Sunday 31 August 2014

August mix.

Track list

20th Century Boy - T. Rex
Anaconda - Nicki Minaj
John, I'm Only Dancing - David Bowie
Can't Rely on You - Paloma Faith
Comeback - Ella Eyre
Happy Little Pill - Troye Sivan
Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
Wish Me Luck (As You Wave Me Goodbye) - Vera Lynn

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EDIT: So, um, 8tracks replaced a couple of these tracks and I have no idea how to fix it so just know that those versions of John, I'm Only Dancing and Can't Rely on You are most definitely NOT the ones I've been listening to this month!

Friday 29 August 2014


You might have heard about this doughnut/muffin hybrid being sold in a certain chain of coffee shops under a slightly different name but the copy of ASDA magazine that I got this recipe from refers to them as 'doffins' so in this case, so shall I. 

We all know they're duffins though, don't worry about it.

Whatever their name is the recipe is so easy I couldn't even believe it and they taste fantastic, so let's just get on with it, shall we?


85ml sunflower oil
1 large egg
125ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
125g jam
75g unsalted butter
100g granulated sugar

  • Preheat your oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and grease 2 muffin trays with a little butter. Mum's old muffin trays smelled a little too much like rust for my liking so I used a standard 12-hole cupcake tray and aside from being a tiny bit burnt (when do I ever not burn anything?) the doffins ended up okay, if a little oddly shaped, so don't worry if you don't have any of the larger muffin trays, a cupcake tray will totally do in a pinch.
  • Put your sunflower oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat with a fork until blended.
  • Sift your flour into another large bowl and stir in the caster sugar.
  • Add the oil, egg, and milk mixture to the flour and sugar and stir until it has all just mixed together. Don't stir the mixture too much or you'll end up with a tough dough. Don't worry if there are a few lumps - they'll sort themselves out.
  • Spoon half of the mixture into the muffin tins. Put about a tsp of jam into the middle of each muffin. (I used strawberry jam because it's all we had but you can use whatever jam you like! I suggest raspberry for a more authentic doughnutty flavour.) Then cover the jam with the rest of the dough mixture.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and risen so that the tops spring back when pressed lightly.
  • While your doffins are cooling, melt your butter in a bowl (about 40 seconds in the microwave usually does it) and put your granulated sugar into another, shallow bowl.
  • As soon as the doffins are cooked, tip them out of their tins. One by one, use a pastry brush to brush the doffins with melted butter all over and then roll them in the granulated sugar until completely coated.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack for as long as you can stand to before digging in!

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Thursday 28 August 2014

I won't spoil the punchline.

I had planned to post a new recipe yesterday but our Internet was down for most of the day so I couldn't get on blogger. Of course I would have posted it today but then, well... this happened.

So I thought I might as well share that today instead. Tomorrow - 'doffins'!

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Sunday 24 August 2014

Seven deadly sins tag.

The lovely Saruuh tagged me in the seven deadly sins tag earlier this week so let's answer some questions!

1. Greed - What is your most inexpensive book?

Well I've actually won quite a few books recently through Twitter giveaways so I suppose one of those, since they were all free!

2. Wrath - What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I honestly can't think of anyone. I think I pretty much either like an author or I don't tbh.

3. Gluttony - What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

Avalon High by Meg Cabot. I've genuinely lost track of how many times I've read it.

4. Sloth - What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

I'm gonna say Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I borrowed it from my dad years ago and I've started it at least three times but I always give up after a few chapters and I don't even really know why.

5. Pride - What book do you most talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

I don't think I necessarily do that but I do keep my copy of Joyce's Ulysses on my bookshelf even though I only read a few pages for uni and do not intend on ever reading it all the way through. So that's pretty much the same thing. 

6. Lust - What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

Just whatever it is that Stephanie Perkins is serving up in her male love interests. Which is possibly not entirely appropriate given that I'm 22 and her characters are all teenagers but whatever, call me when Cricket Bell is 21.

7. Envy - What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Probably Doctor Who: The Vault or a book of Vivian Maier's photography. Just one of those big coffee table books that I'd really like but they're too expensive to justify buying for myself, you know?

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically but if you want to answer these questions then consider yourself tagged! And let me know in the comments if you answer these on your own blog. I'd love to hear your answers.

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Thursday 21 August 2014

White chocolate chip brownies.

Today I'm bringing you one of my old favourites from Mary Berry's Baking Bible but with the tiniest little twist (seriously tiny. Do not come to me for adventurous baking. I am not there yet.) I've used this recipe so many times it's the only recipe I actually remember the page number of.

Page 100, if you were wondering.

Okay so it's an easy page to remember, but I've still used this recipe a lot!

I have even been known to bake a tray of these brownies and just eat straight out of the tray with a fork without even cutting them up first. In my defence I was at university at the time. Although I'm not sure that's much of a defence because I would totally still do it now. These things taste GOOD.

Mary Berry's recipe calls for plain chocolate chips but today I've gone for white chocolate chips instead. Mostly because they were all we had in the cupboard and I had a need for brownies. Although we could pretend it was because I was being adventurous.

I've actually made these brownies without any chocolate chips at all before (because I couldn't be bothered to walk to the shops) and they still tasted pretty amazing. So I think it's safe to say this is a recipe that can be adapted for whatever filling you might want. Walnuts? Crushed biscuits? Smarties? Go wild!

  • 275g softened butter
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and grease and line a 30 x 23 cm baking tray. (Careful observers will notice that I did not use a 30 x 23 cm baking tray. I used a smaller but deeper square baking tray because I did not want 24 sensibly sized brownies, I wanted 16 massive brownies. Feel free to choose whichever you would prefer.)
  • Beat the sugar and butter together. Add the other ingredients and beat until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spread it gently into the corners of the tin, and level the top.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes (50-55 if you are making giant brownies like mine) until the brownies have a crusty top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the mixture is browning too much then you can cover it loosely with tin foil for the last 10 minutes.
  • Leave the brownies to cool in the tin before cutting into 24 squares (or 16 for monster brownies) of perfectly gooey-in-the-middle-crunchy-on-the-outside chocolatey goodness.

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Tuesday 19 August 2014

Where did I go?

You might have noticed that I dropped off the radar for a little while there. Well, those of you who have been paying attention will already know that this was because I spent three weeks waking up at 7am and suffering delayed trains, rainy days with very non-waterproof sound equipment, and lots and lots of walking around with cameras, as part of a film making course run by the Prince's Trust.

It was Jess who found out about it but I decided to tag along and I'm really glad I did. We had a really great time (despite all the train delays!) and we learnt a lot about film making. There were twelve of us on the course with four instructors helping out and together we've made a series of short films about Plymouth, exploring the new branding of it as Britain's Ocean City. Some of these short films have been put together to make a longer short film, which we already know will be shown at at least one film festival in the South West, and the shorter individual films are currently being shown on the big screen in Plymouth city centre, in between the regular programming, for the rest of the summer. It's all very exciting.

As well as learning a lot about film making, I also met some lovely people on the course, and got to talk to some incredibly interesting people as part of our interviews for the film. My mum is from Plymouth and I went to uni there and lived there for those three years so I sort of thought I knew it, but I've actually learnt a lot more about the city from doing this project. Maybe the people of Plymouth will learn a little more about their own city too when they see our films on the big screen.

I would probably be okay with never going to the fish market again though if I'm honest.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's the full film (It's only 22 minutes.)

And here are a couple of the shorter films that Jess and I made together (these are less than 2 minutes each.) I just want the record to show that Jess was responsible for naming these two films.

So this is what I spent those three weeks doing with all those lovely people and this is the city I studied in. Let me know what you think!

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Sunday 17 August 2014


(Picture totally stolen from Saruuh's Twitter account but I'm sure she won't mind)

So this post is a little different today. I want to tell you about my friend Saruuh. Saruuh writes two blogs (and updates them far more often than I update this one) and has still found the time to write and self publish multiple novels over the past two years! As someone who genuinely struggles to get literally anything done I find this absolutely amazing and honestly I am just totally in awe of her.

I've mentioned Saruuh's previous books The Forgotten and The Beast of Callaire a few times before on this blog. They're both genuinely great YA novels (and I promise I'm not only saying that because the author sometimes sends me cute presents) and what's even more amazing is that The Forgotten is available totally for free from all major ebook retailers and you can also sign up at her tumblr to receive a free paperback version! 

Saruuh's new book The Wandering, the sequel to The Forgotten, will be out in September and that too will be available as an ebook and paperback totally for free. To fund the printing and shipping costs of the paperback copies Saruuh is currently running a funding campaign until the end of August and I just wanted to help her spread the word about it (she doesn't even know I'm posting this. Oops.)

Saruuh has chosen to give this series of novels away for free because she believes that stories should always be available to people who might not always be able to afford to buy books and I think that's an amazing thing for her to do. It's also her birthday this week and I think it would be absolutely amazing if she could reach her donation target before then. So if you can afford to donate even $1 then please do, or if you can't then please just help spread the word! Either way check out her blog post about it here for more details about the campaign and about all of the different goodies that she is giving away to people who donate!

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Wednesday 13 August 2014

July Book Reviews

It feels like months since I read these books, and even longer since I last posted anything on the blog, but my three week film making course is over now (there'll be more on that in another post) so it's time I got back into the swing of things by talking about the books I read last month!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline was one of the books in my top five that I was most excited about in 2014 and, just like the others I've read from that list, it did not disappoint. Rowell is probably most well known for her YA books, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, both of which were in my ten favourite books of 2013, but Landline sees her return to adult contemporary, this time with a little science fiction twist. I absolutely loved it. Landline is every bit as funny, sad, and romantic as Rowell's other books and the characters are every bit as lively and real as Rowell's characters always are. If I have one tiny complaint it is that there is a certain story line that I think could have been resolved better, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone by going into too much detail. Aside from this one tiny thing Landline was really great and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Rowell's work or to fans of adult contemporary. 4/5 stars

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm is the sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling, which I'm sure you all remember hearing about last summer when it was revealed that J.K. Rowling had released it under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. I don't usually read a lot of crime fiction but, let's be honest, I'll read anything J.K. Rowling writes. Luckily, I really enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling and I enjoyed The Silkworm even more. I'm pretty sure the reason for my preferring The Silkworm rests solely on the fact that Robin, Strike's assistant, gets more of a chance to shine in this book than the last one (although it is also fun that the celebrity world of the first book is here replaced by the publishing world and all the odd characters one might find there) but if you haven't given this series a go yet then I would definitely recommend you pick up the first one and give them a try. 4/5 stars.

I first read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy years and years ago when I was still in school but, even though I loved the first two books, I never finished the series. I've also had a bind up of the first four books in the series for a very long time so I figured it was finally time to finish the series, starting, of course, with a reread of the first two books. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is every bit as hilarious as I remember and, obviously, far superior to the 2005 movie. If you've never read it then why on earth not? It's a must read. 5/5 stars.

The second book in the series, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, however starts off great and stays strong throughout most of the book but lost me a little towards the end. It's still every bit as funny as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy though, especially in the beginning with Arthur nearly scuppering everything with his desire for tea, and I'd definitely recommend reading it if you enjoyed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 4/5 stars.

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