Sunday, 10 June 2012

building my collection

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may know that I do a little bookworm feature. In the last couple of years I have really got back into reading; I found when doing my PGCE it was the only way for me to relax and get lesson plans out of my head before going to sleep. Since this, I've read some great books (The Help, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Reader, Wonder, Room, Water for Elephants to name a few) but just can't afford to buy my books new each time at seven-something pounds a pop . My mum keeps on at me about joining the library, but I loving buying books and building my little collection!

So for the last year or so, I've only bought my books from charity shops or second hand stalls. I picked up five books this week from various charity shops/stalls in my local town for the grand total of £7.97. Seeing as most paperbacks retail for about £7.99, I think I'm on to something! As you can see, none of these are in complete tatters or stained; they are in great condition. Of course, it is lovely to buy a brand new never-been-read book every now and again, so I look out for Waterstone's 3 for 2 offers and am often given book vouchers which I love spending. 

And, to complete the circle of (a book's) life, I like to give books to my local charity shop once I'm done with them. Obviously, some I keep to add to my ever-growing bookshelf, but the one's I'm not fussed over I will donate. 

What do you think? Do you buy your books second hand? 

Monday, 4 June 2012


Banana and chocolate chip loaf

So the weather this long bank holiday weekend is pretty crappy! Sob. With street parties and tea parties a plenty, what better time to share with you my favourite tea time treat of the moment. This is a yummy banana loaf recipe with a bit of a twist... super easy to make and tastes deeeelish!

You will need:
225g (8oz) plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
100g (3.5oz) butter
175g (6oz) golden caster sugar
1tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp milk
300g (11oz) bananas (peeled)
2 medium eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Bag of milk chocolate chips (as few or as many as you like!)

First, mix together the flour, bicarb of soda and cream of tartar in a bowl (or food processor). Add butter and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs, then mix in your sugar.

In a separate bowl, mash up your bananas. The older and more ripe they are, the better! Stir in your beaten eggs, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

Put both the bowls of mixture together and stir in your chocolate chips!

Pour into a loaf tin (I use a silicone loaf shaped tin with a paper case in it for ease of removing etc) and cover with more sugar. Bake for approx 1 hour (or until a knife comes out almost clean) at 180C. If you have a fan oven, bake at 160C. 

Remove from oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes. Then, turn out on to a wire rack to cool. 

I don't want to blow my own trumpet too much, but this was bloody amazing. I will go as far as to use one of my most hated words to describe it - insanely moist! Ugh. But yes, it really is a super easy recipe and makes the most delicious tea time treat. I took it in for colleagues at work who were as impressed with my baking skills as I was. 

Go bake!
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