Oh my, our favourite reason to be smugly British has returned: The Great British Bake Off.
We’re only on episode one and already it’s a corker. #Jaffagate was trending on Twitter, the innuendos were flowing, the cake mix was separating and/or clumping, tears were running… and through it all there was evidence of what makes the Bake Off so wonderful; all the contestants were so pleased for everyone else. You can barely tell that GBBO is, in fact, a competition.
As we’re (nearly) all obsessed with the programme in the Qwerkity office, we thought we’d do a few Bake Off highlights for you each week. Beware, Qwerkiteers – here be spoilers.
Our favourites from last night’s episode are:
We have a sneaking suspicion that Candice will actually be very good. Nerves may have played a small part in her show stopper being slightly under baked. We did particularly enjoy her throwing her first attempt at the Genoese sponge across the tent like a Frisbee.
Mel: Where did you get orange juice from?!
Candice: An orange…
AKA the Cake Whisperer (or Listener)
Our honorary Star Baker: Selasi. Such a cool customer! Not even a hint of panic, even when he forgot to add cinnamon to his drizzle cake. At the moment, he’s our one to watch.
Hey Qwerkiteers! Did you know that it’s Afternoon Tea Week? It’s the perfect excuse to stock up on scones, jam, and cucumber sandwiches. The only real question is whether you put the jam or cream on your scone first?
For more afternoon tea ideas, have a look at our Tea Time Category.
Today we've quizzed our Buying Team about their favourite products!
It may be raining, but it’s still (technically anyway) summer, and with summer comes the pampering of little feet. So, Qwerkiteers, we’ve picked a few of our favourite treats for your little piggies. Off to market!
Let’s start with the basics: moisturising. These super soft socks are infused with a fruity fragranced serum (peach, green tea, vitamin E and natural fruit extracts) which leaves your feet feeling silky and divine! Just rub the serum on your feet, pop the socks on and wait for twenty minutes before removing them. We definitely recommend wearing the socks, putting your feet up and having a lovely cuppa. Blissful!
Never again worry about spilling your nail polish! The Nail Buddy holds any size of nail polish, and you can either grip it between your knees (handy for a manicure – pun unapologetically intended) or rest it on any hard surface to leave both of your hands free. You can even rest the Nail Buddy on its side to get the last drop of your favourite polish from the bottle.
Pssst! If you do get stuck for some design ideas, check out the Nail It! book – it’s on special offer!
Summer isn’t over yet, Qwerkiteers, and a little weather bird told us that the sunshine will be making a return this weekend. Time to dine al fresco!
These are a great gift for any keen gardener, particularly if they like to grow their own salad and veggies. Made from stainless steel with Acacia wood handles, these servers are perfect for digging deep in to the salad bowl. Whoever said salad couldn’t be fun?
New to Qwerkity this week, this comfortable, fold away cushion is ideal for a picnic! Featuring a lovely checked design on one side and 100% sheep’s wool on the other, this fluffy cushion insulates you from the cold and/or damp ground. Get cosy!
If sitting on the ground isn’t your style, try one of these tables for your next garden party or barbeque. Available in two sizes the trestle table sits four (four feet) or six people (five feet). Each table is adjustable in height and folds in half for carrying and storage.
Never again experience the heartbreak of knocking your Pimms over! The Picnic Stix set comes with three sturdy stakes (one for a bottle, two for glasses). No more toppling tipples, even if you are tipsy!
Go retro with the Outdoor Fondue Set! It’s a brilliant alternative to a barbeque (just in case you ever could get tired of the ol’ BBQ) and quite the party piece for outdoor entertaining. The set comes with four fondue forks, and – best of all – all the parts are dishwasher safe.
Oh, BBQ – our love for you could never fade; and now we can barbeque until the sun goes down and keep warm long after! The Brazier doubles up as a fire pit as well as a barbeque so it’s great for al fresco entertaining. Your garden party can now keep going as long as you can!
Make sure you have some fun in the sun this weekend, Qwerkiteers!
Festival season is well under way, Qwerkiteers! We’ve picked out some of our best products to get you through your festivals in comfort and style.
If you don’t fancy being right at the front of the stage, take the Comfy Wedge with you. Lean back, relax and just enjoy the music! The Comfy Wedge is completely waterproof, inflates in seconds and folds up to the size of a book, making it easy to carry with you.
It’s a chair and a cool bag! The cooler stool folds flat for easy storage and has integrated carry handles for portability. A spacious insulated cool bag beneath the seat is the perfect place to keep your beer or a picnic chilled.
If you’re camping at a festival and want to make use of the showers, these shoes are brilliant. Extremely light, with grip soles and small drainage holes, there’s no need to worry about picking up anything nasty when you use public showers.
We all know that festival campsites can be somewhat noisy! If you’d rather get some shut-eye than join the never ending party in the tent next door, then the Q-zone earplugs are for you. The earplugs come with two filters; one for ambient noise and one to block out snoring, resulting in both high and low frequency sounds being screened out. The warmth of the ear softens the earplug to fit, making them very comfortable to wear while sleeping.
No one likes a soggy bottom! This compact folding mat is insulated and waterproof, and it’ll fit in your back pocket or handbag. No more cold or damp bottoms when sitting on grass!
As anyone who’s camped at a festival will tell you, sometimes the toilets are miles away from your tent. It’s not brilliant when it’s three o’clock in the morning and (in typical British fashion) raining heavily and/or freezing cold. Avoid getting caught short with the Uriwell. The size of a drinks can, the device can be used by men and women and expands when necessary. A tight lid ensures no spills. No muss, no fuss.
Well, here in the Qwerkity office we’re making like the Wicked Witch of the West: we’re meeeeellltttiing. What a world, hey? So, to help out our fellow Qwerkiteers, we’ve thrown together a quick heatwave survival guide. Stay frosty, people!
This week we decided to test some of the recipes in Joanna Farrow’s Mug Cakes book. Obviously, this is all in the name of science. It’s nothing to do with the fact that we’re all cake fiends in this office…
We selected four cakes to trial from the 30+ recipes in this sweet little book (why yes, that is a sugar pun). We went for the Poppy Seed & Lemon Cake, Rich Chocolate Honeycomb Cake, Spicy Banana Bread and the Raspberry Cheesecake.
So, let’s dive in! To make any of these cakes you will need:
Lemon & Poppy Seed
Difficulty: Easy Peasy
Fear Factor: This was the first one we made, so nerves were on edge.
Top Tip: Don’t turn your back when the cake is in the microwave – they rise faster than you think!
Amelia's Verdict: Delicious! The lemon curd makes this wonderfully squidgy. You can add more lemon curd as a topping, or cream. I went for the token healthy option: blueberries.
Rich Chocolate Honeycomb
Fear Factor: It’s chocolate cake – what could go wrong?
Top Tip: We used chocolate fudge icing so we didn’t have to worry about melting the chocolate.
Ben's Verdict: I think this one is my favourite. Lacking any Malteasers, we crumbled Oreo cookies over the cake and added a couple of strawberries. Not only does it look pretty, it tastes amazing!
Spicy Banana Bread
Fear Factor: None, until we saw how quickly this one rises!
Top Tip: The recipe calls for ¼ teaspoon of ground mixed spice. We added a bit more for some extra punch.
Cam's Verdict: Heavenly! This was my favourite. We topped this with thick cream and maple syrup.
Difficulty: Smooth sailing.
Fear Factor: Cheesecake is stereotypically difficult to get right, so we were waiting for this one to sink or explode.
Top Tip: Microwave in short bursts. The book recommends no more than 45 seconds.
Laura-Anne's Verdict: Very sweet and rich. It would be nice as a small sweet bite after dinner; you could split this recipe between teacups for a pretty individual dessert.
In conclusion, we love this book! There’s a helpful tips section which includes information on choosing your mug and varying cooking times; some gorgeous photographs; and really simple instructions. This book is perfect for any baker, and would make a pretty addition to any bookshelf. Let them eat mug cakes!
If you’re anything like us at Qwerkity, we love a good Sunday crafternoon. Sundays are for relaxing, and what better way to relax than to get making? Here are some brilliant crafty kits to keep you busy, rain or shine (although if the Weather Gods are listening, we prefer shine, please!). I’ll let you in on a little secret; you don’t have to be a child to enjoy any of these!
Qwerkity have teamed up with Hall of Names to offer you a chance to WIN the perfect anniversary or wedding gift!
Two households, both alike in dignity...
With wedding season in full swing, Qwerkity has teamed up with Hall of Names to offer the perfect wedding gift: the Double Surname Coat of Arms.
This beautiful and unusal gift is printed on parchment and is available in a dark wood effect or gilded frame. There's even room for you to add a personalised message to make your gift extra special.
To enter the competition, simply click here.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 13th June
Please note that delivery time on personalised items is 2-4 weeks. The winner will be initially contacted via Qwerkity's Facebook page.