Sunday, 23 October 2016

My Sunday Photo 23rd October 2016

It seems like ages since I last posted a photo but due to surgery I have been limited to what I can do. This photo was taken on the way back from hospital this week, the cloud formation was stunningly beautiful.


Friday, 21 October 2016

Mars Bar Cracknell

Print recipe
Mars Bar Cracknell
This recipe can be easily adapted by adding fruit/nuts and different toppings.
  • 120 gms Butter
  • 4 Mars Bars
  • 1 cup Marshmallows
  • 4 cups Rice Crispies
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • To decorate Sweets
1. Melt the butter, mars bars and golden syrup in a pan.2. Put the rice crispies and marshmallows in a bowl3. Grease a 9 inch square cake tin.4. Add the melted liquid to the rice crispies and marshmallows and stir in well.5. Press the mixture into the greased baking tin and leave in the fridge to chill until set.6. You can amend this recipe and add sweets to the top for different occasions.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 x 9 inch square tin divided into bitesize pieces

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Warner Bros - Harry Potter Studio Review

Last weekend we had the pleasure of visiting the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio in Leavesden, Watford. Travelling there was relatively easy from the North, it is straight down the M1 to junction 6, follow the A405 for around 2 miles and you arrive at your destination.  It took us around 2 hours 30 minutes in poor weather conditions. I would allow plenty of time as you do have an allocated time for admittance to the studio.  Car parking is free of charge with easy entry and exit, you just need to show your confirmation email on entry.

Tickets need to be booked online prior to visiting as no tickets can be purchased at the Studio. On arrival you queue with your email confirmation to receive your tickets and then join the queue for admittance to the Studio  Gee was also given her activity passport to find the golden snitches and stamp it at various stamping stations around the experience.  On entry there are bag searches and metal detectors which did not cause any problems and we were soon in the Studio entrance.

On entering the lobby area there is a cloakroom, digital guide pick up point, café and of course not excluding the wonderful shop (more on this later).  The lobby is adorned with pictures and props from the Harry Potter movies. When you join the queue for entrance to the Studio Tour you can see the bed under the stairs which Harry slept in whilst staying with the Dursleys.  130 people are then admitted in to a room with screens on either side and information and clips from all the films are shared, before you are moved in to a cinema room next door.  In the cinema Harry, Ron and Hermione regale you with their experiences of growing up at the Studio before you are finally admitted to the tour.

Gee was so excited to see the big cinema screen lift up to reveal the grand entrance to Hogwarts and was in awe at the sheer size of the Great Hall.  The long tables down either side of the Hall were adorned with a Halloween feast and in the background were the costumes of the different houses used in the films.

There are green screen around the studio where you can have photos taken flying broomsticks or even on the |Hogwarts Express, photos cost £14 for one and then if you order anymore these cost £7 each.  I didn't fancy risking aggravating my back on a broomstick so we opted for the carriage on the Hogwarts Express.  The Studio are currently celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Philosopher's Stone and you are able to see favourite items of fans which are on display. The sorting hat and the house at Privet Drive (which you can now go inside) and a special feature on Hagrid's costumes.

We spent a good 2 hours walking around (Hubby and Gee did, whilst I sat and took it all in) visiting the various sets and if like us, you are Harry Potter fans you will not be disappointed.  From exploring the dormitory where Ron and Harry slept at Hogwarts, the Deatheaters around the table with Nagini about to eat his meal, to visiting Dumbledore's office, it really is a great insight to how the films were produced.

Since we last visited the Studio the Hogwarts Express has arrived. You can actually walk along the carriage where a lot of the scenes were filmed, each carriage offering a different film set.  Can you remember the one with the heart and initials for Ron? Well it is still there.

My favourite part of the whole tour is the walk down Diagon Alley. Look around as you stroll down and you will see Ollivanders Wand shop, Weezley's Wizard Wheezes where the mannequin is puking pastilles and the fabulous Apothecary with its assorted jars and cauldrons.

There is a café where you can purchase butterbeer and butterbeer ice cream but we did not have any. Having tried it previously I think it must be an acquired taste, far to sweet for me.

In the outside area you can visit Godric's Hollow, Privet Drive and Hogwarts Bridge.  There are also the flying car, motorcycle and sidecar, the knights bus and the large knights out of the chess game.

The second part of the studio tour is how the creature effects were created. Goblins, Werewolves
and mythical creatures adorn the walls and it is at this point you can see the amount of work that went on behind the scenes to make the films possible.  All the detailed drawings of the sets and castle are on display but nothing compares to the actual model of Hogwarts which is simply stunning.  I just bet it looks amazing at Christmas when it is covered in snow.

I would definitely recommend the Studio Tour to anyone with a love for Harry Potter, it really is hard to believe all the work that goes on in the background to create the movies.  Before you leave make sure you visit the shop, Gee was in heaven, there is so much memorabilia to buy and we couldn't come all this way without Gee having a souvenir to remind her of this great day.

We are now eagerly awaiting the release of Fantastic Beasts as I am sure it will be another winner.

We were given tickets to the Studio free of charge but the views are entirely our own.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Beer52 Review & Competition

After a long hard day at work hubbie loves nothing better than having a nice cold beer, not that he drinks a lot, but one glass is a treat at the end of the day.  I recently heard about Beer52 who offer a subscription service to sample the best craft beers available.  For £24 a month you will receive 8 craft beers, a snack and a magazine especially designed around the beers in that month's box.

James Brown started the club after he went on a motorcycle 'craft beer road trip' around the UK. He discovered there were more than 12,000 microbreweries in the world, producing all kinds of amazing beers. After that trip, he put together a team of craft beer experts who now handpick eight different beers each month for our members to try. We're sourcing exclusive, small batch beers from the best tiny and experimental breweries around the world. We also produce a great in-house magazine about the beers we feature called Ferment.

We were rather excited to receive the Beers of the North box, which contained the below:
  • Lukas Thornbridge - this is made locally to us by a small brewery at Thornbridge hall.
  • Panda Pils - made by Mordue Brewery.
  • Sputnik - made by the North Brewing Co.
  • Bunsen - made by Atom Beers.
  • Northern Star - made by Northern Monk Brew Co.
  • Dinner Ale - made by Ilkley Brewery.
  • Moor Top - made by Buxton Brewery.
  • Amber - made by North Union Brewing Co.
  • A bag of chilli roasted mixed seeds.
With such a variety of pale ales, lager and brown ale, all unique in their own right it was difficult to choose which to try first.  Hubbies favourite was the Moor Top which is a Pale Ale made in a local town and I was rather partial to the Amber, a refreshing lager made by North Union Brewing Co.

This is such a fabulous way to try new beers and learn about the small breweries who specialise in the craft beer market.  What a great present for the man or woman in your life who appreciates the finer beers in life.  Beer52 have kindly given one of my readers the chance to win their own box of beer,  so if you would like to enter please complete the rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's New in October

It seems a while since I posted my last What's New post but with the summer holidays it was nice to have a little break away from it all.  I have found some lovely new products that may just take your fancy and let me know if you have found anything new too.

Anchor Bracelet from SailbraceUK
Every so often you come across a product that holds a special meaning and this is one of them.  With my love for everything nautical this beautiful cord bracelet from SailbraceUK symbolises a bond with someone or something who holds you in place when going through something rough.  Perfect for that special someone in your life.  Prices start at £15 and if you would like to order one then I have a 15% discount code for you to use, it is "wishfulwonderings".

L'Or des Pharaons
L’Or des Pharaons anti­-ageing skin mist contains the perfect combination of Gold, Platinum & Zinc to help conquer and defy ageing. Researched and formulated from ancient manuscripts, the particles are small enough to be absorbed quickly through cell membrane and are activated immediately for optimum effects. I used this on my skin before applying make up and moisturisers and it really felt good. The deluxe spray provides deep, lasting anti­-ageing results.  Available from Noble Naturals it is priced at £40.

Optrex Warming Eye Mask
The new Optrex Warming Eye Mask is a self heating disposable eye mask to help moisten and soothe tired eyes.  This is just perfect for me when I have been staring at a computer screen for a few hours.  As soon as you open the mask it starts to warm up and when using it, it starts to relax and relieve tired eyes in just 10 minutes.  Available from pharmacies nationwide the masks cost around £3.99 for a pack of 2 or £9.99 for a pack of 8.

Mr Black & Ellery
Ellery Garment Care by Mr. Black features two products, a nourishing wash and cleansing refresh spray, designed to prolong the life of your items of clothing.  It was created for those delicate pieces that require extra gentle care, offering a natural and enzyme free solution with a subtle aroma of musk and cedar wood. Perfect for your designer clothes, the unique wash formula penetrates deep into fabric weaves to prevent stains from setting, while the refresh spray is perfect for in between wears.  The biodegradable formula also extends the life of your clothes, no fading, shrinking or fraying.  Priced at £23.45 it is available online at Mr Black and Elleryland.

Scholl Light Legs
Scholl have recently launched the Light Legs tights range which offer gradient support to help reduce tired and heavy legs. Currently available in 60 den opaque black they are ideal to help boost circulation and shape your legs.  I have to admit that these tights are so comfortable to wear all day and they did improve the way my legs felt after a day at work.  Scholl Light Legs can be bought from most pharmacies and cost around £14.99, you can find out further information at Scholl.

Veet Beauty Styler
The new Veet Precision Beauty Styler is specially made to gently trim and shape the hair on your delicate body parts, such as your face, bikini line and underarms.  The cutting blades never come in to contact with the skin and this rules out the chance of  cuts.  Such a great accessory to take on your holidays or weekends away.  The Styler comes with two interchangeable heads and takes 1 AA battery which is included in the pack along with a handy carry bag.  Priced at around £23.99 it is available from Boots.

Unlike harsh laser/bleaching treatments, the newest innovation from UltraDEX is the Recalcifying & Whitening Range - which includes a Toothpaste (£8.15) and Oral Rinse (£7.50). The SensiShield® technology in UltraDEX (with hydroxyapatite - the key building block of teeth) provides a strong and protective enamel shield and recalcifies tooth surfaces by filling in the microscopic enamel cracks, blocking exposed dental tubules and restoring the natural whiteness of teeth. The toothpaste has a low abrasion formula so it’s kind to tooth enamel, but its clinically proven to gently oxidise organic stains to reveal natural, whiter and brighter teeth within just 14 days.  I have been using this for the last 10 days and my teeth feel smoother and stains have definitely diminished.

So that's about it for my October round up, have you found anything nice or useful that you can add to my list?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Men's Clothes at Jacamo

What is it with some men and clothes shopping?  Mr G loves clothes but detests trawling around shopping centres, he much prefers to order things online.  So when the lovely folks at Jacamo contacted me, Hubbie got the chance to shop online and choose a couple of items to test out for himself and here are his thoughts.

Jacamo are an online retailer who stock brand goods, along with their own labels. The Jacamo website is easy to navigate and I like the fact that you can shop by size, it makes things much simpler because I could see easily what stock was available in my size.  The range of clothing and footwear is on trend with current fashion and there are also great offers available.  I ordered the below mens jeans and you can see my thoughts.

Flintoff (that's right the cricketer) does his own label for Jacamo so I thought I would try a pair of his jeans.  The straight leg jeans with button fly are comfortable, fit well and perfect with a shirt to dress up or teamed with a jumper or sweatshirt for casual wear.  At the moment they are currently on sale for £32, which I think is a good price for a pair of decent jeans.

Now that Autumn is with us I also ordered a pair of brown suede brogue lace up boots.  I must admit when I first saw them I was a little uncertain about the white soles but after trying them on and wearing them a few times these grew on me.  These have to be one of the most comfortable pair of boots I have worn, they sturdy and have such a good insole.  Being on my feet for hours at a time this is really important to me.

When I asked Hubbie if he would shop at Jacamo again he did not have any doubt that he would, like he said "why trawl round shops when I can get everything I need in one place online".

Hubbie received these items free of charge for the purpose of this review but the opinion is his own.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Chocolate & Orange Roulade #GBBOBloggers2016 - Week 7

After missing a week of the #GBBOBloggers2016 I am back!  Baking proved quite difficult sitting down and after a roulade failure on Sunday, I decided to try again today.  This week I went with the Signature Challenge of a Family Sized Roulade and just had to use chocolate and orange as they are some of my favourite flavours. I also used Mary Berry's recipe for the roulade sponge.

Chocolate & Orange Roulade
175g dark chocolate
6 eggs
175g caster sugar

1 small tin mandarin oranges
40g caster sugar
Rind and juice of 1 lime
1 small carton double cream

1.  Separate the egg yolks from the white and put in different bowls.
2.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4.
3.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
4.  Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy.
5.  Once the chocolate as melted leave to cool.
6.  Whisk the egg whites until they form peaks.
7.  Mix the chocolate in with the egg yolks and sugar mixture.
8.  Fold the egg whites in to the chocolate mixture being careful not to flatten the air you have put in to the whites.
9.  Place in a greased and lined swiss roll tin and bake in the middle of the oven for around 20 minutes.
10.  Once cooked turn out on to a piece of baking parchment sprinkled with caster sugar.

10.  To make the filling add the tin of drained mandarin oranges to the caster sugar, juice and rind of the lime and simmer until the liquid is reduced.  Leave to cool.
11.  Whisk the double cream until it is thick and spreadable.
12.  Spoon the orange syrup over the cake and spread evenly.
13.  Spread the double cream over the cake with orange syrup.
14.  Gently roll up the swiss roll (and hopefully you will achieve a spiral).

Decorate with candied orange, chocolate swirls and a dusting of icing sugar.

Once again I am linking up with the #GBBOBloggers 2016 at Mummy Mishaps.  I can't wait to visit everyone's bakes after missing a week.

Mummy Mishaps