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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Yummy Dessert Creation: Chocolate Apple Betty


Don't be put off by the strange name of this dessert. I have absolutely no idea where the Betty part originates from but this dessert has to be one of the best things I have tasted so trust me, when I say, this is a chocolate and apple creation which you need in your life.

And yes you read this correctly - chocolate and apple together! So technically we can say it is (slightly) healthy and indulge guilt free :)

What's even better is that if you are overloaded with home-grown apples or apples which have seen better days then it's a delicious way to use them up. It makes a lovely warm November dessert and is the perfect end to a Sunday roast.

Enough of me telling you about it though. Here is how you can taste it for yourself.

Method (serves 6-8)

1. Peel and core the apples, then cut into chunks. Place them in a pan and toss with the butter and a couple of tablespoons of water over a moderate heat. When the apples start to soften but are still keeping their shape, tip them into a 1.5 litre baking dish.

2. Mix the crumbs, sugar and chocolate and cover the apples loosely with the mixture.

3. Melt the butter with the golden syrup in a small saucepan, then pour it over the crumbs, making sure to soak them all. Bake in an oven preheated to 190C for 35 mins, until the apple is soft and the crumbs are golden and crisp.

Serve, top with a little bit of cream and enjoy!

If you make it please share your pictures and let me know if you find it as irresistible as I do!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Inspirational Creationist: Soraya French

Snowstorm by Soraya French
Tulip Fusion (left) and Anemone Fusion (right)
 by Soraya French
I have to be honest I have only just discovered this artist. I was flicking through a book and Soraya French's use of vibrant acrylics, in her paintings, caught my eye. But anything which captures my attention is what I class as inspirational.

I love the way you can still tell what her paintings are of whilst her abstract nature adds a sense of mystery. It definitely inspires me to get my acrylics out and continue improving painting with them.

Visit Soraya's website to see more of her inspirational pieces.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mindfulness of the Month: Declutter Your Life & Become More Mindful

I admit my mental wellbeing has not been great recently and I know how important mindfulness is in conquering this. I even committed myself to writing 'mindfulness of the month' posts to address this.

However, it can be difficult to write about mindfulness when you are not feeling mindful yourself. I had been avoiding writing this post until I realised writing about mindfulness doesn't mean I need to be an expert in it. It's simply about sharing my experiences and the advice I have discovered which I hope will help myself and others to become more mindful.

Today I want to share Glamour magazine's 4 decluttering steps, which are sure "to really sort your life out", because they really resonate with me and the way I currently feel.

1 Declutter Your Bag
They say "a cluttered bag shows a fear of being caught short" - in other words only carry your essentials in your bag and organise them to stop that endless searching through our bags which we all hate.


2 Declutter Your To-Do List
Be specific about the tasks you need to complete, give them a time frame and prioritise tasks by numbering them. Apparently this way we will avoid that feeling of failure because we will have a clear and achievable action plan.


3 Declutter Your Social Circle
They say "the greatest sources of social stress is that sense of obligation". Basically we should make time for the people we want to see and not for the people we feel we have to see. Solution: choose 5 people you want to make time for each month and arrange to meet them.

4 Declutter Your Head Space
The reason some of us may be unable to make decisions about our future is termed 'decision paralysis'. This occurs when our minds become cluttered with conflicting ideas about our future. To resolve this we should focus on our passion rather than what we feel is the 'right' next step.

I am hoping following these tips will help me but it would be great to hear if they work for you too!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

I aspired to get my article published & I did it! Find out how...

Aspire Autumn 2016 cover -
click here to read my article (pages 10-11)
I have gone on about it quite a bit now but not long ago I graduated from Birmingham City University. As you may know when you have been studying somewhere for a while you form a little 'study bubble' separate and protected from the rest of the world. Then you suddenly leave; it's daunting and you may feel a bit lost. Well that is exactly how I felt and I didn't really know what to do next.

Other than beginning this blog, through my passion for writing, I decided to use the contacts closest to me. As a member of the BCU alumni I had access to their Alumni Association. I contacted their alumni publication: Aspire magazine and simply asked if I could contribute. They said yes, gave me the contact details of someone who had been nominated 'Alumni of the Year' and allowed me to take it from there.

This was now the tricky bit. I had to introduce myself, interview someone I had never met before and write an article which would suit the audience of Aspire.

Along the way it didn't always go to plan but I aspired to get my article published and that is exactly what I did! Here you can read my article, about another alumni member who is achieving his aspirations, in the latest Aspire issue (pages 10-11).

It was nice to contribute something back to BCU after all they have taught me.

The purpose of this post is not to brag about my success but to provide tips for everyone who wants to succeed in their desired field. Often it's about starting closest to home - use the sources/opportunities you already have. Aspire to do what you want and you will succeed!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Thank You Friends, Family & Fellow Bloggers

Hey beautiful people,

Just a short post to say thank you!

I have now been blogging for just over a month and I've just reached 10 followers and 1,500 blog views in total!

Thank you to everyone who has read and supported my blog so far because it allows me to follow my passion. It sounds cheesy but honestly without you guys my blog wouldn't work. So thank you! 

I am really enjoying blogging; it gets me out and about, doing creative things and the best part is I get to share it with you guys. I love reading other blogs too and it makes me feel welcomed and part of a very creative community.

I hope you're all enjoying reading it too. So please continue reading and helping me to promote my blog so you can continue to enjoy it; Let's make it 20 followers in a months time! 

And please let me know what you like about my blog and want to see more of and I'll make sure it happens!

Remember to follow your passion and keep creative! :)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

My Best Friend is my Creative Inspiration: Baddies Boogie Review

Myself (left) and Beckie (right)
As you will know by now I often write inspiration posts which feature creations and/or creationists who inspire me. Here is my latest inspirational creationist post with a twist...

On Friday night I attended the Baddies Boogie gig at The Victoria in Birmingham which showcases national and local acoustic talents. I had been invited there by one of my closest friends, Beckie Rose who had been headhunted by the organisers, to watch her perform with her friend.

As I entered the quirky and lively pub with another friend we were told the gig was taking place upstairs in a private room. As we headed up the stairs we left the hustle and bustle behind us and could hear the sounds of other performers and see the mood lights which created a more relaxed and intimate environment.  It was ticket only entry so it felt very professional.

Once the other performers had finished, at 9.30pm, I wished Beckie good luck because it was her and, her childhood friend, Jerome's turn to take to the stage. I have known this girl since we were 11 and to watch one of my best friends go up on stage and sing so stunningly made me feel so proud.

And they didn't fail to impress the crowd as they made Bob Marley's famous Turn Your Lights Down Low their own which was followed by, one of my personal favourites from the night, their cover of the classic Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae. Check out the clip below for a sneak peek...

video

When it comes to creativity you can't get much more creative than Beckie can with her voice and song writing. She also performed some of her own original material which included Freedom and I Need You. You can listen to I Need You via the video below and hear the full version on Beckie's SoundCloud.

video

How she gets up on stage and sings with so much confidence is really admirable; you can really see how singing makes her come alive. Beckie truly is my creative inspiration.

We need to support such an amazing talent so please listen to my videos and check out her SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram and YouNow. And remember to visit her Facebook page for details about upcoming events - who knows you may even see her performing near you soon.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

My Favourite, Funniest I'm a Celeb Moment: Stacey Solomon Throws a Stone at Dom Joly

This is a completely random post but with one of my favourite TV shows, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, returning to our screens tomorrow I could not resist!

I just have to share my favourite, funniest moment accidentally created on this show (it's a TV creation so technically it's still a creative post and not completely random - but really that's just my excuse for sharing it). This moment had me in stitches and I'm pretty sure it isn't just my favourite moment too! Was anyone else practically wetting themselves after watching this?!

If you don't know what I'm on about then definitely give the video a watch! The moment that had us all laughing was during the 2010 series when former Queen of the Jungle, Stacey Solomon, was given the task of getting Dom Joly's attention as part of a secret challenge. Nothing more needs to be said; the video speaks for itself...


What is your favourite I'm a Celeb moment?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Simple Smoothie Creation

A banana for energy, a kiwi for vitiman c and raspberries &
blackberries just because they're delicious
Want a breakfast which makes you feel good, without the fuss, tomorrow morning? Give my simple smoothie creation a try and you're sure to feel more positive!

Positivity
There's no better way to start the day than with a healthy smoothie. It not only makes us feel good on the inside but in a weird way, and I don't know if this is just me, it can make us begin the day with a positive outlook on the outside.

Simplicity
For the majority of us there isn't much that's more important than sleep in the morning so we don't want a lot of fuss when it comes to making breakfast. Another reason why my smoothie recipe is a great way to start the day.

And the best thing, for those of us who prefer to sleep until the last minute, you can get yourself a decent blender for less than £20 from Amazon which includes a bottle with a screw on handle lid. The perfect on-the-go brekky which is actually healthy!!

The result...mmm
Method 
The preparation is the longest thing you'll have to do so if you know you will be short on time or too busy sleeping in the morning then prepare the fruit the night before, add a squeeze of lemon juice (to retain the nutrients), apply cling film and pop it in the fridge to keep it fresh.

1. Slice the banana and kiwi into the smoothie container; then add a handful of raspberries and blackberries. We all know raspberries and blackberries can be hard to come by or expensive if they aren't in season, or if you simply don't like either fruit, try swapping one ingredient for a pear - trust me it is just as tasty!
2. Add your desired amount of milk and blend all of the ingredients together.
3. Give it an extra shake to make sure it's all mixed and you're done!

Enjoy your simple smoothie which is delicious and nutritious too.

Try different combinations of ingredients until you find your favourite. Then it's not only simple but fun to create as well. Please share your own smoothie creations so I can try them too!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Inspirational Creationist of the Week: Clare Sykes

Your Blushed Beauty (left) and Found my Love in You (right), Clare Sykes. Images courtesy of Whitewall Galleries.


Such striking floral statements. Such vibrant colours. Such bold brush strokes.

Truly inspiring...

Friday, 4 November 2016

Remember Remember...what is your favourite firework?

Bonfire night is just around the corner...which of course not only means bonfires but fireworks too!

It always gets me remembering...the vibrant colours and creative patterns which fireworks create in the sky.

It also makes me remember...the different types of fireworks and which ones were my favourites when I was a kid. Here is my pick of the top 5 fireworks:

Catherine Wheel doing its thing

1 The spinny old favourite: the Catherine Wheel
There aren't many garden firework displays which do not have one of these whirling sparks around - just some advice (from past experience) be sure to screw it to the fence properly or the colourful sparks could come spinning at you! :)




2 The sparkly ones: Sparklers
I'm sure you would agree that it just wouldn't be bonfire night without sparklers! And the great thing is no matter how old you get you can still write your name with these without being judged (well maybe slightly).

Some rockets ready to soar

3 The noisy ones: Rockets
It is great fun to see these soaring up into the air but they don't half make a racket - let's face it the whole neighbourhood knows when you have purchased one of these.


So massive it barely fitted in the picture



4 The big one: 200+ shot firework
Now everyone has at least one of these that they cannot wait to set off on firework night (even if it is just to show off to the neighbours). They are massive in size, sound and massively spectacular too.


Oooh so colourful!


5 The ooh aah ones: pretty fireworks
Saving the best until last the pretty, colourful fireworks somehow have us all saying oooohh aaaaahhh without even realising it - you know we all do it.





I hope you all have a fantastic firework night and many of these famous fireworks feature in your displays! Which fireworks are your favourites?

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Keep Creative & Follow Your Dreams: Craft Open West Midlands

Craft Open West Midlands
September 17 to November 6 2016

My university assignments allowed me to visit art galleries which I loved but now I have finished uni it is even better because I can visit them simply because I enjoy it. And I want to share my experiences with you guys.

Following my visit to Wolverhampton Art Gallery last week I came across Craft Open West Midlands which, as the gallery's first exhibition of this kind, gives creators in the West Midlands the chance to showcase their artwork.

The exhibition gave me an epiphany. I know you probably think I am talking rubbish but the artworks featured are created by people just as ordinary as you and I. It isn't just about the famous faces when visiting galleries - even they weren't famous once. And being ordinary isn't an insult...my point is even if you aren't an expert in crafting or creativity, initially, don't give up because one day it could be you displaying your creation at your local gallery. Keeping creative teaches us to follow our dreams.

Here are the top 3, not so ordinary, creators whose work led me to this realisation:


Shokki Range by Chloe Smith
Chloe Smith, Shokki Range 
www.casabidesigns.co.uk
  • Artwork: tableware range
  • Material/Technique: slip-cast & earthenware
  • Influence: Japanese aesthetics
  • Background: Chloe enjoys designing objects for the home, which are both decorative and functional, under the brand Casabi Designs. She founded Casabi Designs in 2014 and during 2015 travelled around Japan to gain inspiration.


Bird with Blooms by Amanda Anderson


Amanda Anderson, Bird with Blooms 
www.wigwamarts.com
  • Artwork: decorative interior piece
  • Material/Technique: ceramic, glass mosaic
  • Influence: the natural world
  • Background: Amanda Fine Art (sculpture) at Liverpool's John Moores University and co-founded Wigwam Arts in 1995. She creates stained glass and patterned ceramic pieces for their colour and vibrancy. She then finishes her designs with a black, charcoal grout to emphasise them.



Clare Pentlow,  and  www.cjpdesigns.co.uk

  • Artwork: geometric paper designs
  • Material/Technique: hand-cut paper
  • Influence: turning an everyday material into something extraordinary
  • Background: Starting out from the fascination with paper as a great alternative to fabric Clare has already exhibited her work at over 20 galleries within the past 7 years. Clare finds the hand-cutting and folding of paper theraputic which allows her to remove herself from the technology driven, fast-paced world. Her use of bold colours, folding and layering of the paper provide a hypnotic sense which draws the viewer in.

Craft Open West Midlands is only running until November 6 but it's definitely worth checking out if you get chance. Or if you can't make it then why not visit the creators' websites to find out about upcoming exhibitions.


Click here to visit the gallery website for more details.