Sunday

Sugar Doughnuts

One of my main weaknesses is warm doughnuts from Brighton Pier.

The smell, the taste, the amount of sugar left all over your face and fingers. 

Mmmmmm....

Now, I'm an absolute sucker for kitchen gadgets and, after a little browsing online recently I decided to purchase a mini deep fat fryer. Not the healthiest of things but, you're allowed a little naughtiness in the kitchen once in a while. 

On the day it arrived, I decided to recreate the pier doughnuts at home and, not one to keep anything from my readers, I've decided to share the recipe with you. 

You will need
450g plain white flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
2 beaten eggs
25g butter
75g caster sugar
6 tbs warm water
6 tbs warm milk 
50g caster sugar (for rolling the warm doughnuts in)
Bottle of vegetable oil
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Sift your flour and yeast into a bowl then, add the butter and rub it in to the mix to create a crumbly texture. Add the sugar then, make a well in the center and crack both eggs in to the well. Mix. Gradually add the milk and water. If you find the mix to be a little dry, feel free to add a little more water.
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
On a clean work surface, chuck some flour on to it and knead your dough for about fifteen minutes. The dough needs to be completely smooth and mixed together. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about an hour and a half. 
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for another couple of minutes. Then, flour and grease two baking trays and then cut your doughnuts in to equal pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Place your doughnuts onto the baking sheets and cover again with cling film, before leaving to prove for half an hour or so- they need to rise until around double their size. 

Turn on the deep fat fryer, off your vegetable oil and switch to about 180 degrees. Once the oil has heated up, fry your doughnuts for around five minutes until brown and done. Please be careful with the hot oil! My fryer is tiny so, I can only fry a couple of doughnuts at a time.
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Once they're golden, carefully remove them from the fryer and place on some kitchen roll to absorb all the grease. Then, put some sugar in a large mixing bowl and throw your doughnuts around in it until they're covered in sugar. 
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Sugar Doughnuts by What Laura did Next
Watch them vanish in minutes.

I can't be held responsible for you eating them all!

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Thursday

24 hours in Paris

On Friday, I left you with a little clue as to where our next destination was on our amazing adventure with Courvoisier.

I think the title of this post gives it away.
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
Bonjour mon petit fleurs!

I've visited Paris a lot but, this beauty never gets boring and is so much better in the flesh.

We arrived at Hotel Raphael and were taken to our beautiful room, where a large amount of squeals and jumping on the beds ensued before we realised we had Courvoisier mail!
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
An invite to a private party on the hotel's rooftop? 

Bien sûr, Courvoisier. We would love to!

But first, a little tour of the neighbour hood. 
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
Everywhere you turn in Paris, there are beautiful buildings all dolled up ready to have their photo taken.

Back at the hotel, we got all dressed up for our party. 

I decided to make full use of the bath. 
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
Dress: ASOS, Shoes: Kurt Geiger London (sold out)

You can't take me anywhere.
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
Up on the roof, we grabbed a glass of champagne, and took in the breathtaking sights of Paris.

There's something about this city that makes me feel warm, fuzzy and like I'm in a movie.

Lot's of selfies were taken. But, when you have the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop, it's rude not to.

We danced, drank a lot of champagne and Courvoisier cocktails, and chatted until midnight when, we all decided to hop in taxi's and head to a club.

Thankfully, there are no photos from the club. Just drunken, funny memories and "I'm never drinking again" statements. 

The next morning, we woke up with slightly fuzzy heads. 

Our next stop was at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont a magical place in the 19th arrondissement. It's definitely worth a visit if you're ever thinking of something different to do in Paris.  

Brunch was in The Pavilion overlooking part of the park. We started with a Courvoisier and champagne cocktail which swept the hangover away quite quickly. 
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
Smoked salmon, creamy scrambled eggs, bread, potatoes and heaps of brownies and pancakes were on offer. Which, I happily devoured. 
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
After a little walk around the park and a lie down in the sun, we headed (reluctantly) back to our coach and started our journey back to London.

None of us wanted to leave.

But, travelling 1st class on the Eurostar helped us get on the train that little quicker. When the food came round, it helped even better.
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
24 hours in Paris by What Laura did Next
We arrived back in London and were greeted by the rest of the PR team who had a bottle of Courvoisier and a lovely gift for each of us to take home and enjoy.

We said our goodbyes to our new friends, promising we will all meet up very soon for the first of many reunions. 

Sitting down on the train back to Brighton, we attempted to take the last three days in but, found it so overwhelming. It really was an amazing and somewhat surreal adventure. Surreal in a way that I don't think I'll ever experience anything like that again.

Thank you Courvoisier for a truly amazing experience. I won't be forgetting it in a hurry!

Bisous, Bisous x

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Tuesday

Topshop Stripe Dress

Topshop Stripe Dress by What Laura did Next
Clashing patterns and prints is a new thing I like to do. I usually play it safe with outfits but, I wanted to style this gorgeous dress differently, giving it a slightly casual look. Come winter, I'll be throwing a chunky knit over the top and pairing it with some ankle boots.
Topshop Stripe Dress by What Laura did Next
Topshop Stripe Dress by What Laura did Next
Dress: Topshop
Blouse: Belle & Bunty (vintage)
Shoes: Kurt Geiger London via Shoeaholics

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Friday

Le Voyage de Courvoisier part deux

Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
After an amazing nights sleep, we woke up to the sound of birds tweeting and the local church bells ringing. Snuggling up in the hotels fluffiest dressing gowns, we padded down to breakfast with everyone else.

One thing I love about the French are their breakfasts. 

Nutella on Brioche. Gooey, smelly cheese. Ham. Pastries. Bread and the creamiest of butters.
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
What's even better is no one judges you whilst you tuck in to these usually naughty treats. 

Along with all the other food and drink France produce, I'm very tempted to move there.

After getting almost drunk on Nutella and brie, we dashed back to our rooms and packed our suitcases ready for our next adventure.

Back at the Courvoisier chateau, we were met by the Courvoisier team and, two of our group Freddie and Sarah. Both work in top London bars and had been invited on the trip to make a signature cocktail that was then put to a judging panel in front of our group - including the master blender of Courvoisier. 
No pressure then.
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
The judging panel then had to decide on the winning cocktail, and the winner would be going home and not joining us on our next adventure.

So harsh guys!
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Both were very different and delicious in their own way. In the end, Sarah's won (above).

We then headed for lunch at a private house on the river. Delicious wine and food was served and we basked in the warm weather not knowing what was to come next.
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next

After a huge twist (turns out there were two actors in our group who were VERY good!) we hopped back on board the coach and went to our next destination.

Which took over 2.5 hours by train....

Can you guess where it was?

Here's a petit clue:
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
I'm going to leave you in suspense until tomorrow when you can find out what we got up to

Until then mon petit pois!


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Thursday

Le Voyage de Courvoisier part une

Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
I did something last weekend that sounds so crazy people think I'm making it up and, I feel like it was all a dream.

Last Friday, I woke up early and, along with my friend Kim, met 34 complete strangers at London Victoria. Most of us had NO idea what we were doing and where we were going. We'd had our passport details collected the week before and been told to "pack our smartest black tie get-up" 

The rest of the trip was kept a total surprise with pieces revealed slowly (and sometimes) suddenly as we went on our way.

Courvoisier's motto is to "live spontaneously" and, that's exactly what we did for 3 days. 

We all jumped on the Gatwick Express and headed to the airport, where we found out our destination was Bordeaux - home of wine, cheese, truffles and Courvoisier.

Fine by me! 

After checking in and playing some ice breaker games with the rest of the group over a breakfast-themed Courvoisier cocktail (Earl Grey, OJ and Cognac) we hopped on the plane all excited and giddy to get to our destination.
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
After a short flight to Bordeaux and a little coach journey, we arrived in glorious 28 degree heat to a very photogenic town called Jarnac, home to the Courvoisier chateau and brand. Our luggage was taken away to our unknown, luxurious hotels and we started the adventures for the afternoon. 
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
First up, was a tasting in their cellar on the river. The town was full of beautiful buildings and this one was a stunner. Next up, was a lesson in the processes and story behind the creation of Courvoisier.....

....Before heading to the Salon de Nez for a sensory tasting lesson. We were blindfolded and asked to relax and put our noses to the test to see what we could get out of the aromatic cognac. For me, it was creme brulee and chocolate. No complaints there!
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
We headed to the Hotel Ligaro where we sunk in to our huge beds and marshmallow pillows before getting glammed up for our black tie dinner at the private residence in the Courvoisier chateau.
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
Courvoisier Trip by What Laura did Next
After dinner and drinks we went back to our hotels and were told we needed to check out in the morning as we were off to another location. 

Part deux, coming soon.

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