Tandoor Mahal: Italian Cuisine in Morpeth, Northumberland

Rhys and I have just moved to Morpeth, a little market town in Northumberland, and there is an abundance of lovely restaurants and cafes and so I am in my absolute element! I love trying out new places, but unfortunately at the moment we aren’t exactly rolling in dosh, so I can’t hastily work my way around every single one in the next month or two. However, we decided it would be nice to have a little celebratory meal out after a couple of weeks of stress and minor disasters after moving town. After scouring the internet for reviews (and price lists!!), we settled on trying a little Indian restaurant right in the town centre, only a couple minutes walk from our house, called Tandoor Mahal. It’s set right on the middle of the high street, but it’s only a small door leading upstairs to the restaurant, so it would be quite easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. We booked online, via Quandoo (a great little booking site where you can build up points and redeem them at restaurants that they are in partnership with) for 6:30pm.

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A Day Out in York

Who doesn’t love a day out in York? My fiance and I absolutely love this city. We’ve been a few times before, and on Saturday we went for a day trip to visit Rhys’s uncle, aunt and cousin, and I thought it would be nice to share with you some of my favourite things to do on a day in York! There’s so many cool attractions, especially all the medieval ones like the Jorvik Viking Centre, the Minster and the Railway Museum, but I usually save these for if I’m visiting York for a long weekend rather than a day trip, because I like being able to spend lots of time in each and there’s too much to go round in the one day as well as the town! So I usually keep my day trips to the city centre and the shops and streets, so that’s what we’ll focus on today! 

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Cookies ‘n’ Creme Slice

Gotta tell you guys, I’m surprised this traybake worked! I made this to take back up to Scotland for my sisters birthday. I always bake something for peoples birthdays! I wanted to make something with Oreos and I thought about a Rocky Road. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a Rocky Road, but I find them quite firm if you know what I mean?! Like, there’s so soft squidginess to them, they’re almost a little crumbly. So I decided to go for something a little more along the lines of my Fudgy Easter Slice, by adding golden syrup and butter to the mixture. Hence why I wasn’t sure whether this would work!! White chocolate can be temperamental, especially when mixed with golden syrup and butter! It can split easier than milk or dark chocolate and I find it can burn quicker! But I was brave and it worked! I think the trick is to go slow and steady and take it off the heat for a little while if you feel it is thickening too quickly or feels like it’s going to burn. But if you’re a little apprehensive about this, then feel free to change the chocolate to milk or dark. Or take the butter and golden syrup out…though you may need to adjust the amount of other ingredients slightly!

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Cadbury Caramel Cookie Bars

Damn, these cookie bars are fiiiiine!! Literally the text I sent to Rhys when I tasted these bars! This was my second recipe attempt at cookie bars so I was pretty chuffed that it didn’t take me too many attempts to get a recipe that worked well! My first batch were lovely, but they had risen too much and didn’t have as much caramel chocolate chunks in them, therefore they were a little too dry. These ones are perfect however! Nice and gooey with plenty of soft squidgy caramely chocolatey gooiness! Can you tell I love these?! These are actually pretty simple to make and only require one bowl (you know how much I hate washing up!).

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Dark Chocolate & Orange Cookie Sandwiches

What’s better than one cookie? Two cookies. With frosting. Goodbye, waistline!! I’ve never actually had a cookie sandwich before, but since I’ve been testing out cookie recipes, I thought I’d give them a shot! I thought it might be a bit of a faff but, honestly, it’s just like baking a cake then icing it. And it takes even less work because you only see the edge of the icing so it doesn’t have to look perfect! These cookies were super soft chocolate cookies, with a subtle orange flavoured buttercream icing. Although they were so filling, me and Rhys actually had to share one sandwich whenever we wanted one because we couldn’t eat the whole sandwich (well, we could, we just felt horribly guilty afterwards!).

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White Chocolate Biscoff Truffles

Hands up, who can’t get enough of Biscoff? I remember back in the day when it was just a simple biscuit the grannies used to love nibbling on with their steaming cappuccinos at the little coffee shop down the road. Now, it’s even a spread! I’m ashamed to say I had never actually tried the spread until this week and OH MY GOD. I could eat the whole tub, not gonna lie. I had some cream cheese sitting in the fridge that I still hadn’t used and decided I might try some white chocolate and Biscoff truffles! I did think about doing some Oreo ones because they are one of the best things in the world. But I decided to try something I hadn’t done before! And, horrifyingly, I had not yet baked with Biscoff. So a trip to Asda later and I was stocked up with biscuits, spread and chocolate!

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My Spring Morning Routine

Dare I say spring might be here??? It seems to have been lovely weather here the past couple days and is actually beginning to feel like spring!! So I thought this would be a great time to do a spring post! Guarantee as soon as I post this the sky will turn black and the April showers will be back with a vengeance. I didn’t think I’d be likely to do a post like this but recently I’ve been quite enjoying other blogs of this sort; there’s something nice about seeing what different products everyone uses and seeing how different everyone is, plus it’s great for inspiration!

 

I’m dreadful for snoozing my alarm first thing unless it’s sunny. I am not a morning person as it is, and so unless the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day, the last thing I want to do is leave the comfort of my cozy covers. So I snooze the dreaded alarm…at least three times. Once I finally haul my ass out the bed, the first thing I do is hop in the shower. I was always a bath person until I finally got a shower…I couldn’t cope without my morning shower now! That and a cup of tea are the only things that really make me feel half-alive for the first two hours of the day. I generally try to wash my hair in the evenings so that I don’t have to bother drying it, but if it’s a morning where I didn’t get the chance the previous evening, I’ll wash my hair. At the minute I’m using Phil Smith Be Gorgeous, Coco-licious shampoo. I actually only bought this because it was the cheapest one in Sainsbury and I was horribly skint, but I’ve discovered this is an amazing brand! Plus it’s cruelty-free which is great! The Coco-licious shampoo is a super light-weight product, and you don’t need a massive amount. It’s got a lovely coconut scent that is subtle but sweet and leaves my hair nice and soft!

I’ve then been using Alberto Balsam Sunkissed Raspberry conditioner, as I find it’s nice and thick without being heavy and leaves the ends of my hair much softer and with a light raspberry scent. Next up, I slather myself with Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash. I don’t know of any other body wash that leaves my skin quite so soft! Lastly, I’ll use Lush Let The Good Times Roll cleanser on my face and Barry M Mango Lip Scrub to leave my face and lips nice and smooth! Although I only use these about three times a week, rather than every day!

 

Once I’m out the shower, I’ll moisturise myself with Superdrugs own Body Butter. I’m using the Cocoa Butter and Vanilla one at the minute because I absolutely love the scent, but I’m desperate to try the ‘Treat Me’ range as well! Smelling like salted caramel?! Yes please! Next I’ll use Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer on my face. This will never change! As I mentioned in my Winter Skincare post, I suffer from red blotchy patches on my face and neck and this product is the only one I have ever found that keeps these at bay! Plus, it’s really lightweight and makes my skin feel soft and smooth!

If I’ve washed my hair, I’ll gently towel dry it before spritzing it with some VO5 Heat Protect Styling Spray then dry it with a hairdryer. Before dressing, I use Nivea Stress Protect antiperspirant. I find it’s the best at keeping sweaty pits at bay, especially if you’re running around all day, and has a lovely smell! If I’m going out, I’ll give myself a quick spritz with either ‘Lovestruck’ by Vera Wang, which is musky and floral, ‘Heat’ by Beyonce, or DKNY ‘Be Tempted’, which is my favourite sweet scent at the minute!

 

Once I’m all dried and dressed, I’ll do my makeup if I’m going out. And only if I’m going out! I like to keep it nice and simple, so I use Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation on my face and neck and set it with a light dusting of Rimmel Stay Matte powder. My lashes are quite thick and dark anyway so I won’t usually do anything with them unless I’m going ‘out-out’!

 

Finally I’ll make myself some breakfast. I’m actually quite proud of myself as I used to be really bad for just having a super quick bowl of Coco Pops or a slice of toast and honey. Not that there’s anything wrong with Coco Pops once in a while! But the last few months I’ve been making an effort, and I’m definitely feeling better for it! I try to have eggs at least three or four mornings a week, either boiled with a slice of toast or scrambled with toast and a splodge of tomato sauce! Or, when it’s miserable out I’ll have some porridge to warm me up! My favourite is Chocolate Chia porridge…oats mixed with a little cocoa powder, a touch of maple syrup to sweeten it and milk (always milk, porridge with water is just wrong) and then topped with chia seeds and fresh raspberries. And it will always be accompanied with a lovely cup of tea. Weak and milky. Would you believe I am actually British?

 

After this I’m finally ready to face the day!

Super Soft Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Welcome to my first ever cookie recipe! Woo! I was super nervous about trying these because I have to admit that I am not the best cookie baker, even when following a recipe! But I’ve been doing lots of research into the ‘science’ behind the baking of cookies and have learned so much! So I thought the best way to put my new-found knowledge into practice was just to go for it! I spent a little bit of time going through each section from my notes and decided what I was using and how best to figure out how much of each I would need. It took me a while and I wasn’t 100% sure I was totally correct with what I was doing but I decided I would just have to try it and see what happened and then I could go from there! And they actually turned out really well! Read More

Grasshopper Brownies

Is there any better combination that mint and chocolate? Personally, I really don’t think so. My granny used to always make us peppermint slice when I was younger and it was my favourite thing in the world! It’s something that I very rarely see in cafes nowadays, for some bizarre reason and, I’m not gonna lie, it upsets me very much. I was going to just make some of her peppermint slices when I came across recipes online for grasshopper brownies. Brownie base, with a mint icing topped with chocolate. I decided to give them a go! Although I left out the creme de menthe, because I was not prepared to buy an entire bottle of the stuff just for one bake. Read More

Drink Up!

 

Last Friday saw the government introduce a ‘sugar tax’ on lots of fizzy, sugary drinks, making them more expensive to purchase in the hope of encouraging people to make healthier choices when it comes to their beverages. Some brands have cut the amount of sugar in their recipes, while others such as Coke and Pepsi have not and will be subjected to the added charges. Now, I personally enjoy a cup of Coca-Cola as a treat when say, heading off to the pictures or having a casual lunch out, but definitely not something I drink on a regular basis. It got me thinking about different alternatives that we can be consuming instead of these super sugary drinks. Here’s some of my favourites drinks that I enjoy, that are better for your teeth and your waistline!

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