Friday, 30 October 2015

Halloween iced biscuits.


I meant to make these biscuits last Halloween... and the Halloween before that... in fact I've had these Halloween themed biscuit cutters for a few years now and for some reason I'm pretty sure this is actually the first time I've ever used them.

As you can see, my decorating skills could use some work, but these biscuits are so simple and delicious, I'm not even mad. Anyway, surely it's not just me who thinks the shoddy icing skills only add to the charm, right? Right??


For these spooky biscuits I used this BBC Food recipe for iced biscuits.

Ingredients

For the biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 275g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • Food colouring (I like to use gel food colouring but any kind is fine.)
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 or 180C for a fan assisted oven and line two or three baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until well combined.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix a little at a time until well combined.
  4. Add the flour and mix until you have a dough.
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1cm.
  6. Cut biscuits out of the dough, using biscuit cutters, and carefully place them on the baking trays. Don't worry too much about leaving a lot of space between biscuits because they shouldn't spread too much when baking.
  7. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes until they're a pale golden-brown. Once cooked set the biscuits to one side on the baking trays for a few minutes to harden before moving them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once your biscuits are cooled sift your icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture. If you're making different coloured icing then split the icing evenly into smaller bowls at this stage before stirring in your food colouring.
  9. Spread the icing onto the biscuits using a knife and then leave them on your wire rack until the icing has hardened. If you have delicate biscuit shapes, be careful at this stage not snap any in half while you're spreading the icing onto them... not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...


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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bodmin Moor.


Even though I've lived here my whole life I'd never actually been for a proper trek up on Bodmin Moor before a few weeks ago. While dad was on holiday, he, mum and I drove out to Minions one day and spent the afternoon with all the horses, cows, and sheep that live on the moors, and I took a lot of pictures (luckily not all with my film camera this time...)



Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the stone circles, The Hurlers, because there were lots of people milling about and one woman in particular just sitting on one of the stones with her dog on her lap. I'm sure we'll go again though and I'll make sure I get some good ones then, but for now I'm not too disappointed. I think I got a lot of other pretty good pictures, if I do say so myself.



There are mine shafts and engine houses everywhere you look on the moors, from the days when this land would have been full of working miners every day rather than cows and horses. The one in the pictures below has been turned into a little museum all about the history of the mines in the area. And, of course, there are also travel leaflets about the places featured in Poldark.



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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Polzeath.


My dad had some time off work a few weeks ago and luckily we had lovely weather the whole time so we went on a couple of little day trips and I took a lot of photographs. I did think I would have some film photographs to share with you in a couple of posts too... but it turns out the film never actually wound on in my camera. So... let's move on.


The first of our little trips was to the beach at Polzeath. Although I didn't get a lot of photos with my digital camera, unfortunately (I thought I got a lot on my film camera but uh, obviously not.)


I did do a lot of stumbling over rocks and had to have a little lie down on the cliffs to get my breath back afterwards. Let's just say it was a little too hot for the jeans and long sleeved t-shirt combo I was rocking.



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Monday, 19 October 2015

GGRP: Only In Your Dreams.

Gossip Girl Review Project

Gossip Girl Only In Your Dreams Cover

Synopsis
School is officially out until all of our main characters start college in the fall. Dan is working at The Strand Bookstore, where he meets a girl who immediately makes him forget that two weeks ago he declared his undying love for Vanessa at his own graduation ceremony. Serena is, of course, in front of the camera in Ken Mogul's new film Breakfast at Fred's and Vanessa is behind it, but both have a little more trouble with their roles than expected. Nate is fixing up his lacrosse coach's house in the Hamptons as punishment for stealing viagra in the last book. Blair is in London, spending far too much money and getting more and more agitated that Lord Marcus is spending more time with his cousin than with Blair, until she totally snaps, buys a wedding dress, and goes back to New York without telling him. Where her mother makes her get a job helping with the costumes on Breakfast at Fred's to pay her back for all that London shopping.

Familiar scenes
Blair spending far too much money on clothes.

What's different?
Nate doing manual labour.

Fanciest fancy party
The Breakfast at Fred's wrap party, held at the house Holly Golightly lived in in Breakfast at Tiffany's and where Serena and Blair have been living while they shot the film. Dan and his new girl break up on the roof, Chuck meets and then immediately steals away Nate's new girl and Nate doesn't really care because he has realised (AGAIN) that he is still in love with Blair, who already kind of has a new boy. Vanessa is accompanied by two small children.

Most conniving scheme
Not so much a scheme but when Blair's mother tells her that she needs to get a real job, of course Blair's mind immediately jumps to working for the famous designer who is doing all of the costumes for Breakfast at Fred's, and of course that works out, and of course she ends up with a little assistant/minion in the guise of her brother's new girlfriend who idolises Blair. Of course.

What is Chuck Bass up to?
Appearing out of nowhere exactly when needed, like some kind of entertainment fairy unloading all the necessary gossip, flirting with everyone, and then disappearing into the nearest bedroom with Nate's new girlfriend.

How off the rails is Jenny Humphrey?
Jenny is in Prague visiting her mother and apparently staying out of trouble in art classes until she starts at her new boarding school, but since we no longer have Jenny-centric chapters I think now is the time to retire this section of the reviews. Farewell, Jenny Humphrey. Please stay out of trouble in your new school. (I know you won't.)

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Friday, 16 October 2015

'Roid Week, day five.


My framing may have been a little off (hello tiny tower top of the gaol at the bottom there) but I'm quite pleased with this one. Even the dust from my printer looks a little like stars in the sky. I hope you'll agree that this is a nice end to 'Roid Week 2015.

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Thursday, 15 October 2015

'Roid Week, day four.


A little selfie today with my friend Alice, from earlier this year when we drove out to Pendennis, potentially the windiest place on Earth.

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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

'Roid Week, day two.


Day two's picture was also taken in Newquay last summer, at the beach this time. If you look very closely you can see my friends Chuck and Jessi climbing on that big rock.

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Monday, 12 October 2015

'Roid Week, day one.

The 12th-16th of October 2015 is Polaroid Week. Normally I am firmly against referring to Instax prints/cameras as Polaroids but 'Roid Week specifically includes all forms of instant photography, so just this once I'll let it slide. I'll be sharing a new picture, taken with my Instax, every day this week. Well, I say 'new' but most of them are actually kind of old. Never mind.


This first picture is from my little trip to Newquay last summer. Excuse the barbed fence, this was taken outside the zoo exit.

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

GGRP: Nothing Can Keep Us Together.

It's that time again...



Synopsis
It's finally graduation time! After being caught making out in a bathtub in the last book, Nate and Serena are together, though neither of them are really into it. Aaron and Vanessa are seemingly getting on wonderfully, that is until Vanessa starts having sex with Dan on the rooftop of her building. Blair moves out of Vanessa's place and into The Yale Club, where she meets The Lord. Dan decides not to go to college as a sign of his devotion to Vanessa. Nate can't stop crying all the time. Serena and Blair both audition for a new remake of Breakfast At Tiffany's called Breakfast at Fred's. Jenny finally finds her perfect boarding school.

Familiar scenes
No familiar scenes but The Lord has made an appearance, which is pretty fun.

What's different?
I mean... everything? But also Serena is so into the idea of being an actress, which is nice but I don't think it ever crossed show Serena's mind.

Fanciest fancy party
Blair throws a graduation party at The Yale Club, to which Chuck brings a random group of private school boys he found on the street somewhere in New York and Serena and Blair kiss in front of everyone. Gossip Girl then informs us that The Yale Club has now banned members from inviting non-members to parties hosted there. Well done, Blair.

Most conniving scheme
Jenny is still in full swing about this boarding school thing. She drags Rufus around to look at a list of different boarding schools, each time convincing him to let her look around the school alone so that she can find her perfect party school.

What is Chuck Bass up to?
Not nearly enough.

How off the rails is Jenny Humphrey?
Jenny actually seems to finally be growing up a little bit. She decides not to attend the most out of control party school, instead choosing a school with a promising art department, and she decides not to have sex with Nate while he's high. These are probably the most sensible decisions Jenny has ever made.

There are five more books left in this series and honestly, all I ask of them is that people stop dating Nate and Chuck gets to exist more. That's it. That's all I want. My hopes are not high.

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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Desert island reads.

Books are my bag BAMB desert island reads

It's Books Are My Bag 2015! For those of you not in the know, BAMB is a campaign that runs from Super Thursday (Today!) to the following Saturday every year, and is designed to encourage people to go out and shop in their local high street bookshops instead of buying books online. Lots of bookshops all over the country will be hosting BAMB parties and events on Saturday and selling the special BAMB tote bags over all three days! Unfortunately I live in one of those strange towns without a proper bookshop so I have yet to be able to actually take part or purchase one of those sweet tote bags. This year however BAMB is asking people to pick their eight Desert Island Reads and that is something I can definitely take part in!

So put on some sunscreen, pack your swimming costume, and let me talk you through the eight books I'll be taking with me to my desert island!


1. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Although I only gave Good Omens four stars when I read it last year, I still found it to be one of the funniest books I've ever read and I think if I was stranded on a desert island, I would probably want a good laugh. Plus I feel like it would be a book that I would only enjoy more with each re-read, and I'm sure I'll have a lot of time on my island to dedicate to reading these books more than once.


2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

For when I'm feeling a little melancholy about my chances of survival, why not have one of the ultimate books about determination in the face of potential defeat? And maybe I'll be able to pick up some tips about fishing to keep myself fed on the island too?


3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Look, maybe Harry Potter is a hugely predictable choice, but there is no way I'm getting stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere for lord knows how long without some Harry to keep me company. I considered bringing Goblet of Fire, which is potentially my favourite, or Order of the Phoenix, which is by far the biggest in the series and would probably keep me going for a good few days, but at the end of the day you just can't beat the nostalgia of Philosopher's Stone.


4. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I've mentioned many times before on this blog that I Capture the Castle is probably my favourite book. I love everything about it and if there's one book I know I will never tire of, it's this one. I don't want to overstate it, but if I could only take two books to this island I would probably choose Philosopher's Stone and this one. But please don't actually test me on that.


5. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

In my opinion, Danny the Champion of the World is by far Roald Dahl's most unappreciated book. I loved Roald Dahl's books as a child (and still do, of course!) and Danny was always my favourite. I had it on audiobook and used to listen to it any time I couldn't get to sleep. So if I'm ever having trouble falling asleep on this island of mine, I know I'll be glad to have Danny the Champion of the World to keep me company.


6. Campari for Breakfast by Sara Crowe

Campari for Breakfast is another one I only read for the first time last year but I fell in love with it immediately. It has pretty much everything I love in a story and I've been meaning to re-read it for a while now, so why not finally do that with all my spare time on this island?


7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is another book I've been meaning to re-read and like I said, I'm anticipating having a lot of spare time on this island so I might as well get these things done. Fangirl is probably my favourite Rainbow Rowell novel and Cath actually reminds me a lot of myself, so I think it's a pretty solid choice to bring with me if I'm to be stranded on my own.


8. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

For my last pick I've decided to throw in one that I haven't actually read yet, just in case I get tired of re-reading my old favourites and want to get into something new. I've been meaning to read The Mists of Avalon for years now but the size of it has always put me off. However, I think a nice, thick Arthurian classic might be just the thing to keep me occupied for a good, long while.

So those are my picks! Now where's my island...?

Which eight books would you choose for your desert island reads? 

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