Easter Brownie Recipe

**WARNING – This post is all about filthy gooey chocolate**

With Easter fast approaching I wanted to bake an extra special treat for the family. This indulgent chocolate Easter brownie is perfect and totally delicious and rich. The gooey fudginess is mouth watering.

They easy to make, I made them with the helping hands from the boys. They followed the instructions that were given to them, measuring and stirring and I think that there may have been the odd lick here and there, and a lot of hand washing in between. Honestly, how do children think they can get away with sneakily taking a lick of the chocolate batter when:

  • one, they have the evidence to show around their mouth
  • and two, they seem to forget that us adults were once children ourselves

Getting the children involved just makes the baking a lot more fun. Not only are they learning a life skill, but they are also learning maths with the measuring and timings. And, it gives them a sense of pride when they see the finished product.

The trick to producing that fudge like consistency to your brownie is to take it out of the oven when they are slightly underdone, the brownie should have a little wobble to it in the middle.

You can’t bake a brownie and walk away to do another job, you have to be close by and keep checking on it. They don’t take long to bake, depending on the thickness of your brownie. The thicker they are, the longer they will need in the oven.

I found this recipe on bbc good food, but slightly tweaked it.

Easter Gooey Brownie

An indulgent chocolate fudge brownie topped with easter eggs

Ingredients

  • 250 g Caster Sugar
  • 180 g Dark Chocolate the darker the better. Cut into chunks
  • 180 g Unsalted Butter
  • 85 g Plain Flour
  • 40 g Cacoa Powder Organic
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Fondant Filled Eggs any size. I used 2 small packets
  • Mini Chocolate Eggs extra for decorating

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 180c/160c . Grease a tin/silicone square baking case with some butter.

  2. Put the butter and chocolate chunks into a heat proof bowl and melt. You can do this over a hot pan of boiling water or in the microwave. If using the microwave, remember to keep an eye on it. We used the microwave for about 45 seconds at 15 second intervals. Stir the butter and chocolate together and it will soon melt. Leave to one side to cool.

  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add in the caster sugar. Combine well until you have a creamy consistency. I used the electric mixer.

  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture and fold together. Add in the honey.

  5. Sieve in the flour and cacao powder and combine by folding it together. Add in some of your chocolate eggs.

  6. Pour into your square tin.

  7. Place into the heated oven for about 20-30 minutes. Depending on the size of your baking case and thickness of your brownie. The thicker it is the longer it may need.

  8. Cut your fondant eggs in half. After the brownie has been baking for 20 minutes take it out of the oven and place your fondant eggs on top. Poke them into the mixture so that the fondant part is showing. Add on all of the other chocolate eggs that you have too.

  9. Take out of the oven once the outer side is baked but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Just slightly undercooked. Mine needed another 15 minutes of cooking

  10. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes and then place into the fridge to firm for another 30 minutes

  11. You can now decorate as you wish. Cut into small squares. Enjoy!

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A Visit to Highgate East Cemetery, London

A family walk around a cemetery may seem like a little odd thing to do but Highgate is no ordinary Cemetery, it’s quirkiness and the nature that surrounds it makes it one of the most beautiful resting places in the country. It is one of the earliest private garden cemeteries in England.

Highgate Cemetery is split into two, with a road dividing both. You can wander around the east side by yourselves but access to the west side is by tour only.

A visit here has been on my list of places to visit for a while now and last weekend the boys and I managed a trip over there. We didn’t get to access the West side but we did get to go into the East side and have a wander about. The East cemetery is home to some of the illustrious figures of the nineteenth century, you will find many famous names, along with some interesting graves. It’s a place to remember the people have passed but also for us to celebrate their achievements.

The most famous person who resides in the East side is Karl Marx; the German philosopher, economist, sociologist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary.

Entry into Highgate East Cemetery is via a booth, where you pay adult entry fee only and pick up a map. The map has all of the notable graves marked on along with a list and what they were famous for, it’s clear and easy to follow. This means that you can walk around at your own pace.

As soon as you enter you get that feeling of calm and peacefulness. It’s a place that you can escape the noise pollution from beyond the gates and quickly immerse yourself within the tranquil surroundings.

We walked around admiring the memorials; not seeing a graveyard but looking at the art and the beauty of it all. Highgate Cemetery is a quintessential piece of victorian architecture.

There are many residents from all walks of life here; from political activists, designers, Tv stars and novelists. These include the author Douglas Adams, the Tv presenter Jeremy Beadle, Pop artist Patrick Caulfield and novelist George Elliot.

Although the Cemetery is a famous popular tourist attraction it is still a living Cemetery and are open for new burials. Known as one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’, a series of victorian burial grounds within the inner city, Highgate is, without a doubt, a secret London attraction.

Highgate Cemetery West is now on my next place to visit, although this time I shall return with just the eldest and myself. This part of Highgate can only be viewed by tour guides and is where you can see the Egyptian Avenue, Lebanon Circle and Terrace Catacombs.

This is definitely a place that we will be visiting again in the warmer months and not on a wet, drizzly February day.

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Meet Our New Family Member

Introducing a new pet

Last weekend we went to meet a man about a dog, literally! Well, not a man but a lady. A friend had put onto social media that they were looking for a family to take on their Greyhound. The lady was a Greyhound racer and the dog wasn’t getting on well with chasing the hare so she had decided to find a home for her.

A few months ago, we had decided as a family that we would like to introduce a new pet to the home. It is something that we have talked about for years but have never actually done anything about it. After many conversations and taking to google on searching what type of dogs would suit our family we had come to the conclusion that we would look into rehoming a Border Collie.

Dog Rescue

After passing our home visit we arranged a day and time that we could visit a rescue centre that mainly rehomed Border Collies or Sheepdogs, this place was over 130 miles away. On the day, we packed up the car and took to the long journey ready to find our forever pet. The children were excited and couldn’t wait to meet some dogs. Unfortunately, after meeting a handful of dogs we hadn’t found a dog that seemed to be just right for us. The centre showed us a few pups and we said that we wasn’t really interested in puppies and one of the dogs didn’t even want our boys near him. We were then introduced to a female dog who was lovely but was very scared of the boys. Not one of the dogs we saw was a Border Collie. Disheartened, we drove away without a dog.

In the following weeks, we talked about wether we should get a dog or not and come to the conclusion that we will keep looking but more locally to out home.

Meeting Suzie

A couple of weeks ago, My partner saw a post on Facebook about a Greyhound needing to be rehomed. The post was from someone he had known for a while, since school. Last Sunday we drove to Ware, Hertfordshire to a Greyhound Trainers home where they had loads of dogs that they trained for racing. They had a few that were being rehomed due to retiring from racing. Suzie was brought out to us and she instantly made her way over to the boys. She was quiet and seemed to be scared of us, but we was reassured that that was just her nature. So after a little walk around and some bonding time with her we decided to take the plunge and take her home with us. Suzie is 17 months old, so a little young for retirement but she didn’t race that much as she just didn’t take to chasing the hare and didn’t show much interest in racing.

Suzie becomes Luna

We soon found out that Suzie wouldn’t come when we called her name and she showed no response at all whenever we mentioned he name. After calling out a few names to her she eventually came running to us when we called Luna. Suzie was her racing name and I don’t think it had been used that much. So Suzie became Luna. Her ears prick up when we call her and she runs from room to room whenever she hears her name. Luna just suits her more.

Settling in

Luna seems to have settled in well, it’s all new to her but also to us. We haven’t owned a dog in a long time. It will be learning curve for all of us. Luna hasn’t spent time in a home so she needs to learn what home life is like. As soon as we introduced her to her bed she soon took ownership of it and now spends most of her time on (when she isn’t lounging on my sofa, that it!)

What we have learned so far

  • She doesn’t know how to sit (we are training her with treats)
  • Her favourite toy is a teddy
  • Luna loves to have cereal for breakfast
  • She adores the boys but especially loves to play with the youngest
  • She will snatch clothing and take it to her bed
  • Snacks will be taken and she will only eat them on her bed or outside
  • She will just lay on her bed watching tv
  • Walks on the lead but likes to run off lead
  • Luna knows that the front door is the way out for a walk
  • Doesn’t bark but does whine
  • Is quickly learning that if she stands by the back door then she will be let out into the garden
  • Loves to play with a football
  • Enjoys running around with the children
  • Will only do her toilet in the garden and not when out on her walk
  • Is already learning the routine of early morning walks and waits by the door for me
  • Sniffs a lot
  • Loves to sit on the sofa when we are not around
  • A bit weary of the stairs and hasn’t quite ventured up the stairs but is showing interest of going up
  • Sleeps all night in her bed (probably on the sofa too, as soon as she knows that we are asleep)
  • Loves a treat

When we first took her out on a walk, Luna had no idea! She would cut you up – walking from the left to the right. Now she walks by our sides and waits when we tell her to at the roadside and comes when given the order.

We are extremely happy that Luna is no longer a racing dog but now a member of our family

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Winter Lights Festival at Canary Wharf

Immersive shows

For the sixth year Canary Wharf, London is welcoming the return of the award-winning Winter Lights, where the area is transformed by 26 spectacular Light installations.

This wonderful spectacular event is free to attend and is only showcased for a fortnight, ending this weekend 25th January 2020.

Finding your way around

We wandered up to the city On Sunday to see the Winter Lights glow up the surrounding area with immersive light displays and exhibitions.

The best time to visit the displays is from 4pm, the earlier the better as the crowds do start to build up later on in the evening. We downloaded the map from Canary Wharf website to help us to navigate our way around but there are stewards dotted around the area that hand out a paper map too. This was far better for us as the children got to choose where they wanted to go.

The map not only shows you where the light displays are but also where you can find a toilet, parking, information, street food and train/tfl stations.

On the back of the map there are pictures that show you what each display or exhibition looks like along with the title and where they are.

Light installations and interactive art

The Winter Light Festival showcases light art and interactive installations by some of the most innovative artists across the globe working in light art today. Alongside some favourites that have been shown before are some newly commissioned artworks that have never been seen in the UK before. Some of the exhibitions can be seen for afar and some will allow you to get up close and interact with.

You are advised that the whole event should take about 90 minutes to walk around, but I would give yourself longer if you really want to experience it all and just enjoy the atmosphere.

My children and I didn’t manage to get round all of the displays, as some of them had huge queues, like the Luma Paint Light Graffiti and Sky On Earth. This is because they are interactive exhibitions.

A favourite of ours was the Constellation display, the children and I were mesmerised

https://youtu.be/swaYuIFaJGc

As you can see the displays make great photo opportunities.

We thoroughly enjoyed what we managed to see at the Winter Lights Festival and will definitely be visiting again next year.

Just remember if you are going to attend to wrap up warm, maybe pack a few snacks as the street food, as tasty as it was, is quite expensive and not to forget your camera.

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My Child’s Modelling experience with Burberry

Just under a year ago an email landed in my inbox from my son’s modelling agency with regards to a high end fashion brand requesting up to date pictures of my boy. They were seeking pictures without him smiling. We took some photos and didn’t think anything of it. Two days later I received an email back from the agency stating that the client would like to book my son for a campaign that they were doing in January 2019. They wanted to meet with him before they were going to confirm a booking. The meeting didn’t go ahead as planned so they requested more pictures instead, which we sent over.

In December the client confirmed my Son for the modelling job. We put in for his licence just before the Christmas holidays as the job was at the end of January

It was all very exciting as he had never done modelling before. He had been featured on a few adverts, so had experience with acting but had never done a stills shoot.

Over the Christmas holidays he lost his first tooth, we was really worried that he would be dropped from the shoot because of it. We contacted the agency and was asked to send over pictures of his gappy smile. We needn’t have worried so much about it as they went ahead with the booking.

With the School letter signed and authorised for a day off we soon had a licence and was all booked in for the shoot. Nan was going to take him to it as both myself and dad had to work. My son was very excited and really looking forward to the shoot.

He spent the day the day in a country stately home with lots of other children of different ages being photographed in their clothes.

Photos from the first SS19 campaign

Since that booking he has had a further 6 jobs with Burberry; one more campaign shoot and the rest ecomm (which are photos for the website).

2019 was a successful year for my son with his modelling, especially with Burberry. He has had lots of fun on set but also struck up relationships with the team. Every shoot he has had with them he has been welcomed and treated like a professional.

As modelling involves being around lots of people, it has helped my son gain confidence in himself, he now understands and has developed a positive work ethic. He has never been made to feel rejected by anyone or felt pressurised to do something that he is not comfortable doing. Over the year I have witnessed my son grow from a young shy boy who would hide behind my legs to being a confident boy who is happy to socialise with young and old without me being by his side.

I always love to watch him whilst he is on set to see how much he changes for others, he listens to direction well and always does as he is told. Yes, he has his moments just like any child does, he can mess around and get a little silly at times but once its out of his system he gets right back into the job in hand. He has a laugh with the team and they always tease him about pinching his sweets. I am quite amazed at how they manage to get him to stand still, I may have to ask for some tips next time he does some modelling.

I am looking forward to seeing what this year may bring to him. He may not get another booking and if he doesn’t that is fine but here’s hoping that this may just be the beginning of a new adventure for him.

Photographs have been taken from the Burberry Website and Pinterest Site

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