Hello Piglets! It’s been a minute since I posted; we’ve had a lot going on – and a new addition to the family – in the last couple weeks, so I haven’t had chance to sit and write. There’ll be more on that in a later post, so keep your eyes open for that!
Back to today’s post; this is my easy, fail proof recipe for light and fluffy cupcakes. Honestly it really does work every single time! As with a lot of my recipes, it’s easy to customise and add different flavours and fillings to your batter, so your options are endless. So, if you want perfect bouncy cupcakes every single time then read on!
Ingredients and Equipment.
175g softened butter/margarine.
175g caster sugar.
175g self raising flour.
1.5 tsp baking powder.
3 large eggs, room temperature.
2 tbsp milk.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 x 12 hole muffin pan with cases.
1 large mixing bowl.
2 spoons (for putting batter in cases)
Preheat your oven to 180c, 160c fan, gas mark 4 and put one of the shelves in the middle. Line your muffin pan with paper/silicone cases and set to one side.
Grab your mixing bowl and dump your butter/margarine and sugar in there. Using your whisk, beat the ingredients together until light and fluffy.
Add in your eggs one at a time, whisking them thoroughly inbetween. With your last egg, add the milk, vanilla extract and a spoonful of flour. Whisk until fully combined.
Pour in your flour and baking powder, then whisk the shit out of it! Whisk whisk whisk, until your batter is smooth and light and fully combined.
Fill your cases about two thirds full with batter, then place your tin in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and well risen and a skewer test comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for five minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool fully, before adding any frosting/toppings/fillings to fancy!
The possibilities are endless.
You can add pretty much whatever variations you can think of to this basic batter mixture! For example; to make chocolate cupcakes, swap out 25g of the flour for cocoa powder. Then add chocolate chips, and some mini marshmallows, and frosting and….. you get the idea. Whatever you come up with as an idea, you can probably achieve it with this recipe as a foundation.
As always, do let me know if you have a crack at making these delicious cakes. If you’re on Instagram, please give me a follow and tag me if you share any pictures of your creations. And of course, do tell me what you think of these bouncy, fail proof cupcakes!
Let’s start with a bit of truth; body hair is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s perfectly normal and natural – everybody has it – and it is absolutely your choice what you do with it. If you want to keep it as it is; that’s awesome. If you want to remove it; that’s awesome. Do what you want with your hairy bits – I’m not judging! My personally preference is to remove it, however I struggle a lot with that as my mobility is bad and bending into strange positions lead to things popping out…. and I don’t mean my boobs! So when this product popped up in my Instagram feed I thought I’d give it a go; and here’s my honest review for you lovely lot.
A bit about WooWoo.
WooWoo is a female owned brand created to dispel the stigma and ridiculousness around female sexual pleasure and empower females to own and enjoy their sexuality. Their range of products is all dedicated to caring for vaginas or “care down there” as they call it and includes washes, wipes, condoms, lube, balms, creams and hair removal.
Now you know me; I’m all about owning our bodies and being proud of our sexuality. As a woman and as a disabled person, I am a sexual being with needs and desires of my own and – probably like you – I’m sick of being made to feel ashamed about it! This brand is right up my alley, no pun intended.
Tame It; what, how, how much etc.
Tame It is an in shower intimate hair removal product. Designed to give the Brazilian wax effect, it claims to work after just 3 minutes and includes extract of Aloe Vera in it’s ingredients. Currently the formula is not suitable for vegans, however on the website it says the new vegan friendly formula is due for release this summer. It’s usual price is £7 for a 50ml tube (applicator included) however it’s currently on sale at £6.75. Postage is free on orders of £10 or more, standard UK shipping costs £2.50. I bought two tubes as I was a bit sceptical about how far 50ml would go!
My order arrived within 7 days, which I felt was pretty good given the current delays due to Covid19, and it included a sheet of fabulous feminist stickers! You bet I’m going to plaster these all over the place and make my teenagers squirm a bit!
Anyways, back to the details. It says on the box to apply using the applicator to the hair you want to remove – you just smoothe it on, don’t rub in – and wait for 3 minutes. Then you jump in the shower and wash your hair etc for 2 minutes before testing to see if the cream has worked. To test it, wipe with a cloth to see if the hair comes away easily. If it’s not ready, leave for another 3 minutes maximum. To take it off, wipe in circular motions with a damp cloth and the hair should come off easily.
How was it really?
I applied the cream to my intimate areas and was a bit struck by the SMELL – yes it was that bad it needs all caps – I mean, hair removal creams generally don’t smell great but DAMN. The cream went on easily enough with the applicator and my fingers; it didn’t burn or irritate my skin at all and it felt kind of cooling and refreshing. But stinky.
I hopped in the shower after the first 3 minutes and washed my hair for about 2 minutes – it wasn’t easy keeping the water off my downstairs bits – before checking with a damp face cloth to see how it was going. Some came off, some didn’t, so I figured I’d wait 3 more minutes. After that, when I checked again the hair came off easily in most places although some areas needed a bit of a rub!
I was left with a smooth nether region and – thank the gods – the horrific smell was gone!
It worked for me, however my “lady garden” was quite short. I do have thick hair in most places – which I guess is why it took a bit longer/needed a rub – although the finer hair seemed to respond immediately to the cream. I think that if you have fuller/longer pubic hair you might need a couple applications to get the result you want.
I liked the applicator for the flatter areas, but it was useless for the nooks and crannies. The cream didn’t irritate my fingers either when I used them to apply it, and it washed off easily. I barely used any product either, so I guess I’ll be good for a while thanks to my cynical past self!
Overall I’m happy with this product. I like almost everything about it; the brand, ethos, packaging etc are all great and the product does what it says it will do. The only negative for me is the stench. It’s awful, like really fucking rank – BUT IT WASHES AWAY.
Over to you; Hairy Fairy or Bald Babe?
Do you remove your pubic hair or keep it as it is? Maybe you’re trimmed and tamed down there? Have you used any hair removal products/systems you can recommend? Maybe you have a hilarious fail story to share?
Whatever you do or don’t do with your bush, I hope that you do it for yourself because it’s what YOU want rather than to please someone else! Remember, it belongs to you and nobody else. It’s for your pleasure, as is your entire body!
Hey Piglets, I hope you’re all as safe and well as you can be! I have no idea what day it is, how long we have been in quarantine or what I’m supposed to be doing today…. so what else is new? 😂 Anyways, today I wanted to write about how we’re managing the lockdown as a couple; it’s not easy to make time for each other in the chaos of teenagers, homeschooling, housework, studying and everything else but it’s something we are working really hard on. So I figured why not share our ideas, and see if you have any suggestions of your own! Sharing is caring right?
Planning is Sexy.
Okay, well maybe the act of planning isn’t going to get you hot and bothered (unless it does, in which case no judging!) but being realistic about your time and commitments is a good idea. If you know how much you’ve got going on every day, you’ll find it easier to make time for getting it on!
We have (lazy) teenage kids, three cats, a garden and a home to keep up with. Eddie has his college work, writing, art work and counselling to juggle. I am doing most of the home education stuff with Owain, as well as my own projects and writing. Plus I just signed up online to a couple of courses that I’m super looking forward to – but more on that in a future post. We’re not as busy as some folks are in the lockdown thankfully, but we do have to be careful with our time in order to make sure we can prioritise being together.
Make it work for you.
Whether your only spare moment in the day is when your baby has a long nap, or getting the kids to bed at night is when you have some breathing space – you can carve out some time for each other. And once you find that gap in the busyness of the daily grind; trust me, you’ll protect it like an angry Mama Goose!
Our protected time together looks like this;
We sit together for coffee/breakfast every morning for about 30 minutes. This is where we talk about the day ahead, anything that is bothering us or stuff we need to address. It’s a time for us to check in with each other as well as make sure we’re on the same page with kids/house/life stuff.
Every Thursday evening we have a designated “Date Night” from 7pm onwards. We take it in turns to plan this for each other on a week by week basis and it’s something we look forward to and protect every week. Even if I’m really struggling with my health, I still try to make an effort for Date Night.
Throughout the day; I make a point of giving Eddie a hug, or squeezing his arm as I pass, or a quick peck on the cheek. Physical affection is super important to him, so I try to make sure he gets lots of it!
Each evening before we do our own things (usually bed early for me, gaming or movies for him) we make sure we have a big hug and loads of kisses. If there’s been any tension or annoyance between us we sort it out fully, apologising if needed, so that peace can be fully restored again.
What is this “Quality Time” of which you speak?
It’s worth mentioning here that “quality time” is not just a euphemism for sex – come on, don’t be coy, you know what I’m talking about 😉 every one I know – especially folks with children – uses a cheeky euphemism once in a while!
Quality time means something that shows you value your partner and your relationship. This may look like a deep conversation, playing a game together, spending time holding hands on the sofa, planning an activity to do together and so on. It can be as simple as a chat in the garden over coffee, or as fancy as a candle lit bubble bath for two. It’s all about the intention, the thought and time you put into it for one another.
Of course that’s going to include sex too at some point or other; sex is an important part of any healthy romantic relationship, developing trust and intimacy between partners and strengthening the connection they share. It’s not the be all and end all though!
But we already spend all day together now, why bother?
I get it. You’re stuck at home together pretty much 24/7. You see each other now more than you have ever done before. Why make the effort to have even more time together?
It’s a perfectly valid question and the only way I can answer it is with my own experience. As you know, my health isn’t great and so my husband Eddie is my Carer as well. He helps me with everything, all day every day. He helps me get dressed, have a shower, even go to the loo. He does stuff that I can’t manage. He is brilliant. And as much as this demonstrates exactly how much he must love me, it makes it hard to maintain the “romance” part of our marriage!
We already spent every day together before lockdown, so we have had a while to learn how to manage it. Before we prioritised our time together, we both felt like each day was the same and our relationship began to deteriorate. We got on each other’s nerves, we found faults and nit picked and bickered. We stopped making the effort. Our sex life suffered, our emotional connection wobbled, our parenting wasn’t as great as we wanted it to be….
Making the time to be together properly felt like drawing a line in the sand for us both; it was a declaration of how important we are to one another as partners, as lovers, as husband and wife. Since intentionally spending this time together our relationship has deepened and grown so much stronger. It’s brought back the balance we were missing.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent quarantine measures, we’ve found that this protected time together is more important than ever. Before, we would have time through most days while the kids were out at college or with their mates. Now they are here every moment of every day, and it’s made the time we can spend together feel even more precious!
17 years married and we still like each other!
I am pretty sure that the reason our marriage is so strong is because we make time for one another. Time is literally the most precious commodity in the Universe; choosing to give that time to your lover, instead of using it elsewhere, is a huge deal.
If it worked for us, I am certain it can work for you too! Whatever your circumstances – however busy you are or how hectic your home life may be – making a little bit of time to spend with your partner is possible for everyone. It will make you both feel better, which will have a positive knock on effect in every other area of your life.
Now it’s over to you; how do you make time for your relationship? Do you have any fun quarantine date night ideas for me? Maybe you’re planning to make “quality time” an important part of your schedule now? I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or via my Instagram @wholly_dee
****This is not a sponsored/paid for post. I bought these products myself and all thoughts are my own****
I love skincare stuff. Show me a new lotion, potion, oil or spray and I’m going to be intrigued and probably want to buy it at some point too 😉 I also love a bargain – as you know – so when my usual skin stuff ran out I went on the lookout for new bits to try. And I think I hit the jackpot!
My skin can be a tad needy.
My skin type is “combination” which means I have oily zones and dry patches. I also have some hyperpigmentation on my forehead (dark patches of skin) and large pores on my nose. And, as a 35 year old who laughs a lot, I have a vast array of smile lines and creases! On top of all that, every month I get a couple enormous volcanic blemishes around my period and the oil takes over my entire face. Hormones suuuck.
When I’m looking for skincare products I have to make sure I keep all these things in mind, trying to make sure I don’t get distracted by pretty packaging or fancy fragrances! I tend to be drawn towards natural ingredients; anything with plant extracts in usually gets my attention, and I try to stick to vegan products as much as I can.
Having this list of requirements can get expensive – which is why I have developed a bloodhound’s ability to sniff out a good deal!
What works for me….
Over the years I’ve tried out loads of products, routines and rituals to help my skin stay healthy and looking great. There are soooo many products, ideas and methods out there it makes your head spin! Anyhoo, I’m currently happy with my very simple set up. Not too many products, an easy to maintain regime and with wonderful results. Winning!
I like to use a face wash cleanser, followed by a wipe round with an exfoliating pad. Then I pop on some eye cream, serum, moisturiser and oil. That’s my usual morning and evening routine; once a week I use an overnight mask to refine my skin texture, plus a weekly face mask to address any issues I’m having. Oh, and lip balm. Lip balm is LIFE.
Get to the goods already!
So, bargain skincare for fussy skin that’s cruelty free AND has natural ingredients…. what is this magic of which you speak? I thought it was going to cost me quite a bit, but then I came across the exclusive skincare ranges at Superdrug.
The Naturally Radiant collection meets almost all my needy skin’s issues, and the B. range has a lovely cleanser that’s perfect for me. The packaging is recyclable and it looks pretty on my bedside table. All this, and each product costs a maximum of £6.99…. and there’s a 50% off sale ongoing at Superdrug 😉
And from the B. Superdrug range I chose the B. Creamy Foam Cleanser 125ml which is a wonderfully rich and foamy face wash that handles makeup gently and is not drying whatsoever. All these products were just £3.48 each! BARGAIN!
So does it work?
The short answer is YES. But I guess a bit more detail might be helpful, since this is a review right?
From the first day of use I noticed my skin felt smoother and looked brighter. My under eye area adores the eye cream; my usual chronic illness puffiness reduced and the fine crease lines started to smooth out a bit! I also began seeing a reduction in the flaky texture my dry areas have.
After a week, everything was much more firm and glowy; my dry patches were gone and my skin became totally smooth! I started to use the moisturisers on my neck as well and noticed the skin firming up there too.
I’ve been using the collection for about 11 weeks now and overall I’m super happy with everything! The only thing I can really say as a criticism is the overnight glycolic peel smells very strong and becomes sticky when dry. But since I only wear that at night, it’s not really a big deal!
If you’re looking for new skincare products, or wanting to start a new routine then you can’t go wrong with this range – especially whilst they’re all 50% off. I’m going to be stocking up while the sale is still on – although I would buy these at full price too.
Have you tried any of Superdrug’s own brand skincare or makeup products? What did you think?
As I’ve touched on it previously, you’ll be aware that my health isn’t the best. I don’t want to get into the long and complicated diagnoses and details – it’s not anyone else’s business – so let’s just say my body won’t do what most others do without effort. My mind, too, is not the same either. It would be a great big lie to say it’s been easy adapting to my “new normal” (gods that’s a saying we’re all rabbiting at the moment!) but after almost 6 years, I’m finally learning to listen. My body and brain let me know what they need and when – but for the longest time I’ve ignored them both.
Acceptance isn’t Surrender.
So much of the rhetoric in the disability and chronic illness community is – in my opinion – quite harmful. We’re “warriors“, we “battle ourselves“, we “keep fighting” and so on. I find it unhelpful and upsetting; I can’t fight my own body or mind, surely that’s going to be more damaging? I’m a pacifist anyways, so why would I go to war with my own flesh?
Letting go of this idea of being “a warrior” was a huge breakthrough moment for me. I’d got it all twisted up in my head – accepting my condition meant I was giving in to it, I was abandoning my life and allowing it to beat me. What a load of bollocks! Releasing myself from this battle mindset has brought me far more progress than I ever made before!
Everyone these days talks about self love, self care and so on; how can you love and care for something if you ignore it, fight it and punish it? Having a bath or a face mask isn’t going to make any difference at all when you’re being so destructive to yourself.
Calling a Ceasefire.
Accepting one’s limitations – disabled or not – is like calling a ceasefire within yourself. It’s the first step towards having real peace, a time for you to take stock of what’s going on in side of you and start figuring out a way forward.
I’ve been learning to accept what my body can and cannot do and I’m trying to avoid becoming frustrated and upset when things don’t go the way I want. Don’t get me wrong, I still get really pissed of and angry with myself! But I’m happy to say those bursts of irritation are fewer and farther apart. It’s a daily decision and sometimes I make the wrong one.
For example; I love being outside, surrounded by nature and away from human noise and mess. It’s so good for me, it feels like food for my soul! I’m really lucky to live in a place where the wild is a short walk away….. although sometimes that short walk is unachievable. I would get so upset and frustrated that I couldn’t make that journey to the end of the street; I would rage at myself, then become really upset, then that would make me feel worse because of all the energy those feelings used up, meaning it would be even longer until I could get out! Now, I make the most of what I can do; I go sit in my backyard and look up at the trees on the hill near my home. I listen to the birds and watch the wind blowing the leaves. If the noise of the neighbours bugs me, I pop my headphones on and listen to an audiobook or podcast or even nature recordings. It’s not perfect, but it still does wonders for my mental wellbeing and ultimately means I can get to the meadow much quicker!
I’m not going to bang on the “think positive” drum! While having a positive outlook can help generally with your emotional and physical wellbeing, it’s not a cure all. It can actually make things worse in the long run.
Refusing to acknowledge when life is hard – when you’re in pain and struggling – is harmful. Brainwashing yourself into believing “it’s all fine, everything is awesome” when your world is falling apart is unbelievably unhealthy. Looking on the bright side won’t cure you of chronic illness.
One of the most insulting things I’ve ever been told is “Maybe if you tried to think more positively, you’d get well again”. This is TOXIC POSITIVITY and it’s a load of bullshit. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Real acceptance means understanding that sometimes it’s shit. Sometimes life sucks, sometimes the pain is too much; sitting with those feelings of sadness and anger, processing them and acknowledging them is healthy and much better for you than pushing them down or locking them away!
Every journey starts with one step.
Maybe you’re reading this and a light bulb has pinged on in your head; “That’s me, I’m waging war on myself and it’s making me worse!” But you don’t know how to stop, you’ve been told to fight hard never give up. That accepting is weakness, that all you need is to keep going and have faith and never quit and one day you’ll have the life back you had before…
I see you, I get it, I was you.
The first step is the hardest. I know it’s a cliche but it really is; actually looking at yourself and acknowledging all the pain and pressure you’re putting yourself through isn’t a pleasant experience. Letting go of that ingrained warrior mindset is a daily choice; choosing to listen to what your mind and body is trying to tell you feels like starting to learn a new language from scratch! It’s difficult, and you will make mistakes.
I get it wrong every day. Whenever a new symptom pops up I lose my shit all over again! It takes me ages to accept another thing going wrong with me, so please don’t think I’ve got this on lock. I really haven’t!
Making mistakes, fucking it up, failing…. it’s how you learn. It’s okay to get it wrong. It’s not okay to give up trying to get it right! For me, being more tolerant and accepting of myself is very much two steps forward and one back; it’s a long bumpy road filled with potholes and I don’t have a map, I’m trying to walk in flip flops and I forgot my water bottle! It’s learning to do something I’ve never been shown how to do. It’s unlearning all the stuff that’s been drummed into me ever since I can remember.
It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.
I hope that sharing this has encouraged someone – even just one person – to begin to make peace with themselves. That would be a successful blog post in my book! If you’re that person, please do let me know. I’d love to keep in touch and see how you go on!
Take care Piglets, you’re all loved so very much xx
Hey lovelies, how are you all doing? I know it’s been a minute since my last post; but things have been completely mad for a long while!
When I last updated my blog, I was sharing how thrilled we were with our bedroom makeover on a budget (you can read about it here) and I was planning other DIY projects and generally looking forward to 2020!
What I couldn’t have known is all the turmoil that was about to begin – not just for me but the entire world.
As you know, my health is not great. Well to be honest it’s not even okay – it’s stinky poopy crap bleurgh! And it’s been getting even worse, with lots of new and quite frankly terrifying symptoms. Complete memory loss, “absences”, loss of muscle control, spasms and tremors and – the icing on the cake – recurrent kidney infections. My mental health hit the fan too; seeing a PTSD flare up of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks and so on. It’s been shit BUT I did the right thing and got some help.
Doctor appointments turned into Consultant meetings; scans were booked, blood was drawn (15 vials in one go, sheesh) and I had a psychiatric assessment too. Everything was plodding on thanks to the wonderful NHS – new diagnoses were almost confirmed and signed off – and then……
The world shut down.
A terrifying super virus swept across the planet, causing everything to stop. And it’s been stopped ever since; we’re in lockdown and will be for the foreseeable future. It’s a scary time for all of us.
So I figured now would be a good time to get back to blogging! I need an outlet for all the noise and chatter in my head; someone to “talk to” about my kitchen makeover, stuff I daydream about in my garden, parenting fails and triumphs with the teens…. know what I mean? If that sounds like something you’d be interested to read then stay tuned! I honestly don’t know what will be posted or when; but it will all be completely honest, unapologetic, bargain fixated and wholly me.
You know me, I love a bargain and I hate paying full price for anything! So when the Hubster and I decided we wanted to work on making our bedroom more “us” and less “white rented room” I had to harness all my money saving skills to get it done for less!
This was quite the challenge; the whole bedroom makeover was centred around a new bed – our old bed was definitely on it’s last legs after 12 years – and we all know how expensive beds can be! Especially the kind of bed we’d settled on: king size, upholstered, with storage drawers and a high headboard. Not cheap. I trawled through eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace and found nothing. We tried local secondhand furniture shops and stalls, charity shops and Gumtree. Nothing, zilch, zip.
Brilliant, budget friendly beds do exist!
One day whilst scrolling through an Instagram interior design hashtag I came across Arista Living – or rather I saw someone I follow raving about this great bed they’d bought AND they were sharing a 50% off code! My bargain alarm was screeching BUT I needed more information first. So I scoped Arista Living out; I trawled through reviews, other accounts recommending them and so on until I was convinced to give them a go – and I’m so glad I did! Their website is ridiculously simple to use; with just 3 clicks I designed our ideal bed, then at the checkout I popped in the 50% off code and it worked! We got a king size, 4 drawer, grey upholstered bed with a tall headboard for under £290 including rapid delivery. When it arrived, the Hubster and my son put it up while I supervised using the easy to follow instructions et voila! Dream bed goal achieved.
If you’re looking for a new bed, I would really recommend giving Arista Living a try. The bed we bought is amazing quality – and I spend most of my life in bed so it’s been put to the test – and the customer service was incredible too. I had 4 emails to update me on my order progress, then on delivery day there were several contacts to ensure everything went smoothly. I cannot big them up enough! And, cos I wouldn’t let you down, here’s 50% off for you with code wholly50 so you too can enjoy that wondrous smugness of knowing you got a cracking deal. Act quick, it expires on 27th February!
I love it when a plan comes together.
The next thing on our schedule was to find the right paint. We decided on a shade from Farrow & Ball – Vardo – however F&B paints are quite pricey. A friend recommended Decorating Centre Online, they offer a colour-match service on their website and their prices are very competitive. Our paint cost £13.99 for 1 litre, and we used under half that.
Next up was storage solutions; we’re really lucky to have built in shelves in our attic bedroom, however they tend to get disorganised and messy very easily. We wanted some matching storage boxes, however a lot of the options were just too expensive – especially as we needed 6 altogether! Again after an afternoon of internet browsing, we stumbled upon the sale at The Range and found the perfect storage baskets for just £3 each. Amazing right? We also picked up a faux fur throw, a soft pink throw, two cushions and two bedside lamps on their website – all in the sale. The lamps were the biggest bargain, just £12 for both, down from £19.99 for one. Bloody brilliant!
Our local B&M provided the remaining cushions we wanted, as well as some bits and bobs. We sourced our wall art from a small online business with a 10% off code, and our faux sheepskin rugs had 25% off on Amazon. Because my house is basically an indoor jungle, we moved some of our plants into the bedroom – so that was technically free. Oh yeah, I made the macrame hangers for the plants from rope I already had, so that’s free too!
A final bargain brag….
I forgot to mention/brag about the beautiful bedding set I found. I love linen, I really do. My dream bed set is blush coloured linen, all crinkly and soft and gorgeous. My bank account however has nightmares at the thought of it. I was googling “navy bedding king size” when a result from Online Home Shop popped up. Linen effect, deep navy king size bedding for £10.99, sounds too good to be true…. To be honest, at that price I wasn’t expecting anything fancy you know? But what we got…. wow. The quality is wonderful, the colour so rich (and it doesn’t fade in the wash) and the fabric is so soft and light but warm at the same time…. just perfect. My son loves it so much he’s asked for the same bedding – but in grey – for his room makeover!
There we have it, the great brag-a-thon about my beautiful bargain bedroom! I feel like we managed to achieve a luxury, boutique hotel kind of vibe on a shoestring. Altogether, including a new king size bed, we spent £428.97 and I think that’s pretty bloody brilliant – especially as our total budget was just £500.
The next room on my list is my 14 year old son’s and to be honest I’m pretty excited; he really loves chic, minimal Scandinavian style whereas I’m a raving bohemian maximalist – so it’s going to be a huge challenge! Of course I’ll be sharing what happens, as well as any budget friendly finds, along the way both here and on my Instagram.
Have you got any big room makeover plans in 2020? I would love to hear all about them!
*DISCLOSURE* this post contains affiliate links which I will receive a small commission from*
If you follow me on Instagram – and if you don’t now’s a great time to start – you’ve no doubt already seen these glorious golden bars of deliciousness! I wasn’t surprised when so many folks asked for the recipe; and I’m certainly not one to judge if there was any phone screen licking action going on…. you should see me with pictures of Jason Momoa!
These blondies are such an easy, inexpensive bake that they’re a regular favourite in our house. I can manage to make them with only minimal help from Ed or the kids (me and oven gloves don’t get on, they hide and I forget them). IF you have any leftovers, they keep nicely in a cake tin/airtight box for about a week. You can also freeze them for three months; just cut into bars, cool completely, then wrap in grease proof paper and store in a freezer safe box/bag.
Without further ado……
200g light soft brown sugar
75g margarine or unsalted butter
1 large egg
0.25 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
0.5 teaspoon baking powder
125g plain flour
0.5 tablespoon vanilla extract
200 – 250g fillings of choice (for this batch I used 2 bags choc chips and 50g chopped pecans)
Pre-heat your oven to 175c and place the shelf in the middle. Line an 8 inch square baking tin with aluminium foil, making sure you leave an over hang at the edges to lift out your bake.
Melt the butter/margarine over a low heat until just liquid – no bubbling!
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a manual/electric whisk) combine the sugar, vanilla and egg until creamy.
Add the melted butter with the whisk running *DO NOT ADD RED HOT BUTTER, YOU WILL HAVE GROSS SCRAMBLED EGGS!*
While this is mixing, combine your baking powder and bicarb with your flour (I usually put it all in my weighing scale dish)
Beating between each addition, add the flour in 3 parts. When the last batch of flour is added, beat until just combined.
Fold in your fillings. It will be very thick and chunky! Transfer to your prepared tin and spread/squish out as evenly as you can.
Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. You’re looking for a golden crust to form around the edges and on the top.
Once baked USING OVEN GLOVES DEE remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for a few minutes. Then lift out of the tin using the foil over hang and place back on the rack to cool further.
While the blondie is still slightly warm, cut it into pieces that suit you… or don’t cut it at all, I’m not here to tell you what to eat!
Fantastic fillings to try.
If you don’t like choc chips and pecans, there are literally bajillions of filling options for these blondies! I’ve made Fudge bar blondies, Twix blondies, Oreo blondies, Bourbon biscuit blondies, Caramac blondies…….. the only limit is your imagination! I think next I’m going to have a go with Curly Wurly, or maybe Rolos, or maybe Dime Bars!
What would your dream blondie filling combo be? Let me know in the comments below! And if you do decide to go for it and bake your own Chunky Chewy Blondies please tag me on social media so I can see your creations…. and maybe lick my phone screen.
Before I get into this, please let me just say; there is nothing wrong with disability/chronic illness blogs or content. I follow and read and enjoy lots of chronic illness and disabled creators online and I enjoy what they do. So when you’re reading below, please just keep in mind that there’s no shade being thrown by me!
I Am Disabled.
There, I said it. It’s the truth, it’s out there, it’s real. Like many disabled folk I have multiple complex diagnoses and my life is a juggling act of managing these conditions as well as the various side effects of medications and as yet undiagnosed conditions. It actually SUCKS.
Chronic illnesses are like Pokemon – you gotta catch em all! Seriously though, once you get labelled with one, it’s not so long until more follow until you have a whole deck of them! Currently mine are;
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E) – imagine the worst bout of flu you have ever had – you know, aching in your bones, so exhausted you can barely hold up your own head, tired just from breathing – and then imagine living with that EVERY DAY.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – my right knee is agonisingly painful all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, constantly. In a nutshell; there’s been extensive trauma to my knee over the last 20 years which resulted in my brain believing it should be in pain. so even though it’s actually pretty stable now, my brain manufactures pain signals in my knee, resulting in misfiring nerves and a whole lot of suffering.
Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS) – my joints are very bendy and slippy, which causes multiple partial and complete dislocations every week. this is part of the reason my knee is such a mess!
Fibromyalgia – similar to M.E with added “bonus features” such as brain fog (forgetting how to speak, what I’m doing etc), widespread bone deep pain and swelling, sore joints, headaches and on and on. Personally, I believe Fibromyalgia and M.E are the same thing.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) – my heart has trouble pumping blood to the right places, often blood pools in my extremities. When I stand, my heart rate accelerates rapidly, to try pump blood to where it needs to be. This means there’s not enough of the red stuff in my brain, causing dizziness and fainting.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD) – I had an abusive childhood as well as many medical traumas which have all become embedded in me as trauma. Complex PTSD is not the same as the type you nay have heard of, it is extremely difficult to treat. Symptoms include flashbacks, audio and visual hallucinations, nightmares, black out episodes, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Slow Transit Bowel Disorder – without getting into the gory details, I can’t poop often. like once every 9 days is good for me. Yep it sucks.
Those are the diagnosed ones, my official list if you will. I’m currently under investigation for Endometriosis, Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and heart murmurs.
Why don’t I want to write about it?
As I’m sure you can imagine, these illnesses dominate my life. As much as I refuse to be defined by my disabilities I still cannot control the variable impact they have on me day to day. I wanted to write and create and share about everything and anything in my world other than my conditions – because it really is so much more than a list of ailments!
During the last month, my health has taken a sharp downturn and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my blog as well as thinking about what i want to achieve in the future. I don’t write regularly and the reason is because I’m trying to avoid writing about my disabilities (which affect me every single day) I’m left with little to actually write about, as well as little energy to create with!
I still believe that my life is much richer and vibrant than a dull list of medical problems and I will always seek to share all those moments and adventures, however I finally realised that I can’t write and build a successful online platform without including my health. As well as it being virtually impossible to separate the two, it’s also struck me as being disingenuous and I always strive to be honest and open.
So what can you expect from me in future?
More – more content, more creativity, more honesty, more sharing! I want to stress again – my life and my blog aren’t defined by my illnesses. I still love interior design, upcycle projects, nature and creating community and all those things plus more will still be here! There’s just going to be more than the occasional vague reference to me not feeling well, that’s all. Because I don’t occasionally feel vaguely unwell, it’s an every day battle and one I sometimes find hard to keep winning!
What about you? Perhaps you’re a disabled person yourself? Or maybe you’ve never heard of any of my diagnoses? What would you like to see from my blog/social media in future? Here’s a sneaky hint…. keep your eyes peeled for our latest colourful home creation….. coming soon!
Eddie and I are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary this year! I know it’s a cliche, but it really doesn’t feel as though all of that time has passed. I still get weak in the knees when he smiles at me, and my tummy does that weird flip flop feeling when I see him approach. Yes, I am disgustingly in love with my man – and I’m not apologising for it! We met when I was just 16 and he was 20 – at his girlfriend’s house – and the spark was there from the beginning for us both. We had an ill fated fling and I moved away so we lost touch. Three years later there was a knock at my front door; standing in the pouring rain with a his crinkly eyed grin was Eddie! I hugged him so tight, my bare feet freezing and my clothes getting soaked and my heart full to bursting. He came in to my home, and he never left. We were married just 6 weeks later. I was 19 years old, he was 23. Nobody believed we would make it past two months – nobody except us, and we were right!
Marriage isn’t always easy.
We were very young when we got married and we both had a lot of growing up to do. We both had tumultuous childhoods that still affected us; we were both broken and trying to help each other heal, and even with the best intentions things can and do go very wrong along the way. Our first years together were not rose tinted and lovey dovey!
We had our second child when I was 21 and shortly after his birth I began to behave strangely. Things escalated rapidly and I was placed on a psychiatric ward for my own protection. I had developed puerperal psychosis a rare form of serious post natal depression and I was very very poorly. Before I was diagnosed, the illness caused me to do things I never normally would do……. things that almost cost me my marriage. In fact, when I was discharged from the hospital I had to go live in a hostel for a while as Eddie wasn’t sure what to do for our future. I was heartbroken; a constant physical ache in my chest would keep me awake at night, it would worsen whenever I heard his voice on the phone or when I went to see my children. I knew why it was happening and didn’t hold anything against Eddie at all, it just hurt so much.
I still remember the day he told me he wanted to give our marriage another try. He was standing by the fireplace and I was sat with our girl on my knee reading her a book. He looked over at me and said “I’ve been thinking, and I want you to move back in. I’m still in love with you, I can’t stop thinking about you and I want you to come home. Please will you come back?”
Since then we have had our ups and downs like any couple, but we have always stayed together. Marriage isn’t always easy – but if you both continue to choose each other over all else, there’s usually a way through any problems.
Is there a secret to a successful marriage?
The short answer is NO. Except it’s not really that simple, is it? Everybody is different; we all carry our own baggage with us and that affects our relationships with everybody around us. It’s difficult to take responsibility and ownership for your mistakes – especially when they are caused by external issues such as trauma, health struggles etc – but being willing to apologise and learn from mistakes is kind of a big deal for the health of a relationship.
I saw a shirt design a while ago, it said willing to be wrong; and as much as I think I am always right, I know I make a mess sometimes. What matters is what I do with it and how I clean it up afterwards!
I think I will write some more posts about marriage/relationships in future. Obviously I’m not an expert and don’t pretend to be; however the added challenges of being married young, having teenage kids, disability and carer/care receiver dynamics aren’t covered generally by a lot of relationship blogs I’ve read over the years!
Is there anything you would like me to include in future ponderings on relationships? Perhaps you have some advice for me – I bloody love hearing how other folks handle hurdles in their love life! Please do let me know in the comments below, or if you wish to keep your question private then please email me instead,