening to Roberta Flack's version of 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'.

Roberta is probably better known for her rendition of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' but I discovered this song on 'The Best of Roberta Flack' album.

What a stunning version of this absolute classic.

'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow', also known as 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow', written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and first recorded in 1960 by The Shirelles, was originally quite an upbeat pop song and is currently ranked as the 110th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1960, by Acclaimed Music. But for me Roberta Flack's version, her own arrangement, takes the song to a whole new level.

Her effortless jazz vocals are so expressive and show true conviction. You really believe she means every word.

The subtle introduction of the strings just reinforces the sheer beauty of the song.

If you listen to the lyrics and the way Roberta portrays them so convincingly its clear to see why this version of the song could have such a powerful effect on our human emotions.

I tend to exaggerate when it comes to how much I like music and almost every song or piece of music I hear is 'the best thing I've ever heard!' but I'm certainly not exaggerating when I say this version of this song is one of my favourite songs of all time.

If you haven't heard it already, check it out below, but before you do I'd like to suggest you turn off all the lights and listen through headphones to give the song your full undivided attention.

I'd love to hear what you think so if you have time, leave me a comment!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Holiday countdown #1

Why is it so difficult to shop for holiday clothes?

I'm going away in May for just over 2 weeks and I'm already having a heart attack over what clothes I'm going to pack (8 weeks is not enough time to plan my wardrobe).

It's not essential that I take a different outfit for every day just enough to mix and match and, of course, shoes and accessories.

But where do I even start?

I don't find it hard to put outfits together on a day to day basis but for some reason it's much more difficult when I'm going away. I tend to worry I might forget to take something I'll need or want while I'm there (I never feel like that when I'm actually away though, it's just when I'm trying to pack).

I thought I'd have a quick browse on a few online shopping sites to get some ideas as to what I might buy to take with me (I'll be taking a couple of things I have already but will obviously be taking pretty much all new!)... 2 hours later I'm still looking and have around 20 tabs open, half of those with the same sandal in different colours.

Now, I want to buy all the things I've seen and will want to take 2 suitcases of clothes just to 'make sure I have enough', even though I'll do what I do every year and take way too much and not wear half of it!

So, I'm going to make a list and stick to it...

  • Dresses x 2/3 (probably 3)
  • Skirts x 2 (1 short, 1 long)
  • Shorts x 1
  • Jeans x 1 (it'll be warm so I won't want too many pairs)
  • Trousers x 1 (probably cropped skinny capri's or linens)
  • Basic vests x 3/4 (can take more of these, they don't take up much room)
  • Tops/blouses x 2/3
  • Cardi's x2/3
  • Sandals x 1
  • Pumps x 1
  • Walking boots (extremely necessary for the national park visits) 

I've made the executive decision this year not to take heels, I always take 1/2 pairs and have never worn them, I just think cute sandals are much better for that transition from day wear to evening wear.

Well that's my list so far, no doubt I'll add to it as I go through the next 8 weeks but hopefully wont deviate too much and I'll post some of the things I buy as I continue my countdown...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My new brooch...

I was recently browsing in my local Accessorise - which just happens to be a discount store (70% off everything!) - and I spotted this beauty...

I've never been a big brooch wearer, I know their popularity has come and gone several times and they were particularly popular in the 80's (I've seen loads of pictures of my mum wearing them when I was little) but I've never gotten into that particular fashion accessory.
However, on this occasion, I couldn't resist. I knew I had to buy it immediately (then figure out what to wear it with later).

Being that it was in the discount Accessorise it cost me a meagre £1.80! What a bargain. And it turns out - because of the style and colour - it goes with almost every  item of clothing I own!

This however was just the beginning...

I loved the way it looked so much I dug out the huge collection of costume jewellery my mum had very generously gifted to me a few years ago. I'm such a huge fan of costume jewellery and my mum's collection contains pieces from the 60's, 70's and 80's. I just knew there would be some brooches in there and I wasn't wrong.

This was the first brooch I noticed, I love the rope-like detail of the frame...


This one is a 'Sarah Coventry Jewelry' design. I had no idea who Sarah Coventry Jewelry were until I noticed the copy write stamp 'SARAHCOV' and looked them up. I discovered they were established in 1949 and are recognized as the oldest direct selling jewellery company in the world. Up until the 1980's their jewellery was mainly sold at home fashion parties.

Sarah Coventry Brooch

My grandma had also gifted me all her jewellery when she died, which also contained a large amount of costume jewellery (the love for costume jewellery must run in the family).
She died when I was 17 and I'd never noticed the amazing vintage brooches she had.

This gorgeous brooch, I believe, may have been made in the 1920's/1930's going off research I've done. The clasp has a rounded hinge and a C-clasp catch. Pre 1920's most brooches had a T-bar instead of a rounded hinge and post 1930's/40's brooches became increasingly heavier and the roll clasp was invented (this roll clasp is still used on brooches today).

Ornate Brooch

This is one of my favourites. It has a beautiful leaf-like design and a lovely faux pearl in the middle, made even more appealing to me as pearl is my birthstone.

Pearl Brooch

And thus begins my love of brooches.