Countdown to 100 countries

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A little shopping haul...

This blog is largely about travelling but because I work full-time there are naturally going to be times when I'm not posting about a trip. Today I thought I'd write about something a little different; a shopping haul.

To me, the most important bit about shopping is fueling up for the day. I absolutely love breakfast and brunch but I don't have the time in the week so at the weekend I like to start my day a little later with eggs, or pancakes. I especially love bacon pancakes with honey and a side of sliced bananas.

I went shopping for one thing only, so naturally I came back with everything else except what I needed. Such a bad habit but I did find some lovely things.

Ha I've also just seen in that pancake picture I've got my grandad slippers on ^^^ can you tell I'm new to blogging yet?

Back to shopping! I ended up getting this super cute 'San Francisco' jumper from Next. I was surprised to find something I liked so much in there because normally I don't find the sizing that great. I don't even go in normally but I saw the jumper on display the airport and fell in love. It's just so fluffy on the inside, fits perfectly and will be great for cosy weekends in.

I got the floral dress in the TopShop sale, it was reduced to £10.00 from £59.00 and I absolutely love it. So much cheaper to get wedding guest dresses in the winter sales and it's a nice way to guarantee you wont be in the same outfit as someone else. I really love the pattern and it's quite long so I think that means I can get away with the very deep plunge at the front.

Make-up wise I bought my usual foundation and a CC cream. The CC cream is for travelling and for days like today (when I had to go to Yoga with a killer hangover and didn't want to traumatise anyone with my bare skin haha).

I also picked up this little biscuit from Morrisons which definitely ticks the box of 'Things I Really Don't Need But Want Anyway'.

I'll be posting about travelling soon.


Monday, 30 January 2017

Terry's chocolate orange traybake

Terry's chocolate orange traybake. A moist and dense chocolate-y orange-y sponge with pistachios, topped with a cheesecake buttercream and a chunk of terry's chocolate orange. These are so good.

It's really easy I promise so don't be put off by there being a lot going on. It's all simple and in easy to follow steps. I had a quick look at this basic chocolate sponge recipe before measuring things out on my own terms. I like to use mugs for measuring just because I can get the ratios roughly right - much easier than with guesswork and I don't have to faff weighing out grams.

You will need:
-1 mug of self- raising flour
-1 teaspoon of baking powder
-1/2 mug caster sugar
-1/2 mug of butter
-1/2 mug dark good-quality cocoa powder
-2 eggs
-1 orange: zested and juiced
-1/2 mug of pistachios
-1 packet of Terry's chocolate orange pieces

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients. I zested the orange before I juiced it and although it had a nice flavour; I'd recommend using two oranges and 1 egg just to make it extra orange-y.

Once everything is thoroughly mixed it it needs to be added to the baking tray.

Note: If you want to add pistachios do it now. Do not do what I did which was forget about them and then have to scatter them on top and swirl them in...


The next step is very important and essential to the whole process: spoon licking. Definitely the best bit!

Next put your creation into the oven at around 200 degrees fan / gas mark 4-5 and cook it for about 30-40 minutes; just keep an eye on it until it looks like this:

While it cools down it's time to make the chocolate cheesecake buttercream. This is ridiculously easy. Measure equal parts of cocoa and icing sugar before combining them with full-fat soft cream cheese. It's so delicious.

The marbling is so pretty I can't decide if I regret not leaving it half-mixed or not...

I think having it either way would be lovely. Once you're happy with however you'd like it, add a good tablespoon of sea-salt flakes, it helps cut through all the sweetness.

Give it one good final mix et voila...

Before you decorate the cake with your buttercream make sure it's fully cool. I know it's really hard to wait because decorating is so fun but you have to be patient or the cake will just break into sad little pieces. I managed to cut mine into about 16 portions.

The next step is decorating: Dollop the buttercream on top; don't worry about being messy because we're covering it with chocolate orange slices and they hide the mess.

Next for the chocolate! There's enough segments in the packet to dole them out 'one for you and one for me'. I ate so many of these whilst I made this that by the end I was feeling mildly sick haha.

And, voila!

These stayed nice for about 3 days. I'd recommend keeping them in the fridge but that's more of a personal preference than anything else.




Friday, 27 January 2017



Since this is my very first post, I thought I would introduce myself...

I'm Jo, I live in Northern England and I absolutely love to travel. The problem is, I also love my job. So I'm trying to fit in as many trips as possible whilst also working full-time and I've set myself the small target of getting to 100 countries.

Travelling is a massive priority for me, but so is my career and I don't want to pick between them. There are a lot of travel blogs around, which I love reading, but they're usually by people on gap years, people who have just finished gap years or people who don't seem restricted by holiday leave at all. I love reading about them and wish I was in that position but my blog is a little different because I'm trying to cram in as much travel, adventures and wine as I can into limited annual leave.

I figured there would be a lot of people in the same boat, so if that's you then welcome and I hope to see you around.


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