Wednesday 9 December 2015

DIY | Black Forest Hot Chocolate | prettylittlewriter

When the winter months arrive, there is nothing I like more than having a delicious hot chocolate to warm me up. 

Every year, Costa reveal their winter menu, and they have some absolutely delightful flavours! This year they brought out their classic Black Forest Hot Chocolate, along with White Hot Chocolate and a new addition of Caramel Fudge Hot Chocolate.

I was sad to see they were not doing the Chocolate Orange flavour they did last year, however, their Black Forest is also a firm favourite of mine.
It can be very costly buying one of Costa's drinks every day before work, and sometimes impossible if there is no Costa in the vicinity, therefore I decided to find the ingredients to make my very own!

 I noticed on one of my many visits to Costa, that the syrups they use are by a brand called Monin. I looked the brand up online and found a UK website called

They have every flavour you could possibly need, ranging from mint, tiramisu and white chocolate, through to some alcoholic flavourings for extra jazz in an evening.

 I had previously looked up a Black Forest recipe online, and they recommended the Blackberry syrup, as the exact syrup they use in Costa (Blackberry & Cherry) is not available to purchase separately at the moment. I did however, manage to find the blackberry and cherry flavour in a Festive set which I purchased from Costa, available in all stores currently. This however, was only a small bottle, so I save that for garnish rather than flavour.

The recipe online specified that you use Cocoa Powder instead of hot chocolate already prepared, as it doesn't take away the flavour of the syrup like the ready made hot chocolate would.

You will need:
Cocoa Powder (1 heaped tsp)
Milk (A mug 3/4 full)
Monin Blackberry syrup (1tbsp)
Squirty cream
A drizzle of blackberry & cherry syrup


Begin by pouring your milk into your mug of choice about 3/4 of the way full, and then pouring the milk into a pan to heat on the hob. This is the best way to measure the amount of milk you need for the size of your mug. 

I chose to use this gorgeous Christmas mug from Tesco; only £1.50!

Then pour 1tbsp of the Blackberry Syrup into the mug; add more if you want a stronger flavour.

As the milk heats, make sure to stir so it does not curdle, and add your heaped tsp of cocoa powder into the milk once you can see it is warm. 

Once the cocoa powder is fully dissolved and well heated, pour the mixture into your mug, giving it a little stir to mix in the syrup with the milk and cocoa.

Once you have poured the hot cocoa into your mug, squirt some cream around the top of the cocoa and then sprinkle some marshmallows on the top. The final element is adding a little dribble of Blackberry and Cherry syrup over the marshmallows and cream. 

I find this tastes almost exactly the same as the one Costa produces, however they do not use marshmallows for this drink and they also use an actually Cherry Sauce rather than another syrup on top.

I really enjoy this drink, it tastes absolutely delicious and I love that I can now make my own Black Forest Hot Chocolate without breaking the bank every day!

I would love to see if any of you have also made your own Jazzy hot chocolates this year! Leave a comment below and I will check them out! 

Monday 7 December 2015

A Festive Apology | prettylittlewriter

To all my lovely followers (if you haven't forgotten me) I am so incredibly sorry for being MIA for so long. I have had an incredibly busy month or so since I last posted, and I am here to explain myself.

It is now the festive season, my second favourite time of year! And during these past few weeks I have begun working at Lloyds Bank as a Customer Service Assistant. That is why I have been absent for such a long time, it has been super busy due to it being so close to Christmas, but it has been a wonderful new experience, with lots of learning and meeting fellow colleagues. I really enjoy my new workplace and the company of those I work with. 

However, I am determined to not let my new job get in the way of my love for blogging! Therefore, I am going to try my hardest to upload every week, to begin it may only be twice, maybe three times a week, but for now that is all I can hope for!

I hope you can all forgive me, and I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas so far! I have completely finished my shopping; I'd actually finished before December even started! 

Look forward to hearing from you all, and see you in a couple of days with another post!

Friday 16 October 2015

Baking | Pumpkin Rice Krispie Bites | prettylittlewriter

Baking in the Autumn months always seems so much more fun and exciting than any other time of the year, I think it's because you begin baking more homely and cosy puddings and cakes, such as Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie and so on. 

I found the recipe to these rice krispie bites on Pinterest, and I thought they were absolutely adorable! They are fun to create and so simple, it is a great activity to do with children. 

The ingredients you will need are;
- Rice Krispies (6 cups)
- 5 1/2 cups of mini Marshmallows
- Butter (3tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Red & Yellow Food Colouring (Or Orange Gel Colouring)
- Chocolate Icing (The actual recipe asked for mini tootsie rolls, however living in the UK they are hard to come by, so I cut up icing instead)
- Any decorations for the eyes, nose and mouth (I used Black Food Colouring which can also be used as icing)

The first thing to do is melt the butter in a pan and then add your vanilla extract.

Then add your marshmallows and mix until those have all melted into the butter.

Whilst waiting for your marshmallows to melt, you can chop up your chocolate icing into small rectangular pieces that you will roll in your hands and add as stems once the krispies are ready.

Then you add your food colouring until you arrive at your desired shade of orange, then add in your rice krispies and mix until fully coated. Take off the hob once fully coated and leave to cool for a few minutes.

This is where it tends to get a little messy! The recipe said to use your hands to create pumpkin shaped balls of the rice krispies, however they just kept sticking to my hands, so I used my spatula and a well rounded spoon to create the circular shape on a plate for each one. Then I added the stems made from chocolate icing.

These little treats look so cute! Once they have hardened and are no longer falling apart, they are ready to eat!

I also chose to add some black colouring to create pumpkin faces on just a few of them, they were quite cool but food colouring isn't quite as tasty as icing!

If you like the look of this recipe and create your own, I would love to see your results! 
These would be a great addition to any Halloween party, especially for children!

Monday 12 October 2015

Halloween Playlist | prettylittlewriter

With Halloween fast approaching, I have been listening to A LOT of Halloween music. 
From Michael Jackson to the Backstreet Boys, these songs always get me in the Halloween spirit! 

These are my top five songs for the holiday!

5. This is Halloween - Nightmare Before Christmas

Let's face it, we all know there had to be a Disney song in here, it is me after all. This song completely describes Halloween to a T, and listening to this track always get me in the Halloween spirit. 

4. Feed My Frankenstein - Alice Cooper

There are a lot of Alice Cooper songs that are great for Halloween, but as this one is about a particular monster, and relating to the monster within that we 'feed' (especially at Halloween) it is perfect for this time of year. 
I love how old school it sounds too!

3. Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell

This song is so creep-tastic! I find this an incredibly fun song to sing and dance to, and really makes me want to party any time I hear it! I also love how it mentions the classic Hitchcock movie, Psycho.

2. Everybody - Backstreet Boys

The video to this song just screams Halloween. It starts out like a horror movie, with the Backstreet Boys turning into Vampires, Werewolves, the Phantom of the Opera, Mummies and Lizard men. It is such a fun video to watch, and I just love the beat. It makes me want to dance!

1. Thriller - Michael Jackson

Now this is the epitome of Halloween music. This classic MJ song is creepy yet fun, it can get anyone up on the dancefloor at a party. The video always used to creep me out, the zombies were pretty scary! With the spooky narrator and MJ's fantastic voice, this song is always at the top of my list for Halloween songs!

Below is my Spotify Halloween playlist if anyone is interested in seeing what else I like to listen to at this time of year!


Saturday 10 October 2015

Barry M Autumn Nails | prettylittlewriter

As you may already know, one of my favourite things about Autumn are the shades of colour that appear both in Nature and in the fashion and beauty world.

It becomes acceptable to wear berry lipstick and dark nail polish without the assumption that you're going to a Goth costume party, and I know many around the world share the exact same love for it as I do.

I must admit, I absolutely hate my nails. They are incredibly weak and brittle, always peeling and just look completely lifeless. I always feel self-concious about what others think of them when they are bare, so I like to keep them painted as much as possible.

Here are my current favourite Barry M nail polishes for this season.

What are your favourite shades for the Autumn?

Friday 9 October 2015

A Walk In The Woods | prettylittlewriter

Having moved from Scunthorpe down to the beautiful countryside of Devon, I thought it was about time I did some exploring of this wonderful county.

I decided to go for a stroll through our local woods and take a few photographs of things I found wonderful or interesting.

The walk to the woods is so pretty, seeing all the different colours and looking out over the houses, it truly is lovely.

I really liked the way the trees form a cover here, and when the leaves have turned a lot more for Autumn, I think this will be a beautiful spot.

 A possible man-made shelter? 

I found where the fairies live!

Spotted this little guy up in one of the trees. He was making a really loud and strange noise, I thought he was a bird at first! Once I got home I did a bit of research and the noise was him warning me to back away from his territory. Sorry little man!

This is the prettiest tree I have ever seen. The colours are absolutely stunning; I still find it hard to believe nature can be this colourful and beautiful.

Going for this walk has made me crave more exploration of this gorgeous county. I cannot wait to find somewhere else to admire!