Tuesday 19 August 2014

High Tea

When you're as food orientated as we are, finding something good to eat when out and about is essential. High tea is a pretty common addition to menus in cafe's across Yorkshire, however we'd not really tried it before! We decided to try Hannah's Tea Room (L: incidentally where I work as a waitress) for our first experience of high tea with our friend Louise and really enjoyed the experience! It's a very civilised way to spend an afternoon despite being in the middle of Batley...

We decided to get a High Tea for two and split it between us and it was plenty. We each had a sandwich, two cakes and half a scone each, plus a pot of tea. It's lovely to see our lunch so nicely presented before wolfing it down!

The afternoon was filled with talk of future plans, holidays and reminiscing about previous misadventures in Tenerife a few years ago.. We're all heading in very different directions in the next year or so and we're excited to share our journeys with you!

Hannah's also does hot food such as soups, sandwiches and toasties and all the cakes and scones are baked in the attached bakery. 

We realise this is a very quintessential British way to kill an afternoon but we loved that! We're excited to venture further into the world of High Tea and to try making one ourselves (watch this space) Have you tried High Tea before or had something similar? Let us know!

(Hannah's Tea Room is in The Mill, Batley and the High Tea cost under £20 all together)

Monday 11 August 2014

Review: Hair Chalks

After spotting hair chalks on Instagram a couple of weeks ago we thought we'd give them a try! We were super excited when they arrived as they are so colourful and actually pretty big for your money. To use we found it best to wet your hair and wet the chalk then start colouring in your hair. Use a small piece of hair at a time and just run the chalk up and down your hair then leave it to dry. That's it! They're really simple to use and we loved the effect they gave. For thick hair it can take quite a while to get an opaque coverage and make sure you don't brush it out! These hair chalks wash out in the shower so are a great way to experiment with hair colour without the commitment! We think these would be amazing at a festival when you don't wash your hair anyway and we had great fun using them! Be warned, it can get really messy and you will cover your hands in the different colours so have an old towel or tissues at the ready! 

 The plan was to just ombre our hair with one colour each but we got a little carried away and decided to go with my little pony meets mermaid colours, no regrets! 

If you're lucky enough to have light hair then all the colours will show up fine, however on darker hair we found the lighter colours were quite faint so stick to the brighter shades!

We loved using these and will definitely be trying them again in the future! Have you tried using hair chalks before? Let us know if you have a go! 

Thursday 7 August 2014

Recipe: Mojito

When it comes to a summery cocktail the drinks can often be sickly sweet, which although we love a sweet cocktail, a refreshing one is a nice change! Can you really get more refreshing than a mojito?  After some experimenting, we found that crushing mint infused ice cubes gave the best mint flavour! This is one you'll need to prepare in advance for but trust us it's worth it!

You will need:
White rum
1 lime
bunch of mint
sugar (to taste)
400ml water

Start by tearing up some sprigs of mint and adding boiling water. 

Press and crush the mint in the water using a wooden spoon - you're essentially making mint tea here!

Pour this mint infused water into ice cube trays (mint leaves as well!) and freeze.
The boiling water not only helps release the mint flavour, but also freezes a lot quicker than cold water.

Once frozen, add the ice cubes into a plastic bag or sandwich bag then cover with a tea towel.

This is the fun part, get a rolling pin, bacardi bottle or anything solid really and smash away at the icecubes until you get a bag of crushed ice

Pour some of the mint ice into a short glass and add a shot of white rum (we used bacardi but you can use any white rum really!)

Then top up with soda water

Add lime and sugar to taste

This minty citrus drink is perfect for lazy summer evenings and we hope you give this recipe a go!

Sunday 3 August 2014

Film Review: The Fault in Our Stars

On Wednesday we went to see The Fault in Our Stars at the cinema. In case you didn't know, TFIOS is based on a devastating book by well-renowned Young Adult author John Green. Having read the book when it came out and had our hearts ripped out, thrown around, punched, rained on then put back in again we felt we should probably experience this again with the film. 

We didn't really know what to expect of the film in terms of quality, but we knew we were in for buckets of tears so came armed with tissues. We won't spoil the story for you, but when you know it's a story about terminally ill teenagers you know it's not going to have a Disney ending. We liked the casting choices for Hazel and Augustus, however Ansel Elgort (Augustus) really stole the show for us. His portrayal of Gus was cocky, pretentious and didn't pretend to be a great romantic hero which is exactly what we wanted to see. There was a slight danger of his character being over-romanticised but it didn't come across that way in the film. Shailene Woodley's performance of Hazel we felt was quite understated, she almost came across as a little plain at times in the shadow of Augustus, which is not the case in the novel. However she really shone when it mattered and the high intensity scenes she really gave a convincing performance and had us in tears! 

 In comparison to the novel, we thought the film was accurate adaptation but lacked the depth the book brings to the characters. This is obviously going to be the case when you have a book written from one persons perspective. We laughed and cried throughout and it's a thoroughly cathartic experience both reading the book and watching the film! The film itself was lovely to watch, really aesthetically pleasing, especially in Amsterdam and had a quality soundtrack with a satisfying amount of British artists!

We loved the film, but we loved the book just that little bit more. We'd definitely recommend seeing it but would suggest you don't skip reading the book as you would miss out on some of the beautiful writing and carefully crafted moments that just weren't captured on screen. Whatever you do, make sure you wear waterproof mascara when watching and have tissues at the ready!


Friday 1 August 2014

Recipe: Mocha Cupcakes

These cupcakes are really delicious and very rich! The sponge is has an amazing coffee flavour, which goes beautifully with the chocolate frosting. They're lovely to make for a special treat, and are nice to indulge in with a cup of coffee. 

We've adapted this recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe. 

You will need:
For the cupcakes:
250ml Milk
15g Cocoa powder
5g Espresso powder
80g Unsalted butter
280g Caster sugar
240g Plain flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt

For the frosting:
70ml Milk
30g Cocoa powder
500g Icing sugar
150g Unsalter butter

Plus any decorations you may want to add!
We opted for chocolate buttons, which are rather addictive and easy to snack on while you bake.

Start by preheating the oven to 190C.

Heat the milk until warmed through.
Add the cocoa powder and espresso powder to the milk and stir until dissolved (this also is a good method for a nice cup of mocha!) then put to one side to cool.

Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until texture of fine breadcrumbs (as you can see below), this will be easiest in a food processor or with an electric whisk!

Whisk the eggs and mocha mixture together.

Gradually pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into muffin cases until (remember not to overfill them - about 2/3 full is a good amount), this will make around 12-15 depending on the size of the tin and cases.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, a good way to tell if they're done is to stick a skewer or tooth pick into the middle of the muffin, if it comes out clean, they're finished!

Place on a cooling rack until room temperature, they need to be cooled to frost.

Now for the frosting!

Like before, warm the milk until hot but not boiling and add cocoa powder.
Stir until dissolved, then let this cool. 
Beat the icing sugar and butter together until it has a sand-like consistency.
Slowly add the chocolate milk to the icing sugar mix while continuing to mix together. Stop when you have reached a light and fluffy texture.
Feel free to add in more icing sugar if you like your frosting to be a little thicker. 

When cupcakes have cooled, using a knife or piping bag frost and decorate your buns!