Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Recent Things


I went on a bit of a shopping spree the other day, using birthday money and gift vouchers I received for my birthday. I haven't been shopping for what seems forever, so I thought I would show you what I brought and where from so you can pick up a few bits and pieces yourself if you like any of the items! 

Candle // Primark 
This mint and silver candle was just too cute not to buy, and it has a gorgeous vanilla scent to it. I haven't lit it yet, but my room smells really nice and cosy anyway! It goes beautifully with my new cushion too! 

Grey Dress // Primark
This I call a dress, but it is a big oversized fitted jumper which is adorable. I like wearing this with jeans and some Ugg boots, with my hair either down or in a side plait/braid. It can look a bit plain, so I like to break it up a bit by wearing a colourful scarf that goes with it. 

Cream Shirt // Primark
I've wanted a pretty shirt like this for ages, and I am so happy I have eventually got one! Like the grey dress, this goes perfectly with the jeans and Ugg boots for a more smart/casual look, and you could pair it with some black leggings and boots for a meal out etc. It is quite transparent, so I wear it with a matching creamy/white camisole!

Take A Seat Cushion // NEXT
This cute cushion was on sale when I went into NEXT, so I couldn't resist picking it up! My room is light grey and white, with pops of pastel pink, mint green colours so I thought this would go perfectly. The yellow matches the canvas I have on my wall, so that goes together too!

Garnier Mineral Water // Boots
After reading the countless reviews about it on the blogosphere, I knew I had to buy some. The results of this are unbelieveable, it removes twice the amount of makeup than your average makeup wipe and it is a cheap alternative to more expensive brands. This was well worth the buy, and I can see myself picking another bottle up when this one runs out. 

Notecards and Organiser // Ryman
As the exam season is coming up, I thought it would be a good opportunity to buy some useful stationery that will help me. These note cards look so cute with the colourful separators, and they all come in a little box! I will definitely be using this quite a bit!

Brown Paper Style Folder // Ryman
Again with the exam season, I bought this folder to store any important loose bits of paper that I need to revise. I thought it looked the best as I love the minimal style of the paper effect. It also has little silver protection corners on the bottom, where it will get the most damaged so the folder will last a while too! 

Did you enjoy this style of post? What have you bought recently?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Numbers


It's not often I post little stories that I have written, in fact I never have on this blog! Today I thought I would share with you the opening of a story I have been writing, I love writing openings to stories and I hope you enjoy reading this one!

"I will begin my story with some easy mathematics.

1+1=2
2+2=4.
3+3=6.

But these sums are wrong. The real sums go:

1+1=5.
2+2=8.
3+3=46.

You'd better be careful, you don't want to sit in your classroom and start reciting the wrong answers. Off to the looney house you pop.
There are about 99 people here according to wrong numbers, 24 people if you are using right numbers. All of us here serving a crime nobody knows they committed. All we know if that it has something to do with The Numbers. They were the ones who decided that 1+1=5, not 2. They were the ones who sat us on the Right Numbers probe and asked us questions. I like maths tests - no, I liked maths tests. It was the reason I went first. The man in the big purple suit asked me the questions.
'3²?' They asked.
'9' I answered confidently.
That was a wrong number."

Do you like this opening? What do you think happens next?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Making Time For Everything


Oh look at that - so Paige hasn't just died or left suddenly? No, I've been here all along reading all your lovely comments and emails, I just haven't been posting anything. One of the biggest struggles I find about blogging is to find time to produce good content that I am proud of and am happy to share. I try to make it a rule to not post anything that I know I will only delete a day later, and it is something that I would recommend to anyone.

I love blogging, and I find it really sad that I haven't been producing posts for the last week or so. At the moment, my to-do list longer than my arm and trying to complete the tasks set are proving to be a little challenging as all I want to do is just sit down and wish them away! However, those good grades don't come from nowhere and I have to work for them.

Since beginning blogging, I have had my highs and my lows and this unfortunately is one of my lows. I'm not a natural at coming up with ideas on the spot, I usually have to get my brain into gear and write down ideas in little sparks. At the end of the day, blogging is only a hobby to me. I can't commit myself to it as much as I would like as I still need to get good grades to provide myself with a good job and income in later life! I am not saying that I am stopping blogging in any way, I am simply trying to offer an explanation as to why I haven't been blogging for the past week and why I perhaps will miss the odd post day or week in the future.

For now though, at least for the next week or so there will be a limited amount of posts and I can only apologize for that. In a way, its also a form of bloggers block - I can't think of any content that I can find really enjoyable to write, and for you to read. I want to experiment with lots of different types of posts this year to expand my blog and gain new readerships and experiences. I want to try a bit of beauty, maybe some fashion but I still want to continue my lifestyle posts.

While there will be limited posts, I am going to be changing the layout and design of my blog a bit, just a little at a time but I quite want a new, fresh design for you and myself to look at. Please bear with me on this small issue, I will be back soon and meanwhile there will be the odd post or two to keep you occupied!

Have you ever felt like this? How did you manage, and deal with it?

p.s: sorry if this post made no sense - I do like to keep things moderately professional on this blog but I thought I owed you an explanation as to why I have been away!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ways To Never Fail At Making Cakes


Countless amount of times I have heard people complain at their baking fails and disasters so I decided to put together a little list of tips to help guarantee a better cake, and hopefully get more people into baking! I am not saying I am a cake expert by any means, I just enjoy baking and thought I would share my experiences and tips with you all.

Don't overmix.
Sounds simple, but lots of people feel the need to make sure every little bit of mixture is well mixed together, when they really don't need to. Overmixing can cause your cake to become more dense, and ruin the taste. For a light, fluffy cake, keep it to the minimum - stir until all the mixture is the same colour, then stop.

Choose a tried and tested recipe.
If you have a recipe that your Gran has been using for years and it hasn't gone wrong yet, that might be a good place to start. Alternatively you could head to the internet, but make sure to read the ratings and the comments. I always like to do this to see if anyone has any tips or recommendations for the recipe. Obviously if the recipe hasn't got good feedback or ratings, my advice would be don't attempt to bake it. Head to another popular recipe instead, where there is more chance of it working.

If you use toppings, make sure the flavours taste nice together.
I always like to include some sort of topping on my cakes, caster/icing sugar for Victoria Sponges, Nutella for chocolate cakes, but if I am going to experiment with new flavours I always like to test out the different combinations to find out what goes well with the cake. Try to match ingredients if possible, i.e chocolate cake has a chocolatey topping.

Use the right ingredients.
Usually if a recipe says to include a ingredient, it means it. I tried countless times to use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar until I finally realised that it was never going to work! Occasionally you can substitute a ingredient for a better one, but the majority of the time the recipe already includes the best ingredients for the cake.

Try, Try, and Try again.
No one is a cake master on their first attempt, so the only way to get better is to practise your cake making skills regularly. Get friends and family to try your cakes, and ask them for honest opinions. If there is someone that is good at baking living close by, why not ask them to come and help you and maybe give you a few tips on techniques etc.

Can you bake well? What are your baking tips?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

For A More Productive Day


Everyone gets those days where everything that could go wrong, goes wrong - myself no exception. For me, this is mostly caused by lack of organisation, as I like to keep everything on track with homework and blog posts etc. However, what I have found that helps me reduce the amount of these days is to attempt this little list to keep me more organised and prepared for everyday challenges, which helps with my focus towards tasks.

- Plan your day ahead
I wrote a post about keeping organised here, and I am still trying to stick to this technique. I find this so much easier to keep track of everything going on with your life, and I find that I enjoy each event and moment more, as I don't have to worry about what I am going to do next.

- Prioritize your to-do list
I have a bad tendency to do all the tasks I find fun first, and put the tasks I don't enjoy aside until the very last minute. This is something I would like to change, as I always find that after all the fun things are over, there is nothing left to look forward to. Prioritizing also is useful for deadlines, always do the projects that are due in first, then work your way forwards. It may sound simple, but you would be surprised at how many people do the opposite!

- Remember that it's okay to have a break sometimes.
I like to remember the quote "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Yes, you may want to get all of that work done and dusted to enjoy the weekend ahead, but your brain can only focus well for about one hour at a time. My advice is to take regular breaks of around 15 minutes every hour or so, to give your brain chance to refresh itself.

- Decide when you are going to tackle each task and stick to it.
Having a simple routine in order really helps and motivates you to accomplish the task. I recommend to plan it out the week ahead, and leave gaps for short-notice challenges, instead of cramming them into one evening.

- To keep a clear mind, keep your workspace tidy.
I try to do all of my work at my desk, which is where my laptop is and all of my essential stationery is kept. This is the place that I keep tidy all the time, as a tidy workspace leads to a clear mind. I have also decorated my desk to make it feel more personal, and just added a pretty canvas above it. I don't have to worry about this, as I already have a minimalist style, but I would recommend that you try to keep things fairly simple decoratively wise, as you don't want your workspace to actually distract you from doing work!

- Eliminate all distractions like your phone, games or social media
To really just focus on your work, take away all of the distractions you have while you are working. I am trying to do this now while I am working, as it really helps me tick off all of my tasks. I tend to leave my phone and IPod at the other side of the room, and turn them off so I don't get distracted by the notifications. The only thing I do keep open is my emails, as I like to respond to people as quick as possible, and this can be accessed on my laptop.

- Have a good nights sleep and wake up early
To wake up early feeling refreshed and ready to work, you need to have at least 8 hours of sleep a night. To help get to sleep quicker, turn off all electronic devices a hour or so before you plan on going to bed to help shut down your brain and get sleepy. If you are stuck for entertainment, read a book! Try to stick to a physical copy, and if you have a Kindle or reading device, turn the brightness down so it doesn't activate your brain!

What tips do you have to have a productive day?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Launching Twenty-One Designs


Remember at the very beginning of January, when one of my hopes for 2015 was to open a design shop? Well, Emily, Abby and myself have been working on a little design shop the last month or so, and we are launching as of today! We offer pre-made templates, custom designs and single elements to your blogs.

Over the time of blogging, all three of us must have seen over 400 blogs, so we can observe what makes a good blog design, and how we can improve some. We each have different designing styles; minimalist, creative and girly, which is great as we can decide who is best for each customer. Also, guess what? All the designs are free! I could go on and on about Twenty-One Designs, but I will let you explore our shop, and I can't wait to hear what you readers say!