Monday 25 March 2013

How to: bake chili chocolate brownies

I've had brownies on the brain since making my rolo chocolate brownie cake last month... they are just so quick and easy to do!

So here's a recipe for brownies with a bit of a kick! You'll need the following ingredients:

  • 75g plain flour
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g plain chocolate
  • 100g chili chocolate
  • half a red chili
  • 75g chopped almonds

Start by preheating your oven to 150 degrees (C), and grease and line a square cake tin to cook your brownies in.

Put a big glass bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water!), and put in all of the chili chocolate, the butter and 100g of the plain chocolate. Stir gently until it's all melted together and is lovely and gooey. Put the bowl aside and let it cool for a moment.

Add the sugar and stir into the chocolate using a mixer (or by stirring really fast with a spoon!). The add the eggs, one at a time, making sure the mixture is nice and smooth.

Add the flour, mix in and then chop up your almonds, chili & leftover plain chocolate. Add this all into the mix, then put it in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes. Brownies should be slightly gooey on the inside, so use a knife to test when it's cooked through, but don't be as strict as you would with a cake!

The result should be lovely chocolately gooey brownies, with a subtle bit of spiciness. Enjoy! 

Friday 22 March 2013


Ages ago there was a lot of hype about MoroccanOil - it suddenly appeared on loads of blogs & everyone was raving about the new wonderful hair product. I was sorely tempted to try it out, until I realised that the RRP was close to £30 for a 100ml bottle - ouch! 

So it sat in my amazon basket for practically a year, and now and again I would swither about it & then decide it probably wasn't worth the cash. Until Christmas, when I got some vouchers & thought I'd finally buy it and see if it lived up to the hype... 

MoroccanOil - £26 for 100ml
My first impressions weren't particularly good - it comes in a nice bottle with a pump-top, which broke as soon as I tried to attach it. Not great! 

But, that's where all negative opinions end. The oil has a really rich smell (which I really love, although if you prefer flowery products on your hair this might be a bit strange), and surprisingly, doesn't leave an oily residue on your hands or hair.

I use a couple of drops, rub my hands together, and then apply it all over the ends of my hair and it's WONDERFUL. Seriously, amazingly, notice-from-the-first-use wonderful.

My hair feels much softer and shinier, and generally feels in much better nick. I've found since using it my hair dries faster, and stays straighter for much longer - so overall I'm using less heat on my hair. 

I thought I would like MoroccanOil, but I didn't realise just how much I'd love it! My hair is naturally a bit mental and frizzy (I've chatted about this - with terrible photos - here), so anything that helps keep it tame and healthy is in my good books.

I know it's expensive, but the bottle does seem to be lasting for ages as you use only a little each day, so I'll definitely be re-purchasing it. Proper love love love.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

The Marshmallow Lady

Have you heard of the Marshmallow Lady yet? If you  haven't - get yourself ready to drool & look at these!

The Marshmallow Lady makes gourmet marshmallow that are a million miles away from the pink & white ones you can buy in supermarkets. They are super fluffy and come in an amazing range of flavours - from classic vanilla bean, to key lime pie, millionaire shortbread and Innis & Gunn beer mallows!

I bought a mix & match pack of vanilla bean. caramel & millionaire's shortbread, and devoured half the pack before thinking it might be a good idea to stop and take a photo of them! Not only are they super tasty, but the majority of her marshmallows are gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-fat (making them a pretty guilt-free treat!).

You can buy marshmallows online or, if you're in Edinburgh, visit her shop at 14 Rodney Street, EH7 4EA (at the very bottom of Broughton St/Canonmills).

Monday 18 March 2013

Outfit: Purple flowers

I spend most of my week living in dresses & tights, so am pretty much always on the lookout for nice dresses that suit both work & fun. I stumbled across this dress a little while ago, didn't really think it was my sort of thing, but tried it on & was surprised by just how much I loved it!

Dress - Matalan
It's a lovely jersey fabric, so will be light enough for summer, has sleeves (hooray for sleeves) and is a super flattering fit. Even just a year ago I don't think I would have been brave enough to wear a mega flowery dress, but one of the benefits of blogging is that you really start to embrace bright fabrics!

It sits just below my knee, so is again a wee bit out of my comfort zone (I'm a shorty, so longer dresses can drown me) but I think it works quite well!

Flat shoes - Melissa*
I'm pairing it with dark navy tights and my beautiful new Vivienne Westwood shoes - how lovely are these?! They are from the Melissa range, which means they are made out of rubber that smells like bubblegum (kind of weird, I know).

I was worried that they wouldn't be comfortable (rubber shoes sounded a bit painful to me) but they are actually brilliant!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Win tickets to the Edinburgh International Science Festival!

Recently I jumped ships, leaving my lovely magazine job to work in the new, exciting world of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. I've been here almost a month (how quickly does time fly?!), and the festival is only one week away!

I feel mildly guilty actually, as everyone is so busy & productive, and I am spending lots of time "learning" (aka going for coffee with clients & visiting tiny children with the science workshop team!). It's useful - promise!

If you don't know, the Edinburgh International Science Festival was the world's first science festival, and is still one of Europe's largest. It used to be aimed at kids & families, but over the last few years they've really stepped up their adult programme & now put on LOADS over two weeks in March & April. It's not all aimed at super-smart people either (although there are lots of lectures if that's your cup of tea!), there's comedy, music, art & fun workshops - loads of chances to be a big kid and play with things! (You can see what I got up to last year here).

One of the most fun-looking events this year is Science Festival Lates, which is going to be the Opening Party of the festival on March 21st. The City Art Centre (used as EISF's flagship children's venue) is going to be open to adults for one night only - you can do experiments, take part in workshops, and just play, with a beer in hand. 

Sound good? Well, I have three pairs of tickets to give away! All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter form below. This competition is open to all UK entrants... although please do only enter if you are able to attend the event (which is, I repeat, in Edinburgh on March 21st). You also have to be over 18, as there will be drinks aplenty.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'll be picking winners on Wednesday 20th March & will get in touch by email if you've won. Good luck!

p.s. if you aren't one of the winners & still want to go, tickets are only £10 - that's less than £3.50 an hour. Bargain!

Friday 8 March 2013

Illustrated Blogger #2: French for Cupcake

Here's the next installment in my newest feature - Illustrated Bloggers. Each month I introduce you to one of my favourite bloggers & tell you why they are brilliant. I love them so hopefully you will too!
Who is she? Claire from French for Cupcake

What's her site about? A fashion & baking blog. She also runs an amazing cupcake company, called the Lily Pink Bakery.

Why is she brilliant?
  • French for Cupcake was one of the first blogs I started reading. Before discovering the huge world of lifestyle bloggers, I used to think most bloggers were just super posey fashion models in daft clothes! It was really refreshing and encouraging to find a nice, normal blogger with the motto "Eat cake, wear nice things and be comfortable in your own skin!". 
  • Claire's a HUGE Game of Thrones fan girl, and I am very jealous that she's been on set, & met the cast members
  • Her cakes look amazing, and it's been really inspiring seeing her business take off & become so successful! She sells cakes at a market every week in Belfast - Craig & I have been chatting about a trip to Ireland for ages (I've never been!), and I'm seriously tempted to plan the holiday around a visit to her stall! 
  • She owns the most adorable sausage dog puppy called Lola. ADORABLE. 
  • We have a really similar sense of style & whenever she posts about a dress or shoes (especially glittery shoes!) I have to hide my debit card to try and resist spending! 

Previous illustrated bloggers:

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Happy thoughts

 I think I'm going to try & write more happy thoughts posts this year - I try to keep most of my blog posts quite focused on whatever I'm chatting about, so it's nice to have a break and just ramble every now and again!

I'm now almost three weeks into my new job & it's going very well so far (hooray!). The people are lovely, it's an amazing charity & I am excited for the festival  to start (which is only two weeks away - I will blog about this properly soon!). However, I'm still in the taking-in-new-information-best-behaviour-all-the-time stage, and it's knackering!

As I'm spending most nights flopped on the sofa, being massively unproductive, I thought I'd chat about my current favourite tv shows...

1. Game of Thrones

CLEARLY not a scene from the show, but in fact the most amazing decapitated Ned Stark cake pops you will ever see.
I love Game of Thrones! I'm a massive fantasy fan, but didn't actually read any of the books before the TV show started (I was more of a Lord of the Rings / Wheel of Time girl). Since being hooked from the first episode, I have powered through the books & am tempted to re-read them this year (if I can handle the emotional journey, sob!).

A couple of weeks ago I went to a special screening event at the Glasgow Film Festival which was brilliant! Rory McCann (who plays the Hound) was there & was hilarious.. and also managed to dodge some massively weird fan questions with very good humour!

The new series starts in the UK on April 1st... it's going to be ace!

2. The Vampire Diaries

There's a love triangle - can you tell?

I LOVE THIS SHOW. Mainly because it is aimed at teenagers and I am really still a teenager at heart. I first started watching it because it has Boone from Lost in it (Lost, I miss you! Come back!), but I am now well and truly hooked. It really is the most ridiculous thing on tv though. Possibly even more so than True Blood.

My pal's friend was one of the vampires on the show, and I did my best to try and get him to bring me back something (anything!) from the set... sadly an unsuccessful mission. He did send in a special message for my List leaving card though - & I think he thinks I'm an absolute nutter (oh well!).

3. 30 Rock

I am such a latecomer to 30 Rock - only started watching it last year, but was instantly hooked & have powered through episodes. I think I'm still a season or so behind, and am tempted to buy the box set and have a massive marathon viewing one weekend.

Before I started watching it I was once told that I was "very Liz Lemon" - which confused me then, but makes me happy now. I love her!

& they are my favourites! I'm also massively hooked on anything with singing, teenage drama, or something spooky. I keep trying to convince myself that because I don't watch soaps I have quite a refined taste in tv (ha ha), but I think that argument is well & truly shot now...

Monday 4 March 2013

Spring accessory wishlist

After moaning about how cold it's been for ages, it feels like Spring has finally sprung! Hooray! This weekend the sun actually came out & I spent all of yesterday pottering about in my garden & tidying things up, which was really lovely.

Fingers crossed that it'll keep getting nicer and lighter (with no freak March snow) and I can finally escape my winter uniform of chunky boots & a heavy coat (which I do like, but I am ready for a change!). So here's a list of spring-inspired pastel colour goodness that I have my eye on...

 Top row

Bottom row

I've actually got the wallet already - I absolutely love it! I'm also in love with the shoes - at just under £260 they are a little more than I would usually spend (I'm joking - I mean a lot, a lot!), but a girl can dream right?

Friday 1 March 2013

February instagram

Oh man, what a month! In the last twenty eight days I have been on holiday, changed jobs & slept a LOT. Where did the time go?

Instagram username: @eversojuliet
1. Flying over the Alps on route to Athens. Such an amazing sight, and crazy to think it's only a couple of hours away by plane!

2. I finally got my hair cut & blonde bits redyed after months & months trimming my fringe myself (with kitchen scissors, oops). I feel so much more myself with a short blunt fringe (ignore how messy it is in that photo!), must make an effort to go to the hairdresser more regularly.

3. Krispy Kreme opened in Edinburgh this month & it felt like the whole city went mental about doughnuts (even now there seems to be a queue permanently at the drive thru!). I went along to the VIP opening & ate more sugar than one girl really should.

4. In my last couple of weeks at The List I had a few lovely meetings getting things wrapped up before I left. One of these was with the Fringe, who had the most amazing chocolate truffles to eat! I've got the recipe & will blog this very very soon!

5. A tradition in magazines is that you get a personalised cover when you leave, and this is mine! I had the nicest leaving party and managed to (just!) keep myself together & not cry.

6. On my last day I also took in the most indulgent chocolate cake (recipe from Claire's blog). It's the most amazing cake - I made it for my friends wedding last year too & it's so moist & rich. Well worth a try if you have a sweet tooth!

7. I've continued painting this month & am trying to practice portraits as much as possible. I've dipped into fan art territory a little here with this work in progress of Daenerys from Game of Thrones.

8. For Valentine's Day Craig & I decided not to do anything (cause we'd just been to Athens!) but I was surprised at work with roses - the first time I've ever had flowers delivered on Valentine's! Awww.

9. & I painted him a tattoo-style card. I love my wee swallow - so much fun to do!

10. Since I started my new job I've been absolutely shattered every night - starting somewhere new is knackering! Most days I've just lazed about at home & had super early nights, but I ventured out to the Vikings edition of Museum Lates. If you live near Edinburgh & haven't been to a Lates yet, you have to go - they are so much fun! The next one is on May 17th, so stick the date in your diary.

11. Finally got around to getting frames for a few prints. Ready to go up is my List cover, an Ella Masters beardy man & a Riley illustration by Danielle Taylor.

12. The beast himself. Such a cute (ridiculous) cat!