Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sea Salt caramel topped Pretzel brownies

This has to be my absolute favourite recipe I have ever made! I saw this on my friends Facebook pages and just had to give it a go. It was a bit of a cheat but I thought if I try it with a box mix and it's great it will only be better when I make it the next time round from scratch, which is totally happening FYI!
So this is what you need if you are going to do the cheat version... 
1 x Box of chocolate fudge brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 x bag of Sea Salt Pretzels
1 x Can of Caramel sauce 
Now the box mix calls for a 11 x 7 inch pan, I did not have any square or rectangular pans so I opted for round which to be honest makes it look more like a cake anyway which means you can eat it a slice at a time, one will not be enough trust me! So lets do this...
1. Turn oven on as required on the box mix instructions
2. Mix the box brownies up as required.
3. Grease and line the pan you are going to use, greaseproof paper make its a lot easier to get the out so I highly recommend taking the time to do this. 
4. Put a layer of the brownie mix on the bottom of the pan spread evenly
5. Place a layer or pretzels on top of the mix
6. repeat 4 and 5 as many times as you wish! Make sure you end with a layer of brownie mix so the pretzels are covered.
7. Place in the oven as per instructions, remember using a different pan with change the cooking times so just keep an eye on them, the last thing you want is over cooked brownies!
8. Once cooked remove from pan as soon as possible, baked goods in pans/tins will keep cooking once out of the oven if you keep them in the pan/tin. So take it out and get it on a wire rack as soon as possible! 
9. Once it has cooled smother this bad boy in Caramel, you can make your own but like I said before this was the lazy version. Put as much or as little caramel on as you fancy.
10. Sprinkle with sea salt again as much as you like! 

Then DIVE IN!!!! This is the perfect treat to satisfy that sweet and salt craving and goes amazingly with Vanilla ice cream!! 
I may do another post next time I make this when I do it from scratch although I do have half a can of caramel yet so might just have to use that up!
I hope you have enjoyed this little recipe please if you make this let me know and send me a picture @MNavyPrincess on both Instagram and Twitter!! I would love to see you enjoy it too! 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Real Techniques brush Dupes!

So this eBay purchase was completely instigated by A Thrifty Mrs and her recent tweet about eBay collections, which is kind of like Pinterest on eBay. You create collections of items you like on eBay and then your followers can go straight to those items and purchase them. So you basically get recommendations and hopefully good products that have been bought by those making the collections all in one place! Seems like a brilliant idea and so far I really like it.
The one thing that caught my eye was a brush set in her collection named Budget Beauty they looked identical to the much loved Real Techniques brushes. Now I own 3 of their sets and a few of the individual brushes from Real Techniques and I do love them. They clean and dry really well, do not shed and work really well at applying make up. I generally use the Expert Face brush everyday to apply my foundation alternated with the Illamasqua Highlighter brush which I also love. I use the one when the other is being washed or waiting to be washed.
So on average for a single brush you are looking at around £10 for a Real Techniques brush which is a reasonable price for a good high street available brush. However when I spotted these on eBay I could not believe how much they looked like the RT brushes and thought well there is no harm in trying them our and comparing. For the sake of less that £9 for 5 brushes even if I hated them they would have only wasted the equivalent cost of one RT brush. So I thought why not as I had some money sitting in my paypal account from stuff I had sold the month before it basically made them free!
This is the link to the brush set that I purchased. This is NOT I repeat NOT the seller that A Thrifty Mrs had listed on her collections, this is one that eBay suggested to me whilst I was looking at the individual ones she did have listed. The reason I went with the other selling was because the one linked through A Thrifty Mrs was selling each brush at £1.99 and the set at £16.99..... hold the phone you wanna charge £1.99 per brush and the set at £16.99..... why don't I just buy each brush at £1.99 and make the set up at £9.95???? No brainer even there....right?!?
I found the other seller like I said through eBay's recommendation and the set was priced at £8.54 which already had a 5% discount on it. The individual brushes do work out more per brush when brought separately (from this seller I worked out if all 5 were bought individually you would pay £14.49 still cheaper than the Thrifty seller though) but there was also free P&P. So after looking through the feedback checking out some reviews I thought why the hell not! I placed my order on the Wednesday and received the brushes on the Friday, that I was very impressed with!
The above picture shows you the eBay brush on the Left and the Real Techniques brush on the right. The only difference if the height of the bristles but that would be down to specification of an order for RT. To summarise and so as to not bore you I am pretty sure they are just the unbranded version of the RT brushes. The look of the same construction, they are the same weight, feel and dimensions, they feel just as soft, I have washed them twice already and there was no shedding and no bleeding of colour.
The Rose Red colour I chose is more of a hot pink and much brighter than the RT brush colour of those ones as you can see in the picture (RT also have gold and purple brushes too) and the reason I picked this colour was just to compare them to the RT brushes. The eBay seller also does them in a gold as well as a teal/blue which I would most likely opt for next time. At £1.70 a brush when buying the set I literally cannot fault them. I did have one brush which had a slight misshaping in the bristles but its nothing that would bother me or affect the use of the brush. I contacted the seller to inform them just in case they wanted to know for quality control reasons. They asked for a photo which I was happy to send and they apologised alot, like alot alot! Then they said next time I placed an order I could have discount and a free gift which I thought was very lovely. I think if I had wanted to refund of exchange they would have obliged but I didn't, I am very happy with them even if one is a little kinky! Plus knowing how good they are now I may just do a bulk order for gifts for girl friends as presents. I know so many of my friends would love these too so a little extra discount would be a bonus!!
I hope this post has been of interest and that if you choose to try these brushes too that you like them as much as I do. Have you found any dupes for things you love? If so let me know in the comments!!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A weekend escape

In light of one of my new New Years resolutions made this year which to be honest are more like life guidelines than actual check off's, well some are but not all. I decided this weekend to make the crazy decision to run away to Cornwall for the weekend to see some friends. Some may indeed say I am mad but I've done worse things in my life that drive 4 hours to stay with friends and get lost in new places. I oddly enjoy the fear of driving to places I've not been too and generally will tackle this task without a Sat Nav and just go old school read road signs and make lots of U turns however I did take Tom (TomTom original I know) with me for the tricky bits where I would definitely get proper lost. 
So I thought I would share a few snaps of where I found myself and where I realised how important getting away really is. 
 This is a little place called Charlestown, I was meant to be meeting a friend here for lunch but unfortunately they didn't make it. However I had a lovely lunch by myself in the sunshine watching the world go by. The seaside town was so pretty and I wondered around all the galleries and shops just looking at everything that was on offer and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin. 

I then decided a trip to Fowey was in order as every one at work has banged on about it for months as I have been discussing my summer road trip to Cornwall and deciding where to go. So as it was only 20 minutes drive from where I was I thought why not I still had a good chunk of the day to play with and thought this would be a nice place to go for an ice cream. In doing so I discovered the house I would like to live in with a gorgeous view. This River hugging town is just stunning I fell in love instantly It was buzzing with families and dogs which made me even happier I do love saying hello to any dog that lets me! There were lots of lovely independent shops and coffee shop's too which if I hadn't has eaten a huge lunch I would have dived right into. There were loads of little galleries with local artists sat there making and selling their work, this is something I love and I think is a faint dream of what I would like to do by being completely at one with your hobby, work and home life all in one space. So beautiful. 
Next time I am down this way I am definitely heading to The Lifebuoy Cafe it was so inviting and with a nautical name it was bound to grab my attention, such a shame I was so full. 
Sunday was another glorious day and a walk was in order Rame Head to Cawsand. Fully aware of the stick I would get at work for going to the most popular fixing point for this area with the RN It was definitely worth it (mainly because I met a gorgeous dog who I wanted to steal away) the views were stunning and the sea looked so inviting. The walk was refreshing and many things were discussed and chewed over which was humbling. If we had been better planned, it would have been the perfect day for a picnic. Something to keep in mind next time. 
So after what felt like a very long drive home I made it back to reality with fond memories and a souvenir or two from the trip. Sad to say I am suffering from sea side withdrawals and I am currently have to deal with a million thoughts on how I can sell everything I own to move to the be by the sea. Until then I will just have to have a cuppa tea and wait for all of this to blow over :) 
L x

Changes #1

Dear all,
I have been toying with the idea of starting a new blog changing things around and making it all better. However I have been stuck for ideas as what to change it to what I wanted my blog to be and basically I have been putting it off. So today I have changed it's name to my own mainly because I couldn't think of anything better, witty or funny so hey my name will do! Now I need to make a list of what I want to change. No only on my blog but in my life. As there is for everyone, struggles in my life, no harder than anyone else but they are still struggles and I want to try and turn those around or learn from them and improve my life and those around me. So this is my list of what I want to do...

  1. Document my days and experiences that make me smile so I can look back upon them and be grateful 
  2. Make more trips away, visit friends, keep in contact more and make others smile! - it's so refreshing to get away and only being away and taking a step back makes you realise this!
  3. Take time out - some days my mood really changes and I don't like it I need to remember no matter what taking a little me time be it alone or with friends is okay
  4. Do creative things - I am an arty person but due to lack of space I can't keep things out to enable me to pick them up when I want so alot of planning goes its doing something in an evening or off the cuff. I need to make more effort and maybe dig out a lighter sketchbook hehe
  5. Do a little more for others - Even if I don't feel like it, doing a little thing for someone else can make a difference in their day being great or not.
So I know I am not exactly planning to end world hunger or cure cancer but baby steps to change things may lead to bigger leaps to do more dramatic things so lets see how this goes. 

L x