30 Mar 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter

I thought I would give this a go, and attempt to make my own peanut butter. Here's how I did it:

What you will need:

  • 2 cups of peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup or brown rice syrup (any sweetener will do the trick) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil (preferably peanut oil, but to be honest any food oil can be used in the recipe) 
  • A liquidizer, blender or food processor 
  • Empty jars to store your peanut butter 
  • Pour the peanuts into the blender and whizz for aprox 3-4 minutes 
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil and whizz again for another minute until combined
  • Next add 1 tablespoon of honey and whizz again
  • Repeat this a further time with the other tablespoon of oil & honey
  • Next decide weather you want smooth peanut butter or crunchy peanut butter
  • If you want crunchy peanut butter then all you have to do if pour the mixture into your jars 
  • If you want smooth peanut butter then whizz the mixture up a little more until it is the consistency you require 
  • Any your done, Enjoy ! 

As usual heres a video to help you out:

Thanks For Watching

29 Mar 2012

Easy Fruit Slice Recipe

I was never a fan of dried fruit up until a few years back when I tried a hot cross bun and ever since then I cannot get enough of them. So in light of that I wanted to bake something with dried fruit and came across this very simple, quick and easy recipe for a fruit slice which only requires three ingredients (it tastes very much like soreen). So here it is..

What you will need: 
  • 400g can on condensed milk
  • 375g bag of dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup of self raising flour

  • Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix
  • Put in the oven on gas mark 3 or 160 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes to 1 hour, cover with foil if it begins to brown to quickly
  • Take out of oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes 
  • Slice, serve and enjoy !
  • Cover with a icing sugar glaze

Heres a little video tutorial for those of you who like to watch them:

Thanks For Watching

Oaty Nutty Cereal Bars Recipe

Oat's & nut's are what people now call 'Super-foods', hmmm well I'm not sure there that super but heyhoo anyway, lets get cracking...

What you will need:
  • 4 cups (400g) small rolled oats
  • 200g bag of mixed chopped nuts
  • 3/4 can of condensed milk
  • 115g of butter (melted)
  • Preheat oven to gas mark 3 or 160 degrees celsius
  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl & mix
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Slice into bars whilst they are still warm
  • Serve & enjoy. 
There are many other ingredients you can combine with this basic recipe to give it your own touch, for example;
  • Mixed dried fruit
  • A chocolate layer 
  • Almonds
  • Designated coconut
  • Cinnamon 
  • The possibilities are endless as this is such a versatile recipe and can be altered and adapted to meet your needs. 

Heres a little video tutorial for those people who like to visualize what they are baking...

Thanks For Watching

19 Mar 2012

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Recipe

Chocolate, caramel, shortbread, cheesecake, everything everyone loves in one desert. 

I came across a cheesecake mix in Tesco which was on offer for only 80p and my first though was 'what a bargain' and so in true style I picked up two boxes haha. I do like a bit of cheesecake now and then but thought to myself why stick with cheesecake when I can add so many other ingredients, quadruple the calories and create something even more delicious, so thats what I did. 95% of the time I try and eat healthy but I do like to splurge now and then (who doesn't) and this was my splurge for the week. 

I made a video to show you exactly how I made it and of course you don't have to follow it step by step, it's just a guide to show you how to make it, you can add any number of other delicious ingredients to make it ever so beautiful :) 

This is an easy no bake recipe and all thats requires in a fridge! 

What you will need;
  • Round springboard baking pan 
  • Tin foil (optional)
  • Spatula
  • Electric whisk
  • Grater
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cheesecake Mix/Homemade cheesecake 
  • A huge bar of milk chocolate
  • Caramel
  • Shortbread

Heres the video tutorial, I hope you enjoy it I certainly enjoyed making it...

Thanks For Watching

15 Mar 2012

I've been placed with Camp America

Last year I applied for Camp America but ran into a few exam clashes which meant I sadly couldn't go. This year however it was all steams ahead I was determined to get a place. I attended the recruitment fair in Manchester in January but unfortunately had no luck, I was starting to lose faith, that was until I arrived home this evening and checked my emails and low and behold I had a email from Camp America to say I have been placed! I know I was freaking out with all my emotions running riot from excitement to fear to being completely terrified.

I still cannot believe it that in nearly three months time I will be working in America, this is literally a dream come true for me and I think I am so nervous because this is something I have wanted to do for a really really long time. 

I also have paid my final installments and I am now waiting for my visa embassy letter to come through the post so I can book an appointment at the American embassy in London. Ohh its all happening so fast and Im really exited to meet everyone :) 

Thanks For Reading

12 Mar 2012

DIY - Denim Jean Shorts...

I went into Topshop the other day to have a little browse and saw they had a lovely pair of cut of denim shorts that I was so tempted to buy, that was until I saw the price tag. £35.00 for a pair of shorts, I don't think so. There is no way in this world that I would pay £35 for a pair of shorts, thats absolutely ridiculas.

So that leads me to my next DIY project. I took a pair of old jeans I already had, well when I say old, there not that old i've just grown in the last couple of months and there too short haha, so I'll turn them into shorts :) waste not want not !

Heres a little video tutorial to show you in basic steps how to create your own denim shorts without spending a penny;

Thanks for reading/watching
Rachel (Catalow333)

8 Mar 2012

Cosmetics Wholesale Haul ...

You all know how I love a good bargain and when I came across THIS website last October I will admit at first I was a bit skeptical about the products, but after what seemed like a month of research and reviewing I put all my eggs in one basket and went for it. So after clicking 'buy' I waited and waited for my parcel to be delivered, (supposedly 10 day shipping), and after around four weeks I have a knock on my door, a paper to sign and the products were mine, Yay!

I opened my package and to my delight they included some free samples (and when I say samples I got a free full sized Mac lipstick, a Mac eyeliner and a O.P.I nail polish for FREE). All the products were well wrapped in bubble wrap to stop them from smashing in transit which was fantastic because there's nothing worse than broken goods :( 

The products were all great quality and I could not have been happier even if I tried. So after my great experience with then back then, I decided it was time for another order...

... So I went onto their site and filled my basket with a heap of stuff (not as much as last time though, I tried to restrain myself a little) and clicked 'buy', I ordered the products on 28th February 2012 and they were delivered to my house on 8th March 2012, so thats 10 days in total (the recommended time for delivery). Which is a whole lot better than the 4 weeks I was waiting last time. 

So heres what I bought and the extremely cheap prices I paid for them... 

Overview of everything ...

Lets get a little more into the details, of the prices and the products;

1) Mac Studio Sculpt SPF 15 Foundation 
£3.84, YES £3.84 !!!!!

2) Mac Studio Finish Concealer SPF 35

3) Mac Lady GAGA Powder Plus Foundation Studio Fix 

4) Benefit Finding Mr. Bright 

5) Benefit Confessions Of A Concealaholic 

6) Benefit Benetint Lip Balm SPF15

7) Benefit Bluffdust Concealer Loose Powder

8) Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation 
As you can see this product broke during the shipping process, even though it was wrapped in bubble wrap. Although it is a bit of a disappointment, I cant be to annoyed because it was only £2.44 and the powder is fine so when my old powder is finished I will depot this and put it in a different casing. Problem solved :) 

So as you can see the prices are overwhelmingly cheap and I could do nothing but take advantage and bought a lot of products. Apart from the broken powder I would have to say this was a great order and I am really happy with my products. I hope you found this posting insightful and informative and I hope it helped you out if you were concerned or worried about buying in bulk or of wholesaler websites. Don't get me wrong there are some dodgy sites out there, but this one has been tried and tested and approved my me :) 

Cosmetics Wholesaler website - http://www.cosmetics-wholesaler.com/

Thanks For Reading,
Rachel (Catalow333)


7 Mar 2012

Baking Time: Blueberry Muffins !

I never like to bake the same thing twice, unless it's one of those 'Oh My Gosh' dishes, so when I was looking through a new recipe book I recently purchased (Food Lovers: Breads & muffins, Poundland £1) I was pleasantly surprised to find myself with a book full of new recipes  I had yet to attempt just waiting to be baked. I choose to bake the blueberry muffins first simply because I wanted to try out my new muffin dish :) This recipe will make 12 large muffins or 24 small cupcakes, or a mixture of both if you wanted too ! 

Blueberry Muffins:

Ingredients : 

4 tbsp / 50g butter
1 egg
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup / 100ml plain yogurt
1/2 cup / 100ml sour cream
2 1/2 cups / 250g all purpose (plain) flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups / 250g blueberries
Icing sugar for dusting

Prep and Cooking time: Aprox 40 mins

1) Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC/Gas Mark 4)

2) Line a 12 hole muffin pan (tin) with paper cases.

3) Melt the 4 tbsp of butter and leave to cool slightly, so that its still liquid.

4) Put the egg, honey, yogurt and sour cream in a large bowl and mix together.

5) Stir in the melted butter.

6) Sift the flour into the batter a little at a time.

7) Add the baking powder, and stir until combined.

8) Fold in the blueberries.

9) Fill the muffin cups with three quarters of the batter.

10) Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. (Top Tip - Don't open the oven door whilst baking as it will prevent the muffins from rising)

11) Leave to cool on a wire rack for a further 10-15 minutes.

12) Dust with icing sugar.

13) Enjoy.

I also uploaded a video recipe, which you can watch below;

Thanks For Reading,
Rachel (Catalow333)

4 Mar 2012

What's The Best HD Video Camera For Youtube ?

If you watch my youtube videos you probably know that the quality changes with each video I upload, and thats because I am testing different cameras and settings to see which has the best quality. So far I've came up with nothing. I am on the lookout to buy a relatively cheap full HD camcorder shooting in 1080p but there are just so many out there that I haven't got a clue where to begin looking. I had a whiz through the Argos catalogue and found a couple that I liked the look of and are in my price range (£50-£200), but I cant seem to find any decent reviews or test videos to seal the deal. 

These are the cameras I am interested in, but I'm so unsure about what to do its starting to hurt my head. 

Toshiba Camileo A35 High Definition Camcorder £129.99
 Panasonic SD40 High Definition Camcorder £199.99

JVC GZHM445 High Definition Camcorder £199.99

Panasonic DC10 High Definition Pocket Camcorder £179.00

Toshiba S30 High Definition Pocket Camcorder £119.99

The only feature I really want on a camcorder is for it to have full HD (1080p), anything else would be a bonus. I don't want to buy a camcorder then bring it home to find the quality is terrible. Any suggestions or fellow you-tuber's out there who have a decent camera, please help me out and lead me in the right direction. Thank you so much in advance. 

Thanks for reading
Rachel (Catalow333)

3 Mar 2012

Mothers Day Gift Ideas...

So as you all know Mother's day is quickly approaching us, and if your racking your brain trying to come up with some wonderful gift to get your mum that will out do all others mothers day gifts then look no further.

There are so many things out there that it can be difficult to select that perfect gift, I have devised 3 lists of ideas which are categorized into 'Traditional Gifts', 'unusual/unique gifts' and 'Sentimental Gifts', so depending on your mothers personality and lifestyle you can choose the best gift for her.

Lets begin with sentimental gifts:

  • Photo Album/Frame - This is a really inexpensive yet brilliant gift idea. Simply pick up a beautiful photo album and fill it with photographs of your mums children/grandchildren, she will then have the album to cherish forever, when her kids leave her and move away she will have the memories of her children in this beautiful album that your created for her which makes it extra special. 
  • Mugs - Huge coffee mugs are always a must-have in our house and my mother in particular is a sucker for a great mug, this time of year stores are selling mugs with lovely messages or poems engraved into them. Alternatively if your are a creative person you can buy a blank mug from most haberdashery stores and using dishwasher safe pens you can design your own mug, create your own message or simply make a beautiful pattern. 

  • Personalized Hamper - I know loads of companies create these for mothers day, but most are quite expensive and will most probably contain products that your mother will never use, making your own enables to add products you know she love and will use, its also comes form the heart and is a great way to say, 'I love you'. Of course over mother is different so depending on her hobbies and lifestyle will depend on what goes into her hamper, here are a few examples of different items you could add: 
Candles, every woman loves a good smelling candle and your mum is no exception, candles range in prices from high end candles costing up to £20.00 a jar to less expensive candles ranging from £1-£5.

Wine/Alcohol, A nice bottle of bubbly, or her favorite rose will be sure to make her smile.

Chocolates, What woman doesn't live chocolates, even if she says, 'Ohh I'm on a diet don't be getting me any chocolates', she secretly means, 'Please get me a nice box of caramels' that I wont feel bad for eating because they were a gift. 

Think about her hobbies, What does she like to do in her spare time ? Incorporate her hobbies into to hamper for that extra special touch. Eg, if she likes to read, find out who her favorite author is and put a few of their books in along, does she like to garden? if so add a few packets of her favorite flower seeds, If she's a avid baker/cook buy a cookbook from her favorite chef.

Smellies, bath salts, shower gel, relaxing bubble bath, the list is endless. She will be sure to love anything from Lush or The Body Shop, both do Mothers Day limited edition products. 

Moving onto Unusual/Unique Gifts:

  • Zorbing - Involves being rolled around in a giant inflatable ball and being pushed down a hill, a great gift if your mum is an adrenaline junkie or loves the outdoors and being active, maybe this ones not for those mothers who prefer to stay indoors. Zorbing is priced fairly reasonably at £39.50 for 2 people. 

  • Spa/Pamper Day - Every woman loves to be pampered and your mum is no exception. There are hundreds of different spa treatments out there ranging in prices, here are my top 5 spa treatments for mothers:
1) Yummy Mummy Spa Day - £ 80.00
2)Hot Stones Massage - £95.00
3) Time For You At Dove Spa - £79.00
4) Garra Rufa Fish Therapy - £30.00
5) Flotation Tank therapy - £49.00

  • Hot Air Ballon Ride - Although a hot air ballon ride is on the expensive side of things, it is well worth the extra money, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity that your mother will keep with her for the rest of her life. A hot air ballon ride will set you back £315 for 2 people. 

  • Indoor skydiving - This is not your typical mothers day gift, but thats what makes it all the better. It's not something they would expect to receive as a gift and its probably not something they ever imagined doing. If your mother is the sort of person who says 'Ohh I'd love to do that, or 'Ohh I'd love to do this', then no doubly they want to do this. A indoor skydive is one of the cheaper experiences costing only £49.00 each 

Last but not least Traditional Gifts:

  • Flowers - Don't go for the typical 'Mothers Day Flowers' you would find in your local supermarket, instead be creative go down to your local garden store and find a beautiful houseplant that has more character and life that a bunch of flowers that will only die within a week, e.g. 
     Orchid ...

Clivia Miniata...

  • Chocolates - As I've already mentioned all women love chocolates, now Thornton's are currently doing a mothers day special, in which you can customize your own box of chocolates with all your mothers favorite chocolates, additionally they allow you to customize the box with a photograph and message. This is a brilliant gift idea for all those sweet toothed mothers out there. The Thornton's 'Create Your Own' box retails for £14.00, which is pretty reasonable considering the price of Thornton's chocolates in general. 
  • Perfume - Take caution when buying perfume, be sure you know what scents she likes, there's nothing worse than spending a considerable about of money of a perfume which she is not going to wear, so just be careful when selecting and make sure you know what your looking for. 
  • Jewelry - 'Diamonds are a girls best friend' but of course no ones expecting you to go out and buy your mum a diamond for mothers day, but have a look at the type of jewelry she wears on a day to day basis, buy her something she's familiar with, something you know she will wear over and over, a piece of jewelry thats so versatile it will go with anything. There's nothing worse than having a beautiful piece of jewelry and never having the right outfit the wear with it.  
This first item is on the high end of the price range, its a Tiffany's sterling silver 'mum' heart locket on a chain, for £445 
 This second item is also a little expensive, but cheaper than Tiffany's, and its the Pandora simply hearts complete bracelet costing £150

And the third item is the most affordable piece costing £59.99, from Argos. It is a beautiful heart pendant with 4 engraved flowers and a message reading 'Flowers for mummy' this would be the perfect gift for a younger son/daughter to give their mum.

  • Card - Very Importantly don't forget a card, Make sure its heart wrenching and pick it out with care, don't buy the first one you pick up, have a browse find one that will tug at those heartstrings. 
So there you have it my complete guide to picking out the perfect mothers day gifts. I hope it has helped you or given you some inspiration about buying for your mum.

Im always interested in the perfect gifts for all occasions, so if you are a mum what was the best gift your received from your children? If your a son/daughter what was the best gift you ever gave to your mum for mothers day?

Thanks For Reading
Rachel (Catalow333)

2 Mar 2012

Amazon Haul Of Books...

I'm always on the lookout for a great book or series of books to keep me occupied for those rainy days or long bus journeys to university, and a lot of people have been talking about a trio of books called 'The Hunger Games', now I've never heard of them until a few weeks ago and still don't really know the concept of the book, but thought 'what the hell' and ordered them anyway with high expectations as so many people have considered them to attract the same audience as the Harry Potter and Twilight books, and seeing as I thoroughly enjoyed those, I'm hoping 'The Hunger Games' will live up to my expectations.

As you probably already know Nicholas Sparks is one of my all time favorite authors and I can't go into a book store without picking up one of his books, and so to complete my haul, I added 'Safe Haven' and 'The Notebook' to my collection.

I bought 5 books from Amazon in all, 3 Hunger games books & 2 books by Nicholas Sparks;

1) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

2) Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

3) Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

4) Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks 

5) The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks

I completed my order to Amazon on the Monday and the books arrived on the Wednesday, so shipping is really quick and smooth with no problems. I've ordered from Amazon many times before and have never had a problem with them, so I would defiantly recommend them if you don't want to pay retail price (and lets face it, who does?).

Thanks for reading
Rachel (Catalow333)