What are you most excited for in 2015?
Hi guys how are you all? I'm skipping my usual weekend post because I literally did not take one picture this weekend, even though it was a good one! Tonight I'm going to see some Christmas lights with a couple girlfriends and then having a evening out with them!
Most days I wake up and have every intention of writing an awesome post or a recipe and most days I do but today is not one of those days. It's one of those days where my brain is just fried and tired with no ideas popping into my head at all. We all have those days and I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
So today I'm going to write 10 of my favourite memories of 2014 and 10 things I'm excited for, for 2015. A little New Year reflection post!
And now for some funny Christmas pictures to make you laugh :)
I hope these gave you a good laugh, they certainly cheered me up today! The blog is going to be a little quiet till after Christmas. I'll pop in on Christmas day to wish you all a good day like I did last year but other than that, I'm going to enjoy my first Christmas with my mum in 2 years and soak up all the family time! Catch you guys later :)
What's your favourite memory from 2014?
What are you most excited for in 2015?
What is life in pictures? Take as many pictures as you want throughout the week or month and post with little to no text :)
I finally finished school today!!! WOO! I'm so happy! My throat is so sore at the moment from singing on Thursday all day and part of today! I'm quite proud of myself since I faced my biggest fear of singing in front of the whole school! So here goes- random pictures of the last couple of weeks!
Granola bars with peanut butter = best. snack. ever!!!
Totally cracked me up!!
I'm off to go to Cambridge with a friend for the night to babysit her nephew, I'm pretty excited to hold an itty bitty baby again :) Have a great weekend guys!
A couple days ago I was telling a friend about my mum's and my plan to go volunteer at a soup kitchen a few days before Christmas or on Christmas day and they looked at me very weirdly. As if doing anything but opening presents and eating on Christmas day was abnormal.
I felt there was nothing weird or abnormal about wanting to give during a time where people struggle most. Where people without families have no joy or happiness. My friend's response sparked this conversation in my head and here I am writing about it because words are sometimes the purest form of telling the truth.
I remember last year when I wrote this post about walking around Chicago giving food to the homeless. When I came back home and went to school, someone asked in front of the whole class, why would you do that? My response- why wouldn't you?
We all have days that are the most memorable, those days where something happens that we'll never forget and cherish forever. That day was one of those. I gave expecting nothing in return but honestly what they did for me is a feeling I'll never forget. The first guys reaction and face is forever engraved in my memory. Water and food is something we all take for granted everyday but the smile on this guys face brought me to tears and still does. He gave me an appreciation for life that I never expected to receive. How on earth could I thank him for that? Because some food and water surely doesn't seem like enough.
I think there's a lot of things wrong with our generation like the media, technology and the way we interact but I think one of things we are all getting so wrong is our selfishness. Where did we all learn to be so greedy and self-centered? Is it from the media that is destroying everything else? I honestly don't know but nothing angers me more than people that don't understand giving without expectation. Our desire to help ourselves before anyone else is getting stronger and stronger.
We constantly chase the next big thing and this idea that things & money will bring us happiness when in reality they push us further away from truly experiencing the joy of life.
Why can't we be kind without expecting someone to be kind back? Why the hell can we not just smile at someone because it's a nice thing to do? Even if we don't get a smile back. Why can't we spend 2 hours of our day helping someone in need? Because those 2 hours may give you the appreciation for the world we live in. Why can't we learn to lower our expectations and give something for the sake of kindness?
Nowadays we live our lives rushing around, working and working even more. We never stop to breathe and look around to value the amazing world we live in. Have you ever sat on a train and just stared out the window? Watching the amazing world zoom by. Not many do because we consume our lives with technology and never truly live in the moment. Since when was it okay to sit and tweet during a date? When was it normal to sit on our phones whilst catching up with friends? It stops us from truly living in that specific moment.
We hold so much power within us to change this world and we use so little of it. A world where if everyone gave a little bit more would be a happier place. Opportunities arise every single day to do something for some else. Do it. Be the change you want to see. If everyone did that then the world would change. Stop to say hello to your neighbour, smile at that random stranger, hold the door for the person you're with, buy someone a coffee because YOU can, drop a text to someone to let them know you're thinking about them. All simples things that bring around a lot more kindness.
I see so much sadness in this world. I feel everything so passionately and I rarely walk away from a homeless person without a heavy heart that desires to change so much in this world. Change that I know I can't achieve. But what I can do is bring a little kindness into everything I do and slowly maybe I'll help one person or two or three. I've never dreamed of having a high-earning corporate world type job, I've always dreamed of helping people each day of my life. I sometimes wish I was a celebrity but only so I could use my fame to be the voice for things that need changing. I know my strong desire to help people is what will push me to do just that. I have no shame in dreaming big and I know I'll achieve them because being kind is the easiest thing one can do.
I've always wanted to help people. It's something that I always think about. I started volunteering when I was 13. I first started out by baking for the Ronald McDonald House (amazing charity!!) and I had no idea how much baking some cupcakes for sick children would fuel my passion for helping others or how much it would change me into a much more giving person.
I don't know who I would be if I wasn't a kind and giving person. I don't think I'd have as much to offer this world. If I only had one day left to live, I would spend that whole day giving and volunteering because it puts so much life into one day and that one day would be enough.
The biggest thing I've learnt from volunteering is that we take every breathe and every moment for granted. We never sincerely appreciate a moment for what it really is. We constantly think about what we have to do next and forget to stop and soak up that second that will be gone in a blink of an eye. It's a weird thought, how I'm no longer in the moment I was when I first started writing this. Everything is going on around me and I am for once writing in complete silence, letting my brain fully live in this moment. Something I rarely do.
At a time where most people are making New Year's resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, travel more, take up a new skill or drink less. My only resolution is to give out more of my kindness into a world where true generosity is rare. I dare you to do the same and together we can make this world a far better place than it is right now :)
Hi guys, I hope you've all had a fantastic weekend and are getting excited about Christmas!! This weekend was suppose to be super relaxing but I ended baking cookies ALL weekend long, which was just as fun but didn't leave me very rested for the week!
They turned out pretty darn cute, don't you think? (Recipe coming soon!). The dough took less than 10 minutes to mix together but the baking & decorating on the other hand took FOREVER!!
When the flour comes out perfectly from the measuring cup, made my heart happy :) The only music we should all be listening to right now is, Christmas music!! My mum hates it aha so I obviously have to play it more ;)
I was clearly exhausted by this point because I put the milk cap on the tub of sprinkles?! Funny thing is that it actually fit, so now you know if you lose the lid for your sprinkles just use a milk cap :)
On Sunday night, it was two of my friends birthday meals so we all headed to Cambridge to eat at Strada, an Italian restaurant. I'm still struggling with my stomach pains and nausea so I hadn't actually eaten anything ALL day and I was happy to enjoy a few slices (definitely NOT all) of this huge pizza.
Cambridge is absolutely stunning around Christmas and the walk to the restaurant was so nice. Cambridge is one of those places in England you HAVE to visit. I have such weird friends. Leah asked if she could pose in my picture to make it look "artistic" and then Delina totally photobombed the other!
I made some delicious cupcakes for my friend's birthday earlier in the week and OMG they were unbelievably moist and delicious. I'm not just saying that because I baked them but because my friends were all complimenting me over and over again :) Nothing makes me happier than baking something for people and seeing them enjoy it so much!!
Crazy hair and she just don't care ;) She cracks me up, only 12 more days until I see her!!! << I only just realised this and I'm now super impatient!! I'm so angry Fleur didn't win the X-Factor, I was woman power all the way, but oh well the person I usually vote for never wins!
I've got a pretty busy this week! Tomorrow I'm doing some of my volunteering hours and Wednesday I'm busy baking more birthday cupcakes. Then on Thursday I've finally got a hospital appointment to check out what's going (NO, I'm definitely NOT pregnant, loads of people at school has already asked just because I'm getting an ultrasound!! Probably didn't need to mention it but I don't want people guessing that's what is wrong!) and then I have choir rehearsals all day then a concert Thursday night. Friday is the last day, thank goodness and I'm having a sleepover with a friend, which I can't wait for!!
I can't believe it's almost Christmas, that's crazy. This year has whizzed by and I want next year to slow down or maybe I need to slow down and appreciate things more? I'll put that as my New Years resolutions! Anyways, I hope you guys all have a fabulous start to the week and I'll be back on Wednesday with a recipe :)
Christmas is a little less than two weeks away and I'm finishing all my last minute present buying. If you're anything like me, then you might struggle buying gifts for some people. But luckily for the people buying for me, I'm probably the easiest person, I love pretty much everything but I especially love all things to do with baking. So today I'm going to do a gift guide for the baker in your life or for yourself :) Check out last years gift guide for more ideas!
Gift Guide 2014
A new recipe book- I love getting a new recipe book and opening it up at Christmas, looking through all the pages as we watch a Christmas movie! I almost always ask for a new baking book every Christmas. This year I asked for Mary Berry's Baking Bible, I can't wait to read some of her great baking wisdom!!
Cake Tins- We all need some super cute cake tins to transport all our delicious creations. I only have one cake tin and I'm in desparate need of some more. There are loads of different designs, so you'll definitely find a design that suits the person you're buying for.
Cake Stand- Every baker needs a cake stand, am I right?! So it's kind of annoying that I don't have one and it was one of the first things that went on the list this year. I like the fact that this one is funny (the brand Bright Side has some super cute & funny stuff) and it's perfect for serving cake at a party or event!
Candy Thermometer- I don't know how many times I've been baking something and I've needed a baking thermometer! It's something I desparately need and I'm sure the baker in your life would love one too, plus this one is digital so it's even better!!
Decorating Tool Box- I'm the messiest person ever and this would probably be a life saver! This keeps all your baking tools in one compact place, where everything has a specific spot so you can declutter everything. Bakers have a lot of tools and it's easy to get very messy, so even though this is a little pricer than some things it will keep everything clean and neat!
Cake leveler- This saves SO much time! I can't even count all the times I've struggled to cut a cake in the middle with a knife and the crumbs go everywhere, then the cake falls apart....What a big mess!! This is super easy to use and slices cake evenly throughout!
Baking Journal- This is from Bright Side again and I've gotten their journals in the past and they're so cool! This one is full of spaces for recipes. I think it's important to put all your most important/favourite recipes down in one place and having a cute little journal for that is perfect :)
Cookie Letter Stamper- How cool is this concept?! I love that it's not just one stamp but the whole alphabet so you can stamp whatever phrase you'd like. The letters aren't big so this is perfect for decorating a personalised cake or cookie!
I hope you find something that you or the baker in your life would like. There's so many amazing baking gifts that it's hard to just pick a few. It's not always about getting a baker a new mixer etc, sometimes a cute apron or journal is just as great!
Merry Christmas and happy shopping :)
Christmas is my favourite time of year. There are so many things that are just perfect about it. But my all time favourite thing to do is bake- obviously!! At Christmas time, I feel like it's more acceptable to bake more than you would normally. I mean I personally think it's acceptable to bake everyday but I would get very obese and have a freezer full of cupcakes.
My mum asked me to bake something for her to take to work and I immediately started looking in my Taste Of Home Magazine Cookie Special from 2012. I wanted to bake every. single. recipe!! But I don't think my mum would be impressed if she came home to 150 different sweet treats. So after going back and forth, I finally decided on these fudgy chocolate nut bars!
These bars are so fudgy and the saltiness of the nuts balances out all that sweetness. The base is buttery and reminds me of a delicious shortbread and really what's not to love about shortbread?! What I love about this recipe is obviously ALL the chocolately goodness but it's also beyond easy to make. You can easily add different types of nuts or take them out all together if you don't like them!
I've made a lot of brownies in my time but I've never made layered bars so when these were a success I was super happy. The base is so easy to make and that fudgy layer came together in less than 2 minutes, yes 2!! I've never been much of a nut lover, I'd rather eat a carrot than a handful of nuts but..... Tiny pieces of chopped nuts on top of chocolate, well that I could eat all day. The recipe called for macadamia nuts but I couldn't find any so I used hazelnuts instead, anything works!
The original recipe has these cut into HUGE bars and as much as I like me some chocolate, they looked way to big. So I cut these into cute little bite sized pieces and it was the absolute perfect amount.
My mum sent me a picture during the day and there was one left in the box (there was way more than pictured, it made about 22 pieces, it probably would have made more but I nibbled some as I was cutting;). So I take that as a sign that people loved them and I'll definitely be bookmarking this recipe to keep for the future!
Quick tip: When you press the crumb base, place a piece of parchment paper on top and fill with some ceramic baking beans (or you can use rice). My base rose a little and it's quite similar to shortcrust pastry, so avoid the air pockets by using baking beans :)
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did :) Happy baking!
Happy Monday guys!! I hope you're all well! This weekend has been the best in quite some time. Might have something to do with the fact that I was reunited with my childhood best friend, nothing beats that really.
On Thursday morning we set off for Banbury to spend the night at my mum's friend's house. She has 7 year old twin girls that are just balls of energy. As all girls are at the age, they were completely obsessed with me because I was a "teenage girl" and I had lots of fun playing with them. I love being with that age group because everything is so great to them and you can't help but be happy.
We went to a local pub for dinner and I had some delicious fish and chips. For dessert, I most certainly got my chocolate fix with a caramel brownie!! It was all very scrumptious.
I really hope you never get stuck behind a tractor AND a learning student driver!! We had a good ol' giggle about it but it did get very annoying after 5 minutes (or maybe 1 with my patience;).
On Friday morning we headed to the Castle Quay shopping centre in Banbury and had a wander around the shops. I love coming back to my hometown and seeing people I used to know when I was little and seeing what everything is like now (which is pretty much the exact same!). We then met for lunch at Marks & Spencer's with another friend! My chicken sandwich was SO yummy and those cookies are the BEST!!
Friday was so unbelievably amazing because I finally got to see one of my bestest (so not a word) friends!! We haven't seen each other since I first moved back to the UK. The two of us and our mums went to an Indian restaurant for dinner and then spent hours chatting & laughing! It was a perfect night :) Couldn't have asked for better quality time with one of my favourite girls! We will certainly not leave it another 2 years this time!!
Saturday morning we headed home and I was not feeling my best. My stomach pains came back and I was experiencing some extreme nausea, which is so blahhh!!
I had a party to go to that night so I got some rest and then ate some toast with a ginger & lemon tea, two best things that help with my nausea!
I felt somewhat better but so I decided to go to the party- wrong choice on my part. I didn't want to let my friend down and I was excited to see everyone but my stomach was not agreeing with that decision. I spent most of the night on the sofa watching everyone dancing and catching up with my friends.
This girl seriously makes my day! She was full of smiles and giggles yesterday and she made my heart SO happy!!
The struggle is real guys, 3 sports bras is necessary! I really need to invest in a quality supportive sports bra, any suggestions?! Right, I'm so NOT ok with the sun setting at 3:48pm! I wasn't even home before the sun went to sleep, so sad :(
Even though I was still feeling blah, I still wanted to go for a run. It's FREEZING outside now and I knew my jumper wasn't going to cut it, so I dug my old winter skiing jacket out and it kept me toasty! It was a quick and short one to the train station to meet my mum but it was just wanted I needed, even though it left me feeling a lot worse. Silly running brain of mine couldn't not go ;)
I'm now all comfy on the sofa in my onesie with my new fluffy slippers watching the Royal Variety Performance, just the way a chill Monday night should be! I hope you all have a fabulous evening, catch you on Wednesday :)
HappyThursday guys!! For most of you, you're probably still working or at school but I'm super lucky to have 2 days off where I live! I'm popping in quickly to write about some things I've been loving lately!
After I press publish on this post, I'm off to Northampton for 3 days and I can't wait to unplug from the computer and catch up with my best friend who I haven't seen since we first moved back to England two years ago, so I'm beyond excited!!
Running!!!! I'm finally back after almost 5 weeks off! I actually never thought I would get to this point because 5 weeks ago it seemed like a lifetime away. I went for a run Tuesday night and Wednesday night! 1 slow mile on Tuesday and 1.5 miles on Wednesday! Taking it nice and slowly for the nest few weeks :)
I'm loving our 6th Form centre right now! There's even more decorations now but it makes me super happy walking in here everyday. I'll be super sad when it all comes down in January!
I don't wear much foundation but I'm starting to wear a little bit everyday now, just to cover my cheeks! This is the best foundation (Loreal True Match Lumi) I've ever used for my skin and when I put a primer on before hand this just glides on perfectly!
I'm loving loving the acoustic version of Latch at the moment. I know it's been out for a while but I've always listened to the original version and now I'm hooked on the acoustic version :)
One of my favourite parts about Christmas is all the cute Christmas movies that play everyday. They aren't the best movies but they're all so cute and festive that I usually record about 2-3 a day! They make me so happy and I'm always excited when they start around mid-November time!
Of course I had to include some food, duh?! This cookie was pure heaven. So moist and chocolately! My friend works at Morrison's and gave me the last cookie, which totally made my day, obviously! It was so delicious, please go buy some now if you leave near a Morrison's!
What have you been loving this week? I'm off to shower and pop to Tescos for some baking ingredients for Saturday, so I'm in a little bit of a rush! I hope you all have an amazing rest of the weekend and a great weekend!