Monday, 27 October 2014

My Tour of America Revisited and My Journey 'Home'

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Back in the UK now after 12 months working and travelling in Australia. 

I had a fantastic time and learned a lot about myself but I'm glad to be back in the UK (for now) settled and working on a multitude of new projects including music and writing.

 Sydney in WinterSydney in Winter

Once I'd made the decision to head back to the UK I knew there was only one way I could go - through the USA. After my tour of the west coast in 2013 I was hooked.

This time my partner and I decided we weren't going to do things by halves: we would fly into San Francisco, drive across the states and fly out of New York. A little ambitious but it was so worth it! Simply put, this was the most amazing experience of my life so far!

I've decided to revisit the My Tour of America posts and write about my extended trip across the 27 States I managed to pop into on my way back 'home'.

To get a general idea of the grandeur of the trip, here's a rough map of the route my partner and I took:

Monday, 23 June 2014

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

I'm rapidly approaching my 30th birthday and, as a celebration, am hosting a small tea party. It's a 'bring your own' where everybody contributes to the food or drink (mainly to keeps costs down).

Among my contribution will be these delicious Jaffa Cake style cupcakes. For me they are the perfect desert, the cake is light and fluffy, the chocolate is crisp and the orange center is sweet and tangy. Yum!


Margarine or softened butter (I prefer Stork or Flora)
Self raising flour (sifted)
Caster sugar
2 Eggs
Zest of 1 orange (plus 1 tablespoon of the juice if you like)
Thick shred marmalade
Your preferred choice of chocolate

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C fan/180°C/gas mark 6


The first part of this recipe is a basic fairy cake/cupcake recipe. Simple yet delicious, so light and fluffy. My grandma taught me this recipe and I've used it for the past 20 years.

Beat the sugar and margarine (or butter) in a bowl until creamy, you can use an electric whisk (which is much easier) but i prefer to beat by hand. Whisk the eggs into the mixture.

Little by little gently fold in the flour using a metal spoon, its important to fold the flour as it keeps the mixture light and airy.

Add the orange zest and a tablespoon of the juice if you like, don't add too much or the mixture will be too wet.

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases (I like mine bigger so I use muffin cases).

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the cakes have risen and are golden brown.
Place on a wire rack to cool.

Now for the fun part...

Once cool cut a small circle out of the top, add a teaspoon of thick shred marmalade (you can use thin shred or shredless if preferred) then replace the top.

Melt the chocolate either in the microwave (in short bursts being very careful not to burn it) or using a Bain-Marie.
Spoon the chocolate onto the top of the cakes until they are completely covered. Then place them in the fridge to cool and harden.

Jaffa Cake CupcakesJaffa Cake Cupcakes

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

As an alternative you can cut the top and add the marmalade while the cakes are still warm and serve with warm melted chocolate, I did this and they were delicious!

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

If you like this recipe, why not visit my 'Sweet Treats' page for more yummy treats!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

One Vivid Night in Sydney

It's been a while since I've talked about my time in Australia and I think I'm almost ready to discuss my next adventure.

But before I do...

Sydney has so much to offer, there's always something happening. Writers festivals, food and drink festivals, fashion shows, fireworks displays just for the fun of it. You really get caught up in the magic of this vibrant city.

The current offering is a spectacular display of light, music and ideas all put together to form Vivid Sydney, a plethora of light shows and installations throughout the city.

Highlights of Vivid Sydney 2014 are Martin Place, Customs House, Darling Harbour's fabulous light show (every hour on the hour) and of course the world famous Sydney Opera House which displays a stunning timeline of the development of architecture, civilisation and technology.

My partner and I spent a whole evening wandering around this amazing event; taking photos, shooting footage. We've then edited the whole thing into a nice little video with one of our Chasing Ourselves songs over the top.

Here's the link to our experience of Vivid Sydney 2014...

And here are just a few of the shots I took using my Nikon D5100 with an 18-200mm lens.

Opera House Vivid Sydney 2014

Opera House Vivid Sydney 2014

Opera House Vivid Sydney 2014

For more information on this years Vivid Sydney visit their website here or follow them on twitter @VividSydney for highlights and traffic updates.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Traditional Golden Syrup Flapjack

traditional golden syrup flapjack

I always knew when mum had been making flapjack while I was at school, I'd come home to find the whole house smelling of syrup and butter... yummy.

The recipe for flapjack is so simple I truly believe anyone can make it. Just follow the easy steps below and you can't go wrong...


350g rolled oats
175g unsalted butter
175g brown sugar
175g golden syrup
A handful of raisins (not traditionally included in flapjack but I love them)


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

Melt the butter in a pan on a low to medium heat, be really careful not to burn the butter.
As soon as it's melted, remove from the heat, add the sugar and syrup and mix well.

Add the oats and raisins to the butter/syrup mixture and mix until completely covered.

Spoon the mixture into a baking tray and flatten with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula.

Now pop it in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 mins.

Remove the tin from the oven, don't worry if the flapjack looks too soft and sticky, it will harden once cooled

Score the flapjack into squares - this will make it easier to cut once cool.

Once cool cut into the marked squares and store in an air-tight container, or eat. I know which I'd rather do!

traditional golden syrup flapjack

If you like this recipe, why not check out the 'Sweet Treats' tab at the top of the page for more yummy treats!

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