Betty Crocker Gets Festive

Ah, Betty Crocker. We meet again. Each and every year you lure me in with your promises of aesthetically pleasing Christmas boxed goods, and each year I find myself squinting at your tiny text wondering where I went wrong with two eggs and 125g of (melted) butter. Do I put these on the kids table? Or the adults table? They obviously look like they were made by children, but do I want to look like the jerk that didn’t bring anything to the family lunch?

I’ll preface the remainder of this tragedy post by saying that I can cook (or in this case, bake). But if you’re trying to appeal to the millennial in me by handing me anything in a box branded as “quick and simple”- my mother stopped doing that a long time ago – don’t expect to ever see the finished product. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s not good. Have I learned my lesson though? Not just yet but next year I’m hopeful.

Image-2.png
Who is your photographer Betty?

This year though,  I share with you my journey. That’s right my loves, it’s time for some Christmas Tree Brownies.

We start by preheating the oven. No issues there. No qualms. Ten minutes pass and we’re at a comfortable 180. We’ve worked with her before.

Next, we line and grease the baking pan. You may notice that mine is in fact a cake tin. It went downhill from here.

thumbnail_Image-3

We insert the mixture – with the correct piece of equipment this time – and into the oven she goes. I set my timer for 25 minutes.

I sit on the couch with the coffee I’d made but forgotten about two hours earlier and think about whether I should utilise my time wisely by scrubbing the tiles in the shower or folding the copious amounts of laundry beside me, but before I knew it, I’d thought to long. It was time. They were ready. To add a little more pressure, my daughter’s now awake from her nap so she observes from her play mat. That’s fine, an audience wont phase me.

Our final step (now that they’ve cooled and I’ve avoided that house work a little more) is to slice “horizontally and then in a zig-zag fashion” to create our tree shapes. I stand deathly still beside the tray for fifteen minutes with what I’m sure can only be described as a lights-on-but-nobodies-home expression as I attempt to work out how the heck I’m going to make this work with a circular slab of chocolate – but eventually – I decide to cut a square from the middle and work from there. Innovation.

The next drama we faced is that the icing came out much thicker than I’d anticipated (in blobs, actually) and I knew this is where we’d encounter our largest obstacle. Art and I don’t get along. Despite no instruction on the box preparing me for this, I should have warmed the bag (what’s that saying about hindsight?). It was room temperature, and I’m in Australia so I foolishly assumed that meant we’d be warm and ready to roll. We were not.

thumbnail_Image
Do you like the candy cane heart? I bought them specifically for this picture.

I don’t have much to say about the process of adding sprinkles, other than that they got bloody everywhere.

So in conclusion, taa-daa! If you’re thinking “wow Tiffani they actually aren’t that bad, you’ve even added a lovely icing tinsel touch” – just know that there’s a reason only two brownies are on the photography plate. The recipe serves thirteen (or if we’re being honest with ourselves, eight on a bad day and ten on a diet).

I won’t lie though, despite their interesting exterior, they did taste pretty good. Jason and I both concluded that out of ten we’d probably give them between a seven and an eight. So, if anyone more artistic than I is wondering where I found these bad boys, I bought them at Coles for a low price of $4 and a slither of my ego.

Alternatively, the recipe for those without impatient children is here: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/holiday-tree-brownies/058237a7-ae5c-435e-b9cc-b01af1d412e7

I hope you enjoyed!
Tiff x

Advertisements

Huggies “Little Swimmers” Review

So if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that we went to our first water park last week. There was no lazy river unfortunately. Yes, I’m still upset. No, I don’t want to talk about it.

Anyway, that absolutely massive disappointment aside, let’s begin. Whilst doing our grocery shopping the night before our little adventure, we happened to cruise past the nappy section (whist headed for the cold iced coffee fridge no doubt) and I, by chance, looked up to spot the Huggies swim pants. Yes, that’s right, we had plans to swim all day and nearly forgot to pick up some swim nappies. Wouldn’t that have been an interesting experience? So I stand as tall as my tippy toes will take me, and pick a packet up announcing to the whole aisle “Ah yes, swim nappies, I’ve found them”. I was really hoping to fool Jason into thinking I’d actually been responsible enough to add these suckers to the list days ago as we’d talked about. I’m really not convinced I fooled him, being that I’m sure my face gave away what I was actually thinking, which was “Why the heck are 11 of these just shy of $14? Do the working class not swim over there at Huggies HQ?”.
I’ll add that he occasionally reads this blog so I’m sure what cover I may have had is blown now, nonetheless. Fancy Thai food tonight?

I oddly found it difficult to find unbiased reviews of these bad boys online so I figured I’d bite the bullet and give them a go. Coles had a home-brand alternative for less than half the price, but those are a lot harder for majority of you to find and purchase so I gave them a miss. For the record, with Summer coming, I’d be more than happy to rate, review and compare cheaper alternatives to Huggies – if that’s something anyone would be interested in seeing. (Really, anyone at all. I’m not brave enough to try store brand with no reviews without some type of encouragement. Sorry Coles, I’ve made that mistake one too many times, and this time involves baby by-product).

So, lets start with negatives in order to end on a positive note. An issue I found with these, is that they tend run a little small. Uh Tiffani, of course they do, the aim is to avoid unexpected code browns, remember? Ok yes – but we had to purchase a size larger than we typically would with regular old Huggies and they were still incredibly hard to get around chunky baby legs. They’re the pull up style of course, but twice as hard to get on.

Only two sizes were available to us, so I wonder how far the size range actually extends had we have gone to a different store. I cannot seem to find a box of these to purchase in bulk as you are able to do with most other Huggies products, so there are no discounts for buying a larger quantity as of right now.

Now the positives. Overall, I did find them to work pretty well. They were comfortable – I’m assuming, as my daughter would have loudly announced her discomfort if they were not (hello Halloween pumpkin costume). They held together great despite the one nappy being submerged for about an hour, nothing unwelcome escaped and they didn’t irritate my daughters skin – despite it being sensitive as of late. They also have tear away sides, which I appreciate in case, well, she uses them for their intended purpose. Do they keep urine contained? This I can’t confirm nor deny, but as for any swim pant, I would assume the answer is kinda yes, kinda no?

They weren’t the most discreet nappy she’d ever worn, but the colourful Nemo themed print serves as a welcome distraction at changing time- those with roll-y babies know what I’m saying, and my daughter loves the sound they make when she waves them around (though I’m not sure if this is a positive or not honestly, as she was pretty upset when I had to take it from her when I was done…).

Ultimately would I repurchase? Yes. At least until I find a cheaper alternative that works just as well. They did what they told me they’d do, and no angry rashes ensued. Australian mums can find a free sample here: https://www.huggies.com.au/free-sample/little-swimmers
This is not an affiliate link, I repeat this is not an affiliate link! I just thought it might be a little bit handy. Sorry UK mums, I sadly couldn’t find a link for you!

Tiff xx

Stretch Mark Miracle? Or Slippery Scam?

OK. So I might have clickbaited you – well, sorta. Let me explain.

One of my biggest and most haunting fears when I became pregnant was stretch marks, and there is seemingly a large debate as to whether or not those stripey little suckers are preventable. Some say that if you lather yourself up in coconut oil it’ll be smooth (slimey) sailing, so I took the liberty in becoming your slippery guinea pig.

Young and somewhat insecure me thought hey, if Francine the Fitspo mum can prevent stretch marks with body butter, I can too! So sure enough, I stocked up on “stretch mark preventing” body butters, vials upon vials of rosehip oil, chugged gallons of water and made sure to take my fish oil three times a day! Those monounsaturated fats were good for the elasticity of the skin, after all.

Throughout my pregnancy, I maintained this silly routine of moisturising my skin five times daily. I must have smelt horrible, because rosehip oil – despite the misleading name – smells more like salmon than anything else. I gained only 10kg by 39 weeks (not as “lucky” as you’d think – blame the gestational diabetes diet for my inability to consume copious amounts of lamingtons). My own mother had not even a single stretch mark! By 38 weeks I thought I’d escaped! Cracked the code! A true miracle! But, the joke was on me, I woke up covered in stretch marks three days before I gave birth. Yes, in the space of 7 hours, I gained all of my “stripes”. Sigh.

The part I found to be the most shocking (aside from the total cost of all that bloody oil), was that I didn’t care. I carried my beautiful baby girl to term, I grew her perfectly. My body did something I was told it may never be able to do – and this was the very small price I had to pay. It was worth every penny. This whole experience taught me a valuable lesson though. Love the skin you’re in. Cliche, I know. It wasn’t until now that I truly realised just how amazing a woman’s body is and what a miracle child bearing really is.

In conclusion;
Are they preventable? No, probably not. Do I recommend skipping the gimmicky products tailored to the insecurities of women with changing bodies? Eh, probably f it were me doing it over, I’d pick up a cheap moisturiser from Woolies and skip the fancy stuff. In all fairness, I can’t say it did nothing. Constant buttered-up skin did assist greatly with the pregnant belly itch, and, post birth my new found stripes had faded to silver by my 4 week check up. My point? Don’t expect too much from body butter, and treat yourself to a nice new handbag (or several, with the cost of rosehip oil, seriously), instead! There’s nothing wrong – or unnattractive – about the beautiful thing your body is doing, so rock those amazing stripes proudly!

Lots of love,
Tiff xx