May 29, 2014

Millionaires shortbread is honestly one of the nicest things in the world to bake, because it's quick, simple and requires barely any expertise (otherwise I wouldn't be able to do it!) but it looks like you've put hard work into it because it uses several pots and pans and is separated into intricate layers which look messy while tasting delicious. The measurements I have included below usually make roughly 20 pieces of shortbread, so if you don't want that much half / quarter the amounts below! To make millionaires shortbread, you will need:
-for the shortbread-
300g plain flour
225g margarine
112g caster sugar
-for the caramel-
150g margarine
150g brown sugar
1 can of condensed milk
1 bar plain cooking chocolate
First, preheat the oven to 150 degrees / gas mark 4. Get an empty box, I use a clean lunch box and add the plain flour, margarine and caster sugar to the box. Then all you need to do is mix the three ingredients together until they appear to look like shortbread, crumbly though not sticky and hard. After this, pour the shortbread into a grease proofed tray and throw it into the pre heated oven for 25 minutes. It doesn't matter if you forget it's in the oven (like I did) because even when it's slightly burnt you can't really tell over the taste of the chocolate and caramel. *punches fist into air* When it's out of the oven, leave it to rest on the side until it cools down.
To make the caramel, add the margarine and brown sugar into a pan and let it heat up. The mixture will turn into a liquid after a couple of minutes, after this just pour the condensed milk into the pan in stages and mix everything together. Keep stirring the mixture until the mixture appears to start boiling, then take it off the ring and pour in onto the now cooled shortbread. Once again, leave this to cool.
After this, we need to get another pan and a glass bowl. (I did warn you there was lots of washing up) Start by breaking up all of the cooking chocolate into separate pieces and adding this to the glass bowl. Place the glass bowl over a pan full of boiling water, and stir the chocolate until all of the chunks have dissolved into liquid. Pour the liquid chocolate over the caramel and the shortbread and leave it to cool down again. Once it's cooled, put it into the fridge and wait for it to set. Then all you need to do is cut it into slices and then eat it - which is the best part, obviously.
Have you ever made millionaires shortbread and would you like to see more recipes?
-Olivia x


May 23, 2014

I love photos. I love the way that one moment can be saved for eternity, that one funny face can be the author of a thousand retweets, where a tearaway flower can prompt a million memories normally lost to time. So when I was offered a personalised phone case from Mr Nutcase, I wasn't going to turn it down. I promptly placed an order, amid worries I'd chosen the wrong photos. What would happen if they were blurry? What if they were too dark and pixelated? Turns out there was nothing to worry about; my phone case arrived bubble wrapped featuring what would have been forgotten selfies of all my friends.
Mr Nutcase offers lots of different designs for phone cases, along with the option to make your own design. I chose to upload sixteen of my favourite pictures taken over the past year instead of a combination of their well designed images because if you're going to make personal phone case, you may as well make it ridiculously personal don't you think? I opted for an 'ultra light weight slimline' design as I found this suited my needs more, especially as I have seen many a phone case with the sides coloured in which I find tacky, especially when there's a face stretched round the case and all you can see on the main back is two chubby cheeks and off white teeth! Yep, that mental image scared me too.
The cases retail at £14.95 each, with free worldwide shipping. My case was delivered within two working days and I would recommend the brand fully. The only fault I can envisage is that when I designed my case the Mr Nutcase website crashed, although I expect that to be because I had plenty of tabs open at the time rather than a fault of the brands'.

This item was gifted to me free of charge by Mr Nutcase in return for this blog post. All of the opinions stated above are my own and you can read my disclaimer policy here.
-Olivia x


May 22, 2014

It has been 47 days since I last posted. And now I'm back, with a new design, a new dream, and a new outlook on life. The past forty seven days have been hard, ridiculously hard in fact, but I've now got a sense of determination which is pushing me through life so fast I can't seem to put my feet on the ground. I'm happy. I've got the world at my feet, a sun ready to shine over me and friends that only Jennifer Aniston could wish for. (I've still not mastered the art of funny puns though.)
Blogging is something that I believe can change my life. As I mentioned in my 'breaking up with blogging' post, my confidence has shot up levels since I dipped my finger into the fashion scene on the 19th August last year, and it continues to rise. As I look through my earlier posts, I can see how far I really have come. I started my blog in August being a fan of too many girl bands while having no sense of the world, and although this is still true and always will be, I would like to believe that I've matured into a better person through all of the happy accidents that have happened in the past couple of months.  
And that's what I believe has changed. I've become older, wiser, fatter, thinner, taller, shorter, more embarrassing... but this shows one specific thing has not come of me so I don't expect anything to change dramatically at all in the near future. Although what I do expect to change this year is a multitude of miniscule nit picks and dreams which will shape me to be the person you will see every day on my part of the internet.
There are some people who I'd like to thank for making the past couple of months bearable, their blogs have been something to read on an emotional stress induced night, and they provide constant themes of inspiration and happiness. Check out KatieGeorgina, Jess, Charlotte, Liv and Zara's blogs and be amazed. I'd also like to thank Holly who is flaming amazing along with everybody else who says 'hi' to me when I'm feeling down.
Now all we can do is look to the future. Away from studying and working, I have been busy plotting  ideas for this space, as well as for my life. It turns out that journalism may not be the best career for me, but this is something I do not have to worry about until I come of an age. I want to see the world, travel, study, write, dream, create, choose happiness over hard cash and these are the things you'll be seeing on good old 'xoliviamae' over the coming months. I hope you've fastened your seatbelts, because we're going on one hell of a ride. Jump aboard, you might just like it. 
-Olivia x

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