Loaded chocolate chip cookies

I honestly believe in starting off the week right by taking sweet treats to work on a Monday, true story! Mondays are pretty awful and anything you can do to make them better, do it! Ive been doing this for years if not well over a decade now. British colleagues thought it was great and never questioned the motive behind the baked good because well free baked goods. Dutch colleagues, this is a different matter and every week they ask me if its my birthday, as apparently you only bring something to the office if its your birthday. I find this entire concept strange, bringing in your own cakes for your birthday, I dont know, it seems slightly usual and kind of cruel. I think I will soon quit explaining its not my birthday and just say ‘yes’ every week instead.

Whats the difference between a biscuit and a cookie? This is only ever a question asked in the UK and possibly Europe but absolutely never asked in the States. Cookies are soft and slightly fluffy, generally melt in your mouth when you eat them. Biscuits (I refer to the British edible) is a very hard cookie that you are forced to dunk into tea/coffee to make it soft enough to chew without damaging any dental work. Given that my childhood was in the States, I prefer cookies and find British biscuits, well, sad.

I happened across these cookies and kind of feel in love with them, they are fully pimped out chocolate chip cookies that are over loaded everything but the kitchen sink.

Overloaded everything but the kitchen sink chocolate chip cookies

Makes: 25 cookies   Prep time: 15 mins Bake time: 12 mins per batch Total time: 60 mins approx

Required Ingredients:

  • 1.5 (195g) cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) Caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups (265g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 cups (135g) old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cups (60g) toasted coconut
  • 3/4 cup (95g) chopped pecans
  • 1 box (4oz/113g) Reese’s Pieces

Now to make these super delicious cookies

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment/greaseproof paper.

2. In large bowl or kitchen mixer, beat your room temperature butter until soft. Gradually add in the sugars and mix until light and fluffy. (this is me forgetting to take a picture when between putting in the caster sugar and the brown sugar)

 

3. Add in the eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix until fully combined. Technically you should add in the eggs one at a time but Im lazy and think its easier just to chuck them all in.20180415_150537

4. If using a kitchen mixer or electric mixer, switch over to a wooden spoon at this point. Stir in the flour and salt until just combined ( I forgot the cinnamon in the previous step, hence the extra brown colour). You NEVER want to over mix a cookie dough, as this can create hard cookies (or the ultimate insult, it can your your cookie into a biscuit, OH THE HORROR).

5. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut, Reeces Pieces and pecans. Mix until just combined and no more (see note above).

6. I use a medium sized ice cream scoop for cookie portioning, as this allows for each portion to be roughly the same weight and size. Otherwise use two large tablespoons and place cookie dough 3 inches apart on baking sheet. The dough is super wet/sticky, so dont try rolling it between your hands, you’ll just make a mess. I do also flatten the tops slightly with a spoon. As you can see Im rather heavy handed with my scoop and rarely are my cookies ever the same weight/size/shape etc, I like to think they are all unique differently with a homemade look about them.

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7. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. The middles should appear slightly under done. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

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These are the super delicious overloaded everything but the kitchen sink chocolate chip cookies. I have to say Im kind of impressed with myself and these cookies. My colleagues and friends also liked them, so Id say these are a bit of a success.

Notes: I dont use baking powder or baking soda in my cookies, as this makes them too fluffy and more cake like than cookie like. You can also make an adult version of this cookie buy mixing in 1 shot of espresso into the batter, which will enhance the flavour. You can substitute peanut butter chips for the Reece’s Pieces. You can basically throw in anything you like to this recipe, such as dried banana chips, chopped up pretzels, or even mini marshmallows.

Remember to share with friends and enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

8 months in…

… and I’m still not entirely convinced. Every week my mother asks me vaguely the same four questions: Am I settled? Do I miss the UK? Do I consider the Netherlands home? and lastly, am I dating anyone? – for the purpose of this blog and much like every time she asks this question, I’ll avoid giving any response and change the subject.

Am I settled? I think so? I’ve most certainly created a life here, have met great people and created a incredibly varied social circle. I’ve had experiences here that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.  I was quite anti-social in the UK, as I already had the social circle, a routine and I never needed break outside of that. Where as here, its starting from scratch and being more social in the last 6 months than I had been in the last 10 years. I host local social gatherings, dinner parties, coffee and chat, give baking lessons, and everything in between that means I’m now very approachable (I’m not always sure about this) and social. It’s very different for me and some days I do feel like I spend half my day on Whatsapp but its fine and its nice to be needed. I purchased a museum card which gives me access to over 400 museums across the Netherlands and I’m enjoying it, seeing all the culture that the Netherlands has. I guess one of my quirks is that I have 4 boxes in my bedroom that I refuse to unpack, yes, over 8 months in and I still have boxes unpacked. I refuse to unpack them on the basis that once its done, theres no going back and its official that I’m here, making it a done deal. Theres just something monumental about these last four boxes and I refuse to cave in. It probably helps that I don’t need/use anything that’s in the boxes.

Do I miss the UK? No. There are elements of the life that I had in England that I miss but they could easily be replicated anywhere. Honestly I’m surprised that I don’t miss it more, having spent the last 16 years there, I was expecting more attachment to it. For me Brexit changed everything and I now see a country that I dont recognise. It has changed as a whole and not for the better and it’s not a country I want to live in. The irony is that Im in the Netherlands on a British passport and based on current discussions I would have to return to the UK, as my EU residential status would no longer exist. This is something that absolutely concerns me on many levels but worrying about it wont change it (quite the bold statement for me) and its something that totally outside of my control. Provisionally in my head, I’ve decided that if the worst happens and I go back, that I would relocate to Scotland. Plan B sorted.

Do I consider the Netherlands home? No. It’s absolutely where I live, work, socialise and have my life but it absolutely misses the ‘home’ feel factor for me. I will most likely always be a foreigner here, that’s not a problem. It’s a feeling that I’m familiar with and have no matter what country Im in, even the ones that I hold passports for. The Dutch are also not keen on their citizens holding multiple citizenships, if I wanted to eventually apply for Dutch citizenship, I would have to renounce of my other citizenships and thats not something Im ok with or agree to. So for me, the question is can a country be considered home that I could never be a citizen of? Im going to say no. Watch this space, lets see how I feel about this in another 6 to 18 months time.

Whilst I have many complaints in my daily Dutch life, I also know that I’m incredibly privileged within my life and I don’t have to worry about female rights, religion limiting  what individuals are allowed to do, or famine and war. I live in a country that is safe, considered to be incredibly weathly (I wont comment on my 54% tax rate) and where people are happy.

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When the sun is out, its a truly stunning country.

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DIY Lantern Light

I have a slight obsession with lights and lamps but not your traditional kind. I’m quirky in every sense of the word and every aspect of my life. In the last 8 months I’ve taken to making my own lamps, where possible. It helps that Im quite creative and can envision what I want to make. In reality, it’s rarely as straightforward or easy (Pinterest fail) as I thought it would be but this adds to the ‘fun’ of making each item (and to my vocabulary of swear words).

I love fairy lights (or as the American in me says ‘Christmas lights’ because Christmas is awesome any time of year!), so combining the two makes me very happy.  What I don’t like is sad looking lamps/lanterns with about 10 fairy lights, that have no functionality or give off any actual light. Google image search ‘fairy light lanterns’ and you get matches to what I’m referring to. I’ve envision this light for about a year, which means that my expectations were wildly more exciting and fantastic than the lantern could ever turn out to be but it was also awesome to think through the aspects and to see items and how I could use them.

What you’ll need for your light house lamps

  • Wooden lantern with extended centre roof
  • Fairy lights
  • Pipe – the height of the lamp
  • 6 screws
  • Power Drill
  • Drill bit

I found my lamps at Lidls (however, they are widely available at lots of stores), they had 2 versions available and I went for the white version, as my living room is white and the windowsill the lamp is going in is white. Naturally I bought two, because why have one of anything when you can have two and they are going in a massive window. The extended roof is also really important when making this project, as the pipe will sit within it, giving it stability to ensure that it doesn’t fall over.IMG-20171003-WA0000

The first step is taking your pipe and putting your screws in. Use your power drill and drill bit to put holes into the pipe, I made 6 holes on 3 levels, alternating each side. This makes it easier when you are wrapping your fairy lights around the pipe. Measure out the top of the roof and then put the screw below this (naturally I didn’t do this bit and then wondered why my pipe wouldn’t fit in). I think I bought plumbing pipe. I’m a total girl when it comes to DIY shops, I walk around and think of ways of using things without any knowledge or idea of what it’s actually for or how it should properly be used. 20171006_173746

This was take two, after I realised that I hadn’t measured for the metal roof and had to redo the highest screws. It does show the importance of having the raised roof in the middle and how it acts to stabilise the pipe to stop it from falling over. 20171006_174035

Next step is to wrap your fairy lights around the pipe. I believe I used 125 lights on each pipe. The screws at the top help to hold the lights at the top of the pipe and make it easier to fit on the overall length of the pipe. 20171006_174412

Once the pipe is entirely wrapped, place it within your lantern and you’re almost done! Shut the door, plug it in and see the end result. 20171006_174511

This is what it looks like finished, admittedly the left picture was in the day light literally after I had finished it and doesn’t look very exciting at all. Right hand picture was in the evening in the dark and what a difference!

This is both of my lamps in the evening in the window that they were always destined for. I also put light switches on them to make them easier to turn on and off but not necessary to have. I’m pleased that they came out as an actual lantern giving off actual light, it’s the small things in life.20171017_205403

I think overall the project took me less than an hour and that was even with a few mistakes along the way with the overall cost being around €40ish, €20 for the lanterns, €15 for the LED fairy lights and around €5 for the pipe and light switches.

Citrus Shower Steamers

I’m in love with shower steamers, a few weeks ago I posted about Shower Steamers for congestion. They work really well and I even use one in the shower if I’m not congested. I’ve gotten a lot of postive feedback on them and they seem to perfect for winter (and a great party favour!).

I decided to make a alternative that isn’t specific for congestion. Ive decided to go for a blend of citrus, a burst of freshness in the shower. Shower steamers really work based on aromatherapy and citrus is awesome with lots of benefits. Several benefits to citrus essential oils are, they can help to alleviate headaches and fever, are a quick mood enhancer, can relieve fatigue and relieve seasonal allergies. Thus making citrus oils a awesome win! I think these shower steamers are great for people who take showers in the morning, they will give you a boost to start the day off right.

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Citrus Shower Steamers

Makes: Approximately 60 small cubes  Prep time: 10 mins  Making time: 10 mins Setting time: 5-8 hours (best over night)  Total time: 5 hours 20 mins minimum

  • 1 cup Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon menthol crystals that have been dissolved in 2-3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol (not to be left out, these are the MAGIC ingredient that makes these so good)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon essential Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime essential Oil
  • Mica- colour of your choice, I went for light orange (optional)
  • Mini ice cube tray – I bought mine on Wish
  • A seperate small cup disposable cup for your menthol crystals (seriously the crystals will continue to grow and its best to have something you can throw away or purposely dedicate just to THIS project)

For safety purposes you should also have: dust mask and gloves

1. Take your teaspoon of menthol crystals and dissolve them in 2-3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol. They wont just dissolve on their own, you will need to stir them, it will take a few minutes. I tend to give them a bit of a crush before I mix them in the alcohol, I assume I’m making my life easier by doing this. I use a toothpick or straw to stir. As the menthol WILL form crystals on the cup and whatever you are using to stir it with, make sure that you have no commitment to said item and its disposable (as per the right picture, its the same cup I use for this recipe, forming crystals). Menthol crystals are NOT water soluble, so simply crushing them up and adding them to this mixture will not work or give you the desired results.

2. Put on your mask and gloves. In a bowl, combine your citric acid, baking soda and mica (if using), breaking any lumps. I put mine through a sieve to help with lumps. Give it a good mix with your hand, this helps to evenly disperse the colour (wont lie, forgot this step and it did make a difference at the end when mixing).

3. Add in your essential oils and crystal menthol mixture and mix throughly. At this point your mixture is either ready to use or isn’t. If you are able to get it to form in your hand when you squeeze it, you’re on to a winner (far right picture). If it doesn’t hold it form when you squeeze it, then add in the rest of your rubbing alcohol, mix again and it should now hold its form when you squeeze it.

4. Now to put the shower steam mixture in your moulds. Try for the middle of the mould and work your way out. Ensure to press your mixture into each individual mould, you want it to be packed in and solid, I use my thumb to press in the mixture in EACH individual mould.

5. Leave them to dry, honestly I think over night is best. If you’re in a rush or made them in the morning, give them at least 5-6 hours to set. As it is alcohol which was used to combine them, it will evaporate on its own over time.

6. Once dry, turn out and ideally place them in a air tight box/container. Ive got mine in jars in my bathroom. You want to keep them dry from humidity. You can also make gifts with them and put them in clear bags (10 per bag) and jars (25ish per jar), with the following instructions:

TO USE: Place 1-3 steamers on the floor of your shower, where it will get wet but not directly under the water. Let the aromas clear your sinuses/congestion as you breathe in deeply. Store in an airtight container. Humidity will cause them to break down. Use within 1 month for best scent and results. WARNINGS: Not to be used in the bath as a bath bomb or to have direct contact with skin. Keep out of reach of children.

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These are my shower steamers, the white ones are for congestion and the orange are the citrus. Ideally Ill have matching jars but this is what happens when you go to the store for matching jars, get to the till to pay and realise you’ve forgotten your wallet on the sofa.

Notes: These are not bath bombs and should not be treated as such, whilst the ingredients are similar, I wouldn’t recommend or tell anyone to use them in the bath, if you want a bath bomb, make/buy a bath bomb, if you want a shower steamer, then THIS is the recipe for you!

Other shower steamers/melts/fizzy/bomb use water in it, why doesn’t this recipe? This is a conscious choice that I have made NOT to use water. Water, no matter how much, reacts with the citric acid causing it to fizz and puff instantly, adding too much water can RUIN any steamers/melts/fizzy/bomb recipe, which is something that I have done MORE than once.

Remember to save some for yourself and share with friends! 🙂

 

Guacamole – not vampire friendly

Warning: if you are a vampire or allergic to garlic, this recipe is not for you 🙂

Up until about three years ago, I was really not avocado friendly, at all. I saw them as green grenades and to be avoided as though my life depended on it. As you get older your tastes change and I think this is one of the things that Im now ‘ok’ with, although it has been a process. Having been on high protein and fat diet, made avocados on the top of my list for ‘good for you foods’, so I put on my big girls pants and decided to try to eat them more regularly. Its not all been green bliss but I have made some unique things with them, like avocado brownies (being honest, I really didn’t like them).

I came across inspired taste recipe not long ago and thought, ‘wow, this is a great base, how can I make it even better?’. I came up with a few ideas which I will share with you and will elevate your ‘guac’ to a whole new level and make it good for you! This will be your new go to recipe for guac, whether it be for snacks, a side dish or as part of your main meal!

I am a fan of garlic and have even used it for ear aches (add that to the list of things I never thought I’d do in the NLs). Through roasting garlic roast the flavour becomes a bit sweeter and more mild. Garlic contains powerful phytochemicals and nutrients, which  help fight off disease, including potent anti-cancer compounds, immune-strengthening molecules and heart disease-preventing antioxidants.

This this is easy but time consuming, its not a matter of throw it all in a bowl and in less than 5 minutes you have guac. Oh no, this recipe is for those who want a unique flavour sensation guacamole!

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Guacamole 

Makes: enough for 4-6 people   Prep time: 40 mins  Make time: 20 mins per batch  Total time: 1 hour

Required Ingredients:

  • 6 small ripe Haas avocados
  • 1 Plum or Roma tomato, deseeded and diced
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion (red onion also works) – deflamed
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder – medium
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder – hot

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Prep:

Preheat over to 180C (350F). First you need to roast your garlic, this involves cutting off the top of the garlic (approx 1/4 in) so that you see the top of your garlic bulbs. Place the garlic head in the middle of a piece aluminium foil and drizzle over your 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap the foil around the garlic and bake for 40 minutes. Allow your garlic to cool once roasted (around15-20 minutes) before handling, otherwise you are likely to burn yourself. Warning: roasting garlic will fill your house with the delicious smell of garlic.

Whilst your garlic is in the oven, put your minced onion in a bowl of water, this will remove the ‘flame’, ie the heat that you often get raw onions. This can be done for a minimum of 10 mins or the entire time the garlic is in the oven. Sieve out the water once deflamed.

You need to deseed and dice your tomato, this is done by taking out the middle of the tomato, the seeds and ‘watery’ bit of the tomato (left side of picture below) and then dicing it finely.

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Now to make this truly garlicy yummy guac!

1. Cut the avocados in half and remove seed (with a spoon or knife). Score the inside of the avocado with a spoon and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Add in your juices, I risked it and just squeezed them in and then spent 3 minutes telling myself off whilst trying to fish out lemon seeds.

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2. Using a fork or potato masher (I find this easier), roughly mash the avocado. Guacamole should be chunky but this gives you the opportunity to make it as smooth or chunky as you like.

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3. Add in all your spices, diced tomato, deflamed onion, and squeeze in your garlic. I literally take my garlic and squeeze, you’ll see the bulbs coming out, in all their roasted glory.

4. Give it a stir and you’ve now completed your tasty guacamole. I suggest you take a taste at this point and see if it matches your taste buds, does it need more salt, pepper, or chilli? If so, add it in and see how it tastes.

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Serve immediately, I enjoyed it with homemade beef nachos and it was truly tasty. If you are not eating it immediately, plus cling film (plastic wrap) on the surface of the guacamole  to prevent air reaching it and refrigerate until ready to serve. If you do not put the cling film on the surface of the guac, the oxygen in the air causes oxidation which will turn the guacamole brown and lets be honest, no one likes brown guac!

 

Notes: Im really not a fan of hot or spicy food at all, AT ALL, if you want a hotter version of this recipe, feel free to add diced jalapeños (with or without the seeds) or up the powdered chilli/curry element to 1/2-1teaspoon of each. I found this with a bit of sour cream (staple in my life) worked well and wasnt an assault on the tongue.

I am also not a fan of cilantro, pieces of green sticking between my teeth? No thank you. The taste also annoys me, I know its a usual ingredient in guacamole but I leave it out! However, if you are a member of the cilantro fan club, please add in as little or much as you like.

Enjoy this yourself, serve at a dinner party or share with friends! 🙂

DIY: Soothing bath bombs for dry skin

Winter skin is not only a REAL thing, its painful. My skin is somewhere between tree bark, elephant skin, and the dessert. I woke up in the middle of the night with pain on my back from dry skin, where it hurt to just lie in the bed, that was really not pleasant. In addition to all my body butters, which have made things better, I wanted something more (more, more, more!!!). Baths are really not my forte’, they are a good sign that Im dying of flu and sickness. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Ive come up with these bath bombs that are meant to soothe and nourish dry and unhappy skin.

The below information tells you what makes these bath bombs so good for your skin:

  • Baking Soda: antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Citric Acid: can brighten skin, shrink pores, treat mild acne, and correct dark spots and fine lines.
  • Ground oats (colloidal oatmeal): moisturising, restores the skin barrier, reduces itching, and regulates inflammation.
  • Himalayan Pink Salt: full of minerals that makes the overall body happy, detoxifies the skin,  balances your skin pH, and soothes aches and pains.
  • Cornstarch: soothes irritations of the skin, including sunburn and skin allergies.
  • Castor oil: fights skin disorders and infections, reduces itching and swelling on the skin, and moisturises skin.
  • Tea tree essenital oil: relieves many types of skin inflammation, aids healing and protects from infection.
  • Sweet orange essential oil: anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and aphrodisiac (wink).

I wont lie, bath bombs are a labour of love and effort, its not like mixing everything, banging them together and calling it done. Its a series of steps and trial and error until you get the recipe and bath bomb that you are happy with.

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DIY Soothing Bath Bombs for Dry Skin

Makes: 4.5 large bathbombs  Prep time: HOURS  Making time: 20 mins Setting time:8-12 hours (best over night)  Total time: A LOT

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup ground pink Himalayan salt (if you dont grind it down, you’ll find yourself sitting on lumps of salt until they dissolve)
  • 1/2 cup ground oats (do not use quick oats, put them in a coffee grinder to make a fine skin friendly powder)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1/4 c rubbing alcohol
  • 10 vitamin e capsules (that I cut in half and then squeezed into the mixture)
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 15 drops sweet orange essential oil

For the embeds I used 1/4 c baking soda and 1/4c citric acid (you use a 1:1 mix) and combined with rubbing alcohol, it made 10 medium sized embeds. Experienced bath bombers swear by them, insisting that they help the bomb move around your bath and give extra fizz. You dont HAVE to use them but Im kind of bored with mine sinking like the Titanic and thought Id give it a try and see, not like I didn’t have the ingredients. Many people use mica/coloring in their embeds but I prefer my bath bombs to be more natural (and not dye my bath tube or me), so I dont use colourings in my embeds or bath bombs.

Now to make these skin happy bath bombs (dont forget to use gloves and a face mask when making these).

1. Sift your baking soda and citric acid into a bowl. Break any lumps that remain at the bottom of the sifter and throw away any that wont be crushed. Next add in your ground oats, pink Himalayan salt, and cornstarch.

2. Add in your oils, essential oils, and vitamin e. Mix thoroughly with your hands, dispersing the oils throughout the mixture.

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3. Add in your rubbing alcohol, mixing thoroughly. The mixture should now form clumps in your hand when you squeeze it.

4. Now to form your balls. The best bath bombs are those that aren’t over packed, they should be light. Fill each half of the mould, packing the mixture in slightly until it’s overflowing. Fill both sides of your bath bombs, making a hole in the middle of one, insert your embed into the hole and then smoosh them together. Lightly tap the mould and gently pull it apart to remove the bath bomb.

5. I take the tops off my moulds (as above) and allow them to sit over night, which allows them to harden and the alcohol to evaporate. When you are ready to remove your bath bombs from the moulds, tap the mould against a spoon/table to loosen the bath bomb and then slide out.

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Your bath bombs are now finished and ready to be used. I allow mine to sit out a few days to ensure that all the alcohol has evaporated.

 

Notes: Why I dont use water in my bath bombs? I always use alcohol because it doesn’t cause of the ingredients to react. Water is reactive with the citric acid and it will automatically start to ‘blossom’ and too much water will ruin your entire batch. I can be a bit heavy handed to, so using alcohol stops this. As the bath bomb is being dissolved in gallons upon gallons of water, it dilutes any remaining alcohol making it safe to use. Alcohol also gives your bath bombs a hard texture, making them less delicate than those made with water. Because alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, you can use these bath bombs quicker than those made with water.

Colours: You can buy something called Polysorbate 80 which ensures that the colours dont stick to you or your bath tub, awesome. However, Im weird about these things and my own personal luck means that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I personally, dont like the idea of bathing in colour. The idea of a bath is to get clean, not cover myself in glitter or colour (very ungirly of me I know), but this is why I dont use colours or glitter in my bath bombs. I want them to be true treat for your skin.

Moulds: I remembered that years ago I bought some empty Christmas baubles and went through all my Christmas stuff and found them, HORAY! I have found these easier to use than standard metal moulds. If you are removing the bath bomb entirely from the mould to dry, you MUST pad the area, professionals tend to use egg crate foam, as they will dent otherwise, as per the pictures below with my last batch that I made with metal moulds.

Ground Oats: I use a coffee grinder that I use purely for my crafting but as long as you clear is thoroughly, its not a problem. Chuck your oats in the grinder and grind away until you have a very fine powder. Never use ready/instant/quick oats for bath soaks or bath bombs.

Ground pink Himalayan salt: Using your grinder, grind down the salt. This is help it to dissolve more quickly in the water. I found out when I didnt grind down the salt, I was sitting on bits of salt, whilst thinking ‘What is that?!’.

You WILL need to rinse down your bath and yourself after your bath bomb experience. You will find little bits of oat on yourself and all over your bathtub.

Baths should be relaxing and a bit of a personal spa, with these bath bombs, you’re giving your skin a treat, whilst providing a great dose of aromatherapy whilst indulging in ‘me time’!

Create your own spa and share with friends! 🙂

Ageing disgracefully

Birthdays, I’ve always enjoyed celebrating other peoples but never my own. Theres something great about everyone else getting old around you, sadly the same sentiment doesn’t lie within adding another candle to my cake.

A few things about me:

  • I’ve lived a very privileged life (even though I don’t admit it often)
  • I have many many regrets but I believe its through these that I’ve learnt many life lessons
  • I’ve lived in 4 countries, have visited at least 17 countries and have 2 passports
  • I swear, a lot, I have the potty mouth that would make a seasoned sailor blush
  • I’ve had some truly amazing friendships and relationships that failed because of me
  • I’m a crazy cat lady, by choice (ish)
  • The older I get the better I am at apologising and admitting/taking fault
  • I often take life far to seriously and forget to just breathe and relax and there is a good possibility that I don’t smile enough – think Wednesday Adams

This is a big year for me, I’ve turned 35, and to me 35 isn’t just 35. 35 means 40, 40 means 50, 50 means 60 and so on. It’s a young unassuming birthday that has milestones for me.

A few years ago, I realised that if I was going to have children, I wanted to have them before I turned 35. Whilst I appreciate and understand other people have children at all ages, I knew it wasn’t something that I wanted for myself. Over the last two years, I’ve become more conscious of the fact that I won’t be a parent and that my cut off was coming. It hasn’t been difficult for me to accept because I knew it was coming and took the years to come to terms with it but it still feels like a very big moment. My mother, however, is not quite so understanding. We all put pressure on ourselves to be the best versions of ourselves and not to let our parents down. It’s difficult to manage the expectations of your parents, when they don’t match your reality.

35 birthday

My friend recently said to me, ‘darling when we get to this age, we have to accept that men come with baggage’. I grew up where the tradition was to marry at 18 to your high school sweetheart and then procreate. I never wanted that and I clearly managed to avoid it, somewhat. However, she has a point, once people are into their 30s/40s, they tend to have kids from previous relationships or emotional baggage from previous relationships. To be fair, I’m divorced, come with a cat and a very sassy attitude (but apparently I’m funny). I had a stage in my 20s where I needed to be single and to discover myself and not be in a relationship, it really did me the world of good. However, now I’ve been single for so long (more years than I care to admit) that having a relationship frightens me. Im quite stuck in my ways and routine now and having to change that, Christ… Which means that my standards are now super high, if I find a guy that makes me want to change my routine, hes got to be pretty bloody amazing, queue unrealistic expectations. I think my list of requirements gets less with age and is now about, ‘someone who makes me happy’, which sounds incredibly simplistic but is anything but.

Some days I just feel lost, I mean at 35, I really should have my shit together, right?

Life is battles and wars and you learn which ones are worth the fight. Its learning which battles are worth the fight and which ones are just utterly pointless. I’m so glad that I’m out of thinking everything is worth a fight, Im not sure if its laziness or lack of interest but Id rather walk away than fight, there are enough dicks in the world, without needing to be another one.

I don’t have a bucket list but I do know things that I’d really like to do, for me its deciding if I want to do them on my own or if I want to wait and find someone to make the memory with.

Honestly, I hated my 20s, the older I get the more I seem to be able to enjoy life, so I suppose it’s not all doom and gloom, saggyness and wrinkles. I seem to have fallen into a career that I can even occasionally sometimes sound like a true professional, which to me is scary and I even sometimes enjoy it.

I think I will always under value sell myself, I don’t see this as a bad thing. Set expectations low and then everything else is a pleasant surprise. I do know my strengths and I know that I have a lot of them but no one likes a cocky knowitall, even if it is about yourself.

I know I’m being dramatic and really its come and gone (I had a nice day with new friends), I have another 364 days in the year of being 35. I honestly have no idea what 35 will bring me, I’m not so secretly hoping its more mellow than 34. I guess I will continue to wander my path of pretending to be a confident adult until I actually become one. 🙂

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”                 -Harriet Tubman