Friday, 28 February 2014

New Bloglovin' link... please come back, followers!

As you'll have noticed, I've finally changed my blog name and URL! This was one of my social media objectives for 2014 so I'm really pleased that I've ticked it off the list.

Although I loved my 'Little Miss Busy' blog name and thought it was a great way to sum up my rather hectic schedule, my URL didn't match as I set them both up years ago before I was aware that it's preferable to have a matching URL and blog name. So, after trying to think of a new name for months and coming up with all kinds of weird and wonderful concoctions, I finally settled on 'Little Miss Disney'. Not too different to the name I had before, and very apt! Obviously I don't just blog about Disney, but I think it's a nice way to describe me as a person and a lot of my content.

My page views have decreased dramatically since I changed my URL, and I think this might partly be because I lost all my Bloglovin' followers when I switched over. Just in case you weren't aware that you're no longer following me due to the switch, you can now click here to follow me on Bloglovin'.

Please come back, followers!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Turning our house into a home #1

After publishing a blog post about our new house a few weeks ago, I thought I'd write some posts on the process of turning our house into a home.

Watching empty rooms transform into liveable and personalised spaces is such an exciting process. I've found myself getting excited about minute details like curtain fabric, photo frames, rugs and towels. Just me...? Don't even get me started on choosing lampshades, mirrors and crockery!

We started with the living room and dining room, thanks to some rather exceptional sales in BHS. Here are some photos of the furniture we've acquired downstairs so far...



I love our cute little two seater sofa



Bigger sofa underneath the window!



Beautiful oak table and chairs



Not sure yet if we're sticking with the green wall...



Our first 'New Home' card!


We've bought a few other bits and pieces for the house in the last few weeks, and I'm really looking forward to buying more during the coming weeks and months. Buying a house and transforming it into your home is a very expensive (and lengthy) process but it'll be so worth it when it's all finished!

Look out for another 'turning our house into a home' post soon :) 

Monday, 24 February 2014

My Harvester addiction...

I seem to be slightly addicted to eating at the Harvester. I wrote a restaurant review on the Harvester back in June 2013, and I must have been about twenty times since then. That is not an exaggeration.

We had yet another busy weekend last weekend... I hope our lives are a bit calmer after we get married! We had lots of wedding matters to sort out and were also busy with the new house, so we thought we'd reward ourselves on Saturday afternoon with a meal at the Harvester. After staring at the menu for much longer than was necessary, we both decided to choose items from their £9.99 meal deal. Unlimited salad, main meal (with sauce and side), refillable drink and dessert. Who on earth would say no to that?

I filled my salad bowl with pasta, pineapple, onions, crispy onion and bacon bits, potato salad, coleslaw, carrots, thousand island dressing, a white bread roll... don't judge me, I hadn't eaten for six hours!

I chose the gourmet bacon and cheese burger for my main course, with chips and chilli, ginger and spring onion sauce. I have never ever had a bad burger in the Harvester and I was absolutely ravenous, so I thought it was an apt choice. Chilli, ginger and spring onion sauce might seem like a strange choice to accompany a burger, but it's just so good. It's also a good sauce to dip your chips into... please take my word for it, you won't regret it.




It's safe to say that I was very full after polishing off my massive burger and chips, but I still had to fit in my dessert. I say that as if it was a chore... it definitely wasn't. You can have a Sundae Best with the £9.99 meal deal, or you can pay £1 extra for one of the gigantic sundaes. I decided to be greedy and go for the Chocolate Supreme Sundae with Munchies. I'd already blown my calorie allowance for the day so I thought I might as well go all out! It's not as if I need to stay slim for a wedding dress or anything... ahem. 




This massive sundae was made up of whipped cream, ice cream, warm chocolate fudge brownie, Munchies, crushed Munchie pieces, Belgian chocolate sauce, fudge pieces and a wafer. The chocolate fudge brownie was very rich so I couldn't quite finish it off, but that wasn't for want of trying! Possibly the best sundae I've ever had at the Harvester, closely followed by the Lemon Blizzard. 

Needless to say, I didn't eat another thing for the rest of the day. Yet another successful visit to the Harvester!

Have you been to the Harvester lately? What's your favourite meal there?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Honeymoon!

We've now booked all our honeymoon hotels so I'm officially allowed to get excited about it! After much deliberation, we've decided to go on a little tour of Italy. We'll fly in to Rome and spend a few days there, then spend a bit longer in Lake Garda, then spend the last few days in Venice before flying back home. I really can't wait to have a lovely relaxing holiday after all the wedding planning and house buying. Here are a few things I'm looking forward to...

1. The food
Pizza, pasta, more pizza... what is there not to like about Italian food? All three of our hotels have breakfast included in the price so I'm very excited about sampling a tasty buffet breakfast every morning then going out for nice lunches and/or dinners. Two weeks of carb heaven!

2. The wine
I'm not a big wine drinker, but I'm really looking forward to relaxing with a few glasses of wine on the roof terrace, on our balcony, with our meals, by the pool... you get the idea. We'll definitely need lots of wine after the stress of planning a wedding, and what better place to drink it than in romantic Italy?

3. The views
Rome, Lake Garda and Venice all look like such beautiful places so I can't wait to sample all the views and surroundings they have to offer. All three locations will have very different sights and views... my camera will be very tired by the end of this trip.

4. The culture
I'm especially excited about experiencing the cultural aspects of Rome and Venice and seeing all their famous landmarks, museums, churches and so on. Lake Garda will also have a unique culture of its own so we'll be lucky enough to experience lots of different types of Italian culture on our honeymoon.

5. The relaxation
It'll be pure bliss to have two weeks of relaxation after such a busy year. Our holidays have always been very busy (Florida and New York are busy places!) so it'll be lovely to relax together for a fortnight and just enjoy each other's company.


I've set up a 'Honeymoon Ideas' board on Pinterest so I thought I'd feature my favourite pin for each of our honeymoon locations. Enjoy!











Have you been to any of these places? Have you got any tips for us? 191 days to go!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Valentine's surprise... salted caramel brownies

Regular readers of my blog will remember from last year's Valentine's post that I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day. I don't believe in going all out and spending loads of money on one day every year... shouldn't we do little things every day (which don't necessarily cost lots of money) to show people that we love them?

Anyway, even though I never make a big fuss on Valentine's Day, I decided to bake a chocolatey surprise for Neil. I love baking and I hadn't had a chance to bake anything since before Christmas, so this also gave me a good excuse to use my new baking goodies!



My new apron!


As soon as I read Kaz's blog post on her salted caramel brownies, I knew I just had to try this recipe and that it was the perfect baking adventure for my surprise Valentine's Day treat. I made chocolate brownies last June which were rather amazing, so I thought it would be interesting to make a different kind of brownie this time.


Ingredients

180g plain flour
3tbsp cocoa powder
300g dark chocolate
150g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
220g soft brown sugar
4 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
50g chocolate chips (optional - I had some left over from a previous baking adventure!)
1 tin of Caramel
1 tsp salt



Can you tell that I shop in Tesco?


Method 

1. Preheat the oven to 160C and line your baking tin with baking paper. 

2. Place the chocolate and butter into a bowl over a pan of water and stir on a medium heat until it's all melted. I had to use a cereal bowl and a milk pan because I didn't have a large heatproof bowl... this is not recommended! Let's just say that the bowl was very full. 

3. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract to a bowl, then add the chocolate/butter mixture and mix until smooth. I forgot that I was supposed to use two types of sugar so only put the caster sugar in... I then added the brown sugar a bit later on when I realised that I'd left it out. I don't think it made much difference, but just bear in mind that there are two types of sugar to add. I used my electric mixer... works like a dream!




4. Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder and beat the mixture until it's all combined. I also had to add the brown sugar here as I forgot to do this in step 3, and I also added the chocolate chips at this stage. My mixture was extremely thick at this point... possibly this was because I added the brown sugar at the wrong point. I used the electric mixer for a minute or two but then had to switch to a wooden spoon. As you can see from the photo below, my mixer was a bit clogged up!






5. Put half the mixture into the baking tin, making sure it's spread evenly. This step was very tricky as my mixture was so thick, so mine wasn't spread particularly evenly.




6. Add the salt to the tin of caramel, making sure you mix thoroughly. Add a layer of caramel on top of the brownie mix, making sure that you leave a small gap around the edge. 

7. Layer the remaining brownie mixture on top of the caramel. Again, this was very difficult as a result of my super thick mixture and I didn't quite have enough mixture left to cover all the caramel, as you can see below. 




8. Bake the brownies in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, then leave to cool before cutting up and serving. Mine were extremely moist and gloopy when they came out of the oven so I couldn't even cut them into squares, but the mixture solidified as it got cooler. As you can see, it didn't matter that I hadn't covered all the caramel with the brownie mixture as the top layer of chocolate seemed to be magically spread evenly after it came out of the oven. 






I was very worried when the brownies first came out of the oven as I couldn't cut them into chunks due to the moistness of the mixture, but they turned out fine in the end. I cut half the mixture into chunks (after I'd left it to cool for a while) and put the chunks into my new baking tin. I then put them on my little table with chocolates, a lit Yankee Candle and Valentine's card ready for Neil's arrival. I know, I know... I needn't have bought the chocolates, but the hazelnut praline in these Cadbury chocolates is so good!




Neil had also ignored the 'no presents' rule and arrived with a beautiful bunch of pink and red flowers and a little chocolate rose. We're a sneaky pair!




What did you get up to on Valentine's Day? Did you bake anything? Send me your links!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Copthorne Hotel: Our wedding reception venue

I'm getting married in August, so I thought it was about time I wrote a wedding-related blog post!

We'll be getting married in a church in Penarth, and our wedding breakfast/reception will be held in the Copthorne Hotel in Cardiff. I've visited the Copthorne Hotel plenty of times for work functions and I've always thought it was a very homely hotel in a lovely location, so I'm really pleased that it proved to be one of the more reasonable wedding hotels in Cardiff. I've also always had scrumptious food there which definitely contributed to our final decision!

We went to a wedding fayre at the Copthorne Hotel yesterday so I thought I'd post some photos of my favourite parts of the hotel and of the wedding fayre itself. It was actually sunny yesterday so the views from the hotel were beautiful... I really hope our wedding day is sunny too so that we can have the same pretty views in our wedding photographs.



This lake will be the backdrop for our photos



Seating area for guests on the terrace overlooking the lake



Fireplace in the hotel reception area!



Front of the hotel



Sample wedding breakfast table



One of our wedding cars



I just couldn't take this bridal transport option seriously...
how would I even climb in?!


What other types of wedding blog posts would you like to see over the next few months? Let me know!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

New house!

After months of searching, waiting, negotiating and spending lots of money, we've finally had the keys to our new house! It's a lovely little three bedroom house in Penarth, and it's perfect for our first home. I still can't quite believe that we're home owners... this seemed like an impossible dream three months ago.

We've been quite lucky as the house is beautifully decorated already, so there's no need to start work on huge renovating or decorating projects. However, I'm really excited about choosing curtains for all the rooms as the seller obviously took all her curtains with her. Is that a sad thing to be excited about...?

I thought I'd post some initial photos of what the house looks like just to give you a taster... you can expect many more posts over the next few months as we work on adding our own touches to make it our own. I suspect that this stage will also involve spending lots of money, but it'll be more fun than spending money on solicitors and mortgage fees!



The beautiful kitchen



Neil's parents have given us a lovely dinner set to start us off!



Love the Georgian style windows



How amazing is this bathroom?! It's so white!



I've never lived in a house with a separate shower before...



Feature wall in the main bedroom. My favourite wall in the house!



All the interior doors are white with these lovely silver handles



One of my most exciting purchases so far.
I am totally in love with this doormat!


What do you think? Do you have any decorating/colour scheme tips for us? I suspect that I'll become even more obsessed with Pinterest over the coming months!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Things that make me happy I'm alive (52 Lists Project)

This is my second post in the 52 Lists Project series... here are some things that make me happy I'm alive!


1. The lovely people around me (family, Neil, friends etc).


2. Food. All food. 



3. All things Disney.



4. Bobby (my car). Sadly, I don't think Bobby himself will be alive for much longer. *Sad face*


5. Our new house. Blog post to follow on that very soon!


6. Pretty views



7. Holidays



8. Neil's dogs (Homer and Tara)



9. Nights in with pyjamas, hot chocolate and a Yankee candle






What ten things make you happy that you're alive?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Wales v Italy... hello Six Nations!

It's that time of year again... the Six Nations championship has started! Neil kindly bought us tickets for the first game of the tournament, so we went to the Millennium Stadium last Saturday to watch Wales defending our title in the opening game against Italy.

I haven't set foot inside the Millennium Stadium for over two years so it was great to be back! I might be biased, but I think it's the best stadium in the world. I've never had a bad seat in all the times I've been there and the atmosphere is usually electric, whatever the occasion. I love hearing the beautiful Welsh anthem and traditional Welsh rugby songs reverberating around the stadium... it gives me goosebumps every time.

I was hoping for a bigger win on Saturday, but I'll settle for the win alone at this stage of the tournament. There's a long way to go. We're playing Ireland later this afternoon and hopefully that'll be a win too, although I'm not as optimistic about this game as I was about the Italy game. Fingers crossed!

I suspect that France might win this year's tournament, but I hope my head is wrong and my heart is correct. Come on Wales!

Here are some photos for you to enjoy from Wales v Italy...



My new Welsh shirt! A Christmas present from Neil's parents



Welsh team warming up before the game



Pre match build up... amazing spectacle!



Getting ready to welcome the Welsh team on to the pitch 



Lining up for the anthems



Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi...



Both teams in action!



Leigh Halfpenny kicks yet another penalty



Nearly at the end of the game...



I love being in an (almost) packed Millennium Stadium


Did anyone else attend any rugby games over the weekend? What are your Six Nations predictions?