Christmas cake (finally!), new trainers and Total Greek Yogurt review

Howdy all! Hope you’ve been having a nice weekend. On a random side-note, I have literally just painted my nails and am typing like a right idiot trying not to smudge them. I hate painting my nails as they never last that long with me as I always chip them. And the waiting around while they dry drives me mad. I’m not a person who can sit still and do nothing…so here I am typing like an idiot.

This weekend has been jam-packed and I feel shattered! But I only have a three day week next week (can I get a woohoo!) as I’m off from Thursday. It’s our work Christmas do Friday and Saturday and we’re off to Bruges! And partners are allowed to come as well! So excited. But from what I’ve heard about the Christmas parties (as I wasn’t here last year), they are quite wild. So watch this space…

Today I finally made the Christmas cake. Yes, yes most people have made theirs by now…but this weekend was the only time we could really do it. It’s quite a lengthy process. We used Ben’s mum very old (from 1949!) cook book for the recipe.Xmas cake recipe

It’s become a lovely tradition to make this cake. Before we had moved out, we watched Ben’s mum make it and then one year we helped her make it. And last year we made it on our own for the first time. And everyone will be able to enjoy it at Christmas. Basically we’re carrying on the tradition!

So this morning I got cracking. For once nothing went wrong (though saying that, it is currently still in the oven so…touch wood).

Xmas cake

[Check me out being all Christmassy with PicMonkey]

Christmas Cake

  • 350g (3/4lb.) butter 
  • 350g (3/4lb.) brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 500g (1lb.) flour
  • 500g (1lb.) sultanas
  • 500g (1lb.) currants
  • 100g (1/4lb.) raisins
  • 150g (6 oz.) candied peel
  • 50g (2 oz.) cherries, chopped
  • 100g (1/4lb.) chopped almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. mixed spice
  • 2 tbs. dark treacle
  • 1 small glass of brandy

– Preheat oven to 140C.

– Using a very large bowl, beat sugar and butter together until well combined.

– Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.

– Stir in the sifted flour, fruit, almonds, spice treacle and brandy. Mix well.

– Transfer to a tin well lined with baking paper. Bake for 6 hours and 20 mins.

IMG_3096

Mixing all the ingredients together is like an arm workout. Seriously it’s so thick by the end. And our bowl was almost too small to contain it all!

The cake is still in the oven and the smell is deeeelicious. But when it comes out we’ll need to cut the top bit off it as this will be very crispy and might even be burnt. Then we’ll get a lovely square cake which we’ll let cool and then wrap up for at least a week until we then marzipan and ice it.

As there’s always too much mixture for the tin, we tend to do a mini loaf. Though this year I wanted to make something a bit different…

IMG_3099

Mini Christmas cakes! Christmas cake muffins if you like. They themselves took an hour to cook! That’s how beasty and dense the cake batter is.

And this weekend I also went for a solo off-road run in my brand, new, amazing off-road trainers. I can’t stress just how much I adore these shoes.

IMG_3077

Check out those amazing treads!! Technically they’re a Christmas present from my sister…but I was allowed them early. So I ran a nice and easy (read: I didn’t go fast) 6 mile this morning to test them out.

IMG_3088

And my trainers rocked.

Run mud

[Before and after]

Not looking quite as shiny as before now but who really buys trainers to keep clean??

And a while ago now I was sent some Greek yogurts to try out: Total Greek Yogurt split pots (honey, blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry with pomegranate).

IMG_2819

I’m not a massive fan of snacking on Greek yogurt, or yogurt in general I must say. I prefer to add them into things to thicken up sauces etc. I’m not too keen on the taste of Greek yogurt on it’s own. That being said…the idea of adding something sweet and fruity to the yogurt appealed to me.

Greek yogs

The yogurt was very thick and creamy and adding in the fruit/honey compote made them much more exciting I found. The sugar content is quite high for each yogurt (around 11g per 100g and they’re 170g pots) but they were very tasty. And very filling (8g protein)!

A lovely afternoon treat I’d say Smile

Right I’m off to make dinner – baked chicken with plums! Nom nom nom.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Are you making/have you made a Christmas cake this year?

Do you like to run on roads or off-roads?

WIAW Wedding Special

Hello! Well, I definitely feel a bit more human and recovered now. Still tired and not at all happy to be back at work, but such is life! It’s not that bad actually, I love my job. It’s just, seriously, I fee like I need another holiday to recover!

I thought in the spirit of WIAW, I would do a post about my wedding day. (Thank you Jenn for hosting WIAW once again). So let’s get started.

 

The Wedding Day: I was so worried I wasn’t going to sleep the night before the wedding, but it wasn’t too bad actually. Which was a relief as it was such a long day! Now, I know this sounds mental, but I set my alarm for 6am and went for a run in the morning. My whole family thought I was mad doing it but it was something special to me that I wanted to do. I knew the whole day would be crazy and I wouldn’t get a minute alone (quite rightly) so I thought if I went for a run then I’d get some piece of mind and just some time for me – does that make sense? It was such a good run. I felt so excited the whole time and my tummy was filled with butterflies. I hadn’t set myself any targets or speed to hit, I just told myself I wanted to get to the beach and just enjoy the run. I got to the beach just as the sun began to rise.

IMG_2300

It was perfect. I just felt so light and care-free and happy. In the end I ran 5.5miles at a pretty good pace and just felt exhilarated

Run

Then the getting ready process began. After showering, my mum, my sister and Ellie (her daughter) headed to the hairdressers.

IMG_2318

IMG_2327

We spent a fair amount of time there! My veil was so long I had to put it in a bag to take it back home as it was nestled securely in my hair and couldn’t be removed and we didn’t want it to drag on the floor.

Then we got back and I had breakfast: porridge. Nothing fancy. Nothing different. Just something I love to keep my energy up for a very hectic day.

IMG_2455

I had a mini panic at home when I was doing my make-up. I managed to get foundation on my veil! Honestly, only I could do this. Then ensued my mum and sister repeatedly trying to reassure me that they couldn’t see it. I wasn’t convinced. Then I got into my dress. Such a simple sentence. Let me tell you, not an easy thing. What with my make-up on, my veil and my hair it was a nightmare. My sister suggested I step into the dress. Failure. Next attempt was me going up through the dress. Failure. My arm got stuck and I stood there in my heels and underwear half in the dress with one arm in the air with my sister laughing at me. I’m sure it was hilarious to see… Finally we managed to get me into it (with the help of a few other family members to tie and tighten the corset). Whew.

Then we were almost good to go.

IMG

IMG_1571

The journey to the church was so nerve-wracking. My dad was nervous, I was nervous. But we got there on time and then my legs starting shaking. Actually shaking. Walking down the aisle was surreal. I just wanted to look at everyone and then right at the end looked at Ben and he just had this huge grin. I got to the alter and he could see how nervous I was and grabbed my hand to reassure me. Then my legs stopped shaking.

IMG_0103

Then all I remember are lots of photos. Lots of congratulations. Lots of hugging. A lot of love basically. Then we were rushed off to the reception venue.

IMG3

IMG4

IMG_2434

Then what seemed like two minutes later we had the receiving line where you literally have 30 seconds to speak to everyone individually. Then after everyone had taken their seat we were called into the room as Mr Smith and Mrs Smith-James!

IMG_2335

This is the view from the top table of the room.

IMG_2351

Then a sneaky one of the two of us in the mirror behind the table. The speeches were brilliant. Hideously embarrassing one from my dad (as expected I suppose) but very heart-felt as well. He even arranged for an apple to be brought out to me as it’s fairly common knowledge of my love for apples…

IMG_2334

Ben’s speech was very touching and lovely. I got all tearful! And then the best man…well it was legendary. Absolutely hilarious. He started the speech by telling Ben to put his hand on mine. And then finished by saying “And Ben, that’s the last time you’ll ever have the upper hand now”.

Lunch: it was 5pm by the time lunch (dinner? Wedding breakfast?) was served. I hadn’t even realised how hungry I was at this point! It was crazy.

IMG_2331

The starter was melon with a kiwi dressing. This was lovely but complete awoke my hunger.

IMG_2355

Dinner was garlic jus chicken with roasted vegetables and roast potatoes. It was yummy and very filling.

IMG_2367

Dessert was apple meringue. And it was SO GOOD. I could eat this every day. We chose that dessert because I love apples (obviously) and Ben’s a meringue monster so it seemed fitting.

And obviously there was cake later.

IMG_1619

The bottom layer was lemon sponge, the middle was vanilla and the top was fruit. We chose this cake because I am literally the most clumsy person in the world and it just seemed perfect. We kept it a surprise from everyone so it was brilliant to see their faces.

We had way too much cake though (is that an issue…?) so the day after the wedding we sliced and diced the left-overs of the lemon and vanilla layers and put them in the freezer.

IMG_2446

Just a little bit left over… We still have the top tier for us to keep as well which will last for years. So pretty much cake all year round, woohoo!

And let’s not forget the sweet buffet! I was paranoid that the venue wouldn’t put everything out right. When we dropped the stuff off to them the day before they just took it and said they didn’t need instructions but I massively panicked that it would look awful. So I sent them an email with a photo of how it should be arranged etc. When we got to the venue on the wedding day my dad hurried over to my and said “Anna, don’t worry. It’s all set up perfectly. They even had your picture printed!” I like to think that was my one and only bridezilla moment…

IMG_2379

Sorry for the poor photo! By the end of the night it was pretty much all gone! And everyone said how much they loved it. Oh I was so pleased Smile

And then we partied the night away! We had a band who were excellent and I’d made a playlist for after and it was brilliant. Honestly, I’ve never had so much fun. Everyone I knew and loved was there and it was just perfect. Everyone looked like they were having a great time and we just didn’t want it to end (well my feet did!). Ben and I managed to disappear from it all for a bit just to catch up with each other and catch our breath. I got some random photos of us as well.

IMG_2366

There was a buffet later for our evening guests but I was so stuffed from the meal and, er, maybe the 3 bits of cake I’d eaten (and let’s not talk about my visits to the sweet buffet) that I didn’t have any and forgot to take a photo of it!

After dancing late into the evening, we decided to call it a night. A lot of my family were staying in the hotel as well which was nice. So we got to see a lot of people in the morning. Everyone was feeling a bit tender and it was absolutely chucking it down with rain. We were so lucky with our weather!

Anyway, sorry to have rambled. In a nutshell? Best. Day. Ever.

Happy WIAW!