baking

Currently…

Reading… 

 Still Moby Dick! It’s taking me absolutely forever to read, partially because it’s pretty long and really descriptive, partially because I’ve really not been very well since last Sunday evening which makes it really hard to read. I’m almost there though, about another 150 pages to read so hopefully it’ll be done by the end of the weekend! I am really enjoying it though, I’d definitely recommend it (as long as you’re not a really slow reader haha). My next book planned is Great Expectations and I’m also finishing off The Waves by Victoria Woolf.

Listening to… 

Ben Howard’s album Every Kingdom which is so lovely and relaxing. It’s quiet enough to not make my constant headache worse and it’s helping me to feel a little more laid back about everything.

Watching…

I don’t watch a huge about of TV but at the moment there are three programmes that I watch weekly and absolutely love. The first is the series 2 Broke Girls which is hilarious and always gives me the giggles on Thursday evenings, the second is the new series of Location, Location, Location which I love – Kirstie Allsopp is fantastic, and finally the third is my favourite of all: The Great British Bake Off! Every week it gives me the urge to get in the kitchen and bake, it’s my perfect show to snuggle up in bed and watch when I’m feeling a bit under the weather :-)

Eating…

Nothing sweet… If you haven’t seen the post about it then you might not know that I decided to say no to sugar for the week (apart from fruit) to give my body a chance to recover from a couple of rather over-indulgent sugary weeks. I was fine for the first five days but today what with not feeling great I’ve really wanted a slice of toast with honey or a bowl of ice cream! There is currently a new pot of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream waiting in the freezer for me and I can’t wait to buy myself a pot of Nutella on Monday ;-) It’s the only thing that has kept me going today!

Loving…

The way that Poppy sits at the table with me every morning for breakfast and then comes and curls up on my bed next to me for most of the day. She’s such a little cutie. I’ve also been loving the fact that the colder weather we’ve been having means I can start wearing lovely woolly knitted jumpers! They’re possibly one of my favourite things to wear and they are so comfy for poorly days.

What are your currently-s?

Cheese Scone Round.

Okay, well it appears that I’m still not very well and now on top of that I am slightly hating being female right now! (I won’t go in to that haha) I spent the morning in bed, drifting in and out of sleep and trying not to jolt my back. I did get up to have lunch as I got pretty hungry, I also did some washing up and put the washing up on the line so that I didn’t feel like the morning was a complete write-off. This afternoon was a little better because I actually managed to stay up out of bed and even on my feet for a while as I was… baking!

Baking what, you ask? A lovely big cheese scone round.

Of course I was wearing my spotty apron and my cozy winter slippers! I realise it just looks like a big dough slab when it is in the oven but the smell coming from the kitchen was incredible so I knew it was going to be a success ;-)

Sliced in half and slathered with butter, so delicious. This is definitely the kind of baking I adore in the colder months of autumn and winter, it’s a lovely hearty bake and it feels a little bit like a warm hug :-)

Sorry this post is so short, I thought I’d share the wonder of the scone and say hello. If anyone is interested in making their own cheese scone round the recipe is by the amazing Mary Berry and the cookbook I found it in can be bought here.

How has your day been? Have you got any fun things to tell me to cheer me up?
What are your favourite things to bake in the autumn?
Have you made anything recently?

This Week #3.

Firstly I have to say that I’m sorry I haven’t been posting very much this week, it’s not from being super busy but more that I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted most of the time and just haven’t had much to write about for you! I tried writing one post but it all sounded like such a pointless ramble that I ended up hitting the delete button. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers for whom blogging is about numbers (views, readers, comments…) and therefore just post rubbish everyday for the sake of posting. I only want to write you quality posts worth reading!

If you follow me on Twitter (@I_LoveLiveLearn) or on Instagram (@loveliveandlearn) then you may have seen that I took a day trip to London yesterday to visit my wonderful boyfriend, Tom. We had a really lovely day wandering around in the sunshine and eating delicious food :-) The rest of the week also involved some baking, the hospital, the gym and coffee.

Beautiful sunny morning | New Chelsea boots <3 | Fresh pasta for lunch

Sleepy Poppy | Delicious chorizo and gnocci | The perks of having a sister who works in a cafe!

More perks | Pink accent nails | Love how my hair is at the moment :-)

Caramel latte addiction | Almond croissant | Pesto pasta comfort food

Printed photos | Starting my scrapbook | Tom’s graduation page

Baking time | Blueberry muffins | Love getting to the gym again!

Off to the hospital again :-( | Cheer-up chicken salad pitta takeaway | Starbucks treat

Picnic in Hyde Park with Tom! | First ever frozen yogurt = love | Noodles and prawns for dinner

Sunday street party | Lovely food plate | Dessert time!

As usual my week seems to have been focused around food which doesn’t surprise me. Lately things have been rather indulgent and as I start uni again pretty soon (two weeks!) I want to use the time before to eat a little more simply and cleanly. I will still be baking once a week though don’t worry ;-) With things changing so much around the place – my sister starting at Sixth Form, my mum starting a new teaching job and me changing uni - I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. The house is a bit crazy and busy with people going in and out but it’s nice to have a new term starting. I have lots to do before I start, including heaps of reading, buying new stationary which I love, as well as organising my desk and folders in preparation… Here’s to hoping I don’t relapse as term begins!

If you have Instagram too then you call follow me @loveliveandlearn to see my photos as I post them!

Home Comforts.

Although in many ways, transferring to my new uni and living at home again feels a little bit like a step backwards, there are many perks of being back here. For starters, I am fully aware just how lucky I am that a) my parents gave me the option of coming back when I was too ill to continue, and b) that home is somewhere I am happy to return to. I know that not everyone is in my position! Here are just some of nice things about living at home again:

1. One of the most obvious positives about being home is having the company of my family! My sister and I have always been close and in the last few years we have become more like best friends. I know I can tell her everything, we support each other when things are tough and we also have a lot of laughs together :-)

I love this girl!

The support my family gives me is great too, last week I had a couple of evenings when I just felt exhausted and a bit rubbishy, this is when having my parents and sister around me becomes so helpful and comforting. They help me out with daily tasks and they keep my morale up!

2. I’m not going to lie, one of the great things about being home is the food. (It had to be didn’t it!)

Firstly, having dinner cooked for you on most days is lovely when you’re under the weather on a regular basis and it also means you get to eat more varied (and more luxurious) food than when you’re cooking for one on a budget at uni. Dishes like this one:

Chorizo and gnocci isn’t the sort of thing you get to eat much of as a student!

Secondly, I have a fully equipped kitchen at my disposal which means one thing to me: baking :-) I absolutely adore baking, no surprises there, particularly when the autumn months are coming in, it is starting to get a little colder outside and you want a little comfort for chilly afternoons. It’s one of my goals for the autumn is to bake on a weekly basis as much as I can, I want to work my way through some of my bakery cookbooks and I’m so looking forward to it. I’ve started off with this lovely creation:

Although it might not look like much, but this was an absolutely wonderful plum cake from my favourite Primrose Bakery cookbook. The next goods I want to try are white chocolate and granola cookies from the same book, as well as blueberry muffins from a Mary Berry book…

3. Comfort. When I’m in pain, or feeling exhausted, or just wanting to curl up and read or watch TV, being back at home means I can do it complete warmth and comfort. If I’m not tucked up in my lovely, soft double bed, I’m curled up in the little reading spot my mother created in the study.

This is the chair my mother used to sit in with me as a baby :-). It has been covered and is so comfortable to sit in, plus I love being able to watch the world go by out of the window.

4. Opportunities, in many difference senses. There’s the closeness of both town and my new university so I can just cycle in easily enough. There’s the ease of travelling to London by train to go visit Tom which is great. I’m going to visit him this Saturday and I can’t wait to see him again and have a look round his new flat! There is also the fact that I have everything near by, there are shops, cafes, the gym etc all within 20 minutes of me so if I ever want to get out of the house, I can do so without much hassle.

There are many other little perks of living at home again, these are just a few of the main positives. I won’t lie and say that I feel 100% brilliant about moving back, I want to move on in my life, I want to grow and “leave the nest” but whilst I can’t I am determined to make the most of my last year or two at home and take advantage of the pros of living here!

Here’s to a positive attitude :-)

If you’ve graduated, have you ever had to move home? How did you feel about it?
What are the positives of living at home with your family?
If you’ve moved out from your childhood home, what do you miss the most?

In Search of the Perfect Loaf.

Well hello there!

Today I am writing this post whilst feeling just a little too proud of myself.

Why you ask? Because today, not only did I get to cross something off my 20 Before Twenty list, I also made three delicious loaves of bread.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know I love to bake, if I had the time and the money (and the stomach capacity!) to bake everyday I think I probably would. I love creating pretty cupcakes, moreish cookies, the perfect afternoon tea sponges, anything with chocolate, muffins, traybakes, the list goes on… One thing that I had never tried my hand at before was baking bread. Of course I’d made bread as a young child with my parents but I doubt I did much of the work, I think the sum of my contribution probably amounted to sticking my hands in the dough and decorating the bread with seeds!

So today, as I didn’t really have any plans, I thought it would be the perfect day to give it a go.

A simple loaf of bread isn’t the most difficult thing to bake, but it does require a lot of time and it is a rather scientific process. It isn’t the ideal thing to bake if your someone who doesn’t like to follow recipes or measure ingredients. Or if you have no arm strength ;)

Luckily for me, I had this book to follow:

The River Cottage Bread Handbook No.3.

It’s a brilliant book with a great section at the beginning full of information on all of the typical bread ingredients, advice and a run-through of the proper method for making bread. I just followed the basic bread recipe which is recommended if it is your first time making bread.

I think kneading is my absolute favourite part of the bread making process. It’s hard work but it is just so therapeutic. You just let your mind drift and the methodical and repetitive action of pushing your hand into the dough relaxes you. I also love watching the dough gradually come together, it’s rather satisfying.

I was so pleased with my little loaves when they were ready to go in the oven, they looked more like proper loaves than I imagined! I think it’s the cuts across the top…

The entire time the loaves were in the oven I was terrified that they wouldn’t work out properly but when the timer beeped I was ecstatic! Don’t they just look beautiful? And the loaf that we ate with dinner tasted pretty good too.

Sorry if I sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet a little, I am just so chuffed with how this turned out! They are by no means perfect though so I have plans to bake bread again in the near future, probably more than once ;-)

Have you ever made bread before?
Does baking with yeast make you more nervous?
What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever baked?

July Goals.

June has been a pretty good month all round. My last exam was on the 31st of May so the whole month has been exam free – a real blessing!

As we are about to begin the month of July I thought this evening would be the perfect time to update you all on how I got on with my goals for June:

Read at least 4 books. Well I definitely pleased with myself for this goal – I’ve actually managed to read 5 books and I’m halfway through my 6th one. As you know I was working my way through Vanity Fair at the beginning of the month and managed to pretty much finish it on the train up to visit Tom. The other books I read this month are The Alchemist which I really enjoyed, Persuasion which is now my second favourite Austen novel (Sense and Sensibility being my first), To the Lighthouse which I adored, and lastly Anne of Green Gables which I had never read before but fell in love with.

Try a new baking recipe. Another successful goal! I have baked twice in the past week and both were new recipes. Firstly I made some rather over-the-top and indulgent Rocky Road cupcakes with Tom last weekend. They were pretty tasty and got eaten up rather quickly :-P

Then this afternoon I decided to give another cupcake recipe a go because of the absolutely beautiful present my mother gave me for my exams…

Strawberry cupcakes which were absolutely delicious, served on my wonderful new tiered cake stand. It’s simply lovely and I was thrilled when my mum presented it to me, I’m really grateful for such a fantastic gift!

Go the entire month without biting my nails. Okay, well this is neither a failed goal nor a successful one. I haven’t completely managed to stop biting but I have been able to let them grow a little and they are looking better – a goal to continue with!

Work on my strength. I see this one as a bit of a fail. Although this month has been so much more emotionally relaxing than the last, I haven’t actually been very well for the last week or so. My complete lack of energy and fairly high levels of pain, fatigued muscles and sore joints have just meant that I haven’t really felt like working out much or pushing myself physically. Hopefully I’ll see an improvement next month.

Journal more regularly. I love my journal and whilst I still don’t write in it daily I do regularly enjoy sitting down and  just writing about  my thoughts and my emotions. I know it might sound a bit narcissistic and you may be wondering how I can find things to journal about when I already blog about my life but I just like to write by hand :-)

So there you have this month’s goals, I’d say that on the whole I’ve been pleased with my relative success. It’s been a month filled with lots of activity and although I’m struggling at the moment, I do feel positive about everything I’ve done.

Now onto July!

July Goals.

Write a short story. This is something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at for a while but so far haven’t had the time/the courage to give it a go. I don’t plan on sharing it, I may not even read it back to myself. I just want to write a short(ish) fictional story to practice my writing and do something productive and creative with my time.

Continue planning workouts weekly. I’ve been recording and planning my weekly workouts for a couple of weeks now and it’s something I’d like to continue doing. Last summer I became really good at exercising really regularly and was in much better shape – I would love to get back to that!

Cook and bake more. I know this is a regular goal for me but I love to cook so I want to remind myself to try new recipes and be a little more creative in the kitchen.

Start planning out a scrapbook for the summer. When I was little my mum used to help me make scrapbooks for my holidays and they’re so sweet to look back at. I’d really like to be more creative and so I think a summer memory scrapbook would be a lovely thing to make this year :-)

My room is coming along nicely, it’s starting to feel more like my own personal space and less like small children were let loose! When it’s finished I will definitely take some photos to show you all. Tomorrow I have my last ever concert with the county youth choir that I’ve been singing with for 5 years. I’m not really prepared and it’s going to be exhausting but I’m determined to enjoy it and make the most of the day.

What have you been upto this month?
Have you got any goals for July?

June Goals.

I probably say this pretty regularly but I just cannot believe that we are already into June. This academic year seemed to drag but now it feels like it has passed incredibly quickly. Other than picking up my results later this month I have finished with not only my first year of university but I have also finished with this university. Crazy.

Before I list my goals for the new month I thought I’d go through my May Goals to see what I accomplished over the past month:

Drink 2 – 3 litres of water a day. I’m pretty sure I’ve managed this, I certainly feel like I am constantly refilling my 500ml water bottle so I think I’ve been drinking at least 2 litres a day. I feel better for it, my skin looks better and I haven’t experienced much in the way of bloating (sorry for the TMI).

Do something physical everyday. This has not been easy but on the whole, I have left the flat most days and I’ve been walking more than before. I managed a few workouts here and there and I’ve been good at doing my physio exercises daily. I have to accept that for now I cannot be as active as I used to be but I’m striving for more and I want to carry on building it up.

Read before bed. This didn’t happen on the night before my exams but otherwise I’m quite pleased with myself, I’ve carried on reading throughout my revision. I’m currently just over halfway through the 900+ word beast that is Vanity Fair!

Look after my appearance. Other than the water drinking I think this has been my most successful goal, I’ve treated myself to a couple of new makeup products and I’ve been really into my lipsticks lately. I’ve also been using Beauty Youtubers as a way to relax in the evening after revision and I may be becoming a little addicted…

So overall I’d say I’ve been pretty successful. I didn’t set myself anything particularly difficult as I knew I’d be spending the bulk of the month revising but I’m still pleased with myself. Now onto this month!

June Goals. 

Read at least 4 books. Now that I’ve finally finished with all of my exams and assessments I can finally have the time to read for pleasure! I have an absolutely gigantic pile of unread books and even more on my Kindle and I can’t wait to get through them all. The summer is definitely my favourite time to read :-)

Try a new baking recipe. Because I’m not actually going to be at home that much this month I don’t want to aim too high on the baking front but I’d love to try something new. I’m going to try to really push the boat out with something a little more challenging than I’d usually go for. So watch this space…

Go the entire month without biting my nails. I’m not sure whether I’ve ever mentioned this on my blog before but I have been biting my nails since I was about three years old. Gross I know. I almost managed to stop about two years ago but the minute I’m stressed I get really bad. I have over three months this summer in which to finally grow my nails, wish me luck!

Work on my strength. Part of my physio is strengthening my body in order to minimize the pain and the potential damage. As I’m at my boyfriend’s for two weeks and he is an avid strength trainer who seriously knows his stuff I am definitely going to take advantage and try to build up my strength. I know it won’t be easy but every little helps.

Journal more regularly. I have a lovely black leather journal and I love to write in it, I really think it helps my development and growth as a person plus it’s a brilliant way to practice writing. During exams I wasn’t great at writing in it so I’d love to get more into it again.

So, there you have my goals for the month. I really hope I can succeed with all of them, they’re all positive things to enrich my life so it’d be great to look back in July and know that my first month off has been good for my recovery!

Make sure you all hold me accountable ;-)

Do you have any goals for June?