Monday, 30 November 2015

RECIPE: Homemade Crunchy Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Jar of homemade chocolate spread

I haven't bought a jar of Nutella in so long!

Which is surprising because it used to be a staple in my cupboard, alongside actual staple ingredients like tinned tomatoes or plain flour. 

The trouble is, unlike tinned tomatoes or plain flour, Nutella used to mysteriously disappear from the jar. To be fair, I'm still not entirely sure it wasn't just me eating more Nutella than I realised, but keeping up my Nutella supply was getting expensive and eventually I just stopped adding it to my shopping basket. 

And, shockingly, the world didn't end. Turns out it wasn't an essential food group after all. (Who knew?!)

But recently, my Nutella cravings have returned. Thanks in part to Chloe's Banana Nutella Mug Cake recipe (which I still can't actually make due to my lack of microwave). 

In a bid to escape revision for a little while, I was browsing the recipes on The Londoner, and way back in 2011 she posted this recipe for Homemade Nutella. With just five ingredients, it seemed do-able and I gave it a go this week.

Overhead view of jar of chocolate hazelnut spread

I adjusted the recipe to simplify it further and remove the need for a food processor (don't have one of those either) or having to toast hazelnuts. This results in a crunchy rather than smooth spread - but I've always believed that crunchy spreads are better anyway!

To make a jar of crunchy chocolate hazelnut spread you will need:

Cooking ingredients chocolate

A clean jar (I recycled a jam jar I had been just about to throw away)
100g chopped, roasted hazelnuts
135g chocolate (plain or milk - your choice)
2/3rd cup icing sugar
1/3rd cup cocoa powder
3tbsp sunflower oil (you could use any vegetable or seed oil)

Start by crushing the hazelnuts a little more. I did this by pouring them into a sealed food bag and rolling them with my makeshift rolling pin (I promise I do actually have some equipment in my kitchen!). When you're happy with the size of the pieces, pour into a mixing bowl, then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder.

Hazelnuts crushed with rolling pin
(Yes... I may be wearing a white fluffy hoody. Perhaps not the best attire for chocolate-based cooking, but surprisingly good comfort-wear for revision)

Dry ingredients in mixing bowl

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour the melted chocolate over the hazelnuts and stir. Add the sunflower oil slowly and keep stirring. You may need to adjust exactly how much oil you add to get the right consistency. You're aiming for a molten, shiny spread.

Stirring ingredients

Scrape into your jar and enjoy! You could even give this as a Christmas present if you like doing homemade gifts.

Chocolate spread on toast with tea and pink flowers

Enjoy straight from the jar, or spread on toast with a cup of tea. My favourite would probably be a thick layer of chocolate spread on seeded toast, topped with banana. How about you?



Sunday, 29 November 2015

Little Things I've Loved This Week #12

Little Things I've Loved This Week

Nail varnish, petit filous and wine bottle

It's been another one of those not-very-happening weeks, the type where I can just about keep track of what day it is - revision is kind of blurring them all into one. Nevertheless, I have managed to remember some of the things that  brightened up the week in-between hundreds of pratice exam questions.

Running again. I can't even remember the last time I ran. It was way before fourth year exams though, and they were back in June.  Not sure if I've mentioned it here yet, but I've gone and entered a half-marathon next year! And after making all the excuses about being too busy, it being too dark, too cold, joints aching etc. etc. I finally braved it and just got running again. I forgot that I actually like running. Also, an additional bonus is that I don't seem to have lost too much fitness - I guess all the walking around a huge hospital has had it's benefits this term!

Painting my nails for the first time since the summer. Hospital placement means short nails and no varnish while I'm on the wards. But since I'm now done with that until the new year, I can paint my nails as much as I like. I went for matte black - anyone else love the feeling of matte nail varnish?!

Petit-Filous desserts. I put some of these on my online grocery order as a little revision treat for myself. I always forget how good these are! We used to have them a lot as children - I always preferred the chocolate, while my brother ate all the vanilla ones. (There. My brother finally gets a mention on here. He's always been disappointed that I mention my sister but not him. So there you are little bro', you make your debut as a vanilla yoghurt fan).

Finding our all-time best bottle of wine yet. Yeah, this makes me feel old. But I had to bulk out my food shop to make it to the minimum price, and decided to throw in a decent bottle of wine for what's becoming a bit of a Friday night ritual in the flat - watching Gogglebox with a glass of wine. And this one was really delicious. We might actually finish this bottle, rather than leave it opened and sitting around in the kitchen for weeks until clearing them all out one recycling day, hoping none of the neighbours think we actually drank all of it in a week...

Handing in my clerking portfolio. This was one of our assessments this year. I hate clerking portfolios. I spend the entire placement just waiting for the hand-in day, wanting it taken off my hands. They're the kind of things that you can never quite feel finished with, that you could always add more to and are such a pain when you'd rather just get on with doing actual medicine, or revising. Anyway, this week was hand-in week.So that's good.

How have your weeks been?



Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Book Review: Little Girl Gone

Book Cover of Little Girl Gone Alexandra Burt

I picked this up at the station a few weeks ago, looking for something to keep me occupied on the train journey home.

The latest in best-selling psychological thrillers, this book has been described as "Gone Girl meets the The Girl on the Train". Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Gone Girl last year, I was keen to give this one a go.

And it did not disappoint. It tells the story of Estelle Paradise and the mysterious disappearance of her baby daughter, Mia.

Estelle awakens in hospital, having been found in a wrecked car with a serious head injury. She has no memory of how she got there, or what was going on in the days leading up to it. All she knows is that her daughter is missing - and that she didn't report it.

The story follows Estelle's recollections, flitting between flashbacks and the present as she tries to make sense of how it all unfolded. She struggles with guilt - why didn't she report Mia's disappearance? Is this all her own fault? Is she responsible?

The book is excellently written, and keeps the reader guessing all the way through. With my interest  and knowledge in psychiatry, I thought I'd figured out what was going on early on - but I was way off! However, the book does deal with some of the mental health problems associated with childbirth in a way I've not come across in fiction before.

Estelle as a character is well developed, and as a reader I felt I was sharing her torment and frustration at the not-knowing. Was she a good mother? Would a good mother lose her baby? Could a good mother have harmed her child?

The pace of the book is just right - giving away the details quickly enough to keep it engaging, whilst still making sure I want to keep turning the pages to find out more. It also wraps up nicely at the end, rather than leaving the reader with lots of unanswered questions.

It's difficult to say too much more without giving away any spoilers - all I can say is that this is a fantastic book, and I'd highly recommend it!

I now need recommendations for what to read next, any suggestions?


Monday, 23 November 2015

200 Followers - Thank You and Giveaway!

With final exams upcoming, I've had to step back a little from this blog - I simply haven't had the time to dedicate to it. Which was a little frustrating when I've been sitting so close to 200 followers for a few months! 

It was a lovely surprise to spot an email telling me I'd hit the 200 follower milestone last week... and an even lovelier surprise to find that I hadn't lost any followers between getting the email and checking my statistics!

I've really enjoyed working on this blog, and most of that is down the interaction with and feedback from you, my lovely readers. Realising that people actually read the stuff is amazing.

In order to say thank you to everyone who reads Ginevrella, I've decided to hold a little giveaway. 

I chose this Sanctuary Spa 'Little Tin of Treats' as a prize for one lucky winner.

I love Sanctuary Spa products and have used many a bottle of their products to run a relaxing bath - particularly during this intense revision period! They'd be the perfect treat for yourself in the run up to Christmas.

I thought the tin itself was rather pretty as well, so even once you've used up all the products inside, you still have something nice left over.

The tin contains three 75ml bottles of body wash:
Green Lemon & Orange Blossom
White Lily & Damask Rose
Cleansing Burst

They all smell wonderful even without needing to open them!

To enter the giveaway and be in with a chance of winning the prize, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below. 
This giveaway is UK only (sorry to my international readers!). Please only enter once and I will be checking that entries are valid. I want this to be a thank you for genuine readers, so please no sharing this on competition websites.

The giveaway will close at midnight UK time on Friday. I'll contact the winner to arrange delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Little Things I've Loved This Week #11

Clare Balding Audiobook on ipad and cup of coffee

Yet another week has flown by - final exams will be over before I know it, and Christmas will be here! This has been a funny, neither-one-thing-nor-the-other kind of week. Serious revision is kicking in now as we count down the days to finals, and so it's been a mixture of going into an almost deserted hospital (in terms of medical students... the patients and staff are still there!) for teaching that may or may not be cancelled, and staying at home working my way through practice questions. Not letting revision get me down though, I've still managed to find some positive things this week...

Listening to Clare Balding's "My Animals and Other Family". I've actually been meaning to read this for ages - I think Clare Balding is fabulous and was intrigued to find out a bit about her life. I've signed up for a month trial of Audible from Amazon and got one free audiobook. I spotted this in the library and decided it was the perfect free gift for myself! I've been listening to it as I fall asleep, and so far I am really enjoying it. The chapters are based around the various animals in her life right from birth, but there are plenty of stories of her life growing up - many of which have had me laughing as I'm trying to get to sleep! 

The best patient for a respiratory examination assessment. I love patients, they're brilliant. But this one was especially great- he's obviously seen a few medical students, and every time I did something he considered 'correct', he made sure the doctor examining me knew about it! He also pointed out all the 'clues' around his bedside so that I wouldn't miss anything, and told me (and the doctor marking me) that he thought I was excellent. Winning!

Secret Life of Five Year Olds. When the original one-off episode of Secret Life of Four Year Olds came out, I honestly watched it about five times. I was a little disappointed with the follow up new series to begin with, but this week's episode of the five year olds was hilarious! Whenever adult life is feeling a bit too much, just watching the simplicity of five-year-olds' drama is all it takes to realise life needn't be so hard after all! 

Chocolate brownies in tin

Baking a batch of brownies all for myself (almost). During one of the days when I didn't have to go into hospital, I needed something to do to save myself from the boredom of revision. I've actually been home alone all week as my housemate was away Monday to Friday, but I didn't see that as a reason not to bake! As I was working while they baked, I actually let them bake for the right amount of time so they were perfectly gooey, but still cooked throughout (I'm usually too impatient for this). Probably not the healthiest of things to do - but even medical students have our weaknesses...

Spontaneous Friday night out. When my housemate got back on Friday evening, unusually neither of us was in the mood for just sitting on the sofa watching TV! So we made the decision to go out for a drink. We headed to Clifton Village and settled ourselves in a nice pub with some wine and evening of people watching. Here's hoping all the couples on dates had a good time - we felt like we were watching 'First Dates' and now feel a bit lost without the follow up!

Hope everyone else had a lovely week!
Also - thank you to my followers, new and old, because I reached the 200 mark this week :)



Sunday, 15 November 2015

Little Things I've Loved This Week #10


It feels like I haven't had a chance to even look at this blog for a while - final year of medical school is slightly taking over at the moment! However, I'm bored of revising for upcoming finals and thought it was about time to do a little update. Here are the things I've found time to enjoy this week...

Elle Magazine and Starbucks Cup

1. Peaceful train journeys. I spent Sunday and Monday at home in London, then got the train back to Bristol late on Monday evening. It's nice to settle myself in the quiet carriage with a magazine, a hot chocolate and my iPod, without any commuters! (I would have enjoyed this journey more though had we not been delayed by signal failures, a train with a smashed window, a train hitting a deer and a train breaking down...)

2. Passing my 'long-case exam'. One of my assessments this year is being observed spending an hour with a patient, finding out why they came into hospital and examining them. Even though I do this often, it's always nerve-wracking having a consultant sat in the corner watching everything you do, so it was a relief to pass it and get some good feedback. Plus the patient told the doctor that I was 'delightful' which was great to hear!

3. Going to Air Hop - a big trampoline park that opened recently in Bristol. A group of us from my placement decided to go along on Friday night and spent an hour bouncing, somersaulting and playing the different games. The venue has 135 interconnected trampolines, plus a foam pit, dodgeball courts, basketball hoops and a Total Wipeout zone. It was the perfect way to let off some steam after a busy week!

4. Fish finger sandwich party. After trampolining, we refuelled with fish finger sandwiches - a new delicacy for me as I don't think I've even had fish fingers for over ten years!

5. Having friends spontaneously drop round for tea. When we're all based in different hospitals all week, it can be hard to find time to see one another, so it was lovely to have a couple of friends pop over for a catch up and cup of tea.

What have you been up to this week?


P.S. I'm only one follower away from 200 on Bloglovin' - so if you're not following me already, fancy clicking on the follow button?! :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

BEAUTY REVIEW: Dusty Girls "Earth Cream"

As someone who likes to keep my day-to-day make up routine as simple as possible, this natural tinted cream has been a perfect addition.

Earth Cream moisturiser and moogoo cow

Although I'd never tried any of their products, I had heard of MooGoo before and Dusty Girls are 'farmed' by MooGoo... you can find out more about the brand here.

I received a bottle of "Earth Cream"* in my PLB South West Meet goody bag, and initially just threw it into the depths of my make up drawer, not expecting to use it anytime soon.

Box of Earth Cream moisturiser in shade medium

But then we had a run of chilly mornings, and a combination of turning on the radiators, long days in a sauna-like hospital environment and waiting for buses in the cold was a recipe for dry skin! 

Curious, I dug out the Earth Cream and tried it out in order to restore some much needed moisture. 

Initially, I wasn't sure about the product - it has a strange smell and I was really conscious of having a funny smelling face all day!

Earth Cream tested out on hand
A little too enthusiastic... you'd not need even this much for a single application!

Scent aside though, I've been really impressed with this product. It blends on extremely easily, giving sheer coverage without feeling heavy or looking like cakey foundation. It nearly always lasts a full day - only looking slightly patchy if I've been touching my face all day (or sitting with my head in hand during a less-then-engaging tutorial). 

It comes off easily with any cleanser, and has been leaving my skin feeling soft. It also has anti-acne properties - and it certainly hasn't caused my skin any problems.

I really like that this product comes in a pump - easy to apply, and no mess.

Pump of Dusty Girl Earth Cream in medium

I wouldn't normally bother with foundation daily, but moisturising is a must - so this multi-tasking product is excellent! As well as moisturising and providing sheer coverage, this cream also means I don't have to use any concealer - and it's SPF5 too, so gives a little sun protection.

I've been using it in the shade 'medium' which works fine for giving me slightly more colour, but would definitely consider buying this cream in the other shade 'light'. The cream currently only comes in 'medium' or 'light', which is a slight disappointment, but it does blend well to look as natural as possible.

Packaging of Dusty Girls Earth Cream

Overall, this is a really useful product that does everything it promises on the box. It's quickly become one of my favourite make up products, and is certainly something I would recommend!

Have you tried any of the MooGoo or Dusty Girl products?
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