c July 2016 | Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me

Refreshing Iced Tea and Tea Ice Lolly Sugarfree Recipe

Are you enjoying the sunshine or dodging the thunder clouds, either way I guess you could say this is a typical British summer. But with days of extreme heat it is ideal to find a shady spot and enjoy a glass of tea. Yes you read it right, we British as renown for our tea drinking no matter how hot the day is, but this time let us try something different. Iced Tea or a cooling Tea Lolly, both are easily made at home and healthy.
Making Iced Tea with Yogi Tea
Cooling Ice Tea and Ice Lolly made with Yogi Tea
Inspiration for this arrived in a wonderful Summer Hamper from Yogi Tea. So with the temperature gauge on the rise, I put the kettle on!  Well you do need to brew tea first to let it cool down. 

Licorice Mint Cooler Iced Tea / Ice Lolly

250ml Licorice Mint Yogi Tea
60ml apple juice
1ml lemon juice
fresh mint

Brew the tea with boiling water for 7 minutes, allow it to cool before chilling in the fridge. Add the lemon and apple juice. Serve with ice and a sprint of fresh mint. 
Alternatively pour the Licorice Mint Cooler drink into ice lolly moulds. 

What a healthy and refreshing alternative to a sweet syrupy ice lolly. 
Yogi Tea Licorice Mint Cooler
The perfect shady spot to escape the heat
Want to find out what goodies were in my Yogi Tea Summer Hamper? Watch my YouTube Unboxing video. Visit my YouTube channel to see my other unboxing videos. 

Disclosure: I was sent a Summer Hamper from Yogi Tea.
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Learn to Crochet Successfully with Beautiful Things Semi Virtual Courses

I have made much progress in my quest to learn to crochet. This is down to the clear and easy to follow instructions in the Beautiful Things course, which makes learning crochet from the comfort of your own home both relaxing and rewarding.  
Pretty Crocheted Flowers
In my previous post I shared some of the basic crochet goals I had reached, which you can still catch up with here or why not watch the unboxing video of me unpacking the crochet starter pack. 

From there I moved on to learn more crochet stitches, a Treble and the Half Treble. I have shared my progress not only on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but also the Facebook Group especially for everyone who enrolls on the course, everyone is so supportive. I posted photos of my crochet successes and my practice pieces, I do not want to call them failures after all I am a beginner and we all know how the saying goes 'practice makes perfect'. 
Learning to crochet with Beautiful Things
The next step in the course is to create something pretty. Yay! You can follow Claire on the video and there are step by step instructions and photographs in instruction book to make a lovely flower. It is so helpful to pause, rewind and watch the instructions as many times as you need. The flower combines all the techniques and stitches I have learnt on the course. My first flower was not perfect but lots of crocheted flowers later and I had really gotten used to the pattern. 

My lovely little flowers have received lots of compliments and both my sisters have been impressed with them. 

I have now accomplished:
  • Double crochet
  • Half Treble crochet stitch
  • Treble crochet stitch
  • Slip stitch
  • Understanding simple pattern instructions
  • Creating a crochet flower
  • Crocheting with confidence 
  • Interacting on a Facebook Group (optional)
I even took my crocheting and instruction guide on my cruise holiday, and I was not the only one crafting. There were quite a few fellow cruisers who were knitting, crocheting or sewing. Even the shop on board sold lots of crafting supplies. 
All equipment supplied to start you crocheting
If you want to find out more about the course or maybe you would like to learn crochet yourself, the Beginners Crochet course from Beautiful Things cost £40

Disclosure: I received the Learn to Crochet course from Beautiful Things in exchange for this review.
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Refreshed, refocused and ready

I am well and truly back from my holiday, a rather splendid cruise around the British Isles. My break away has left me refreshed and embracing a slower pass of life, not that I have been a busy person prior to it. Since taking redundancy I am still finding my path on just how much self employed work I want to embrace. Reflecting on this has made me realise that during my holiday I have achieved a number of things and it has also shown me I am ready to make a few more changes. So what better way than to share some of these than with a Five of Friday themed post.

Bucket List
This is not something I have set in stone, I do not even have a master list pinned on a board anywhere. It's more of a case of ideas kept safely in my head and voiced occasionally to my family and friends. 

Two ticks on the virtual bucket list..
Go on a cruise. I plan to share lots of photos and information about my cruise on Cunards Queen Elizabeth ship, it sailed around the British Isles stopping in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. I can not say I had any particular expectations about cruising, but I was delighted by the standard of service and and quality of food enjoyed during my time aboard. 

The Giants Causeway. The main reason I picked this particular cruise was that it stopped at Belfast, and gave me a chance to visit the UNESCO World Heritage and National Trust site of The Giants Causeway. This natural phenomenon has been on my virtual bucket list for many years. Though the trip from the ship started with a shower of rain, I was so pleased the sun came out and for the rest of the day the tour remained several steps ahead of the rain. Even with all the visitors it was still an amazing place to visit, and I am so delighted I did. 
Unplugged
Majority of time during my holiday I had limited access to the world of social media and wifi. Whilst I was keen to share my adventures with you all via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I also realised just how refreshing it was to step away from the constant checking of my phone for messages, emails and the electronic world.  As such I am on the brink of enforcing a no electronic devices ban on set hours for set days. Do let me know if you have tried this and if you have any tips.

Crochet
This extra freedom gave me more time for creativity. I successfully completed my Learn to Crochet the Easy Way course from Beautiful Things, and I am looking forward to taking my crochet to the next level with the intermediate course. Crochet is a great way to distract me from the electronic world.  Although I do love looking at all creations everyone posts on Instagram and their blogs, which is great for inspiration and motivation.
Writing
I have always had this small yearning to have something published. I guess in a way you could say that by creating and writing this blog I have achieved this. But I have decided to take it a little further and plan to publish my own e-book. Things are still in the planning and creative stage, but just by typing this and putting the idea out there I feel I have taken the first step. It will not be a novel, but something creative.

If you want to join in with Five of Friday then take a visit to the very creative Amy at Love Made My Home blog. 
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Recipe: Pineapple Pie

When I shared my bake of this Pineapple Pie Recipe on my Instagram and Facebook pages people were surprised and amazed by the recipe. It is not a typical English fruit pie, but a rather tropical creation. It was sweet, fruity, sticky and covered in pastry - what is not to like about that combination!
I love making shortcrust pastry, apart from my mum I make some of the best in the family - ah hem excuse me whilst I blow my own trumpet. But if pastry is not your thing than use pastry from the chiller section of the supermarket.
When making this recipe I found there was an excess of the sticky syrup. In hindsight I think it would of thickened if I had heated it longer but I was worried it would be 2 minutes to long and would catch on the bottom of the pan. Next time I will be braver. For that reason I choose not to add all the sauce into the pastry case, I did not want a soggy pastry bottom.  The upside to this was the leftover sauce made an excellent topping for ice cream sundaes or fresh fruit. Alternatively if you have any excess sauce you could put the in the freezer to defrost for another time.

Pineapple Pie Recipe

Pastry 
1 pack of frozen shortcut pastry
or make your own

Filling Ingredients
1 large pineapple chopped
8 oz sugar
1oz flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
1 1/2 oz butter

Instructions
  • Roll out just under half of the pastry and line your pie dish. Prick the base of the pastry thoroughly with a fork, or place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans. 
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes 200 degrees c / gas 6.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • In a saucepan mix the pineapple, sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon  and salt, stir over a low heat on the hob. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter. 
  • Allow to cool.
  • Roll out your pastry topping.
  • Pour the mixture into the pastry base, it is at this point I decided not to pour all the syrup into my pie as I thought there was too much
  • Cover the pie with a pastry lid, pinch the lid and pastry base together with a little water and your thumb and finger. Or use a fork if you prefer.
  • Brush the pastry top with a little beaten egg.
Bake at 220 degrees C or Gas 7 for 10 minutes. Then adjust the oven temperature to 160 degrees C / Gas 3 for 30 minutes.
I plan to make this pie again and again, it was so well received and tasted so different to the usual fruit pies I tend to make. I hope that yet again I end up with more sauce than the pie needs as it was so tasty on ice cream. The only photo of a piece of the pie is not one of my best I am afraid, but as you can tell the pie was to celebrate a family birthday so everyone was eager to tuck in.

Recipe Pineapple Pie sweet fruit Shortcrust pastry

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