Hello!


Last week I made some homemade fruit pastille as a sneaky treat to myself.

Luckily for me they are (almost) guilt free. I love the idea of making my own sweets. Not only are they delicious but I can rest my mind knowing they are additive, preservative and sweetener free - just yummy natural fruity goodness.

I'm going to share this simple recipe for Summer berry fruit pastille, but I hope you have a lot of fun experimenting with it and trying different fruit combinations.
Nectarine, Peach, or blackberry also work a treat!

All you're going to need are 4 simple ingredients:

Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Strawberries & raspberries - 225g
Liquid Pectin - 15g
200g caster sugar

You'll also need a generous helping of granulated sugar for finishing.

You'll also need:
 A heavy set saucepan
A plastic spatula
A cooking thermometer
Fine mesh sieve
10cm square baking tin - greased with sunflower oil and lined with cling film (be sure to cover all the edges)

This should make about 20-25 sweets

1. First you're going to want to clean the fruit and quarter the strawberries. Then transfer these to your saucepan with a tablespoon of caster sugar and half a tablespoon of lemon juice and leave on a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved and fruit has softened.



2. Now you want to take the fruit of the stove and push through a fine sieve to remove all the seeds and measure the weight of the puree.

3. Pour 200g of puree back into your (clean) saucepan, adding the remaining sugar and over a low heat allow all the sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil and keeping an eye on the thermometer and simmer slowly until mixture reaches 107°C. Be sure to stir regularly to avoid any sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the remaining lemon juice and pectin to the mixture, whisk well and stirring frequently allow the temperature to reach 107°C again. To check the mixture has reach setting point drop half a teaspoon of mixture into a glass of cold water. If it's ready it should set into a soft ball, if not cook for a further few minutes stirring frequently.

5. Pour the mixture into your baking tin and leave to cool. When cold cover with cling film and leave over night.




6. Finally all you'll need to do is evenly cover a chopping board in granulated sugar and carefully turn the slab out onto the board. Press the slab lightly into the sugar on both sides, and cut it with a greased kitchen knife or small greased cookie cutters. Be sure to cover all the edges in the sugar and tada! Homemade fruit pastille.


Stored in a sealed container and separated with baking paper, these should keep for two weeks.



I hope you like them and enjoy trying out new flavours.

Let me know in the comments below or send me a photo on twitter if you try these I'd love to see how you get on.

Until next time

Bye for now
xx

Top tip 1: Be sure to wear protective gloves as the pan and mixture will reach very high temperatures - I know from experiences.
Top tip 2: If you don't have a fine mesh sieve, using a tea strainer and pushing through with a teaspoon will work perfectly.
Top tip 3: Make sure you use a heavy based saucepan. Heavy based saucepans reduce the chance of sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan which would ruin the delicious fruity flavour.
Top tip 4: If you have one use a plastic spatula. This will make it much easier to get around all the edges of the pan and avoid any mixture sticking and burning.
Top tip 5: If your puree is less than 200g don't worry! As a rule use equal amounts of sugar and puree (e.g. 100g puree - 100g caster sugar) and measure out more or less pectin respectively.
Top tip 6: Use the same instructions to make all sorts of fruity flavours. My favourite is nectarine, but why not try peach and vanilla pod?



Hello!

If you're a lover a craft and anything like me you'll have a list of ideas, or a Pinterest wall as long as your arm of craft projects and ideas set aside for times you can fit them onto that to-do list.

Lucky for me I'm off to France for 9 days next month to holiday with my little cousins so I'm taking full advantage of the opportunity to splurge on new crafting supplies.

While I'm away I'm hoping to knock off some of the child friendly projects on my list.

Almost all of these items I was able to find in discount stores such as poundland or the works but everything else was bought either on offer or at a very good price from local craft shops or stationary shops such as WHSmiths.

Here's what I've picked up so far:


So here's some of the tools! As you might be able to tell some of these have already been put to use.
Scissors & Tape | £1 each from Poundland (who'd a thunk it?!) 

UHU minis | 99p from The Works (perfect for travelling)
80's Glam Sharpies | An absolute bargain at just £6.99 from WHSmiths. 

I know it says £16.99 on the label, but they have an offer on at the moment that you can buy these for just £6.99 with any stationary purchase. Bargain! I picked up a 23p Bic biro just so I could get these! So happy!


and the fun part, buttons, stickers and bits and bobs.

All alphabet stickers | £1 each from Poundland
Large Paperclips | £1.99 WHSmiths
Flower heads | £1 The Works
Crafts Bows and Purple Butterflies | £1 each from The Works
Plain wooden buttons & Bronze shimmer stickers | £1.99 each from my local craft shop
Black hair grips | £1 from Poundland
Decorated buttons | £1 each from The Works
Clean zone drawer liner (30 x 150 cm) | £1 from Poundland

I know a few items (Hello there drawer liners!) might seem a little odd but trust me they all have a (hopefully) awesome purpose.

I'm so excited to get started on some of the projects that have been picking up dust in the back of my mind so I'll be sure to share them with you - the successes and the failures!

If you have any great craft ideas for little girls let me know in the comments below, I want to go out there with as many options as possible!

Thanks for stopping by!
xx
Aloha!

Today has been such a wonderful day. I woke up thinking today was very much going to be a wasted day. The clouds were looming, its was hot and sticky (lovely) and my energy was sapped, but following a phone call from my Dad I was reminded about the Aberystwyth carnival today and things quickly went from rubbish to awesome!

After a quick bit of breakfast and the arrival of my Dad we were off on the long walk from my house to the harbour to take in some fresh air and enjoy the festivities.

I'm quite proud of my little town. Although the carnival can't compete with those of bigger cities it's been getting better and bigger every year.

We had a love stroll, had a little dance with the samba band, and enjoyed some nice farmers market style pies.



The cave children looking very busy with there cave business I think!

The little stall where we got our delicious curry pie lunch.
The seagull who tried to steal said lunch...not this time mister. 



It was sad to see this float didn't get more funding, but very glad to see it roll by. 
The poor elephant who had a dodgy back wheel. I was routing for you!
Sadly not the best bunch of photos from the day but I stand by the fact I was simply too busy enjoying myself to take photos - that's a good enough excuse right?!
Whatever you do this weekend I hope it makes you smile.

Bye for now!
xx

Hello!

Where has the time gone? I can't believe I've got this far. I had no idea how committed I would be to blogging when I started. I think it was just meant to be an outlet, something to give my life a bit more focus and a responsibility for but I never knew how much I would dedicate to it and I'm so much happier for it.

Blogging thus far, has been an amazing experience. I've learnt so much about myself and the blogging community, and I've met and spoken with so many incredible and interesting people from all walks of life and all parts of the world.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog, to all of you who've subscribed on bloglovin' and to all the wonderful people Ive met and spoken to - you've brought a lot of happiness into my life.

As a congratulations to myself and to celebrate making it this far I got busy in the kitchen and made myself some homemade sweets - fruit pastilles to be exact!

I found this vintage box in a charity shop and I though it would just be the perfect old fashioned box for my yummy old fashioned sweets! 


You can make fruit pastilles with pretty much any fruit, but berries and in season fruits are always the best. I chose Nectarine because thats my favourite summer fruit and I absolutely love the results. They are so yummy and part of the goodness is definitely that I've made them completely from scratch. They are still sugary but having made them in my little kitchen I know they are additive free and all the sweetness is completely natural = Guilt free treats!


The best thing about these is just how quick and easy they are to make!
If you'd like to learn how to make them yourself please let me know in the comments below and I'll put up a recipe very soon!

Thanks again to everyone who's been so so wonderful.
Bye for now!
xx
Hello!

So if the title doesn't give it away I graduated! I've already spoken about this in my last two posts, so I think I've said just about enough but wanted to do this final post to share with you just a little about the day and of course some lovely snaps.





After some help from fellow bloggers, who gave some lovely compliments on my chosen outfit for the day on here and on twitter, getting ready on the day was panic free and I was ready to go in about 40 minutes makeup and all (not bad!).

My brother turned up as a surprised which was lovely and to top it off we were able to get him a ticket so I have my Dad, sister and brother all in the audience - they are wonderful!

We then had rehearsal (where I was chosen to be the postgraduate practise model - embarrassing!), and went for professional photos and gowns before the actually ceremony at 3pm.

I can promise you by this point in the afternoon it was honestly the hottest day of the year - as the weather man had promised. It made for a lovely day but was NOT good when you have to wear a heavy black gown all day, things got sticky.

Anyway then came the ceremony, and as I was the only person in my class I had to accept my degree on stage and had my own little round of applause from the audience. It was a very special, if awkward, moment but to top it off the little did I know the Vice-Chancellor had known my Mum, so out of the blue she said how proud she knew my Mum would have been. I was thinking of Mum throughout the whole day but to have her mentioned there on stage with me was a very special moment.

After the ceremony we have a departmental meeting, with snacks and of course Pimms. I got to see my colleagues and friends but after just a short while I slipped out to head home and relax in the comfort of my home surrounded by the people I love - my favourite way to celebrate.

The whole day was exhausting but I'm so glad I did it. If you graduated to I hope you had a wonderful day or if you have any questions about the process let me know in the comments below and I'd be happy to answer any questions.



Now on to the next chapter of my life.
xx

Hello!

Well I’ve graduated! My academic studies are definitely over for the moment and life is taking over.

With such perfect timing, I thought there was no better opportunity than now to fulfil some of those life long dreams that get left on the back burner.

Now the sun is out I’ve wandered down to the beach and write this from the sandy shores under the warmth of the setting sun (lovely). I’ve put together some things together that I hope to accomplish before the sun disappears for another year. I’ve never written a summer wishlist before so I look forward to seeing how far through I can get.

Cue Summer wishlist!

·      See California
·      Visit my dear dear friend Hannah in Iowa
·      Watch a show on Broadway (New York, New York!)
·      Attend my first acting class
·      Make my first solo adventure overseas (Bonjour Paris!)
·      Couch surf for the first time
·      Get rid of all the clutter!
·      Work on my EP
·      Start surfing again
·      Get the blog in full swing, with a new layout and design.

Some of these may seem simple to others but for me this would make such an incredible impact on my life.

Now I read them maybe this should be a 2014 list not a summer list because few of them require sun, but as this summer is my first free summer in too many years I’m going to take full advantage of it.

I'll keep the list updated and hopefully as the summer goes on we'll see lots of these getting crossed off!

Do you have any plans this summer?
Whatever you do I hope you enjoy it!


Thanks for stopping by!
Hello!

I'm super lucky! For those of you who don't know until just recently I was studying for an Masters of Philosophy in Psychology. It's been a long road but on Friday 27th June I handed in my final submission.

Still, it wasn't over yet. When you submit a thesis for a postgraduate qualification like and MPhil or PhD you don't get graded, you either get the degree - or you don't. A scary prospect. But just 3 days after my submission I received an e-mail from my examiners saying they had accepted my thesis and they were awarding my my MPhil! It was the best feeling in the word. 

The down side was that I'd passed the deadline to register for graduation and would have to wait until August 2015 to graduate.

But lucky for me it all got pushed through and this time yesterday I received this e-mail:

"Dear Student,

Congratulations on qualifying for graduation!

You will need to register for your graduation ceremony at 3pm on 17th July..."

I made it!!

So with only three days to go and no ideas what to wear I had to think fast.

I know a lot of people would usually buy something new for graduation but I'm afraid this will be my 3rd graduation and it's gets a bit expensive if you're doing it all the time. So to the wardrobe I went to see what I can scrounge up for a nice graduation outfit.

This is was I chose:

 (Meanwhile the builders on the roof next door have sat down with a cup of tea to watch - could not be more distracting!)

I'm in love with these shoes from ASOS. Not only are they so comfortable, but I think the cut out sides and cross over straps are so feminine and flattering.


I really love this two piece from Warehouse.

I think it's so versatile I can wear it from day straight into night, and I love that it's a two piece so the skirt and top can be worn separately to make others outfits too.

I've gone for a really minimal natural make up and opted for no jewellery because I think this two piece pattern is already quite a statement. I haven't yet decided on hair though. Up? Down? I think I want something simple again but maybe something braided? Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions!

Also let me know in the comments below if you're graduating this year, and in advance let me say

"Congratulations!!"

Bye for now!
xx
Hello!


This month I've been treating myself to some of the Freebies lining the magazine shelves. In all honesty I'm not a magazine reader, but there were freebies I really wanted to try and at the price of a magazine it was completely worth it.

The magazines have also gone into my craft collection for an upcoming project - waste not want not!

This months freebies have been awesome, it was hard not to buy them all up!
(Confession 1 - I was embarrassed to by so many magazines I did have to do it in two trips!Confession 2 - Yes, I did have to buy two copies of Marie Claire for the cleanser and moisturiser. Completely worth it!)

So here's the ones I bought:


Clinique - High impact mascara (in Glamour, worth £7.50.)
Radial - Stemcell super-food glam balm LIP (in Red, worth £19)
Balance me daily essentials - Cleanse and smooth face balm
Balance me daily essentials - Moisture rich face cream (both in Marie Claire, together worth £25)
Neal's Yard Remedies - Geranium & Orange hand cream (in InStyle magazine, worth £10)

I had to estimate the price of the Clinique mascara as there was a selection of four products worth £30 in total, so a little math and I went for £7.50. Please let me know if you know the actual value of this.
A nice variety if I do say so myself!

I'm so pleased with my little collection. At a cost of £12.90 for the magazines, I've bagged myself £61.50 in samples, and a nice variety of new products to try.

I would have loved to pick up one of the Clinique chubby sticks which were available with Glamour this month, but for the life of me I couldn't find one anywhere in my town.

Still, I'm really pleased with my selection.

So far I'm yet to try the cleanser and moisturiser but my fingers are crossed. I usually have quite oily skin, but of late my skin has been really dry first thing in the morning so it'll be great to have a dry/normal skin option in my collection for those days when I need a bit more moisture in my skin.
I also got the Balance Me eye cream in my July Birchbox (you can read about it here) that I'm really enjoying. It's not the best eye cream I've ever had but for a more cost effective option I'm liking it. It's definitely cooling on the skin and definitely reduces any puffiness first thing in the morning, so hopefully the new cleanser and moisturiser will be good too.

I'm also really happy with the hand cream. I have some terrible skin allergies and my hands are the most affected place so finding hands creams that don't cause me any pain or discomfort is almost impossible but this Neal's Yard Remedies hand cream is doing wonders for my dry skin. The fragrance is quite intense in the tube, but has a lovely warming scent on the skin.

I'm loving the Clinique mascara. I love Clinique, and although I don't own very many of their products the ones I have I love. This mascara offers a lot of volume and as it says on the label Impact! I'll definitely be investing in a full size when this one runs out, but in the mean time it's ideal for my upcoming travels!

I'm undecided on the Radial glam-balm. I've tried a few plumping lip balms and to date I think my favourite is the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer. Although it doesn't provide any permanent effects for me, I'm confident that it does increase the plumpness of my lips during use, and if I do the 21 day night treatment it does have lasting effects for a week or so afterwards. However I've not yet seen any improvements from using the Radial lip balm. The balm is definitely very moisturising and leaves my lips feelings soft and nourished throughout the day but I'm yet to visibly see any increase in lip size or feel that famous "tingling" that lip plumpers so often have. We'll wait and see on this one.

If you're interested in lip plumpers and would like to see a comparison or review of the products I've used so far let me know in the comments and I'll do one very soon.

I definitely won't be doing this every month because I'm just not a magazine person but for a summer treat I'm so pleased with my spend.

I hope you've managed to pick up a few of the lovely freebies on offer this month!

Until next time!
xx



Hi guys!

I wasn't going to post this months Birchbox because in all honesty I'm not that happy with it. But having a search around on other blogs I found that everyone had one again given glowing reviews, so I thought I'd throw my hand in with my honest review.

I was a little disappointed this month. There are definitely a few products I really like but I think they kind of missed the mark on some of the others.

I feel like the box really fell short this month so first this is what I got:

Sorry about the photo - it was getting dark and couldn't for the life of me find the balance me - update tomorrow!
Weleda Millet Nourishing shampoo | £8.95
Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream | £20
LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Pencil in Menatour | £14
Whish Three Wishes Lavender Body Butter | £14.50
Gilchrist & Soames English Spa Kelp Extract Mineral Bath | £11.25
Vita Coco Natural Coconut Water in Lemonade | £2.29

There are two/three products that I'm really happy with.

The Balance Me wonder eye cream - I love the other balance me products so I'm looking forward to using this. I already have some favourite eye creams like the Bobbi brown extra eye repair cream, but coming in a £44 a pop it's on the pricey side so if I can find something cheaper for days when my skins doing quite well and for travel etc that would be great - fingers crossed!

The Gilchrist & Soames engilish spa mineral bath. I've used some Gilcrhist body washes and bath products before which I really love love love so this was great as I've not tried it yet and can't wait to give it a go.

And I think the Weleda shampoo will be worth trying to. I've not tried any Weleda products before (although I've known about the brand for a while) so this is a new one for me. The shampoo is natural and organic which gets a big thumbs up in my books and I'm always looking for new nourishing shampoos and my hair can start to look damaged really quickly.

The other products I was not so happy with. I've not heard of Whish before (although maybe you have?) but the packaging curtainly doesn't excite me in anyway and I have to admit I'm really not a big lavender fan. This might turn out to be an OK product, but I'm starting to feel like I get a body butter or body moisturiser in every single box - I'd like to try other products too...
Saying all that it does say on the tube "Paraben free. Sulfate free. DEA and TEA free. Petrochemical free. Naturally sourced and organic ingredients", which would normally win big points in my books so I'll give it a try before I completely right it off...it just didn't do anything for me.

The coconut water was also disappointing. Mostly because I noticed other bloggers getting skin care or beauty/health type products instead and I feel in comparison getting a coconut water is a bit of a bum deal. That and I hate lemonade so other than giving this to my sister this was really a pointless item for me.

And lastly, for those of you who don't have Birchbox, when you sign up you can fill in a beauty profile. In this profile you get to give them a little information about yourself; what products would you most like to receive, what skin tone do you have, do you have dry/medium/oily skin, hair type etc...
I think this is a great idea (in theory) so each customer gets products that are as best suitable as possible to those they would benefit from, but with this in mind I'm totally confused why I would get the bright pink/purple lip pencil which would just look awful with my complexion! This pencil came in two colours - the pink or a more neutral coral colour which I would have much preferred.

So that's my thoughts on this months Birchbox. Although I wasn't going to share, I think it's equally important to give bad reviews as good reviews so if you ever want to sign up in the future you have a better impression of what to expect.

I normally fall in love with my Birchbox products, so this month was an unlucky selection. Fingers crossed for the future that things go back their normal goodness!

If you got a Birchbox this month did you get the same or different products to me? And what were your overall thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by xx
Hi!

Today's post is a little unusual for me, but instead of offering advice or experience I'd like to ask for yours.

I've recently been offered an opportunity to have a main role in a web series. It all sounded really exciting, the story line was interesting, I loved the characters, but after really looking into the background of the company I lost faith.

I won't name them but basically most of the cast are significantly younger than me (all above 18), as are the company partners, and from what I've taken from their various social media outlets this series has been 'in the making' for sometime now. In reality, it doesn't seem to have really made any progress. From the research I've done the series was started in 2012, a few scenes were shot and then it all tapered off. However, between then and now a lot of announcements went out about the up coming episodes, such as "we'll be uploading a new episode every Friday from now" "check out the latest bloopers" "head to the website to see the first episode up tomorrow" "here's the trailer", "here's the NEW trailer"....All of these announcements have been spread out over the last few years, but nothing seems to have come from it.

So I wanted to ask your advice. If you have experience in drama or film that would be great but I'd really like to hear all your opinions.

I'm getting the impression that one of two things could be happening.
1) That actually things have been off and on in the past but the company are finally really focusing on this series and want to make it a complete success,
or
2) The company aren't really taking it very seriously or committing to the project, so any time spent might be wasted time.

I've always been of the opinion that any opportunity is a great opportunity, but in all honest I'm wondering if I should take the decision to leave this one in pursuit of better opportunities to dedicate my time to.

I'd really appreciate any thoughts or advice you might have.

Thanks for stopping by!

xx
Hello there!

Source
Now I know what you're thinking. Ooh a special someone? Romance maybe?
Well actually this post is about something just a little different. What I really want to talk about is friendship. That person you can always confide in. The person you tell all your secrets, they know all about you - you're likes, your dislikes, your weaknesses, your strengths, and with all that knowledge they love you for being you. That person you share your everything with and feel connected to.

When you're the new girl it can be so difficult to meet people. It can be even harder to find friends, especially people you feel close to when you don't know anybody!

I recently returned to my home town. I never thought it would become this permanent but here I am two years later and it doesn't look to be changing anytime soon. When I left some 7 years ago, like so many people I lost contact with most of the people I knew from home. So coming back here was a very daunting prospect and since then I've not really found that person I really connect to.

I went through a period of thinking it was just me. Maybe something was wrong with me. Everyone else had these amazing friendships right? So surely it was me.
It got me thinking but after conversations with a few people, my view point really changed.

I always found it hard to understand how so many people could get by in the world with so many "surface" relationships. You know friends you don't really tell your problems, people who are only there for the party or shopping or something "surface" but never really connecting or sharing your intimate feelings? I couldn't understand it. How could SO MANY people be happy, content to never really feel close to anyone?

And why wasn't I like that? I've never had a desire for a huge friendship group, just that small close nit group. Four people who know me inside out and I know them and we accept each other for who we are. Was that so much to ask for?

But after speaking to a few people, I realised - we're all really looking for the same thing. Deep down we're all searching for that special someone. That friend that truly sees you for who you are, but in reality those connections are one in a million. It's not to say they don't exist, they do exist, and it's the fact they're so far apart it's worth keeping going for.

All those people I thought were happy with knowing a million people without connecting with them are really doing the same thing as me. They're looking for those special connections, just in a different way. I'm quite an introvert so for me I feel I need to connect in some way to truly feel secure in a friendship, but for some with more confidence and an outgoing nature, the building of large friendship groups it's just a different way of seeking the same goal.
It's almost like trial and error!

It doesn't change my situation to know this - I'm still searching...but it does change my perspective. Knowing we're all still looking for the same thing...it makes me feel less lonely, because we're all in it together and more empowered to keep going. If we're all looking for that one thing, hopefully one day I'll bump into that person and it'll all slot into place. It's actually very relieving!

I'd really like to know your thought on this. Do you feel like your searching for that special connection or have you found that one friend you can tell anything too?
Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by
xx
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