Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter baking: hot cross buns

Happy Easter you lovely bunch! Since being home from university I've been thoroughly enjoying baking in a clean (don't even ask about my flat mates idea of a hygienic kitchen) space and having my family around to share the goodies so I don't end up eating absolutely everything. Well. Since it's Good Friday today I couldn't help but get into the Easter spirit and bake some hot cross buns because isn't everyone partial to a little fruity cake, non? They were SUPER easy to do with the only time consuming part being the proving time in which I wished I was cool enough to be on Bake Off and have my own proving drawer. Sigh, a girl can dream. I used a recipe that I found on Pinterest and am currently impatiently waiting for S to get here so we can dig in and eat some! Let me know if you re create the hot cross buns for yourself or if you have any other Easter baking recipes that I should know about, I'm definitely in favour of baking as much as possible this weekend *undoes buttons on skirt*.

For the buns:
500g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaped tsp of mixed spice
50g caster sugar
50g butter, cubed!
200g dried mixed fruit
7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
200ml milk
2 eggs

For the crosses:
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp water
Honey or golden syrup for brushing 

  1. 1: Tip the flour into a bowl and stir in the salt, mixed spice and sugar.

    2: Rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the dried fruit, then sprinkle over the yeast and stir in. Gently warm the milk so it is hot, but still cool enough to put your finger in for a couple of seconds. Beat with the eggs, then pour into the dried ingredients.

    3: Using a blunt knife, mix the ingredients to a moist dough, then leave to soak for 5 mins. Take out of the bowl and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.

    4: Shape the dough into buns on a floured surface. Space apart on a baking sheet, cover loosely with cling film, then leave in a warm place until half again in size. This will take 45 mins-1 hr 15 mins.

    5: When the buns are risen, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix the flour with 2 tbsp water to make a paste. Pipe the paste onto the buns, you can use a plastic food bag and cut a nick in the end or I used a cupcake piping tube!

    6: Bake for 12-15 mins until risen and golden. Trim the excess cross mixture from the buns , then brush all over with honey or golden syrup. 



Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Being a 'boring' teen

First things first, I have been wanting to share a post on this topic for a long time now and have never known where to begin or how to write down the muddle of thoughts in my head so many apologies if this turns into a very long ramble! As most of you will probably already know, I'm very open when it comes to the internet and often share my thoughts, feelings and illogical decisions on my social media accounts. For some this might seem an odd concept but I often find comfort in the fact that people reply to my tweets saying they have been in a similar position or are feeling the same way currently. I think it's only natural to find empathy from others to be a source of comfort and this has deffo been the case for me when it's come to my struggles with an eating disorder, anxiety and not enjoying university. I think this might be my most honest blog post to date but I often find writing down how I feel a super effective way to vent, hence the copious amount of tweets. I have possibly already lost any direction with this post but I'm trying my best to get to the point and STOP THE RAMBLING.

So, a few times during my life I have been called 'boring' or 'too mature' and on an almost daily basis I consider that, perhaps it is just my personality or maybe anxiety induced but I do in fact act far too old for my age. I don't enjoy clubbing, I'd never had an alcoholic drink until just over two months ago and I enjoy my weekly food shop and home interiors more than any kind of socialising at uni. I can't think of anything worse than taking drugs or being a social butterfly, in fact I get nervous just at the thought of interacting with new people. I'm fully aware that a number of these nerves come from anxiety but I also know that I have never been one to try new things or branch out from my oh so familiar comfort zones and I can't help but feel like I'm being left behind in life by everyone else my age that's doing such amazing things. Two of my close friends are currently on their gap years travelling around Australia, Vietnam and a whole list of other places doing sky dives and other adventurous things that make my eyes fill with tears just at the thought of doing them myself. I'm a naturally nervous person and so despite desperately wanting to live my life to the fullest and do all the amazing things I see others around me doing, I simply can't bring myself to fulfil these goals. My main new years resolution for this year was to be more spontaneous and try my best to ignore anxious and irrational thoughts and so far I thought it was going okay. I've been a huge fan of The 1975 for years now but have never been brave enough to see them live because of all the usual anxious fears about crowds and claustrophobia and everything in between but when I saw they were playing in Manchester (only about 30 mins train away from me at uni!!!) I felt like this was the year I wanted to challenge myself. I persuaded S to come with me so he spent a lot of ££££ getting the train here and buying a ticket etc and I was so happy that I had finally pushed myself to go. Until the evening came and we got inside the venue (beforehand I had been feeling fine and so not anxious at all!!) but soon the oh so familiar stomach cramps, sickness and feeling faint washed over me and before I knew it a panic attack was in full swing and we were heading back to my uni flat, me sobbing, Scott navigating us home, both (mostly me) disappointed.

Long anecdote over, I'm scared that even on the rare occasions that I manage to talk myself into doing scary things, it still results in panic attacks and feeling all round rubbish about myself for wasting other people's time/money/patience. My parents often tell me I'm going to grow out of feeling this way but I'm worried that by the time I do it will be too late to do all the things I should have done when I was young, it feels almost as if I'm accidentally throwing away what should be the best years of my life because I'm too scared to go outside of my bedroom ??? This is not how I should be feeling at the age of 18. In the past friends have invited me on trips to Prague and a couple of other exciting places and I have so much regret saying no to these trips when I see their Instagram posts and hear about how fab it was but at the same time my brain just cannot fathom saying yes to anything. I wish I was able to challenge myself and just SAY YES without overthinking every tiny aspect of something but that is not the case. My biggest fear is soon I'll be old and grey and regretting not being more spontaneous or care free as a teen and it's almost like I can already feel that happening!!! I so don't want to be in that position but I honestly don't know how to get over crippling fears and irrational anxiety. I want to travel and go to festivals and learn to drive and just, for once, NOT WORRY ABOUT EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE. I would love to be able to go to gigs, meet new people for coffee, socialise at the weekends rather then spend hours in the library but alas it never happens. I seem to always promise myself that next time I'll try harder to push myself but when my comfort zone is the tiniest of tiny things it can be exhausting and impossible at times. I honestly don't know where I'm going with this post and I feel like I really have just spilled my thoughts down onto the keyboard so I hope it has made some level of sense. In short, I need the kick up the bum to realise life is too short to wallow in anxieties and fears and I really just need to tackle the things that scare me. Kinda hard when it's only been a few days since The 1975 incident and I still feel terrible about the whole thing. 

In some way I hope people can respond to this post telling me they share the same worries and anxieties because having that reassurance can be so comforting, on the other hand I hope no one else is feeling so helpless and worried about life; it is so tiring! I hope in a few years or hopefully months I can read this back and feel like I've conquered everything I wanted to *crosses fingers*. I hope you're all well, please let me know any feedback or thoughts you have on this topic because I'd be super interested to hear them!

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