Recipe: Carrot and Walnut Muffins

You can't beat a nice slab of carrot cake eh? Especially with some cream cheese icing. Cream cheese icing with orange? Even better! These delicious, addictive muffins were the second part of my Whitworths baking challenge. I loved the crunch of the walnuts paired with the soft sponge cake. While the sultanas helped to keep the sponge lovely and moist. Nothing like a bit of texture to help give a cake extra brownie points. I had to give these babies to my mother to take into worth before they disappeared in my belly!

Fancy making these beauties yourself? The recipe below couldn't be simpler! As always, tweet me if you decided to rustle them up. Not even your waistline will regret it!


Review: Pizza Express

Gosh I am behind with all my posts but a good few weeks back I was kindly invited along to Pizza Express to try out their menu.  Pizza Express is a restaurant I frequent quite often. It's always good value for money, brilliant service and the food always tastes delicious. This evening out was exactly what I needed after a a bad day so armed with my partner in crime - aka Mother Warner - we set off to a branch in the town next door and put the world to rights.

I get my vast appetite of my mother so it was no surprise that as soon as we spotted the table next door had ordered the Classic Italian Antipasti, we opted for this bad boy. Filled with juicy sundried tomatoes, creamy balls of buffalo mozzarella, salty olives, crispy bread, sweet Pepperdew peppers, roasted marinated aubergine, pea and mint pesto and Italian cried meats. It was just as delicious as it sounds! It was more than enough for two people although in reality it was possibility a bit too much. But we both took one for the team and finished every last scrap.

Never one to break a habit of a lifetime, my mum opted for the Pollo Verdure warm chicken salad. With soft dough breadsticks and fresh mixed vegetables smothered in a sweet honey and mustard sauce, it's great if you're after a less stodgy dinner.

I obviously opted for pizza. I never not opt for pizza if it's on the menu. This time I decided to sample the La Regina. A white béchamel base topped with smoked ham hock, juicy black olives, chestnut mushrooms and gooey buffalo mozzarella. The pizza was then finished with a generous drizzle of black truffle oil. Having a tomato free base was something a little different to what I'm used but I was fast converted after a few slices. I loved the rich sauce alongside the salty ham - such a good combination!

Of course, no meal out is complete without a cheeky dessert. The Eton Mess Cheesecake immediately caught my eye and I didn't even have to look at the rest of the menu. The strawberry swirl cheesecake was just the right amount of sweetness and the meringue topping finished it off to a tee. If you have a sweet tooth, this is more than enough to give you your fix! My mum decided to plump for the Honeycomb Cream Slice. Oh man, the layer of salted caramel between the cheesecake and the base was divine. Sweet and salt is just a perfect combination right? I may or may not have finished this off when my mum couldn't eat anymore...

Thanks for such a lovely evening out Pizza Express!


Why you should do things that terrify you

The comfort zone. It's a lovely little place where you can cruise along at a nice, safe speed and have complete control of your life. But it's also freaking boring.  If everyone only ever stayed in their comfort zone, life wouldn't be as half as exciting.

When I was offered the once in a lifetime trip to road trip around the state of Illinois back in March, I could hardly believe my luck. I got to call that work? But there was a part of me that nearly passed it on to someone else in the team. I was going to have to spend over a week with people I didn't know, in a place I'd never been and it would require me to be on top form the entire time. In fact, I had such trouble sleeping the night before because I was so worried it was all going to be a disaster. As an only child I relish in my own company. Don't get me wrong, I love socialising and meeting new people. But I love nothing more then shutting myself off from the outside world and sitting in my own thoughts. After I went to Glastonbury - despite it being one of the best experiences of my life -, I had to be by myself for a good few days afterwards because I was exhausted at being in other people's company that I didn't know. Other only children will probably be able to relate! But saying yes to that US trip was one of the best things I've ever said. I can't even put into words how incredible that trip was. It sounds cheesy but I discovered things about myself that didn't realise I could do. I came back feeling so proud that I managed to travel to and from another country in one piece. Considering I once left my passport in Boots at Gatwick Airport!

I still remember the very first time I went to a blog event on my own without knowing anyone who was going to be there. Once again I very nearly pulled out when the blogger I was meant to meet up with couldn't go. But I put on my best smiling face, rocked up and made it my mission to chat to the very first person I came across. I was absolutely petrified inside - what if everyone thought I was a complete moron and they couldn't think of anything worse then chatting to me? But I did it and thought on the tube home about how much I got out of the evening because I didn't have one person to hide behind.

You only get one life. It'll be no good if you get to 90 and look back wishing that you took a tight, firm hold of everything that came your way. You want look back at the past and remember all the incredible things you got to do along the way. No one ever had a good story to tell by staying in their comfort zone. Try something that absolutely terrifies you and grab every opportunity with both hands.


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