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The Lake District // Coniston, Mountains & Waterfalls

21 Jul 2016


The Lake District is somewhere I've only ever been to briefly, and pretty much all I remember is driving crazily slowly past Wordsworth's house while my brother and I were sat in the back of the car ripping each other's hair out. Good times.

This year, we decided to give it another go and I won't lie to you, I wasn't keen on the idea. You see, I'd already put all my eggs in one holiday basket and was rooting for Devon and only Devon. The great thing about Devon is that it's less than three hours away. The bad thing about Devon is that it's about seven hours from my brother, who works up North. So a compromise was found and I set off in search of a nice little place in the lakes. We came across Coniston which seemed to have the combination of being right on the water, surrounded by mountains but also a town with actual people and restaurants and shops (albeit very few).

I would also like to give a big shout out to the UK for its awful weather, leaving us with a solid 4/7 days of rain. That being said, everyone knows that The Lakes attract rain and it's all just part of the fun, right? Vaguely right. It wasn't too bad and aside from having seriously poor vision on top of this super strenuous mountain we climbed, we made the most of it.

Here go the photos...


This is a picture of where we found a little tarn halfway up the mountain. Pretty cool, eh?


Team Fam heading up Old Man Coniston.


Along with the mountain, we also had completely un-strenuous and super relaxing days and explored the areas directly around Coniston...






And along with walks around Coniston we also searched for the best cafés and pubs which happened to include the Giggling Goose, an adorable little café next to the river in Ambleside. They did a smashing Carrot Cake and Saffy got some dog biscuits in a mini sundae glass. Fantastic.



I'm actually off to Slovenia and Austria on Saturday, so I will have had a mere one week's break in between The Lake District and my next holiday, but who the heck would complain about that? 

Have any of you been to The Lake District? Coniston is great, but are there any places that are your personal favourites?
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You made me feel all cultural, Barcelona.

7 Jul 2016

Happy Thursday, everyone! Welcome to the latest post in my Barcelona series from Day Two, where I saw La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, and just generally won't shut up about how great Gaudi is.

I hope you caught my 'I think I love you Barcelona' post and my 'What a beautiful sunset you have, Barcelona' post but if you didn't then do go and check them out. They're less cultural than this one but they do involve lots of pretty pictures of city views and sunsets.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you. I will never be anything but (tactfully) honest on this blog, and this includes me saying that I used to hate museums. My attention span was awful as a child and I used to just skirt around the place as quick as I could and then sit on a bench at the end. Yep, I was one of those people. Has that much changed? Meh. When it's the right museum, I like it but I wouldn't say that I've ever 'loved' a museum. La Sagrada Familia was seriously up there though, not just the spectacular cathedral but also the museum underneath it. I found it so interesting that Gaudi used nature as his inspiration and as soon as I read that, it shed a whole new light on his work. I don't care how lame that sounds.

My iphone barely does poor Gaudi any justice, but here are a few of the pictures I took from both outside and inside....











We then ventured on down to La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, popping into a few shops on the way. The great thing about Spain is that a lot of the shops are cheaper than they are in England, so Zara and Mango were a big hit with us. I bought nothing for some bizarre reason, but looking at the clothes was fun as always.





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Chocolate and Raspberry Cake // Recipe

3 Jul 2016


I call myself a baker and yet there have been no baking related blog posts whatsoever for months. Shameful. I have been baking, but what I've made has either been stuff I've featured on the blog before or stuff that tastes like a 9/10 but looks like a 5/10. Also, in my defence, the lighting is only nice in the garden here and the weather hasn't exactly been nice enough recently for a food garden photoshoot.

I personally think there's a noticeable difference between chocolate cakes made with cocoa powder, and chocolate cakes made with melted chocolate. This one calls for cocoa powder, which I used mainly because the ganache on top is quite rich, but it does definitely have a different, more cocoa-y (stating the obvious here) taste than using melted chocolate.

You will need:
200g sugar
200g butter
3 eggs
200g self-raising flour
75g cocoa powder
2tsp baking powder
150ml milk

250ml (approximately) double cream
150g dark chocolate
225ml double cream
raspberries

Method:

Step One: Cream the butter and sugar together for a while, then gradually but thoroughly beat each egg into the mixture.

Step Two: Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in one bowl, then gradually stir into your wet ingredients.

Step Three: Once combined, add small quantities of milk until the mixture is a dropping consistency (ie. it easily drops off your spoon).

Step Four: Pour the mixture into two sandwich tins and bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees (fan oven) for 25-35minutes. It really depends on your oven so keep on checking once you've hit the 25-minute mark. The cakes should be springy to touch and a skewer should come out clean.

Step Five: For the topping, whip your 250ml of cream and layer onto one of the cooled down halves of cake, along with half your raspberries. Break your chocolate into a bowl and bring the other 225ml cream to the boil. As soon as it starts bubbling, pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then so that it thickens. Once it's a thick consistency, use a spatula to cover the top of your cake and add the rest of the raspberries.


What do you think? My brother loved the cake and I will definitely be doing it again and again. I feel like I could've had larger quantities of both chocolate and cream but you'd think that would've been far too rich...
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