Friday, 11 December 2015

baked festive favourites


I have a confession to make, much like Zeke from High School Musical, I love to bake! Not as fancy dishes as Zeke, but biscuits and cakes. And when it comes to Christmas time my favourite thing to bake is gingerbread biscuits. Okay, so I usually prefer to make these men and women, but I forgot to bring my cookie cutters when I moved out so had to make do with circles. The recipe I use for these delicious baked goods is a modified version of one I found online forever ago. I've kept it written in a notebook for so long. You can find it below should you want to recreate these amazing treats.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour (you can use a little extra to roll them out or just use grease-proof paper like I did) 
  • 1 tsp bicarb 
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp group cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (optional, but super tasty)
  • a pinch of allspice (also optional, but great if you like Christmassy spices) 
  • 125g butter/margarine 
  • 175g light brown sugar (don't forget to put this in like I almost did!)
  • 1 egg
  • 4tbsp golden syrup 
Prep
  1. Sift together all your dry ingredients (excluding sugar) in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add the butter and blend together using your hands until the mix looks similar to breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor for this step, but as I don't have one I just use my fingers. 
  3. Now stir in the sugar.
  4. In a separate dish, combine the egg and golden syrup together before adding it to the mixing bowl. Mix in with a wooden spoon until it begins clumps together. 
  5. This is the part where I usually stick my hands in to speed up the process. 
  6. Following this knead the dough until smooth and wrap in cling film (if you don't have cling film grease-proof paper works just as well) and leave in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. You can leave it longer if you wish. 
  7. Roll out the dough to about 0.5cm thickness either on a flat surface with flour or grease-proof paper. Use your cutter of choice and place them on the tray leaving slight gaps between each. 
  8. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line your tray with grease-proof paper. 
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes. I usually set a timer for 12 and leave them in longer if needed. 
  10. Finally, let the treats cool down and then decorate. 

I'm not very artistic and failed to pick up icing on my trip to Asda so mine are bare and boring but taste just as good. I swear! I hope you all enjoy making these delicious treats! 

P.s. They go great with a mug of chai tea latte or your favourite coffee based drinks!



  • Chloe 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

december music picks


I'm writing this at midnight, wide awake and plugged into my headphones. Music is a major part of my life, whether I'm feeling happy, sad or angry, there's a playlist perfect for my mood. Spotify has definitely made my life a lot easier, nearly any song I could possibly imagine at the click of a button. Discovering new artists is one of my favourite aspects of the streaming app. At the click of a button you can explore similar tracks to the one you've so greatly enjoyed. This is how I've spent my evening. Listening to track after track trying to find my latest favourite track. 

If you like RHODES try giving Matt Wills a listen. In particular his song "Ellie Grab Your Gun". Wills gives the same sort of indie vibe that RHODES does, just a little softer. Not to be biased or anything but he also has a track called "Chloé" and its so beautiful and not because I share my name with it. Just saying that this guys voice is absolutely captivating. I am so in love with him right now. 

Fan of Tom Odell, George Ezra or Ed Sheeran? Give Jamie Lawson a listen. His songs are heartbreakingly beautiful and perfect if you're looking for an easy listen. And if you're like me you'll be able to relate to his music so easily, it's almost scary. It's easy just to close your eyes and enjoy the lyrics. 

Do you enjoy music from the likes of Ben Howard and Gabrielle Aplin? Well Lewis Watson is the man for you. To me, Watson isn't a new discovery but a long time favourite. His debut album was released a year ago and it's nothing short of perfect. He's a lovely man singing about lovely things. My favourite song of his is "Stones Around the Sun".

All the artists mentioned are available in the playlist below! 


Chloe

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

festive films favourites


As I mentioned in my previous post, I absolutely adore Christmas. It's definitely my favourite time of year, so how better to celebrate the holidays than with festive films! If you're like me and love Christmas I'm sure you have a list of your favourite festive movies and you watch them every single year right? Of course you do! So here's my list of movies that I watch every single Christmas! 

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) - This has got to be all time favourite Christmas movie. I love the Muppets at the best of times but even more so during the festive period. There's just something about these fellas that make me ever so happy. It's also my favourite adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Maybe because the Muppets make it more fun and musical? I'm not sure I just love it. 

Miracle on 34th Street (1994) - I've watched this every Christmas for as long as I can remember. It's such a heart warming film and I cry every single time I watch it. I loved Mara Wilson when I was younger and I think she captures the role of Susan so well. 100% wish that Santa was real. Richard Attenborough will always be my favourite portrayal of Santa.  

Home Alone (1990) - It seems to be a tradition for everyone to watch this every year. Let's be honest though, it's a terrible movie. But I guess that's what makes it so good? I recently watched a video on YouTube which diagnoses all the injuries that Harry and Marv suffered from which made watching the film even funnier because there's no way the pair would have survived all of these pains! You can watch the video here


The Santa Claus (1994) - Tim Allen is my second favourite Santa. Imagine your dad became Santa Claus??? Amazing right!? This film actually makes me slightly angry and upset, and Neil is my least favourite character ever until he realises that Charlie was telling the truth about his dad being Santa. Also wish that Bernard was my best friend because that is one seriously cool dude! 

Jack Frost (1998) - Another one that makes me cry like a baby. I used to watch this film all the time as a child and it never effected me in the way it does today. Why would they make a Christmas film so sad and soul destroying?!?!?! Of course I love it because it's a really beautiful way of telling the story but oh how my heart hurts after watching it.

Elf (2003) - Son of a Nutcracker! Did you think I wouldn't mention this? Saved the best for last didn't I? Will Ferrell's portrayal of Buddy the Elf is one of the greatest things I've ever seen. This film just makes me so jolly and it doesn't matter how many times I watch it, I still laugh my head off at it. In fact I'm off to go watch it right now!

All in all, it seems that I'm a bit of a crybaby when it comes to watching festive films. I just get so overwhelmed #lame. I hope you all are having a lovely week! 

Chloe

Monday, 7 December 2015

christmas time


It's that time of year again where I really want to get back into blogging because of all the Christmas posts that are going about the blogosphere. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, it's just so jolly and it makes me happy. I love giving my friends and family thoughtful gifts and cards and just spending time with my family. It's the one time of the year where I can forget about work and uni and just have a good time with everyone that I love. I really just wanted to check in with you all and let you know that I'm still alive even though posts have been super scarce this year, I have no idea how people find the time to blog when they have jobs and uni. It amazes me! Anyway I hope you all have a fab christmas and hopefully I'll find my mojo and be back soon.

Chloe

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

albums i've been listening to lately


So after receiving my last SAAS payment before the summer began, I decided that it was time to get rid of all the services I subscribed to: Netflix, magazines, you get the gist. But one luxury I needed to keep was Spotify premium (£9.99 a month or £4.99 a month for students). Like I've said before, I'm a huge music fan and having nearly all of the music in the world at the press of a button has always been a necessity to me. So here's some album's that I've been listening to a lot recently: 

PVRIS / WHITE NOISE - PVRIS (pronounced Paris) are an American rock band, who to me are a bit like a newer hipper version of Paramore - don't get me wrong I love Paramore loads, if not more than my new found love for PVRIS. But something tells me that they're going to be big! Although the album doesn't have a very happy happy vibe to it, it's totally rocky and takes me back to my younger teen years when all I listened to was Paramore, You Me At Six and Fall Out Boy constantly on repeat. That's probably why I love it so much.   Fave Track from the album: Holy 

PORTER ROBINSON / WORLDS - We're not even a month into Summer and I think I've already found my summer album. This album has such a happy summery vibe and some of the tracks sound a bit like the 8-bit tracks on old gameboy games, which make me feel so nostalgic. I just love the fact that it has such a chilled out feel to it, it's an unusual bliss for me. Fave Track from the album: Sad Machine

TAYLOR SWIFT / 1989 - Who doesn't love a bit of Swifty, am I right? In all honestly, I go through periods of just listening to her music, a lot more often than I should probably admit to. Is it weird that I find her music so relatable? It's definitely the album I always play in the car when I'm back home and going for drives with the gramps. My grandad loves the album too, so it just makes it all the more special. Fave Track from the album: Bad Blood


Chloe


Friday, 22 May 2015

summer bloggin' had me a blast


Hey guys,

I know I know, it's been 4 months since I last posted anything on here. I also know that I keep making terrible excuses for why I've been neglecting the blog but I swear they're genuine. I've been so busy with coursework, then exams and then moving to a new flat again! The past few months have been hectic but I've FINALLY finished my first year of uni (although I'm still waiting to find out if I've actually passed) and I have way too much time on my hands whilst I try to find myself a wee job for the summer.

From now on I'm going to try be efficient and try post at least once a week. It'll probably be mainly book reviews / posts about my latest summer adventures (I'm finally going to take time to discover and find quirky new places in Dundee to tell you guys about!).

Hopefully all you lovely readers can forgive me for my lack of posts this year! I'm really trying my hardest to get the blog back up and running!

Chloe

Thursday, 29 January 2015

MIA again!

So it's happening again, it seems that every time I go back to uni and have a tonne of work to do, I lose the time and motivation to blog. As much as I love to do it, it's just so difficult to fit it in around everything else that I have to do this semester. But if every week is as productive as this one, hopefully I'll find the time to post at least once a week. Today I'll just do a quick round up of the past few weeks that I've been missing since not a lot's gone on at all. 


Since Christmas I've been rekindling my love for Soap & Glory's The Righteous Butter, I just can't get enough of it's scent and the effect that it has on my, normally dry, skin. I've definitely seen an improvement in my skin since I started using it again, it's definitely a keeper. I've also been rekindling my love for boybands, my excuse being their music totally helps me study *yeah right*. I started reading Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham before I came back to uni, but much like everyelse, I just haven't had the time to finish it. Hopefully when I go home for my birthday I'll have the opportunity to get through the rest of the book before I return! 

Last week me and 2 of my previous flatmates moved into a new flat becauee we weren't getting on with the rest of our flatmates too well. I definitely love this flat, it's so much more homely and much closer to town as well, which means I don't have to get up so early in the morning for uni, what a bonus eh?? I wish we could stay here for the rest of our time at uni? It's perfect! Also last week my grandparents and I went to Cask & Cork for food for the first time, and they didn't disappoint! Their portions are so large for such a small amount of money and I love that. If any of you are in Dundee any time soon I definitely recommend going here and picking up a Smoky Austrian burger, it's to do for! You should probably switch your normal fries for sweet potato ones too, they are amazing! 

As you can see I haven't really been posting on Instagram either, I just can't find the time to do anything but uni work, unless it's watching Pretty Little Liars of course ;). 

Chloe

Monday, 5 January 2015

health kicking it


So it's officially the first day of my health kick and I'm feeling pretty good about it, I was supposed to start at the weekend, to ease myself into it but I had a few slip ups - chocolate and haribo's really aren't my friend when I'm trying to cut down on my food intake. So I thought I'd write this post to share information with anybody that's also trying to have a healthy start to the New Year. I've been scouring the internet - mainly pinterest to find some helpful recipes, motivational posts and helpful tips for losing weight and getting healthy. Not just to help myself, but to help anybody that's in the same boat as I am. 

Eating/Recipes
Healthy eating can be really difficult, especially if you're not sure what to eat. I've decided to cut a few hundred calories out of my diet, I'm not going to attempt to do some crazy juice diet or atkins diet. I'm just going to lower my calorie intake and exercise as well as cutting out as much sugar as possible, hopefully this will have the result that I am looking for. It worked the last time, unfortunately I put on the 2 stone I lost in a matter of months due to having so much freedom when I moved out. Here are some recipes/tips that I found on Pinterest which I've found helpful! 


You can also follow my "health kicking it" board on Pinterest for more! It doesn't have an awful lot on it just yet but I'll be building it up as my journey to healthiness continues!

Workout Songs 
I know how hard it is to motivate yourself to exercise, especially as I avoid it as much as possible. But I also know that it's essential to have a perfect workout playlist. I honestly can't work out if I don't have the perfect soundtrack - I always get distracted if there's a song I don't like on it. Here are some songs on my workout playlist this year: 

Fergalicious / Fergie
Lovers on the Sun / David Guetta ft Sam Martin
Dance Dance / Fall Out Boy
The Best Thing (That Never Happened) / We Are The In Crowd
Hold On / Twin Atlantic
The Other Side / Jason Derulo

Do you have any health/fitness tips? Share them with me in the comments! 

Chloe 

duolingo: learn a language the easy way

As part of my wishes to travel around the world, I thought it fitting to try to learn a new language. Obviously English is my native language and I can speak basic French, but I decided it was time to learn some basic Spanish, especially as it's the second most spoken language in the world.

Having previously used the Duolingo app to brush up on my French, I figured it was my best option for learning Spanish - it's simple to use, it's free and it really does help. The way it works is that there are about 3 categories and you start with the absolute basics and work your way through the other categories, some of these include: phrases, food, animals, clothing, questions and objects. But it also covers the more important things like adjectives, plurals, adverbs and participles. Every category features 3 or 4 lessons in which you learn new words, phrases etc. After completing all lessons, if you haven't already, you're given the chance to perfect the words you've learned and "master the skill". I found this to be very helpful as it really drills the vocabulary into your head, something I had trouble with whilst learning French at school.

 Another perk of this app is that every so often, after completing about 7 categories, you're given the opportunity to test yourself on everything you've learnt so far, thus letting you know if you're improving. Obviously, as I've just started using the app, I can't tell if it's going to help me to become fluent in Spanish, but I know at the very least I'll be able to have conversations with locals, order food and make sense of the language itself.

Have any of you tried out this app? How did you find it?

Chloe 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

fizzbanger bath bomb


 As I've said plenty of times before, I love Lush is a great love of mine. I love the way their products seduce my skin and leave it all lovely and soft, I love the scents, heck I even love how they look. I'm definitely making the most of my bath before I head back up to Dundee on Friday. Today's lovely bathbomb choice is Fizzbanger: one of my favourites. Whenever I use it, it reminds me of one of my favourite childhood books, The BFG by Roald Dahl! 

This product smells really citrussy but you can also smell a hint of apple along with it. It always features ylang ylang oil, which is very often used in Lush's products. The main ingredient is Petitgrain, this is often used as a means of relieving anxiety and gives off a sense of calmness. One of my favourite things about this bath bomb is that it also has popping candy throughout it, meaning that it fizzes and pops away in the bath tub, and definitely lives up to its name. Fizzbanger is a yellow bomb with a blue centre that spirals around in the water and leaves a beautiful pattern. The second picture really doesn't do the colours justice at all, it really is simply beautiful. It's definitely one to pick up if you love Lush's So White - which is a Christmas exclusive - as it has a hint of the apple scent which So White is so well known for. 

Chloe

my week in pictures #2


So it's been another pretty chilled out week for me, I'm making the most of all this free time before I head back to uni in a week. I can't believe it's January already, I had a lovely New Year - I spent it with my family watching cheesy Disney movies (Lemonade Mouth - remember that?!) and drinking Midouri Cranberry's! I reviewed Lush's Think Pink bathbomb which you can read about here. I also got a new blog design, which I'm totally in love with! I also finished reading  Zoe Sugg's debut novel, which you can read about here! In addition to this I finally finished watching Gossip Girl, I was completely underwhelmed by the last episode, I absolutely certain I knew who Gossip Girl was and I was right! I decided to start watching Pretty Little Liars too, as it's now available on UK Netflix! 

What have you guys been up to this week? 

Chloe 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

january wish list



top: notebook / t-shirt / bag

January is a time for fresh starts and do-overs, mess something up last year? now's the time to fix it. So here's some thing's I'd love to have which I meant to buy last year but on a student budget, it's hardly easy to pick up everything I want. Hopefully I'll be able to pick at least a few of these up soon! 

Chloe 

girl online / zoe sugg



This is just going to be a brief look at Girl Online. I've scheduled this post as I'm writing it at 12:30am because I just couldn't wait until the morning. I also don't want to spoil it for people who're dying to read it! Like the majority of bloggers, I've been a follower of Zoe's (Zoella) blog and Youtube Channel for a good few years now and also as a lover of books also I found it to be fate the her debut book was available for a steal price of £1.95 on the Kindle Book Store whilst I was browsing for a new book to read.

 After all the speculation about Zoe not writing the book solely herself, but with help from a ghost writer, I got a little annoyed - as I'm pretty sure Zoe made it clear from the start that she was having help from the publishers to write it. I can't imagine how stressful her life must be already between running her blog and Youtube accounts along with attending meetings and going to Youtube related events/conventions, never mind throwing a debut novel into the mix. However I did understand where these "haters" were coming from, after all none of us really know how much of the book was written by Zoe, herself. Of course there are some parts of the book that were so obviously written by her, you can tell by the style of writing and can feel her personality shining through! Nonetheless, I didn't particularly care about who wrote the book, I just wanted to know how it'd turned out, what the writing style was and more importantly what happened! 

After reading the first few chapters I didn't think I was going to enjoy it at all, it started off really slow and I guess I thought it was a bit boring. I honestly thought it was going to be a book about a girl who started a blog to avoid facing the problems in the real world, how naïve of me - especially since that was initially the reason I started blogging, to find somewhere to express myself away from the outside world. I truly started enjoying it at about chapter 12, when Penny and her best friend Elliot, along with Penny's parents, embarked upon their journey to New York City for a work engagement. I think the setting of these chapters really increased my hopes for the book - ever since I started watching Gossip Girl, I've been obsessed with the city. Another perk of the city was that Penny was introduced to a cute boy, obviously I couldn't stop reading there, it sounded like a budding romance and I have a major soft spot for romances in books, they make me swoon. The introduction of Noah made me want to read more and find out what happened between him and Penny, something that I'm not willing to tell you, you'll need to read it to find out - all I can say is that there's a major twist and I was super shocked! 

 I'm not going to lie, the storyline was totally cringeworthy but I loved it. I may even have cried a little at the ending, which I really didn't expect. It's not my favourite book ever written, but it's not bad for a debut. I'd definitely recommend that you read this if you've read and loved Rainbow Rowell's "Fangirl"!

Chloe

Friday, 2 January 2015

january spending ban


As part of my New Year's resolutions, I've vowed to stop spending as much money and start saving! This might help me to use up a lot of the products I've got lying around my room both at uni and back at home. I'm always buying things that I don't necessarily need like lunch from tesco (I can make my own at home) or make-up that I definitely don't need. So from now on I'll only be spending money on things that I absolutely need, the essentials such as: food, shampoo/conditioner/make-up but only when I run out of the stuff I already own. My plan is to get rid of a lot of things that could probably be considered as clutter because they just sit on the shelf because I'm constantly buying. 

I'm actually going to be using the money that I save to put into a jar so I can save up to do some travelling at some point, but more on that in another post! I know people usually do this sort of thing as part of "Frugal February" but since my birthday is then I tend to spend way more than necessary! Wish me luck on my spending ban, god knows I'm going to need it! 

Chloe 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

twenty fifteen



HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS! 
 It's officially 2015 and I really can't believe that 2014 is over already! Didn't last year just fly by and I expect this year will be the same? 2014 was pretty good to me, of course it had its ups and downs but it was a mainly positive year. I got into university, which was a major achievement after dropping out of school at 15. I've made a lot of really amazing friends through moving to Dundee, and I really can't imagine my life without them now. 

I'm really hoping that 2015 will treat me as well as 2014 did. 2015 is going to be a year of weight loss, getting healthy, staying happy and generally just finding and focussing on myself, I've spent so many years putting others before myself and, from past experience, no good has ever come of it, it's finally time to put myself first for a while and concentrate on my studies, health and wellbeing and well just being myself. 

I really hope you all have a good new year! 

Chloe