Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Homemade 2-ingredient Pizza Bases

I discovered this idea on Pinterest and thought it sounded easy enough to make. It took me a few attempts to discover what seems like the most successful and tasty way to make these pizzas.

I overcooked this one a little bit- whoops!
There are only two ingredients needed for the base- Greek yoghurt and Self-raising Flour. They are used in equal proportions, and I've found about 60g of each is enough to make one personal sized pizza.

1) Mix the two ingredients together in a bowl. I've had better results when I've put a light dusting of flour over my hands and kneaded the mixture together rather than putting it in the electric mixer.
2) Transfer the mixture to a baking tray and roll out into whichever shape you want your pizza to be. The baking tray will also need a light dusting of flour so it is easy enough to get the pizza off once it's cooked.
3) Bake the base for 3-4 minutes on 200c.
4) Take the base out of the oven and add your toppings- I just use tomato puree and cheese to keep it simple.
5) Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes. The pizza pictured was baked for 10 minutes which I guess was a little too long in this case.

So there you go, supposedly 'healthy' pizzas :) Let me know how you get on if you try to make these!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

October Favourites

I did a similar post back in September which I enjoyed writing, so thought I'd give it a go again for October. Here are a few things I'm loving this month!
Limited Collection Nail Polish- I found these as a gift set in the M&S outlet store for just £4.50 and thought the colours were really Autumnal. I love the gold and the 'electric purple' colours, the 'aquamarine' colour is lovely, but probably better for summer than autumn. 

Lush Candy Mountain Bubble Bar (£2.95). I was having a particularly stressful day recently so decided to take myself on a shopping trip to cheer myself up. I always see bloggers raving about Lush products but I haven't been in there in years so thought I'd treat myself to one. I didn't know where to begin! One of the kind store assistants recommended this one to me. As it's a bubble bar rather than a bath bomb, you just have to break a bit off (so it can be used on more than one occasion) and crumble it under the tap to create the bubbles. It was a nice, relaxing, slightly pink bubble bath with no mess to clear up at the end. Bonus!

Primark LED Fairy Lights- These were also bought on the same cheer-me-up shopping trip as the bubble bar, and I think they look super pretty around my bed! I wasn't expecting great quality as they are from Primark, and I only paid £2.50 for 40 lights, but they seem to be worth the money at the moment- we'll have to see how long they last!

Aeropostale Soho Nights Perfume- My parents bought me this when they were in America in the summer and I've had a lot of use out of it this month (forgot to take a photo of this one so had to use a stock photo whoops). I love how pretty the design is, although the bow fell off mine, and the scent is just lovely!

What are you loving at the moment? Do you have a favourite bath product that you can recommend for me to try out?

Friday, 23 October 2015

Exciting Weekend Ahead

As you are reading this, I'll be en route to Scotland to watch the World Gymnastics Championships! (yay for scheduled posts)

I've been planning this trip for a while- the tickets were bought in June 2014 and I've had the hotel booked since the start of the year.

Restaurants have been researched, a roadtrip playlist has been created, route plans have been made, snacks have been bought and arrangements are in place to meet up with friends.

It's fair to say that I'm pretty excited. Probably over excited for two nights away in my own country (this is the first year since 2000 that I haven't left the country). I loved my trip to Liverpool to watch the British Gymnastics Championships earlier in the year, and this will hopefully be the same but on a larger scale.

I'll definitely posting about my experience when I get home. Let me know if there's anything you'd particularly be interested to hear about.

Happy days!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Photography #14 The Moon

I totally forgot to post these pictures a few weeks back! Better late than never right? I took these pictures out of my bedroom window on the night of the 'blood moon'. They were taken at about 11pm so at that point the moon was just appearing slightly larger than usual (there was no way that I was staying up til 3am or whatever time it was for the main event).

These were taken with the biggest lense I have, a 55-200mm, and then cropped slightly. I actually braved it and used manual mode with the help of an internet tutorial for once! I could see the detail on the moon really well through the lense (who needs binoculars eh?) but unfortunately it didn't translate as well to the actual photos.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Get to Know Me Tag

I came across this tag and thought I'd give it a go. I've got a few new readers so thought it would be fun for you to get to know me a little more!

1. What is your middle name? Elizabeth... nice to know my parents were imaginative

2. What was favorite subject at school? Geography. From day 1, I always loved Geography- it was the subject I found the most interesting and was naturally good at so I liked it enough to end up studying it at university.
On a Geography field trip in Iceland in 2010.
3. What is your favorite drink? Hmmmm, mostly during the day I just drink water. Coffee is my favourite when I need a caffeine boost, but usually I prefer tea (in my Frozen mug of course). Alcohol wise, you can't beat a vodka and coke :)

4. What is your favorite song at the moment? At the moment, I can't stop taking Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon off repeat. Is it actually possible to listen to the song without wanting to sing and dance along?

5. What is your favorite food? Chocolate. Cadbury's Chocolate.

6. What is the last thing you bought? A new pair of Nike trainers and shorts. Not that I had enough already, but when everything is 50% off it's rude to leave it...
My lovely new trainers for £20

7. Favorite book of all time? I haven't read a book by choice since I was about 12, but before then I loved the Harry Potter series. I believe the third one was my favourite but I have no clue why.

8. Favorite Color? Turqoise/Teal

9. Do you have any pets? Not any more :( In the past we've had a lot of fish, a budgie named Tikko, and two house rabbits- Twitcher and Smudger.

10. Favorite Perfume? Jimmy Choo

11. Favorite Holiday? I'm going to take the British translation of this (holiday=vacation), and say that my favourite holiday is going to Florida. I've been five times and all have been so different but so wonderful that I can't decide which was actually my favourite.

12. Are you married? Nope

13. Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times? I have, and I've lost count but I have it listed on this page
The countries I have been to highlighted in green
14. Do you speak any other language? Not fluently, but I have an A Level in Japanese and can still mangle some basic sentences together if needed, and can read hiragana fluently (lost most of my kanji and some of my katakana knowledge though). I also have an A grade in GCSE French and can understand a bit when reading but can't really speak it anymore.

15. How many siblings do you have? I have a sister who is three years younger than me but three inches taller :P  

16. What is your favorite shop? I'm not too sure. I used to buy a lot from Republic before it closed down. I guess I always get a lot from Primark, and I've found Tesco clothing to be really good recently. I also felt like I could buy the entirity of H&M when I was in there the other day.

17. Favorite restaurant? I really can't choose. There's a pub nearby that has a great menu and great drinks at reasonable prices, and when I'm in Wales with the family there are two restaurants that are my favourites. But if we're talking about chain restaurants, I'd go for the Harvester or Pizza Hut.

18. When was the last time you cried? I'm not too sure. I've cried out of frustration and stress a few times, but the last time I cried for a proper reason was when Smudger died last October. Oh, I lie. I cried tears of happiness when Emily was born.

19. Favorite Blog? I'm not sure. I'm a big gymnastics fan so I read a lot of gymnastics related blogs, and then just random personal blogs that I happen to come across and catch my eye. Have a look at the links in my sidebar for some of my favourites at the moment.

20. Favorite Movie? Bridesmaids. I'm not much of a film lover so I'll tend to watch the same films over and over rather than try new films.

21. Favorite TV shows? Again, I'm not much of a sit down and watch tv type of person and since I work in the evenings, I don't really get the chance to watch much. I did enjoy the first few seasons of Dance Moms but ended up getting bored of the scripted storylines.

22. PC or Mac? PC...Currently using a HP laptop.

23. What phone do you have? HTC Desire One X

24. How tall are you? 5'6

25. Can you cook? I'm not an adventurous eater so I can cook what I like to eat, just don't ask me to cook a gourmet meal :P

I tag Renee to do this tag, and if anyone else fancies it, leave me your links below so I can check them out.

Friday, 16 October 2015

5 things that made me smile this week

Yay it's Friday! Another week survived! I figured it would be fun to start a little series of posts about the things that made me smile during the week, so here goes.

1) All of your lovely comments on my posts! I know it sounds cheesy, but it honestly makes me smile each time I get an email to say there has been a new comment on one of my posts. I really love chatting with you all :)

2) Finding out I'm getting a pay rise and being offered extra hours at work. Yay!

3) The little gymnasts that I coach surprised me and can actually remember their routines from their last competition which makes my job of preparing them for their next competition ten times easier. I love the moments where they prove me wrong and show me that I have underestimated them.

4) Jersey Boys was on tv last night so me and my mum had a good sing along at the top of our voices. I'm sure the neighbours appreciated it.

5) I finally have a working printer of my own for the first time since I was in about year 8 or 9! I feel like a child again printing and scanning everything in sight. I'm now eager to get back to doing some crafting again now I have new pictures to scrapbook. I'm sure the novelty will eventually wear off.

What made you smile this week?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes recently for my dad's birthday and I have to say they are the tastiest cupcakes I've ever made!

For the cupcakes:
1 pot of vanilla yoghurt
2 pots sugar
3 pots self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 pot of oil
3 small bananas
1 pot of chocolate chips.

For the decorations:
200g butter
100g icing sugar
1 bag of large Yorkie buttons
1 tube of writing icing

This recipe made 18 cupcakes- there was a lot of mixture as I used a fairly large yoghurt. You can use whatever size yoghurt you want because it's all in proportion.

1) Heat oven to 180c, and line cupcake tins.
2) Empty the yoghurt in to the mixture. Wash the empty pot out.
3) Fill the pot with sugar and add it to the mixture, then repeat.
4) Add your 3 pots of SR flour then mix the mixture together, slowly adding the eggs and oil (it's quite a runny mixture but turns out ok).
5) Mash bananas together in a small dish then add to the mixture, along with the chocolate chips.
6) Spoon into cupcake cases and bake in oven for 15-18 mins.

Whilst they are cooling, it's time to get started on the icing.
1) Measure out 200g butter, then put it in the mixer for about a minute to soften.
2) Add the icing sugar to the mixture slowly.
3) Fill the piping bag with the buttercream, and once the cupcakes are cool, swirl a small amount on to each cupcake.
4) If you want to write a message on the cakes, it's best to write it on the chocolate button before you put the button on the cake.

Then admire, eat and enjoy!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

A Successful Family Weekend

As I write this, I'm snuggling up in my onesie after a bubble bath, following a fun-filled weekend.

We travelled over to Wales on Saturday morning to visit the extended family. It was very strange having the whole family travel together, as it's becoming much harder for all of us to all have matching schedules that mean we can just do the journey in one car (usually it may only be 3/4 of us that travel, or my dad will get the train to meet us after work etc).

The 24 hours that we were there were pretty jam-packed. All the girls of the family went shopping whilst my dad and my uncle went to the football. After an hour of shopping, I left the girls and went to watch the football. Our team won 6-0! It was the first time I have seen them win in person since last November and the first time I've ever been to a game where we've lost track of how many we have scored. It was also pretty cool to see my cousin's boyfriend play for the first team. Needless to say, all the fans were pretty content with that result.

After the match we stayed in the clubhouse to watch the Wales vs Australia rugby match. I'm not a huge rugby fan but I've really been getting in to the World Cup this year. Wales lost that match but the match we were really interested in was later that evening; the Wales vs Bosnia football match- Wales just needed one point to qualify to Euro 2016 (their first major championships since 1958 I believe). I've never actually watched a Wales match in Wales so it was quite an experience being one of few girls in the clubhouse watching the match with all the football fans who were all very emotionally invested in the outcome. Long story short, after an emotional rollercoaster, Wales have qualified with one game to go and everyone was extremely happy. I think my uncle fell asleep singing the national anthem under his breath.
The seafront walk on an overcast Autumn morning.

This morning (Sunday) we woke up and went for a 3 mile walk down by the beach. I honestly think I'd live a much healthier lifestyle if I lived near the sea. After that, I went round to my cousin's house and had an hour of quality time with my niece Emily, I can't believe she's 7 months old now, she's growing and learning so much. It's quite clear that she adores her dad and food- I'm not sure which one she likes more! It was also lovely to be able to make her laugh and smile whenever I played with her.

Even with the phone quality picture, she's still pretty cute :)

I love little weekends like this. I always feel refreshed (if not a little tired) and ready to take on the week whenever I come back from being away. It was a lovely balance between family time and football time, and the football results certainly made the weekend very successful :)

How was your weekend?

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Photography #58 Lightning

This was a very lucky shot to get! When we were in Florida last summer, I only took my D3100 out on a couple of occassions in the evenings when I knew we weren't going on many rides etc. On this night, we had plans to go out for dinner and then go to Magic Kingdom for the Wishes fireworks show so I took my camera out in hopes of getting some good fireworks photos. 

As we arrived at Sizzler, there was a lightning storm so I got my camera out in hopes of getting a good shot of the lightning bolts. I didn't really have the opportunity to stop and wait patiently for the perfect shot as we were in a rush, but this was actually the first shot I took that night and it happened to be perfectly timed to capture the lightning bolt! I wish the power cables weren't there, but I can't really complain too much about that considering how much of a fluke it was that I managed to capture the lightning!

Friday, 9 October 2015

The Fall Spice Tag

Renee did this Autumn themed tag over on her blog which I loved and wanted to try myself, so here is a little bonus Friday post for you (I usually post on Wednesday's and Saturday's).

1) Bath & Bodyworks candles or Yankee candles?
    We don't have Bath & Bodyworks here in the UK but I do have a bit of an obsession with Yankee Candles. 

2) Favourite autumn accessories?
    Hmmm I'm not really sure, I don't wear that many accessories. I do have a little gold necklace from Primark that I'm wearing a lot because it goes well with my outfits at the moment, does that count?

3) Uggs or Moccasins?
    I'm an Ugg fan. I got a pair for Christmas last year and I love them. I'd love to be able to afford more pairs because they are so comfy.

4) Fuzzy socks or knee socks?
   I love fuzzy socks :)

5) North Face or Columbia?
   North Face I guess. I got my big winter ski jacket from their outlet store back in 2010 for my trip to Iceland and I still get wear out of it when it's particularly cold.

6) Favourite autumn food?
   I've never really thought about this because we're not really into it much here. Autumn usually means that my mum starts making her homemade leek and potato soup again which I love. Other than that, does the Halloween chocolate count?

7) Red or Pink lips?
    I'm not really brave enough to rock the bold lips, so I'd have to say pale pink (I use Max Factor Angel Pink).

8) Winged Eyeliner or Bold eyeshadow?
 Neither. I'm horrendous at winged eyeliner and I usually keep my eyeshadow in fairly natural colours.

9) Natural/Cold/Light or Bold/Warm/Dark makeup?
 Natural/cold/light :)

10) Apple Pie or Brownies?
  Brownies. Especially if they are warm chocolate fudge brownies with ice cream.

11) Would you rather cook food or eat it?
 This one's easy- eat it. I have started to enjoy cooking a little bit more recently but I'd still rather eat than cook.

Leave me your links below if you've done this tag so I can check it out!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Roadtrip Preparation

Very soon, my sister and I will be embarking on an adventure which we have never done before. We are roadtripping to Glasgow together to watch the World Gymnastics Championships at the end of October.

Tickets arrived... (Taken on my ipad so sorry about the quality)
Our tickets are for the Friday afternoon and all day Saturday so we are planning to drive up early on the Friday morning. It's going to be around 5 hours of driving which is going to be very interesting considering the furthest I've ever driven before is just over 100 miles. I think we are planning on two stops on the way up- we don't need to be anywhere until 3pm so we can start early and take it easy, and hopefully get a quick nap before going to the venue.

I have been to Glasgow once before on a trip with my university trampolining team, but unfortunately I didn't see much of the city at all as we were stuck in a sports hall at a competition all weekend. I'm looking forward to being able to see some more of the city this time... we might have a look around on the Sunday morning before we go home or venture into the city for a meal on the Saturday night.

Do you have any tips for a long roadtrip? And if you've been to Glasgow before, are there any must see places?

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Oreo Cupcakes

As I grew up, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house and we always did a lot of baking together. They recently got a new kitchen so I decided to go round their house and christen the new kitchen with some yummy oreo cupcakes. As you can imagine, it was quite a fun experience especially as my nan didn't know what oreos were!

For the cupcakes, we used
175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
50g cocoa powder
125g self-raising flour
1 pack of oreos

1) Preheat oven to 180. Line cupcake tin with cases- we made 12 cupcakes out of this mix.
) Mix butter and sugar together
2) Beat eggs together and add to butter and sugar mix
3) Add cocoa powder and flour slowly
4) Either put an oreo in the bottom of each cupcake case, or crush the oreos with a rolling pin and add to the cake batter. We did 6 cupcakes with an oreo in the bottom, and crushed the other oreos left in the packet to make it a surprise for which cakes had the oreos in :)
5) Divide the mixture out evenly between the cases and bake for around 15 minutes- ours needed a little longer.

For the frosting, we used
100g butter
200g icing sugar
1 pack of oreos
I've also made the frosting with 100g cream cheese in before, and I actually think it tastes better this way but we didn't have any so we went with just the 3 ingredients.

1) Add butter into mixing bowl and mix for a few minutes until it is super soft and creamy.
2) Sift in icing sugar a little bit at a time.
3) Take 6 oreos out of the packet and cut in half- we actually cut all the oreos in the packet in half so we could choose the best looking ones to be the toppers.
4) Put the remaining oreos in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
5) Add the crushed oreos to the buttercream mixture- the key here is to not overmix the mixture.
6) Spoon the mixture on to the top of the cupcakes when they are fully cooled, then add a half oreo as a topper. We couldn't get the piping back to work for this as I think some of the oreo pieces were blocking it :(
7) Eat and enjoy :)

There you go! Yummy chocolatey oreo goodness. Let me know how they turn out if you decide to make them!