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Friday, 19 June 2020

Comforting Soft and Chewy Flapjacks Recipe


soft flapjacks

Since spending more time at home, I've been on a baking craze. This is my favourite basic flapjack recipe for making soft yet chewy golden flapjacks. These are truly the melt in your mouth kind! Not guilt free, but a lovely sweet treat to share with loved ones over a cup of tea.

Ingredients

250g porridge oats
185g baking margarine
100g light brown sugar
100g golden syrup

Equipment you'll need

1x 20x30cm baking tray
1x medium saucepan
A wooden spoon
Baking paper
Weighing scales

Prep time: 10 mins
Baking time: 20 mins
Oven setting: 160 degrees or gas mark 3


Instructions


Firstly, line your tin with baking paper. I cut diagonal slits in each corner of the baking paper (about the same depth as the tin) so that it can be easily folded to fit the shape of the tin. Before you start preparing, be sure to set your oven to 160 degrees. 

In a large saucepan, melt the 185g baking margarine, 100g light brown sugar, and 100g of golden syrup. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until melted. Once melted, take the saucepan off the heat and fold in your 250g porridge oats. Once fully bound together, pour out the mixture evenly into your tin and spread evenly with the back of your wooden spoon or spatula.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. When ready, take them out of the oven and allow the flapjacks to cool before cutting into squares.

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Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Peony Perfection | My Care Tips & Tricks for Cut Peonies

peony flower

peonies


Peony season is my favourite floral event of the year. It's an absolute pleasure to have these big blooms grace our home and gardens, if only for a few short months. It feels like an annual celebration of what the world can offer and I am always truly sad to see it pass.

From buds to blooms


Before they go for another year, I thought I'd pull together my top tips for how I get the most out of my cut peonies. If you've bought or grown peonies before, you'll know they begin as tightly formed buds, typically covered in a little sap. Within a few days, they'll begin to blossom into big bountiful blooms and give you the biggest surprise. Peony buds can actually expand 3x the size of the bud once fully opened up. Don't worry if the buds have a few dark spots or look a little stained, this is completely normal. You can encourage your buds to open if you're growing impatient by gently wiping the sap off with a damp cloth and placing in a warmer sunnier spot.

Keep them for longer


Although stunning, peonies tend to last for around 5 days or more once cut and placed in an arrangement. To help your peonies last longer, keep them cool in cold water when you first bring them home or cut them from your garden. Prepare them for arranging by stripping the leaves below the waterline or further up depending on your desired style. Cut the stems 3-5cm from the bottom in a diagonal chop. This will help the peonies absorb more water as soon as they get put into the vase. After three days, trim the stems down a few cm again and top up the water. Remove any petals that may look brown, dead or mushy as these will rapidly encourage your peonies to go over.

Clean vases for happier blooms


Ensure you have a clean vase ready as any bacteria may cause the peonies to die off quicker than normal. Fill your vase with cool water and mix in flower food to give the flowers the best chance for surviving indoors for longer.

Where to buy?


You could partner your peonies with other flowers, such as roses, lisianthus, or freesias for a seasonal bouquet or enjoy them as a stand alone statement. You can usually buy peonies in the supermarket with your weekly shop but if you're currently unable to go due to the lockdown rules, you can also order them as letterbox delivered flowers online from websites such as Bloom&Wild. For £10 off your first Bloom&Wild order, click here.


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Sunday, 3 May 2020

How I Stay Fit and Motivated at Home

Since having to turn our homes into libraries, offices, yoga studios and gyms all in one go, it's harder than ever to stay fit and motivated at home. If you're looking for ways to stay active indoors or if you're a fellow gym-goer who's now needing to get creative to stay active, I can help. First of all, plan your day. Filling your time, goal setting, and sticking to your schedule will lead you to feel more productive and satisfied. While planning my own day at home, I factor in the following points to keep me active and feeling energised...
stay fit at home

Morning Yoga


Every morning, I'll lay out my yoga mat in my living room. I'll ask Alexa to play calming music and I'll stretch my body into yoga poses. I typically do this for 30 minutes, sometimes longer or sometimes less. Some days, you'll feel a lot more able than others - able to spend more time, able to feel the stretch, or able to hold that pose for a little longer. Don't let this stop you, because it is completely normal and the more you practice the more you'll improve in the longer term. Adding yoga into your morning routine gently wakes up your body, it frees your mind for motivation, and it sets a positive tone for your day. 

cobra yoga pose

yoga stretch

Practice Mindfulness


I'm sure we can all count times in the past few weeks where we have felt completely overwhelmed by everything that's going on around us. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my worries, I'll set aside five minutes to focus on my breathing and calm my mind. My favourite way to do this is to sit cross legged on the floor. Place your hands comfortably out in front of you or softly place them on your knees. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold that breath for two seconds, then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes, allowing your mind to solely focus on your breathing. Once you feel ready to return to your day in a calmer state, open your eyes and slowly come out of the position. After doing this exercise, take note of how you felt before and after. Be sure to set aside time for it in your daily schedule.

mindfulness practice pose

Workout at Home


Working out makes you feel active and alive, it's no different when you're doing it at home. After finishing my tasks for the day, I'll change back into my favourite activewear outfit and conduct a home workout. Bodyweight exercises and abs circuits are excellent if you don't have much equipment at home. If you have resistance bands or weights, use them! Alternatively, don't feel afraid to get creative, a water bottle makes for a great dumbbell substitute. If you're feeling stuck for motivation, play your favourite workout playlist and plan your workout like you do your daily tasks. Ticking exercises off as you go is a great way to feel fulfilled and proud of yourself for getting your sweat on!

bicep curl exercise

home workouts

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