Maggie Bob Bakes: Chocolate Banana Loaf

Some people get a sinking feeling when the contents of their fruit bowls start to brown. Instead, I get that baking feeling! Browning bananas normally go in to my banana & walnut loaf but this time I fancied something a little different – I was in the mood for chocolate!

This was still made using basics I tend to have in (except the decoration, but that’s hardly essential. The bake on this was a little trickier – the top looks done long before the middle is cooked so you might want to stick a tin-foil hat over your cake for the last 20 minutes or so of the bake time.


3 overripe bananas
200g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1stp baking powder
50g soft brown sugar
50g soft butter
1 egg, beaten
2tbsp milk

  1. Preheat your oven to 180, and line/grease a loaf tin.
  2. Mash the bananas up in a large mixing bowl, breaking up any large lumps.
  3. Sift in all of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar) and stir through the banana.
  4. Beat in the butter, then gradually add the egg and milk until you have a thick, smooth batter.
  5. Spoon your mixture in to your prepared loaf tin and bake for 1hr – until a crust has formed on top and the middle is cooked (test with a skewer).
  6. Allow your cake to cool a little, then remove from the tin and let it cool completely on a wire rack. You can then top/decorate however you wish. I slathered on some chocolate & hazelnut spread (yup, that one) and some white chocolate stars I happened to have in the baking cupboard.

This one is moist and chocolaty and doesn’t need spread with anything else to be enjoyed. Best served with a glass of cold milk! Do let me know if you give this one a go.


Maggie Bob Wants: Halloween Goodies

October means Halloween – and like many of my friends, this feels like my big holiday of the year. It’s kind of a nice way to usher in the darker days, celebrate seasonal delights, and most importantly of all – dress up and have spooky fun!

I like that Halloween has become such an event, and apart from the bloody/slutty ‘costume in a bag’ offerings, there is a growing market for seasonal goodies – kind of Halloween themed, but worth enjoying all month really. Here’s my picks this year!


Peanuts Snoopy Halloween T | Asda | £8

Snoopy gets spooky but is still the cutest of all the Peanuts gang.


The Pumpkin King Candle | Old Glow Candles (via etsy) | £8.99

Old Glow do a range of movie inspired scented candles, and what better for Halloween than one inspired by Jack Skellington himself?


Blood Choker | Clintons | £2

Looking for an accessory that says “horror movie slasher victim”? This should have you covered. I’m told similar is on sale at Wilkos and Top Shop, but I couldn’t find them online.

dancing-skeleton-tights-squareDancing Skeleton Tights | ASOS | £8

What’s better than loads of happy dancing skeletons on your legs? Ones that glow in the dark of course!

halloween-cookie-pressHalloween Cookie Press | Lakeland | £4.98

I never let an opportunity for themed baking or novelty cookie cutters pass me by. These ones also emboss the dough as the cut, which makes for some brilliant biscuits (that are admittedly more cute than spooky).

dod-skull-buntingSkull Banner | Wilkos | £2.50

I’ll be honest – I usually make my own bunting because, heaven knows, I’ve got enough paperstock lying around begging to be used up. However, even I want to go premade with this intricate Dia de Muertos sugar skull bunting.

What about you guys? Have you found any ‘must haves’ for Halloween this year?


Maggie Bob Loves: 5 Things I’ve Learned From Yoga

If you follow me on twitter you will know I started doing yoga regularly last year. An instructor comes in to work one lunchtime a week, and at £2.50 per lesson I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. And now I’m hooked, good and proper. So let me share with you some things I’ve learned about life and myself while bending in to downward-facing dog.


1. Take time to breathe
I know, I know – everyone says this. But it really is a continuing surprise to me how much simpler difficult things become when you stop and take a breath. Yoga is all about breathing – you move with a breath, hold for a breath, use a breath to drop down further in to a stretch. And the relief when, wobbling as I hold a tricky pose, the instructor says “just hold for one more breath”. I know I can get through anything that seems insurmountable if I can just get through this next breath.

2. Life needs balance
And we’re back to me wobbling away on my mat! I don’t mean physical balance, although I do feel like mine is gradually improving (I spend less time diving out of Warrior 3 than I used to anyway). Because I’m taking an hour out of the working week to stop, and stretch and slow down, I feel more balanced. I can spend so much of my time doing things for others, doing what is needed of me that it’s nice just to allow me some time for me.


3. My body is amazing
No really – look at all the things I can do with it. I can lie down, sit, stand up. Reach my arms up, out, forwards. Lift my legs, bend my knees, flex my feet. My body can remember sequences my conscious brain has forgotten, and it gets stronger and more sure of the movements each time I do them. When I think I’ve taken my body as far as it can go I hold, take a breath (see above) and push it just that little bit further. Any time I start to worry about an imperfection of my body, I just remember all the things I can do with it.

4. I need to remember to relax
I’ll be twisted in to eagle pose, jaw clenched and shoulders pushed up, and I won’t even realise it until the instructor says “relax”. So I drop my shoulders, let my jaw relax and push down through my tailbone. Suddenly I feel stronger, more stable and more certain. When I think I’m relaxing at home, sprawled on the sofa or something, I’ll realise I’m still tensing up, holding on to something, and I need to remind myself to let go… relax.


5. I don’t have to be the best at something to enjoy it
I’m not good at yoga. No really – no self depreciation there. I’m uncoordinated, unfit, get my left and right mixed up, and (although I blame it on my foot injury from a couple of years ago) I’ve never had good balance. But that’s fine, because I am still getting something out of yoga. I am improving by doing, something I often lack the patience for. I know with crafting I tend to give up if I don’t master a new skill quickly (see knitting, crochet, painting, jewellery making…), but I don’t feel that frustration with yoga. It’s the journey, not the destination, and I need to remember that when I’m off the mat

And a bonus lesson…

6. My favourite poses seem to be the ones that make me look the most ridiculous.
See – happy baby.

Have you tried yoga? What’s your favourite pose? If you’re interested in starting yoga, try from the comfort of your own home with Do Yoga With Me. To find instructor-led classes in your area, check out




(All images are free from because nobody is ready for photos of me mid sun-salutation yet)

Friday High Five #7

Phew – Friday already! In fact, the whole of September has flown past so quickly. Anyway, I’d like to give you a run-down of 5 things I’ve been loving this week


  • Lorraine Pascale’s Eating Well Made Easy. It’s no secret that I love Lorraine Pascale, and this book is no different. Not faddy diet food, no weird ingredients, just tasty and easy to cook dinners that happen to be healthy. Try the butternut squash ‘taco’ – already a firm favourite.


  • This monster dress from H&M. I wish so hard that this was in adult sizes. I would definitely wear this, and not just for Halloween. Look at that zip on the mouth!


  • Pitch Perfect 2. Excuse the terrible photo, but I’m very excited to have this on DVD. Doesn’t seem that long since I was enjoying it in the cinema (how long ago was May, really?) and now I can watch it every weekend if I want – and I will.


  • Great British Bake-Off. I can’t believe it was the semi-finals this week, but how good did those chocolate tarts look? I adore Tamal, but I think I’m behind Nadiya to win. How about you guys?


  • Foraging. I would never have attempted this in London, but we literally have blackberries and elderberries growing in our back garden here and I’ve been making the most of it. I’ve had a handfull of blackberries in my lunchbox every day this week, and at the weekend I made elderberry gin and blackberry vodka, both of which should be ready in time for Christmas drinking!