How to bake the best brownies

Just incase you wanted to taste the delicious brownies, that I made at Christmas, yourself!

The recipe I ALWAYS use is from Mary Berry’s aga cookbook, but with a few slight amendments.
Also don’t panic if you don’t have an aga, they work just as well in the oven!


275g (10oz) butter, softened
375g (13oz) caster sugar
4 large eggs
75g (3oz) cocoa powder
100g (4oz) self-raising flour
100g (4oz) plain chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding the chocolate chips last by mixing them in by hand. Spoon mixture into a medium sized tray bake or roasting tin that has been lightly greased or lined with tin foil and greased.

either: bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the top oven then move down to the bottom oven for a further 30 – 40 minutes
Or: bake for 20 -25 minutes in top oven then cover with tin foil and bake for a further 20 minutes

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C,and bake brownies for 40 mins, checking them after 20. If the top appears to be turning dark quickly or is too dark and runs the risk of burning, cover with tin foil until they are baked through.


If you wanted Orange Chocolate Brownies, just like the ones I made for Christmas, you add a generous splash of fresh orange juice to the mix and some grated orange zest.
Then once the brownies are half baked you grate more orange zest on top for aesthetic appearance and it adds to the orangey taste.


p.s. the mixture is as yummy as the actual thing!


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Here’s to a great Christmas

So Christmas is finished and I am on the plane on the way to Vancouver to begin my 6 weeks of skiing in Whistler. (AHHHH!!!)

It truly has been a great Christmas, but then-again Christmas is always fab in the Parrott household.


It begins on Christmas Eve with a baking marathon with Grandma Bramley.
While my mum got everything ready for Christmas Day, my dad was at work and then the pub and my grandpa was peeling brussel sprouts – my brother, sister, grandma and I baked a selection of orange chocolate brownies, M&M shortbread, a chocolate Yule log and of course… Mince pies for our annual mince pie competition.
When my dad returns from the pub we blindfold him and make him try all three of our mince pies before declaring the best and the worst. OFCOURSE once again I lost.. What can I say, I officially have the title of worst mince pie maker BUT best brownie maker.
I was working in the restaurant Christmas Eve, but getting home at 11.30 meant I had just enough time to sprinkle reindeer dust on the lawn to attract Rudolf to our house, write a letter to Santa and check that the right mince pie had been left for him (not mine).


6.30am Christmas morning, sat watching the clock until 6.59 when my brother and I decided now was time to wake the house up. Then breakfast, WHY everyone decides to have a long shower and a big breakfast on Christmas morning I will never know.. ARE YOU NOT INTERESTED IN WHETHER SANTA HAS BEEN?!
He had – yippeeee – so present time (including lots of skiing and travel related presents for me wooo!!) and then everyone got ready for our Christmas morning drinks party.
Watched the Queen at 3pm and then a big big big Christmas lunch, followed by a multitude of Christmas games.

Top 3 Christmas games this year:

3rd position – BINGO!
A couple of years ago I got a bingo ball dispenser and cards for Christmas and it creates a very competitive and strangely quite concentrated family – especially when money is involved! The steaks even went as high as £2 for a line and £12 for a full house (!!!).

2nd position – WOULD I LIE TO YOU
This is a two team game which is fast moving and hilarious. There are lots of different lying challenges including making up fake answers to a question while the other team tries to guess which is the correct one and picking up a card with either a picture on it or a blank space for you to create a picture in your mind while the other team quizzes you while trying to work out if you’re lying or not. My laughing definitely gave it away but this is a great game for all the family!

And in 1st position… ARTICULATE
This is an even faster moving game where you describe objects, people, places or doing words to your team mates while they try and guess what it is.. All against the clock! So much harder then it sounds especially when you get a person you’ve never heard of and you have to break all the parts of the name up and then get your team to say them all together! Tactical playing can also be done here and although we played this game 4 times in 2 days, grandpa ended up the articulate champion… HOW!?



Boxing Day in our family consists of a long walk (a long, slow walk as we are all walking umpa lumpas after our huge meal the day before) followed by the pub. Nearly had a dawn French moment on the walk… while wading through a puddle I came across a very deep patch and in fear of reenacting the moment in the vicar of dibley when she falls into the hugely deep puddle I lept out and filled my broken wellies with water…

completing the walk with soggy socks was not great but I kept going due to the thought of coming home to.. MORE FOOD! But Boxing Day lunch is one of the best meal of the year… Bubble and Squeak made out of what we couldn’t eat of Christmas dinner, cold turkey and more brownies, shortbread and mince pies (not mine). Then OBVIOUSLY more Christmas games.

Yesterday we had Christmas Dinner number 2, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (yum) with even more family, 14 round the table this time (well.. 13 and a teddy to stop superstition), followed by… Yes you guessed it… More CHRISTMAS GAMES!

Now I am about to land in Vancouver to start the first part of my adventure – 6 weeks skiing in Whistler!

I cannot believe after so many hours of working and planning it is finally here, this is only the beginning so BRING ON 2014.

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How to fund a 6 month holiday

How to fund a 6 month holiday

Crossing boarders, touring the globe and travelling between continents sounds like the adventure of a life time, but unfortunately everything costs money – ALOT of money, so how do you fund a 6 month long adventure?


Step one:
Have extremely generous family members who are willing to donate to the good cause that is your holiday.


Step two:
Start saving early. In my case, I’ve had a saving account for a couple of years now and random lump sums of money from birthdays and babysitting went straight into the account. (Well, sometimes…)

Step three:
Get a job (this is the most important!) ironically, I literally applied for any job I could see was available hoping I’d get at least one, turns out I actually got two and a part time extra job. Fantastic, a job at Topshop and a waitressing job at Lussmanns Restaurant can surely only mean lots of money except who has the time for two full time jobs and an extra job? Turning up to the first day at the restaurant to receive a rota with exactly the same shifts as Topshop was obviously an issue (whoops) but once resolved my life became the following: Topshop in the day, Lussmanns in the evening and tutoring whenever I had a spare moment.


Step three and a half:
Get your job, in a restaurant. This is probably the job that has allowed me to do what I want. Purely because as an undergraduate, I can only receive minimum wage, however with waitressing there are tips on top of general pay and I’ve been lucky enough to work in an environment where the tips almost double my wage – unexpected but a saviour when saving money (yeehaa!)


Step four:
Book early. The best thing to do when travelling to many different places is to sort out flights as soon as possible. Air travel only gets more expensive the later you leave it but with flexible flights they can be adjusted – just get them sorted as early as they come out!


Step five:
Get a piggy bank! Every little helps and by putting pound coins somewhere you can’t get them back could save you up to £300!

happy saving!

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Welcome to my blog, here you can stay up to date and in touch with me and my GapYear adventures. Hopefully I will be too busy to write every day while exploring and travelling the world – but it will be enough for you to know where I am and what I am doing.
I’ve spent 4 months working, had two jobs, spent over a year planning and now the adventure is getting close…


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