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
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