Food, Recipes

Coconut + Cranberry Cookies

It’s been aaaaages since I last shared any of my recipes with you, so I thought it’s about time I do just that. Last night I baked some cookies and just on the off chance that they may turn out delicious, I did my best to document the process. It wasn’t without a few bumps along the road though. The recipe that I used as a base to change to suit my taste had all the measurements in cups, but I’ve never been very good at following said measurements, so I wanted to convert it to grams. Which I did. With some ingredients… And completely forgot to weigh the others. Sooooo yeah. I did manage to get all the measurements in grams by the end, and even though it was quite a lot of hassle, I’d say it was worth it. I have a recipe! Woohooo!

Coconut + Cranberry Cookies

  • 100g of coconut oil (it should be soft, but ideally not quite liquid)
  • 100g of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g of flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100-150g of coconut flakes (depending on how coconutty you want it)
  • 50g of dried cranberries

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Step 1 – Mix the soft coconut oil and sugar together. It shouldn’t take any real effort to be honest. It should feel like they’re long lost lovers who have just been reunited, know that they belong together and then they merge to form a blob. Hmm, I need to work on this particular story I think. In any case, in a perfect world the ‘blob’ should be nice and smooth but as I’m not always the brightest of bakers, my sugar had quite a few lumps in it and I couldn’t really get to all of them so I decided to just go with it. It worked out in the end so I wouldn’t worry too much about lumps.

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Step 2 – Add the egg and vanilla and just keep on mixing. You can see my mixture still has quite a few sugar lumps here but hey, there are worse things in the world so once again I just let it go (although I did manage to crush a few more of them at this stage – as they were more visible, it was a bit easier).

Step 3 – Add the flour and baking powder and just keep mixing, just keep mixing, mixing, mixing. Also, you’re ‘supposed to’ add the flour gradually, but I just went for it and added all of it in one go. Now, there’s one occasion where I’d advise against adding it all at once, and that’s if you want your cookies to be chewier. If you add the flour gradually you can stop if it looks too dry for your liking. If you’re a bit of a devil-may-care baker like me, then at this stage it may start to feel a bit too dry, but it’s not. It’ll all work out in the end, I promise.

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Step 4 – Add the coconut and cranberries. You probably already know what else to do at this stage without me having to repeat it. To be on the safe side though – just keep mixing, mixing, mixing. It’ll look and feel drier still, but it’s fine. You’ll soon find out how it’s going to work out and what kind of sorcery it is.

Step 4.1 – Chill the mixture for about 30 minutes. Also, turn your oven on. I had mine at gas mark 5/375°f/191°C, but if your oven is not an uncooperative maniac, you could probably get away with it being at gas mark 4/350°f/177°C, to make sure they don’t over bake.

Step 5 – That’s where the magic happens. As the coconut oil in the dough is now chilled and quite solid, the dough will be pretty hard. However, as the melting point for coconut oil is super low, once you’ve spooned out a seemingly crumbly and dry piece of dough, just place it on your hand and quickly press it together to form a flat ball shaped dough blob. The heat from your hands will melt the oil on the surface of the ball and help it stick together. To not let all the hard work of chilling the dough go to waste though, try to make the actual human contact with them as brief as possible and if you do need more time to form the balls, you can just pop them back in the fridge for a bit.

Step 5.1 – Pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. This step actually makes me quite frustrated. My oven is really old and I never know what temperature it actually is in different parts of the oven, so my first lot were in for 20 minutes, but second lot only for 15 minutes. So I think with a normal oven it should take around 10-15 minutes to bake them enough that they’re still a bit soft and chewy. It will also depend on how flat you make them. The thinner they are the quicker they bake.

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Step 6 – Enjoy your freshly baked coconut and cranberry cookies!

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Quick steps:

  1. Combine coconut oil and sugar
  2. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add flour and baking powder (gradually if looking for chewier result)
  4. Add coconut and cranberries
  5. Chill dough for 30 minutes
  6. Preheat oven to gas mark 4/350°f/177°C (or equivalent, if you have a pain in the neck oven that’s never the right temperature)
  7. Form flat balls from the dough
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes

That was my last night’s impromptu baking extravaganza. My SO said he thinks they’re the best cookies I’ve ever baked. I mean, he says it almost every time I bake/cook something, but I do believe him still. I think I just get better with practice, like we all do. Right? Right?! Well, that’s what I choose to believe anyway.

They’re all gone now by the way. To the last crumb. Omnomnom.

G.

 

Beauty, Reviews, Unboxing

Looking Fantastic, May!

Oh. My. Goodness. That’s what I thought when I was going through my May Lookfantastic beauty box. I must admit, I have grown a bit bored with the beauty boxes recently as it seems to be pretty much the same things over and over again but here is a box that I absolutely adore.

I didn’t write about it before as my sister who lives abroad also subscribed to it recently (yes, you can still order it even if you don’t live in the UK!) and as her boxes take a lot longer to reach her, I didn’t want to spoil anything for her. But we’re nearing the end of the month again now so I can’t really keep it in any longer. Here goes!

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Scrub Love, Coconut Cranberry Body Scrub. You may remember, I recently got a body scrub (a different variation) from this company in another box and I wasn’t too keen on the smell. So I braced myself before taking the first whiff, but when I smelled it… I think it’s the best smelling body scrub ever. Well, at least it’s on the same level with my all time favourite scrubs that I’m not going to mention here, because I really don’t want anything to grab any attention away from this little beauty. I’ll 100% be buying this again. It leaves my skin as soft as I could ever dream it and the smell… it’s like unicorn breath mixed with fairy dust. So I guess it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. Love it!

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System Professional, Luxe Oil. As if this box wasn’t already amazing enough, it also contained a small bottle of hair oil from one of my all time favourite hair product companies. I already have a big bottle of hair oil that I love so much from them and I was so excited to try this one out. It’s as amazing as I could’ve hoped. Love it, love it, love it. Once again it smells amazing and leaves my hair gorgeous.

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Glov, Hydro Demaquillage. I’m really dumb for not opening this package before taking the pictures, but I had no idea what would be waiting for me inside so I thought I’ll just take a picture of the sealed package and then open it later. Well, I forgot and by the time I remembered it was too late. Basically it’s the cutest and fluffiest little finger mitt. Is that a thing? I don’t know how else to describe it. You plop it on your finger and poof you have a cleansing tool. It’s great! And so adorable! I must take a picture at some point. Anyway, I love it.

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Real Chemistry, Luminous 3-Minute Peel. Again – gorgeous smell. Again – leaving my skin oh so soft. I see a theme here. Everything smells so great and leaves me so soft and glowing. It’s like they really thought about what they’re going to put in this box. Who knew?! (Well, their boxes are usually pretty spot on actually so there may have been some clues.)

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H2O, Gradual Tan Mist. I only tried this out not too long ago so I don’t know about the gradual tan yet, but I like how it smells (what a surprise!) and it doesn’t leave me sticky. I’ll see how it does with the tanning part of it and report back to you.

Update: Sooooooo yeah, it does tan. Pretty well, actually. In fact, I may have gone a little overboard haha! Surprisingly it does look natural still. I look like I’ve spent a week in the sun, got a little sunburned, got over the sunburn, fought my battles with peeling skin (which I won) and emerged beautifully tanned. But instead of all the effort described, I just sprayed my face with a tan mist. Awesome!

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Mellow, Baked Eyeshadow in Peach. Love it. It applies beautifully and looks ever so summery. Beautiful.

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Nuface, Prep-N-Glow. I haven’t actually tried this yet, but it’s a textured cleansing cloth that is supposed to cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate. It’s individually packaged so is travel friendly. It’s got dual-sided texture – smooth cotton lace to remove makeup and polishing micro-dots to exfoliate for brighter skin. Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate for radiant-looking skin and it’s enriched with antioxidants to help guard against environmental stressors. This was all the information I could get from the packaging but it’s quite a lot! I shall hope it will deliver.

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Overall, one of my most favourite boxes in a while. Loved every product (and not just liked, but loved) and am excited to see what they’ve got in store next month!

G.

Books, Reviews

April Books

Hmmm… I see a bit of a theme going on in my recent months books. I seem to be reading a lot of books from the same author. I wonder why? Maybe because I absolutely love what he does? That could be it, you know. In fact, I bet that’s what it is – he’s just THAT good! Yes, ladies and gents, it’s another month full of Brandon Sanderson. Wooohoooo! Ok, I’ll stop fan-girling and get to the books now. Oh, I almost forgot to say that I read 3 books, bringing my this year’s total to 13/30.

The first book I read in April was The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson. It was the last book in the trilogy and had me in complete tears in the end. My thoughts at the time were: ‘Absolutely brilliant. I don’t even have words… still bawling like a baby as I write this. It was just amazingly good. 100/10 stars. The ending… it’s just… I’ll go be incoherent somewhere else now.’ I was soooooo sad for it to end and the ending itself was very emotional as well. Just amazing. Oh, in case I wasn’t too clear – I loved it and would definitely recommend it to other fantasy/magic fans.

To shake things up a little I read The Choice by Nicholas Sparks next. It was in many ways predictable and unbelievable and in some ways surprising in a good way. Overall it was a nice change in between all the fantasy that I feel like I’ve been reading lately.

After reading that, I felt like it was time for a bit more of (what seems to be) my author of the year however, so I picked up The Alloy of Law (Mistborn – Alloy Era #1) by Brandon Sanderson. I must admit I wasn’t too keen on it to begin with, as it was slightly more modern than his previous books that I’ve read, but I got used to the new characters and the changes that had happened in the world and in the end I loved it. (Surprise, surprise…).

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This concludes my April books. I’ll try to mix it up a little in the coming months, but with the amount of books the man has published, I see myself reading at least one of his books almost every month for a while going forward to be honest.

Anyway, I’m actually quite behind with my May books so I best go get cracking! Or you know, sleep instead as I’ve just noticed the time. Where have the hours since I got home from work gone?!

G.

My life

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That just sounds like some swamp creature haha. Blogblogblog.

Recently I’ve been struggling again quite a bit with all kinds of different things. I guess you could say I’ve had one of those setbacks that I’ve written about previously. Some things in my life have changed and it’s had a bigger impact on my health and well being than I’d have liked. Instead of talking about the changes, I’d like to write a little about the impact and what’s next.

You may remember that a little while ago I wrote about how amazing it feels to be better again. In my joy I forgot that it’s not like a cold that goes and you can get back your life the way it ‘should’ be. Or maybe I just hoped? Hmm, anyway, now that’s shattered, it’s time to deal with things again.

I’m getting a bit tired of always having to ‘deal with things’ to be honest. I’d love to just plod along without having to worry about actively monitoring and working on my thoughts and feelings. Now that’d be a hoot!

Ok, I was starting to get a bitter there, I’ll leave it at that and get on with it. The impact of those earlier mentioned changes is that I’m having a lot more difficult time coping with everyday things again. I had a panic attack (I hadn’t had one in a long time now), I’m struggling to sleep and my thoughts keep wanting to take over. To sum it up – not good!

If I hadn’t had that few weeks/months of feeling well again, I might have thought that I’m back where I started and given up all hope. However as it stands, I did have those weeks/months of feeling well again, so I know it’s not all lost and those feelings are still there somewhere. I know for a fact that it can and will get better.

I think that’s a good starting point. Now I just need to convince my brain and body of it as well. That’s going to be somewhat difficult but I hope I’ll manage. I mean, the alternative is pretty grim so in a way I feel like it can only go up from here on.

I realise it’s a bit rambly-brambly, but I haven’t really felt like writing recently, so I thought I may as well write about what’s on my mind at the moment.

Here, have a picture of my wild strawberries. If they can flourish in that field of weeds that is my back garden, then I’m sure my happy/realistic thoughts will find their way through the bad ones in my head too 🙂

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G.

Books, My life

P.S. I Love you

When my SO (Significant Otter) and I had just started dating, we used to watch a lot of films together every time we visited each other. This one time when we were staying at my place, I felt like watching a romantic film (as you do when you’re in a romantic place in your life). My SO suggested we watch P.S. I Love you. I hadn’t seen it before and I didn’t know anything about this film, so I happily agreed.

Sooooooo I can’t remember the exact moment, but from what I remember it was about 10 minutes into the film when something sad happened and I started to cry. I was doing my absolute best to not let my SO – then someone whom I’d just started to date – see what an absolute crybaby I am. I couldn’t stop blubbering however and my cushion that I was leaning on got absolutely soaking wet. And I mean soaking. I was probably severely dehydrated by the end of the film. Now when I see it on TV, already the starting credit things get me going. Just can’t hold it back. I’d have thought I’d develop some sort of immunity to it maybe but nooope. Not yet in any case. Maybe next time.

Anyway, long story short I decided to read the book now. So you can guess what I was doing 5 pages in. Yup – crying my eyes out. Very glad I didn’t start reading it on my lunch at work like I originally planned. I don’t know why I even had such a plan. Silly girl!

Yes, I wanted to tell you about something that never fails to make me cry. Go ahead and try to use it against me. I dare you! Ok, I don’t. Please don’t remind me of it in socially awkward situations. I’m already a liability amongst humans, no reason to make it worse.

Great film though. Hoping the book will be good as well. Didn’t get past 12 pages last night before I got a headache due to high amounts of water leaking from my eyes.

I’ll go keep reading it now.

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G.

My life

Wedding Planning 101

I’ve been engaged to be married since July last year and ever since then I’ve been planning our wedding. Well, I started off with planning the planning and only began to actually plan in about December. I thought that should give me enough time to plan everything completely stress free and chill mode.

The last thing I wanted was to go into Bridezilla Zone and go bat poop crazy. So far so good (except for a few minor meltdowns which culminated in me sobbing my eyes out and crying ‘I want a wedding plaaannnnneeeeer to do this for meeee!’). Then I thought, well, seeing as I’m doing SUCH a great job, I’ll share my initial thoughts on wedding planning. There’s some advice from personal experience there but generally just how I’ve dealt (or avoided dealing) with things.

1. Who’s going to sort everything for your wedding? You may think you want a wedding planner, but if you REALLY think about it – how much more fun is it to boss everyone around* and just assign jobs to everyone you know? Like, super fun! (*Disclaimer: ‘Bossing around’ to be conducted in a careful manner and is to be adapted to suit different personality types and is dependant on the closeness [both physical and emotional] of both parties. Too much ‘bossing around’ may result in physical/emotional injuries in one/both parties.)

2. Wedding dress. This is probably the most important part. I mean, they’re soooo pretty and that’s the one time when you’re allowed to try them on and not feel like a bit of a weirdo! I tried on over 30 dresses before finding The One. I went to quite a few shops with various family members, and my advice from this is: don’t bring too many people with you and don’t be afraid to not buy straight away. You may feel under pressure with people saying ‘it’ll take months to prepare the order’, ‘time is ticking’ and ‘what’s wrong with this one?’, but don’t give in to outside pressure until you’re 100% happy. Usually the staff are super nice, helpful and don’t put you under any pressure to make a purchase. They’re really on your side and want you to be happy with your choice.

Also, if everyone’s saying how gorgeous you look, but you just don’t feel it, then don’t be afraid to keep looking. The last thing you want is to not feel comfortable on your wedding day. The dress out there. (And the truth as well, obviously.)

And hey, if you are in a hurry, then outlets are great for off the peg dresses. They’re usually cheaper, the dresses are available straight away* and you get to feel good for adopting a dress that already exists. You know, some of those dresses never find good homes and don’t get to fulfil their destinies 😦 (*Disclaimer: If you do buy a dress off the peg and ‘as is’, please ask about the possibility of alterations if they’re necessary and check carefully for any rips/holes/stains that you might otherwise miss if you get caught up in the moment, as they can often be difficult to repair/clean)

3. This is starting to get a bit long winded so I might need to narrow this down or make another post. Hmmm… Ok, let’s continue with the venue. My sister found our venue (see 1st point about ‘Bossing people around’) and we booked it before even seeing it in person. You probably shouldn’t do that. However as we’re getting married abroad, it wasn’t possible for us to go see it straight away and we needed to make a decision. So there you go. (We did actually visit it last week and couldn’t be happier – it’s even better than we could’ve hoped for.) 

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4. Guest list. As you can see, my wedding planning list isn’t in any particular order. You should probably know the approximate number of guests before choosing a venue. And it’d probably also help to have a venue in mind before getting your dress – a cathedral length train on a gown (that’s the kind of term you’ll possibly know by the time you’re done with the dress shopping) wouldn’t do well on a beach for example. But hey, I’ve never been one to follow any orders usually perceived as logical by others – I’ll just go with it and let the future me deal with it (Oooooh, future me REALLY hates the current/past me by the way).

Back to the guest list – invite the people YOU want there. At the end of the day, would you be happier knowing that you’re celebrating the day with the people you love and care about or would you rather prefer there’s a bunch of people you haven’t talked to in a decade or two that you invited just to be nice and who came for free food? Sometimes it’s nice to reconnect with people you have lost touch with, especially on such a happy occasion, but it’s just something to think about. Food for thought! Mmmm, food. Cake. Wedding cake. Omnomnom. How did I end up here? (…I ask myself regularly)

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5. I’ll make this my last one for now. Budget. Soooo, how amazing would it be to set a budget you can afford and then put a certain amount aside every month so you could afford to pay for everything without having a massive debt to pay off once the day is over? I mean, that’d be pretty neat. So neat in fact that it is what we aim for. How crazy is that?! It’s like we’re doing our very best to try to be the responsible adults we pretend to be on several days a week (usually when there’s work involved. Or Important Grownup Things, like getting groceries). For me it helps to think that after all, it’s one day and even though it’s one of the most special days of my life, I think it’ll be the people who are there with me that will make it special. The decorations and music and everything else will just be the cherry on top. Mmmm, cherry on top of a cake. Cake. Wedding cake. Omnomnomnom.


These are my random wedding thoughts. I might organise them a bit better and possibly even make a follow up post one day (perhaps after the big day), where I’ll tell you what actually worked and what didn’t. At the moment I think I’m on track to get everything ready in time, but I might be singing a different song in a few weeks when I realise that I’ve forgotten to do something Super Important and I’ll go full Bridezilla mode. Eeeshk, very scary thought. Let’s hope we won’t see that side of me. Also, even though the pictures may seem random, they’re really not, I promise. They’ll all make sense soon 😉

Right, I’ve got some invitations to make now. Toodle pip!

G.

 

Beauty, Reviews, Unboxing

May Glossy be your day!

Uhmmm… yeah, that was a bit lame. I’d apologise but it’s my blog so hahaaa! Aaaaanyway. Let’s get to it. This’ll be a short overview of what I received in my May Glossybox and what I think of (most of) the items.

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Ruby, Powder Blush in Coral, RRP €14.99. I liked it a lot. I recently realised I had quite a few blushes, but only one powder blush and I don’t really know how to use the cream ones so this is a great addition to my makeup bag. http://shopruby.ie/

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Lavera Naturkosmetik, Hand and Cuticle Cream, RRP £4.95 for full size. Good little hand cream. Doesn’t really smell too strongly, but what little scent it’s got is pleasant. Doesn’t leave my hands greasy either which is good. I also like the test size of 20ml. Means I won’t get bored of it before I use it up. Oh, and it’s vegan. https://www.pravera.co.uk/

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Dr. Pawpaw, Dr. Pawpaw Original Balm, RRP £6.95. I haven’t opened it yet so I don’t know if it’s as good as it claims to be. But it can apparently be used almost everywhere on your body (on lips, skin, hair). I’m not sure where else you’d want to use a cream, so I think this covers pretty much everything. It’s also vegan-friendly. https://www.drpawpaw.com/

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Scrub Love, Active Charcoal Body Scrub, RRP £13.95 for full size. Well, it is an excellent scrub – it’s very bitty and you can really feel it working. However, the smell of it isn’t for me. I couldn’t smell it much once it was on my skin, but when I first took a sniff as I opened the bag, I almost didn’t want to use it at all. Like I said, when I got over the scent it was very good, leaving my skin sooooo soft. It’s also 100% natural and vegan/vegetarian-friendly. https://www.drpawpaw.com/

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ModelLauncher, Brow Duo Pencil, RRP £10.50. Well, for starters it didn’t look totally horrendous on me which is great. Even though the colour isn’t quite what I’d usually go with, it didn’t look unnatural. Not sure how it managed it, but go me! It’s also quite easy to apply. Will keep using it, I think. https://modellaunchercosmetics.com/

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Overall another good box from Glossybox. Thank you! 🙂

G.