White & Milk Chocolate Brownies

I haven't baked brownies in absolutely ages, and with a couple bags of chocolate chips sitting in my baking cupboard it seemed like a good time to make some up; before they all melt together in this summer heat! These brownies are squishy and fudgy and difficult to cut, but they taste amazing so in my opinion that makes it worth it! The chocolate chips can be swapped out for chunks if you like your brownies a little bulkier.

+ 200g milk chocolate chips (set 50g aside)
+ 150g butter/margerine
+ 100g white chocolate chips
+ 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
+ 120g self raising flour
+ 250g dark soft brown sugar
+ 4 eggs

one. line tin with non-stick baking paper and pre-heat oven to 170C
two. melt butter and 150g milk chocolate chips together in the microwave until smooth
three. add in eggs and stir thoroughly until well combined
four. sift in cocoa powder, self raising flour and sugar and fold in until well combined and brownie mix is formed, then add in remaining chocolate chips and mix in well
five. spoon mix into tin and spread evenly
six. bake for 25 minutes or until pick comes out with just a few crumbs attached
seven. set to cool for five minutes, then slice and enjoy with vanilla ice cream!


Fitbit Alta Fitness Band Review

Back in December last year, I wrote about my Pebble Smartwatch, my introduction to the world of smartwatches. For a while I was in love with the idea of the technology, and I even upgraded to a Pebble Time; the full-colour, round version. I found it really convenient to check emails on the go, reply to texts, all those bits and pieces but as my needs changed I found Pebble couldn't really keep up with what I wanted.

After some um-ing and ah-ing I decided on the Fitbit Alta as my next 'smartwatch' move. In some ways, the Alta is a downgrade but it's ideal for me. I still get my text notifications on the go, but alongside this I have a reliable band that counts steps, takes note of extra exercise and doesn't need charging once a day before running out of battery! Pebble works with the Misfit app, which is very buggy and almost impossible to sync to at times. On the other hand, Fitbit has its own app which was a big draw for me.

Combined with my Alta, the Fitbit app allows me to gain trophies for walking certain distances (as someone who loves getting gaming achievments, major plus for me), links to my Fitbit scales, offers me sleep data as well as walking data and actively encourages me to meet my goals; something I found Pebble never did. Alta also gives me a nudge every hour to make sure I've walked at least 250 steps, which is achievable even in an office I find.

Overall, I'd really recommend the Alta and Fitbit if you want something that can track your fitness somewhat accurately, especially if you're not really active it gives you a great insight into the small steps you can take to improve your fitness and works really well with MyFitnessPal, if that's another app you're interested in. This isn't a sponsored post but as something I wear all day, every day it felt worth talking about.


Creations from Bolsius Aromatic

When I was younger, I was never much a candle person. I don't have a fantastic sense of smell so half the time the purpose of the candle is lost on me, and didn't really seem worth spending money on! This changed when J moved in, he's a massive fan of smellies and candles (I know, it's normally the other way round!) so since then we've always had a few about ready for lighting.

I've been intrigued about switching to melts for a while, as they seem like a cheaper and more versatile option. So when Bolsius Aromatics sent us a Creations set, including a ceramic burner and wax chips, it was set up by the end of the same day. We chose to use the 'happy' mix, which is a combination of apple, strawberry and mango, and it did make our living room smell amazing; something I don't normally pick up from traditional candles. I was also quite impressed at the price, with the burner costing only £7.99 and the chips starting for a 14-pack for £4.99, which I could see lasting quite a while.

Overall it's given us a great opportunity to move into the melts side of scents, and I can't wait to try the other smells in our kit. You can find out more about Bolsius Aromatics on their website here.


A Day Out at Dudley Zoo

This past weekend J and I travelled up to Dudley, where he's from, to spend time with his family for his dads' birthday. Of course, this meant the chance to spend time with J's nephew who is just starting to get to the age where he's interested in absolutely everything; and animals are no exception! We chose to go to Dudley Zoo, which I've been to once before and is one of my favourite zoos in the UK. There are so many animals and conservation bits and pieces going on, and it's really interesting to know the history of the castle. I hope we can go back again next time we're up there!

My favourite part of the day was getting the chance to pet one of the bunnies in the petting zoo area; which unfortunately I didn't manage to get a shot of! I also got some great photos of J with his nephew, which are always nice to have. All the animals were fascinated by him, but especially the Orangutans loved him. Unfortunately this time around the Red Pandas were not feeling sociable and I didn't get a chance to snap them, which is a shame as they're my all time favourite animal. There's always next time though, and I'm very happy with the photos I did get using my trusty telephoto lens.