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Life with Laura by Laura - 2M ago

Autumn is on it’s way! But let’s not complain too much because up until now we’ve had a bloody great summer. I spent plenty of nights in the water or in the long lasting sunshine and I am G R A T E F U L.

As we head into April / Aries Season / Autumn I’m taking a quick look back at what some of my favourite things were in March. I missed February completely on the blog and in my mind, haha.

Music

I’ve been loving using Spotify radio’s. I stumble across artists I’ve never heard of before. This is no exception, Kaiit’s “OG Luv Kush pt.2” has a great beat that got me hooked from the first few seconds and the lyrics made me smile.

KAIIT - OG Luv Kush p.2 (Official Video) - YouTube
Fashion

Best clothing purchases in March were from Boohoo. They had a massive sale and I got some great bargains.

Leopard Print SkirtBuy here

This skirt is SO comfortable and very forgiving. Hiding my lumps and bumps like a champ. I’ve worn it a few times paired with a denim jacket and white tee. Easy skirt to dress up and down and great for transitioning into colder weather. I paid NZ$15.

Button down faux wrap dressBuy here

I grabbed this one for work hoping it would be an easy dress to wear to work (as that’s 100% my jam at the moment). It didn’t disappoint. I wore this the day after my package arrived and got so many compliments. The length of the dress is a little long but paired with heeled boots it looks cute! The fabric is on a cheap side but I really can’t complain for getting it for NZ$20!

Skin

My skin has been drinking up Trilogy’s Certified Organic Rosehip Oil over the last wee while. I love using it just before bed as it’s a bit heavier than other oil moisturisers I’ve used.

It’s super hydrating and you don’t need much a.k.a. one drop goes a long way! After using it for about a week I found my skin felt rally hydrated and looked a lot brighter. I’ve been using it now for over a month and I still have 3/4 of a bottle so it’s great bang for your buck. Their 45ml bottle retails for around NZ$25.

From Trilogy: “Rosehip oil is good for the skin because it contains powerful essential fatty acids that improves skin hydration, elasticity and assists skin cell renewal and repair. Rosehip oil can be used for reducing scars and stretchmarks, balancing and hydrating the skin and combating fine lines and wrinkles.”

While I was gifted this product this is 100% my opinion. If I didn’t like a product I would let you know or just not post about it.

Let me know what you are loving at the moment in the comments!
Laura

The post March Favourites appeared first on life with laura.

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Now that the season for crazy hectic lives is over it’s time to focus on lots of self love, lots of love for others, family + friends but most importantly O U R  S E L V E S !

These things have been on my mind lately. Check out my January favourites below!

Music

I’ve always loved a bit of reggae and ska. I’m a lover to Tash Sultana’s music, ever since the first time I heard her (via a Facebook Video randomly) I was in love with how the music moved and spoke to me. That sounds a bit hippy – but hey, I’m a hippy at heart! Anyway, if you love the sound of alternative + reggae + rock with a bit of psychedelic thrown in check her out!

The song I’m going to share is from a band called Ocean Alley. I looked them up after seeing they were playing at a small festival Tash Sultana is doing in Australia next month.

Their song “Confidence” makes me want to get up, dance and enjoy life. The band made up of 6 dudes from Sydney, Australia.

OCEAN ALLEY - CONFIDENCE (Official Video) - YouTube

They’re playing in Auckland later this year – April 4th at the Powerstation. Anyone keen?

Fashion

In 2018 I got my third tattoo by artist Dear Emily Ann in Sydney. She recently collaborated with The Sewn Seed, releasing an embroidered tee shirt. I snapped one up as soon as I saw it as I’m such a fan of Emily’s work – and Caitlin from The Sewn Seed is a kiwi too!

Check out my post on instagram wearing it! I tie it at the front, fold up the sleeves and pair it with jeans or a skirt for a cute casual outfit.

Want one for yourself? You can grab one at The Sewn Seed website for AUS$49.

Art

When one of your favourite singers who is also an artist brings out a game – you need to do a shout out about it ? !

Singer from Incubus, Brandon Boyd, has designed a memory card game for us all to enjoy. It’s called Deux Portes / Two Doors: An OptiMystic Memory Game. ‘Play by pairing the card to its image & word match from memory’

Each card has a word and image created by Brandon and you find the match for each card. A fun, beautiful and interesting exercise! I need it.

Want it? It’s available to purchase via his website. US$60.

Food

New favourite lunch spot is Saint Alice – It recently opened up in the viaduct harbour (dangerously close to my work), owned by the same people as Dr Rudi’s (that bar with the bowling alley in it!).

It’s located where Kermadec used to be and has been beautifully decorated to feel lush, relaxed and to welcome in the natural light from the harbour.

The food is insane! I went with a few girlfriends for lunch early December and shared a bottle of rose while enjoying three items from the menu, they were so hard to choose from and after I ordered I messaged another friend saying we HAD to go because I need to try as much on the menu as possible, omg.

wood fired steak (bavette) / cheese fondue / garlic potatoes

Want to go? Can I come with you… haha! Saint Alice is located in Auckland’s CBD / Viaduct Harbour – Level 1/204 Quay St.

Skin

Have you ever had a facial without any product? It’s life changing! In 2017 I discovered Rosenthal Skincare (via winning a competition) and I’ve been going back ever since.

Rosenthal facials are incredibly relaxing, and tension-releasing – the best destress for your mind and body – and it’s great for your skin too! After a few days my skin always looks better, plump and radiant, each time I go I can’t believe the difference. Also – I never knew just how much I clenched my jaw until I felt the difference

Rosenthal also have their own natural skincare range. All are hand blended, batch made and made to demand using only base and essential oils. I reach for their cleanser every night to easily remove my make up (and it can be doubled as a moisturiser!).

Check them out. First Floor, 87 Jervois Road, Herne Bay, Auckland (above Bulls & China Hair).

Let me know what you are loving at the moment in the comments!
Laura

The post January favourites appeared first on life with laura.

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Christmas is one of the best and hardest parts of the year for me, it’s filled with so much suspense, joy and love.

It makes me anxious and excited at the same. I know I’m not alone! Every year I want Christmas to be this beautiful day where nothing goes wrong and everyone gets what they want – since becoming an adult I’ve realised that that rarely happens, there’s so much stress that comes out of one day and I put the day itself on a pedestal – and I don’t know why! I guess, after having some pretty great Christmas’s as a kid I just have this unrealistic expectation in my head that I put pressure on myself to achieve.

Anyway – this isn’t a therapy session (maybe next time!) the point I’m trying to get to is that Christmas is about being together, not just about giving the best gifts or making the best meal.

I saw a campaign recently that talked about giving gifts with meaning rather than giving gifts that fill up our landfill – it struck a cord with me cause, yes: I’d given my work mates mugs, and yes: if given my grandma millions of hand creams. I’d given gifts for the sake of giving them rather than giving gifts of meaning.

A lot of people don’t like giving vouchers because they aren’t personal – but if you KNOW that person wants it then how is it not personal? I know for a fact that my grandma doesn’t need more hand cream – so why would I think it’s a good idea to get her some?

I’ve collated a little this of alternative gifts for you to think about giving to friends, families, co-workers and in-laws that make a difference to our earth, and that don’t fill our landfills!

Gift a tree

This was actually the ad campaign on instagram that I saw that said: “fill our land not landfills” that I really connected with. For as little as $10 a tree you can gift native trees that either restore or protect.

This is on my list of things to purchase this year – I’ve already gifted one as part of my work Secret Santa present!

Check them out treesthatcount.co.nz

Gift reusables

In one of my recent posts I talked about moving to a more sustainable life and trying my best at living that way. Here are some ways you can give the gift of reusables

  • Coffee cup – Cute and everyone can use them! A lot of “coffee” cups are great for tea, hot chocolate and even cold drinks on the go.
  • Straws – This is probably a thing that most people wouldn’t think to by themselves, I know I wouldn’t but is a great thing to have in your cutlery drawer.
  • Honey wraps – I recently got sent some honey wraps to try out from the Hexton Bee Company and I am in love! Honestly these things are so cool, completely natural and a great alternative for foil or cling film. Again, probably not a gift that you would by yourself (unless you’re already obsessed like me) and it’s great for kids lunches too.
Gift experiences

I’m not necessarily talking about a bungy jump but rather something that you have enjoyed that you want others to experience. It could be a facial, a workshop or handmade gift card for a day with you taking them on your favourite walk with a picnic. 

This year I have asked for vouchers from my family with no shame, I think it’s a great way to gift something that is incredibly personal!

I’d love to hear the type of gifts you are giving this year!
Laura

Please note this post contains referral links to Mighty Ape, of which if you purchase anything I get a small amount of store credit.

The post Alternative Christmas gifts appeared first on life with laura.

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I’m always chatting about what I love and sharing my thoughts on things that are making a difference in my life at the moment. So why keep it to the people I only talk to – why not you too?
Check out my November favourites below!

Music
Drax Project - Prefer [Official Audio] - YouTube

Drax Project – Prefer.

This song is sexy.  I’m in love with Drax Project at the moment, they’re on repeat on Spotify. One of their tracks (which I don’t believe is a radio single) “Prefer” had me hooked from the first listen.

It’s got good vibes, great beat and they’re sing about doing whatever the other person prefers – yes, like that. 

“Running your hand through my hair, got me feeling alright
And If you lay on the bed, we’ll be up to the light
No, I don’t really care what we get up to tonight
So whatever you prefer that’s what I prefer”

The lead singer has an amazing voice, there’s even a part of the song that makes me think he would do an amazing Michael Bublé impression [around 1:08]. 
What’s sexier than all of that?

Other music current loves:

Follow me on Spotify

Fashion

I’ve got a bit of an outfit mood board of my wishlist must-haves at the moment.

A. A girl always needs a new moon stone ring. Gold Mystic River Moonstone ring from Neon Gypsy, $89

B. Ever since I saw Sarah from Sama & Kiki share this on facebook I wanted it. It’s one of those dresses I’d need to try on I think though… Adrift Shari dress from Sama & Kiki, $159

C. Ya girl needs some decent summer slip ons and I love me some tan shoes. These are cute. Atmos&ere Camile strap shoes exclusive to The ICONIC, AUD$69.95

D. At the last general collective festival, I discovered Eba. I have some of their earrings and I’ve been dying to get more of their handmade jewellery in my life. Floral necklace from Eba, $35

E. I’ve always loved cat eye shapes glasses, these ones stood out for me! Dazie Hollaback sunglasses, AUD$19

Food

Everyone knows I love food! Check out some currents faves below…

  • Supermarket buy: Brioche Loaf. We got one of these last weekend to have with bacon and eggs and it was a decadant homemade brunch that’s for sure.
  • Something exotic: Chia Seed Mug Cake, I made this the other night (but made vegan) and it was different but delish
  • Eating out: Hansan. I can’t go past vietnamese at the moment. I think the spring weather has me craving fresh and tasty foods and Hansan always delivers.
Skin

Whats going on my face at the moment? I’ve taken my skin and makeup routine back to basics.

To take off my makeup I’m using a hand blended oil from my favourite facialist Michelle at Rosenthal. Then to moisturise I’m reaching for an old favourite, Keihl’s Ultra Facial Cream. Once a week I’ll do an exfoliating peel if I remember, If you haven’t tried the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel’s then you need these in your life.

On a day to day basis for makeup, I’m using Too Faced Hangover Primer, Ultraceuticals Sheer Tint Moisturiser and Urban Decay Troublemaker mascara.

Let me know what you are loving at the moment in the comments!
Laura

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Are you after a little inspiration to do better in the world? I got you! Below are some great ideas that are easy to implement into your day to day life to make you the ultimate eco warrior!

At work/

Want to do good at work for the environment? Check out the below easy-to-implement list of goodies!

1. Takeaway container/
This is one of the easiest things you can do, and is so effective not only for feeling better about the environment but for spreading awareness. I have a llittle lunch box I keep on my desk at work and grab when I go buy sushi / takeaways at lunchtime. Every time I grab sushi I get nods and smiles from the staff and other people there to buy lunch. Frank and Green reusable cups

2. Reusable coffee cup/
Keeping one of these bad boys at work is great for when you pop out at morning tea to grab your morning pick-me-up! We have a coffee machine at work which uses pods that we recycle. I have a reusable coffee cup at home for my coffee that I take with me on the go!
Frank and Green reusable cups are stylish and award-winning. They can easily be used with one hand and are stain and odour resistant. Check Frank and Green out on Mighty Ape.


On the go/

Here are a bunch of goodies that are great for your handbag or car. They’ll help you save the world, a little bit at a time.

Munch reusable straws

3. Reusable straws/
I’m yet to buy some straws for myself but these ones look great. I think having one that you can keep in your bag without it getting filthy is great, as well as one that’s easy to clean. 
My favourites are these Munch reusable straws that have a curve in them, and remember to get yourself a straw brush to clean them easily with!!
Reusable straws are obviously great for at home, but when you are out and about the best thing you can do is ask for no straw at all

4. Water bottle/
This might seem obvious. I use a reusable water bottle every day, I use it to/from and while I’m at work.  When I get home I keep it in the car so I always have water I can reach for. My one is from Tupperware, which is free from nasties.

Boomerang Bags

5. Reusable shopping bags/
If you live in NZ it’s likely that you know all about reusable bags. Most supermarkets are urging people to stop using the plastic bags they provide (or in some cases don’t provide!) and use reusable bags. 
Personally, I’m a huge fan of this and keep heaps of reusable bags in the back of my car for easy remembering!
Boomerang bags, pictured above, is a grassroots, community-driven movement tackling plastic pollution at its source. All of their bags are made by local volunteers, using recycled materials!

At home/

These are a few easy things you can do at home to be a wonderful eco warrior!

6. Turn off items at the wall
When I first started dating my partner I thought this was the weirdest thing, but it truly makes a difference. We turn off the TV, PlayStation and the oven every night. This is part to save power and part just in case there is a power cut or surge overnight. Items that have an idle light (like TVs and ovens) are an easy turn off each night and turn on when you need them – plus it’ll save you some cents!

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This was drummed into me as a kid growing up in New Zealand and I try my best to follow it even now. We recycle as much as possible at home, I try to reuse where I can, cling wrap and foil are a good place to start. Reduce is probably the hardest one for us but it’s always front of mind – when I can I go straight to vege shops to get fruit and veges for the week so I’m buying just enough and if I don’t need a bag I don’t take one (paper or plastic). Overall, if you’re following the above six rules I imagine that Reducing, Reusing and Recycling will come to you naturally!

What else do you do to save the world a little bit at a time?
Laura

Please note this post contains referral links to Mighty Ape, of which if you purchase anything I get a small amount of store credit.

The post Top eco-warrior faves appeared first on life with laura.

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I love the weekends that I have nothing planned. Making sure they happen is my goal at the moment, I try and not do much in the evenings after work so a lot of the time my weekends get filled up with little things here and there.

No plans in sight = sleep-ins and relaxing. I love weekends like this because it means I get to be a little more creative with myfood than I usually am, I love cooking so much but most of the time I’m after something quick and tasty rather than something made with love.

I was scrolling through Pinterest for lunch inspiration and saw a tomato and spaghetti dish which made me feel like bruschetta, weird right? But it was a damn good idea, so off I went to the supermarket.

Bruschetta can come in many forms, big and small, with or without tomato even. I went for what I would call a traditional bruschetta but added in avocado because I know we won’t be buying a house anytime soon.

Avocado and Tomato Bruschetta

Serves two

What you’ll need

  • Tomato (I used 7-9 small sweet tomatoes but you can use 2-3 large) you want the tomato to be nice and red and ready to eat.
  • 2 garlic cloves, freshly minced
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • A decent handful of Basil leaves washed
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of fresh crusty bread

Method

  1. Chop tomatoes into cubes. I discard a lot of the seeds but keep some in for moisture and texture. I try and have a majority of the cubes small but some large ones again for texture. Place into a medium bowl.
  2. Add your freshly minced garlic cloves to the bowl, followed by a good amount of salt and pepper.
  3. Grab your basil and tear into small pieces adding to the bowl. You can cut the basil if you prefer but I find tearing doesn’t bruise the basil as much.
  4. Get your grated parmesan and add to the bowl. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, you will need to eye the olive oil – I can never find the perfect measured amount.
  5. Peel the avocado into large cubes and add to bowl. Mix everything together lightly adding more tomato and olive oil as you need.
  6. Once all of the ingredients are mixed together and you are happy with the taste, cut your loaf into thin slices – it’s time to grill! We cut bread quite thick and both commented that it was a little dry once grilled. Two pieces of bread per person is plenty. When you have your bread ready, get your grill hot and brush the bread both sides with olive oil (alternatively you can toast the bread naked). When browned on both sides remove from grill
  7. To serve, place toast on a plate and spoon a quarter of the avocado and tomato mixture on to it, not too close to the edge. Optional: add more grated parmesan and top the bruschetta for more decadence.
  8. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • Dryness can easily be fixed with extra olive oil once plated, putting more straight into the toast will cause it to go soggy.
  • If you are after extra zing, once the bread has been toasted take a clove of garlic and rub it on the toast for an extra kick.
  • Add chilli flakes for a different type of kick!

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The last four years of my life have been tough. Every time I think I’ve managed to reach the top of a mountain to see the beautiful view I turn around and there’s another mountain ready for me to climb. They get smaller each time but they’re still there none the less.

I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, of course during school I didn’t know it was anxiety, and when I realised it was anxiety it wasn’t really the type of thing you admitted. Looking back now there are so many things that anxiety stopped me from doing, from big things like living overseas to small things like going out with friends.

My experience with anxiety now isn’t necessarily better or ‘fixed’. I’ve learned to approach anxiety (and approach myself when in the throws of anxiety) differently and use different wellness practices to help keep me on track.

I’m sharing what I do to help me, in the hopes that it might spark an idea or help you approach your anxiety in a different way.

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Go for a drive
Sometimes I just don’t want to go home. So, some nights after work I’ll ‘run away’ for a little bit. I’ll head out west straight from work and head to a beach, usually Murawai beach which is perfect for watching the sunset. The drive is the part I like the most, it’s different from the everyday commute – and longer. I put on some music that suits my mood, play it loud and drive.
When I get there I just sit and enjoy the scenery and think. It’s okay to not want to go home and want to get away – sometimes things get too much and having this time away from everything and everyone is what’s needed. I love taking photos at dusk too so it’s nice to go and focus on that once I’ve had time to myself.

Manicures
I go about once a month to get my nails done with my cousin. I love it! It gives me some special time with my cousin, we are the same age so it’s really nice to get that time together to relax. The way we work it is that one person waits while the other gets their nails done. In the beginning, I didn’t like the idea of waiting around for an hour and a half, but it’s forced downtime which I really appreciate, that, as well as the self care time of treating myself to getting my nails done, is a double whammy self-care dose.
We go to Christine at Champagne Nail Bar and Spa in East Auckland.

Spend one on one time with myself
Most evenings when I get home from work I do some chores, prepare and make dinner then sit in the lounge with the hubby and we’ll watch Netflix. It’s so nice! The perfect way to unwind the day. Some evening though, I don’t want to watch TV until bedtime, so I’ll leave hubs alone and go sit in our bedroom and spend some time alone. It could be playing a game on my phone, reading on my kindle or drawing. I consciously tell myself that it’s my time and try to prioritise the thing I want to do the most.

Facials
I looooove facials. They are my absolute go-to for stress relief. There are two types of facials that I enjoy getting.
1) Product-less facial massage – I go to Rosenthal Skincare, Michelle has her clinic above a hairdresser in Ponsonby and it’s my favourite way to de-stress. It’s a non-traditional massage because Michelle doesn’t use products with her facials. She uses massage techniques to release tension held in the head and face. I have trouble with my jaw especially when I am stressed and with a program of regular facials with Michelle, we have helped my jaw for the better.  They also improve my skin and complexion. These facial massages also include a neck and head massage which is bliss!
2) Traditional skincare massage – I have a regular place I go to to get my brows waxed and IPL done (begone hair!) they also offer a wide range of other beauty treatments including facials and massage. When I’m feeling especially stressed out I’ll book in for a facial and massage, these can be pricey but because I get my IPL service at the same place they give me a discount on all other services – which is great. I go to The Beauty Clinic in Meadowbank.

Gratitude Ritual
I’m in a small messenger group with two friends. Each morning we follow a template that gets us to outline what we are grateful for today, what our desire of the day is and what our big dream is. I’ve only been doing it a short time, and some mornings it’s hard, but I love it. It’s a great way to start the day and encourage ourselves (and one another) to be positive and mindful.

Yoga
This one I definitely wish I did more of. Ideally, I would go to yoga once a week but I prioritise other things and find it hard (at the moment) to push myself to go along. The idea of going along to a yoga class makes me quite anxious, but the times that I do go along it’s amazing. I’ll get there one day, or maybe teach myself how to do it at home. When I do go, I go to Fat Yoga by The Kindness Institute in Ponsonby. Fat Yoga is yoga for all sizes, which really helps break some barriers that I have with gyms and fitness. The classes are very reasonably priced and all proceeds go back into local communities.

Food & Water
Where possible I try and make sure I’m getting enough vegetables. That being said, usually when I est out I go a bit crazy. Most evenings with dinner I try to have two or three different types of vegetables, and I try to pack them in when you wouldn’t expect them; i.e.g Corn with rice with curries, courgette or carrot grated into meatballs or burgers.
Water is another biggie, I’m not the best at keeping up with water but when I do I feel so much more motivated and energised. I have a bottle I keep at work, one at my bedside table and one in the car too (all reusable ones) every morning I try to drink a whole bottle before I start my workday.

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I feel very very grateful to be able to do the above things. I don’t get to do all of those things all of the time. I prioritise what I can with the means I have to be able to do this. I wouldn’t be able to do these things without the support of my family and friends.

You’ve got to remember anxiety often doesn’t go away entirely. What I’ve learned is that it’s okay to have a bad couple of days. It’s okay to want to run away. It’s okay to cry. It’s all ok. Accepting it is a huge part of the process.

Remember, no matter if you think your anxiety is big or small – it matters and you shouldn’t justify it away as not being a big enough deal or compare it to others. Your feelings are valid and you deserve to share your experiences with friends and family. If they love you, they won’t judge you x

The post The wellness practices I use to help with my anxiety and stress. appeared first on life with laura.

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This dense, sweet and moist cake is a contender for my all time favourite dessert. Sticky Date Pudding was one of those dessert I never wanted to try when I was a kid (Dates? ewwww fruit is gross, amiright?) boy, was I wrong! 

This recipe is quick and easy enough to whip up after dinner and most of the ingredients (maybe apart from the dates) are a pantry staple which means it’s (probably) cheap to make!

Sticky Date Pudding

What you’ll need for the Pudding:

  • 250g pitted dates, chopped / halved
  • 400mL water
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 1 C self-raising flour
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten together

What you’ll need for the Sauce:

  • 200mL cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter

Also,

  • Thick cream or whipped cream, to serve (optional)

Method for the Pudding

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, fan bake.
  2. Grease a square tray (20cm x 30cm is good).
  3. Place chopped dates and water in saucepan and bring to boil at a medium to low heat.
  4. Add baking soda (expect fizzing or bubbles to appear), then add butter. Stir slowly until butter melts.
  5. Stir in flour, sugar and eggs and combine.
  6. Pour into prepared dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Test that it is cooked through by using a skewer or clean knife inserted into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean it’s ready!
  7. Take out of the oven and keep in the tray, allowing it to cool 10 minutes.
  8. Place on a wire rack to cool down further.

Method for the Sauce

  1. This is so simple! Add cream, brown sugar and butter into a pot and heat on a low heat until butter melts.

To serve, cut cake into squares, pour over sauce and add cream if so desired!

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