Marbled Meringues

Chocolate, meringue, strawberries and health food don't really go together. OK strawberries, but come on, they're so much better with chocolate.


I made these meringues for dessert Saturday night, and man they were good! In fact my family was completely silent for the 30 seconds it took to eat inhale them.

Some of the ingredients are slightly strange i.e. making chocolate mousse out of cream cheese. Just go with it; you trust me right?

Marbled Meringues
Serves - 6
ProPoints - 5

Ingredients:
400g strawberries
2 tbsp sweetener
Juice of 1 lemon
75g dark chocolate chips
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
150g quark (use very low fat cream cheese instead)
2 tsp clear honey

Method:
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2.
In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the sugar and continue whisking until combined and glossy.
Take out a spoonful of the meringue mixture and put in a separate bowl. Mix with the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate meringue mixture back into the white mixture and gently fold to create a marbled effect.
On a lined baking sheet. Create 6 mounds with the meringue, creating a dip in the middle. Cook for 40 minutes.


Whilst the meringues are cooking marinate the strawberries. Hull them and cut into slices. Place in a bowl with the sweetener and lemon juice. Leave in the fridge.


Take the meringues out of the oven and leave to cool completely.
Make the chocolate mousse just before serving. Melt the chocolate chips, stir in the honey and then the quark (cream cheese). Serve immediately.



The meringues themselves will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks. Yummy crumbled over ice cream.

How about making these you Saturday night treat?

Not Quite There Yet Link Up

Welcome back to the brand new link up 
Not Quite There Yet!
This link up is specifically for non-mommy and/ or unmarried bloggers.
(We still love all you married with kids folks!)
This will be a weekly link up rotating through different social media outlets for us to connect through. I hope that this link up will facilitate the making of many new friendships and partnerships. We are all in the same boat, let's get to know each other and support each other through life's twists and turns.
Alright, let's kick this thing off!
We will be linking up our Facebook pages this week.
You know the drill...
1. Follow your host. That's me! :D
2. Follow ALL of your co-hosts. please and thank you!
Natalie  from Natalie Loves Beauty
Tarole from One Haloe Girl SimplyyMayra from PonderWonders & Helen from Eat. Enjoy. Live.
3. Link up your blog's Facebook page (not your blog).
Next week we will be connecting via Instagram!
4. Find some other great bloggers and follow along. And be sure to leave a comment so we can all follow you back!
5. Button up and spread the word! Share this post on Twitter & Facebook!
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If you are interested in co-hosting email me at  dalayna {dot} dillon {at} gmail {dot} com.

GFC Blog Hop


Woooo I'm so excited to be co-hosting this blog hop.
So many people participate, and who doesn't love finding great blogs?
Its over to Melissa to give us the rules!

It's Tuesday again which means it's time for the GFC Blog Hop!
When I want to follow a blog the first thing I look for is GFC (Google Friend Connect), it's so easy and  nice to be able to go and see all of the blogs you follow in one spot. It's really a great tool to have. 
One side note- Did you know you can follow through GFC using your Twitter Account? TRUE, it's definitely an option!
Ok, so let's get to the party, shall we?
RULES are simple:
1. Follow your host via GFC
The First link below
2. Follow your co-hosts via GFC
The Next 8 links below
3. Link up below using your main blog url not a specific post.
4. Make sure to visit some of the blogs in the link up and follow them via GFC 
and if you want to leave them a comment, I'm sure they'd appreciate that as well.
5. Tweet about this blog hop

6. Share about this blog hop by grabbing a button and putting it on your sidebar!

Post Sponsor Ad:

Home-made Crisps

If your like me and would take something savoury over chocolate any day, then you are going to love this.


I adore crisps, seriously adore,  and when you're trying to watch your weight this isn't a good thing. This is until I discovered you can make crisps in the microwave. Seriously people they taste damn good! You can put whatever flavourings you want on them, but I like mine with just a little bit of salt.

1 potato yields loads of the little crispy things. All you have to do is peel it, slice thinly (use a mandolin), place on a plate and put them in the microwave for 4-6 minutes.

I do have a couple of tips though:

Spray the plate with cooking spray first so they don't stick.
Try to keep all the slices uniform so they cook in the same amount of time.
Watch the microwave. They vary so much in cooking times.
Don't overlap the potatoes, they will stick together. You'll have to do them in several batches.
The plate will get hot the longer you keep using it. I say this from past experience.

Do you have any 'naughty' snacks you've worked out a healthy solution too?

For the men who have everything

If your like me you'll always struggle to find that perfect present for the men in your life. They always seem to have everything!

My current obsession with Christmas magazines has finally paid off. I found such a great tutorial for the perfect gift for all the men in my life.

If your reading this and you happen to be my Dad or brother then stop reading right now. Seriously close the  computer window and go and do something else for a second.

Right then, the tutorial.

You know who men's wallets always have the smallest space for coins? Well steal one of their old ties and make a coin wallet out of it.
This is super simple. I'm not at all a whizz on a sewing machine, so if I can do it you can too. In fact you don't even need a sewing machine, you can make it without.

You will need:
Tie
Tape measure
Scissors
Pins
Needle and thread
Iron and ironing board
Press stud
Decorative button
Sewing machine (optional)

How to:
Measure 25cm up from the tie's point and cut across, the discard the skinny part of the tie. Fold the raw edge over on itself to create a neat hem, pin, then stitch together.


Fold the straight edge of the tie towards the point by 7.5cm and pin along each side. Sew together.



Fold the point of the tie over, this should nearly meet the bottom edge, and press flat. Sew the press stud into the tie. One half should go up 1cm from the point on the underside. Make sure the other part of the press stud sits exactly opposite the other side.


Finally, attach your decorative button with a few stitches just above the point on the front of the tie.


The greatest thing about this craft? It was totally free. I had everything to hand, and stole a tie from my Dad. Don't worry I made sure it was an old one!

What do you make/buy for the men in your life?

Friday's Letters

{Via}

Dear blog friends, your comments round here lately have been lifting me more than you'll ever know. It is your continuous support and love that drives my dreams and motivation. Dear Mum, please don't be too upset about Christmas. I know the whole family isn't going to be together this year, and we're separated from the boys, but don't let that upset. The people who caused this have no right, but you have made the correct decision. It's not up to you to stand down and be unhappy, its up to other people to stand up for you. I know you think I put too much pressure on you and this whole situation. I apologise if you feel like that and I am trying to stop, but just know that it comes from love. Dear bank, it would be great if you could kindly donate £1000 out of the goodness of your own heart into my account. It is Christmas after all. Dear Christmas, hurry up already! You know this is my favourite time of year and the wait is killing me. PS: please make it snow :) Dear people who have jobs available, give me one! I'll work hard, honest. Dear family, dinner's going to be late tonight. I want to trial run hassleback potatoes before Christmas, but I've left it a little late in the day. I promise they'll be worth it!

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Lucky

Recently I've been going through a phase of not feeling so lucky.
I've not really expressed it on this blog because I'm not very good at opening up and well, you might think its slightly weird when I say I don't believe in luck.
How can you feel unlucky and not believe in luck right?

I've been feeling the whole world is against me. Even Italy didn't turn out like I wanted to too.
I mean I had a great time and seeing these beautiful faces again was 100% worth it


but after going to the schools I just felt empty. I felt like I was guiding myself down a path that was totally the wrong direction.  So I'm not going to teach in Italy. I know the opportunity is always there, but for the moment its not the right path for me. Its taken me 4 years to work that out.

Then I had a revelation. Actually Mayra caused me to have a revelation  Do you remember the pay it forward posts that were going around a while back?
Well Mayra sent me something. It was supposed to support and guide me through my journey to Italy. It hasn't done that, it's done something a whole lot better.
It's given me my hope and faith in God back.


How good is that drawing!? I can't believe how much it looks like me!

I know the path I'm supposed to be going down, and its been there all along. I have no idea why I've been fighting it for so long, but its time to stop. My University friends and family would groan when I say this (I am always changing my mind) but......I want to be a teacher. Its what I'm good at, what makes me feel alive, and what I'm destined to do.

I feel so lucky.

I've literally just come back from a job interview. I'll here the outcome later today.
I'm confident though that whatever happens will be for the right reason and I'll be happy with it eventually.
I've finally got some direction in my life back and I'm moving forward.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Literary Junkies

As you all know I LOVE books. Who doesn't right?

Well when the lovely Taylor and Lesley said they were starting a book themed link up I was instantly in.

Its called Literary Junkies and we link up once a month, starting today.
Each month there are some questions to answer on what you've been reading. I think this is such an awesome way to find new books to read.

This months questions are:

1) What book are you currently reading? Give us a little synopsis and your review.
2) What are your 3 favourite books of all time?
3) What is your "approach" upon entering a bookstore? Where do you immediately head after entering through the front door?


My answers:

1) I'm currently reading 'The Mould of Time' by Robin Dermond Horspool (what an awesome name right!?) Unfortunately you won't find this on the shelves of your normal book store. During my last weekend at the caravan Mum and I went to a cute little vintage shop. In this shop they had this book, by Robin, who is a local author. *Just discovered they have it on Amazon!*
I'm definitely not the happy romantic kind of reader. Dark and Gothic is on my list. My favourite book of all time is Great Expectations. When I read the blurb of the book and realised it was about Miss Havisham's early life I was sold.


A Synopsis? Robin (the author's ) uncle takes the reader back to the 1700's and paints a picture of how Miss Havisham came to be the Havisham Dickens gives us. The book basically says that all Dickens characters are based on real people. Dickens even makes an appearance in 'The Mould of Time'

Review: I can't really give a full review at the moment as I'm only 100 pages in. I want to say its fantastic, don't get my wrong it is extremely well written, but there is something holding me back from fully enjoying it.
I want to believe that there was actually a Miss Havisham, but it all just seems to good to be true. As for Robin's uncle knowing Dickens.....I'm not convinced.
Saying all this it still doesn't stop me from devouring pages every night. I've always been a hard judge of books.

2) I hate this question! It changes every single time I answer it. Currently my top three are:
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

3) I'm very methodical when entering a book-store  I don't really have a 'type'. I can spend hours in there, depending on how big it is.
I start off right by the door and walk through the entire book-store, scanning every single book. 
That is why my family hates going with me, or they go for a coffee whilst I get lost in a wonderful magical world.
My local book-store has just purchased some nice comfy leather chairs, and you'll often find me sat there, reading an entire book over the course of a week. Anything to avoid buying it!

Easy right?

What are you waiting for? Come and join in!



Goings on in Texas


I'm Selling....

My shop is now officially closed. I'll be totally honest. I'm not a  business owner. I'm just not savvy enough.
I thought that was it, that I wouldn't be able to sell the stuff I make, but then ShopLocket came along.

Before you stop reading, this isn't a publicity post. I genuinely love using shop locket. Its so easy to use as a buyer or seller. Payment goes through PayPal, and I mean how easy it that!?

I want to show you the items I have on there already.

If you want anything you can either purchase via ShopLocket or contact me. Remember I do personalised items too.

Get to shopping!

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy?

Its a question that we should be able to answer really quickly, but sit and think about it. What really makes you happy?
I honestly found it a difficult question to answer.
I didn't want to go down the route of family and friends, because although they do make me happy, they have me going crazy too!! Who's with me?

The one thing that never lets me down?

Books.

{Via}

Oh man! I am the biggest bookaholic you've ever met.
I get most of my books from charity shops, as they are cheap and my money goes to a good cause.
The only trouble is when I'm trawling the shelves all you can here me say is "read that, read that, read that".

Seriously. Whilst every other children was spending their pocket money on sweets, I was saving it up and buying books.

{Via}

I have a problem, but its a problem I can live with.

My top 5 reasons why books make me happy?


  1. Although books can make you cry, they will never ever let you down.
  2. Books are the ultimate tool for time travel. In fact travel in general. Go anywhere, to any time  and if you've picked a good author you're right there in the moment. 
  3. I learn a lot about myself.
  4. The smell. I know its weird, but that second hand book shop smell. They should bottle that. I'd buy it!
  5. Characters. They can't talk back, you can hate them, hopelessly fall in love and encourage them. You don't have to be afraid. Their story is already written.
{Via}

Please don't ask me what my favourite book/author is because I just couldn't answer. I do have the top 5 books I think you should read though.

  1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
  3. The 5 people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom.
  4. The crimson petal and the white by Michael Faber.
  5. The end of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas.
I recommend you read at least one of them next year.

What is your favourite book?

{Via}


Work hard and dream

Its so true that the only way you'll become successful is by working hard. No successful person ever got to where they are without a little bit of blood, sweat and tears.
They also had to dream.

{Via}

I've always been a dreamer, but lately I've been dreaming a lot more and much bigger.
You see I am one step away from my dreams.

A step I hope will be taken during my week in Italy.

A step I can't tell you about just yet.

It is an amazing feeling to be this close to your dreams, but I'm also scared; very scared.
Scared that I'm going to fall flat on my face, scared of what is to come, scared if my dream turns out to be nothing like what I want it to be.

{Via}

Have you ever had this feeling? How do you overcome it?

I know I'll embrace whatever happens eventually. God knows the path I should be on and whichever path that is it will be an amazing one.

Today I walk a step further towards my dream, dressed in a pencil skirt and burgundy blouse, walking the streets of Italy and dreaming of what the future holds.

{Via}

30 Days of Thanks

So you all know I am in Italy, but before I left I had time to write this post thought up by the awesomeness that is Jenna over at Its Just Called Spicy.

Guess what? Its a link up!

30days thanks-200pix


That's right Ladies and Gents, get your typing fingers at the ready and get sharing the 30 things your thankful for.

My 30 things starts with something pretty major....

I'm thankful for/that...




  1. Its my birthday! I turn 25 today people. *PARTY* 
  2. I have an Italian 'family'. Seriously, I'm so lucky to know these people.
  3. I get to spend my birthday in Italy.
  4. I have wonderful parents who buy me tickets to Italy for my birthday (are you getting the birthday theme here?)
  5. I re-discovered God, and my life couldn't be better.
  6. I am being given amazing opportunities, but I can't say any-more about these just yet.
  7. I have THE most supportive best friend a person could wish for.
  8. I have and am still learning from my mistakes.
  9. I love learning.
  10. My education.
  11. Everyone I've ever met. Seriously everyone has touched my life in some way. Good or bad.
  12. Books. I could not live without them.
  13. Advances in medical technology.
  14. I know my own mind.
  15. I'm not afraid.
  16. I can afford food, water, a roof over my head etc.
  17. I am able to help others who are less fortunate.
  18. I have a God who loves me.
  19. Blogging.
  20. My creativity.
  21. I have ability to love.
  22. I am healthy and happy.
  23. I have the ability to cook and bake for my family.
  24. God gives me the strength to get through everyday.
  25. My travel experiences.
  26. All my health problems seem to have been sorted out.
  27. I can turn a negative situation into a positive one.
  28. For the memories.
  29. You are reading this :)
  30. To Jenna for setting this up!
Phew! That was harder than I thought. 
It's nice to reflect on the good though, don't you think?

Link up with us. I can't wait to read what you're thankful for!

Rules first!


1. follow the hostesses: 
2. link up your 30 items that you are thankful for
3. check out three others that have linked up and leave some comment love.


Ciao!

Right I'm off.

Literally doing planes, trains and auto-mobiles today; but not necessarily in that order.

Off to see these lovely people in Italy.


Might possibly change my life too, but that's for a future post.......

Have a great week!

Lest We Forget


Spend today remembering the fallen whose fight has given us the way we live today.

Buttered Sweetcorn and Squash

I'm cheating a little bit on this post.

I did take photos of this scrumptious side dish, but my phone on my camera is shocking and they looked less than appetizing.
So I've stolen borrowed the actual recipe from Good Food.

This is my new Christmas side dish, it would be great for Thanksgiving too. OK so its not traditional, but it tastes so good.

After a few tweaks it came out at only 1PP. You get loads too. I made mine as a side dish to chicken tacos and the flavours really worked well.

This recipe serves two, but can easily be adjusted for more.


Buttered Sweetcorn and Squash
Adapted from Good Food
Serves - 2
ProPoints - 1

Ingredients:
20g half fat butter
500g squash (choose whichever variety you like best)
330g sweetcorn (tinned or fresh)
4 spring onions
Small bunch of parsley, chopped

Method:
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Sizzle the squash gently for 15 mins, stir in sweetcorn, season and cook for a further 2 mins.
Remove from the heat and stir in the spring onions.
Serve warm with the parsley scattered over.

What are your favourite side dishes during the holiday season? 

Saying Goodbye

You're all going to think I'm crazy writing a post about why its so difficult to say goodbye, when the thing I'm saying goodbye too is this...


...that is was our caravan.

You'll have heard me talking, here and here, about my last few weekends there.

Its a weird feeling. I can't even really say that I'm that upset. I guess the fact that we've left for good hasn't hit me yet, part of me still feels like we're going to go back in March.
I've grown up there and my little brother was only 2 weeks old when he first went, he's 17 now!

I know this feeling of emptiness isn't going to last, and I know the caravan is going to the right place; my Aunt is having it.
I also know that this is the right thing to do. It was a family decision and factors like time and finances came into deciding its fate.

We have been extremely lucky to have a holiday home only 2 hours away. If we couldn't afford a holiday one year, the caravan was there to provide a couple of weeks at the beach.
I learnt a lot there. Best friends were made and lost. First crushes were had and I will always have fond memories.
That's all they are now, memories. Thank goodness they last forever!

Last weekend Mum and I went for the final time and visited some of our favorite places.




One of my favorite shot of the North York Moors.


 Yorkshire quality is always the best!


Hello I'm Helen and I'm a bookaholic.


Pickering Parish Church


Walkway up the North York Moors Station platform.


Alms houses at Thorton-le-dale.

Yes I'm going to miss going to these places, and if I ever want to go again hotels and lots of planning is going to be involved, but its not forever.

Honestly the only thing I'm feeling right now is that I need to thank my Mum and Dad for buying the caravan in the first place and enabling me to have all these happy memories.

What do you find, that's not people, related hard to say goodbye too?

Home-made Honeycomb

I know I always say easiest recipe ever, but seriously seriously this is.

Remember yesterday I told you about cinder toffee?
Well cinder toffee/honeycomb its totally the same thing.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of this sweet treat, unless its covered in chocolate! My Mum loves it though, so I made her some; yes it does make the perfect gift.

Grab these:
100g caster sugar
2tbsp golden syrup
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
A hammer (trust me)

Make sure your kitchen side is clean too.

How to:
In a saucepan mix the caster sugar and golden syrup.


Place over a medium heat until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to turn a golden brown, like caramel. Be careful here. 1 second too long and the whole thing will taste burnt.


Take the pan off the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will lighten in colour and bubbles will be formed. Wooooo kitchen chemistry going on!
Pour out straight away onto your kitchen side and leave for 15 minutes.


Grab your hammer and smash the honeycomb into eatable pieces.


Top tip: If you can't get the remaining sugar mixture off the pan when washing it. Just heat for a few seconds and it will come right off.

What is your favourite sweet treat to give away?

"Baby You're A Firework"

Phew! It seems like every weekend I miss out on blogging.

What's been going on with you?

We officially said goodbye to the caravan yesterday, there were tears.

Tears then turned into oh's and ah's when we went to a bonfire.

For all of you who don't know, in the UK the 5th of November is bonfire night. It's celebrated every year and the highlight is sitting a 'guy' on to of a pile of wood and burning him.
It sounds morbid, but really its just British tradition and humour all rolled into one. The 'guy' represents Guy Fawkes and the bonfire? Well he was part of the Gunpowder Plot, so why not burn him!
After the bonfire people usually have fireworks, and lots of them.

We also have yummy food this time of year. Hot chocolate, toffee apples that break your teeth and cinder toffee.







As for the blog title? Lets just say Katy Perry must cash in every year!

One last thing I discovered yesterday...hot chocolate tastes so much better with whiskey in it.



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