Five Latest Loves #5 – Mexican flavours, TV and that Pink Ball included

Hello! Here’s another set of Latest Loves for you on this lovely sunny Tuesday. It is absolutely gorgeous in Belfast today, I plan to sunbathe after work!

Fresh Mexican flavours – Avocado, Coriander and Lime

I bought these ingredients on Sunday for an ill-fated pot of Mexican Soup (it did not work out well at all much to our disappointment). But just on their own, how good do these look? All three are so fresh and delicious and they all work so well together. Half an avocado as a snack is one of the nicest things in the world to me, and I love fresh coriander so much I could eat it in handfuls on it’s own! Lime is a great accompaniment to anything Mexican and although my soup didn’t work out, the fresh coriander, squirts of lime and chunks of avocado I added to my bowl made it (just about) worth eating!

Avocado, Coriander and Lime - Latest Loves

The demise of The Pink Ball

The Pink Ball is no longer a ball, and should be renamed The Pink Piece of Rubber. Still Ella plays with it, and carries it around in her mouth begging us to throw it for her! It’s only a matter of time before it has to go in the bin and she is slowly coming round to the nice, new, blue version, as she has realised her old faithful pink version no longer bounces, or rolls, or can be thrown very far due to it’s light weight. Here she is hiding under our bed with her little pink piece of rubber :)

Ella the Bichon Frise's Pink Ball

Rimmel Nail Nurse

My nails are pretty weak at the best of times, and this Nail Nurse product from Rimmel has really helped strengthen them in the last week or two. The ’5 in 1′ element promises ‘smoother, stronger, longer, moisturized and shiner nails’. I wear it as  base coat and top coat and it gives a nice finish. Whilst it’s not a miracle product, it’s keeping my long suffering nails (which I still have a strong desire to bite) looking semi respectable!

Rimmel Nail Nurse 5 in 1 Top Coat Base Coat

Channel 4′s Utopia 

My sister mentioned last week that she was looking forward to the second series of Utopia starting on Channel 4. I hadn’t seen the first, so I binge watched the six episodes on 4OD last Monday on one of our days off. I loved it and was pleased to find that the new series started that night, with a double episode. It’s weird, freaky and pretty violent, but a very good watch. You can view the first series here. Episode 3 of the second series is on Channel 4 tonight at 10pm!

Synopsis – When a group of strangers find themselves in possession of the manuscript for a legendary graphic novel, their lives brutally implode as they are pursued by a shadowy and murderous organisation (Channel4.com

Utopia Channel 4

Dog stealing baby’s toy video

This video has gone viral recently, because it’s so bloody cute. This gorgeous Beagle Charlie fancies a play with his little sister Laura’s rattle, but immediately after taking it off her, she starts to cry and he feels so guilty! He then proceeds to bring her every toy he can find (some of which are his own) and balances them on top of her little body until he feels he has made up for taking her rattle away. So cute!

Love, Laurel

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How to make a Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake that is sweet, tangy and very, very moist

Yesterday afternoon I made a Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake. It was very easy and the result was very delicious! Here’s how:

How to make a Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • The zest of two Lemons
  • 3 Eggs

For the drizzle

  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • The juice of two Lemons

Method

  • Cream together the butter and sugar until combined
  • Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and lemon zest and mix well
  • Add the mixture to a greased and lined loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes
  • Once the cake has cooled, turn it out onto a tray and prick the top of the cake all over
  • Mix the lemon juice and caster sugar together in a jug to make a paste (you might not need all of the lemon juice) and drizzle onto the cake. The mixture will ‘drizzle’ into the holes in the cake but a lot of it will also slide off, so I just poured it back into the jug, and drizzled it over the cake a few more times until  it was mostly absorbed.
  • Leave the topping to set before slicing.

How to make a Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

How to make a Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

How to make a Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

The end result is a rich, sweet, yet tangy cake which is deliciously moist and zesty. The ground almonds add a bit more indulgence to the sponge, and the lemon juice gives it a lovely sharpness which is counteracted by the sugary, sweet drizzle on top. It slices really well without crumbling and is  lovely with a big cup of tea – perfect for Sunday afternoon lounging. Give it a try!

Love, Laurel

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Album Review: In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith

I rarely buy albums anymore, and instead just download individual songs I like. But after discovering how good Sam Smith is a few months ago, I knew his album would be brilliant.

Sam Smith In The Lonely Hour Album Review

Released at the end of May 2014 by Capitol Records, In The Lonely Hour (Deluxe Edition) features 14 tracks, the majority of which are centred around unrequited love – Sam’s past relationship with someone who didn’t love him back.

The album starts with the up-tempo, infectious UK Number One single ‘Money on my Mind’ which is such a good opener.  As the tracks go on however, the tempo and mood changes and the album is quite a sombre, yet relaxing listen.

Stand out tracks for me include:

Stay With Me – gives me goosebumps! Is it possible not to like this song? About a one night stand that he wishes could be more. The type of powerful ballad that just stops you in your tracks and makes you listen.

Leave Your Lover  - so emotional and heartfelt, a gorgeous, slow and gentle track. Sam begs, ‘Leave your lover, leave him for me’ and you just know it’s never going to happen, aww.

Like I Can – the lyrics of this track are punchy and defiant – ‘Why are you looking down all the wrong roads? When mine is the heart and the salt of the soul’. It’s up-tempo, empowering, and very catchy.

Life Support – not sure why, but this song reminds me of something Beyonce would sing. It’s epic and emotional and in the chorus Sam’s falsetto is ear piercing yet stunning.

Restart – this track has a brilliant, 80′s beat that is so catchy and just makes you want to dance :) A sort of triumphant song towards the end of the album, ‘It was a Monday night when you told me it was over babe. Any by the Friday night, I knew that I would be ok’

The deluxe version of the album also has an acoustic version of ‘Latch’, the Disclosure song featuring Sam, and Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’, which, with Sam’s vocals, still sounds great even though I’ve heard it a million times.

The strength and quality of Sam’s voice; it’s amazing, soulful, passionate sound is just a joy to listen to. Sam’s song writing skills are very impressive and there isn’t a bad song on the album. This collection of songs is, in my eyes, completely brilliant. I love it! Give it a listen if you haven’t already.

Love, Laurel

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