raspberry and almond muffins

I don’t know about you, but this weather is definitely making me feel like summer is on its way. Summer is the perfect time to do some baking and take advantage of all the wonderful seasonal fruit. Raspberries are one of my favourites especially because of how versatile they are. When baked, the raspberries ooze out of the muffins, creating a gorgeous texture inside.

ingredients:

  • 250g of raspberries
  • 200g of self-raising flour
  • 200ml of milk
  • 125ml of oil
  • 100g of ground almonds
  • 100g of golden caster sugar
  • 75g of flaked almonds
  • Three eggs

method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line the muffin tin with twelve paper cases.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with the oil and milk.
  4. Without the raspberries or almonds, add the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients together. Make sure not to overmix as the batter should be lumpy.
  6. Stir in the raspberries.
  7. Divide the batter between the paper cases and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.
  8. Bake in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until golden brown.

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[this recipe was inspired by the one on great british chefs. click here for the original recipe!]

stop caring what others think

“each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage and confidence in the doing.”

theodore roosevelt

We’re all guilty of this. As soon as we wake up, we’re concerned about what the world thinks of us. But we can change this behaviour. We can change our attitudes and we can forget judgement and the pre-conceptions people may have of us.

We spend too much negative energy on caring what will please others, not on what we want. Our actions, appearances and lives are supposedly moulded by others. We need to stop living a life dictated by others, and that’s why I want you to stop caring what other people think of you. I don’t claim to be an expert and it’s not magic. This doesn’t mean you’ll become instantly more confident. Confidence comes in stages but self love is incredibly important. Being confident is incredibly important. Not caring what other people think is incredibly important.

I used to struggle a lot with thinking that everyone cared about how I acted and lived my life. Little actions would worry me and I’d get scared thinking that everyone was looking at me. These thoughts would consume me and sometimes would become unmanageable. I also used to hate my personality and the way I act. But I’ve discovered that not fitting is okay.

I believe everyone, no matter how much self-confidence they have, can’t withhold all these thoughts. I think that’s completely natural. However, it all came when I realised that no one really cares. We’re all preoccupied in our own thoughts, own actions, own lives. We’re too busy thinking about ourselves!

I think that it is just human nature to overthink. Overthinking is one of our worst habits as humans and it’s something that is difficult to avoid if not focused on. Overthinking can lead you to think you’re being judged even when that’s not the case. Whenever it happens, replace your overthinking with positive thoughts.

I think the journey to self-confidence involves discovering that it’s impossible to please everyone. You can’t be everyone’s friend. As much as you want to, you can’t. Everyone is different, we’re all unique. Some people get along and some don’t. But that is fine! People will make assumptions about you, there’s nothing that can stop that. We all have free will after all. What can you do? Not let those people affect you. Keep perspective, those comments mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Opinions are always changing.

Don’t be afraid to remove the negativity in your life. Stop talking to that person making you upset or angry. Unfollow or unfriend. Stand up for what you believe in! You deserve happiness.

Life’s too short to spend time worrying about what other people think. Do you need to waste those precious moments debating whether people will like your outfit? Do you need to fuss over what you say next? You know best. You are the only person who can live your life. Live it in the way you want.

i’m back?

So, it’s been a while. And by a while, a long while.

Something stopped me from blogging; it became almost tedious or boring. Perhaps I didn’t have time or I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. But, truly I’ve missed having a space to share my ideas and thoughts.

Where have I been?

+ school

This was my last year of secondary school, meaning saying goodbye to some of the people I’ve spent the last five years with. My school is also a sixth form so I’ll be going there next year, as the majority of my year.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all schools in the UK had to close. In turn, this means my GCSEs are cancelled.

  • Three years of work basically mean nothing now! I worked so, so hard and was pretty much ready until the opportunity to sit the exams was snatched away (obviously my exams are a very tiny part of the whole situation but I think as students we have a right to be angry, I’m now over the shock and frustration).
  • The process to receive a grade seems slightly unfair?! I completely understand the entire process it just seems a little unjustifiable and it’s not the same as sitting the actual exam.
  • Students don’t have the ability to prove themselves or achieve in the same way!
  • We still have the opportunity to sit an exam if we don’t agree with the grade once we’ve appealed. The exam may be in the autumn but it might be next year. That’s just crazy to think about.

We had a “leaver’s day” on Thursday, the day before all schools in England were told to close. The school day was pretty normal; we got to talk, relax and question everything over the last 24 hours. However, it was in the last lesson of the day where it was announced that we would have our leaver’s assembly. We were then given a short amount of time to sign each other’s shirts and take photos. It’s strange to think some of those people I’ve spent the last five years with I might not see again. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to say goodbye to the people who aren’t staying but it was so rushed and I hope there is another opportunity to do so.

+ music

I was supposed to take my Grade 6 clarinet exam this term which was obviously cancelled. But I’m still having lessons virtually over Zoom which is super fun and quirky.

My concert band rehearsals have also been cancelled and they’re not taking place virtually for obvious reasons. I miss everyone and I can’t wait to see them all again soon.

+ hobbies

During this lockdown, I’m hoping to pick up some of the hobbies I’ve neglected over the past few months. I’m definitely going to be spending more time doing more creative ventures, such as journaling and painting. I’ve even started doing some embroidery!

I’m definitely going to be continuing learning through lockdown. I’ve been given quite a lot of A-Level preparation work which I’m actually looking forward to completing. I’ve also decided to do some independent learning on websites such as Future Learn and Coursea. Last week, I finished my first ever MOOC on Propaganda and Ideology which was incredibly informative and has given me a lot of ideas for my A-Level History coursework.

Finally, I made the decision to learn sign language! I think it’s a really useful skill to have and I’m finding it really enjoyable.

+ life

Most days, I take it easy and do something productive but I’m taking this time to just appreciate being with myself. I now have the freedom to sit and read or binge a Netflix show (which I might have already done once or twice, who knows)?! As a family, we’ve watched both The Stranger and Safe which are possibly the best shows I have ever seen. I’m literally recommending them to everyone I know because they’re that good!

It’s a strange time, but we’ll all get used to it and soon enough everything will be back to normal.

 

a hectic weekend in my life

A few weeks ago, I was super busy over the weekend so what better to document it than to write a blog post?!

+ saturday

Saturday 1

In the morning, I volunteered at one of the museums in my local area. I’ve been volunteering there since August and it’s been super interesting in gaining knowledge and expertise in the world of work. Two people from Aardman and Studio Canel were visiting to promote the new Shaun the Sheep film and the museum was extremely busy with families enjoying the free activities.

After lunch, I went home and tried to finish some homework that I needed to do.

Saturday 2

In the evening, we went to Oxford to go to a concert! We were seeing The Divine Comedy with support from Man and the Echo. Both were amazing and it was so much fun.

+ sunday

Sunday 1

Sunday was just full of work! My to-do list seemed endless but I kept pushing through.

From the museum, I managed to get two modeling kits which was quite exciting. However, they were more difficult than we thought and we only managed to make Shaun.

Sunday 2

My twin brother and I also played Mario Kart on the Wii as we’ve both been loving the new Mario Kart Tour app.

first impressions of year 11

It’s been a few weeks since I started supposedly the most important year of my life to date so I decided I’d share my opinions and thoughts about what I’ve experienced so far.

As soon as we got back to school, the teachers started mentioning mocks on the first day which just made me a little bit angry. Could there be a better way to settle us in gently instead of hitting us hard with dates? Although it’s good to be prepared, it immediately made me think about how important these exams are. Mocks do not matter as much as the real exams but it’s just a tiny bit stressful.

Our head of year also pointed out in assembly about how little time we actually have until the exams. I want to do well in my GCSEs as most people do, and the thought of having very little time until them is worrying.

I’ve been really struggling with doing anything besides school. As soon as I come home, it’s work, eat, relax (a little), sleep. It’s really difficult to do anything else when my workload has been the biggest yet and as soon as I finish everything, there is always something else to do. There just is not enough hours in the day to fully relax.

At the weekends, I’ve been okay. I’m volunteering for a full day every other Saturday but sometimes that means that’s the only time I’ll go out. I’m thinking of dropping down to fewer hours but at the minute I’ve not done anything about it. On the other Saturday, I volunteer for the afternoon at my local charity shop which I’ve been doing since February.

When I do relax, I just sit on my bed and watch YouTube. As pointless as it sounds, I just do not have the effort to practice the ukulele or piano, draw or write a blog post. The only other thing I’ve been doing besides school work is practising my clarinet.

I’ve been enjoying Year 11 despite the stress and heavy workload. I’m school council rep, whether that means my voice will actually be listened to who knows? I’m considering doing the Yearbook but most of the people on the committee I’m not the biggest fan of.

I’m doing my solo GCSE recording for music at the end of October which is extremely exciting. I’m not worried at all, just because in my mock performance I ended up getting really high marks. I just can’t wait to get a little bit of coursework out the way. We’ve started our compositions as well which I’m finding super interesting and in a weird way, relaxing.

The practise papers we’ve done in class so far I’ve had mixed feelings about. In History, I managed to get a really good grade and in English, I understand where I went wrong. We did a Biology test recently and as soon as I opened the paper I felt like crying. Everything I revised was not on there! Apparently, it was all the triple content so perhaps that why I did not recognise it as instantly but I tried my best.

Year 11 has already been a rollercoaster but I’m just anticipating the next few months are going to be challenging.

new york

Two weeks ago, I was very fortunate to be able to visit the wonderful city of New York. It was an incredible opportunity and I would highly recommend it to anyone if you get the chance to visit!

+ new york public library

New York Public Library

I do not know why I wanted to visit the New York Public Library so much, I just did. It was about five minutes walk from our hotel and we visited it on the first day and the last day. It’s such a beautiful building and is totally worth a look round.

+ grand central station

Grand Central

Similar to the New York Public Library, we were staying extremely close to Grand Central so this was our main transport hub. The New York subway is very convenient and you can travel almost anywhere in New York on it; it’s also so reasonably priced. A tip for the MetroCards is: if you’re planning on using the subway more than twelve times, get an unlimited card but if not, stick with one of the top-up cards.

+ the metropolitan museum of art

The Met

I could not recommend enough the New York City Pass, which gives you access to six tourist attractions. One of these is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My mum really wanted to visit here and after visiting I can completely understand why. We spent an entire day here and you need to give yourself plenty of time as it is massive!

+ empire state building

Empire State Building

You can’t visit New York without going up the Empire State Building and it is worth every penny! Most of the paid attractions we visited were as part of the City Pass so it saves you a lot of money. With the CityPass, you have the opportunity to visit on the same day after a certain time, so it’s definitely worth checking what time that is depending on the season.

+ the american museum of natural history

Museum of Natural History

If you’ve watched Night at the Museum, you will know why I was so fascinated to visit here. The museum is not as similar to the layout in the film, but is still amazing. The museum is so beautiful and the exhibits are really incredible. It’s the largest natural history museum in the world, so don’t expect to do everything. I would definitely recommend the halls of mammals and the centre for earth and space.

+ solomon r guggenheim museum

Guggenheim

From entering the Guggenheim, I feel in love. The architecture of this building is absolutely stunning. There were so many thought-provoking and beautiful pieces and it was super lovely to spend a whole afternoon there.

+ central park

Central Park

Central Park is massive so it is impossible to see all of it but I am very glad we managed to see a little bit of it! On our way to dinner one night, we passed the Alexander Hamilton and Alice in Wonderland monuments which were actually on my list to visit. I know that Central Park has so much more to offer so I’d definitely go back!

+ the met breuer

The Met Bruer

With entry to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, you also get access to its two subsidiaries, the Met Breuer is one of two. Here we were very fortunate to be able to listen to Oliver Beer’s Vessel Orchestra which was super interesting and something you would not see every day!

+ 9/11 memorial museum and pools

Museum and Memorial

What I found so incredible about this museum is that the memorial pools are built on the original site of the Twin Towers and the museum itself is built underneath them! The museum was super informative and gave you a deeper insight into the backstory and consequences of such a tragic event.

+ times square

Times Square

I was slightly desperate to go to Times Square, just to see what the hype was all about. On the way, we passed some of the theatres, including the Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen ones! Times Square was a little disappointing and we were just passing through but I’d probably go back, even just to get better photos.

+ the high line

High Line

Built on a former New York Central Railroad, the High Line is worth a walk along. You get a pretty good view of the Empire State Building and there’s so many pieces of wall art and sculptures. It’s also shaded for the majority of the walk so if it’s really hot this is a good thing to do!

+ statue of liberty

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty, the star of New York City. As part of the City Pass, you get a sightseeing cruise which stops at Liberty Island as well as Ellis Island. The best view is from the boat itself and sit on the right-hand side for the best photo opportunities!

+ ellis island

Ellis Island

Since reading and watching Brooklyn, I’ve been slightly obsessed with the past immigration process of New York and it was amazing visiting the building it took place in. The audio guide which is included in the entry price is really in-depth and provides a lot of detail in the process and backstory.

+ east village

Williamsburg

The East Village has some wonderful little shops and restaurants as well as the typical New York style apartments. I believe that it is one of New York’s hidden gems, especially how it wasn’t super touristy. I also had to visit the Fjällräven Kånken store and take a picture of the iconic wall!

+ williamsburg

East Village

Williamsburg is a cute little area and has loads of street art as well as a whole bunch of independent shops and cafes. If you just want a chill day, Williamsburg is the place to go for it. It was a lovely way to end our amazing trip.

favourite films

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite films as it’s something I haven’t really spoken about on this blog!

+ brooklyn

Brooklyn

I watched this before reading the book and I would have to say that Brooklyn is my favourite film. Focusing in on the immigration of Irish people to the United States, this film took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Once I’d read the book, I feel in love with the creative storytelling both the film and book have.

+ the devil wears prada

The Devil Wears Prada

A massive parody of the fashion industry, The Devil Wears Prada is a feel-good film which just makes you smile at the extremes of perfectionism. As much as you may hate the editor-in-chief at the start, by the end you can’t help but sympathise with her.

+ the september issue

The September Issue

Continuing with the fashion theme, The September Issue is a behind the scenes documentary of Vogue. Before watching the film, I was not really interested in fashion nor magazines but after starting, I feel in love with the creative process.

+ suffragette

Suffragette

The suffragette movement is told beautifully through this film. It’s also a sort of grounding mechanism that reminds you how lucky we are in this day and age to be so close to equality.

+ the bfg

The BFG

You can never grow out of the magic of Roald Dahl. The motion capture of the giants is incredible, everything about them is so realistic. I would say that The BFG is my favourite Roald Dahl story.

+ sister act 1 and sister act 2

Sister Act

My mum recorded this film and as soon as it started, I couldn’t help but laugh. The story is so funny and I can’t describe what makes it so good, it just is. Despite this, it is incredibly cheesy.

+ green book

Green Book

I saw this at the cinema when it was released and was very pleased when it won Best Picture. I am such a sucker for films based on true stories and this was none the less one of them.

+ never let me go

Never Let Me Go

I read the book before I watched the film and was so interested to see the director’s interpretation and perspective of this beautiful yet slightly creepy story. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s not real life.

+ selma 

Selma

I watched this in History last year as we’re doing Civil Rights in the USA as one of the topics. David Oyelowo does Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy so much justice and this film makes you so grateful for how much the world has progressed since then.

+ isle of dogs

Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson is an incredibly creative genius. When my brother suggested we watched it, I wasn’t too fussed but I am so glad we did. The aesthetics in this film are just everything and a little bit of me wishes I could just live there.

 

paris

Since the start of this academic year, I have been part of a new wind and brass band and every two years, they do a residential tour to another country. This time, it was Paris and I was fortunate enough to be able to go. As well as playing in four incredible and well-known landmarks, we were able to experience some of what Paris has to offer.

+ disneyland paris

Disneyland Paris

On the first full day, we went to Disneyland Paris! I’m not too fussed about theme parks but I noticed that Disneyland had something for everyone. I went on a good selection of rides and despite the extremely hot weather had such a fun day. I also managed to get some super cute photos!

+ luxemburg gardens

Luxemburg Gardens

On our second day, our first concert was at the bandstand in the Luxemburg Gardens. We were blessed with an almost cool temperature and attracted a good crowd with musical theatre and film pieces. After the concert, we had a very short amount of time to have a quick wonder round before heading off to our next destination.

+ la madeline 

La Madeleine

In the afternoon, we played at La Madeline. It was such an honour to be able to play in this beautiful Roman Catholic church. The acoustics were quite challenging but very rewarding to play in such an iconic location.

+ montparnasse observation deck

Montparnasse Tower

Before our final two concerts, we took a trip to the Montparnasse Tower. In the morning, it was actually quite foggy and a bit cloudy but this just added to the atmosphere and aesthetic of Paris. From here, you could see all the Parisian landmarks and I would highly recommend doing so.

+ champ de mars bandstand

Champ de Mars

Our first concert of the day was at the Champ de Mars Bandstand which is within viewing distance of the Eiffel Tower. During the rests of pieces, you could look up and just see the Eiffel Tower, looming in the distance.

+ eglise notre dame des blancs manteaux

Eglise Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux

Our final concert of the tour was at Eglise Notre Dame des Blancs Manteaux. I feel like this church is very underappreciated and not as well known about as some of the other churches in Paris. With the wonderful stained glass and collection of panels and artwork, this church was one way to finish an amazing set of concerts.

+ boat trip

Boat Trip

On the last morning, we did a short boat trip on the River Seine and this was incredible to see some of the places I’d only seen in films or online. It was also really relaxing to sit and gaze at the people passing by on the streets or the stunning architecture.

end of term

School has finally finished! The pressure has died down (for now) and I’m starting to feel a little more relaxed and ready to enjoy the time I have off.

I have had so many tests in the past month. The first ones were Maths. I felt alright about them and they went pretty decent. I take two languages and I wasn’t worried for those apart from the speaking exams. I’ve never felt more scared about mixing up languages. Both speaking tests went quite well. Obviously not perfect, but enough to reassure me that I’m taking steps in the right direction.

Science was a bag of mixed feelings. Science, in general, has never been my strongest spot. I do triple science so the pressure of staying in a certain set lifted some burden off my shoulders. Overall, I know I work to the best of my ability almost all the time so I do not think I could have put more effort in.

I think what frustrates me the most is when people show off about their marks or grades. I just find it super unnecessary and just makes other people feel like what they got isn’t good enough.

Taking so many exams in a short space of time is just preparation for what mocks and GCSEs are going to feel like. It’s so weird to think when I go back in September, it’s going to be the most important year to date. 

My school has these “activities days” and one of them was a trip which I did not want to go on but they decided to punish us by making us work all day in silence; it was like being in isolation or withdrawal. I’m a bit annoyed at the whole situation but you just gotta accept what happens and move on.

My maths teacher is leaving this year which makes me really sad. I’ve only had her for one year but she’s had such an enormous impact on my view of maths and has really helped me understand more. 

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about Year 11. I know I’ve worked extremely hard this year and that I’m not going to be one of those people who are going to panic about the lack of work they’ve done. However, I know I’m going to find it difficult not to compare myself to others and I know I’m also going to stress about revision and time management. 

My goal for the upcoming academic year is to basically have better time management. I’m opting for a good balance between schoolwork and hobbies. I know that next year isn’t going to be easy, but I’m going to have to make the most of it. 

currently on repeat

+ dead girl in the pool by girl in red

Dead Girl in the Pool is an infectiously charming tune with some amazing riffs. Using the song to talk about her anxiety, the song is so open and raw which is what I love about it.

is this real or fake
a creepy dream i can’t escape

+ checkmate by conan gray

Conan has been my favourite musician for a while now and I am obsessed with his music and style. Checkmate is such a tune and is a song I can put on, dance to and feel instantly positive. I was super disappointed not to be able to see him in London in May but hopefully one day I’ll be able to see him live!

so cry me a river till you drown in the lake
’cause you may think you’re winning but checkmate

+ guitless by dodie

This song came out quite recently and the chord progression and strumming pattern I love! The music video is super aesthetic and every single song of hers has so much thought and meaning behind them.

oh, but i’m not bitter, i’m just tired
no use getting angry at the way that you’re wired

+ racing cars by ruti

Since the start of the Voice UK last year, I wanted Ruti to win so badly. When she did, I couldn’t wait for her to release music and her debut ep is incredible. Racing Cars is the title track and the song just gives me positive vibes.

up, up and away like shooting stars
blurring like racing cars

+ overthinking by orla gartland

I recently started listening to Orla’s music and her latest ep is a work of art. Overthinking reminds you that it is okay not to be okay and I relate to the song on another level.

and i think my brain is breaking
and it’s just myself i’ve been blaming

+ headspace by bloxx

One of my friends went to see Bloxx and never having heard of them before, I decided to have a listen and I cannot describe how much I love this song. It’s the ultimate sing-along, indie track and I would die to see them live.

see you ’round town and I try to pretend that i’m over it
’cause you come back around just to see if i’d notice

+ bags by clairo

This song gives me a warm-fuzzy feeling despite the message is one of hope and the unknown. Clairo is an amazingly talented singer and I cannot wait for her debut album.

can you see me? i’m waiting for the right time
i can’t read you, but if you want, the pleasure’s all mine

+ sunday best by surfaces

The song is so summery and it is perfect for a road trip playlist. Surfaces have so many fun and happy songs, there’s not one I don’t like!

feeling blessed, never stressed
got that sunshine on my sunday best

+ kirari futari by mamerico

This song is absolutely beautiful and sometimes even makes me want to cry. Even though it’s in Japanese, she puts the message across through the emotions and tone of her voice.

awai sora miagete fureru togi te to te
toki no oto kienu you koe wo kikasete
(i don’t want memories that pass me by,
but let me hear your voice as if time’s melody will never fade)

+ lava by still woozy

The slight artificial feeling and bouncy rhythms to this song I adore. You’ll be singing along in no time.

i’m looking up
i can see that i haven’t left you, no

[follow my spotify here]