Hi!

Halloween is one of my favourite holidays! I just love the creativity, the fantastic costumes, the make believe - it's like being a kid all over again!

When I was a kid I loved Halloween, spooky costumes and trick-or-treating was the highlight of my year, and as I've grown up not much has changed and this year is no exception!

I'm still busting to celebrate, but this time I'm taking the more relaxed approach with a day of decorating, a night of horror movies, and of course a pumpkin full of sweets ready for the trick-or-treaters.

If like me you're expecting a night in on Halloween I've put together a few quick and simple ideas to make your night a little more festive, so here there are:

Pumpkin decorating
Frankenstein Mint Chocolate chip Muffins
Hot Chocolate Cauldrons
and
Pumpkin face masks

Pumpkins!




As is tradition you can always keep to the classics and carve your pumpkins, but if you'd like to try something a little more mess free and just as creative you can do all sorts of things to decorate your pumpkins. I've seen a amazing range of glitter pumpkins on Pinterest, but this year I decided to give painting my pumpkins a go. I picked a selection of Autumnal Metallic paints from Poundland and painted my pumpkins into simple but festive patterns. They look great for Halloween but will last all the way through to Christmas as a great centre piece for any room.
You can still go ahead and carve your pumpkins too if you love that candle glow but be sure to keep some of those pumpkins innards (not the seeded bits) we're going to need that for our face masks!

Frankenstein Mint Chocolate chip Muffins




These are so simple but they'll make the perfect accompaniment to your Chocolate cauldrons! Using your favourite chocolate muffin recipe or my simple recipe below, making up a batch of muffins but add in some Aero mint chocolates for little green minty bubbles and make a butter icing sugar with peppermint extract and green food colouring.

My quick and simple recipe:
120g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
1 large egg
70g golden caster sugar
2tbsp vegetable oil
100ml milk

Icing: 250g icing sugar
75g butter (add more to gain the consistency you like)
green food colouring
1tsp peppermint extract

Pre-heat your oven to 160C.
Add all your cake ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Break up your mint Aero into generous chunks and mix carefully into cake batter avoiding crushing chocolate to much (you want big chunks) and divide into roughly 6 muffin cases. Cook in the over for around 20minutes until tops break and skewer comes out clean.

Then leave on a rack to cool and Ice! Easy but super delicious!


Hot Chocolate Cauldrons




I'm going to be using a super easy hot mocha cocoa recipe from my Christmas gift ideas 2013 which you can find here, but you can use your favourite blend if you like! To give your hot chocolate that little Halloween touch you can make quick and simple themed cutouts for the sides of your mug , ghosts or pumpkins are of course classics! I've used this Black mug I spotted in Morrison's which makes the perfect cauldron and added witches pentagram and handles to the side of mine for extra effect. And for that final touch I've used a long handled teaspoon to stir the cauldron and added burnt marshmallow ghosts and chocolate eyes (all from Poundland again!).

Pumpkin face masks




Time for that pumpkin flesh we put aside - that sounds suitably Halloween like.

You're going to need around 150g but don't worry too much about weighing it out, just pop whatever you've got in a pan to boil for about 20-30 minutes until soft, then strain the water and once cool blend until smooth. Don't worry if you have any lumps it will just add to your Halloween mask!
Then add a tsp of raw honey and a tbsp of milk (you can' swap this for soy, almond, or coconut) and mix well.

Smooth all over the face, feel it tingle, then sit back and relax with your cauldron and cake for 20-30 minutes.
Time to press play on that scary movie - don't forget to turns the lights off or it's just cheating!

This face mask is full of vitamins and great for your skin, and great for most skins types. If you're more acne or blemish prone you can add a little cranberry juice or cider vinegar which will do your skin wonders.
Don't forget to wash it off with warm water and moisturise as usual!!

So there are my four easy ways to add a little Halloween to your Friday night. Whatever your plans I hope you have a lovely time.

Bye for now!!

*I've been having problems uploading photos so I take no credit for the photos in this post - hopefully mine will be up before the end of the day! :(
I'm in the UK!

The last time I blogged (too long ago) I was on my way to a reunion in Americas beautiful backyard.
Well time has passed and it turn out I'm not so good at keeping on top of the blog while gallivanting around the world.
It would seem that keeping your camera battery charged, and taking an external hard drive are pretty fundamental to the whole process - lessons for the next trip!

Luckily I kept writing so I've got a stock pile of travelling adventures I'd really like to share so I've decided to publish them bit by bit. That way I can keep to the usual mix of posts and when I'm feeling nostalgic I can revisit some of my adventures and share them with you.

Today, I'm going to share the next stage of my adventures to move on nicely from my last post and to finish my current travel stint on a high. This was one of the most special and meaningful parts of my American adventures - my Eureka Springs Reunion.



After two weeks of hostel hopping, New York adventures and meetings some of the loveliest travels of all my trip, I jumped on a plane and strode into the unknown on my own for the first time outside Europe. I was so full of emotions - Angst, sadness, nerves, excitement, joy!

I was sad to be leaving New York and all the incredible moments I'd shared with my newly found friends there, but also the excitement of finally reuniting with one of the only true friends I've ever had for the first time after she left Wales almost 4 years ago.

We meet few people in life we can truly rely on throughout it all and Hannah is one of those girls. She's played such a special part of my life and we've shared things I've never shared with anyone before, she's just a beautiful person in and out.


Together, we spent a blissful week. We didn't rise early, we didn't have wild nights, we just were. Seven wonderful days of happiness, togetherness and a special bond that lasts for miles, years and forever.

And if the week wasn't anymore perfect, Hannah lives (and works her cotton socks off) in the beautiful American countryside otherwise known as Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Now you will here plenty of stories about Arkansas, and from my experience I can assure you it's a very different world, but there's something undeniable in the beauty of the scenery, the wildlife and the joys of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Reserve, where I spent my days that will draw my back time and time again.


This was a real shop...the little bunnies roamed around the shop & handed you your change at the till...I'm not even kidding...


























The reserve such an incredible place to be, and somewhere I wish I could tell you so much more about! The staff and volunteers there work phenomenally hard to rescue, nourish, nurture, and care for big cats for the rest of their lives. Most of these cats come from places of abuse and neglect and to see the effort and love that goes into giving them a new life moved me to tears.
On top of all that, what more could you ask for than to wake up and fall asleep to the sound of big cats calling out to each other through the bush...it's just incredible...

I'm going to miss the country, the cats and my best friend,
but knowing I'll be seeing them again soon I'm also glad to be home.

Travelling the US has opened my mind to the world, but also shown me just how much I also have here at home. I've come back so grateful for everything the UK offers and I'm very thankful for the life I've had. It's been a two month learning curve and I've learnt so so much about myself I was to truly make the most of life.

If you ever get the opportunity to travel solo...do it!
xx
Airport Diaries #3

I'm definitely not in New York Anymore!

Hello!

So I’m on the second leg of my journey across America. In many ways I’m glad to be leaving New York and at the same time I’m really going to miss it. Never have I had such an experience that was New York. I don’t think I will ever get over the size of the city, the hustle of the people, and the calm (-er) of the suburbs.

This time yesterday I was eager to leave, I felt two weeks had seen me well, I’d experienced a lot of what the city has to offer both by day and by night, I’d seen the sights and enjoyed the city scenery of Time Square and the greenery of Central Park and met some amazing and fascinating people from all over the globe.

But as I now sit in Chicago Airport having already flown from Newark NY and waiting for my connection to Fayetteville, Arkansas I’m truly missing those people I’ve met behind. I wish for this reason more than most that I had more time to spend and share with some of the wonderful people I’ve met and enjoyed these travels with, but still I look forward in eagerness to the next addition to my journey.

In three hours I will be landing in Fayetville to a greeting by a long lost friend. We met four years ago for only a brief time but luckily for me we have kept a strong connection since and she has remained a dear friend of mine. So several years overdue here I am finally off to see her again, meet her friends and family and indulge in yet another cultural experience.

So mixed emotions indeed, but the more I write the more excited I feel for this next step in my journey.


I can’t wait!
Just a short while ago a friend of mine introduce me to a wonderful initiative that I just can't avoid getting involved with...

The Pay It Forward Initiative

The world can often be a less than nice place. Within each of our individual worlds there is so often things going on that are completely out of our control, things that can be challenging or difficult to cope with.

But with just a little kindness we can hopefully make a difference, however small, to each others lives. So with that in mind comes the Pay it forward initiative.

How it works - The first five people who respond to this blog post with "I'm In" will receive a surprise from me at some point during the next calendar year.

It could be a letter, a book, a ticket, a treat, something homemade...anything!

There will be no warning and I'll do it at a moment when the inspiration takes me, and will hopefully, bring you a little happiness.

Once you comment on this blog with "I'm In" make sure you leave a link to your twitter or some form of social media so I can' contact you and then if you have a blog too, create a post yourself inviting five people to say "I'm In" as well (please leave a link back to this post, letting people know who's paying it forward to you, and everyone who follows can do the same in turn). Let's see how far we can spread the joy!

What more of a reason do we need but to make another person smile.

I really hope you'll want to join in too and together we can bring a little happiness into each others lives.
Hello again!

Yesterday I posted what was meant to be the final edition to my New York Travels but with too many photos to include, I've added a New York finale post with just the last few of the photos I wanted to share...

What an incredible city she is...



 I think this was an extension of the love lock bridges in Paris! (I wrote a little about them on my travels to France. You can find it here)

More of the impressive grafitti across Brooklyn

The most delicious food in the world!

The original Pooh bear and Piglet!!


The views as we took a sunset ferry to the statue of liberty

 

It's been an incredible trip in New York but now I have to say goodbye as I'm on my way to my next adventure. Thank you for the memories!

Bye for now!
xx
Brooklyn USA


So the last but longest leg of my New York journey as arrived!

I've really enjoyed all my time in New York from the local cuisine (pizza and bagels) to the sites and tourism to exploring each and every corner of this incredible city.

I'm still yet to decide if it's really a place I could live, but its a place I'm glad I've been. I don't think you can fully appreciate New York without trying it out for yourself!


 Walking Brooklyn bridge!



Catching X-factor rehearsals at Radio City! 



Central Park - Just about my favourite place in NY


Just one snippet of the incredible Grafitti you can find all over Brooklyn 


  


A final goodbye with some of the best <3

And of course I can't forget the wonderful people I've met during my travels here. I'm so glad we chose to spend our last week in New York at the New York Loft Hostel in Brooklyn. It had such a great vibe and with people, particularly solo traveller arriving from all over the world we had the opportunity to meet, and make new friends from ever corner of the globe.

I've made friendships I hope to keep for a very long time, and I think that, has been the best part of my whole trip.

I had too many photos to share so this is just a few of them and I'll do one final post to show you the rest tomorrow, but Brooklyn was by far my favourite place. Most of these photos are from my travels while I stayed in New York so they are not limited to Brooklyn, but I just loved the vibe, the bars, the cafe, the whole area is really unique and somewhere I'd recommend every New York trip should include!

Until the final instalment!

p.s. Don't forget to read New York #1 & #2 if you haven't already!

Bye!



























We’ve moved!

Since my last post (which you can catchup on here) I’ve moved to the Meatpacking district in Chelsea. After the hustle and bustle of Time square, being here has been a blissful retreat! It was definitely a must do to see the big city and experience all the lights, but truth be told I was so happy to be moving into a more relaxed area.

Chelsea is fantastic; I can definitely imagine me living here. The area still has plenty of people and things to do, but the pace is just so much slower and you can walk around without being shoved by busy passers by or getting stuck in mile long queues of people.

If you’re ever in New York, I would highly recommend coming to stay in this area if you get the chance. There’s a lot on to offer from the Chelsea Market where you can pick up your groceries while browsing through the vintage stalls, boutique sellers and racks of sample sales, to the highline – a rescued train line that originally ran through the heights of the buildings that has now been converted into a stunning garden park, right up above the roof tops where you can relax, take a stroll, have a picnic and admire the views. There’s also a range of lovely restaurants and cafes where you can pick up pretty much any sort of cuisine you fancy, and some great bars and clubs to finish of the night.

Some of the clubs are definitely in the pricier range with strict dress codes, but if you’re like me and happy looking for somewhere to chill after a long day, there’s also some great hidden places with a relaxed chilled vibes, and plenty of roof top bars which I loved.

While I’ve been here I also took in a tour (official tourist here!) of both the uptown and downtown parts of New York. It was the one thing on my list I have to admit I wanted to avoid, but I have to admit now I’ve done it I’m really glad I did. I got to get a real feel for the different districts of New York pretty quickly and work out just where I’d like to visit and the shops, restaurants and activities I wanted to check out – so not a wasted pass time at all.

On the tour we also got to stop off wherever we wanted to I was able to check out Hard Rock cafĂ©, the Yankee stadium, some amazing Catherdrals and churches, and Ground Zero which was an incredible experience - I’m going to be writing up a post all about it very soon.

Once again still having a great time in New York, and loving Chelsea but my next stop is just around the corner.

Find out how I’m getting on in Brooklyn very soon!

Bye for now!
xx
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