Mocha Banana Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle (Dairy Free)

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have been meaning to share this for a few weeks, but like Gingerbread Jenn, who shared the recipe on her exquisite blog, life has been chaotic and I haven’t been able to post anywhere near as often as I’d like. But on this day of love, I am here for you with an absolutely delicious brownie style cake which is a comforting combination of all of my favourite things. Valentine or Galentine, let’s do this!

mocha-banana-cake

It might not look too pretty in photos but it is what’s on the inside that counts!

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse

This weekend has been just perfect. I’d been working away all week and I’m not going to lie, it was tough. Sometimes things seem to just pile up and up and it gets a bit much. Amongst other things, I hadn’t seen James properly for 3 weeks because he’d been away the 2 weeks before I went away, as well as back to work blues (I’d had last week off of work and it was blissful). Thankfully though, it was Valentine’s weekend this weekend; which meant a weekend of eating mostly chocolate (and calories not existing – I definitely made the most of this!), which incidentally is the known cure for a long week. I baked a monstrously decadent and delicious pecan praline bundt cake (more on that soon) and made these chocolate mousses. Chocolate mousse is up there in my favourite desserts ever list and salted caramel is a thing James and I both love. When we first started talking far more than people who are just friends do, I used to post him bars of salted caramel chocolate. I figured these would be the perfect Valentine’s desserts, especially because I could put them in those adorable heart shaped dishes.

SC mousse 2

As Valentine’s go, this was the best one ever. I got absolutely spoilt with thoughtful gifts and was then surprised with a ridiculously generous gift later in the day, after I’d assumed all the gift giving was done; beats headphones, (in matte black of course), I’m still in shock and the luckiest girl. We also went to test drive a car on Valentine’s day and put a deposit down on a new car!!!! This is a huge stress off of our minds. My car has been unreliable for a long time and we have so many long drives coming up over the next 6 months; we thought it was about time we took that step and bought a new car, as a couple (eek!). It is such a relief to know we’ll have a reliable car to make those journeys in now. We decided on an adorable VW Move Up! in Mayan blue. 
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Valentine’s Gift Ideas, For Her

So, there’s a week to go. Are you struggling with ideas of what to get her this Valentine’s day? Here’s a few ideas that might spark even better ideas of your own! I’m very grateful for resources like Etsy when it comes to present buying, it means you can get far more personal gifts, that are usually hand made too.

  1. It’s February and it is cold, how about treating her to a beautiful scarf, one that she wouldn’t ordinarily go and buy herself, such as this beauty:Super chunky infinity scarf. Chunky scarf. Infinite scarf. Big yarn scarf. Merino wool
  2. Is she a lover of tea (and probably cake) and in dire need of a beautiful mismatched but complimentary set of 4 tea cups and saucers? Who isn’t?! There are so many gorgeous cup and saucer sets out there, has she mentioned any? Or perhaps anything else kitchen related? Maybe a cake stand?
  3. Is she a baker? How about this awesome customised rolling pin, so that everyone knows who made those gorgeous biscuits?Custom pattern made by rolling pin and cookie cutter
  4. How about some jewellery but something a little different. Etsy is a great place to look but there are some great websites out there that sell stunning jewellery, such as Regal Rose, Noctua (who have a great 3 for 2 offer on), Kate & Bee and The Great Frog London (depending on her likes and your budget). Here are some of my favourite finds:Terrarium + Silver Leaf Resin Ring • Size 7.5 • Geometric Terrarium Ring • Science Specimen Ring • Nature Moss Eco Resin RingGreat for those outdoorsy types is the moss terrarium ring above!frame_ring
  5. Or perhaps jewellery that is a little more personal to the two of you, more symbolic of your relationship, such as this custom initial bracelet:Two lowercase a-z Initials Bracelet, Couple bracelet, Name Bracelet, Boyfriend Girlfriend, Personalize Necklace, Valentines Day
  6. On the subject of personal, Redbubble and Society 6 are great places to find thoughtful gifts. For example, below are two tote bags, one with a photograph of the road to my house in the country where I was born and grew up (I’ve since moved) and one with my favourite photograph that one of my favourite blogger‘s has taken. Both would be enormously thoughtful gifts and I am sure there are places, plants, animals, hobbies, bands, quotes or any other pictures/characters you can think of that she really loves, that are available on a tote bag, cushion cover, t-shirt, hoody, mug, clock, phone case or even just the print itself, out there. Number One by Sebastian OpitzYellow Mushrooms Tote Bag
  7. On the subject of prints, there are endless quirky, funny, inspiring, customisable prints out there, how about framing one for her. Something that really resonates with who she is, such as this one below, a subject I have strong feelings about:Ice Cream Print A4 - kitchen print - ice cream art - ice cream poster - without ice cream quote - darkness and chaos
  8. Does she ride a bike and have a love of cycling? How about this adorable bike planter, so she can take nature with her where ever she goes, even on those inner city bike rides!nm-23.jpg
  9. I know I mentioned tea cups already but mugs are a totally different thing. I LOVE an inspiring quote mug and couldn’t resist adding this to the list. There are loads of different quote mugs out there, perhaps she has a favourite quote or saying…Time to get Stuff Done Mug
  10. And finally, I could never have a gift ideas list for her without some books on it (given I’m a huge book worm and cook book addict). Has she been longing for a cookbook in particular? There must be at least 100 cook books out there on my wish list, so here are a few below that she might enjoy too, if she’s that way inclined:                                                                                                                                                

They don’t have to be cook books though. I think books are fantastic gifts, if she loves books there will be hundreds that she may have mentioned in passing (or been talking about non-stop).

I talked about alternative Valentine’s cards in my gift ideas for men post. Don’t forget, there is always the perfume, bathroom smellies or make up options too. I just wanted to share a few things that were a little different.

Valentine’s Gift Ideas, For Him

Valentines is 8 days away, that gives us just over a week to go and get those presents sorted. I know it can be commercial but I am all for an excuse for the world to show a little more love, even if it is just for one day. There is so much of the opposite to love going on out there at the moment and in the cold winter months with even bleaker news, let’s do all we can to bring some smiles to the faces of those we love and adore. Here are 10 ideas for gifts you could buy him this Valentine’s day; even if nothing on this list appeals, I always find gift idea lists a great source of inspiration!

  1.  A keyring stamped with the coordinates of where you first met:
  2. keyringIs he a lover of ice cream? How about these his and hers spoons!His Ice Cream and Her Ice Cream Spoon set. Vintage hand stamped silverware by milk & honey.
  3. How about a love note engraved into a credit card sized piece of metal? He can carry it with him where ever he goes, especially if you’re a long distance couple. Or even a wallet to go with it!
  4. Is he a science nerd (the best kind of guys in my opinion, but I am a bit biased), how about this solar system soap? Awesome and useful:PREorder / Outer Space Artisan Soap / SHIPS Feb 9 / Cold Process Soap / Mens Soap / Scented Soap / galaxy constellation
  5. Is he addicted to coffee or hot chocolate? How about a gift card for his favourite coffee shop so that he can treat himself whilst out and about? Does he love doughnuts, cookies or a certain restaurant, if so what about a gift card for there?
  6. You could treat him to a nice bottle of men’s eau de toilette/aftershave. I’ve always love this bottle but other favourites of mine for men include Davidoff Adventure and Givenchy Pi.Artisan by John Varvatos Eau de Toilette Spray 125ml
  7. Does he love comic books? How about a framed print:Amazing Spider-Man Family No.2 Cover: Spider-Man Art Print
  8. Or some comic themed shoes? Converse have a DC range and Vans have a Marvel range:Chuck Taylor DC Comics Batman larkspur
  9. How about baking him his favourite cake, cookies or making him some chocolates? Home made is always such a lovely thoughtful gift. I made these Oreo Cheesecake Truffles for James at Christmas. They were a definite hit. Or perhaps some boozy truffles, cheesecake brownies or banoffee pie?Oreo Cheesecake Truffles
  10. And finally the card, the great thing about Etsy/the internet in general is that there are now endless amusing, sentimental or personalised cards available that we are no longer bound by the vomit inducing poetic cards found in card shops. Here are a few of my favourite finds:Valentine Card- Funny I Love you card- I Love Your GutsYou're Sweet like Bee Vomit A1 Card with envelopeRaptor dinosaur funny Valentines Day card, I love you card, wedding cardHarry Potter Valentine, Funny, Geeky Valentine's Day card, Chosen One