Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

Do you like chocolate? I mean really, really love it? Yes! Then you will go crazy for these Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites.

Chocolate Fudge Brpwnie Bites
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites perfect for sharing.

These Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites are C R A Z Y good, which shouldn’t be surprising when you consider how much chocolate is in these little edible, morsels of happiness!

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites – sharing the love.

I have a few brownie recipes already on this site, such as Nuts About Brownies and don’t get me wrong, they are all utterly delicious. However, I wanted to make a Brownie that stood alone on its own, deep, chocolatey merit. No nuts, no extra topping, apart from the optional white chocolate heart. Just pure chocolate fudge brownie bliss.

Oh boy do these deliver. Deep chocolate flavour, perfect amount of squidge, that leaves you wondering just how these Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites manage to hold together and a satisfying depth of sweetness, melting against your tongue.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites utterly delicious.

Yep if you want a straight up brownies, no faffing with nuts and the like, just one hundred per cent chocolatey goodness, this is the recipe you need.

Just one quick note, as these brownies contain A LOT of chocolate, it really is worth using the best quality chocolate that you can afford. It really does make a difference to the finished taste and texture.

Recipe: Makes 28 Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

200g/7oz Plain Chocolate – minimum 70% Cocoa solids

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate – minimum 35% Cocoa solids

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter

4 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Dark Brown Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4tsp Salt

300g/11oz Chocolate Chips or Chunks

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate – optional

Method: Preheat oven to 170C/155C fan.

  • Line a 22.5cm x 30cm (9″ x 12″) deep baking tin with aluminium foil.
  • Break up the chocolate (or chop) into individual squares, dice the butter and place both into a heat proof bowl.Place the bowl over a simering pan of water (a double boiler) ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  • Stir continuously until both the chocolate and butter are two thirds melted.
  • Carefully remove the bowl from the pan and continue stirring until the contents are completely melted.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
Set the bowl to one side and allow to cool slightly.
  • Into another large bowl add the eggs, vanilla and sugar.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

 

  • Mix together to combine.
  • Whilst still slowly mixing pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the larger bowl.
  • Mix until completely combined – try not to incorporate too much air whilst mixing.
  • Sift the flour, bicarb. and salt into the bowl.
  • Add the chocolate chunks.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
Ooh this bowl holds so much potential!
  • Using a large metal spoon, fold all the ingredients together.
  • Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tray.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites ready for the oven.
  • Give the baking tin a good couple of sharp taps on the worktop. This will bring any air bubbles to the surface.
  • Place the baking tin into the oven and cook for 35 – 40 minutes.
  • Halfway through the cooking time remove the tin from the I’ve and give it another sharp tap against a heatproof surface.
  • The brownies are cooked when the outside edge has set and the top of the brownies has the familiar, sugar cracked look. There should still be a little wobble to the centre of the tin.
  • Once baked, remove the tin from the oven and allow the brownies to cool completely in the tin.
  • Once cooled turn the brownies out onto a board and removing the foil.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
Cut the huge slab into 28 pieces.

Now you have 28 delectable Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites! These truly are delicious as the are. Seeing as Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, I couldn’t resist piping some white chocolate hearts on them.

Simply pop some white chocolate, broken up, into a microwaveable bowl and melt using 20 second bursts, in the microwave until two thirds melted. Then stir continuously until the chocolate is a smooth liquid.

Spoon the melted chocolate into a small, disposable piping bag and cut the tip off, leaving a very small hole. I found it took a bit of practise, getting even hearts and that it was better if I piped the heart in one complete go.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites perfect for sharing with all those you love on Valentine’s Day.

However you pipe your hearts, your loved ones will enjoy these Chocolate Fudge Brownies Bites, not just because they taste so amazing, but more importantly because you have baked them with love, to show people they are loved.

Do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day, with your significant other, or with all of your loved ones?

If you enjoyed baking these Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites For Valentine’s Day, you may like to try these:

Chocolate Heart Cake

Chocolate Heart Cookies

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake

I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day and sincerely hope you know that you are loved see Important Stuff.

Sammie xx

 

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Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes. Just look at these beauties. Moist almond cupcakes, with a swirl of raspberry ripple buttercream on top. These may be my favourite cupcakes ever. I love them.

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes these are so pretty.

Could you resist one or two of these delicious cupcakes?

I couldn’t! As soon as these photographs had been taken I ate two of these. I just didn’t want the flavour sensation to stop after the first one!

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes the perfect way to say I Love You.

Instead of giving roses for Valentine’s Day, why not bake up a batch of these delicious cupcakes? There are certain advantages; they can be shared, they are less of a dramatic statement than red roses – therefore more inclusive to groups of people that you love. Unfortunately though, I can pretty much guarantee these Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes won’t last as long as flowers!!

Valentine’ Day is about love, whether that be your significant other, your family, your girl or guy friends. Show some love this Valentine’s Day, especially to those who may feel unloved.

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Beautiful Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes as beautiful as they are delicious.

You may have seen there are a few raspberry and almond recipes on this site. Such as this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake. That’s because they go soooo well together. As much as I love creating new recipes and flavour combinations, there are a few classics that I could never mess with.

These Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes bring these two classic flavours harmoniously together. Your taste buds will sing as you bite into one of these beautiful creations.

Recipe: Makes 18 Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

1.5tsp BakingPowder

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – soft

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

30ml/2tbsp Milk

1/4tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2tsp Almond Extract

For the buttercream

250g Raspberry Ripple flavour icing sugar – available from Sugar and Crumbs

125g/5oz Unsalted Butter – very soft

2-3tbsp Boiling Water

Pink Gel Food Colouring

Method: Preheat the oven to 165C/150C fan.

  • Line a cupcake tin with the prettiest wrappers you can find.
  • In a bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until light and get and creamy.
  • Add in the eggs, milk, almond extract, salt and sifted flour and baking powder.
  • Whisk on a low speed until all the ingredients are just combined, stopping halfway through to scrape down the bowl.
  • Add 1 dessert spoonful of cake batter to each cupcake case.
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Feel free to lick out the bowl once you’ve finished filling the cupcake cases!
  • Bake the cupcakes in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • The cupcakes are baked when they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed.
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Remove from the oven once the Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes are baked.
  • Decant the cupcakes onto a cooling rack.
  • Leave to cool completely.

To make the buttercream frosting:

  • Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.
  • Add the softened butter and 2tbsp of boiling water.
  • Whisk until light, fluffy and creamy, adding up to 1 extra tablespoon of boiling water to obtain the desired consistency.
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple buttercream, soft, smooth and utterly delicious.
  • Fit a large piping bag (I use disposable ones for coloured icing) with a large, open star piping nozzle.
  • Fold the bag back on itself, opening up the inside.
  • Using a small brush, paint two lines of food colouring gel, in a line, from the tip, to approximately half way up the bag.
  • The second line should be opposite the first.
  • Place the bag in a stable container, I use a large jug.
  • Fill the piping bag with the buttercream.
  • When the cupcakes are cooled, they are ready to be iced.
  • Holding a cupcake with one hand and starting 1/3 down from the edge, pipe a letter e, keeping the pressure constant. As you get to the end of the e continue piping around the cupcake in one complete circle.

These Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes were my first attempt at piping buttercream roses and I’m really proud of how they turned out.

Obviously practice makes perfect and if you are unsure of how to pipe these look on Pinterest or YouTube, there are plenty of short tutorials showing you what to do.

In fact out of the vast array of piping tips available, if you want a professional, bakery style finish to your cupcake Wilton’s Large Stae 1M is a great nozzle to start with.

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
The same cupcake with a different style of frosting, using the same piping tip.

With the cupcake above, keeping steady pressure on the piping bag, I started in the centre of the cake and piped in circles, building layers to create the classic cupcake swirl.

It is worth making up a bag of plain icing and practicing different methods, so that you feel confident icing your cupcakes.

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

These Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes are utterly delicious and the icing is very light. I enjoy using the natural flavoured icing sugars from Sugar and Crumbs however, you can easily use plain icing sugar and add a few drops of natural flavour extract.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, do you keep the celebrations between you and your partner, or spread the love further afield?

However you spend February 14th, I hope you know that you are loved (see Important Stuff).

If you enjoyed these Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes you are sure to love these:

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

RR Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

RR Black Forest Cupcakes
Black Forest Cupcakes

Don’t forget I’m over on Twitter @sammiefeasting if you need any advice, or leave your question in the comments box and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

Have fun baking and making your very own creations!

Sammie xx

 

 

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Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

Who doesn’t enjoy a toasted, buttery, Hot Cross Bun, in the run up to Easter? My previous post shows you how to make these delicious buns. Some people, for whatever reason, can only eat 100% wholemeal bread, so I decided, they shouldn’t have to miss out on all the Easter food fun and so developed this recipe for 100% Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns perfect just as they are!

Everyone can enjoy these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns, eaten just as they are or split and toasted with a light spread of butter.

The beauty of these buns is, you get that wonderful, cinnamon, spicy aroma, that fills the house whilst they are baking and then you get it again when they are toasted.

In fact, having just toasted a hot cross bun, for my breakfast a couple of years ago, there was a knock on the front door. The postman had a parcel to deliver. As I stood there signing for the parcel, the postman revealed that he could smell the toasted bun and that it was his favourite smell in the world!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns a healthy breakfast or snack.

These Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns are just as easy to make and bake as the regular ones. I switched the flour from strong white bread flour, to 100% wholemeal baking flour – not bread flour. I upped the yeast content and with a few more tweaks, these gorgeous buns were made!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun
The cross on this Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun is there as a reminder.

The cross on the bun, is there to symbolise and remind us of The Cross on which Jesus died, only to surprise a lot of people, when He was fully alive two days later. It is good, that the small symbol of a cross on a bun, reminds us that Jesus came for a reason. To love the unloved, to heal the sick, to befriend those that society cast out. Don’t forget, out of two of His followers, one was a tax collector and the other a prostitute!

So amidst all the chocolate and bunnies, lovely though they are, maybe take a moment to remember you are loved.

The book of John chapter 3 verse 16 says:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that who so ever believes in Him shall not be lost (perish), but have everlasting life.”

One small verse packs quite a powerful punch. You and I are the who so ever. Know that you are loved. No matter what your circumstances, you are loved more than you could ever imagine.

If you would like to know more about this, please read Important Stuff.

Now to show your body some love by making these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.

Recipe: Makes 12 Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

500g/1lb 2oz Wholemeal Flour (not bread flour) – I used Duchy Organic from Waitrose

160ml/scant 6fl oz Whole Milk – slightly warmed (body temp)

120ml/4.5fl oz Water – slightly warmed (body temp)

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

14g/ 2 Sachets Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter at room temp. – plus extra for greasing the baking tray.

3tsp Cinnamon

150g/5oz Sultanas or Raisins

For the crosses:

50g/2oz Wholemeal flour

60ml/2.5fl oz Water

Apricot jam or honey to glaze approx 2tbsp

Method: This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer. You can off course make these Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns by hand.

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the cinnamon and Sultanas. Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns – Grease a large baking tray  (40cm x 28cm x 2.5 cm) with butter.

  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Lightly form the dough into a ball.
  • Cut the dough in half using a large knife or metal dough scraper.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns

    Roll each half into a log shape and cut into 6 even portions.
  • Roll each portion into a ball. Tucking the seam at the bottom.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Place each dough ball on the baking tray, spacing evenly apart.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and place in a draught free place until doubled in size – approx. 1 hour.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Whilst the buns are proving mix the flour and water together, for the crosses and place in a small piping bag or plastic sandwich bag.
  • Once the buns have doubled in size, snip the end off of the piping bag (corner of a sandwich bag) to leave a small hole.
  • 10 minutes before the buns are ready to bake preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan gas mark 7.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Pipe the crosses onto the Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns.
  • Place the buns into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • The Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns are baked when they are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Once baked remove the Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Place the apricot jam into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt.
  • Brush the warm buns with apricot jam using a pastry brush.
  • Leave to cool completely.

Gorgeous Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns ready to be shared with loved ones!

Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns
Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns packaged into a tin, ready to be given away.

If you have the capacity, why not bake a double batch of these delicious Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns and give some away?

The feedback I have from these buns has been excellent. I tried one myself and they truly are moist, not heavy or dense and packed with delicious fruit and cinnamon flavour. What more could I ask for?

I’m sure friends, family, work colleagues or even your postman would appreciate such a delicious gift!

Do you have special dietary requirements?

I am going to be working on a gluten free/dairy free version of these buns in the next few days.

If you enjoyed this recipe then you may want to take a look at these:

Wholemeal Cob Loaf

Crunchy Seeded Bread

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

I hope you have fun making and baking, but especially feasting with others.

Sammie xx

 

 

 

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Chocolate Heart Cake

If you love someone and they love chocolate –  THIS is the cake to bake for them – Chocolate Heart Cake.

FF Chocolate Heart Cake
Chocolate Heart Cake

So my hubby’s birthday was at the start of the year AND I didn’t make him a birthday cake.

While we still had nearly a whole Christmas cake left and we had chocolate, in all it’s delicious forms, everywhere. Hubby wanted a chocolate cake for his birthday, Also I was struggling with the remnants of Christmas past that were, increasingly, threatening to take over every cupboard and side table in the house.

Breath……in……..and…..out.

Phew I was in danger of being over dramatic there?

What a difference a week makes.

3 teenagers and hubby had made significant inroads, on the chocolate abundance. Time to bake cake. Chocolate cake!

It was late.   Delayed.   Belated.   Not on time.

There was no getting away from it. As soon as possible I needed to pull out all the stops and come up with an I Love You and I’m sorry it’s late, birthday cake.

Pretty sure I nailed it with this fudgy, moist, rich, Chocolate Heart Cake.

Chocolate Heart Cake an expression of true love in cake form. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Heart Cake an expression of true love in cake form. www.feastingisfun.com

Too near Christmas and this cake would have been too much. Deeply chocolatey and slathered in a smooth, yet decadent chocolate ganache, accented with little white chocolate hearts. This Chocolate Heart Cake is perfect for all true chocolate lovers.

Chocolate Heart Cake happiness was easy to find in a single bite of this cake! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Heart Cake happiness was easy to find in a single bite of this cake! www.feastingisfun.com

Very fortunately for me, my wonderful husband was happy to wait for his cake. Not only is he the one and only true love of my life, he is the kindest, most patient, loving man I have ever known.

Girls don’t settle for second best, or never give proper attention to the man you are with – in the hope that someone better will rock up. When you find someone who loves you, for you, with all their heart, hold on tight and never let go.

Just sayin’.

Back to all matters cake. I was going to wait until Valentine’s Day to post this recipe, then I remembered my heart tin, which I bought very cheaply, in the January sales last year.

So if you like this cake, want to make it and see a heart tin in the sales, grab that bargain!

Chocolate Heart Cake candles, singing and merriment. The ingredients of a successful birthday cake www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Heart Cake candles, singing and merriment. The ingredients of a successful birthday cake www.feastingisfun.com

Recipe: Makes 1 Chocolate Heart Cake – serves 10-12

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature, plus a little extra to grease the tin

225g/8oz Light Soft Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

4 Large Eggs – I use free range

150ml/5fl oz Sour Cream

1tsp Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

125g/5oz Plain White Flour

75g/3oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

2tsp Baking Powder

75g/3oz Dark Chocolate

75g/3oz Milk Chocolate

150ml/5fl oz Double Cream

50g/2oz White Chocolate

Method: Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan

Grease the pan and line the base with baking parchment.
Grease the pan and line the base with baking parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Crack the eggs into a jug, gently whisk to break up.

Add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the eggs and stir to combine – wet ingredients.

Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a sieve  – dry ingredients.

Sift one third of the dry ingredients into the creamed sugar and butter.

Add half of the wet mixture to the bowl.

Mix gently until combined.

Repeat the addition of dry and wet ingredients.

Mix until combined and then slowly mix in the last of the dry ingredients.

 

Spoon the chocolate cake batter into the heart tin.
Spoon the chocolate cake batter into the heart tin.

Place the cake into the oven and bake for approx. an hour.

The Chocolate Heart Cake is baked when it springs back after being lightly pressed. www.feastingisfun.com
The Chocolate Heart Cake is baked when it springs back after being lightly pressed. www.feastingisfun.com

Don’t worry if there is a slight jiggle to the cake, as long as it springs back when pressed.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Heart Cake turn the slightly cooled cake out, bottom side up, onto a cooling rack.
Chocolate Heart Cake turn the slightly cooled cake out, bottom side up, onto a cooling rack.

Take care when turning this cake out, as it is very moist, with an almost ‘brownie like’ texture.

Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating.

Place the double cream, milk and dark chocolate into a heat proof bowl set over a double boiler see here for detailed photos.

Stir constantly, removing the bowl from the heat when the chocolate is two thirds melted.  Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted into the cream.

Set aside until slightly cooled and thickened.

Place the Chocolate Heart Cake onto a board or cake stand.

Pour the slightly cooled, thickened, chocolate ganache onto the cake.
Pour the slightly cooled, thickened, chocolate ganache onto the cake.
Smooth the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to just edge over the sides.
Smooth the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to just edge over the sides.

I used the back of a spoon, however, a palette knife would have given a smoother finish. Note to self!!

Melt the white chocolate, in a small heatproof bowl, in the microwave, set to medium. Nuke in 20 second bursts, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is two thirds melted.  Remove from the microwave and continuously stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Starting at the centre of the heart dip, drip, using a teaspoon, a small circle of white chocolate onto the cake. Approx. 1cm diameter.

Using a cocktail stick and starting just above the circle, drag the stick through the white chocolate to create a wispy heart accent.

Creating the wispy heart decoration.
Creating the wispy heart decoration.

Add as many heart accents as you like. The overall cake will look better if decorated in a symmetrical pattern.

Move the cake to a cool place to set.

Chocolate Heart Cake who will you make this cake for? www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Heart Cake who will you make this cake for? www.feastingisfun.com

My husband was thrilled with his birthday cake.

Also it not only looked fantastic, but tasted deeply chocolatey too!

Do you enjoy baking for loved ones and if so what do you like to bake?

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Heart Cake here are some others you may like:

Chocolate Sparkle Cake 

FF Chocolate Heart Cake
Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Marbled Chocolate Bundt Cake 

FF Chocolate Heart Cake
Marbled Chocolate Bundt Cake

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake 

FF Chocolate Heart Cake
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or replicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Does Your Age Define You?

Hi. How are you? Does Your Age Define You? Does how old you feel match how old you are? In my head I will always be 22 years old – even though I’m in my mid forties. I’m determined that however old I become, my age will never define me. My body may limit me, but I will always search for ways to to live my life at its fullest.

Be inspired to not let your age define you.
Be inspired to not let your age define you.

 

Why should we limit ourselves, just because Society demands that once we reach a certain our hair should be cut to a certain length, permed and then have a blue rinse!!! I know that that is becoming less so these days, but do we /should we limit, or change the way we behave, dress, challenge ourselves just because we reach a certain age??

My mum is a huge inspiration to me. She recently passed her driving test – first time around, after taking lessons in her mid 60’s. She certainly didn’t let her age determine her ability to learn a new skill. I am so proud of her. Firstly for taking on the challenge of learning to drive and secondly, her determination to succeed and pass her test.

Anything is possible if you set your mind to succeed.
Anything is possible if you set your mind to succeed.

 

Our eldest daughter is sitting her GCSE’s this summer and there is huge pressure from her school, teachers, peers and society to ‘do well’.  Whilst encouragement is good, the sheer amount of pressure ‘to do well as the results will affect her choices for the rest of her life’  is rubbish!!

I have friends who have trained to be social workers, teachers and counsellors in their 40’s and 50’s. They worked, married, had children and decided to embark on a new career. I applaud and respect them so much. They truly are evidence that their age did not define them.

Make the most of ever opportunity, it may not pass by you again.
Make the most of ever opportunity, it may not pass by you again.

 

There are some amazingly talented children who master playing a musical instrument at a very young age. Beethoven wrote his first symphony age 5. He didn’t allow others to define his ability, nor should you! I started this blog in my mid 40’s knowing nothing AT ALL about how to go about setting up a website, widgets, thumbnails, plugins, code (half of which I still don’t understand, but I’m learning). I follow all different kinds of bloggers, including – beauty and fashion, lifestyle, photography, food and drink!!!

I quite often wear my hair up, sometimes in a ponytail. I was once asked “At what age do you think a ponytail would be unsuitable?”. I was astounded. Partly because it had never occurred to me that it might become ‘unsuitable’ and partly because I was surprised that someone would even think that way (I am kinda naive!!).

Do you feel confined or restricted by your age? Do you think it’s appropriate, as people grow older that they dress and present themselves at the age they are? Do you prefer to live outside of the box, seeing age as no hindrance to the life you intend to live? Have you accomplished something later in life, that you never dared to believe you could in your younger days?

How does this make you feel?
How does this make you feel?                       Does Your Age Define You? 

I would love to read your comments.

Sammie

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Valentines Day – what Love means to me.

Hello, how are you today?  I’d like to share a few thoughts about tomorrow – Valetines Day.

Pretty swirly heart design.
Pretty swirly heart design.

Valentines Day, for me, is not about cards, flowers and all the other little love touches that surround the day – as pretty, appreciated and adorable as they are.  For me Valentines Day is a gentle reminder, to show all the people in my life that I am blessed to love, that I DO indeed love and appreciate them.

A beautiful rose, blooming in the rain!
A beautiful rose, blooming in the rain!

My hubby and I have always taught our, not so lil children, that love is a doing word.  For me a cup of tea in bed, a thank you for an every day task, 5 minutes just snuggling with my homework laden babies, fills my love tank.  There are literally thousands of ways they show us, as parents, that they love us – and I love that!!

Don't worry, I've got your back x x x
Don’t worry, I’ve got your back x x x

As a family we watch out for each other.  Making time in our fast paced 24/7 world says, you are important to me.  We aren’t perfect, but we are trying.  Recently during our eldest daughter’s exams, her younger sister bought her a little something (usually chocolate – the universal language of love with teenage girls, in fact most girls!!) for everyday she had an exam.  She was showing her big sis love, telling her how proud she was of her and recognising how hard she had worked.  That no matter what, she would always be there for her.  As a mum my heart melted.

Taking time to paint/decorate someone's nails is FUN and shows you love them!!
Taking time to paint/decorate someone’s nails is FUN and shows you love them!!

Our lil man gets up before everyone else at the weekend and feeds our cat and dog.  A small act of love that means we get a lay-in!  My gorgeous hubby brings me a cup of tea, in bed each morning through the work week, I feel loved.  When I have a rotten migraine he holds back my hair, if I’m being sick, I KNOW I am loved.

I married my best friend x x x
I married my best friend x x

I have said before that I enjoy cooking for other people, especially as a way of showing them that they are loved, appreciated, valued and important in my life.  This is not restricted to our immediate family of 5, but our parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and honorary family members.  It’s nice to feel special but it’s AMAZING to make someone feel loved.

One of my favourite ways to show love!
One of my favourite ways to show love!

So I guess what I’m saying is that, true love is in the giving and receiving.  When God created Adam, He said “It is not good for man to be alone” and created Eve, from Adam as his helpmate/partner/wife/friend. He gave Adam a person to love – not just God himself.

Heart tree
Heart tree X

So while I love the opportunity to whip up a batch of heart shaped shortbread for family and loved ones on Valentines Day and cook a special dinner for us as a family, really I see Valentines Day as a reminder, to me, to be more loving, show more affection (I’m not really the most ‘cuddly person’) but others are, so I’m working on that. I prefer to do the giving rather than receiving, but others want to show me their love too!  Love is not fixed. It’s adapting to others needs whilst still retaining a sense of who you are – cos that’s why you’re loved!!

So Happy Valentines Day to you all.
So Happy Valentines Day to you all.

I wish everyone of you a Happy Valentines Day, where, no matter how hard you try, you are loved more than you love.  May your Valentines Day be showered by little hearts of love, may you KNOW the truest love of all – Jesus. Let your heart be filled with His Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Grace and Life, that you too can say, for sure “I am loved, just as I am”.

Love Sammie xx

 

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Showing Sharing Loving Caring

Hi everyone how are you? I hope you are enjoying the start to 2015.  My theme and aim for this year is Showing Sharing Loving Caring. It’s really the essence of why I set up this blog. Showing Love through Sharing, Caring enough to spend time, whether it’s family, friends, neighbours or someone new.

I know for some however, that  Christmas, the New Year and Winter in general can be a really tough time. So wherever you are I’m sending you a big, warm hug. Life can be very tough and it’s during these tough times that we need to show love and be shown love more than ever.

Now I can’t physically visit every single person and sit, listen and spend time with them. But we can all take time to show love to one person, outside of our family and friendship group.

Am I freaking you out or scaring you yet? Yes. Good!!! We can all get comfortable in our own lives, which I  do understand are busier than ever. Even though we have time saving gadgets galore, we still live in a ‘time pressed’ society.

It is still our choice though how we spend our time, what we prioritise as important and those things that are less important. For me my life has no meaning if I don’t show love. That can mean spending time listening whilst someone unburdens their heart. Or no words, just a big warm hug. I also love to cook or bake for people.

Sharing is central to who I am. Once I made a very simple Victoria Sponge Cake for an elderly couple, one of whom had just spent time in hospital. Their faces broke into huge smiles at this surprise gift, but more importantly they felt loved and cared for.

Reach out, you may be surprised by the results!
Reach out, you may be surprised by the results!

I’m most definitely not trying to portray myself as some perfect Saint. I am a pretty normal, fun loving, individual – just like so many other people. So I really want to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and reach out to just one person, who you wouldn’t normally interact with.

A cup of tea, cookie and natter can become a feast. A feast of time! There is no greater gift, than the gift of love. As a Christian I have the gift of love inside me. God’s love. He has shown me limitless love through His Son JESUS. I am completely accepted and loved for who I am and because of that great love, I want to share love.

We can all have the love of Jesus in our lives – see ‘Important Stuff!!!’ for more information and help, you can also leave a comment (I can reply and do not have to publish your comment if you preference privacy).

I am very blessed to have a wonderful, loving family, the best friends anyone could ever hope for and I love them all. One of my favourite things is a family get together, where we always have the best feasts! Not only do we feast on delicious food, but also on each other’s company. We laugh, smile, share and love.

Feasting does not have to be in large groups. Sharing a bowl of soup with a lonely neighbour, can itself be a feast. How about inviting someone who is on their own for Sunday lunch? Or, slicing up a cake that is left over from a celebration and popping a slice or two round to your neighbours?

Having fun making my pics look pretty!
Having fun making my pics look pretty!

The excitement and sense of fun, before delivering a meal or slice of cake is priceless. You can have all the money you need, but it will never bring you the happiness and peace that sharing caring and loving bring.

So I encourage both you and myself to be greater at sharing and showing love during 2015. Your life will be enriched as you start Showing Sharing Loving Caring and of course Feasting and having Fun.

Sammie x

 

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Fun!!

Hi there.  I hope that you are having a good day?  I’ve been pondering why, as people, we have fun? What makes popping bubble wrap feel sooo good and is so much fun to do?  Why, as fully grown adults, do we wrap up and run outside, in the middle of Winter, as soon as there’s a dusting of snow on the ground?  Then we rush to the top of the nearest hill, sit on a piece of plastic or metal and spend an entire day sliding down, walking up, sliding down, walking up –  you get the picture – and we thoroughly enjoy ourselves? Why do we need fun in our lives?

Great fun was had building this snowman!'n
Great fun was had building this snowman!’n

I can quite clearly remember the very first time our eldest daughter laughed. She laughed at something on the TV (not me or her Dad!!!!).  It was an amazing moment.  This beautiful baby girl finding fun and laughing.

Why do we laugh harder and longer at something when we are in the company of others who are laughing too?  Why do we find things funny in the first place?

Our cat was chasing his tail the other day. Every time he caught it, he gave it a lick, sat down, noticed his tail again, like it was something he had never, in his life seen before and then proceeded to turn round and round chasing it again!! It was hilarious. Our whole family were laughing at this silly, grey, pussy cat chasing his tail. I’m not sure if the cat was having fun, but we certainly were watching him!!

Our poor cat dressed up in Reindeer Antlers!!!
Our poor cat dressed up in Reindeer Antlers!!!

My hubby and I got together at a ‘Bad Taste’ fancy dress party.  He in the widest flared trousers I’d ever seen and me in red & black striped tights under some hideous hot pants!  You can imagine (or maybe you’d rather not – that’s fine) we weren’t looking our best. Yet we were having fun, looking silly!

Our lil man running with his kite - there was not a single breeze in the air - but he was having FUN!
Our lil man running with his kite – there was not a single breeze in the air – but he was having FUN!

I often look at butterflies, sunsets, twinkling stars in the night sky and wonder why I find such beauty in them? If I evolved, what purpose does beauty like this have? The same can be said of fun.  Why are we all different, finding beauty in different places and laughing at different things?

"Hey dudes, I'm totally rockin these shades!" Bud on 6 hour car journey. She's one cool cat - I mean dog!!
“Hey dudes, I’m totally rockin these shades!”
Bud on 6 hour car journey. She’s one cool cat – I mean dog!!

Jesus went for a boat ride with some of His mates, then gets out of the boat and walks on the water.  Whoa seriously fun!  I mean how much fun must that have been, not only that but one of His friends joined Him (there’s no mention of a body, surf or paddle board in the bible – just saying!).

So is this just some anomaly of Evolution?  Sitting on a trampoline whilst someone else bounces away and giggling so much that you beg them to stop, because it’s almost too much fun!! What, if we didn’t evolve – getting radical here – if we were designed, to have fun?

I know that I am a creation of God.  Designed on purpose, made with intent.  There is only one of me and trust me that’s enough!! I am unique.  My hubby and I have 3 gorgeous children who are all completely different.  Surely if we evolved then wouldn’t people be more alike?

God’s Word (the Bible) says that He “knitted us together in our mother’s womb”.  He made us and He made us all uniquely individual. When He made us, He gave us a sense of fun so that we can enjoy our lives.

So have a think about it?  Why do we like to have fun?  Why do we sometimes need to have a good old belly laugh (yes I know it releases endorphins, which in turn make us feel better)?  So yes having fun can be good for us, but it doesn’t explain the desire to have fun.

I hope that what I’ve written causes you to think and makes you smile!  During the coming week I hope that your eyes are opened to the outstanding beauty of this amazing world we live in and see the Creator in His Creation.

Sammie x

 

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