Bake With Me #7 – Chocolate Muffins

I love a good chocolate chip muffin, so I was so excited to make some last time I was home. The recipe I used comes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook 🙂

Photo 21-08-2017, 10 46 31

Ingredients (for 12 muffins)

2 eggs

200g caster sugar

130g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

160ml whole milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

160g unsalted butter, meted

120g chocolate chips (I recommend chips rather than chopping up your own)

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3
  2. Mix together the eggs and sugar in a mixer until well mixedPhoto 22-08-2017, 09 02 00
  3. In a different bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powderPhoto 22-08-2017, 09 03 46
  4. In a jug mix together the milk and vanilla extract.Photo 22-08-2017, 09 05 48
  5. A little at a time, alternate mixing the milk mix and the dry ingredients in with the sugar/egg mix. Mix them together until well combined. Photo 22-08-2017, 09 15 58
  6. Stir in the melted butter and then fold in the chocolate chips Photo 22-08-2017, 09 16 46
  7. Spoon the mixture into the cases (about 2/3 full) then bake for around 30 mins. Photo 22-08-2017, 09 54 38
  8. Eat!
Advertisements

The Book Blogger Test

So a couple of weeks ago now Angela did the Book Blogger Test and suggested I give it a go. So thanks Angela, I’ll give it a go! 😀

BLOG RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  • Answer the ten questions asked on this post.
  • Nominate at least five people to do the tag.
  • Let your nominees know you nominated them.

Questions:

  • What are your top 3 book pet peeves?

Really long chapters! I hate really long chapters!

Books coming out in hardback a whole year before it comes out in paperback! 😡

I know I should be supporting places like WH Smith and Waterstones, but how can supermarkets and Amazon charge so much less for a book than the “proper” book retailers?

  • Describe your favorite reading spot.

Sat in bed or on the sofa at home 🙂 I prefer being on the sofa at home with my blanket because its a bit more comfy than being sat in bed.

  • Tell us 3 book confessions.

I prefer to buy physical books than kindle books, is that a confession? I’ll buy a kindle book if it’s cheaper though, but I’ll also quite happily settle for a second hand book.

I’m a bookaholic. I think they look so pretty on my bookcase. I then hate passing on books because I always like to think I’ll read it again one day.

I hate borrowing books from the library. I mean half the time I’ve been they’ve never had the book I want. Plus, by the time I’ve paid a bus fare in to town (£5) it would be cheaper for me to buy a book off Amazon. I also like owning books… 😉

  • When was the last time you cried during reading a book?

The only book I can think of that has made me cry is “The Last Song” by Nicholas Sparks.

Nicholas Sparks UK
  • How many books are on your bedside table?

One at the moment. I don’t really like reading multiple books at once.

  • What’s your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Erm… Hot chocolate?

  • Name 3 books you would recommend to anyone.

The CHERUB series, definitely. Oliver Twist, maybe? I think we should definitely have a classic in there! And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Again, another book I think everyone should read in their life!

Photo 22-07-2017, 09 10 51  

  • Show us a picture of your favorite book on your bookshelf.

I really can’t pick! So maybe I’ll just show you my whole bookcase. I know people love my bookcase 😉

Photo 12-04-2017, 14 27 10

  • Describe how much books mean to you in just 3 words.

I think Angela summed it up perfectly when she did this post, so sorry Angela I’m keeping yours!

Stories. Imagination. Dreams.

  • What is your biggest reading secret?

I’m a little stuck in a rut. I love chicklit/romance/romcom books. I should really branch out a little more but I need ideas :O 🙂 Please suggest some if you’re reading this!

Nominations:

Anyone who wants to do this tag! 🙂

Dissertation writing

One of the highlights or perhaps scariest things about your final year at uni (or even your final piece of work for your masters) is the dissertation. But fear not! Dissertations are actually your friend, you will love it and cherish it and actually be so flipping proud of yourself when you see it all bound and printed and ready for hand in! In fact, when you read this I’ll have just handed my masters dissertation in!

There are definitely some phases you’ll go through when writing it. It’ll probably go something like this.

Oh cool, my own piece of research for the year!

Erm, what the **** am I doing…

I can’t do this….

I’d rather do anything but this right now…

I can’t do it!

Oh wait, I have no choice, I *have* to do it.

I don’t know what I was so worried about I can do it!

Oh, what will my supervisor say? I don’t think it’s any good, what if I have to write it all over again?

Oh… You mean it’s actually OK!

I CAN DO THIS

Oh wow, look at this piece of work. I did it all myself. Look how pretty it looks, all 50 pages of it beautifully bound.

Ok, so maybe it won’t go like that for everyone, but it has definitely been a bit like that for me! You will definitely feel love and hate towards it! Now for some of my tips for dissertation writing 🙂

1. Plan, plan, plan and plan some more!

Yes, planning is so important! It’ll really help you write clearly and concisely if you have a good idea of what you’re going to put in and where. It’ll also stop you repeating yourself.Photo 08-08-2017, 19 43 53

2. Keep a separate dissertation notebook/file

A separate notebook dedicated to your dissertation will allow you to keep everything in one place. It’ll also mean you know where everything is! Plus some universities actually require you to hand in your dissertation notebook for marking.photo-13-09-2017-15-21-23.jpg

3. Set achievable targets

Don’t set yourself too much to do in one go. You’ll only get annoyed if you can’t achieve it. Sometimes baby steps are better for dissertations. You’re less likely to make a mistake if you take it a little at a time.

4. Make use of family, friends and your supervisor

They’ll help you make it the best it can be. OK maybe not your family and friends, but if they’re willing to read it give it to them. They may pick up small typos/errors that you keep overlooking.

5. Print a copy to proofread

I know a lot of places these days don’t require you to hand in a physical copy of your work, but I still am! You’re more likely to spot mistakes and errors if you print a copy off to read.

Photo 13-09-2017, 15 24 586. Check your references

Don’t get accused of plagiarism! Some people like to use EndNote or other softwares. I just do it all manually! I don’t trust the softwares. Then go through your work checking every reference in the reference list has been cited and that every citation in text has one in the reference list.

7. Take a break from it

Sometimes it is important to put it away for a few days and come back to it another time. You will get sick of it! In fact you’ll get so used to it you’ll know exactly where everything sits on the page that when you make a change you wonder what you’ve done wrong to make a sentence shift down the page!

8. Keep reading 

Make an early start on your reading, that way you’ll have all the literature there for you when you actually start to write. It’ll make your life so much easier! Also keep reading until you can’t find any more papers. Don’t just stop because the paper isn’t accessible. Get inter-library loans if you think the paper is relevant.Photo 13-09-2017, 15 21 30

9. Stay in contact with your supervisor 

Your supervisor is there to help you. Ask them questions, no matter how stupid you think the question is. Find out if/when they’re away and when they want a draft of your work by. Contacting them is important!

10. Don’t panic 

Your dissertation isn’t worth getting upset over. It is supposed to be fun, not stressful!

So there are just a few of my tips for writing a dissertation! Does this bring back memories? Are you starting your dissertation soon? I hope everyone starting theirs this year has fun!

Photo 13-09-2017, 13 24 25

Divine Madness (CHERUB 5)

Divine Madness is the 5th book in the CHERUB series and it is definitely better than the 4th book! It’s weird, I only remembered a couple of small things about this book so I was excited to go back and read it again.

In this book we join James, Lauren and new character Dana on their latest mission to infiltrate a cult in Australia.

“When CHERUB uncovers a link between eco-terrorist group Help Earth and a wealthy religious cult known as The Survivors, James Adams is sent to Australia on an infiltration mission.

It’s his toughest job so far. The Survivors’ outback headquarters are completely isolated, and the cult’s brainwashing techniques mean James is under massive pressure to conform.

This time he’s not just fighting terrorists. He’s got to battle to keep control of his own mind.”

Divine Madness was a great book and I wanted to keep reading it. In fact, I read it in 2 days. These books are the perfect books for young adults and teenagers who are trying to get in to reading. The missions are a nice length and keep you guessing and wanting to keep reading.

The characters are also totally relatable to which I think is great as obviously you don’t want a totally unrealistic book! This book sees the return of Amy Collins at the end, as well as the recruitment of Rat.

I’m sorry it’s so short, I don’t want to give any spoilers! I honestly do recommend these CHERUB books though and I love them!

The Chick Lit Tag

The other week An Historian About Town tagged me in this Chick lit tag for me to share some of my favourites. Chick lit books are seriously underrated in my opinion where many people save them for a cozy night in or a holiday beach read. But actually I love them and they’re my go to everyday book. They definitely aren’t are fluffy as everyone makes them out to be! Yes OK they aren’t as educational as perhaps Charles Dickens but they are definitely reads in which you can learn something!

So in this tag I’m going to share with you some of my Chick lit favourites and you should definitely check out An Historian About Town’s post too! 🙂

Rules
1. Answer the questions…
2. Link the books to Goodreads/Amazon/Chapters/Barnes and Noble, etc… when possible.
3. Be honest…
4. Tag some people who are fans of chick lit, or might become fans!
5. Have fun 🙂

Questions

1. First piece of chick lit that you read?
2. Best piece of chick lit that you have read?
3. Favourite chick lit author?
4. Most recent piece of chick lit that you have read?
5. Favourite chick lit trope?
6. Why do you think people should give chick lit a chance?

My Answers

1. First piece of chick lit that you read? Photo 19-07-2017, 19 07 39

The first I remember was “I Heart New York” by Lindsey Kelk. I’d just finished my A Levels and had a long summer ahead so I wanted to get back in to reading. I was quite in to Sex and the City at the time and wanted a book that wasn’t a children’s or young adult one. So after ages of searching I finally landed on this one 🙂 I now love Lindsey Kelk!

2. Best piece of chick lit that you have read? 


That’s a really hard one. I think “The Beach Cafe” by Lucy Diamond or “Billy and Me” by Giovanna Fletcher.
3. Favourite chick lit author? 

Photo 19-06-2015 09 09 11

You can’t ask me that! I love loads of them! I think it would probably be a toss up between Carole Matthews and Lucy Diamond. I’ve already told you by favourite Lucy Diamond book, so my favourite Carole Matthews book is probably “The Cake Shop in the Garden

4. Most recent piece of chick lit that you have read?Photo 09-08-2017, 19 06 22
The last chick lit book I read was Lucy Diamond’s latest book “The House of New Beginnings“. It isn’t the best of Lucy Diamond’s books but it was still an enjoyable read! 🙂

5. Favourite chick lit trope? 
Just anything with drama! Usually my favourites are someone finding out they’re cheating on someone else and it is all drama. Basically the plot in “A Cottage by the Sea“. I loved that book!Photo 04-08-2016, 11 17 25

6. Why do you think people should give chick lit a chance?
They’re so full of drama it’s unreal so they’re pretty good in that sense, but also I think they’re more realistic and relatable than a lot of other books!

My Nominees

Sophie Samantha

And anyone else who enjoys a bit of chick lit! (Maybe Angela and Cheila – but I’m not sure if you’re in to it?)

 

 

Lola Rose

While I was home last I finished the book I was reading but I still had 4 days left at home. Since I’m moving out soon I didn’t want to bring any more books back with me so I grabbed a book I knew I could read quickly before I came back to uni. So I picked Lola Rose.

I think I probably read this book for the first time around 12 years ago! It is definitely weird how your perceptions of a book change as you get older. The story definitely wasn’t exactly how I remembered it! I mean I remembered some parts but not all of it!

Lola Rose is a book written by Jacqueline Wilson, a children’s author in the UK. I read so many of Jacqueline Wilson’s books as I grew up and I think I owned most of her books at one point! I’d say Jacqueline Wilson writes two types of book, ones for younger girls maybe age 8-10 (like The Story of Tracy Beaker, Double Act, and the Bed and Breakfast Star) but then she also books for teenage girls (like Midnight, Dustbin Baby, Love Lessons and Vicky Angel). Lola Rose definitely falls into the second category. I remember feeling so grown up reading it as a 12/13 year old!

Jayni, Nikki and Jayni’s little brother leave home suddenly one day after domestic abuse and a sudden change in luck provides them the opportunity. The three of them move away to London where they start a new life for themselves. New house, new job, new names, new school and new friends. However Jayni (now Lola Rose) fears that one day her dad will find them. Then things turn bad when Lola Rose’s mum gets diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving Lola Rose to care for herself and little brother Kendall. Lola Rose suddenly remembers her Aunt’s phone number and calls her for help as Lola Rose’s mum gets more ill. But will she recover and will Lola Rose and Kendall stay safe from their dad?

Lola Rose is a good book. I think it is definitely a great book for young girls wanting to read a book that feels more “adult”. It is an easy read and definitely has a good storyline. It ended a little abruptly though and I would have liked maybe another chapter or two just to finish it off. But maybe as a 12 year old I wouldn’t mind.

I don’t know what more to say except that this is a good book and I would definitely recommend it to girls who have outgrown children’s books.

Bake With Me #6 – Gingerbread

I love gingerbread and I find it one of the easier biscuits to make. So when I popped home last I was so excited to finally be able to bake again! 🙂

The recipe I’m using here comes from “The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook“. I love this recipe book it has the recipes for basically everything you want to make in it! 🙂 Photo 21-08-2017, 10 46 31

Ingredients

400g plain flour

3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

180g unsalted butter, softened

125g soft dark brown sugar

1 egg

125 g black treacle

  1. Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl.
  2. In another bowl mix together the butter and sugar and beat until creamy Photo 21-08-2017, 10 56 56
  3. Beat in the egg and treacle to the butter sugar mix. You’ll probably have to scrape the bowl round a few times with a spatula to ensure it all mixes in.
  4. Once the egg and treacle have mixed in slowly add the flour and spice mix a few spoonfuls at a time and keep mixing it until a dough forms. Be careful not to overmix it though because it won’t come together into a dough. If the butter melts too much like it did for me I added a little more flour until it came together as a dough. Although it’ll still be quite a sticky dough.  Photo 21-08-2017, 11 19 29
  5. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 20 mins or so to let it firm back up. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  6. I like to roll out my rough between two sheets of baking paper! It’s less messy! So get the dough out the fridge and stick it between the baking paper and roll it out to 4mm thickness. You may find it easier to split the dough in two and roll it out depending on how big your worktop is!Photo 21-08-2017, 11 54 21
  7. Using cutters cut out shapes and put them on the baking tray
  8. Bake for around 12-15 minutes in the oven. They should still be a little soft when you bring them out! It is so easy to over-cook gingerbread! Photo 21-08-2017, 12 48 05
  9. Once the biscuits are cool you can decorate them! 🙂

I really like this recipe as it uses more spices than other recipes I’ve used and it definitely tastes much better!