Monthly Memories – April

So you’ve heard on monthly favourites….I thought I would do a twist on this called ‘Monthly Memories’ I haven’t heard of anyone doing this before so decided to do something new. Also, if this is already a thing and I just haven’t heard of it please let me know in the comments! So here’s how this is gonna work; I’m gonna give an overview of my month, every month, so I can look back in a few years. One or two of these are from the last few days of March but I thought I’d include them anyway 🙂 Enjoy!

This month started with a trip to the cinema to see the new Emma Watson film Beauty and the Beast. I went with one of my friends and it was one of those spontaneous outings where we were both bored on a Friday night so decided to go out. Regarding the film, it was so much better than I thought it was going to be! I’m not a big Disney film fanatic or anything so I wasn’t too bothered about it but seeing a classic film remade was pretty awesome. Also, who knew Emma Watson could sing so well?!

My grandma came to visit this month (as she does most months!) and we made a point of having a girly outing into Oxford. We went shopping and had some lunch in one of my favourite cafes. A few evenings after that my dad, grandma and I went out for dinner at a Tapas bar in Oxford. We’d never been before but it was so good!

One exciting thing that happened this month was one of my friends turned 18. We celebrated by going out for dinner and then drinks and beerpong back at his house. The place we went for dinner was SO nice! It’s one of those places you drive past so many times but have never actually been so we thought we’d try it out. It was such a good evening filled with laughter and fun!

My grandparents from Switzerland and my cousin and her boyfriend visited for a few days. It was awesome to see them all – especially my cousin as I hadn’t seen her for about 5 years! We had a lot of family fun; looking at old photos and laughing at memories.

Easter was this month as well so we celebrated that with a string of events. On Easter day we cycled to a nearby village and had lunch at the pub there – they do the best stuffed mushrooms! We also tried cycling with Jazz (our dog) on the lead next to us. This did not go as planned and I’m amazed my dad stayed on his bike throughout this!

And last but not least, last weekend a group of friends and I went to the pub. This has recently become a bit of a hang out place and I love it there. I don’t drink but love the atmosphere. My friends ended up having a few too many, which was very entertaining. We went to a local fair on the same night and I don’t know how they managed to go on so many rides given their tipsy state! Two of my friends and I then had a sleepover the same night and stayed up ages chatting – I hadn’t seen either of them in ages so it was the best night. The next morning we went to a trampoline park called Rush for my friends little sisters birthday party. I’d never been before but it was so much fun! I think I managed to hurt my back someone but it was well worth it!

That’s it for this month – I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to so feel free to leave a comment letting me know!

Megssaskia x

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Update

Hi everyone!

I haven’t written a blog post in almost a month so I thought I would do a quick life update to explain why I’ve been offline for a while.

I’ve been super busy with exams and work so not had as much time to sit down and write. My exams are only a few weeks away so I’m focusing on those for now. I’m also running for vice president of the students union at my college so that’s taken up a bit of time too.

However, I have an exciting trip planned at the end of May so you will hear all about that! I am also going to write some blog posts today to go up in the next few weeks and I will try to reply to comments when I can! Hope you’re all doing well 🙂

Megssaskia x

Everything, everything – Book review

I thought it was time for another book review! I loved writing the last one and it seems that you guys loved reading it! In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit of a book worm, so these are one of my favourite kinds of posts to do. I recently read Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon – I fell in love with the characters and just the entire plot in general and decided it was worthy of a blog post, so here we go!

Overview: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

The first thing which really appealed to me was the medical/psychological aspect that was evident from the blurb. I’m fascinated by rare diseases so this was a definite plus. I related strongly to the main character (Madeline) through this as I too have a rare medical condition (nothing too weird, just a sleep disorder!) I really related to some of her thoughts and feelings because of this. Towards the end of the book the Psychological aspect comes into view – I can’t say too much about this without any spoilers!

Another thing I loved was the romance aspect. This is, quite obviously, a romance novel and I am such a sucker for romance books. Some of the quotes about Olly really made me melt – see below.

“He’s definitely a noticer, the kind of boy who would know if you’d rearranged a painting or added a new vase to a room.”

The storyline is really beautiful and sends a good message. I’m going to put a few of my favourite quotes/extracts from the book down below. Another thing I liked was how easy it was to read – it was well-written and exciting all the way through. If you love anything to do with romance or maybe have a bit of a fascination for all things weird and wonderful, I strongly suggest reading this book!

“You can find the meaning of life in a book.”

“If my life were a book and you read it backward, nothing would change. Today is the same as yesterday. Tomorrow will be the same as today.”

“There’s more to life than being alive”

I hope you enjoyed this and will add it to your to read list! If you’ve already read it, feel free to leave a comment below so I can hear your opinion! Megssaskia x

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Everything-Nicola-Yoon/0552574236

“In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.”

Spring photoshoot

It’s finally spring, which means light evenings and warmer (ish) days! The clocks went forwards a few weeks ago which means British Summer Time is here! Yes! This is one of my favourite times of the year because I love how light it is in the evenings; it’s 7:40 pm here in England and still light! The other day my brother and I were playing frisbee in the park and thought we would do a little photoshoot while it was still light and warm enough! So, to kick off a series of very spring-themed posts, I thought I would put some of the photo’s on here. Enjoy! (I couldn’t put many photo’s up because I don’t want to show my brothers face on here so sorry about that!) Megssaskia x

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Chocolate Cheesecake

Baking posts are definitely one of my favourites to write! I’ve never made a chocolate cheesecake before – or a regular cheesecake in fact! – but I thought I would give it a go and I’m pleased to say it actually turned out quite good! It took around half an hour prep and 35 minutes to cook, plus 2 hours to stand and a night in the fridge (this last part was not included in the recipe but made it loads better!)

It’s quite a simple recipe and I added/changed a few of the measurements to suit me. The only thing I struggled with was the amount of mixture I had left over afterwards. I didn’t use the required 25 inch tins (I used 15 inch) but even if I had there would’ve been loads left over!

This is the original recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8248/double-chocolate-cheesecake

Ingredients

For the biscuit crust:

85g melted butter

14 plain digestives

For the cheesecake:

3 x 300g packs full fat Philadelphia cheese

200g golden caster sugar

4 tbsp cocoa

2tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

284ml pot soured cream

Bar of dark chocolate (more than 100g)

3 tbsp milk

284ml pot double cream

Method

I’m not going to go into great detail about this part, because it’s fairly simple.

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line the base of the baking tray with parchment and grease the sides with butter.
  2. Mix the melted butter and biscuit crumbs, then press them into the bottom of the tin. Bake this for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the oven up to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9.
  4. Mix all the other ingredients together – leaving a little chocolate for the icing. Pour this over the top of the cooked biscuit crust.
  5. Bake this for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 110C/fan 90C/gas 1/4 for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Turn off the oven, open the door a little and leave it to cool in the oven for 2 hours.
  7. I put the cheesecake in the fridge overnight – this isn’t included in the recipe but made the texture and taste so much better!

To decorate the cheesecake –  I spread chocolate icing over the top (melted from the left over chocolate bar). I then used the rest of the melted chocolate to make little shapes and put them on the top. (To do this I created shapes on baking parchment then put them in the fridge for around 30 minutes until the chocolate had set)

I hope this recipe is useful to you! I’d love to hear how your recent baking experiments have gone, so leave a comment to let me know! 🙂

 

 

Little ways to improve your life

This has been a blog post idea that has been rattling round in the back of my mind for quite some time now, so I’m very pleased to finally be sharing it! I thought I would make a list of a few things which have really helped to improve my everyday health – both mental and physical. If you’re interested, please read on!

Exercise each day

Most days for the past…however many months/years, I have been doing at least half an hour of exercise each day. The reason for this was because I stopped playing sports regularly and I needed a way to stay fit. However, even though that was my main reason at first, now I exercise because it makes me feel awake and gives me more energy. Even if you just go for a walk, getting fresh air is one of the best things for you in life! Whether it is in the morning before you start the day or in the evenings when you are winding down, it is so important to keep yourself active. Doing exercise also releases endorphins in your brain. These are basically happy chemicals which induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria.

Sleep routine

Out of all five, this is definitely the favourite on my list. I cannot recommend this enough – especially to people who have a full time job or go to school/college. Or if you just have a generally busy and active life! There are a few things you can do to maintain a healthy sleep routine. The most obvious is probably going to bed at a reasonable time. This should also be paired with getting up at more or less the same time each day. Maintaining a consistent routine can help you feel more energised and awake. Other tips include no technology from an hour before bed time and no coffee after 4/5 o’clock!

Meditation

When I refer to meditating I am not thinking of sitting with your legs crossed singing ‘om’ over and over. Rather, I am referring to simply having some quiet time at the end of the day. Whether this is done by reading a book, listening to music or simply breathing deeply, it’s always nice to have some time to yourself at the end of the day. If I didn’t do this each day I would probably explode – life can be so crazy and fast sometimes!

Gratitude

Finally, this is something I have been working on for a few months. I feel like life can pass us by very quickly without us really noticing or thinking about it. We’re a generation who is constantly thinking about the next thing; the next trip, the next career move, the next goal. It’s good to take a step back every once in a while and enjoy the journey. This includes thinking about the thinks we’re grateful and thankful for! 

The India Tea Series – Book Review

Author: Janet MacLeod Trotter

Books:

  1. The Tea Planters Daughter
  2. The Tea Planters Bride
  3. The Girl from the Tea Garden

Overview:

Clarissa Belhaven and her sister are struck by tragedy and are forced to move from the luscious hills of Assam to Newcastle, England, where they have to endure poverty. The first book follows Clarissa as she desperately tries to make a home for herself in Newcastle.

The second book follows Sophie as she lives a full and happy life living in Newcastle with her aunt. But the distant memory of her parents still haunts her as she tries to find out what really happened to them. She is taken to India by her new husband, where she delves deeper into the mystery of her parents and tries to make the most of her new life.

The third book follows lively, dramatic Adela as she struggles through school with the ambition of becoming a glamourous film star. She captures the attention of Sam Jackman, a young film maker. By the outbreak of the second world war, she is living in Newcastle where her life is turned upside down by an unpleasant discovery. Adela deals with shameful secrets and guilt as she falls in love with Sam.

I recently finished reading this series and I decided it was worthy of a book review – because I loved it! This series is quite different from things I usually read; it still had a healthy amount of romance, but also had a lot of cultural aspects involved.

My favourite thing about these books was reading about different places and cultures. The books are set in India and Newcastle from 1904 to the late 1900’s. I also love that each character is linked to the characters in the next book, therefore we still indirectly learn about the lives of previous characters as they progress. This is great because I hate finishing a book and not knowing what happened to the characters!

Each book is filled with joy, comfort and sadness. I have cried and laughed multiple times throughout reading the series – I simply love when books are able to touch you in such a way.

Here is the link to the books on amazon:

I hope you enjoyed this book review and it’s inspired you to read them! 🙂

Megssaskia x