Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

I was nominated by Hana at RimmelSmudge to do the Christmas Tag.


What's your favourite Christmas movie?
I'm not a huge fan of Christmas movies (Strange, I know!), but I'd have to say that my favourite is Home Alone. It's an classic!

Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
OF COURSE on Christmas morning - that's just how it should be! Nothing can beat waking up early, and sprinting in excitement to open your presents.

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Two years ago, my older brother got my parents and I joke presents - some bin liners, cans of coke, and toilet seat covers (if you've seen the episode of Friends where Chandler and Joey bought everyone rubbish xmas presents - that's where he got his inspiration). We were all completely confused, and somewhat disappointed, but then he revealed that it was a joke, and gave us our real presents. 

Favourite festive food?
For savoury foods, I absolutely LOVE roast potatoes - all year round but especially at Christmas. As for a specifically festive food, mince pies have to be my favourite Christmas-time snack.

Favourite Christmas gift?
Now that's a very hard question ... I can't pinpoint one gift as the favourite, but I do remember in detail receiving my new DSi, which must mean that it was somewhat important to me as the memory of opening it has stuck with me all these years!

Favourite Christmas scent?
I've only got into candles really recently, so I haven't established a favourite Christmas scent. Has anyone got any recommendations?

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
We usually spend the early evening at my family friends house. They have 'Santa Claus' make an appearance, we exchange presents and eat festive food. My family used to leave out milk and a bourbon biscuit, but that tradition has gone as I got older.

What tops your tree?
A traditional, glitter covered white star.

As a child, what was one crazy gift you asked for but never received?
Every year, for about 3 years I asked for a 'Big Toy Horsey' - using those words exactly. And no, sadly I never received one.

What's the best part of Christmas for you?
I love spending the day with all my family, as that happens rarely during the year. Everyone is in high spirits, and there's always a large meal prepared. It's really nice hanging out with my younger cousins, and seeing them bursting with excitement to open the presents!

As Christmas is tomorrow, I'm not going to tag anyone specific to do the tag. But if you're feeling in the Chritsmas spirit, why not give it a go, and let me know if you do!

Merry Christmas, make it a good one!

Love Sian xox 


Saturday, 20 December 2014

The New Year Approaches | 2014 Blogger Challenge

As 2015 approaches, so does the end of the amazing #2014BloggerChallenge. It's been a year of highs and lows, twists and turns and new experiences. I've achieved a lot of my goals this year, but I have a lot more that I want to achieve in 2015.


Something that is going to occupy the beginning of the year is GCSEs. As this is my first experience of public exams, I want to revise thoroughly and do the best that I can. I want to try and make this experience as productive as possible, and not let all the work stress me out! 

At the beginning of this school year, I started athletics training with a new coach. I wasn't getting where I wanted to with my old coach, so I hoped that this change would be for the best. So far the training has been amazing, and I've seen a real improvement. At my first competition I did a lot better than I expected, and I hope to improve a lot more next year. This links into my goal of getting fitter and stronger in 2015. 

In the Summer holidays, after I've finished my GCSEs, I want to discover new things to do locally. Every holiday either my family and I go abroad, or I stay at home and do things that I've done before. Now I'm not saying that I don't enjoy this, but I feel like there is so much to do on my doorstep that I haven't done yet. Next year I want to find some of these new experiences, and really get to know the area around me. 

Lastly, a more personal thing, I want to practise doing one task at a time. Especially in this new era of technology, I've found myself playing games while watching the TV, working while watching YouTube, or fiddling with my phone while talking to people. I think this is a really bad habit, and I want this to change in 2015. I could get a lot more done and experience more if I focused on one job at a time, and reduced my time just fiddling (and doing nothing important) on my phone.

These are my goals for now, and I'm sure I'll set many more as the year progresses. 2014 has been an amazing year, and the 2014 Blogger Challenge has been a great way to focus my attention on my blog.

I wish you guys an amazing New Year!

What are your goals for 2015?

Love Sian xox

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Gift Guides for Christmas | Adults

Having trouble deciding what to buy for your family for Christmas? Here's a basic guide to what I think is best to buy for the adults of the family.


Grandparents

Grandparents are quite easy to buy for, as they usually don't ask much from their grandchildren. I go for something simple like:

- For grandma: a scarf or shawl for winter: Something not too expensive but good quality hits the spot
- For grandpa: a wallet or tie should do the trick
- For both: something personal like a decorative frame with a family photo, or something handmade will be loved by the grandparents!

Parents

Parents are quite harder to generalise for what to get for Christmas, as a personal thing usually is best. I'm basing this totally on what kind of things my parents have asked for over the years. 

For mum: My mum loves beauty products and things for her skin, so I go for a good quality cream/moisturiser or a nice smelling candle. Either that, or a favourite CD - this year she wants the new Sam Smith CD
For dad: Dads are always unpredictable - so some good presents could be cuff links, a CD or a favourite book!
For both: A nice photo frame, vouchers, or a couples experience to enjoy together! 


Uncles & Aunts

I like to buy couples presents for Aunts & Uncles, but if you're feeling generous, here are a few ideas.

For Auntie: Something along the same lines as mum - a beauty product, CD or book, or especially as the New Year is approaching, a nice diary. Things for the kitchen, like a good quality cook book can go a long way too
For Uncle: Again, something along the same lines as dad will do
For both: If like me you find it easier to buy joint presents, I think cute items for the home are perfect. This may be nice salt & pepper shakers, a photo frame, or something as simple as a sofa cushion! Or if you're not sure of their style, booking a couples experience or day out is another great option. 


Are you ready for Christmas?

Love Sian xox

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Things I Want To Do This Christmas

1) Explore London at night

2) Visit Winter Wonderland

3) Bake some mince pies

4) Buy and wear a Christmas jumper (I know - I never have!)

5) Decorate my tree

6) Shop in a Christmas market

7) Go ice-skating

8) Go to the theatre A LOT 

9) Watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas (I've never seen it!)

10) Make some cute Christmas decorations


What do you want to do this Christmas?

Love Sian xox

Friday, 5 December 2014

Cookie Dough Fudge

This week I had to prepare a gift for someone in my friendship group for Secret Santa. Over the years, I have learnt what makes a good Secret Santa present - and one of those is food. We all wrote on a piece of paper what we wanted, and my secret santa wanted some Cookie dough related thing. And after some good time searching the internet, I found a recipe for Cookie Dough Fudge


Ingredients

Cookie Dough
75g of salted butter, softened to room temperature 
50g of granulated sugar
50g of light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30ml of milk 
62g of all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt

Fudge
67g of light brown sugar
75g of salted butter
80ml of milk 
500g of confectioners sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
90g of milk chocolate chips
A pinch of salt

Method

Line a 10x8 square baking pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper. I used aluminium foil trays, as the fudge doesn't stick and they're a good size. 

For the Cookie Dough...
Mix the butter and sugars in the bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy. I used a handheld mixer on medium speed to get this consistency. Mix in the vanilla, salt and milk. Add the flour bit by bit, until the mixture is combined. Do not over mix, as the mixture may go runny.

For the Fudge...
Combine the light brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Leave this mixture to melt, without stirring it, as the butter may curdle. You can shake the pan to move the butter around. After the mixture is melted, take it off the heat and add the milk. You can stir the mixture now to make sure it is all combined. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar, bit by bit, until the mixture is smooth. As I added the sugar, the mixture did become quite bitty, but if you continue to mix in the sugar and break up the lumps, you will get a smooth consistency. You can add more or less powdered sugar depending on how sweet or thick you want your fudge to be.  Stir in the vanilla extract.


Add the cookie dough to the fudge and mix thoroughly. The mixture should be at room temperature now. Fold in the chocolate chips, and spread the fudge in your baking pan. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Then you can cut them into squares, and either leave it in the fridge for a firmer fudge, or at room temperate for a more gooey fudge. With the size that I used, this recipe made about 45 pieces!

And it's as simple as that!

What do you make for Secret Santa?




Love Sian xox 




Saturday, 29 November 2014

What I'm (Kind of) Obsessed With

 One day, when I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post about Taylor Swift's new music video for Blank Space.
When Shake It Off first came out I loved the music video, so I thought I'd take a chance with this one.

It has an amazing story line (I know this is weird as it's a music video), and I think it has made me like the song a bit more than I should. Taylor Swift always gets her songs and videos just right, so they always get stuck in my head. In the music video she plays the crazy woman living in a huge house, and tempting men with her beauty. Somehow Taylor manages to pull of the psychotic girlfriend look... I haven't been able to get it out my head for the past week! 


Do go check it out, if you're a fan of that kind of music, and tell me what you think. I want to listen to more songs on the 1989 album - any recommendations?

What are you (kind of) obsessed with?

Love Sian xox 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Come Back Summer!

At the moment, Britain is in the annoying stage between Autumn and Winter - where the beautiful orange leaves are still on the trees but it is SO FREAKIN' COLD. My mum is trying to do the whole 'let's keep the heating off for as long as possible' thing, and I'm just sitting under my duvet freezing to death. The novelty of wearing big jumpers and drinking hot chocolate is starting to wear off, and now I just miss summer. So as a personal 'throwback', and to infuse some summer vibes back into my blog, here are some of my favourite photos from Summer.


A photo from an amazing week helping out at the Mother Teresa orphanage in Sri Lanka


Hyde Park in Summer is the best :)

First time Borris Biking around town!




Do you miss Summer?

Love Sian xox


Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Perfect Pamper Evening | 2014 Blogger Challenge

After a long stressful day at work or school, everyone needs a pamper evening. They're perfect to help you relax and treat yourself. Here are some personal tips to make you pamper evening perfect.


1) Run a bath
Even I - a person who usually prefers showers to baths - believe that baths are the key to a perfect pamper evening. They are so relaxing, and let you clear your mind. You can also light some candles and add a bath bomb to make your bath that more extra special. Play some relaxing music, and let yourself unwind. 

2) Light Candles
As I mentioned before, lighting some nice smelling candles can be the cure to relaxing your mind. The calming smell of incense can soften your senses. I have a few candles, and I use them especially for my pamper evenings, making the amazing smells special I guess! 

3) Use all those creams you never thought you'd use
I don't know about you, but on a standard school night, I never get to do my full evening routine. So the pamper evening is the perfect time to use those special creams you keep in the corner of your cupboard. This will make sure you come out of your bath feeling wonderful.

4) Get in your dressing gown
So now you're all moisturised and clean, what better to do than get into your soft, comfortable dressing gown. Secret to perfection.

5) Put on a movie
Snuggle on the sofa and put on your favourite movie. It will distract you from things on your mind, and give you some comfort. So settle down with a bar of chocolate, and live in the movie. A movie is the perfect end to your pamper evening. 

What's your perfect pamper evening?

Love Sian xox

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Pancakes!

Recently, I've gained a new obsession with pancakes. After realising how easy and quick they are to make, there was no stopping me experimenting with new combinations of toppings and flavours. So if you're ever stuck with what to put on your pancakes, I've got a few things you should try out...



Ingredients
1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
You can also add some fruit to the mixture to make it more delicious from the start!

I know a 'cup' is an American unit of measurement, but it makes pancake making a lot quicker. I just use a standard sized mug, and fill it up to about 2 centimetres below the bottom. Any measuring container will do, as long as the proportions are the same for all the ingredients. 

Banana and Nutella
A nice chocolatey treat to start your day - to be honest you can't go wrong with nutella! I would also try strawberries with nutella - another perfect pair.

Strawberries and Blueberries
Two of my favourite fruits, put them together, and another divine combination. If you're not too much of a health freak, why not put some maple syrup or honey over the top?

Sugar and Lemon
I think this works slightly better with English pancakes (the thin ones) or crepes, but I've tried it with these pancakes and it's not half bad. If you're not a fan of fruit on your pancakes, then this is the combination for you.

Bacon and Maple Syrup
A combination I haven't tried yet, but I've heard that it is extremely delicious. And i'm always one for some bacon in the morning, so I'll report back when I do try this pair. 

What are your favourite pancake toppings?

Love Sian xox 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Top 4 Restaurants | 2014 Blogger Challenge

As I'm sure most of you do, I always love some good food. And over years of dinners and lunches out, I have chosen my 4 favourite restaurants.

NANDOS
The sign of a favourite restaurant is when you don't need the menu to choose what you want. The double chicken breast burger with a side of garlic bread, and medium sauce, has to be my favourite meal at Nandos, and it never fails to make me happy. They specialise in chicken, and they make it very very well.

WAGAMAMA
Another favourite of mine, with the yaki udon and chicken gyoza being my cup of tea. Completely different to Nandos, but they both fill up and make me happy. The large plates of delicious noodles are ones that cannot be matched.

ZIZZI
Covering another genre of food, Zizzi has to be my favourite italian restaurant. I like the bruschetta and pasta pomodoro, and they do them both so well! Whenever I need a comfort meal, that is where I go.

THE PUDDING STOP
A new restaurant/cafe that has just opened near me, that serves all puddings. I'm not joking - you can sit down for some coffee and cakes of all kinds. And because they only sell puddings, of course they are delicious.

What's your favourite restaurant?

Love Sian xox

Sunday, 2 November 2014

My Trip To Morocco

From the 20th to 26th October, I went on a school Geography trip to Morocco, to explore the different areas that make it so incredible.

Our first meal overlooked the beautiful city of Marrakech, and I think this picture captures the vibrant atmosphere of Morocco's night-life. 

Our first destination was the Atlas Mountains. We visited a few Berber villages, and really enjoyed the culture and stunning views!






The patterns and colours that covered all the buildings were extremely beautiful, with real care put into every wall or ceiling.

We rode camels into the desert, where we spent a night. It was an interesting, quite uncomfortable experience, but a good one nevertheless.


 

Ait Ben Haddou - a beautiful village where many films such as Laurence of Arabia have been filmed. 


The markets, or 'Souks' of Marrakech. The bold colours and lively atmosphere added to the  amazing experience.




The market square in Marrakech - full of souvenirs, snake charmers, and people trying to rip you off!




Have you been to Morocco before?

Love Sian xox

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Little Me Tag

I was tagged by the wonderful HakunaThatMatata to do a tag which she invented - the Little Me Tag. You post four photos of when you were younger, to share with others and as a little walk down memory lane.

Last year, my brother when to university, and I prepared a short goodbye video for him. This obviously had to include some of our baby photos, so I had a good root through our photo albums and found some of these gems. And this is also why all these photos are of my brother and I (I hope he won't mind!).

I was always in touch with fashion when I was younger. This photo is from a family holiday to Singapore, and I was clearly loving it.


These two photos tell one story - when I was grumpy, no beautiful waterfalls could get me out of it. I especially hated photos, which is way many of my childhood photos were starring my unhappy face. Eventually my parents just gave up, which is nicely demonstrated in photo #2.

Unlike now, I was not a fan of roller coasters or any ride. I love this photo as it shows this perfectly, and I wish there could have been a video of this moment!

I'm going to tag anyone who wants to do, to do this tag. It's a lot of fun and a great way to get to know some of your favourite bloggers. 

Have you looked through your childhood photos?

Love Sian x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Amazing Covers | Let It Go/Let Her Go


If you remember this series, I applaud you.

A long time ago, I started a series called ‘Amazing Covers’, where I shared some incredible covers of popular songs I had found on YouTube. After the first few posts in this series, I stopped finding amazing covers and, to be honest, I forgot about the series.

But after a standard day exploring YouTube, I found one that impressed me so much, I had to show you guys. It’s a cover/mash-up of Let Her Go (by Passenger) and Let It Go (from Frozen) by Sam Tsui.


I think this cover is so original, catchy, and overall brilliant! Sam Tsui has done so many mash-ups, and with his voice and creativity, they’re all amazing. I almost love his cover more than the original songs - he is a musical. Definitely check him out, and tell me if you like any of his other covers. 

Have you found any amazing covers recently?

Love Sian xox

P.S. I'm thinking of making a logo for this series - any ideas?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

I'm Going To Morocco!

As you are reading this post, I am about to embark on a school trip to the beautiful Morocco. So this post is more of a little update about this week's posts.

I have scheduled two posts for this week, one is an Amazing Covers and the other is a Little Me Tag originally by the wonderful HakunaThatMatata. They will be going up on the Wednesday 22nd and Sunday 26th.

I'm not expecting to have wifi available to tell you guys via twitter when my posts are going up and the link etc, so I'm trusting you guys with this information.

These two posts will be going up at 11am (British Summer Time).

Hope you like these two posts, and look forward to some amazing photos from Morocco at the beginning of next week!

Do you schedule your posts?

Love Sian xox

P.S. When is the best time for me to post? Morning, evening or afternoon?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

What I Love About Autumn | 2014 Blogger Challenge

There are so many things that I love about Autumn, and I thought I would share some of these with you for this weeks #2014BloggerChallenge.


1) Wearing big, comfortable knitted jumpers
I love Autumn and Winter, merely because baggy clothes are my life. Snuggling up in a baggy jumper by a warm fire should be the definition of Autumn. 

2) The beautiful colours in the trees
I am a keen photography, and seeing the amazing red, orange and yellow leaves in the trees is a real treat. I love the atmosphere of Autumn!

3) Drinking some hot soup
What's better than drinking some hot tomato soup on a cold Autumn's night? Nothing, I know.

4) The cold, but not too cold weather
I don't know about you, but Autumn weather is actually perfect. It's not freezing, it's not warm, but it's just in the middle - which is the best for me. 

5) Hot chocolates
Following on from the hot soup, hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows is a nice pre-meal drink. 

6) And it's Halloween!
I am a big fan of horror movies, so halloween is such a fun time for me!

What do you love about Autumn?

Love Sian xox

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Favourite Songs

Recently I've discovered some amazing songs and albums, so I thought I'd tell you a few of my favourites.


Gold On the Ceiling
Black Keys

I'm Not The Only One
Sam Smith

All About That Bass
Meghan Trainor

High Hopes
Kodaline

Don't
Ed Sheeran


What are your favourite songs at the moment?

Love Sian xox

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Quote a Day #2


A simple quote, but probably one of the most important. I recently had a situation where I was having a mental block, and I thought I was going to give up, and someone told me this. 


Never give up - work through your problem, and you'll feel so much better on the other side.

What quote inspires you?

Love Sian xox 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bose Bluetooth Headphones | 2014 Blogger Challenge

For the 2014 Blogger Challenge, I am going to review my Bose AE2W Bluetooth Headphones.


I have been looking at headphones for a while, since my earphones broke and I couldn't find suitable ones to fit! So after a lot of research, I narrowed my choices down to a few of the best brands (in my opinion) for headphones. These were Bose, Sennheiser and Beats by Dr. Dre. While looking at these respective brands, I came across a completely new idea to me - Bluetooth headphones! This means that you don't need a wire to connect your headphones to your device.

Now as you can see in the photo, the headphones have a little gadget on the side which controls bluetooth. Now you do have to charge this, but it lasts for 10 hours and it only takes 2-3 hours to charge. When you first get the headphones, all you have to do is switch on the gadget and connect it to your device - and you're ready to go! After that it automatically connects. You can be up to 10m away from your device, and still hear your music as clear as ever!

It makes it so easy to listen to music on the go, without worrying about getting caught up in the wire. It is also good for gentle exercise, as I know how annoying wires can be when you're running! Although I do recommend getting sports earphones for vigorous sport, as the headphones themselves do get a little sweaty!

If you haven't charged your gadget, or don't feel like using bluetooth, there is an option to detach the gadget and insert a wire (which is included). I find this so useful, as it gives me both options that normal headphones wouldn't!

Lastly, the sound quality is so good and clear, and the volume has a very wide range . For me, the headphones are so comfortable and I wear them almost every day. They are quite expensive, but I really believe they are amazing purchase.

What has been your best purchase recently?

Love Sian xox

Friday, 26 September 2014

Some Positives of School

After my recent Blogger's Block, my ideas for blog posts just seem to be rolling. So he's another, slightly strange one. 

Positives of school I hear you say? Well listen up.


1) Stationary
Who doesn't love stocking up on new pens, pencils and notebooks? This must be the favourite part of going back to school, as it gives me an excuse to go crazy in WHSmiths.

2) Back to Routine
This might just be me, but I like having something to do during the day. Not that I love Summer Lazy Days, but a change is nice once in a while. 

3) Seeing Friends
I miss all my friends so much during the holidays, so school is the perfect time for a reunion.

4) Earlier you start, earlier you finish!
Quite self-explanatory, but it's true! Start school positive, and you'll finish in no time.

5) Get Organised!
Leading on from stationary, I always find school a perfect reason to get organised. For school, and just life in general.

And do note that none of these points including actually learning things.

What do you like about school? (Tough question today I know)

Love Sian xox