Lottie Loves: 52

Friday, 21 November 2014

Instagram of the week: Gandalf speaks the wisest words.

1. OH MY WORD. The Imitation Game. See it, see it now. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley do a fantastic job.

2. The Pitch Perfect 2 trailer is out and WOWZA it looks like so much fun. This is the kind of film that I have to see with my sister. Then sing with her all the way home.

3. I learned how to play bingo this week. It was wonderful, hilarious and mildly addictive.

4. Tracy's Roasted Potato Breakfast Nachos look uuuuuhhh-maaazing. J would go nuts for these.

5. I'm contemplating getting another ridiculous Christmas jumper. I love this Mickey Mouse one. All the festive cute!

6. I'm A Celebrity is back! It's one of my favourite guilty pleasures and an excuse to stay inside for 3 weeks solid. Ant and Dec are always so hilarious.

7. I kind of wish I was American to celebrate Thanksgiving. It looks like such a fun holiday. I love ABM's tips on entertaining at their Friendsgiving.

8. I don't think I have to celebrate Thanksgiving to make Joy's awesome Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie. How delish does it look?!

9. BREAKING NEWS: There is a unicorn emoji coming. As always, I'm sharing the big news.

10. I've had a busy week of deadlines and can't wait to go home and sit in front of my parents wood-burner and watch Strictly. I'm old and it's the best.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

SOS Banana Bread

Thursday, 20 November 2014

This banana bread is the Superman of the loaf/breakfast/cake world. 
It is my go-to recipe when I am dragging my butt through the day from the moment I get up. It is a ray of sunshine on these chilly November days and exactly what I need to get me motivated. There is certainly something very productive about banana bread. I think it has something to do with using up browning bananas and then happily having something ready for an on-the-go breakfast for the rest of the week. Even the process is pretty therapeutic. After a little mashing, mixing and 40 minutes in the oven I'm ready to go out and grab the world, a slice of banana bread in hand. 
And want to know the best thing about this recipe? It's delicious. Each slice has an irresistible soft, squidgy texture. And dark brown sugar makes all the difference here, the flavour is a little like toffee banana. I mean c'mon. Doesn't that sound delightful? I think a toasted slice of this with a slathering of peanut butter could be the best thing, maybe ever.
Oh an this is the easiest, peasiest loaf you could ever dream of. You'll even be able to whip it up on a bleary-eyed Monday morning when you have your pants on back-to-front. Trust me, I speak from experience...

For SOS Banana Bread you will need:

2 large browned bananas
200g soft dark brown sugar
75g softened unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
170g plain flour
20g rolled oats

Begin by lining a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and preheating your oven to 180c.
Then mash your bananas.
B-A-N-A-N-A-S (sang in Gwen Stefani voice).

Add them to a large bowl along with the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and beaten egg then stir together. 

 Then stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix that puppy up. 

Pour into your baking tin and sprinkle over the oats. 

Bake for 50 minutes until a skewer can be inserted into the middle and taken out clean. 

Slice off the end piece whilst still warm. That's a warm, sticky treat just for you. 

This loaf will happily keep in a sealed container for the rest of the week. Enjoy! 

Lottie Loves: 51

Friday, 14 November 2014

Instagram of the week: The weather just can't make up it's mind, hey? I'm loving looking up to see the green leaves still clinging to the end of mostly bare branches. Such a strange sight. 

1. Christina Bianco does Different Divas Sing Let it Go. Talented gal! Also will that song ever get old...?

2. TRUE DETECTIVE (!!!) I've finally got around to watching this. And oh my is does not disappoint. I'm trying not to binge watch, but uh! So good.

3. More Christmas advert love. This week's favourites include Tesco with it's fab music and Sky Movies with it's fantastic animation.

4. J and I have been getting back into playing squash and I'm really enjoying it. I love throwing myself around the court for a good hour, practically bouncing off the walls.

5. I love Freya's post on married life. Beautifully written.

6. I made my favourite banana bread this week. I'm going to send the recipe your way very soon, it's the most comforting loaf ever! Oh and the smell of baking banana bread should definitely be made into a candle, delish!

7. Speaking of candles, our Cinnamon Sticks Yankee is finally burning! It's our favourite winter scent and puts in me such a festive mood. If you'd like to grab yourself a Yankee, check out eBay for some bargains.

8. 12 data maps that sum up London. These are weird and kinda addictive to look at.

9. I was really proud to be working with Waitrose this week. Thank you for your kind words on the post, I wish I could personally make you all mulled rum!

10. Carlton dancing to Turn Down For What. This is the best thing on the internet this week (sorry, Kim K).

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Mulled Apple and Ginger Rum

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

This is a special recipe.
But before we get to the recipe nitty gritty, let me tell you its back story. A couple of weeks ago Waitrose Cellar got in touch with me and asked me to create a mulled drink inspired by a place I had visited and as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance.* Recipes and travelling is kinda my thing. Waitrose Cellar have created a few of their own mulled drinks for the festive season, and after a little inspiration browsing I knew what I wanted to create. I considered mulled wine from Australia or Spain, but was irresistibly drawn towards mulled rum. And more specifically, mulled Mount Gay rum. I fell in love with the taste of Mount Gay when my family and I traveled to Barbados a few years ago. Now Mount Gay often makes an appearance around the festive season as we toast to each other and to our happy memories. This rum has really become more than a drink for my family. It is a sip of nostalgia and a real sensory anchor to our time in Barbados. We had the most fantastic time.

So to cut a long story short, this rum is very special to me, not to mention delicious! I knew it had to be the base for my mulled drink. Ooh and if you really want to treat yourself then go for the Extra Old bottle and have it straight, on the rocks in true Bajan style. But for mulling, the Eclipse will do perfectly.
The fresh ginger is another little nod to Bajan and Caribbean flavours whilst the fresh apple and orange adds a zing of fruity flavour. Cinnamon sticks, cloves and honey are a festive flavour must. All the ingredients work wonderfully together to create a classic cockle-warming drink with a twist of Bajan sunshine. 
Oh and by the way, coloured fairy lights = festivity. That's just the rule.

For Mulled Apple and Ginger Rum you will need (serves 4):

300ml Eclipse Mount Gay Rum
200ml sweet apple cider, like Kopperberg Naked Apple
1 orange
1 braeburn apple
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
1 tbsp honey

Begin by peeling and chopping your ginger and slicing your apple and orange. Put them in a large pan with the cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Pour in 200ml apple cider.

Then pour in 300ml of that gorgeous, golden Mount Gay rum. 

It will already be a treat for the nose! 

Then put on the stove on a medium heat and bring to the boil. 

Then reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes until warmed through. This is going to perfume your kitchen delightfully!

Add in the honey for a little extra sweetness - it is the holidays after all! 

Pour into glasses and watch the steam rise entisingly from the glasses.
You can pour the rum into a jug before to make this process a little easier. And if you are pouring the hot rum into glass, then make sure to pour onto the back of a metal spoon to reduce the risk of cracking. 

Serve with slices of apple and orange from the mulling pan, festive lights and plenty of seasonal cheer. 

If you like, you can leave the mulled rum to cool and then top up with apple cider or apple juice to make a fun and festive long drink. 

For more festive drink ideas, check Waitrose Cellar out here
Happy mulling, lovely readers!

Madrid Moments

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I've finally come to the end of my Spain blogs and I have to say, I'm a little sad that I won't be reliving it here on LLK anymore. It's been a jam-packed ride and now I just have a few more photos that I want to share with you. Below is a collection of my favourite moments we spent in Madrid - excluding all of the foodie spots we hit up, if you want to read more about them click here!

There are some truly beautiful spots in Madrid, and some as unremarkable as side streets.

Pretty gorgeous squares.

 The fantastic Royal Palace is well worth a visit.

And guess what this elaborate building is? The Post Office...
Bit fancy, eh?

Hey good lookin'.

We went boating on the lake in Parque del Retiro. It was so much fun and a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

Boat selfies are the best kind of selfies. 

The park is beautiful, and perfect for a wander. 

We found a quiet spot to sit back and relax.

We wasted a good hour or so reading and whiling away the afternoon.

The park is full of Spaniard locals exercising, running, power walking or taking part in a yoga class. It looked like the most relaxing thing, ever

We spent one of our evenings on a balcony in Madrid learning Salsa. We were fairly awful in the beginning but with large glasses of Sangria and fierce determination we got slightly better.

Whilst this is an awful photo, it makes my heart happy and reminds me of tipsy 1-2-3 salsa steps. 

We spent our last day venturing through the museum district.

We decided to visit the Caixa Forum that features one of Patrick Blanc's vertical gardens, similar to the one Mum and I visited in Berlin. Whilst this one was undergoing a little maintenance, it was still a sight to see! 

Playing culture bugs.

And ballerinas in the glass window of the Forum. 

The Forum has several interesting exhibits, not to mention a strange but fascinating architecture and history.

We rounded off our visit with a quick tourist stop with Madrid's famous bear.

And a wander through the centre of the city and we were just about all explored out! 

Thank you for following our adventure. If you want to catch up on any of our travels you can browse my Spain tag here. I hope you enjoyed these posts and I'm sure we'll be back soon with more travelling adventures!

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