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Banana Pancakes

Late last year Jim and I started a new diet. We cut out most sugars, carbs, dairy, alcohol and caffeine. It's kind of like the Paleo diet I think. Have you ever cut out sugar and carbs at the same time? Don't. I can tell you, it's hell. But it really worked. After a few weeks I could really see a huge difference and although we've strayed from the diet for our Christmas and birthday periods, we are trying to get back on it now. 

This diet does however mean we have had to find some creative ways to get our sweet tooth fix. Weekend mornings usually meant something along the lines of pastries (mmmmm, almond croissants) or a frittata. so I set about finding a sweet fix for the mornings to make us not feel so cheated and one of the things I discovered whilst searching Pinterest were banana pancakes. And whilst most of the recipes I stumbled upon contained stuff we shouldn't have, I figured we should have them and went about adjusting some recipes to make them work for us and this diet. They are really easy to make and are yummy too. The perfect weekend breakfast treat.
I know I know, I could have styled them better but I wanted to EAT!
What you'll need;
  • 2 Bananas (old, brown and manky ones work best as always. We freeze our past their best banana's for occasions like this and for banana bread making)
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 tablespoons almond meal/
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar.
What to do;
  1. Mix the banana's, eggs and agave in a bowl until they are full combined.
  2. Stir in the almond meal.
  3. Heat a flat frying pan (we have a rotti pan that Jim brought back from India that is dead flat that I use for all pancakes)
  4. Pour a small amount of oil onto the pan and with some kitchen paper make sure the entire pan is covered with a thin layer.
  5. I use a ladle sized amount of the batter for each pancake. We have a roti pan that Jim brough back from India which fits 3 of them on it. 
  6. Cook for a few minutes either side until they are starting to colour. You have to keep an eye on them as they can burn quite easily (as I have found out a couple of times)
  7. Serve with a swirl of agave syrup and some fruit, or just alone and enjoy. 
These little pancakes puff up and are more like american style pancakes than our flat ones but I am sure you could do larger ones. I've also added the blueberries into the mixture at cooking which is lovely too. They are really filling and feel a little indulgent even if you're not dieting.  

Dream Home - Craft room

We're embarking down the route of buying a new house. Well, for me my first house. We've found a house, fallen in love and right now we're keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan but in the mean time I am dreaming about what I'll do to whatever home we eventually buy. You can see all my other dream home posts here.

From the moment we started looking for a house we've always discuss whether the kitchen was big enough and if any of the extra bedrooms were suitable as craft rooms. I think some of the estate agents thought we were a little crazy but we both need somewhere for me to store my crafting crap or it'll continue to drive us mad!

1. This lamp might be the perfect shade of blue.  2. And this chair would make sitting in the craft room all the better don't you think? 3. The Expedit series is a must for every craft room, right? 4. And maybe I shouldn't look to Ikea for a desk too, but the pink edges just make me swoon. 5. A Cricut has long been on my wishlist. I can't image any craftroom would be complete without one and having seen one in action for Forge, I just know it would revolutionise my crafting world!

Where ever we end up, I'm guessing we might not have the budget to fully decorate the craft room (I think Jim might feel other rooms are more important. Phah. What does he know?) but that won't stop me working with what we'll have. Plus, if the walls are going to be covered in shelves and supplies, then they don't need to be perfectly decorated do they. But for now I'll just turn to Pinterest for a little dreaming about the my future craft room and all the beautiful storage it'll have. 
All pictures from my 'Office Envy' Pinterest board. (Some of them go no-where - annoying I know)

A Giveaway - Enrapture Totem Hair Styler

I found myself watching far too much Gossip Girl for my own good last time Jim went to India (this may still be going on. It might be a slightly unhealthy addiction.) Which lead to me wanting both the casually curled hair like Serena's and the perfect curls of Blair. Now my hair will do neither, left to its own devices is a thick, frizzy mess - crazy and huge and unruly. It requires a lot of GHDing to tame but that only makes it straight, and try as I might, I cannot master curling it with them.

So, I bought a conical styling wand from ebay for £5, and it was great but I just couldn't make it work on my hair. The curls dropped out in minutes, even with hairspray, and I burnt my hands ALL THE TIME.
And then I heard, through twitter, about the Totem Styler, and after a bit of Googling, I managed to find one at a massively bargainous price and after one night of curling and twirling, I fell in love. I am not sure how it differs to the conical wand (which incidentally seems to work on my friends finer hair) but the clippy bit at the bottom means that I rarely have to hold the hair in place – no burning, and being able to set the temperature differently seems to give me better results. I have found the best thing to do to have long lasting, loose curling is to do a hotter setting (3-2-3) a few hours before I want to go out and then by the time I go out they’ve dropped a bit and look exactly how I want them and stay in for longer than I’d expected them to. If I’m in a rush, setting it to a 1-2-1 gives me the same look but lasts way less time. Either way. It’s a 10 minutes job and I am done! I do have some time to go to get them perfect though.
Sorry for the cheesy, rubbish pic - i hate taking photo's of me!
Now because I fell in love with the Totem, I dashed back to my nearest Home Bargains and snapped up their last pair to give away to one of you lucky readers. Just because I am nice like that. And because today is my birthday I thought it would be the perfect day to do it.
All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment with your best hair styling tips (like, I only just found out which way hair grips were actually meant to be used. Did you know that it is with the wavy side towards your head, not outwards? I didn't. Please tell me you didn't either because I just can't believe I had got such a simple thing wrong for 32 years of my life) And if you have any clues on making curls stay in longer, please do tell me. You can also get extra entries through following me on various platforms too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*this competition has nothing at all to do with Enrapture. It’s just me being nice. 

Dream Home - Nautical Bathroom

We're embarking down the route of buying a new house. Well, for me my first house. We've found a house, fallen in love and right now we're keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan, but in the mean time I am dreaming about what I'll do to whatever home we eventually buy. You can see all my other housey posts here.

I am planning a nautical bathroom for our dream home and I've enlisted the help of the perfect partner in crime in my dad too - here is a man who is a member of a royal yacht club (amongst others), has anchor buttons on his blazer, saves our old sails for me to craft with and knows every knot possible. He's the man who taught me to sail so I know he'll help me naut-ify the room a treat. 

1. Sailcloth chair 2 Boat 3. Mini Modern Whitby Wallpaper 4. Shipping Forecast print 5. Boat shelves

The problem I'll have is knowing to stop before it looks like a chandlery rather than a bathroom. I have a boat shelving until procured my mum from an auction but would the cleat loo roll holder be too much? Or a blind made of an old sail? How about creating a fake porthole?
And In a dream world I'd have a bathtub that is also a boat. I've shown the pictures to my dad, I've done my best 'daaaaaaaaaddy' and I think he might be figuring out how to make me one. I don't even take baths (I'm a shower fan) but this would make me so happy. 
All pictures from my 'Bathroom Party' Pinterest board. (Some of them go no-where - annoying I know)
What do you think, can you go overboard on a nautically themed bathroom? (sorry, did I take that too far?)

Things Flash has eaten that he really shouldn't have.....

We love Flash, we really do. He's cute and funny and so so snuggly, but he is maybe one of the naughtiest dogs I have ever met. Sometimes you say 'NO' and he just looks at you as if to say 'screw you, this looks fun' and runs off in the other direction, mostly with something he shouldn't in his mouth. 

Recently, he's taken it upon himself to open (and eat) anything that comes through the postbox. We rarely open post that doesn't have puncture wounds and some of it we don't get to open at all because it's shredded across the dining room floor. The problem is, because we're rarely in when the post comes, he gets to it before us. I think we'll have to invest in a baby gate to keep him out of the kitchen!  

He's a list of some of the things he's devoured in the last few months;

  • 2 graze boxes - luckily the only package he didn't eat were the raisins. They have now been cancelled!
  • A congratulations card & all our Christmas cards
  • a Bon Jovi 7" record,
  • a few credit card statements,
  • A mouse mat - a plastic mousemat
  • Harry Potter tour tickets (luckily still usable) 
In addition to post related things, here are some of the other bits he's found around the house and decided would be super tasty; 
  • The stuffing of every single dog toy he's ever been given - level 10 toughness is nothing to him. 
  • A chocolate Christmas tree decoration
  • The back of a pair of Jim's smelly old disgusting trainers (I am hoping it was his way of saying get these bloody things out of the house!)
  • A beautiful pair of M&S pants
But randomly, he never touches the sofa or the dining room furniture or anything actually valuable.

Please tell me someone else has a pet that does naughty things like this. Please!

Birthday Lust List

Usually, having a birthday the month after Christmas can be a bit hard because when people ask what you want it stumps you as you've just got a load of awesome things. And whilst I did get some very cool stuff for Christmas, seeing what lovely stuff everyone else on Twitter got has given me soooo many ideas of bits I'd really like too, so here is a little birthday lust list (you've got 12ish days to get it in the post to me too btw)
1. My one little word is 'Move' and my aim for the year is to get off my ass and move more. Being accountable to a little machine like the Fit Bit might make me even more determined to do it. 2. I've been lusting after these Orla DAB radios for the longest time. Everyone needs a little bit of music in their lives don't they and one that looks this good is a must have. 3. This little Anthro candle is beautiful. Just look at the colour. 4. I think I might be a little in love with almost everything from the Tarr and Fether Comrade collection. But this ring is so cute, and made in Sheffield too! 5. I've never owned a 'proper' handbag. It's never been something within my price range, but one day I'll have one to treasure. Maybe one like this lovely little Kate Spade number.

What are you lusting after this January? Or did you get everything your heart desired for Christmas? 

Chocolate and Amaretto cake

My go-to cake recipe book at the moment is the Clandestine Cake Club one. If you don't have it, you should. Go buy it now. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but the recipes all work - don't you hate it when you buy a book and nothing you make from it works?

So when I was looking for a cake for Jim's birthday this weekend, it was the place I looked. I gave him a couple of choices and the one he decided on was an amazing sounding Chocolate and Amaretto Cake. Jim loves all things almond so with almond meal, amaretto and amaretti biscuits in it I don't know why I even thought there would be a decision to be made. 
Chocolate and Amaretto Cake:

4 large eggs
50 g Caster Sugar
200g Self raising flour
100g Ground Almonds
1 Sachet of pane degli angeli ( An Italian vanilla flavored raising agent) or 1tsp baking powder with 2tsp Vanilla extract - i used the baking powder as even waitrose didn't have the raising agent.
200g Butter, Melted
200g Good quality dark chocolate, chopped
200g Amaretti Biscuits  crushed
2 tbsp Amaretto liqueur (going to be honest - I used much more!)

Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C and grease and line a 23cm round cake tin.

In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar together using a wooden spoon. Add the flour, almonds, baking powder and vanilla and melted butter and mix well. Stir in the chunks of chocolate, amaretti biscuits and Amaretto liqueur, mixing well. You should mix this cake by hand to retain the chunky texture.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 - 50 minutes until the top is firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, the transfer to a wire rack to cool.
The one addition I made was to add a chocolate ganache to the cake - as if it didn't seem decadent enough right? 
I made a simple ganache by heating up 225ml of double cream and stirring in 225g of chocolate with a couple of glugs of amaretto to make sure nothing was left out in the almondy stakes. 
Once it had cooled I spread the ganache on the cake in a slightly haphazard fashion and sprinkled on some more crushed up amaretti biscuits around the edge and popped a couple of full ones in the middle for a little fanciness. Luckily for me I couldn't find full sized amaretti biscuits, but Waitrose had little ratafia ones which worked out much better I think. Plus as I had to buy two 150g bags to get the 200gs required for the recipe, we have had loads left over for snacking!
And the verdict - Amazing, even if I do say so myself. Jim's BIL isn't really a cake fan and he said it was his favourite cake ever and even asked for the recipe to be emailed over! I take that as a big win! The cake is deliciously almond-y, and the layer of ganache probably isn't needed but boy, is it nice. If you have a special cake to make - I suggest you try this one.

January's goals and dreams

For the last few years I've created myself a 'xx to do before I am xx' list rather than trying to stick to a resolution. They'be been fun, but I'll be totally honest I've become very good at making a big list at the start of a year and then remembering it sporadically and feeling like a failure by the time my next birthday came round or re-reading the list mid year and thinking that it felt out dated.  Plus the old I am getting the longer the list is getting and it's bloody hard to think of that many things! (I should have stopped the birthdays at 27!)

So this year I am taking a more fluid approach to goal setting for the year. There will be monthly lists of achievements for me to keep in mind - things I can hopefully achieve rather than just think about achieving. This way they can change as I do (and I love lists so it gives me a chance to write even more of them!)