Sweetcorn Chowder.

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*This post contains gifted items from Indigo Herbs however the words, pictures and opinions are all completely honest and mine*

Hello! I love soup. This isn’t how I start all conversations, but maybe it should be from now on..? But going back to my first point I really do love soup it’s probably one of my favourite things to cook if you can call throwing a load of veggies and spices into a big old pot and letting it simmer for a few hours before blending. Like howwwwww is this cooking?! Why when there are so many wonderful soups available to make is Gordon Ramsay so angry and stressed all the time when he can just throw some leeks and potatoes in a pot and put it on the heat and chillllllllll.

So I made a sweetcorn and apricot kernel butter chowder and it was just as fancy and delicious as it sounds. This was the second time in my life I had ever had sweetcorn chowder, the first time was when I was a lot younger and was on my lunch break and stumbled into a little cafe from the wintry rain. FYI I didn’t literally stumble, which is shocking given how clumsy I actually am.

I didn’t remember whether it was just because it was a cold, wet November day that the piping hot soup and thick crusty bread tasted so good or because it was genuinely really nice. But nevertheless I decided to retry this and make it for myself and my family.

This recipe is super simple and could feed a whole village (as long as the village had no more than 10). I like to double up on recipes like this in case someone wants seconds or even to have for a quick lunch the following day

I used:

  • 1kg frozen sweetcorn kernels. Tinned or fresh is also fab.
  • 1 large white onion finely diced.
  • 2 celery sticks finely chopped and diced.
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic.
  • 500g waxy potatoes. It was roughly about 3 medium sized potatoes if that’s any help!
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of apricot kernel butter. I used this one from Indigo Herbs which is very smooth and creamy.
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  •  800ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tin of coconut milk.

Start off by putting the chopped onion, celery, garlic into a pot on the heat with a glug of oil for a few minutes letting it sweat off til it softens and goes a delicate golden colour.

From there add in the vegetable stock, coconut milk, salt and pepper, turmeric and the washed, peeled potatoes on a high heat Stirring it for a few minutes. The added coconut milk helps give it a rich sweetness but if you would rather not use this you could use regular cream, milk or leave it out altogether. Similarly this and the potatoes thicken up the whole soup.

Pour most of the sweetcorn into the pot but leave a generous handful behind. Leave that to simmer for about 30 minutes and using an immersion blender, blend until it’s smooth.

Adding in the Apricot kernel butter and the remaining corn kernels, stir and serve whilst still hot. By adding in the Apricot kernel butter it gives the soup a nutty savoury flavour as it can be quite sweet with all the coconut milk and corn it evens the whole thing out.

Perfect on a stormy evening in front of telly with a good series on if you ask me.

 

Making Homemade Granola.

*This post contains gifted items from Indigo Herbs. However all the thoughts, opinions, pictures and words are all entirely mine*

Have you ever wanted to be one of those people that have it all? Y’know you see them out and about with their perfectly immaculate ironed clothes, not a single baby hair out of place and you can just kinda tell they have their proverbial poop together. Like they probably shop solely in Karen Millen, Waitrose and Wholefoods, have a diary they actually stick to and probably make everything from scratch, even their breakfast cereals. Are you thinking about Bree Van Der Kampf too cos same!?

Anyway fear not my internet pals I am going to teach you a a simple way to have it all. Well to make your own breakfasty foods that is. Sorry I can’t guarantee you’ll suddenly become super organised overnight. The Granola is good but unfortunately as much as I’ve consumed; it’s not magic.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and what better way to start than with something you’ve spent the time (not very long at all if you ask me) lovingly creating to enjoy on a bitterly cold Monday Morning before work.

Granola is like a leveled up cereal to me. It’s a bit fancy it’s a bit adult and something that I’ve never actually tried to make before. Opting to buy a bag or a box of it in shops and then feeling a bit moany when I’m eating it as it’s either too crunchy or not crunchy enough, not enough extra bits or a bit lacking in something. Talk about the modern day Goldilocks! Once you’ve mastered the basics you can pretty much jazz this up any which way you like to suit your personal tastes or for someone else’s if you’re giving this as a gift or bargaining tool.

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So to start with you need a base for this awesome granola. I used 300g of jumbo oats. I love oats especially the big chunky ones that have a coarse nuttiness to them. You could use a gluten free oat, the smaller types, a mixture of oats, puffed rice or millet or spelt flakes. It’s entirely up to you.

So in a bowl I’ve got the oats, to that I added in 3 tablespoons of dark agave nectar. I like this as it’s totally vegan, rich like treacle and so sweet too. But if you prefer you could use honey, golden syrup or maple syrup. I added in a teaspoon of vanilla extract (have you noticed I’ve got a sweet tooth…???) but you could omit that or add different essences you can get loads from almond, gingerbread, orange or coconut) You’ll find these in cookery shops, online and in supermarket home baking aisles. Equally you could use the actual spice itself like ground ginger or ginger finely sliced into the mix, coconut flakes or dessicated coconut. Honestly homemade is so personable and versatile.

Adding in 2 large heaped tablespoons of Indigo Herbs raw Almond Butter (find it just here) to give it that sweet yet savoury flavour and really bringing the whole thing together.

After stirring it all through, I then added in the rest of the ingredients. I used 50g almonds, 50g cashews, 50g roasted macadamia nuts, 25g sunflower seeds, 25g pecans. Roughly chopping some and leaving some others a whole to give the granola a bit of added texture. I stirred them in until fully combined.

Then pour onto a ready prepared baking sheet, making sure it’s all laying out flat to bake each bit perfectly.

Bake in the oven at 150C/fan 130C/gas 2 for about 15 minutes until golden brown. I personally prefer the crunchy taste of a cooked nut but if that’s not for you, you could always add them once the oats have fully cooked.

Once cooled store in an airtight container and it will last for up to a month (that’s if you haven’t nibbled it all before that) it’s perfect with your choice of milk or yogurt, my personal favourite is with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a splodge of honey. YUM.

As someone who would often purchase granola and probably wouldn’t have even considered making my own I was so shocked at just how easy this was! I would encourage all you breakfast lovers out there to go and try your hand at making some yourself!

 

Nut & seed butter alternatives // Indigo Herbs *

 

Hiya! I hope you’re all well! I’m very excited to be sharing with you today the first of many posts I’ve written alongside a company called Indigo Herbs. Indigo Herbs is a health food company from one of my favourite places in the UK, set in the heart of Glastonbury in Somerset (if you’ve never visited, you definitely have to at least once! It’s the most unique town) They stock a wide range of organic Superfoods, high quality herbal powders, aromatherapy oils and Herbal Teas to name just a few. As someone who’s interested in health food and general health and well-being, I really love how informative their page is AND how great their prices are! It’s easy to spend a small fortune on health foods and as someone who used to work in a health food shop I know that before you know it you need a bank loan on just stocking up on good quality basic ingredients!

As I’m so passionate about wholefoods and health foods I was really happy to be able to work alongside Indigo Herbs and try out their range of nut and seed butters and share a whole host of different, easy recipes that literally anyone could do. I’m not the world’s greatest cook or baker but I really enjoy creating bakes in the kitchen (as long as it doesn’t take too long to clear up after as well) I love peanut butter I eat it with slices of apple, sandwiches, on toast, added into sauces or curries, mixed with porridge or brownie mixes or even straight from the jar with a big old spoon. Drooling at the thought I won’t lie. So I was super excited to be able to try this whole range; as a lot of it I hadn’t ever tried or used before. Plus I really LOVE the fact that their butters are all organic and raw so they’re still packed full of all the proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients and hasn’t been heat treated or lost in the process of making of them.

indigo herbs nut butter

So first of I’m going to start with the nut butters. I’ve tried almond butter before in the past but I’ve never had walnut butter or hazelnut butter.

Almond Butter:

Probably my favourite apart from the OG peanut butter. It’s rich, thick and creamy but not too sweet. High in Vitamin E, B Vits it’s a great source of dietary fibre and protein plus tastes great swirled through some brownies, banana bread or on a rice cake for a perfect afternoon snack.

Walnut Butter:

I had never tried (heard of) Walnut Butter until I tried this and I was actually really pleasantly surprised! I really like the taste of walnuts anyway I know some people find them quite bitter or like they kind of metallic/rancid taste to some of them which puts a lot of people off. I’ve found that the Lidl own brand ones are really nice and creamy tasting if the bitter taste you often can get puts you off! Nevertheless I was kinda expecting the familiar savouriness but it was creamy to start and had that bitter nut butter finish. Spread it generously on some toast and top with some berries and a drizzle of honey for a perfect, quick and different breakfast.

Hazelnut Butter:

If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me this’ll certainly be up your alley. It’s nice and sweet and speckled with those lush hazelnutty grains. Adding it to already chocolatey recipes like a breakfast cacao smoothie will be like you’re drinking a fresh glass of nutella in the morning. YUM.

Moving on from Nut Butters to their fellow seed butter pals (was I the only one who didn’t actually know this was a thing???) Maybe I just have my heads in the clouds but I didn’t realise what you could do with seeds other than sprinkle them on the top of some meals and bakes. But I’ve really enjoyed trying these, adding them to things I’ve baked or cooked and actually broadening my tastebuds.

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White Sesame Tahini:

This is deliciously creamy and is basically just milled sesame seeds until it forms a paste. You can add it to soups, as a salad dressing or if you’re as addicted to Hummus as I am this is a great tahini to use and it’s so simple to make. Just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and oil, absolutely incredible if I do say so myself.

Black Sesame Tahini:

Just the same as white tahini but made with black sesame seeds. It’s rich in taste and in colour with a gorgeously glossy black shine to it. It’s full of B Vits, minerals and protein I love how it adds a really bold colour to bakes.

Sunflower Seed Butter:

This one I was most pleasantly surprised by it reminded me a little bit of peanut butter as it was smooth, creamy and sweet but much lighter and runnier in terms of texture compared to old faithful PB. Whether you use it for savoury or sweet cooking or baking, it adds a subtle creamy flavour. Perfect in cookies, hummus or in a dressing.

Apricot Kernel Butter:

Y’know those stones inside an apricot turns out they actually have uses. Who knew? Apricot kernels are high in vitamin E so it’s great for skin, hair and nails (eat it obvs don’t use it as a shampoo…Well you do you but it tastes good and I would probably recommend not putting on your face or hair ha!) It’s also quite rich in vitamin b17 which is a component of cyanide so best not to eat the whole jar. But then so are a lot of fruit seeds like apple pips so best to avoid those too if you can! On Indigo Herbs website they state it tastes sweet, rich and a bit like Amaretto and I TOTALLY got that. I dolloped some on top of a slice of wholemeal toast and ate it in about 7 seconds. Gurt lush.

Hemp Seed Butter:

I don’t really know much about the flavours of hemp, eating it or using it in cooking or baking. It’s really good for you, it’s a complete protein full of all the essential amino acids perfect as an energy source if you’re veggie or vegan or just want that added protein in your diet. Described on their website as peppery and creamy and it couldn’t have been more spot on. I added this into salad dressings and slathered it on the top of a cauliflower steak for a really unique, umami flavour profile.

Pumpkin Seed Butter:

Last and but by no means least is pumpkin seed butter. This taste just like pumpkin seeds with that similar smoky earthiness flavour to it. I used mine to make a pumpkin seed pesto pasta which was divine but if you wanted a sweeter flavour add some honey, maple syrup or some cinnamon and other spices!

Just to reiterate this was a gifted post courtesy of Indigo Herbs and the lovely Claire but all the thoughts and opinions throughout are honest and genuine. I really hope you enjoyed this post as much as I loved taste testing these! I’m so excited to share more nutty and seedy butter recipes with you all very soon!

T’was the Night Before Christmas.

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the country, dashed irritable shoppers tired and hungry. Every man and their Mother pushed and shoved with their trolley, so much for this being the season to be jolly. When I was a child, Christmas was much more exciting, with the anticipation of Santa bringing presents plus family and loved ones reuniting. The older I’ve gotten the more the festive period makes me wince,from the endless shopping and burgeoning feasts fit for a prince. It makes me sound so selfish, so obnoxious and a bit of a Grinch but I want to treat my loved ones to their own private island but am seriously feeling the pinch. Christmas should be about the presence not the presents around the tree yet here I am stressed about the silly little things that shouldn’t really mean the be all and end all to me. ~ x

 

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So Christmas for a lot of people is seen as such a happy joyous occasion spending time with loved ones, eating and drinking copious amounts of rich, decadent food til you drift off to a drunken snooze in front of the Eastenders Christmas specials. But I can’t lie, this year I have felt the complete opposite of festive and if it wasn’t for the constant reminder on the tv and in shops about Christmas I probably would have been none the wiser!

I just really can’t be dealing with how manic it is at this time of year, how you have to practically hold a black belt in Jiu Jitsu just to manage your way around a TK Maxx throughout the month of December. That you ideally need a car from Wacky Races (always a Penelope Pitstop person if you ask me) to battle for a space in Tesco and the patient of an absolute saint when those relatives ask you those same questions you get every year. Yes I am still single, yes I am *still* a vegetarian and yes my hair is different now but I’m growing out my bangs. Ok now I’m just paraphrasing but you get my drift.

I used to really enjoy the festivities and everything that came along with it but I have been feeling like a right grump in comparison to a lot of people this year. I wish I was feeling it a bit more, giving the fact it is actually Christmas Eve and at the time this goes live in exactly 24 hours the big day will be nearing it’s end. As I get older the thought of all the madness, the craziness when shopping, the fact that someone spend over £850 in my local supermarket, that the shop shelves are nearing on BARE you’d have thought a nuclear apocalypse was on it’s way. God I’m such a misery aren’t I?!

Now, I’m acutely aware that in reality there is far much more to the Christmas period than the buying of gifts or shoppin’ til you droppin’ and I’m probably just feeling it even more so as I’m feeling quite poor and that I wouldn’t be able to indulge others as much as I’d like to. There’s a pressure to show your love and adoration to someone through the gift giving when the bottom line is someone who barely knows you but can exude their wealth could buy you a rolex and someone who cares for you a great deal could write you a thoughtful card that will mean so much more.

So whatever you’re up to this yuletide, on December 25th 2018 I really do hope you have a wonderful one, whether you spend it eating and drinking copious amounts of delicious festive treats, surrounded with your family (even that aunt you don’t really like) or working because as lucky as I am, and the majority are, there are plenty who have to work, or if you don’t celebrate Christmas I hope you have a marvelous day, revelling in the peace and quiet and the one day of the year when the telly has actually quite good things on. But to sum up, you’re all absolutely mint and I hope you have the best day whatever you do. ❤

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The Christmas Tag!

 

Hello! Sorry for the radio silence around here, I haven’t been very active on here since my attempt at Blogtober. I wish I could say that I’ve been super duper busy hence my disappearing act but truth be told I just really couldn’t be bothered. I’ve had a lot of ideas of things to write about, to post or to say but I couldn’t put them into words or fruition. Plus I felt like I had a bit of a confidence knock from Blogtober somehow, I felt like I was pushing out below par posts that I wasn’t overly proud of and was just doing it to say I’ve done something for that day.

But HIYA i’m back. I’m ready and raring to go and get my head back into the blogging zone. I must say a very special thank you to the very lovely and the very kind Gillian (who blogs here) as she has kindly nominated me to take part in The Christmas Tag she made. If you haven’t already checked out Gillian’s blog I would really like you to have a little peek, a read and especially a follow now. She’s someone that I came across in the Summer I think and I completely fell in love with her writing style, I love how chatty she comes across, like I’m getting advice and having a chit chat with an old friend. Plus I’ve always got the biggest envy for the clothes and makeup she’s loving or wherever she’s off to with her boyfriend. COUPLE GOALS.

On a side note though, I was super touched to see that I had been tagged to get involved with this post. It probably sounds a little bit silly but it does always mean so much to me when someone thinks of me in this whole blogging biz, especially as I’ve been so on and off with it all recently as well! Plus I really do love doing these types of posts, I love writing them and I love reading ones that other bloggers have done, it’s always such a fun insight into someone! So here goes The Christmas Tag!!

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What is your favourite Christmas candle?

I love the Yankee Candle one Cranberry Ice or something quite mulled and spicy smelling always reminds me of Christmas!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney it was one of the few that never used to play on repeat when I worked in retail!

Do you stay in pyjamas all day or dress up on Christmas Day?

As a family we all usually get quite dressed up or failing that wear cheesy Christmas jumpers!

What are your plans for the holidays this year?

We’ve got my Nanny and Grandad coming up for Christmas Dinner and are going to spend the rest of the day chilling, playing games and getting very merry.

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Elf or The Holiday. I love a feelgood movie and I’ve watched The Holiday countless times and still obsess over Kate Winslet and the old man every time!

Do you love or loathe tacky Christmas sweaters?

I LOVE them! The cheesier the better!

Who will you be kissing underneath the mistletoe this year?

HA! I am sadly forever alone so will probably have to make do with a smooch from my pooch this year!

What are you excited for in the build up to Christmas?

The baking! I love making homemade gifts and just general little treats to snack on over the festive period!

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

Christmas is always a big family time in my household so I always have memories of Christmas time with all the family over with lots of delicious buffet food to feast on all day long.

What is the number one item on your Christmas wishlist this year?

I haven’t really asked for anything in particular this year but I know my sister has got me a notebook I had my eye on for ages so I’m excited about that!

What is your favourite Christmas food?

My mum makes the best chocolate fridge cake that we’ve always had at Christmas time for as long as I remember! It’s got fruits, biscuits and marshmallows in and it’s so lush.

Do you shop the Boxing Day sales?

No, but sometimes I wish I took more advantage of the Lush sale!

Do you prefer to give or receive presents?

I love to give gifts definitely!

What is your favourite sweet treat for the holidays?

Quality street or any generic selection boxes are always a winner. It’s always the orange creme’s that are left behind in my house. I’m not a big fan of Christmas Pudding or Christmas Cake but I do like a mince pie. Or gingerbread!

Do you have a favourite Christmas drink?

Costa’s gingerbread latte’s or a blackforest hot chocolate are lush and keep you warmed up when out shopping all day. Alcoholic drinks wise I love an amaretto sour.

Which Advent Calendar do you have this year? Do you remember to open it each day?

I don’t actually have one this year! There’s just so many to choose from nowadays?! Back when I was younger I had a Cadbury’s chocolate one and a religious one from my Nan and that was it but now you can get gin, prosecco, candles, cheese the list goes on and on. But back when I did have one I’d always be really good at remembering to open the door each morning before school.

What is your favourite holiday scent?

I love spicy scents whether that’s ginger, cinnamon and allspice but it just reminds me of Christmas baking and holiday scents.

Are you one of those people that wish for a White Christmas each year?

Kind of! I have a really shoddy memory so I’m not entirely sure if I’ve ever actually had a White Christmas but it always sounds so magical doesn’t it!?

What makes the holidays most special to you?

Family time and spending it with those you love.

What has been your highlight of 2018?

I’ve been lucky to do a lot of things with my loving family and friends, had a couple days away with my friend to Brighton, I’ve had the support of my family to chase my dreams and do what makes me happy and I’ve seen some really cool comedy gigs with my sister too! Plus it was great having the warm weather in June and July! That feels like a lifetime ago now though!?

Once again I want to say a big, massive thank you to the fab Gillian, show her some love cos she deserves all of the praise and support!

I tag:

Jess

Laura

Ross

Hannah

Hope you all had a lovely weekend everyone ❤

What’s in my handbag?

Hiya huns! How’s your weekend been? Mine has been quite outdoorsy for a change. It’s been really sunny and warm which I think is a little bit weird for the UK nearing the end of October; considering it’s usually a bit colder and wetter around about this time!

I thought for today’s post I would share an absolute blogger favourite AND blogger basic. It’s almost like a rite of passage to bloggerhood to post the notorious ‘what’s in my handbag’ post.I fancied throwing it back to my old blog days with engaging in more tag posts and more personal posts so you can get a chance to get to know a little bit more about me. Or if you want to mug me in the not so distant future, think of this as a preview or what you could have won.

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For my everyday handbag I actually have a backpack from H&M I purchased last year. I like a handbag or a shoulder bag but sometimes I find that it makes my arms and shoulder really ache whereas I can just shove all my stuff in a backpack and carry it with ease. So many shops have such funky types these days. Especially ones that really don’t look like you’re about to hike up Everest which is always a massive plus.

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Aside from the loose change, endless wrappers, hairbands and receipts stashed in my bag I nearly always carry these items. I always like to make sure I’ve got paper, in the form of this lovely red leather bound notebook I picked up in TK Maxx last year and a pen. It’s so useful if I need to write a list or if I need to remember something. I mean a pen and paper are always going to be handy?! I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me as you never know when you might need some shades!

I’ve got a River Island tapestry style purse that I purchased YEARS ago actually. I like it because the pattern is a bit different and it’s actually reaally big with a clasped section one side and a card holdeer on the flap as well as a big coin section.

I carry some perfume at the moment I’ve got Paco Rabanne Black XS. It’s quite a sweet, fruity and floral scent you can wear either day or night so it’s perfect for any occasion.

I think it’s always super handy to keep a little pot of Nivea’s all purpose body creme. I love the smell it always reminds me of my Mum. Plus it’s great to use as a hand cream, to feel a bit fresher or even in the colder months to dab onto skin to avoid it drying out.

I’ve pretty much always got a couple of lipsticks floating around the bottom of my bag usually in nude tones and a pair of earphones.

Lastly, and probably most weirdly. I carry dog kibble. I have a dog and I think I must have left them in their from when I take him out on his walkies. I always carry them with me now, luckily they don’t make my bag smell!

What are your essentials you always carry with you?

MUCH LOVE. X

Spooky things to do this October!

Host a Halloween Party.

If the thought of being the hostess with the mostess doesn’t make chills run down your spine enough at the thought of all the clearing up the next day, then plan a spooktacular Halloween party with all your nearest and dearest. Scary costumes are a must, make a awesome witches punch bowl cocktail and play games like apple bobbing, hold a pumpkin carving competition with some mini pumpkins, beer pong but fill some cups with some nice things and maybe some not so nice things or just play some good old fashioned drinking games, like never have I ever or one of my favourites if you get everyone around a table and tear up lots of little bits of paper everyone writes down as many famous people’s names as you can and put them all into a hat or a bowl. Each player gets 60 seconds to try and get through as many pieces of paper as they can, describing the celebrity without saying their name. All made so much more fun with drinks and against the clock.

Go to a Pumpkin Patch.

I think these are becoming a lot more common over the years in the UK and they seem to be sprouting up all over the place, especially across my Instagram feed at the moment. They’re really child friendly if you want to take your little ones along for a fun afternoon picking your favourite pumpkin. Or even just go along take some snaps for the ‘gram and get into that Halloween’y spirit. Did you know pumpkin carving started from an ancient Celtic tradition to help ward off evil spirits  but back in the day they used turnips. Everyday is a learning day with Abfab.

Visit a psychic medium.

I’ve visited a psychic twice and had my tarot cards read once, I’d like to think I’m quite a spiritual person and strongly believe in things like this. I went for the first time last May and wasn’t really sure what to expect nor was my friends. But we went into it with an open mind and the lady we saw did get quite a lot of things eerily correct, however she did say that I was going to get pregnant within the next 18 months and that was May 2017…

Fancy dress club nights

Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Tickle your tastebuds with a dining experience.

I don’t know about you but this sounds like an absolute HOOT. This 4 course banquet at the Ivory Vaults complete with unlimited drinks and a medieval show, acrobats and live music. Find out more from their website here. Alcotraz Penitentiary bar in London acts as a BYOB style cocktail bar decorated JUST like Alcatraz itself along with the orange prisons jumpsuits too. Check out their website here to book tickets to visit.

Scary film marathon.

Staying in is the new going out and if you’re anything like me and the thought of cuddling up on the sofa by the fire and lots of snacks sounds way more appealing than covering yourself in SFX makeup to look like Harley Quinn after a night in a Yates then Netflix or Amazon Prime have a load of great selections of Horror or Thriller films at the moment. Or scour your local charity shops and see if you can any second hand dvds to watch.

Spend a night at a museum.

Fancy getting your inner Ben Stiller on and go to a museum after dark? The Museums at Night festival is sweeping through the UK from the 27th to the 29th of October check out if there is somewhere near you just here. Similarly if these type of spooky shenanigans are up your alley why not check out the Tower of London or if that doesn’t tickle your haunted pickle why not brave the London Dungeons.

Visit a Haunted House or Haunted Hotel.

Ok for the majority of people this probably sounds a liiiiittle bit terrifying. But if you’re like me and are super intrigued and interested by the paranormal have a look on Haunted Happening’s website (Here) to see if there is somewhere near you to channel your inner Yvette Fielding. Or if you’re really feeling brave you could even stay overnight in a haunted building. Gives me the chills just at the thought of this!

Escape rooms.

Most big towns or cities have one of these and they’re a super fun way to spend an evening with friends putting your heads together to work through complicated challenges. Or if you’re after something with a bit more of a bump in the night Immersive Events are running an event in Shepton Mallet Prison called The Hole (more info here) offering several activities through the evening as well as a bar! There’s loads of these style dotted around the country. I simply typed in Halloween events near me on google map and this was the first one that shot up.

Fright Night at Thorpe Park.

I went to this on Halloween last year with one of my best mates and we had such a blast. We got there about lunchtime ish so we got through a fair few of the rides by the time it got to the evening and the fun began! We ended up queuing for the Derren Brown Experience ride for about 3 hours and by the time we were about to step foot through the door the ride had a malfunctioning problem. But luckily we got issued a fast track ticket for any one ride so decided to use it on that if it reopened again which it did and it was so good, I’d definitely recommend checking it out! They really dress the place up for Fright Night and if that is your cup of tea, as well as rollercoasters obvs, you’d really enjoy this! There’s a handful of things there specially for Fright Night including several scare mazes and the whole place has this spooky feel to it. Maybe cos it’s after dark and it feels a bit weird to be there too! It was so much fun!

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Alton Towers also have their Scarefest which I’ve just seen which looks SO COOL. I love the fact they cater for both little kiddies if they want to get into the Halloween spirit as well as for thrill seeking adults too!

Ghost walk.

I haven’t ever done one of these but I’ve always been really interested in doing one. There’s the famous Jack the Ripper walk tour you can do in London on a pinpointed route and I believe you finish off at the pub The Ten Bells where the infamous serial killer murdered two of his victims. There are many others ghost walks similar to this style in towns and cities up and down the country From Bristol to Liverpool, Bath to York it’d be a really interesting insight into the place you live.

Club nights.

Most clubs will do some sort of Halloween dress up event or something so if you fancy getting totally Chaka Khan’d dressed up as a scary zombie Noel Edmonds (Or whatever you want to go as butttttt that’s a totally good suggestion fyi). Or if you wanted to get your Halloween in true Horror film spirit Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Now if none of these options frighten you enough, you could always sit at home, with a bottle of Echo Falls and facebook stalk your exes and people you went to school with. I don’t know about you, but I know which one sounds the most haunting to me now….

What are your plans this Halloween?

Ps, sorry if I haven’t included any fun things to do in your country, I wish I could have researched everywhere because I found it honestly so interesting and so much fun! But this is almost at 1500 words as it is and I doubt people will actually read this far! It’s crazy to think I would have rather eaten my own liver than have written a 2000 word essay and now look at me, doing this type of thing for FUN. Madness isn’t it?!

Much love x

Recreating seasonal hot drinks at home.

I love hot drinks and have at least three cups of tea each day. To some that may seem like loads or to some it may seem like hardly anything at all. A warm drink is like a hug in a cup so when the Autumn/Winter months roll around, the red cups in Starbucks come out to play it can only mean one thing; seasonal drinks time!!

I love a gingerbread latte, the subtle warmth and spiciness makes me feel so cosy. Or a black forest hot chocolate puts me in the wintry mood instantly. In an effort to save money because those £3 coffee shop treats do add up!! I’ve decided to try and recreate these at home for a fraction of the price, you can make them just how you like them, to impress family, friends and guests at home plus you could put it in a funky travel mug for commuting to work or college.

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore TK Maxx/Homesense and they stock SO many gorgeous homeware pieces and such an interesting foodie section. I used to be a little bit sceptical of the food section in a TK Maxx, where was it all from? How long had it been there for?? But then I thought if I thought the same about foods in an actual Supermarket would I actually want to know that answer? Probably not!

They stock so many wonderful teas, coffees and so many syrups too. They have such a huge variety of them as well so you’re literally so spoilt for choice. Most supermarkets and even some coffee shops like Costa stock bottles of syrups you can add to your hot drinks to make them that extra bit more decadent.

I want to share with you a simple, easy way of making barista style drinks from home and you don’t need any fancy machinery. I got ya covered!

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So for a super rich hot chocolate I usually measure the milk out in the mug I’m using and warm it in a pan with a split vanilla pod and the seeds scraped out on the hob. Bring it to the boil and then add in 1tsp of cocoa powder and 40g of chopped dark chocolate shards per serving. Stir it all together off the heat and whisk it vigorously til it’s frothy on top. If you wanted to add a syrup you could pop one or two pumps into the bottom of your glass/mug/travel mug/shoe/I do not mind what container you use. Or you could put it straight into the milk before you warm it.

To make this extra decadent you could use equal quantities of cream and milk or if you want it extra chocolatey try using a chocolate milk with the same quantities of chocolate shards, cocoa powder and cream.

To make a white hot chocolate just don’t add the cocoa powder and substitue the chocolate for white chocolate instead. If you’re aiming for mad gainzzzzzz try using a skimmed milk or oat or coconut mylk with a scoop of chocolate/unflavoured/vanilla protein powder and some chocolate and cocoa powder.

If you’re like me and are lowkey obsessed with the black forest hot chocolate, use your normal hot chocolate and add a pump or two of

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Ok so this was the one that I was most looking forward to because it is super simple to get a frothy coffee at home. Without any technical thingymibobs and you can totally show off to your guests with your fancy pants coffee. If they want a ultra tricky macchiato with camel milk welllllll you’ve come to the wrong blog but I can teach you a simple way to make a latte.

So not too dissimilar from the hot chocolate, I pour milk into the cup/mug/glass whichever receptacle of choice measuring out how much I’ll need. I usually fill it about 3/4s full. I love a milky coffee.

I boil the kettle and add a teaspoon of coffee granules into a mug. At that point if you want any sugar, syrups, jazzy bits etc now is the time to add that in. Fill the cup about a third full and mix it altogether making sure all the coffee granules have fully dissolved and it’s smooth.

Going back to the milk bit,  you can either warm it up in the microwave first or wait to shake it up first. I actually then put it into a protein shaker or the breville active blender (use some sort of bottle or container with a lid that can also go in the microwave) and shake the milk up for about 30 seconds until its grown frothy and bubbly on top.

If you’ve warmed up your milk first you can then shake it up and pour it into the glass or if you haven’t you can then warm your shaken up milk in the microwave until hot.

Pour the milk straight into the glass and then quickly pour the coffee on top of that. Careful not to knock out any of the lovely froth. If you want to make better coffee art then I do, as you pour the coffee, pour it narrowly down one side of the glass and then filter it off into the middle and it’s supposed to make a heart shape.

 

If you want to get your hands on some syrups or extras or even find some great places to get some teas/coffee granules/syrups other than supermarkets, tea shops or the OG TK Maxx I’d recommend:

Next Day Coffee

Discount Cream

The Protein Works

Skinny Mixes

Verde Coffee

Cardiff Sport Nutrition

Syrups and Stuff

You can also try Amazon or just using food essences or even more naturally with herbs and spices, I love popping in a cinnamon stick. So yum!

MUCH LOVE. X

22 Things you’ll know if you come from a small town.

I live in the middle of nowhere. Often when people say that they actually just mean they live at least 20 minutes from their nearest Nando’s and a bit of a walk to the bus stop or train station. But I live just outside of a small touristy town in Dorset, England. It’s often featured on those Instagram travel blogger pages, don’t get me wrong it is pretty and a perfect place  to shoot a candid or a landscape shot, but to me when I see it, all I’m seeing are all the cobbles I’ve tripped over and all the drunken memories I’ve got of us larking about as teenagers.

I’ve always lived in the countryside and have dreamt of living in an exciting big city for as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong it was a lovely a place for me to grow up as I never felt unsafe and could play out with my friends all the time. People who live in bigger towns or cities don’t realise the actual first world problems we face on a day to day basis, how utterly headbanging it can be living in the literal cowpat middle of nowhere and how life can be a little bit more like Hot Fuzz than Countryfile than first anticipated.

You can always tell who belongs in a big city and who’s just visiting. 

If you’re in London and you have to check the tube maps then you’re definitely not from those ends. Or if you apologize when someone bumps into you or you bump into them. OR if you actually wait at a pedestrian crossing…Jus saying. I honestly feel like I have mad Arthur Weasley vibes when I’m trying to navigate myself 3 stops on the same Tube line.

Learning to drive is a must.

I live in a village with a few buses a day and a train station in the next town along as soon as I could I learnt to drive so I could do all the fun things you do at 17 like driving all your mates around a Tesco car park at 10pm at night. Learning to drive little, narrow mud splattered country lanes I swear is more nerve wracking than a motorway.

 Manoeuvring around each and every pothole meticulously.

Investing in a 4×4 sometimes feels like the safest option rather than mourn your suspension everytime you drive to the shops.

Planning going out out around buses and train times.

My nearest nightclubs are either in the next town town and is a complete dive (it’s on an industrial estate and they still have under 18s nights, grim I know right) or in Salisbury which is a 30 minute train journey away.  So if we fancy a night of embarassing ourselves in a ‘Spoons we have to either get the last train home at 11, pay a ridiculous amount for a taxi home (honestly feel like I could actually charge someone for a piggyback ride for cheaper) or have to pay for a cheap hotel for the night just so you can get truly Naomi Campbell’d.

Local Newspapers.

Before we got fire, wifi and FaceBook (Y’know the 3 necessities in life) the local paper was like the Facebook of it’s time. It was practically read as gospel. If it wasn’t in the Blackmore Vale then did it really even happen??? No one is born and no one passes away without it being a part of the births, deaths and marriages page. Similarly I have way too much fun having a bit of a giggle at the cringy dating page. Turns out there is a lot of people in my local area looking for a discreet something on the side.

Local Newspaper headlines.

Full credit to some of the journalists who make a living trying to find the biggest, best and most exciting ‘scoop’. The most exciting thing that happened in my town was that someone would move for sale signs and put them in front of someone else’s house. Or when the local antique shop got their giant Punch and Judy statue stolen from their front window. It dominated headlines for weeks.

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Photo credit: @CosRyan

That moment of pure hometown glory when you see it appear on the News or on the weather map. 

Fete’s / Carnivals.

Carnivals in the countryside are a just a liiiiiiittle bit different to something like Notting Hill or Rio for instance. Think of it as a cross between Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Jeremy Kyle, about 20 tractors pulling floats and about 60,000,000 flashing LED lights.

I mean, I may have made out that carnival’s sound horrendous but it’s pretty much always for charity and LOOK how much fun this guy is having?! You can’t say we don’t make our own fun! And also Health and Safety would have a FIELD DAY here.

Weird Traditions.

Are you even from a small town in the middle of nowhere if you don’t have some sort of weird tradition??? I really don’t mean like some sort of voodoo ritual like you all think us hillbilly folk do but like summer fetes, gardening shows, allotments and carnivals. For instance near Gloucester there is a competition to chase a wheel of cheese down a steep hill. But we do claim Glastonbury in the West country, so swings and roundabouts I guess!?

 

No one ever knows where you’re from. 

I went to a 3 day conference for work a few years ago and the table all took it in turns to introduce themselves and say their name and where they were from. There were the obvious ones like Cardiff, Birmingham, Stockholm (It was a weird mix of people I won’t lie, not quite as iconic as New York, London, Paris but maybe one day it will be who knows???) But then everyone turned to face the little country bumpkin that is  me and I said I was from Shaftesbury in Dorset to which none of them really knew where that was until one exclaimed loudly that she absolutely loved when she saw Cats in the West End and stayed in a lovely hotel just off of Shaftesbury Avenue…

No signal. 

Oh my days this is the bane of my life. I spend about 90% of my phone calls shouting ‘YEAH I CAN HEAR YOU, CAN YOU HEAR ME????’.  I think I might have had full signal on my iPhone at home once. Then I moved my phone by a quarter inch off of my bed and it was gone again.

Literally ever.

It was practically a grand event where I’m from when a shop goes Contactless. God knows what’ll happen when they discover Apple Pay. OR fibre optic broadband.

The old adage goes that in London or any other big city, you’re never more than 6ft away from a rat, well in a small town I reckon it’s the same law of averages about people you went to school with. 

Deliveroo is a myth.

The nearest Topshop, cinema, civilization is about 20 miles away. 

Praise the Lord for online shopping and free returns is all I can say.

More indie shops.

You know me, I love an independently run shop, coffee shop, cafe, restaurant or whatever and smaller towns have such interesting high streets whereas bigger towns or cities can sometimes look all the same, littered with the exact same high street stores.

EVERYTHING INVOLVES COMMUTING.

Traffic.

Congestion can often have a different meaning from a queue of cars, to being stuck behind a tractor or a farmer taking his cows from one field to the other. One slight benefit is that you’ve always got an excuse if you’re running late and happened to be stuck behind a tractor, again. I really hope none of my friends see this because I am ALWAYS running late and there’s always a tractor going slow. HONEST. Ahem.

Everyone knows everyone.

It’s more than likely your friends have dated someone you’re somehow distantly related to.

Pubs everywhere.

Some of them quaint and charming, some of them filled with old men that stare at you as if you’ve walked in with a vial of Anthrax with a pint of local cider.

Country pubs are better than clubs and bars. 

Biased but if you can find me a bar or a club in the middle of London that serves a ploughmans, has a log fire and a cuddly pub dog then HIT. ME. UP.

Everyone is friendly. 

I live in a village that if you pass someone you must always say ‘Hello!’ or ‘Good Morning’ or at least comment on the weather. You look like a bit of a weirdo in a city wishing strangers a good morning so maybe it’s just a small town thing.

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As much as I whinge and moan about the trivial things it really is quite beautiful and will always feel just like home. I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else. And sometimes when you want to take a few moments away from social media, the lack of signal has it’s benefits.

MUCH LOVE.X

 

Blogger Recognition Award #3

Hiya you! Yes you! This whole blogging thing is a bit mad sometimes isn’t it? Look at me typing away right now as if we’re actually having a conversation, cos to me we are having a conversation right now, like two middle aged women catching up on the high street. Plus you guys are my pals, my internet friends, some of the coolest people I know and why wouldn’t I want to stop and say y’alright love to you!? Anyway enough about me and that weird ramble…How are you? Have you had a good week? TELL MEEEEEE?!

I’ve only been nominated/tagged in another Blogger Recognition Award haven’t I?! This was from Michael who I actually began chatting to from a twitter chat, I think it was the CBeeChat actually which is on Monday evenings! It was really great fun to chat to likeminded people and make new Blog connections and friends. He has a really great blog (just here, give it a read, love it, inhale it, all the above) which I’d really urge you to check out plus he is active across his social media channels so feel free to send him some LOL gifs on my behalf please and thanks.

It sounds really cringe, probably massively so to everyone else, but it does genuinely warm my heart when I get nominated or mentioned for anything for my blog or even a #FF on twitter or Instagram. It makes me feel so proud that I am getting recognised by my lovely fellow bloggers among the blogosphere.

Anyway! So if you’re new around here or new to the blogging biz, the Blogger Recognition Award is basically an idea that started up (I should really have looked more into the history surrounding this before I started chit chattering on about it) in order to recognise, celebrate and share 15 of your favourite bloggers to let them know how brilliant they are. Share why you started blogging and two tips you’d give to newbie bloggers. I really wish I came across this type of post when I first started blogging.

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Why I started blogging:

So this is a short story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there and I’ll tell you how I became the creator of a blog called What Abbie Says….LOL sorry about that it had to be done. So I started blogging back in 2012 actually on a completely different blog page under a different name and I was only 17 at the time and I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Not that I really do now to be honest! I used it as somewhere to share my thoughts on everything from nail varnish to my Topshop hauls to why I decided not to go to University. I took a bit of a backstep from it as life kind of got in the way and then I restarted here last year. From the beginning I never really thought of blogging as something more than a hobby or something to do to share my thoughts and feelings on pretty much anything that I wanted. I’m passionate about writing and creativity and have always wanted to be a writer of sorts. I’ve never really given it much consideration about if this could ever become a full time thing or give me a fixed income. Obviously if it did it would be amazing but I’m not holding out much hope at the moment!

If I had to share two pearls of wisdom with a new blogger:

  1. Have fun. Don’t worry about keeping up with the others in terms of what your blog should look like, what you should write about, how you should photograph things. It is your space, make it yours and as long as you’re happy with it, babe you do what you want! If you want to talk about model airplanes DO IT, if you want to write about why peanut butter is so much better than almond butter then DO IT (and you’d have my complete and full backing on cos peanut butter is honestly the glue that holds my life together)
  2. Self Promo. This is something I really need to get better at and usually post a link to a latest blog post once or twice onto my twitter page and that’s it. To get the best engagement for your blog, be your own showman and PR and leave a link on you Instagram bio if you want other bloggers, PRs and brands or readers to find you that way then it’ll be so much easier. Similarly sharing your blog links via Pinterest or Bloglovin’ does wonders in getting long lasting views!

I’m going to nominate a small handful of wonderful bloggers that I follow. These guys really deserve so much more credit and praise and I wish I could promote them or be a cheerleader for them day in day out but I might look like a bit of a weirdo and like a crazy fan. Which is half true. No shame. Well without much further ado. I’m going to tell you about some of the best internet people this side of Shane Dawson.

Vixxy

Laura

Shay

Kamilah or K (I don’t know which one she prefers but either way she is VERY cool and I stan her pure existence)

Kate

Lyd

Ar (After days of an extensive search turns out that’s just a nickname and there’s me with my Dorset twang pronouncing it like ARRRRRRRRRRRRR)

Hannah

I adore each and every single one of these gals. I am so truly thankful for blogging and social media for being weird and wonderful but for also introducing me to such fabulous people like these brilliant girls.

MUCH LOVE. X