Winter's Frost & Reflecting on 2016

31 December 2016


Every morning this week, outside my bedroom window I've looked out to find a beautiful frost glistening in the sunlight beneath the fog. The morning of my day off I decided to get dressed quickly out of my pyjamas, put on a Winter coat, grab my camera and went outside in the garden to take a few photos before the sun would melt away the frost. It was all I wanted to do, to take a few photos of the frost to capture Winter. It really is starting to feel more like Winter each day, I'm just hoping for some snow in the new year!

DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper

21 December 2016



Something I've always wanted to do at Christmas is to create my own wrapping paper. I love the wrapping paper that you can find in many shops, what with all the glitter, Christmassy prints and glossy paper. But after seeing lots of creative ideas over at Pinterest I really wanted to have a go at creating my own Christmas wrapping paper!

An Enthusiasm For Baking - Gingerbread Men

12 December 2016


Of course my favourite way to spend my cold Winter mornings is to bake! On my days off of work I have been enjoying doing lots of baking, and making some gingerbread men was number one on my festive baking list! Christmas isn't just the same without some gingerbread men and rather than buying from the shop I love making my own. I love everything about spiced biscuits, the smell of the spices mixed together in the bowl and watching the biscuits turn a warm golden colour in the oven.

Things To Do This Winter

5 December 2016



A big warm welcome to December! I still can't decide whether this year has gone by quick or slow, but it's certainly been an up and down year for me. I'm really looking forward to Winter though and now that things are starting to get better I really want to stay focused and move on from everything that went wrong this year. Whether you like spending your Winter days indoors with a hot chocolate or you like an action packed Winter, here is my list of things to see and do this Winter!

Last Days Of Autumn

28 November 2016


I can't imagine Autumn without crunchy golden leaves covering the paths. Colours of golds, oranges, reds and yellows everywhere you go and the sun with just enough warmth to keep us going in the chill.

In the last couple of weeks I've been making the most of the last of Autumn before we head into Winter. On my days off work I've been either out going for walks and taking photos of the paths and trees or baking Autumnal treats for the family. With a slight chill in the air and the sun bright warming my face, that's when it's best for the perfect Autumn walk.

Hello November

7 November 2016


I've been so busy lately that I forgot to welcome November! I can't believe how it's the second to last month of the year already and Winter is just around the corner. You can definitely feel it in the air, it's so fresh but icy cold, however Autumn is still giving it's all as there are still plenty of orange leaved trees around everywhere I go. It's definitely coat, hat, scarf and gloves weather though, it's getting colder and colder each day. Especially early in the mornings and evenings which isn't particularly great when i'm waiting for the bus to go to work and waiting to travel home! Now is definitely time to start embracing that Winter wardrobe!

October Catch Up - Deciding To Leave University

19 October 2016


Last month I decided to officially leave university. When I say officially, I mean this time I have made a permanent decision. The decision to leave happened the first two days into the induction week. Yep, that's right, I never even made it to the second week! If you don't know already (briefly mentioned in an old post), I started university last year and did the exact same thing, except I had decided to transfer to another university. When I transferred to my new university I studied one semester, just before starting the new one I completely lost interest and enthusiasm for the course, so I dropped out and transferred to another course at the same university. It's all very muddled and all over the place! But that brings us back to last month when I had started university again in a new course at the same university just about to start the induction week.

Things To See & Do This Autumn

6 October 2016


One of my favourite things about the chillier months is to be cosy. I love wrapping up in chunky knits and pyjama bottoms with a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits whilst I type away at my laptop or watch a couple films! Other than being cosy on a chilly Autumn day there are plenty of things to do this Autumn, so here are some of my favourites!

An Enthusiasm For Baking - Flapjacks

28 September 2016


You can never go wrong with flapjacks! They're so super easy to make and they're the perfect Autumn treat! My favourite will always be the classic golden syrup flapjack but you can add anything from chocolate to dried fruit and they'll taste absolutely delicious! Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons to bake (mainly because the warmth from the oven keeps me cosy). I'm definitely going to be doing a lot of baking this Autumn, lots of warm homemade treats straight from the oven!

Down By The Sea

2 September 2016


Whilst away, the blog has been quiet for a week. I've definitely missed writing, I packed my laptop with me but the Wifi was so bad that I just couldn't use it properly. I wrote a few notes as usual on my iPad but that was all, I thought I'd get the chance to write as the weather was predicted lots of rain but the sun was out and my mind was all over the place at times so I didn't manage to write anything for the blog. However, I did manage to take plenty of photos, it was a big change to take photos of different scenery rather than just my garden, around the house or nearby locations.


An Enthusiasm For Baking :: Tanya Bakes

22 July 2016

I was shopping in town not long ago and spotted Tanya Bakes in WHSmith on offer. When it comes to shopping I'm so indecisive, but when I was flicking through the pages of the book in the store I just couldn't resist! I've been meaning to get myself back into baking since going through a rough time lately. I love baking, it's my way of cleansing my mind away from all the stress and anxiety, I'm not the best baker in the world but I'm getting better and it keeps my worries at bay!


This is definitely my favourite cook from the collection that I have. It's split into 8 sections, from cookies and biscuits to bread and brunch. Most of the recipes are very easy, which I love because it's perfect both for beginners and expert bakers! The photography in this book is just beautiful, I think the photography was what persuaded me to buy the book, I mean who can resist a cooking book filled with photographs of gooey chocolatey biscuits and cream filled iced buns?


I decided to go with the gingerbread loaf as my first bake from this book as I've never made one before. My brothers are big fans of loaf cakes, we especially love the golden syrup and Jamaican cake by McVitie's (although this recipe beats them both), so I thought my first bake from the book would be something the whole family likes.

I'm going to be a very honest baker here, I haven't baked anything other than cookies in a while so the first time I baked this loaf the middle sunk. I tried again the next day and it guess what? It happened again! I had absolutely no idea what was going wrong, especially when I kept reading the method over and over again and made sure that all my ingredients had the right measurements.


I sent out a tweet asking if anyone knew what the problem was (of course tagging the experts Nigella and Jamie Oliver). Many thanks to Nigella Lawson who replied to my tweet, she explained the oven could have been too hot or too much air beaten into the mixture. She suggested to use a wooden spoon to mix as I mentioned that I used a food processor with a whisk attachment. However, minus the sunken middles both loaves were delicious.

So taking on Nigella's advice I've tried again and voila! No sunken middle! I made sure that I mixed the batter slowly with a spoon and I also made sure my oven wasn't too hot. I have just realised that the recipe does state that you should mix slowly so I guess my food processor was too quick! So without any further ado here is Tanya Bakes 'Gingerbread Loaf' recipe:


GINGERBREAD LOAF


SERVES 6-8

PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOKING TIME: 30 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

100g butter
100g golden syrup
150g self-raising flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150ml milk
1 large egg

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/GM4. Line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Melt the butter and the golden syrup together in a pan and set aside.

3. Mix together the flour, ground ginger, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the milk and egg, followed by the syrup mixture, to form a smooth batter.

4. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and a skewer poked into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.



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Have you bought Tanya Bakes yet?
What recipes have you tried
so far? Let me know in
the comments!

Kayleigh

Keep up to date with all the latest blog posts on Bloglovin'!





Raindrops on Roses & Saying Goodbye

21 June 2016



So far June has been a tough one. There have been times where I let my anxiety get the better of me which lead to many things going completely wrong and then last week we had to say goodbye to one of our cats. I haven't posted in a while but I thought this would be the best post to get back into writing again.

The weather has been up and down this month. It's been raining pretty much everyday for the past two weeks. But I like the sound of the rain as it falls against the windows with the windows left ajar so the smell of wet Earth travels into the house. It's soothing - the sound, the smell and watching the rain drops racing each other down the glass of the window. I've become a rain person in the past couple of months, I like the hot sunny weather but on some days I find the rain cleansing.


I spent most of the days outside in the garden. With an umbrella in one hand and camera in the other, I captured the rain drops on the flowers that blow gently in the wind. I had my camera lean steadily on my knees whilst I filmed a rose swaying in the wind, capturing the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the umbrella and leaves.


But I miss Roxy following me around the garden. It's like losing a best friend. No matter what people say, a pet is a part of your family. Couple of years ago she was left abandoned at the side of the road in a box along with four others. If I could I would have adopted them all.

We saw the cats at a friends house who rescued them, and hiding under the table was a furry tortoiseshell cat with her big eyes staring at me. I asked if we could adopt at least one and my parents couldn't say no. She would hide behind the sofa most of the time, then gradually over time she would come out to greet us. Each day we would stroke and play with her until she was comfortable knowing who her family was. She made everyone laugh, because she did the most silliest things! It was just amazing to see the change from being a terrified little cat left in a box to being such a lovely, friendly and fussy cat.


It'll take a while, I know from losing cats in the past that it takes a while to get used to not seeing them every day. I'm not sure if the other two cats have noticed yet but they seem really fussy, but I find It comforting. I'm getting there but I'll continue to write, it always helps to write down your thoughts. Whether it be in a blog post or in a journal, it helps to ease each day.


For Roxy

An Enthusiasm For...Baking

3 May 2016



I'm not lying when I say this is the most delicious homemade chocolate traybake ever! My mum found this recipe for me in the Daily Express Sunday magazine. It had a whole section from Mary Berry: Foolproof Cooking book. I've been wanting to try out a new recipe every week so I can get back into the routine of baking. Although I've baked this one before I wanted to bake it again so I could share this delicious recipe with everyone!

This traybake recipe is slightly different to the usual traybake as it asks for ground almonds, which I think makes a lovely addition to the ingredients. Adding to the mixture makes the cake extra moist and allows it to keep longer (that's if the traybake doesn't disappear in a day!). But even with 5 people in the house we managed to keep it for 2 days, that also depending on how many slices you cut and also the size of the cut.

On average this traybake can be cut into 20 slices and can also freeze well.






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INGREDIENTS

225g (8oz) dark chocolate (no more than 40-50 per cent cocoa solids)
100g (4oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
100g (4oz) caster sugar
3 large eggs
75g (3oz) self-raising flour
75g (3oz) ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder

STEPS

1 :: You will need a 23cm x 30cm traybake tin. First preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan and line the tin with foil. Grease the foil generously with butter.

2 :: Place the broken up chocolate and cubes of butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of hot water. Leave until melted, stirring occasionally to help combine.

3 :: Once melted, add in the caster sugar and stir to combine and set aside to cool slightly.

4 :: Add the eggs, one at a time, to the melted chocolate mixture and beat after each addition. Fold in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder and then pour evenly into the traybake tin.

5 :: Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the mixture has set. Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into 20 squares if you can.


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Kayleigh

Keep up to date with my latest blog posts by following the blog on Bloglovin'!


To Find Your Passion

5 April 2016



The start of April has been a little slow as I haven't really been up to much lately, hence the random garden photos plus the cats doing their usual thing! But lately I've been thinking. Thinking how It's taken me ages to finally find my passion. Although I can bet there's even more decisions to come and after a lot of indecisiveness, I'm starting to pin point what my passion really is.

My blogging started about two years ago when I had decided to give it a go. But after going through a rough time in my last year of sixth form I decided to delete my blog and never thought about returning to it. But last year before starting uni, I decided to give blogging another go.


My passion for photo taking, writing, blogging, connecting with social media and so on comes from being inspired by others. You know, the photographers, bloggers, vloggers, Instagramers and adventurers that we all follow online on a daily basis. It's not about envying someone's job but it's about being inspired by what they do and how they have an impact on your own creativeness.

I'd be sat indoors on a rainy day in the Midlands, flicking through Twitter and Instagram seeing photos of bloggers shooting in London thinking 'I can see myself doing that'. Or reading through my favourite bloggers websites full of collaborations and beautiful designs thinking, 'in a few years that's where I'd like my blog to be at'. I think Nishaantishu was the first blog I ever read. I came across one of Freya's posts on Instagram and just reading through someone else's adventures and relating to their thoughts had inspired me to give blogging another go.



To find your passion is a difficult one, unless you've truly known what your passion is from since a young age. But for me, I've been all over the place! Changing my mind over so many careers (I was even determined to become an actress at one point), but I guess every decision I had made at the time was always a creative one. Now that I'm on track with my decisions, like choosing a course that I'm actually interested in, I can now start to make clearer decisions and plan properly.

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Posts I've loved reading :: Rosie's 'On to the next adventure', Freya's 'Brokedown Palace', Sara's 'Me & Luke Skywalker' & Miranda's 'Fun Things to See and Do in April'


What is your passion? How long did it
take you to find your passion?

Kayleigh


An Enthusiasm For...Baking

10 February 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookies a recipe by Jamie Oliver

Ah finally, a new blog post! The past couple of weeks have been a little hectic and to top it all off I was struck with a horrible cold. This weeks post is something new and something I have been looking forward to posting about. It's my first ever baking post hurrah!

The recipe comes from my (so far) favourite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I found this recipe as I was browsing through Jamie Oliver's website, whilst I do love reading from a cookbook I do get most of my recipes from online. You can never go wrong with cookies (says me who burnt shortbread cookies the other day), they're fantastic to bake as you will always have the ingredients in the cupboard. So if you're living in a house 5 people like me you're bound to run out of your regular shop bought biscuits halfway through the week, so these are perfect for a quick re fill of the biscuit tin without spending any extra money. These cookies aren't too crunchy like your average shop bought cookie. These are soft and somewhat chewy, with almost a cake like texture to them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I ran out of golden caster sugar for this bake which is asked for in the recipe. I changed it up a bit and used caster sugar instead and I can say that I rather liked the cookies with caster sugar rather than golden but it's all down to your preference!

So here is what you'll need:

100g (3 1/2 oz) Unsalted butter, softened

125g (4 oz) Golden caster sugar (or white caster sugar)

1 large free-range egg

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

200g (7 oz) Self raising flour

1 pinch of fine sea salt

100g (3 1/2 oz) Chocolate (milk or dark)


1 :: Pre heat your oven to 170ºC/150ºC fan/325ºF/gas 3. I didn't pre heat my oven until 10 minutes before I put the cookies in the oven as they have to chill in the fridge beforehand. I just don't like pre heating my oven for too long as it really does heat up quick. However you can choose as you wish depending on the way your oven works!

2 :: Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3 :: Roughly chop or use a rolling pin to break up the chocolate into pieces. Put aside for later.  

4 :: You then need to beat the unsalted butter with the sugar in a large bowl until soft, pale and creamy. Crack in the egg and add the vanilla and mix until well combined.

5 :: Sift in the flour and the salt together and then fold through the mixture. Add in your chocolate pieces and stir through the doughy mixture.

6 :: Take some mixture about a tablespoon at a time, roll into balls and place on the lined trays. Cover the trays and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

7 :: Flatten the balls slightly with your fingers and then place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Jamie Oliver explains not to overdo them as the chewier the better! Depending on the way your oven works you want the cookies to be a light golden colour.

8 :: Leave to cool completely. I always leave on the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack so that they don't become wet underneath. Serve with a glass of cold milk if you wish.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


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You can find this recipe on the Jamie Oliver website by clicking here

Happy baking!