If you’ve ever been curious about what goes on behind the scenes here at The Crafty Kit Company, over the coming weeks we’ll be chatting to our lovely colleagues to learn just what they do at Crafty Kit HQ, as well as sharing the team’s favourite craft tips and tricks. This week we’re catching up with our Head of Customer Happiness and all-round office octopus Anne - who also shares the best recipe for chocolate brownies we’ve ever tried!
Anne joined The Crafty Kit Company family in the autumn of 2019, and lives in the beautiful seaside town of Dunbar with her husband and two sons - as well as her six cats and two dogs, whom you might know from our Facebook page and Instagram account!
Have you always lived in Scotland?
My dad was from Edinburgh, and although I grew up in England I always felt an affinity with Scotland. We used to spend all of my childhood holidays with my granny in Edinburgh, so it always felt like home. When I met my husband, Simon, I introduced him to Scotland and he fell in love with it, too, so it had always been a bit of a dream of ours to move here. I began researching my family tree and discovered that all of my family on my dad’s side were from East Lothian, so when an opportunity arose to move here three years ago we knew that we had to take it!
I suppose you could say I’m even more Scottish now, as my Christmas gift from my husband this year was the title ‘Lady Anne of Glencoe and Lochaber’!
What do you do at The Crafty Kit Company?
I joined The Crafty Kit Company at the end of last September, initially part time, and absolutely loved working here. I was really taken with the team and around Christmas time I asked if it might be possible for me to join full time. I was so thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to assist with our customer service, and began my new role this year! I see myself as a bit of an octopus, doing everything I can to help our lovely customers.
What are your favourite hobbies?
My first love is baking - over the years as a busy mum I haven’t been able to devote as much time to it as I would like, but like the rest of the country I rediscovered my love for it during lockdown, and I’ve been slowly getting back into it. My favourite thing to make is chocolate brownies - I’ve tried so many different recipes, but the one I’ve shared below has been fine-tuned until I’m completely happy with it!
Which is your favourite Crafty Kit Company kit?
It has to be the Rainbow of Hope! I just can’t be sad or unhappy when there’s a rainbow around. At home I have crystals placed on windowsills around our house, so that when I wake up in the morning I see the light shining through them, and all the beautiful colours in the room.
Which craft would you most like to try next?
I’d love to try cross stitch! Years ago I bought a kit and couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, until I realised that the thread had six strands and I was sewing with all of them! I’m a little bit daunted by the prospect of starting with a blank canvas, and so I like the fact that with cross stitch you can follow a pattern and know how it will look. Of course I’ll have to try making our new purple octopus cross stitch from the Spring Collection!
Anne’s Chocolate Brownie Recipe
Makes 12 medium or 16 small brownies - depending how you cut them!
- 170 g soft brown sugar
- 80 g self-raising flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 100 g choc chips/chunks (I use a mix of extra dark, dark, and milk chocolate - you can add more if you like bits in your brownies)
- 2 large eggs
- 200 ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1: Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan).
2: Mix all the dry ingredients together with the vanilla extract, making sure that the sugar isn’t lumpy.
3: Lightly whisk the eggs and oil together.
4: Combine the wet and dry ingredients - don’t worry if it looks a bit ‘wet’, it’s supposed to!
5: Line an 8 x 8 ins baking tin with greaseproof paper and ‘pour in’.
6: Cook for around 20 minutes, until the brownie is coming away from the edge of the tin, but a skewer still comes out sticky. The amount of time this takes will depend on your oven, so this is an excellent excuse to keep baking brownies until you’ve got your perfect consistency!
7: Leave to cool in the tin, and when cool cut into your chosen size of pieces - enjoy!
To make a vegan version of this recipe, simply use vegan chocolate, and substitute the eggs for 125 ml of apple sauce per egg! When baking a vegan version, I add around 15 minutes to the baking time.
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