Sunday, 13 January 2013

Raise your glass

I don't really believe in New Years Resolutions. Usually it's something stupid like to stop biting my nails or to cut down on what I eat - all of which last about a week. Well seen as though I'm already a member of Weightwatchers and I'm probably never going to stop biting my nails, I'm now a non-believer.

But it is a new year and instead of making a 'resolution', I'm going to take on a new perspective.

I want to write more. It's only since the 'bestie', Grace, has started writing on blog again I've been reading and thinking...I need some inspiration. It's pretty important that I write as much as possible with training to be a journalist. So many times at the end of last year I said was going to get back into my blog, but life just seemed to get in the way. So here is my vow, I NEED to write more (even if it is just about something boring!)

I also want to be more social. Since being a fresher at Uni I've barely been on any nights out I think purely from laziness. I rarely saw my previous flat mates from first year and just sat in the flat bored out of my brains. So here is my vow, I WILL be more sociable again and make time for the people that matter.

So although I do hope to lose a few more pounds in 2013, I'm not making this a resolution, it is just my new and better perspective on life.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


My first article for Shire.

The Cupcake: Traditional or Nouveau?

The cupcake is a modern take on the traditional ‘fairy cake’ and is most definitely the modern generations guilty pleasure. They may be small, but they are becoming more and more popular, with cupcake businesses popping up all over the globe. But the question is, is this tiny treat going to lead to the extinction of the traditional cake? Kiera Beasley sheds some light on this, her baking world and the creation of the cherry Coca-Cola sponge cake.

Kiera runs her ‘Cupcake Factory’ from home in Great Hale, Lincolnshire, taking pride in her unique designs and cupcake courses, she says. “I am absolutely passionate about baking in general and of course about cupcakes and cakes.” Like any baker, Kiera loves starting with the raw ingredients and creating a masterpiece, adding. “Well that’s how it works most of the time!”

Kiera’s passion definitely shows in her designs and it’s said that cake makers are artists, she says. “You need the decoration to be good to entice the customer but of course the cake must be wonderful for them to keep coming back.” It takes great skill to create the perfect sponge and distinctive decoration to go with it. They do come as a package after all.

Just when you thought that cupcakes were done. Just when you thought they’d done everything that could be done. They fought back. They started appearing in shops, not as cakey treats, but as decorations for your house and as patterns on your clothes. However, Kiera thinks that this is also a regional trend, she comments. “I find down south the craze is far more popular than it is here in Lincolnshire, but it is growing.”

But, is the cupcake extravaganza almost becoming an obsession? It’s now seen as a fashion icon, whereas the traditional cake was served and judged on taste. It is almost as if the classic ‘birthday cake’, Victoria Sponge and the fruit cake have created offspring. The cupcake is taking over the world.
Although this isn’t seen as a negative within the baking world. Kiera agrees that this tiny cake has raised the profile of baking greatly within society and it has almost become fashionable, she continues. “Seeing young, modern chefs making wonderful creations and the fabulous baking programme, ‘The Great British Bake Off’, highlighted that anyone can learn to bake.”

For special occasions, instead of the classic cake, some people are opting for ‘cupcake towers’. Taking each individual cupcake and layering them in circles to create a tiered effect, just like the traditional wedding cake. However, Kiera does think that there will always be a place for the wedding cake, even if the designs are becoming more modern. But, she does love this modern idea, proclaiming. “Cupcake towers are a great way to exercise some creative designs and to provide different flavours and toppings in one go and of course they give a wow factor.”

Kiera explains that she hasn’t dropped a cake yet and that the most bizarre sponge she has ever made was a Cherry Coca-Cola recipe which was requested for a special occasion. And believe it or not she has never had any traumatic experiences in her baking life so far, saying. “I really haven't been traumatised by a particular event, every day on my day courses we laugh with each other whilst we are chatting and creating.” She talks proudly about her courses were she teaches a range of different people from children to experienced bakers and has great fun doing so.

There are no answers as to why the cupcake became such a phenomenon, but the obvious explanation would be their individuality. This means that a good comparison for the cupcake would be the old fashioned box of chocolates. The unique flavour and decoration on each chocolate is the same as that of a cupcake.
No one likes sharing, especially not cake, and the uniqueness of a tiny cupcake can reflect an individual’s personality, making them feel like it is their own special little goodie. This could be another explanation to its popularity. Although, it could be argued that people prefer cupcakes because it makes them feel less guilty than eating a huge slab of cake. However, the people who use this as an excuse are usually the people you see going back for a second cupcake (and usually the people who finish off the box of chocolates, then tell themselves “it was only a little box!”)

The truth is that the cupcake is only a sophisticated twist on an old-fashioned favourite. Give it as many different toppings as you like, change its shape and colour – but the cupcake’s closest relation will always remain the traditional Victoria Sponge, extinct or not.

Some of Kiera's

Talking of which, check out my new 'bakers blog'!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My own fantasy world

I love reading. I love the feeling when you get so engrossed in a good book you cannot put it down. I love the different characters. And most of all, I love that for half an hour, I put myself in their shoes and the book almost becomes like real life, like my own fantasy world.

A lot of people only read books on holiday, probably because they don't have time in day to day life with full-time jobs and children. But in a way this is sad, these are the people who should read the most. They are usually the most stressed, so therefore should be able to take thirty minutes out of the day to indulge themselves into a good book.

I'm pretty much the typical girly girl when it comes to books. I love all the popular series', for example, Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga and more recently The Hunger Games. But one day, a few years ago, I walked into W H Smiths trying to find a random read when I came across an author called Dorothy Koomson. It would be safe to say I'm a sucker for the romantic, 'soppy' novels. So, when I saw a cute little blonde girl on the cover hand in hand with a young woman with the title 'My Best Friend's Girl', I thought that it must be the perfect read for me. Oh, and that fact that, back in the day, it was voted as a good summer read by Richard and Judy.

It's safe to say, this book had me hooked from the word GO. The basics being that a woman called Adele died at a very young age, she had a small child. When she died she asked her best friend, Kamryn,  from school to look after her little girl. The story follows her life, the ups and downs, the loves and losses. But the main thing that had me so hooked on this book was that the author wrote the story so casually, the characters in it seemed so real and it could have easily been reality. Ever since reading this book, I have watched Dorothy Koomsons blog and website closely for her new releases and read every single one of them. She sure can write a good story.

After reading and loving books like Harry Potter and Twilight, my friend recommended The Hunger Games saga. I was very sceptical at first when she described the plot, saying that children had to fight to the death. But one I started reading I become addicted. Addicted to the point were my flat mates made fun out of me because I couldn't put the book down.

Katniss is the main character in the book and the sympathy I felt for her was incredible. Although the book was very futuristic and unrealistic, I found myself believing her character was real. It may sound sad, but, I was in a shop the other day and had to do a double take finding myself thinking I'd seen her in a shop. Yes, funny, HA HA. But that is literally how engrossed in books I get.

Another good thing about the Hunger Games was the incredible description. The author managed to create amazing images in my head of the scenes within the story, which I can imagine is very difficult when writing a book.

I love writing and the truth is I'm in awe of these writers. Although I don't want to write novels for a living, I hope I can tell a story as well as these people.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Time flies when you're having fun!

It's crazy to think that my first year at uni is over. There has been so many ups and downs, but the ups have definitely out-done the downs and I can say hands on heart, it has been the best year of my life. This sounds so cliché, but so true.

To say that you are thrown in the deep end (loving the cheese today) would be an understatement. The build up to the big move is huge. I spend months setting up UCAS, writing a personal statement, receiving offers, deciding on a first and second choice, sitting exams and when results day came I didn't quite prepare myself for how overwhelming it would be. The fact that all this preparation was actually over and all I had to do now was move to Lincoln.

This was about when the panic set in. What if I don't make any friends? What if nobody likes me? What if my flat mates are horrible? What if I don't like my course? What if I run out of money? What if I miss home so much I'm forced to drop out? Anyone who has come to uni has probably experienced all of these feelings plus a million more...

When I finally received my letter from accommodation at Lincoln it started to seem  more and more real. I was able to find all put one of my flat mates on Facebook and they all seemed lovely, but what did I know, it's only Facebook.

It's safe to say I did not get a wink of sleep the night before move in day. I packed up most of my belongings in the car and said goodbye to my home and worst of all said goodbye to my mum. With tears in my eyes me and my new family (including Jordan, our mystery flat mate, nicknamed J) wandered into our new kitchen and the ice immediately broke, we all jumped into water and swam like little fishes.

If you are planning on going to uni in the near or far future everyone will tell you over and over "everyone is in the same boat!" Well when I was told this I was not convinced at all...but it couldn't be more true!! We immediately bonded just because we were all in the same position.

First night at Lincoln
We decided that we would all cook a meal together on the first night before getting ready and heading out to our new student union, The Engine Shed, to see Stevie Star the regurgitator. This was panning out to be the longest day in history, but it didn't stop up having an amazing time. By about 5pm on the first day of uni all my previous questions and worries were completely gone and I was well and truly settled into my new home!

8 months later we reminisce about this day and look at pictures saying how young we look. It's impossible really to look younger, but we've all done so much growing up in the last year we just seem to look and feel older. I have also never known so much drama created from 6 people, ever.

Us now...
Since then so much has happened. I started my course and met so many more amazing people including Grace, my other half (if you are a regular reader of my blog you will understand she isn't my actual other half, but best friend.) Now my first year is over and my exams have all been sat, I am just waiting to go back home for the summer and start my second year living in my new flat with Gracey-poo.

I have created such strong bonds and friends for life, which ultimately uni is all about (apart from the education ;-))!!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

They don't make 'em like they used to!

I am currently watching Happy Feet on TV, don't get me wrong I am enjoying it with all the happiness. BUT, they just don't make Disney films like they used to.

I am well aware that this makes me sound like a right old fogey, but I feel sorry for the children of today being forced to watch the up-to-date Disney films with no meaning behind them. When there are absolute classics, such as; The Lion King, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jungle Book, The Fox and the Hounds, Aristocats and so many others that made my childhood worth living. 

Don't get me wrong some of the new ones are good watching, like I am perfectly enjoying Happy Feet. But it's just not the same. They don't have memorable songs, or characters. For example I can immediately sing you pretty much every song from the oldies, yet, there have been so many un-memorable songs on this film so far, I don't find myself wanting to sing them!

I mean, Toy Story 3 is amazing, but that is just taking an old idea and putting it in the present day and movies like Enchanted and Despicable me are still good. But, it's almost as if Disney have lost their touch and don't know how to make the classics any more. 

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. It's probably just the circle of life.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Our House, in the Middle of Our Street!

It's safe to say that recently I've been pretty absent in the blog department due to lack of inspiration. However, all my worthy followers will be glad to know that...I'M BACK!!

Anyways, yesterday gave me a very worthy reason to blog, finally.

Sums up our relationship really...
Anyone reading my blog will know that I have a long-term boyfriend in the form of Adam Vanner. Although there is someone else who is also very close to my heart, THEE 'other half' and that is Grace Hutchinson. Some may say that (when she's actually in Lincoln) we are literally joint at the hip. This is so extreme that even our actual other halves feel they are third wheeling.

Grace and I are currently getting extremely excited about our cute little flat that we're living in next year. Hence the inspiration. Yesterday we went back for a second viewing on our new home, and Grace's text last night described my exact feelings..."Can't stop thinking about our little flatty!!!"

So, we took along Grace's mum, who was a huge advantage as she destroyed the current tenants bedroom, moving around the bed, bookshelf and many other belongings. This was much to our amusement as she asked him a million questions about the flat and didn't quite grasp the fact that all the furniture was included.

We planned every last detail, even including where we were going to put all our baking stuff and measured all the windows so we can put up voiles to make it even more cosy. After spending an hour there it already felt like home and we had colours, furniture and even meals sorted.

For months we have been planning our move and have finally set a date. So, here's to the next chapter of uni life!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I wanna' have your babies!

The advert for 'One Born Every Minute'
There are one and a quarter babies born every minute on average in the UK. So, Channel 4's documentary 'One Born Every Minute' is pretty much right when it comes to figures. Having said that it is probably pretty spot on at everything it shows.

I've got to admit I'm a huge fan of the show - probably because I love cute little babies! But I enjoy how the show gives prospective mums and people like me an insight into the beautiful (but painful) thing that is child birth.

I've honestly lost count at how many times I've sobbed at this unique programme. I just can't help myself. I think it may be the switch in atmosphere when the woman gives birth, its a mixture of relief, exhaustion and most of all happiness and pure love for the tiny human being laying on their chest.

The show is now on its third series and has so far shown a range of different hospitals around the country. It shows people from all different walks of life; from 16 year old's to 60 year old's, C-Sections to premature babies needing post natal care, women having their fifth child to women with disabilities. Literally everything.

After watching the new series for three episodes, I started to get a bit bored. It just seemed to be the same old, same old. It's difficult for a TV documentary to carry on for three series and not get repetitive. Well, this was until seeing (Series 3, Episode 4). This was an episode that I found particularly moving. It followed Trish and Steve, who seemed like a stereotypical couple at first. This was until we found out that Trish was in fact disabled. She had been in a car crash at a young age which caused brain damage. Trish was charming, funny and ladylike providing, not only the audience with some comic entertainment, but making the midwives cry every five minutes. Seeing someone who couldn't be more opposite to me make her way through the difficult time that is child birth, made me feel incredibly lucky and more hopeful that I could do it one day.

However, after last weeks episode (Series 3, Episode 10) I found my self very put off the idea of child birth. It is a well known fact with my family and friends that I have 'emetophobia' - phobia of vomit. So, found myself cringing away from the TV while the episode highlighted the 'disgusting' side to the birthing experience, hearing and seeing lots of sick. Although it did make me laugh when 19 year old Sheree came out with. "Oh my God. I'm pooing...I can't stop now it's started." This is more of the entertainment I was used to from One Born.

Another part of the documentary that I find entertaining is the Dads. Seeing them cringe and struggle throughout the labour is hilarious. They never know quite where to position themselves and how to respond to their partners death threats. I think what makes me laugh the most is the fact that I know that this is exactly how I would act during child birth. I would want to kill the causer of this pain with my bear hands. But the new dads always seem to redeem themselves when their baby is born, usually with tears.

The role of the midwife is so underestimated in today's society. However, One Born highlights this and makes the midwives seem like Angels dropped from heaven. The role of a midwife is almost like an actor, they have to be cheery all day, every day (even though there's days were they feel down), funny, caring, passionate, serious all in one go. That's a hell of a lot of emotions and actions. They are miracle workers.

We got set a Uni assignment a month or so ago to write a feature, after being a huge fan on the show I decided to write my feature on the role of midwives. This is my feature...

So, I think, in reply to Natasha Bedingfield's 'I wanna' have your babies!" Would she wanna' have anyone's babies, really?!