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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Freedom! Of Sorts...

AS Level mocks are over! Another year, another set of pretty meaningless exams I just didn't revise for...

The second our Spanish exam finished, my teacher told us she had emailed us all with an essay in for Tuesday! Just as we thought we'd gotten away with a lazy 3 day weekend... It'll be quite a busy three days; got to perfect two english pieces of coursework, and now write a spanish essay! Then a driving lesson and babysitting tomorrow, having a trial shift at work on Saturday and seeing my boyfriend on Sunday, should be a good one! Plus, on Monday, I have a concert at school!

I'm so glad mocks are over, everyone did so much revision whilst I sat listening (and learning off by heart...) the songs from the American Graffiti soundtrack - my favourites have got to include: Ya Ya - Lee Dorsey, That'll be the Day - Buddy Holly and Teen Angel - Mark Dinning. Gotta love the old school classics!

For tonight, I'm going to snuggle up in my dragon Kigu, bop around on Stumbleupon, and admire my new disco pants - watch this space for a post showing them off!


What are you planning for this weekend?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Febstagram

Roses from my mum, New shoes!, Monday blues,
Valentine's day, Spotty new shirt, Cookie dough time,
Job interview selfie, Brownies, OPI Nail Varnish!

Follow me on Instagram @phoebebrock

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick in Bewitching Coral


This lipstick shade, from Max Factor, is a brilliantly bright pink, with hints of orange/coral. It has a slight shine to it, and glides onto the lips smoothly. It has no glitter particles, and is almost matte. It is long lasting, I wore it to my 17th birthday party and it lasted all night! Priced at £7.99, it isn't too expensive, and for the quality of the product it's a reasonable price.


  I love this lipstick, although I doubt I could brave wearing it during the day time! It's very bright and eye-catching, however I did find the coral in the lipstick led to my teeth looking a little yellower.

Not quite Cara Delevigne, but I try my best...

What's your favourite lipstick?

Friday, 22 February 2013

American-style Brownies


So, I've had to make a few minor changes to my lent... Previously, it was that I would give up all unhealthy things. Seeing as this is utter torture, and being away from baking is really boring, I've decided to keep giving up unhealthy things, but I'm allowing myself to eat thing I've baked. To celebrate my return to all things brilliant, I made some brownies. 



After extensive, mouthwatering research I decided to make them following a recipe from the amazing Smitten Kitchen blog (American-version recipe is here). They came out very fudge-y, with a thick, rich texture and a nice hardened crust. They aren't quite as chocolatey as I would have liked, although I am used to quite bitter, more English-style brownies. Even my mum ate more than one!

Recipe, adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

170g dark cooking chocolate
170g butter
150g plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder
425g caster sugar
4 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 160oC and line a 9in x 9in baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over a pan of almost-boiling water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. 
  4. When the chocolate and butter is fully melted, whisk the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs, one by one, and the vanilla, until fully mixed together. Slowly fold in the flour with a rubber spatula (not a whisk), being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray, and bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes. I had to turn the oven up to 170oC for the final 5 minutes, as mine didn't seem to be baking. When a sharp knife/skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out almost clean, they should be cooked.
  6. Leave to cool (or eat them straight away - no one will blame you).

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A Parisian Pipe Dream

Earlier today, whilst procrastinating from doing any revision, I was flicking through the Financial Times Magazine when I stumbled upon a page about the re-vamp of eclairs in Paris. After reading the article, I have been inspired to whisk myself away to Paris for a day to buy eclairs, macaroons and as many truffles as can fit in my bag. However, it would appear I am currently a little too poor to afford the Eurostar return trip.


My mother, being the creative genius that she is, decided to egg me on in this pursuit of Parisian ecstasy, and found two books filled from cover to cover with beautiful pictures of patisseries a Paris. 


After reading and re-reading the books (or, in the case of the Japanese book, drooling over the pictures), I have decided it would be very beneficial to my appetite to take a lonely day trip to Paris. If you book far enough in advance, the Eurostar even let you get a £66 return ticket, which I may just have to book... 


I have visited Paris a few times before, with my mum and on a disastrous school exchange. I stayed a week with the most draining, timid Parisian girl you could have dreamt of. The experience really put me off Paris, and France in general, but since taking my French GCSE (A* thank you very much) I have re-discovered the beauty of Paris, and the incredible food to be found within.


I really want to visit L'eclair de Genie, L'atelier de l'eclair, Angelina, Le Bon Marche and countless other patisseries. I better start saving, or this trip will remain a pipe dream for far too long.




Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lent

And so it begins... (well, it began yesterday)

46 days of pure, self-inflicted torture. Me, being the absolute cretin I am, have decided to give up all stereotypically unhealthy food, e.g. cake, biscuits, crisps.

Second day in, and I'm already dying. I think this definitely has something to do with the fact my brother and sister turn 20 today (14th February) and so I came home from school to find not one, but two delicious cakes sitting on the table. This is horrible.

Sadly, I have a messed up relationship with food, and so this is starting to cause me psychological pain. I don't know if I can realistically get through the next 44 days without any unhealthy food, especially as I have half term next week and I have to revise for my AS mocks - everyone needs some chocolate during that kind of stress!

I will have to try my best to power on through, with possibly the occasional breaking of my lent... Luckily, I'm not religious in any way (I'm still unsure as to why I force myself to do lent) so hopefully there will be no repercussions on my conscience!

Have you given anything up for lent?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Smartie Cookies


My favourite, favourite cookies ever are definitely these Smartie Cookies. Made from a recipe in Eat Me! by 'Cookie Girl' (aka Xanthe Milton), they are pretty much perfect: White chocolate? Check; Smarties? Check; Chewy yet crisp biscuit? Check. They are really simple to make, and are a big hit with all my family and friends, resulting in them being possibly my most-often baked item! 




I apologise for the poor quality of the photographs, the light was horrendous and so I had to lighten them on iPhoto, without the best of results... Also, before I had a chance to photograph all 18 of them, my soon-to-be-20-year-old brother came home from university and demolished many, causing me to hide the last 7 to take some photos!



What is your favourite thing to bake? Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Summer 2012

So in summer, I went to Portugal with two friends (seen in the group shots), Spain with two other friends (no pics of them here sadly) and Reading Festival with many friends. It was a good summer!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Chocolate Blues

Me, being the massive moron that I am, decided it would be a good idea to give something up each month of 2013, starting with chocolate in January. I struggled through the whole 31 days without touching even the merest morsel of chocolate, and come February 1st I thought I had died and gone to a very chocolately heaven. To celebrate my return to the world of all things incredible, chocolate buns (aka cupcakes) were made.




The star of the show

Please excuse the shoddy photography, these were taken at about 8pm so the light wasn't too good, and my hands were pretty shaky from the excitement of being able to eat chocolate in the next few hours.

Also, if you read this, please leave a comment or something to let me know you're here :)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Janstagram

Top L-R: Orange Mouth, Topshop Nails in AWOL, Scrabble Mug, Selfie with Ralph,
Heartbooth P, Sad Face, Sister's Shoes, Letter from a Friend, Driving

Follow me on Instagram: @phoebebrock

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