Monday, 15 December 2014

Happiness Project- 5 Happy Things

The festive period is well and truly here. It really is beginning to look a LOT like Christmas. I am actually writing this post, surrounded by wrapping paper and listening to my Xmas 2014 playlist on spotify.

With that in mind, the majority of my list comprises of Christmas based happiness, so if you are a bit of a grinch, please don't complain! 'Tis the season to be jolly after all!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Happiness Project- 5 Happy Things

Confidence Tips From The Self-Help Experts | How do you develop unshakeable self-confidence? Read the self-confidence tips from the top self-help experts.

This past week has been one of the best in a long time. Free from the worry of deadlines and presentations, I was able to relax and enjoy myself, exploring a bit of Liverpool at the same time! Here are five things that have made me happy this past week:

1. Opening the first door of my Disney Frozen advent calendar! This year I have turned into a big kid again in regards to Christmas, and was super excited for the 1st December to roll around.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Happiness Project- 5 Happy Things

As I mentioned in last weeks happiness post, it has been a stressful few weeks. I have had an onslaught of essay deadlines and assessed presentations, so haven't spent much time enjoying myself! 
However, as promised, I have managed to find 5 things which have made me happy this past week (okay, mainly the weekend when all my deadlines had passed!);

1. Last Tuesday the official countdown to Christmas could begin, as the date was the 25th November, a month till Christmas!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Happiness Project- 5 Happy Things

This week is proving to be a busy and stressful one, with three deadlines all looming this week, I've been in a state of worry almost constantly, and it's only Tuesday!

So what better time to take a quick study break to reflect on 5 things which have made me happy in the past week:

1. After spending days slogging over my books in the library, I handed in my first piece of assessed written work of final year. Submitting work is always such a great feeling. Even though you have no idea how you've done, it feels like handing the baton on over and saying 'Here you go, I've done my hardest, now it's all up to you!'

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Happiness Project- Things Which Have Made Me Happy This Week

You're never fully dressed without a smile.

I've been thinking about happiness, and what makes me happy, a lot recently.
Due to this, and on the recommendation of a few people, I've decided to start writing a weekly happiness post. Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers weekly '10 things that've made me happy this week' post, I'm going to write a post with 5 things which have made me smile, giggle and generally appreciate life in the past week. Some of things will be small, some will be bigger, but they will all have the shared quality of inducing happiness.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Sefton Park Bonfire Night

"Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."

Bonfire night is my second favourite holiday, after Christmas of course. It is the time of year when you really know autumn has hit us, and winter is well on its way. Everyone gathers together in the crowd, warming our fingers with mulled wine and gazing in to the sky in anticipation. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Real Food Market at Southbank Centre

London is a dream world for foodies. Being such a multicultural city, London boasts pretty much every cuisine in the world, tightly crammed into the bustling streets of the city. 

If you want a proper foodie venture, a real food market is the place to go.

James and I hotfooted down to Southbank on Friday, where the Real Food Market had been set up, right by the river. 

The market is a showcase of 40 stalls of producers, celebrating and supporting local businesses and start-ups. Our research had promised us the very best of fresh food and the most creative vendors on the street food scene, and we were far from disappointed.

I know you are all dying to sample the best of street food, so let's delve in!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Easy Everyday Granola

Granola is the holy grail of breakfast foods. Healthy, filling and speedy, it makes for a super breakfast to keep you going through the long morning ahead. 

However, many shop bought granolas are high in sugar and have many unnecessary added ingredients, therefore a home made granola is the perfect answer. You can control what goes in, swap and change to suit any allergy requirements or food preferences (gluten free oats in place of  regular oats etc).

As a student, cooking and baking on a budget takes priority. Many recipes I found online for home made granolas listed a number of obscure and expensive ingredients, therefore I adapted a few recipes to create a budget friendly, healthy, everyday granola. The main inspiration for my recipe is from Elizabeth Rider.

Raw Salsa

I am a huge fan salsa. A big dollop of chunky fiery salsa goes with almost anything. So, yesterday, I threw together a raw salsa from store cupboard ready ingredients. 

My recipe is an adaptation of this one from the Hairy Bikers, whose Asian adventure I have been enjoying the last few nights on BBC2!

Salsa is such a versatile dish, you can dip corn chips in it, use it to top burgers or as a relish for your salad, the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Burghley House Film Festival

Burghley House, a beautiful Elizabethan stately home near Stamford, is one of the gems of the East Midlands. I am a bit of an OAP in my love for visiting stately homes, and Burghley is no exception. 

It was just my then luck when, last week, Burghley House hosted their annual film festival. Burghley host the festival every summer, but this is the first time my friends and I have been.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Taste of Greece- Ultimate Summer Salad

Watermelons are one of the ultimate summer foods. Refreshing, cool and sweet, they always remind me of summer al fresco dining, and holidays on the beach in the scorching sun.

Although usually eaten alone or alongside other fruits in a summer fruit salad, watermelon also goes great as a savoury side, or light summer dinner. This watermelon salad is taken from an old Good Food magazine, and is so easy to create, it can be knocked up in a number of minutes.

Friday, 25 July 2014

No Bake Snicker Energy Bites

I love baking. But I tell you what I love more, making a delicious healthy bake-style snack without any baking involved. 

Introducing my no bake energy bites. 

Chocolatey and nutty, these little bites of deliciousness have got just what you need for a 11am or 4pm snack fix. Step away from the chocolate bar, this is the new go to snack. And whats better, they couldn't be easier to make!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Healthy Banana & Date Loaf

Ah, Sunday mornings. Unless I've been out the night before, this is the time of the week I feel the most refreshed, relaxed and content. As I start my new job tomorrow (nervous pervous!), I thought I would relax and do some baking and food prep for the week ahead. 

I started off with a healthy banana and date loaf as we had some over ripe bananas which needed using up, and what better way to use these delightful fruits than in a healthy loaf. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Czeching out Prague

After a largely poor night sleep due to sharing a dorm with a snorer, one of the major downsides of hostels, we headed out for another tour with the Sandeman's free tour company. 
The best way to get around Prague is through buying a 24 hour ticket which allows you use of all trams and buses within the city once validated when you get on the first leg of your journey.

Dinner by the Vltava, Prague

After a long journey from Berlin to Prague, we were glad to surface from the train carriage in to the basking sun light of the Czech capital. 

We hopped on to a tram towards our hostel, Plus Prague. We were very impressed with the hostel, the friendly staff and spacious rooms made us feel welcome, and after showering and a browse around we headed in to the city centre. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

For The Love of Hummus

Hummus is one of those foods I don't think I could live without. The type of food that if I were stuck on a deserted island I would crave, long for and cry myself to sleep thinking about. Okay, I may be slightly over exaggerating, but you get the idea.

Despite this enormous love, I have never made my own. Until today. Molly and I decided to have a go, and I don't think we will ever look back!

We followed this BBC recipe roughly.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

East Side Gallery

As mentioned in my previous post, we visited the East Side Gallery, an exhibition of some of the most famous street art work in Germany, and possibly the world.

I think the art speaks for itself, so this is a rather photo heavy post, with lots of snaps of mine and my travel buddies favourite pieces of street art. 

Sandemans Walking Tour, Berlin

After a not brilliant night sleep, we awakened weary but excited to explore Berlin. 
Last time when Molly and I visited Berlin we discovered the Sandemans New Europe walking tour company. We found the company brilliant, with friendly and informative guides who were animated and possibly more excited than the tourists about sharing the cities which they live in. The tours are in English, but are also offered in Spanish!

We headed for the U-bahn line to the Brandenburg Gate and waited for the tour to begin, quietly surveying the cloudy sky and praying the heavens didn't open. They did.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Kebap's in Beerlin

After a tough year at University, I, along with three of the greatest people, departed the UK for a fortnight of frolicking around Europe.

Molly, James, Huw and I embarked on an interrail adventure, starting in Berlin, Germany. We boarded our Ryan Air flight from Stanstead to Berlin, arriving in to a calm and crisp German evening.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Come Dine With Me Dinner

Come Dine With Me is one of my guilty pleasures. Molly, James and I decided to have a crack at our own version. We decided to do it all in one, a course each. James chose the starter, Molly the main and I did the pudding.

We set the table, made name cards, menus and even score sheets!

Moroccan Feasting

One of the best things about being home for the holidays is catching up with your loved ones. Family and friends are two of the major contributors to my happiness, and spending quality time with them is fundamentally important to me.

So I was more than delighted when one of my closest friends Bex invited the girls over for a dinner party. Recently returned from Marrakesh, Bex had promised us a Moroccan themed night of fun, food and fantastic company (if we say so ourselves). Armed with a bottle, or two, Molly and I headed over to Bex's rural abode.

Greeted by our glowing hostess and a house filled with the delicious aroma of North African cuisine, we poured our first glass and got chatting.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

West Country Baking

The only thing better than baking is baking with old family recipes. Due to it being the Easter holidays, my sisters and I were back together again. My Auntie, and avid baker, DD invited us over for a girly day of baking West Country recipes. Our Great Grandma Kitty lived in Devon, also a tip top baker, and passed on some of her recipes down to my Auntie. Everyone in our family holds fond memories of Grandma Kitty's baking, the smell used to waft through her house, and apparently hardly a day went by when she was cooking up something in her little kitchen. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easy Peasy Carrot & Cinnamon Cupcakes

The smell of freshly baked cupcakes is just heavenly. Add carrot and cinnamon and you've got an aroma made in heaven! 

Now I am the first to admit, I am not the greatest baker. I have had more than one bake related disaster, which I won't detail as to not embarrass myself! Therefore, I can confirm these are the easiest cupcakes ever to make, even for the biggest beginner in the baking game. I have made them several times, and never had any disasters or issues at all.

The recipe is actually adapted from a tesco recipe, which is aimed at getting youngsters baking, that's why it is so easy! Don't be put off by the 'for kids' label, have you seen what those junior GBBO contestants can do?!

However, with it being the easter holidays this is the perfect recipe for keeping those little fingers busy, and they have the hidden benefit of a few veggies!

To make 6 large, or 9 medium cupcakes you will need;

125g carrots
100g caster sugar
75g margarine
100g plain flour
5ml cinnamon (about a tsp)
5ml baking powder (about a tsp)
1 large egg
60g sultanas

I adapted the recipe slightly, adding a little cream cheese frosting on top which you will need icing sugar, cream cheese and cinnamon for. I also topped them with 'cinnamon apple' pieces by Whitworths, available at Asda.

First things first, pre heat the oven to 180 degrees (Fan). 

Assign the strongest person, or the most patient, to grate the carrots into a large bowl.

Add the sugar and margarine to the bowl, and mix it all together.

Sift in the flour, add the cinnamon and baking powder and keep on mixing (arm aching yet?!)

Whisk the egg in a separate bowl, then add it to the cake mixture along with the sultanas, and you got it, keep on mixing.

Now for the messy part, divide the mixture equally between your cupcake cases.

Place them on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden on top.

Whilst they bake away, make up the cream cheese frosting. Tip the cream cheese in to a bowl, and slowly add the icing sugar, continuously mixing until you get the correct texture. Add a teaspoon or two of cinnamon, depending on taste.

Refrigerate the frosting to allow it to harden.

Remove those baking hot goods from the oven, carefully remove from the tray and allow to cool.

You can either leave them as they are, or decorate with the frosting and any goodies you wish.

Enjoy, and remember, every expert was once a beginner.


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Egg Cafe

After a morning meeting some of the finest creative types Liverpool has to offer at the Artisans event at the Palm House, all the browsing had worked up an appetite. 

My mum suggested we tried out the egg cafe, a vegetarian cafe which we had discussed before & which she had been doing a bit of internet research on. Neither of us are vegetarians, however, we both appreciate veggie food and I opt to eat meat free the majority of the time. I have recently discovered there is a term for someone like myself, a 'flexitarian', one who eats meat but prefers vegetarian food as a matter of taste and health!

After a wander down Bold Street, we finally managed to locate the hidden gem just off the bustle of the main street. The purple doorway was a dead giveaway, and we ascended the stairs towards the self confessed 'hide away from meat eaters'.

Located in an old Victorian warehouse building, the Egg cafe has a bohemian and simple feel, with a panoramic view of Liverpool to enjoy.

The relaxed atmosphere is echoed as you queue to order before finding a table and waiting with a little number for your order to be called. The menu consists of a number of vegetarian delights, including specials and a soup of the day.

I opted for the spicy bean burger, a firm favourite of mine on Meat Free Mondays (check out my own recipe here). It was served with a loving dollop of relish and generous portions of a variety of salads.

My mum went for the cheese on toast, which has been hailed as some of the best in Liverpool.

The food is simple, natural and healthy, and perfectly fits with the bohemian relaxed atmosphere. I highly recommend the Egg cafe for any vegetarians, vegans or even meat eaters who fancy something a little simpler and healthier!