The Best English Carrot Cake Recipe!

I've been doing a lot of procrastibaking recently and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon! Obviously I'm putting off sorting out my post university life because having to be a functioning adult does not appeal. So carrot cake, the answer to my millennial girl problems. This is the best recipe I have ever used. It is packed with lots of carrot, sultanas/raisins, walnuts and topped with rich cream cheese icing! I haven't included a recipe for the cream cheese icing because there are millions out there on the internet and they are all pretty similar.


450ml vegetable oil
400g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
550g sugar
5 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp mixed spice
600g grated carrot
200g chopped walnuts 
200g raisins/sultanas

Preheat the oven to 170c and grease/line two cake tins. Whisk the eggs and mix with all the other ingredients then spoon the mixture into the cake tins. Bake for approximately 1h 15mins. While the cake is baking make the cream cheese icing. Let the cake cool completely before adding the icing between the layers and on top (or make two cakes half the height like I decided to do!). You can grate orange zest over the cake and add some more walnuts to decorate if you fancy! 

My Top 5 Favourite European Cities

Obviously at 21 years of age, being well traveled, sophisticated, insightful etc. I am highly qualified to write a list on the best cities in Europe. JOKING... although I do wish I was all those things! So yes, not entirely qualified to comment on the best cities in Europe. Instead I'm going to share my favourite cities out of the ones I've been to! I am feeling incredibly wanderlust-y at the moment, I think due to being cooped up in Cornwall too long. So I'm releasing some tension in reminiscing and nostalgic post writing. Hope you enjoy and let me know what your favourite cities in Europe are so I can go and visit them!!

Paris
I first went to Paris age 13 on a school trip to see a rugby match and visit disneyland. I can't tell you what the point of this trip was but for some reason it happened... thankfully I have been back and re-experienced all there is to do in Paris (which is a lot more than rugby and disney)! I love the architecture, the art galleries and the relaxed atmosphere. It definitley is a romantic city like the stereotype suggests soo I think I'll have to find myself a boyfriend and go back! 

Salzburg
Obviously Salzburg had to make this list... I am in love with this beautiful Austrian city. The old town is magical, the river in the summer is perfect to sit by and the castle overlooking everything completes the fairy tale setting. The mountain scenery in and around Salzburg is also incredibly beautiful at all times of year. I'd definitely recommend visiting Salzburg for a chilled out/sightseeing/outdoorsy holiday.

Valencia
Hands down best city in Spain... a bit of a sweeping statement, I know but Valencia is amazing. There is so much to see/do. Castles, architecture, art galleries, nightlife and the food! It's also reasonably cheap. Valencia was potentially my favourite girls holiday ever. Very chilled, very hot, want to go back! 

London
I grew up roughly an hour outside of London so know the city pretty well. But I still want to live there one day because I'm convinced only by living in such a huge city (twice the total population of the whole of New Zealand.. wtf) will you ever be even close to knowing all its secrets!! Unfortunately it is definitely the most expensive city on this list but there are so many free things to do there, like all the museums. Don't let the prices put you off because there isn't any other city quite like London!! Biased view maybe... I don't know! 

Prague
Last but not least is Prague. Another girls holiday where I got the bare minimum amount of sleep to survive! Prague is beautiful, especially the view from the castle and despite being incredibly tired and the weather not being amazing, I loved this city. It is very gothic and grand and the beer is so so cheap, as in maximum £1 for a pint cheap which potentially adds to my fond memories of the place! 

Courgette and Lime Loaf Cake

Since my last food post typical Cornish weather has hit again... rain, of course. But I'm trooping on with my summery recipes, today a courgette and lime loaf cake! You might think this sounds a bit strange but courgette cake is definitley a thing! It's basically carrot cake, you have sultanas and walnuts but courgette and lime too. It makes a very fresh, moist, not too sweet cake which thanks to the lack of butter and minimal sugar in this recipe is pretty healthy! You could also add cream cheese icing... I still might!


2 eggs
90g soft dark brown sugar
400g courgette
1 lime
90g walnuts
140g sultanas
125ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Butter for the tin

Preheat the oven at 180c and line a 2lb loaf tin (the average size of most loaf tins) with butter and greaseproof paper. Start by whisking together the sugar, vegetable oil and eggs. Add the zest and juice from the lime. Coarsely grate the courgette and add to the mixture along with the vanilla extract. In another bowl mix the dry ingredients with the walnuts, roughly chopped. Combine the two mixtures. Cook for about an hour and 10 minutes. I squeezed a bit more lime onto each slice afterwards but I like mine super limey, so you can add more to your own taste! Hope you enjoy!

Postgraduate Life Planning

My final ever university deadline is Friday, 28th June... aka tomorrow. Mix feelings about that, not going to lie. On the one hand, the potential of future life, moving forward, new adventures (blah blah) greatly appeals to me. So does not ever having to write a project concept or evaluation to fit the criteria of my university. But... on the other hand, a;zkdjcbsadl. Panic stations. The uncertainty and certain lack of structure to my live for the foreseeable future stresses me out immensely. I wont have a student loan every three months backing me up, just the looming presence of debt. I also wont be living in Falmouth with my beautiful/lovely/perfect house mates! Thankfully I have managed to get myself an internship for a little bit of the summer and my boss at home has agreed to take me back over the busiest period which means money. So it's a mixed bag, I'm not completely doomed... just a bit scared. 


These pictures have literally nothing to do with the above rant... but I thought I might as well do a little Instagram update to lighten the mood!! I seem to have a bit of a blue theme going at the moment, entirely due to the amazing weather we've been having in Cornwall over the last few weeks. The mountainscape picture is a throwback from Germany, hiking around Konigssee. To the right is a picture of The Real Greek in Covent Garden which I ate in with my aunt over easter. They do Greek tapas and it's delicious! The row below are all from my trip to Poland which you can read about here. That salmon and poached egg breakfast was divine, if you're ever in Falmouth check out Espressini for amazing food and coffee. All the sea pictures are from climbing trips in Cornwall... and that's about it, hope everyone is having a wonderful and productive week and I'll try to post again soon! x

Summer Roast Chicken - Sides

It definitely feels like summer here in Cornwall, I'm sitting in the sun blogging and enjoying the sea breeze right now! Although will probably head in soon as I burn in about two seconds... joys of being extremely pale. But first I'm going to share with you three simple side dishes I made a few days ago to go alongside a roast chicken. If you're anything like me/my mum a sunday roast is a must but traditional roasts can be a bit heavy in the hot weather. So these sides are light, healthy and kind of Turkish/Greek inspired! Perfect for summer, no gravy needed. These recipes all serve approximately 8 people! 


Recipe 1 - Salsa

12 cherry/plum or 6 medium sized tomatoes 
Bunch of fresh coriander
1 red pepper
1 red onion 
3 cloves of garlic
2 limes
Olive oil 
1 fresh chilli (optional)
Seasoning 

This is a very basic one... just chop everything up reasonably small and mix together with a little splash of olive oil and the juice of the limes. The quantities I've listed here can be changed depending on your own taste, I like quite a lot of tomato and red pepper in my salsa so sometimes add more! Season with salt and black pepper to finish. 


Recipe 2 - Raita

250g natural yogurt/greek yogurt
1/2 a pomegranate
Bunch of fresh mint
Half a cucumber

This is my favourite recipe of all three because the pomegranate is delicious and I'm obsessed with it! Plus it is really easy to make and tastes amazing with the chicken. Again, you can add more or less of the ingredients depending on your own taste! Remove the pomegranate seeds, roughly slice the cucumber and mint then mix together with the yogurt... done.


Recipe 3 - Couscous and Chickpea Salad

2 tins of chickpeas
2 cups of couscous
Ground cumin
Ground paprika
1 red onion
Half a cucumber
6 cherry/plum tomatoes 
Bunch of fresh coriander
Bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley 
Bunch of fresh mint
Olive oil 
Tomato puree 
1 chilli 

Despite having a longer ingredients list, this is also a very simple recipe! Cook the couscous and drain the chickpeas to make the salad base. Chop up the cucumber, tomatoes, coriander, flat leaf parsley, mint, onion and chilli and add to the base. Add roughly a 1 teaspoon each of cumin, paprika and tomato puree and drizzle with olive oil if the salad is looking a little dry (should be fine because of the juicy tomatoes!). Season with salt and black pepper to finish. Sometimes I also add pomegranate to this recipe too but I am just a bit obsessed with the stuff so your decision! 

For the chicken, I stuffed and covered with lemon to give a fresh taste which works really nicely alongside these recipes. I also diced some potatoes and roasted with rosemary, salt and pepper as another little side. And thats about it!! Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you try any of this out!

A Week in Krakow | Poland

Firstly, I hope you've had a wonderful Easter full of relaxation and chocolate consumption! Secondly, hello yet again from another long blogging break... university has been very very busy (and I've been on holiday) so my time has been stretched, to say the least. But I wanted to make time to post about Krakow because I had such an amazing time there. I've never read a post about Poland before so feel the need to spread the word on what a great holiday destination it is and all the stuff there is to do there!! 


I stayed with my beautiful friend Ania for the week I spent in Krakow. Having a local show you round is definitley one of the best ways to really get to know a new place so I was very lucky to have her! My favourite part of the trip and one of the biggest attractions is definitely the main square and old town, we spent hours wandering around the area, chatting and catching up which was lovely. I don't have many photos (useless blogger) because we were chatting so much so google Krakow for more if you fancy! We ate twice near the main square in a very chic little restaurant/cafe/breakfast bar called Charlotte which I'd 100% recommend... it isn't traditional Polish by any stretch but was really yummy and had a nice atmosphere. For traditional Polish, again near the main square is a place called Pierogarnia Krakowiacy which specialised in dumplings! It was so cute and folky and insanely cheap, like everything in Krakow!


Another place I visited was the Nowa Huta district, which was built by the Soviets as a separate town for industrial workers. Block after block of identical flats laid out symmetrically around grass squares which did have statues of Lenin standing in them but have now been pulled down! It was really interesting for me to walk around these areas though they had quite a hard and intimidating atmosphere. 

While Ania was at university I ventured out on my own to a nearby salt mine which was pretty impressive. Miners have carved huge cathedral chapels underground into the salt which are lit by salt chandeliers... it was very lord of the rings! We also visited the Jewish quarter together which was very beautiful, especially the graveyard. We didn't get around to doing/seeing everything Krakow had to offer so I'm hoping to go back soon! I think Poland is really underrated as a holiday destination. There is so much culture, history and beautiful scenery to experience plus at 5 Zloty to the pound, it is incredibly cheap...

Definitely recommend visiting! 

H&M Home Inspiration


Super super short post today because I haven't been active on here in ages... literally, I know I'm such a broken record. But in under two months I'll have graduated (asdhjba;skjc!) which means potentially more time to post! It could also mean a flat of my own to decorate, which uncertain as it may be, hasn't stopped me spending every bus journey to uni on pinterest/browsing online for interior decoration inspiration! But anyway, isn't this living room set up beautiful! I'm especially in love with the sofa which ironically isn't H&M Home... but the bits and bobs that are pull the scheme together really well. The rich blue velvety fabric of the sofa contrasted against the mustard colour pillow is amazing. I'd definitely love to recreate this colour combination in my future home somehow. I've seen quite a few pictures of dark blue feature walls recently so that could be another way of doing it. All the things from this collection are on the H&M website at the moment if you spot anything you like! And yeah... that's about it really. Hope you all have lovely weeks! x

How I Travel on a Student Budget

A lot of people (namely my parents..) wonder how I manage to travel so much with only a student loan and summer job to support me which is actually ridiculous because it's really easy! I'm just a bloody good saver. No cheeky Starbucks on my way home from uni, controlling myself as much as possible in Topshop. Falmouth actually has neither a Starbucks or Topshop so that does probably help but you catch my drift... I thought I'd share with you in a little more detail some of the other things I make a point of doing to ensure I have enough left over to explore and have fun every chance I get!


Before
I budget when my student loan arrives. Firstly working out how much money I'll have left over after paying rent and bills and then dividing it between the weeks of the year. Then I work out how much from that can be put aside each week and transfer that lump sum into another account. Preferably one without a debit card. Same principle if you receive a salary. As a student to travel I'd say a part time job is essential. We all know student loans are crap and no one really gets enough to live on. Even if it's just eight hours a week, as a 21 year old on minimum wage (£7.05 per hour) that's £2932.80 per year... loads of travelling! 

Christmas and birthday money... I save it in the bank account with no debit card. Gifted money is the fastest money you'll ever make in your life and I'm sure whoever gave it to you would love it to be spent on experiencing new places/cultures etc. 

Booking
Skyscanner is a godsend... you can compare a whole months worth of flights and choose the cheapest time to go. If you're not set on a certain location to travel you can also use the website to 'search anywhere' and they'll show you a mixture of low cost flights to a mixture of places. Generally flights are cheaper when you book in advance too. Also if you have a clubcard you can use your points on flights. Booking.com and Airbnb are great for finding really nice places to stay for decent prices. Surprisingly Airbnb isn't always cheaper and staying in a hotel is always fun so I check both. Of course if you are really budgeting, like I did on my backpacking trip from New York to Montreal, Couchsurfing is great as long as you are sensible!


During
While on holiday I tend to be less careful with budgeting as my main priority is having a good time (/Instagram). However there are a few things I do to help. I find withdrawing money while abroad rather than exchanging at home gets be a better deal, however this may vary bank to bank and some may have different charges so definitley check that. Another simple thing I do is use the public transport rather than taxis. I think you see more/take more in on a bus anyway. Lastly if there is a kitchen wherever I'm staying I'll make use of it for breakfasts unless there is a particular dish I want to try that the place is famous for.  

And that's about it to be honest. I hope some of that was a little helpful and not entirely pointless and obvious to everyone! Let me know if you have any tips/tricks as well. Hope you've had a great week x

January Favourites


This hedgehog is cheering for you because you can do anything!

Motivational hedgehog to begin a post nothing to do with motivation? Personally I appreciate all the inspiration this hedgehog gives me so early on in the week (please weekend, come quickly). 

Back on topic though, January Favourites. January is my least favourite month of the year, post Christmas blues, shitty weather, unrealistic resolutions being broken and people feeling rubbish as a result... so I've been filling January with lovely things in an effort to counteract its negative effects on my mood/life! So here goes, my first favourites post I think ever!! 

The Crown
If you haven't seen The Crown yet, go now. Don't finish reading, just go watch. No need to thank me. Those who have seen it, isn't it great!! I literally love Philip and I don't know why because he can be a bit of a twat, right? I also love Stranger Things but not as much as The Crown. My next binge will be The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon Prime series based on a book by Philip K. Dick which I have just started reading.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
I'm on to my third pot/tube... very unlike me to stick with a product so long as usually I want to try something new! But this is hands down best concealer ever. Apart from the doe-foot applicator which I refuse to use because the idea of bacteria build up inside the tube scares me haha. But it conceals without being cakey, is just extremely pigmented. You can get it on ASOS with free delivery and student discount. 

Desert Island Discs & PanDolly Podcasts
My two favourite podcasts. Desert Island Discs, I think most will have heard of but if not 'Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island' (thankyou Google). I particularly liked Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Caitlin Moran, Bruce Springsteen and Dustin Hoffmans interviews to name a few. PanDolly is a pop culture podcast hosted by two lovely, hilarious and relatable gals from the Sunday Times. I genuinely look forward to this one every week. 

New Topshop Cain Jeans
Cain jeans?! What is Cain... I don't know, they're new but I love the fit!! They are highwaisted (obvs) and cropped at the ankle. I will probably review them at some point. 

Couchsurfing Guests
This month has been a month for Couchsurfing guests! Two lovely Argentinians stayed with my auntie for just over a week and I got to hang out with them loads which was so much fun. They're backpacking around Europe, couchsurfing and house sitting as they go to save money on accommodation, just like I did in the summer. I then had a lovely Frenchman to stay. He is doing the coastal walk around Britain and his company was also really enjoyable! These guys make me want to travel and couchsurf again because I love meeting new people, in my experience they've all been so blinking lovely!!

And that is it!! Hope you've all had a decent January... bring on Feb!! 

High End Makeup Haul

A haul!! Haven't hauled in ages. Have not been on a spending ban so not sure why. I could do a catch up haul I suppose? Am obviously having haul withdrawal but didn't realise. But anyway... today I have a high(ish) end beauty haul to share with you. Some bits I got for myself, some for Christmas but all have been tried and tested over the last few weeks so I'll tell you what I think about them!


Firstly the powders, The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzer in 03, Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium and Urban Decay Naked Skin Finishing Powder in Naked Light. I have heard/read endless good reviews about this Body Shop bronzer, I'm sure you have too. So I decided to try it out as my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Bronze and Glow is now all glow and no bronze. Honey Bronze had big shoes to fill and surprisingly it kind of has. Considering the price this is the best bronzer I have ever used. It isn't too dark for me or too warm toned and goes on really smoothly. The packaging is practical, has a big mirror and doesn't feel like it is going to fall apart. So big thumbs up and deffo recommend. 


The Mac Skinfinish was a present from Silv (mentioned many a time but here is a link to her blog if you're new!) for Christmas so thanks!! I've wanted to try this ever since Sharon Farrell (youtube/blog) started using it to set her foundation. Being a mineral powder it is super glowy and skin perfecting, it makes my skin look fresh and awake if that makes sense! Very different to my usual studio fix powder. Lastly the Urban Decay powder. I haven't heard a lot about this powder but thought I'd give it a go as I quite liked the concealer from the same collection. But I'm not a massive fan, I find the shade too yellow... I realise I picked the shade so that could be entirely my fault! However, it is finely milled and sits really lightly on the skin.



Now for the lip products! Firstly, the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Manic. I blinking love this lip pencil. It actually does just glide on, 10x smoother than the Mac lip pencils. I love the colour as it is very similar to my natural lip colour so great for over lining slightly without it looking ridiculous and it stays put for a good five-six hours. I also have the matching lipstick in Manic, this is also really nice in terms of texture, wear etc. but I prefer the pencil on its own with some lip balm. It looks natural and is more wearable in the day time. 

Lastly I have a Dior Addict Fluid Stick. I'm not a huge fan of the packaging, much prefer something a little more slick but of course it's what's inside that counts! As as you'd expect from the pricetag ut us pretty amazing! It's not sticky, lasts ages and wears off evenly. Beautiful colour payoff and feels moisturising and creamy on the lips. My friends Grace and Rose got this for me so thanks gals, I lovee! And that's it, hope you enjoyed this haul! x

Self Love

We all have a little Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte and Carrie in us. And I don't think that was a mistake on Candace Bushnell's part (such a clever clogs) because it makes all of Sex and the City so bloody relatable! And for this post, Samantha's 'Hello my name is Fabulous' quote is particularly appropriate because I'm going to be talking about self appreciation and self love! I recently made a decision which resulted in someone important to me being cut out of my life because, well... I wasn't getting enough from our relationship and it was getting me down. Potentially I am a little hard to please, I don't know... but there's nothing wrong with that! And there is nothing wrong with prioritising yourself. If you don't, who will?



I'm not claiming to have all the answers or even the slightest bit of wisdom (at the grand old age of 21 haha). However as it is generally recognised that showing yourself some love is beneficial, I wanted to reiterate and emphasise how important I think it is! We should spend more time on ourselves, on self development! Even if that just means mentally acknowledging how great you are. Or realising you deserve to take an hour a week to have a proper bath bomb bath! If you're putting more into a relationship (friendly or romantic) than you're getting back, fix it because you deserve better! Respect yourself, hold yourself in high esteem and others will do the same. Confidence, self appreciation and self love are important. I love Samanthas unabashed confidence, it makes for cracking nineties/noughties TV.  

Two Must Read Books

It has been a while since I posted about a good book! So here are two good'ns for your lovely selves. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, complete opposites but equally as captivating. If like me, you studied Rebecca at college or school then I might have a tricky job convincing you to give this a re-read because repetitive scrutinizing can definitely ruin a book. But you should! Take a step back and appreciate the literary smoothness of Du Mauriers writing, especially the description of Manderley in the dream (my favourite part)! Rebecca is about a girl who marries a widow, the secrets she uncovers in his and his late wife's home and the pressure she feels living in the shadow of the memory of the late wife. It is exciting, sad and at times unsettling and almost disturbing. Greeeeaat combination. Very famous book, definite must read!



One Hundred Years of Solitude is another very famous book and a bit of an epic. It spans 100 years, focusing on the Beundia family and, I think is based in Colombia but that is never specified! The story hints with lots and lots of symbolism at general Latin American history so if you've read it let me know your interpretation of the location of Macondo. Anyway, the humour is dark (my favourite kind!) and the story is sad but also enlightening. Marquez incorporates fantasy/magical themes into the story which, alongside the almost historically accurate parts makes for a really interesting combination. Enough that I had to research (well... Wikipedia but still) the history of Colombia and Latin America to find out what actually happened. 

Out of the two books I prefered the latter but loved both and recommend both! And to be totally honest I only picked them up because of the beautiful covers (bet some of you guessed that already!) but aren't they amazing! Here are the links for the correct editions Rebecca One Hundred Years of Solitude

A Rambly Chat About Life

I am sitting on the train back to Falmouth for my final semester of university, quietly contemplating life, half of the time. Quietly moaning about being hungry the other half. But I realise I should probably start focusing on the life bit because, well... it is about to get real and I have no freaking plan. Yet for some reason graduation is not something I am dreading, by any stretch in fact. I am excited to see where the next stage of my life will lead.



I am considering Erasmus work placements in Berlin and Vienna, normal work placements in London, actual paying jobs in London for that matter! I am also thinking about the opportunity I have to meet all my family in New Zealand and work/travel there! I'm pondering over the idea of a masters and whether I could get in to the Royal College of Art or whether I'd like to do a masters abroad, maybe somewhere it is free to study, and save myself some money. And then I start thinking about how this change will bring new people into my life, potentially important people that could help shape it/be in it a long time! I am massively rambling but do you get what I am saying? I feel positive and happy and even though I don't know what is going to happen, I look forward to whatever does. Over and out x