Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies

For the Christmas season I've spiced up the classic chocolate brownie with some ginger. The strength of ginger is entirely up to you, just add more ground ginger to your desired preference. I have added 3 tablespoons, which gives a mild flavouring. If you don't like ginger at all, you can leave it out completely and just have some amazing chocolate brownie bites. 


Makes 25-30 small bites (you can keep these as 15 larger bars if wanted)

Ingredients:

For the brownie
400g dark chocolate, broken into chunks 
25g cocoa powder 
25g plain flour 
250g golden caster sugar 
250g butter, plus extra or greasing the tin 
1 tbsp ground ginger 
6 large eggs, separated 

For the icing:
100g butter, chopped 
50g dark chocolate 
50g cocoa powder 
200g icing sugar, sifted 
2 tbsp ground ginger 
Decorations if wanted - I have used white chocolate stars and Christmas coloured sprinkles! 

Instructions:

1) Heat the oven to 180C / 160C Fan / Gas 4. Butter a 20 x 30cm cake tin, and line the base and sides with baking parchment paper. Heatthe chocolate, cocoa, flour, sugar and butter together in a saucepan over a very low heat. Once the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the ginger, followed by the egg yolks one, one by one. 

2) Beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. Using a metal spoon, stir a couple of spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then gently fold in the rest. 

3) Transfer the mixture to the tin. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is set and the centre doesn't wobble too much. Leave the tin on a wire rack to cool completely. 

4) Once cool, make the icing. Gently heat the butter, chocolate, cocoa, icing sugar, ground ginger and 4 tbsp water in a pan, stirring until you have a smooth icing. Pour over the cake (still in its tin), leave for 1-2 minutes to cool slightly, then scatter over your topping decoration of choice. Leave to cool completely before cutting into bars.


I took these brownies into work and they were devoured by the team! I hope that you enjoy them just as much.

Christmas according to,

Abi x




Recipe Rights: BBC Good Food 



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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

My Christmas 'To-Do' List

According to Abi - Christmas


I’ve gotten to that age where I don’t ask for anything major or specific for Christmas, instead I’m at that point where I enjoy giving presents to people and just making memories. This post contains part of my Christmas ‘to-do’ list, in other words it’s part of my agenda for December (eeeekk!).

-        Visit a Christmas Market – Each year I tend to visit the Winchester Christmas Market with my family and/or friends, however this year it’s time for a change of scenery; Joe and I are going to head up to Bath for the day to visit their market and have a shop. Shopping, Christmas food and pretty scenery, it’s one of my favourite things to do. I would highly recommend the Winchester Market if you’re near the area. 

-        Volunteering – There are so many different ways to volunteer at this time of the year, whether that be at a food bank; donating toys, doing something for your local community or donating money to causes. This year I will be spending a day with Wave 105 - Cash for Kinds - in conjunction with their Christmas Toy Appeal, where people from all around the local area have been donating toys for those children who will otherwise not receive a gift this Christmas. I will be wrapping/sorting/packing presents for a day! I will also be donating toys to the cause.

-        Create Joe a stocking – So….Joe informed me that he’s never had a stocking before and I was in shock. I’m not someone who’s fussed about receiving presents but I have to admit that I love receiving a stocking, and as it’s one of my favourite things about Christmas I can’t not give Joe his first ever stocking. I’m currently on a mission to find random and useful gifts to fill it with. Project: "Create Joe a Stocking" is well and truly underway.

-        Cook a Christmas meal for the family – I’m not going to cook the roast dinner on Christmas day because I don’t want to ruin everyone’s day, therefore I will leave my mum to do this haha! But on a day in December I aim to cook my parents and Joe a 3 course meal, from scratch, on my own. I’ve never cooked one meal before on my own never mind a three course meal for 4 people but for some reason I would really like to do it! I still need to pick a menu but I will let you know how it goes.

Do you have any special traditions or things that you like to do at this time of year? I love hearing about other people’s Christmas’ as every family seems to have their own routine and traditions.
Christmas According To,

Abi
x
(Do you like what I did there?)
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Top 5 Tips for Healthy Hair




Being a Blogger in Winter is one of the hardest things, it's impossible to take photos during the week because before I go to work it's dark and when I get home it's dark. Me being a dafty, I forgot to take photos last weekend for today's post. 

I posted this video a few months ago over on my YouTube channel, but I never posted it on my blog. So in case you missed it, here is is! My top 5 tips for healthy hair:




According to,Abi

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Switching Skincare Staples for Winter



As the seasons change, so does my skincare routine. I struggle with having dry skin and therefore my winter skincare consists mainly of products that provide moisture to protect against the colder weather. This post I chat about 4 facial essentials that I have been using recently, please leave in the comments below if you have any recommendations. 

 The Aveeno Moisturising Cream is my current go-to moisturiser. I have been applying this each morning before applying my makeup. It contains finely milled colloidal oatmeal  which helps restore the skin’s natural barrier, preventing water loss. I have to admit that the smell of the product  reminds me of porridge but it's natural and fragrance free. Aveeno have other moisturising products for problem area skin and also have an excellent baby range.


My night time routine currently includes this Loreal Paris Extraordinary Facial Oil. Containing 8 refined essential oils, Lavander; marjoram, romarin, geranium, rose, chamomile, orange and lavandin`, I have found that this to be an amazing formula to replenish my skin at the end of the day. 


An eye cream is a staple product, but one that I've only recently started using. This Olay Eye Transforming Cream is essentially the first eye cream I have ever owned and therefore I can't compare it to anything else that I've tried, but I feel like I can recommend it. It contains skin super-multi-vitamin VianiacinTM with Vitamins B3, E and C, has a thick creamy texture which quickly absorbs into the skin.  


Last up, I've been loving this Nivea Express Hydration Primer for those mornings that I'm in a rush. This product is enriched with Vitamins and natural Lotus Extract for moisture but is also a fast drying primer; It therefore combines two stages of my morning routine into one. 

According To,
Abi
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Monday, 13 November 2017

Glute Workout & Getting My Hair Cut! | VLOG




Yesterday I uploaded a vlog onto my Youtube channel, I filmed some of my favourite glute exercises, made a juice and got my hair cut.



It would mean a lot if you could 'like' and subscribe to my little channel - my aim is to upload weekly! 

According to,
Abi
x

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Working On My Mental Health


I've always shied away from saying that I'm 'stressed', 'anxious' and more because I've always known that other people have it worse than me, so what right do I have to complain? But in reality, everyone has the right to voice how they're feeling and to take the time to work on themselves. 



Everyone's mental health affects them in their own individual way; from anxiety to anger, from stress to self-esteem, every person has there own personal battles. You personally may already be having professional help in your journey to working on your mental health, or you might be someone like me who is working on baby steps in their everyday routine to keep stability.

Below are 3 small qualities that I have added into my day-to-day life that make me happy:


Spending Time with Family / Friends

Nothing beats a good catch up with the ones that are closest to you. These are also the people who you're most likely to talk about your feelings to, so utilise them to give you advice / guidance. I love catching up over a coffee or going shopping (I'm a sucker for retail therapy). I'm not the biggest social butterfly but I understand how important it is to keep those 'good' friends close. I may not see them all the time but I know that they are there and they know that I am here; and then when we catch up it feels like yesterday. 


Having Some 'Me' Time / Take a Break

Personally I love to paint, read a book, have a bubble bath or even dance around the house with my headphones on singing along to Glee. Anything that makes my mind relax or focus on a different situation. 

At work, I have begun to try and leave my desk every lunch time for a walk around the lake opposite the office. It doesn't take long but it means that I get up and get some fresh air - away from my desk where I'll be sitting for the other 7 hours of my working day. 

It's amazing how much of an impact simply 'switching off' can make. 

Exercise

Similar to the above, I've recently really started to enjoy going to the gym - it's the keeping active that helps me with stress and also helps me sleep. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphineDon't get me wrong, I understand that going to a gym won't be everyone's 'cup of tea', therefore how about going for a walk / trying out a dance class / going on a bike ride? Anything to get you moving and into a different environment. 


I decided to only talk on three points because I don't want to write you a book. Please leave any comments below on your thoughts / actions that you take. 

According to,
Abi
x

Remember, it is ok to not be ok. There is always someone available to talk to you:



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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Loreal Pure Clay Face Masks


Those of you who know me, know how much I love a good face mask. In fact, I bought 6 new ones yesterday to try out (post coming soon!). I bought these two Loreal masks a few months ago now, there are 5 masks in the Pure Clay range priced at £7.99 each.

Glow Mask


The word 'Glow' is one of the main qualities I look for in my skincare products, therefore I couldn't resist this face mask. Enriched with Red Algae extract, known for its brightening properties. It also contains finely milled apricot seeds gently exfoliate dull, uneven skin to reveal a natural glow. 


The Pure Clay masks each contain a powerful blend of 3 clays:

- Kaolin - A highly effective natural clay, known to absord impurities and excess sebum 
- Montmorillonite - Rich in minerals, a clay recognised for helping to eliminate imperfections 
- Ghassoul - A pure clay highly concentrated in mineral renowned to help clarify complexion 


Bright Mask


Second best quality to 'Glow'ing skin? Bright. This mask contains Yuzu Lemon extract, known for its skin-evening properties (it also smells really good). The creamy texture, enriched with natural exfoliators, cleanses deep into the pores to absorb oil and remove dead skin cells without drying skin out. 

Clay masks that I have used in the past have always dried my skin out, however these masks are gentle to the skin and are also nourishing. 



I also need to highlight how nice the packaging is on these products; Each mask contains 50 ml and comes in a glass container. It is recommended that each masks lasts 10 applications therefore for £7.99 you get a lot of uses.




Not sure which mask to buy?

Why not try the 'Pure Clay Mini Masks Multi-Masking Play Kit' perfect for trying out which mask you prefer out of the 3 original masks. 

- GREEN / PURITY MASK 10ml
- RED / GLOW MASK 10ml- BLACK / DETOX MASK 10ml


According to,
Abi
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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Winter Walk | OOTD


It's got to that time of the year where I'm still able to go down to the beach for a walk but I now need to wear a coat - I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad that the colder weather is here. One thing that I am excited about it being able to wear this coat again, Joe (my boyfriend) gifted me this Zara number last Christmas and it's a dream of a coat.



I live on the south coast of England in an area coated in pebbles instead of white sands like the Bahamas, I can't complain though, at least I don't have sandy sandwiches? My casual grey and white top is from Urban Outfitters, it's long sleeved but a thin material so it's perfect for that in between hot/cold weather. 



My go-to ripped knee jeans are the Top Shop Jaime jeans which have ended up super ripped thanks to whenever I decide to bend my knees. 

They've started to look tatty - as I have had them for years - but these Roamer purple suede boots always make an appearance in Autumn for me. Does anyone else have a pair of shoes that they can't imagine throwing out or replacing?? 





I don't usually write a lot within my 'fashion' posts because I feel like all people want to know is where the clothing items are from. I'm bursting to have a chat on my little blog though because it's been a while, so look out for an up-coming post if you're interested in that kind of thing! 


According to,
Abi
x
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Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I must admit I was a little shocked when Meg (Megan Goodier) nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award, I like to post on my little blog every now and then, however I never think about the fact that people actually read it! Thank you very much to the lovely Meg for the nomination and please everyone head over to her blog to have a read. 

The award is for bloggers that are inspiring, creative and positive - so I am very grateful for the nomination. 






THE RULES




- Thank the Blogger who nominated you and link their blog

- Answer the questions asked by the Blogger who nominated them
- Nominate other Bloggers and give them new questions to answer

MEGAN'S QUESTIONS / MY ANSWERS



1. What is the most played song on your iPod?
Ariana Grande "Piano" - the song always puts me in a good mood!


2. What is your favourite type of blog post to write/read?
I like to write 'favourites' or some sort of haul related post but I love reading Fashion / Travel posts for inspiration. I also love a good 'Tips' post to read for some inspiration.

3. What would be your dream location for a quick city break?
Ooooooo...there's so much choice. If I had to pick somewhere I haven't been before I would choose Rome. 
I'd recommend Krakow and Amsterdam for anyone considering going! 
I'm off to New York next year which I am superrrr excited about.

4. How do you lead a positive lifestyle?
Treat others how I want to be treated, always look on the bright side (well I at least try to!) and look after my well-being. 

5. What is your go-to fashion item for Autumn/Fall?
Anything mustard coloured!! A turtle neck / chunky scarf / beanie - not all at one time mind!

6. Halloween or Christmas?
Christmas! All the way, mainly because of the happy atmosphere and Christmas shopping.

7. What is your favourite Disney song?
Pocahontas "Colours of The Wind" although my favourite film is The Lion King.

8. Name three things you like about yourself. 
It's weird that this is the kind of question you never really think about and is one of the hardest to answer! I'm caring, friendly and I like my freckles haha.

9. Instagram or Twitter?
Instagram because I am quite a visual person so enjoy looking at people's photos.

10. What is your go-to karaoke song?
Any song that used to be played at a school disco in the early 2000's!




MY QUESTIONS

1) What inspired you to start blogging?
2) What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?
3) Do you have any pets? If so what & what are they called?
4) Where has been your favourite holiday destination to date?
5) What is one beauty product you cannot live without?
6) Where in the world do you live?
7) What is your favourite season of the year and why?
8) What are your favourite blog posts to write / read?
9) What would be your perfect meal? (starter / main / pudding?)
10) How long have you been blogging?




NOMINEES

Lucy 

Louise

Beth

Naomi

Amy

Charlotte 

Catherine 

Hannah

Drifa

Samantha



Thanks again to Meg & I look forward to hearing my nominees answers. I hope this post added some sunshine to your day in some way or another (excuse the pun!).


According to,
Abi
x



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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Beauty & Skincare Haul | YOUTUBE



Last week I uploaded a beauty and skincare haul onto my Youtube channel. I thought I'd share the link with you on my blog in case you were unaware of my channel - please click on the link below to watch the video! You can also find the link to my YouTube in the header bar above. 





According to,
Abi
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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Choosing The Right Camera For You

Choosing the right camera for you can be difficult, there are plenty of brands and models to choose from but for someone (like myself) who doesn't have expert knowledge in the field of photography/videography it can be hard deciding which camera to purchase. More specifically, today I wanted to share with you 2 CSC (Compact System Camera) models which are currently on the market as they are great cameras, they provide the image quality and interchangeable lenses of a DSLR, but in a smaller package. To learn more about what a CSC camera is you can read more here.Image result for LUMIX G (Compact System Camera) DC-GH5

LUMIX G (Compact System Camera) DC-GH5


One of the best CSC cameras available is the Lumix G DC-GH5 which is the latest in the line of Panasonic's top-of-the-range GH series of mirrorless cameras. 

DC-GH5 key features:
- 20.3 Megapixels - Digital Live MOS Sensor
- 4K/60p - video recording 
- 6K PHOTO - 6K 30fps, 4K 60fps
- 3.2-inch vari-angle tilt touchscreen
- Weight 725g (without a lens) 
- 5-Axis Dual Image Stabiliser 2 
- It is freezeproof down to -10 degrees, splashproof and dustproof
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
- Interchangeable lenses 

Panasonic is marketing the Lumix GH5 at both pro videographers and enthusiast photographers. Therefore if you're looking for a camera to up both your video and photography footage quality, this would be the perfect camera for you. With high quality comes a price tag of £1,699.99 (body only). Lenses are available to purchase separately.

Image result for canon eos m3


Great for beginners is the Canon EOS M3, small and easy to use the camera would be a perfect start to both basic photography and videography.

Canon EOS M3 key features:
- 24.2 Megapixels - APS-C size CMOS sensor
Full HD movie - 1080p movies at 24, 25 and 30 fps
Hybrid CMOS AF III - fast and smooth auto focus 
Tilt touchscreen
- WiFi and remote shooting with a smartphone 
- Weight 366g (without lens)
- Interchangeable lenses 

For beginners the Canon EOS M3 is a good starting point for photography and videography. The cost of this camera including a 15-45 mm f/3.5-6.3 Lens is £421.99. 

According to
Abi



*note that this post contains a paid collaboration with Panasonic









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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Pamper Night Must-Haves



One of my favourite things to do in my spare time is to have a pamper night, whether that's after work or on the weekend I love having some 'me' time and switching off from my daily routine. In this post I thought I'd discuss what I like to do to relax and hope that it inspires you to have some chill time and take the time to look after yourself. 

1) Are you a film or book person?

Personally I'd say I'm 50/50 dependant on my mood! Sometimes I reach for a well loved movie such as Wild Child (definitely 1 of my top 5 chick flicks) but at times I love starting a new book. The book I'm currently reading is Small Great Things written Jodi Picoult, a story that challenges prejudice, race, and justice.






2)  Battle of the face masks 

There are so many different face masks available in stores recently. I have been enjoying the Garnier Moisture Bomb and the Loreal Pure Clay ranges. 

Garnier Moisture Bomb  - Revitalising Mask - Perfect for a facial 'pick me up' for a boost of hydration. These masks are purchased individually (1 per pack) therefore I only use these about once or twice a month due to the cost.

Loreal Pure Clay -  Glow Mask - This mask brightens and exfoliates skin, enriched with Red Algae extract which is known for its brightening properties - this mask leaves skin feeling clean and refreshed. With the product containing 50ml it's recommended that it can spread up to 10 uses. 



3) Bath full of bubbles  

Sometimes nothing quite beats a relaxing bubble bath and you can't not have a bath without a bath bomb, right? If you want to read more on my most recent LUSH haul click > HERE!


4) At home manicure 

I'm not someone who gets my nails done professionally, therefore the only time my nails ever look half decent is when I incorporate painting my nails with my pamper routine (otherwise I'm far too lazy to bother!). I picked up these two polishes recently, both by Maybelline New York, the first is a gorgeous shade in 19 Golden Brown and the second is a 3D clear Gel Effect plumping top coat.  



 5) Because you can't not pamper the rest of your body

The Zoella Candy Cream Softening Body Lotion is one of my favourite body lotions. If I'm honest I always forget to moisturise on a daily basis therefore I am always sure to add it into my pamper routine. 



What do you like to do to relax and pamper yourself?

According to,
Abi
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Body Shop: Drops of Youth


It's safe to say that The Body Shop is one of my favourite brands when it comes to skin care; Not only do they have an amazing brand ethos but they sell that many products you'll be sure to find something suitable for your skin type. 

I currently own 2 of the 8 products available in the 'Drops Of Youth' range and I'm loving them. 



£18.00 145ml 

The Youth Liquid Peel exfoliates and gently peels off impurities from your skin, lifting dead skin cells and residuals. After cleansing and drying my face I use two pumps of the Youth Liquid Peel and massage the liquid on my face for around 20 seconds. At this point you literally see clumps begin to form which is the dead skin cells and residuals. I then wipe with a cotton pad and rinse my face with warm water. 

This all results in a clean, smooth and refreshed face! 



£25.00 95ml

This product is one of The Body Shop's top sellers and I'm not surprised. *I've had this a while now hence the old packaging* 

I lather this onto my face at night and wake up with super soft, dewy feeling skin. The consistency of the mask is weird yet wonderful, the description on The Body Shop website reads 'memory-shape gel' but honestly the best way I can describe it is that it's a putty (aka the least flattering way to describe something). A little goes a long way and you skin instantly feels moisturised.



Please let me know if you have any Body Shop favourites! 

According to,
Abi
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