Friday, 21 August 2015

Sangria Royale

I'm not a big red wine drinker which has the potential to make traditional spanish Sangria somewhat difficult for me to drink. So when I was introduced to Sangria Royale, my mind was blown... And seeing as it features bubbles heavily I knew it was right up my street.

All that you need for a litre and a half is:
- A couple of teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 Shot of Brandy
- 1 Shot of Vanilla Liqueur (We used a liqueur called '43', made with 43 different spices, although this step is completely optional)
- 1 Shot of Cointreau
- A Fruit Salad
- A Bottle of Cava
- Lemonade

All that you need to do:
- In a jug, place the sugar.
- Add brandy, vanilla liqueur, cointreau and fruit salad.
- Swirl and leave for 10 minutes to allow fruit to absorb liquid.
- Pour in a bottle of Cava
- Fill to top of the jug with lemonade.
- Serve!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

How to make your room at university feel like home.

My current bed with my Wilko Duvet (£16) and
Wilko Wicker Heart Fairy Lights (£7)
Now that the university places have been allocated, it seems right that we all begin to think about what it is that actually needs to be taken with you to help you settle in, and what you should take to make the place feel like home...

When I first got the key to my student accomodation I was slightly horrified to see exactly what it was I was paying for. It was in essence a tiny room with breeze block walls that really didn't feel anything like home... The bed wasn't even a full size single!!

I'd like to think that by the end of the year, the concrete coffin had become more of a home and reflected my personality a whole lot more - even if it was always a mess...

Today I'm sharing my top three tips as to how to make your student room yours without spending all of your loan, even if it looks like there is no was it's ever going to be like home...

1. Focus on the bed - The bed may well be the biggest feature in your room. I mean lets be honest, I'm guessing it will be one of/if not the biggest piece of furniture that you own. The best way to start changing your room is to find a duvet, and throw and pillows that draws attention to it taking away people attention to the slightly worse part of the room, like the horrible colour walls or curtains. I go for three or four cheap Wilko's duvets which mean I can chop and change regularly. (And when you have three or four, theres no need to get it washed and dried!)

2. Accessorise the room - Be it fairy lights, lamps or photos on the wall, everyone had a set idea of what their dream house feels like and which ideas they should take from home so that they don't feel like they are mile away. I found lots of photos were a popular idea as well. Invest in white tack, and trawl the homeware sections of big shops!

3. Keep it clean - I feel like my mother with this step but I have found that when a room is small, mess looks more than it is. I know that I never quite managed to keep my room perfectly clean, but I tried. Mostly.

What do you think? How else would you make your room like home?

Dislaimer: This is a PR Collaboration

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Level Result - Looking Back.

It's results day for all the A-level students and it's sent me into a massively nostalgic mood. A-Level results day is the beginning of the adventure that is University

I can't believe that it's been three years since I found out that I'd actually made it into Portsmouth University - which was surprising considering somehow I flunked my final exam and landed up with a lower grade than I'd hoped.

I opened my results on Results day and was convinced that with my c*ck up of an exam that my chance at university had well and truely disappeared.

I literally spent an hour refreshing the UCAS website praying I was wrong, which thankfully I was... I can't even imagine how different my life would have been had I landed up not going to university, let alone heading off to my second choice Winchester.

Univeristy has been some of the best, and worse, times of my life, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My only advice to people collecting their A Level results is that even if you don't get the grades you've hoped for, this doesn't neccessarily mean that univeristy won't happen for you. Celebrate the grades you do get, you'll have spent the last two years putting the work in!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Celebrating National Afternoon Tea Week: Mini Lemon Sponges.

With the return of Great British Bake Off and the fact that it is National Afternoon Tea Week from the 10th-15th of August, Today I'm sharing my Mini Lemon Sponges which are perfect with a coffee. I'd like to think that they wouldn't be out on an afternoon tea stand....

All that you need for 6 mini sponges:
- 8tbsps Self Raising Flour
- 8tbsps Sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsps Butter/margarine
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsps of Lemon Curd. ( I used the 'luxury lemon curd' by The English Provender Co. a smooth, yellow and massively citrus-y curd. Perfect for this recipe!)
All that you need for the filling:
- Lemon Curd
- 1tbsp Butter
- 2tbsp Icing Sugar

All that you need to do:
- Preheat oven to 180'c and grease a muffin tray to make the sponges.
- Cream the flour, sugar, butter, eggs and lemon curd together until well combined and fluffy.
- Place mixture in the trays, about half full so that there is space for the cake to rise.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes (keep an eye on the cakes. Once they're cooked they don't take long to burn... as demonstrated in mine...)
- Remove and allow to cool.
- Make the butter cream by creaming the butter and icing sugar, multiplying the mixture as necessary.
- Slice each cake in half.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the bottom half and spread the top half with lemon curd.
- Voila!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I was gifted some of the ingredients to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week

Thursday, 6 August 2015

#OOTD - Summer Running.

White Vest Top H&M - £3.99
 FitKit Disney Villain Leggings Independent Retailer - £16
Running Shoes Sports Direct - £27.99

Loving these Headphones for every time I leave the house. They work perfectly with everything I'm wearing, are comfortable, have a built in microphone and are 10 times better than the ones that I got from Apple (Sorry!). This plus the fact they have a storage pouch to stop them getting covered in fluff at the bottom of my handbag has me considering which colour works best for my OH... Not white as they show every mark...

My leggings are amazing! I've worn them for running as well as out day-to-day and I'm in love. Whats better is they're a new company and so I'm 90% sure noone else is going to have a pair like this!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Saving Money on Bills.

Having our own place is amazing. From choosing this flat to moving in and living in the flat, it seems that getting my own place after university was the best idea for me (although I get that it isn't so much for some people/some people can't). The only problem is the bills.

I always liked to think I was quite clued on with money and how much things cost in the real world but when it came to bills, I'm not afraid to admit it, as time went on it begun to feel like I was drowning in bills and that there were bills for things I didn't even know existed. For the most of them such as council tax and rent, there is no way of making them cheaper but I have managed to find ways of gas/electric bills which is better than nothing...

1. Work out if you are better on a meter or not - Some companies would rather change you a set amount for your bills, others charge you dependent on how much you use using a meter. Obviously whichever one is best for you depends on quite how much you use and it's just a case of working out which option is the cheaper for you...

2. Avoid turning on the heating - I hate being cold, but I hate spending money on bills. Catch 22 eh? So I avoid turning on the heating for as long as I can. Instead I opt to invest throws and pillows that keep me warm. My current favourite that somehow seems to keep me unbelievably toasty is the Heat
Holders Snuggle up blanket which is definitely something it manages to do. I'm a huge fan of their socks and all of the HeatHolder range to keep myself warm without the heating and therefore save money. The blanket actually retains my heat whilst keeping out the cold and is actually massive, as in it will wrap around me several times... Perfect for those nights when I'm freezing!

3. Turn on the boiler only when you need it. - It seems easy to have the boiler on 24/7 so that the hot water is just a turn of the tap away, but I've found that a. I only need hot water from the boiler to do the washing which I don't spend my entire life doing and b. the boiler literally sucks the credit out of the meter. So my compromise is to turn the boiler on 20 minutes before I need it and off again when I don't. Just as easy, less money wasted heating water when I don't need it...

4. Pay bills upfront. - If you can afford it pay your bills upfront. Many companies add more to the overall cost when you pay monthly and so it's better in the long term to pay them in one go. Although this works on the basis you have the money...

What do you think? Do you have any more tips for saving money on bills?

Disclaimer: This is a PR Collaboration.