Saturday, 25 September 2010

Today's Extreme Housewife loves Orange and Carrot Cupcakes!

Nom nom, today's demand was my husband and his friend absolutely needing cake. We decided to go for carrot and orange cupcakes with an orange marscapone icing. They have got a basic sponge mix, with grated carrot, walnuts, he zest and juice of one orange and a dash of all spice and cinnamon in and the icing was made up of marscapone, icing sugar and a touch of fresh orange juice.

They came out wonderfully moist and it was my first test of my 6 section silicon cake tray from Poundland. To be honest, for £1 I didn't hold out much hope that it would do what it said on the tin, but it was really excellent. The cakes came away cleanly after 2 minutes cooling out of the oven. This tray produced quite a tall cupcake, so I think they would make an excellent, but smaller sized muffin. This may be my next test!!

Kicking it on the cobbles, my day on Coronation Street!

Damn the DS and its backwards picture taking!
I was invited by the lovely Harveys to the Coronation Street 50th Anniversary Street Party yesterday. It was a surprise to be invited, seemingly at random but given I had work appointments in Manchester anyway, it was a great opportunity to shake it out on the cobbles for an hour or two.

I've not been to Coronation Street or Granada Studios since a school trip when I was 11 or 12, so it was strange to be back. I approached the Atherton Street entrance, slightly intimidated by the small, but committed crowd of die hard Corrie fans staked out with cameras behind the security line. I felt like a bit of a fraud going past them, but then I watch every episode of Corrie and so I have no reason to feel any less of a Coronation Street fan than them.

Happy Birthday Coronation Street!
I was immediately overwhelmed with the scene in front of me - Coronation Street, resplendent with bunting, stalls of food, goods and games and long lines of trestle tables all down the street, groaning under the weight of Warburtons sandwiches, rose and regular champagne and a previously unseen number of Typhoo branded mug.
'Immortalising' their handprints - in bread...

The street was a-bustle - a mixture of media and guests and the stars of the street themselves. I said hello to a huge number of people and found it weird that in reality I was as likely to know their real name as they were to know mine! A lot of people, especially Shobna Gulati, found it a novelty to have their photo taken on a DS but it was all I could muster at short notice! Unfortunately, it appears that the Rovers does not yet have a free wifi connection, so I was unable to tweet at the time and had to wait until I got home, much later that evening.

Wayne Hemingway and Craig Charles
There was a fab Harvey's room with loads of surprisingly lush furniture (well, I really liked the dining sets, not too fussed abou he sofas!
Here I bumped into 'Sally Webster' - looking hugely glam and gorgeous with her short hair. Flamboyant 'Sean Tully' was trailed by an ITV crew, doing a piece to camera that sounded like a trailer for the exciting live episode and shocking storylines that are coming to celebrate the 50th Anniversary.

Fiz hooks a duck!
I saw 'Fiz Stape' successfully hooking a duck, and was proud to win some candyfloss on the same game for the lovely Susan, who kindly invited me to the event and has up til recently been the Twitter voice of Harveys_UK.

Extreme Housewifery

The entertainment was great, a live band, hooping housewives, the beautiful vocal stylings of 'Cheryl' and 'Kirk' (no seriously, he does a great Beatles rendition) amongst others and finally, some great tunes being spun by the host with the most, the ever smiling 'Lloyd'. It was fab having the chance to tell him well done for Red Dwarf. It's probably the lamest thing I could have done, but I just had to. Red Dwarf is still ace and always will be.

Scary Animation Making Man
And on it went. On a sunny Manchester afternoon, it was a lovely break between the work appointments I had to attend. I came away with a 50th Anniversary book with a personalised signature from the very friendly Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street, which will be treasured by my household. I also got to meet the guy that does the scary Harvey's promo clips with all the shit coming to life... Urghhh.... But good to know who's responsible!

Happy Birthday Coronation Street. You will always be the finest soap in my eyes and I look forward to laughter, tears and excitement with you for years to come.

Kirk - my husband's favourite. He respects me more for getting this photo.

Izzy - big fan of Chilli Jam

Ciaran - a more traditional Strawberry jam fan.

Cheryl - likes a spot of damson jam.    

Passage to Anstey

We were treated to a £50 meal at Passage To India, our local Indian restaurant, thanks to the lovely people at Mongoose Premium Beer. Despite having had a very long week at work already, I decided to put my gladrags on, so I could stop complaining I never have an opportunity to get dressed up. After posing with the Comping Kitten for a typically blurry photo thanks to my lovely hubby, we headed out on the 25 minute walk across the fields to get to the restaurant.

The Passage To India is a small place, laid out in a slightly weird L shaped dining room, which sort of feels like you are going to find it hard to attract the waiter's attention if you're hidden away around the corner! The welcome is always friendly, although one guy was serving drinks and another taking a takeaway order over the phone when we arrived so it took a little while for someone to have the opportunity to seat us.

It always does my head in slightly when you get asked what you want to drink when you've barely even got into your seat, so I appreciate it that at least when you request a minute to look at the drinks menu, the waiter complies! We were drinking beer (of course!) and it was cold and fizzy, just as you want a nice pint of lager to be. No complaints there and at £2.95 a pint, the price is about level, if not slightly cheaper than most of the local pubs, which makes a nice change for a restaurant environment.

We ordered, after a long debate... It was nice to really have the run of the menu and £50 for two goes a very long way in PTI. We decided to try the starter platter for 2 to begin. At £7.50 this is just slightly more than buying a starter each and gives you a chance to try a few things. All of the bits were meat based - chicken tikka, a tandoori chicken drummer, a piece of kebab etc. There was one piece of marinaded lamb which was really quite tough and the chicken drummer was really quite small and I found it to be quite gristly on the ends, although my husband got it down him! It was all served with a salad, some lemon wedges and a small bowl of a lemony dressing, which was all very pleasant. It would have been nice to have a couple of bhaji's or pakora on there, but what we were given was totally edible!

For our mains, we ordered a Chicken Pasanda (a mild, sweet and creamy cashew nut sauce), a Mixed Rogan Josh (lamb, chicken and prawn in tomatoey, oniony sauce) and a Lamb Sagwalla (a spinach sauce - my favourite!). To go with this we had a portion of pilau rice and a chapatti each.

All of the curries were really excellent. We were accidentally brought a Chicken Sagwalla, when we had ordered lamb - but the waiter was happy to immediately sort out a replacement of the correct dish. The Lamb Sagwalla was extremely tender and flavourful. The Pasanda was a new choice with us and a real hit! Served with a whirl of cream and some flaked almonds on top (slightly weird since it was supposed to be cashews in the sauce!!) this was sweet and delicious although extremely rich! I think that having a whole one of these to yourself would probably make you very sick!! The Rogan Josh was also very tasty, no complaints there apart from the usual problem of the prawns being a bit tiny and tough. Show me a curry where that doesn't happen though and I'll be very happy! The rice was just want you expect from a pilau, delicately flavoured and a great vehicle for the other sauces. The chapatti was very good - a very decent size and not at all greasy, which made a nice change. I think chapatti is much more preferable than nan as it is easier to pick your curry up with and a lot less filling!

Surprise, surprise, we couldn't eat everything, so they kindly made the leftovers into a doggy bag for us! And a very fancy bag it was too! None of your boring blue carrier bag here! After a complimentary shot of Tia Maria, we stumbled back across the fields to home, slightly tipsy, very fat but ultimately very happy!

REVIEW: Rimmel London 60 Seconds Nail Polish

I really love wearing grey nail varnish, as it complements so many outfits, so I was really excited to try out Rimmel London's 60 Second Nail Varnish, #805 Grey Matter. I have a grey polish from Nails Inc that is a bit lighter so this was a nice change.

The bottle makes three claims.
* That it is a one coat nail polish
* Its trademark Xpress Brush means a one second application
* It dries within 60 seconds

I put it to you that these claims are all false. Or, one or more are mutually exclusive from the other claims. If you use enough loaded on the brush to make one coat sufficient, it doesn't dry within 30 seconds. If you manage to sufficiently apply one coat in one go with the brush, chances are it takes slightly longer than one second and you will probably need to apply a second coat.

However, that said, five minutes down the line and two coats later I was very happy with the finish. It's a good texture and dries with a shiny and flat finish. I found some tip wear developing after 2 days, but I think this is probably reasonable. And I would agree that it dries slightly quicker than normal polishes although I would be unwilling to engage in any heavy activity after a mere 60 seconds!

At an altogether reasonable £3.49 at Boots currently, I would say this is definitely a decent buy. It may not do exactly what it says on the tin, but it's a lovely colour and a nice finish.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Hair and nails is the way forward!

Afternoon all!
Things have been a bit quiet on the blogging front as I've spent the last few days concentrating on filling in an application form for a new job near Manchester. We are in no rush to move back to the north west, but this opportunity is to good to pass up, so more news on that if anything comes of it!

I've had another go with the old nails, this time opting for polka dots! The blue background is Ruby and Millie Blue 600P. It's a bit thin to go on, and even after two coats, you can still see the colour change in the tips of your nails, but it has a lovely pearlised finish that makes up for it. The spots were done with Nubar Nail Laquer in Camelot Blossom which is lovely and thick and vibrant! I had this colour on my toes recently which was definitely eyecatching when teamed up with shocking pink flip flops! I think the weather may have passed for that now though :(

Yesterday I also tried to get over my fear of hair straighteners. Well, I'm not really scared of them, but I won my first ever pair a few months ago and have only ever used them about twice so I'm still not really sure what I'm doing! I went for a nice outwards flick and was quite pleased with the results. My straighteners are a limited edition pink pair of Vogetti PRO Pink Ice which I find really easy to use because the cord is nice and long and swivels around in the base so you don't end up all tangled in it! Anyway, I was quite pleased with the results. I opted for my bog standard Boots essentials hairspray to hold it in place, rather than the more hard core Shockwaves stuff and it held really well for the 4 hours I was out, even though we were outside in a moderate wind quite a lot of the time.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Competition: The Power of Social Networking!!

Yay! I just reached 1000 followers on Twitter!

And to celebrate, I've decided to have a giveaway. Quite frankly I think anyone who's willing to listen to the rubbish I spout on Twitter deserves a little something in return. Plus, you're all so lovely and generous and supportive that I'd like to show my appreciation.

Oh, and of course, being into me competitions as I am, I have an ulterior motive or two. I am intrigued by this social networking lark and how one informs another. I'm interested to see if my Twitter followers are willing to make the leap to my blog. Everyone can do with a bit of Extreme Housewifery in their life. If you're not sure what Extreme Housewifery is, it's essentially crochet and baking, but with piercings. Yeah, metal.

More than that, I've entered the BMI Friday competition. I desperately want to win a pair of free flights, so I can take my lovely husband to California so we can hook up with our best friends over there. That is social networking based too. I have a video on YouTube and all I need to do is get loads of views. Simple, no? Well, apparently not as it seems people are unwilling to follow a link and have a quick looksee.

So, with all these social tinterwebby experiments in mind, may I present my competition. I have decided that I will allocate three prizes. There is a lovely Ten Second Epic t-shirt in Size Small, a Rimmel Sun Shimmer instant tan oojit in Fair Shimmer (cos summer's on its way out now and you might be needing it) and... one MYSTERY MAKEUP prize - all together now - Oooooooo!!!!

To enter you need to do the following three things:

1. Make sure you follow me on Twitter as I will be DMing the winners. You can find me at LoLoPants
2. Got to YouTube and watch my BMI Friday video. Feel free to watch it twice even, or share it with friends lol.
3. Come back to this lovely blog, make sure you've clicked the follower button and post a comment, telling me something interesting relating to one of the geographical areas I mention in the video. Make sure you include your Twitter name so I can DM you when you win!

And that's it! If you ain't following me on here or on Twitter, you can't win I'm afraid. I will close the competition on Friday 14th September, sometime when I get home from work. The winners will be chosen using - the 1st winner gets to choose which prize they want, 2nd winner chooses from what's left and the 3rd winner just gets what they're given and considers themselves thankful!

I'm afraid this giveaway is open to people in the UK only cos I'm too poor to stretch to international postage. No multiple fakey Twitter accounts please, that's just annoying, please just stick to one comment per person to make it fair.

Awesome. Do what you do best people.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Tiger Nail Art

This evening's nails are tiger stripe. The orange base is Magic Bus from the Urban Decay Summer of Love set. It went on really nicely and I only needed one coat. On the tips of the nails I also have the gold glitter from the same set, called Love Light but it's quite subtle and you can't really see it on the photo. I used my trusty Amaretto 17 Long lasting over the top which also has a slight glittery finish and then finished the whole thing off with a clear top coat to protect the stripes.

This time I just did the stripes straight with the brush from the nail polish. It's definitely better than last time. Hopefully practice will make perfect!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Bacon and Berets

Cheese AND bacon? Om nom.

I thought my extreme housewifery should include more of my day to day cookingery, so here is tonight's creation, a potato, onion and bacon casserole. It didn't look so good when I served it up but it was still tasty. It was really easy to prepare. I sliced the potatoes and boiled for 5 minutes while I chopped up the bacon and onion. I mixed a small amount of chicken stock with a tablespoon of flour and some rosemary from the garden. Once the potatoes were cooked, I layered it all up in an ovenproof dish with some cheese and cooked on 180C for 45 mins et voila! Nom nom. It's been a good day for food, I made bacon and lentil soup for lunch. Can you tell I was using up the end of the £1.50 for 1kg bag of bacon bits from the butchers?

Will this become a beret?
In other housewife duties, I've been crocheting a slouchy beret type thing since last night. Here is a record of my progress so far. I am slightly concerned that the stitch I used for expanding the circle was too much for the gauge, so there may be some unravelling later this evening. I'm hoping that it'll all balance out when I do a few more rows without increasing but we'll see.

And finally, good news on the competition front! After winning eyeshadow from 17 this morning (yay!) this evening I got an email from the FabWine website. My photo got the most votes so we have won a trip to Bordeaux for the weekend to do some wine tasting! I am so happy, we really didn't think we'd get away this year (or maybe next year given how the old finances are looking!) so this is amazing.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Giant Cupcake!

Giant Cupcake of Ultimate Chocolate
Thanks to the lovely people at Prezzybox, my latest project has seen me delve into the world of snack pimping. I used their giant cupcake tin to make this creation for our BBQ the other night.

The tin didn't come with instructions about the sort of volume of cake mix that you would need, so I just guessed at a 4 egg basic sponge. This cake was interesting because it was made with Splenda granulated sweetner instead of sugar! To make up for the calories, I dumped a load of chocolate in between the layers and on top lol. I don't think I put enough butter in the chocolate though as it went totally solid instead of maintaining a little squdginess.

My friends who sampled the cake all enjoyed it though, so no one noticed the sweetner, which I think is pretty cool. Next time I'm going to have to make more mixture though, to get an even bigger cupcake, and try to figure out how to get the tops to rise evenly, I had a lot of offcuts from where I had to cut flat the edges of the two cakes to sandwich them together. Not that offcuts of cake go to waste in this house!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Having a go at Nail Art!

I thought I'd have a go at a little bit of freestyle nail art this evening. The base coat is done with Del Sol in Secret Crush. This stuff is funky, because it changes colour in the sun. This colour will go purple, I shall have to add a photo of that tomorrow! I did the little swirly lines with 17 Lasting Fix Nail Polish in Amaretto.

I did the patterns with a cocktail stick, which worked pretty well, but I think a little brush would be easier. I have no idea where to get a tiny nail varnish brush from though! For my first attempt I thought it would be wise to try something non-regular or symmetrical to cover up any mistakes. All in, I'm pretty pleased with it as a first attempt, it's definitely something I will try to take further. There is loads of neat inspiration online so I'll see how it goes.

It also made me laugh that the angle I took the photo from makes my fingers look really tiny and stubby! If I do any more I shall have to experiment with more flattering angles!

Win A Kindle

Wow, not only has Zoe Winters created an awesome new novel, Blood Lust, but she's also giving away a Kindle to celebrate! You'd have to be mad not to be into that.

You can get more info about Blood Lust, available on Amazon for a bargainous £9.95 with free delivery on Amazon.

For more info on how to pimp Blood Lust for Zoe and thereby maybe bag yourself a Kindle, go here but you've not got long left!

Good luck everyone!
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