My Favourite Puddings.

Well here we go! I’ve been saying for a while now I’m going to start sharing recipes on my blog! I’m a keen cook, baker and eater (as you’ll have probably picked up on if you follow me on the gram) and have dipped into the world of food blogging before when I shared recipes and stories of what I was eating while living in Italy on my Ambrosial Notebook blog (I’ll share a link at the end!)

So here’s my first real foodie post on this blog, and it’s dedicated to my favourite puddings.

If you ask me if I have a sweet tooth I’ll probably say no but this is a lie. I’m not one to snack on sweet things and happily will turn down a chocolate bar but live for post-meal puddings, sweet breakfast waffles and Nutella. These pudding recipes are the perfect combination of them and are recipes that me and my Momma make a lot. They never fail to satisfy and the leftovers are the best part! I swear you’ll love them a dangerous amount! (Sorry not sorry in advance if this post ruins anyone’s summer bodies).

Raspberry Waffle Pudding:

This recipe is to fill a large oven proof dish with pudding, enough to feed roughly 8 people. I usually half the recipe if feeding Max and I (there is leftovers but that’s a good thing).

2 Packets of Toasting Waffles (about 16 waffles), chopped into roughly 3cm square chunks

175g white chocolate, chopped into chunks, roughly 1cm squared

2 packets of frozen raspberries or 300g of fresh raspberries

60g Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Plain Four

550ml Creme Fraiche

3 eggs

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Set oven to 200c (Gas mark 6)

Place half of the chopped waffles in the ovenproof dish, spreading evenly to cover the bottom. Sprinkle over half the white chocolate and half of the raspberries. Repeat the layers again and set the ovenproof dish to one side.

Measure the creme fraiche out in a large jug and whisk in the sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla until all combined.

If you are preparing the pudding well in advance of serving at this stage you can cover the oven proof dish and leave at room temperature and cover the custard mixture and leave to sit in the fridge.

40 minutes before serving pour the custard over the raspberry waffle mixture and leave to soak in for around 10 minutes before transferring to the oven and baking for 30 minutes. The pudding is ready when the custard is set. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

Nutella and Banana Croissant Pudding:

This recipe is currently in my story highlights on Instagram! (www.instagram.com/katiejade_natterfornowtblog)

It’s a recipe I worked on while I lived in Italy and Nutella and Croissants were very readily available. By the end of my year living there I was making it every Sunday and gaining weight at a very fast rate, I had to detox myself from it for a while once I got back.

If you’re not on insta or just fancy a written version of the recipe, here it is…

This recipe also fills a large ovenproof dish and is good for feeding a crowd, half the recipe if you’re not having a party!

12 Croissants (not fresh bakery ones, the slightly stale packaged ones work best)

A medium sized jar of Nutella

3 Bananas

4 eggs

300ml Double Cream

400ml Whole Milk

75g Caster Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Set Oven to 180c.

Half all of the croissants and spread the Nutella thickly on one side of all the halves. Arrange the croissants halves around the edge of the ovenproof dish (Nutella sides facing inwards) and then fill the middle with 2 rows of croissants with the Nutella sides all facing one way. Slice the 3 bananas and slide them between the croissants.

To make the custard measure the double cream and milk out into a large jug and whisk in the eggs, sugar and vanilla until combined. Like with the Raspberry waffle pudding at this stage you can set the pudding aside until later by covering of putting the custard in the fridge.

50 minutes before serving pour the custard over the croissants and leave to soak for 10 minutes baking baking for 40 minutes until the custard is set. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

….You should then maybe drink some green tea or go for a jog.

Katie x

Www.theambrosialnotebook.blogspot.com

Birch Box- April

The Cath Kidston one! I was very excited about this one and it didn’t disappoint! The box is just so pretty, a lovely addition to my bathroom!

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow Illuminator– Yet to use but will come back and update shortly!

Whish Shave Crave Acai and Grapefruit Shaving Cream- I am really guilty of not using shaving cream in the shower and when my legs are sore and dry afterwards I feel pretty guilty about it. In the bath I use a bath cream conditioner from homemade beauty product company Bath Bake Love (look them up on Insta, they’re fab!) So I was pleased when this came in the box to keep in our shower room to avoid the post shower-shave sting! It did make a difference to make skin afterwards and gave a really nice finish however the smell was quite subtle and a little chemically!

Model Co Baked Blush (Moonshine)- I love all the different tones on this blush and that it has a highlighting element that gives a really bright glowy look! It’s very pretty and simple to apply and I really liked how it looked on! This is a real winner if you’re looking for a blush that’s a bit extra!

Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel (Brunette)- I am such a big fan of this! I thinkkkk thinkk it might just beat my Benefit Ka-Brow. The colour is a perfect for my brows, goes on easily and evenly and makes a real difference without being too much! I’ll be buying this again fo sho’.

Cath Kidston Hand Cream- Such a pretty edition to my handbag, the scent is a lot more florally than I would usually go for but it does the job! And I adore Cath soo this is probably quite a bias review…

I’m so late with this post my May box has already arrived!
I’ll review that in the next few weeks!

Katie x

Our Perfect Spa Break at Rudding Park.

Hey guys,

Really excited to share this post with you! Earlier this week we got back from a dreamy spa break at Rudding Park which was the best last minute pre-birthday treat!
This week we were going to go on a boating trip on the Thames but the forecast was just looking so shocking and the river current so high we decided to postpone until August. Cue frantictically searching last minute.com and air B&B for a weather proof alternative.

I remembered about Rudding Park in Harrogate, only 30 minutes from our flat but I’d heard about their new rooftop spa and great food so gave them a call. They are currently running a midweek spring time offer which was too good to refuse and took the original quote for a full overnight spa package down by a significant amount. I rang Max while he was out at football to check I was ok to go ahead and book and luckily he was super keen (the boy loves a Spa).

We set off to Harrogate the next morning (with a pitstop to get a new tyre and an M&S meal deal) and had a little wander around the shops and picked up a little birthday treat in Jo Malone, but really we just couldn’t wait to get to Rudding Park and check-in.

When I rang them to book they asked if it was for a special occasion and I’d said its a last minute holiday alternative but also in the week of my birthday. When we checked in we were told we’d been upgraded to a suite as a ‘Happy Birthday’ from Rudding Park and were walked to the suite by a member of staff. I knew even the more basic room we had booked would be beautiful but the suite was even lovelier and we really were overwhelmed by what we were given.

The suite had a bedroom, lounge, a huge bathroom and a balcony which ran the whole length of it. They’d even left a bottle of pink fizz and a birthday card for me in coffee table.

I felt like I was walking around in a dream world and once I had finished taking snaps and popping open the fizz, I ran a bath in the beautiful rolltop tub complete with TV and Molton Brown goodies. I was unbelievably content lying in that tub with my glass of fizz watching the men’s gymnastics at the commonwealth games.

We then got ready and headed down to dinner at the Clocktower restaurant, a meal that was included in our package. The food in the Clocktower restaurant is a modern twist on British Comfort food, the food and service were perfect. We particularly loved the rhubarb cheesecake for pudding which was served in a perfect pink sphere on top of the biscuit crumble base. We then headed to the bar which had a very impressive gin collection and great cocktails. I had a lovely rhubarb gin and elderflower tonic but by the last few sips I was rushing as I was so excited to get into the massive bed.

That bed was honestly the best place I’ve ever watched Masterchef and I slept a dream on the soft sheets. Breakfast the next morning was just as lovely as the meal the night before, but really to me, you can’t go wrong with an smoked salmon and scrambled egg muffin.

We then headed over to the spa for the spa day. We could choose either the Monday or the Tuesday to use the spa but opted for the Tuesday. On arrival we were given a tour of the spa and bands to access our lockers with our towels, robes and flip flops inside. The spa really is beautiful, it’s kept in great condition and there’s plenty of staff about to order drinks and ask questions. The facilities are lovely and the spa wasn’t too busy so you really felt you could relax and make best use of all they have to offer. The new outside area is beautiful and I’m sure will be even better in the summer. There’s different saunas, steam rooms and pools as well as foot spas and heated relaxation beds where we enjoyed a read and a drink.

When we arrived at the spa we booked to have an additional treatment (because we hadn’t already been indulgent enough). We went for a do it yourself thermal mud treatment. The treatment and what to do was explained to us first by a member of staff and then we were left in our own private room. Laid out were different bowls of mud for different parts of the body as well as flannel mittens and a herbal salt scrub. Once the treatment started and we had started to apply the mud, the room then began to get hotter and hotter for the next 15 minutes. You can feel the mud cleaning out your skin as your pores open in the heat and it feels so good! After the 15 minutes showers then come on from the ceiling and using the flannel mittens and salt you can rub off the mud. I couldn’t recommend this treatment enough and will definitely be doing it again, my skin has never felt so good and it was a great experience to do as a couple.

It was a perfect 24 hours and I’m already dying to go back.

Maybe at May half term Maxie?

Katie x

The Dresses and Hangovers of Birthdays past.

With just a few days until my 26th Birthday I thought I would do a bit of reminiscing on birthdays gone by. I am one of those really annoying people who see’s their own birthday as a big deal and I start thinking about it as soon as Valentine’s Day is out of the way. You’d think maybe by now the novelty would have worn off a little and I’ll  have stopped wanting to celebrate getting older but nah, I’m still totally there for a day that’s all about me. Actually not a day, a month. I justify everything I buy or do as a birthday treat in April.

Birthday celebrations have obviously evolved as the years have gone by. My main memories of birthdays when I younger are mum’s mars bar cake, TGI Fridays, sleepovers and mum waking me up with a personalised happy birthday tape which started with ‘who’s birthday is it today?’ ‘It’s Katie’s birthday today!’ I still say it to myself a lot on my birthday to be honest, the word’s just still get me really excited.

My 18th Birthday was the ultimate and as much as I’d like to repeat it every year nothing can ever top it. At the time, my 18th Birthday felt like the biggest thing in the world, I thought once I was 18, and no longer had to worry about borrowing a convincing ID for nights out, that everything in my world would be easier. Spoiler: I was wrong. But it did take me a while to realise, I was just so pumped up on adrenaline, excitement and possibility. My 18th birthday and the time around it was one of the happiest times of my life; my family were healthy, my friendships were strong, I was skinny and always tanned thanks to my addiction to St Moritz and my birthday was just this huge pink-themed peak of goodness in the middle of it.

I had started to plan my 18th birthday months and months before I actually needed to. I think I sent the facebook invitations in the January, bought the decorations even earlier and by the day came everyone else but me was probably fed up of hearing about it. But it was all worth it and I had the best time ever. My Mum joined in the hype, as Ange takes any excuse to be a bit extra. She actually maybe went a little too extra on this occasion. She seemed to have everything personalised with my face and name, the banners, coasters, wrapping paper. She ordered 25 8 serving pies for my family day time party and made a 6 tier display of pink and silver cupcakes. We had a cocktail fountain which by the end of the night, the contents was very questionable and at some point my party pessimistic Dad got really into it and started cracking open bottles of champers. It was such a blur of pink glitter, my own face everywhere, cocktails, a tactical chunder, the Macarena and my very best friends. A night I’ll definitely always remember forever.

Then came the alcohol years…birthdays meant dangerous birthday punch, strange coloured shots, a lot of cleaning up in our uni flat the next day and about a month of regret afterwards.

FYI: Birthday Punch is a very important birthday tradition we started at uni and one I’m really happy to share and encourage everyone to adopt.

You will need: A lot of Jelly sweets, laces, bears, lips and teeth, cola bottles, as much as you get your hands on but definitely enough to fill at least a quarter of a large mixing bowl.

The majority of a bottle of vodka.

A bottle of lemonade (not all at once, keep topping it up).

Just put it all in the bowl keep giving it a stir.

I don’t know if it makes you drunk or just gives you an immense sugar high but you’ll definitely have a great night and heaps of energy for running round the club like a mad woman.

To talk a little about birthday outfits, anybody else see their birthday outfit as the most important of the year? I have a collection of years of birthday dresses in my wardrobe at my Mum and Dad’s, that I will probably never wear again but still will never part from. Each year I’ve tended to have an image in my head of what I would like before I’ve seen it or usually before I’ve even come up with a birthday plan. The birthday plan then is created to fit the outfit. For instance in the picture above I am wearing a dress covered in animals, hence a jungle themed party. And the yellow dress below, that was for my 21st, I was only going to have a party at uni but a whole new Yarm party was created as an excuse to wear it, it seemed a little too nice to wear to the grotty (but great) student clubs in Sheffield. Every outfit I have now from birthdays gone by is a memory of an occasion and a happy time in my life, to me they all represent what was happening in my life at the time I bought them and wore and that makes them feel pretty special.

For my 23rd Birthday, in 2015, I was living as an Au Pair in Italy. I’ll always remember as the statement ‘complianno di Katie, lei ha Ventitre anni’ will always be stuck in my head. I celebrated the night before by heading out to my favourite bar with my Italian friends and being photographed taking a shot from a syringe…..

The next day I woke up to a hangover and sunshine. I carried the cards and presents I’d received off my family in advance to the breakfast table to open with my Italian fam. The strangest thing was how they were blown away by my cards, Italians just don’t do cards, and they found them so interesting. I had a lunch time tea party with my Italian aunty that day and then went to choose a birthday present of shoes with Nonno, my Italian Grandad who recently passed away. That afternoon with him on my birthday choosing new shoes at a shoe shop in the little town where he lived will always be a very precious memory to me. A few days later I continued the celebrations on a break to Florence with my Italian Mamma, saw some beautiful sites, drank beer and ate good food, that’s one that’s definitely up there with the best of birthday treats.

These days birthdays are seeming a bit more sophisticated. Except for my 24th when I ended up in the Wobbly Goblin in Stockton at 4a.m. I’ll never be justifying that decision as a birthday treat. Instead of birthday punch and 3a.m McDonald’s it’s now more prosecco, pretty cocktails and fine dining. We have just got back from an amazing spa break at Rudding Park (blog post on that one coming soon!), spending Friday celebrating with my parents and have something very exciting booked for Sunday. My outfit for this year is exactly what I imagined, it’s like New Look read mind and was delighted when I found it! I can’t wait to share at the weekend!

Katie x

Birch Box- March.

This boxes theme was ‘Be Present, Not Perfect’ which is something I know I definitely need to work on! I worry so much about how I look and come across when I should be focusing more on enjoying the situations and what I can learn from them.

I love, love the design of the box and here’s what I think about the products inside:

This Works- Deep Sleep Pillow Spray.

I’ve been using this religiously since I got a sample sized in a set I got form Christmas and have since purchased a full size bottle. But a new travel size spray is definitely useful for upcoming holidays. I really couldn’t big up this product enough, it really works. Since I started using it I have noticed a real improvement in the quality of my sleep and now never settle down for the night without it. It maybe is a bit of a mood killer when I break Max’s hug to grab the spray from the bedside table to spray the pillow, but hey ho.

Beauty Protector- Protect and Volume Spray.

My hair doesn’t really struggle with volume if I’m honest so this is a product I’d usually bypass on a shelf. But as I had it I thought I would give it a go. I used it to create a full ponytail look for a night out and feel it did really help to give it a bit of boof and hold! I’m going to keep trying with it and update you on how it goes!

LAQA and Co, B’Lighter Blush + Highlighter- Peacher’s Daughter.

(Yet to try as currently drowning in blusher)

Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumising Mascara.

I am a massive Benefit fan girl. 90% of the make-up products I religiously use are Benefit so I was very excited when I found out we were receiving their new mascara in the March box. But here is a shock horror comment: it’s not my fave. I read great reviews before I tried it myself and was optimistic for a future of crazy good lashes and ditches the stick-on ones. Buttt, I found it a bit heavy and smudgy.  I’m going to keep using it however as I’d really like to be convinced but once the sample has finished I’ll probably never back to They’re real which a find gives a much better effect and stays put!

BLAQ-Hydrogel Eye Mask

I was really excited to try this one. I seem to spend a lot on products to try and reduce the eye bags and make me look less tired as they’re the main thing I notice when I look at myself in the mirror. I like the masks, like this one, that you place under the eyes, feel like then it’s really getting to the route of the problem. I did notice a difference the day after I used this mask but obviously it is quite hard to tell after one go. But it did feel refreshing so I would definitely give it a go again!

The April box is with Cath Kidston which I’m very excited about! Couldn’t have wished for a more perfect Birch Box collab to celebrate my birthday month!

Katie x

Birch Box- February

 

It’s February and time for another Birch Box review! This months boxes were retro themed with 3 different designs for the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. You could chose your own design but I let them choose for me and ended up with 70’s one (which was the one I did secretly want the most so was quite chuffed when it arrived!)

So here’s my verdict on the products I got this month:

Marcelle Gentle Make-up Remover– this is lovely, really gentle and removes eye make-up really easily with just a few dabs. However, after the magical gift of the Afterspa cloth last month this seems a bit inferior. I will however happily finish the sample!

ModelCo Conceal and Correct Green Concealer– I was really impressed with this concealer. I’m naturally very rosy, especially in the weather we’ve been having recently and it really helped to tone it down and cover blemishes. The green colour blends in well and lasted a while on top of my primer. A really winner for the rosy-cheeked folk.

Percy and Reed Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish– To be honest I was a little disappointed to see a hair finishing product in my box, I wouldn’t have really said I’m a hair finishing product kinda gal. I’m more, shampoo, condition, the occasional mask, and go. My hair is naturally curly, sometimes bordering on frizzy mess so not sure why I was so opposed to a finishing product really. I guess in my head and because of past experiences I just assumed they’d weigh the curls down and make my hair look a bit greasy and flat. This product however is a bit of a curl revelation. As directed I used a pea-sized amount and and evenly pulled it through my curls. I have been so impressed with what it does, it really takes them, making them smooth and sleek without weighing them down or making them looking greasy. It makes my hair much easier to style, even the day after I’ve used it. I really recommend this one!

The Beauty Crop Eyeshadow Trio- Love You So Latte- I feel like I’m drowning in nude and smokey brown eyeshadow palettes at the minute. I had 2 already and have received one with my last 2 Birch Boxes. This one has three different tones and are lovely colours. Applies really well, lasts through the day and the dinky size means it’s ideal for trips and holidays! But I think I’m eye paletted out for a while!

Luseta Beauty Coconut Milk Hair Mask- as well as smelling delicious this worked a treat. It made my hair so soft, shiny and healthy looking. I do like a hair mask and this is the best new one I’ve tried in a while! If you’re looking to perk your hair up a bit I’d definitely give this a go, I think I’ll be buying a full sized tub soon!

One Birch box subscriber perk is that once you review all the items in your monthly box on the app you’re awarded with free delivery from the Birch Box shop. May be a small gesture but it definitely helps if you’re fancying treating yourself. This month I bought a large sized This Works pillow spray which I wrote about in my New Years resolution post. I got a travel sized version in a set I got for Christmas and has been my favourite new product discovery so far this year (as well as the after spa make-up remover cloth), so I’ll be enjoying really good quality sleep for more months to come!

Katie x

 

The month of sleep and leftover Christmas chocolate.

Finally, here is my January post! I’ve been so slow to get this post up! What is it with January and needing to sleep 2 hours more than usual and not having the motivation to do anything except eat leftover Christmas chocolate?

January often gets called the most depressing month but I think that’s selling it short a little. The cold and the dark and the Christmas comedown is pretty hard but it’s also a great month for planning, starting new routines and good habits and getting your life in order (a bit).

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions really, I don’t want to give up drinking and I don’t want to think about a summer body until about April but I did have some ideas of things I’d like to work on in 2018:

1. Up the blogging. More posts, better pictures and maybe, just maybe, getting the confidence to do a speaking Instagram story. For months it’s been something I’ve thought about doing and thought it would be so easy but as soon as I turn the front camera on I just can’t.

2. Bedtime routine. I am far from a night owl, often can barely keep my eyes open past 9pm but never really feeling like I’d had a great quality sleep the next morning and often waking up in the night and trying to fall back to sleep for hours with my brain going in overdrive. So this has been my main thing to get sorted, I’d like to be a bit more productive and a little less sleepy. For Christmas I got a set of tester sized deep sleep products from This Works and they are living up to their name! I love the smell of lavender and camomile and a spritz of the pillow spray every night is really improving my quality of sleep. Another thing I’m trying to add to my night time routine is reading. When it’s been a long day and your brain is frazzled it can be hard to get it going again and concentrate on a book so I’ve kept my bedtime reading books quite simple, saving the intense page-turners for the Summer. I’ve also got into the habit of always taking a camomile tea to bed and trying to not check my phone for the last half hour of the day which is a lot easier typed than done! My Neom scent to sleep candle has become my Sunday night treat along with a Space Mask. If you haven’t tried Space Masks I really advice you should! You can buy them in boxes of 5 from the space masks website and for a special occasion (like a Sunday bed time they’re absolutely delightful. They are eye masks that heat up on your eyes, they’re so relaxing and really help you to drift off to sleep. To get going on a morning and start the day on a good foot I’ve been using Neom Mood lifting on the go mist. From previous posts you may have realised I’m quite into my scents and I’m a big believer in scents affecting your mood. This little spray is really working for me, it’s an instant pick me up and even makes the coldest, darkest walks the bus stop a bit brighter.

3. Get my sewing mojo back. There was a time I was on fire and full of ideas of new projects and designs. I was never off the sewing machine and making embroidery hoops like my life depended on it. But as much as I do still love it but it’s hard to fit it in sometimes and when I do I don’t waste time experimenting, I stick to what I know and do it well and with purpose with a customer or an occasion already lined up for it. My half term is just a week away and I’m determined to have a day where I get out all my stuff and get crafting and come up with a plan for the next few months. My poor Etsy shop has been closed since before I went to Australia at the end of 2016 and it’s about time it was brought back to life. Plus I’ve been lucky enough to inherit the dreamiest stash of vintage Liberty fabric which needs some loving!

That’s all for now, it’s getting towards bed time so best get the kettle on for a camomile tea!

Katie x