Tuesday, March 21

How To Make Your Perfect Bucket List


What is a Bucket List?

To me, a bucket list is something everyone should have. It is either a physical or virtual list of things a person wants to do before they die. Or according to google:
Bucket List Ideas
Bucket List Ideas

I wrote my first Bucket List when I was about 15. Perhaps I was a bit young to be thinking about death. Or perhaps it was about time I started thinking  about things I wanted to do in life. It was after I watched that brilliant movie "The Bucket List" starring Morgan Freeman that I went mad with ideas, putting things down like "wear a different colour on each nail for a day" and "become a famous singer". They were far off fantasies that weren't really things I wanted. I mean, I can't even sing.

At 18, I revised my list and added it as a page in my blog [picture on the right, not sure if it's very readable]. It was much more me, containing things like see the Elephants in Africa and get a tattoo. Except a lot of these things aren't really that important to me. If I were to wake up dead tomorrow (or be reincarnated as a butterfly) would I regret not doing these things? Am I desperate to achieve all these things?


So here I am, at 20, making another bucket list. This time with utmost dedication and concentration.  Wish me luck!

 Why Should You Have A Bucket List?

The main reason you should have a bucket list is because you want to. If you have no interest in trying new things, then what's the point? I think it's important for some people to make a bucket list as it gives more purpose to your life. You have goals that can motivate and inspire you to achieve. Bucket lists help the imagination and can spark curiosity. You'd be surprised what you learn and maybe what new talents you find. It's also important to actually do things on your bucket list. Don't just leave these dreams on paper, make them happen.


How To Write A Bucket List

Bucket List IdeasIf you're stuck, the best way to kickstart the process is using Pinterest or WeHeartIt. There are so many ideas on those sites. Make a board and use that as your bucket list. But don't limit yourself to just pinterest. You can think of anything! Choose things that YOU want to do.

Remember, it's not a wish list. It's a list of dreams that you intend to do. These are things you will set out to do and most definitely want to  do. Anyone can write down "See the Eiffel Tower". I'm not saying it shouldn't be on your bucket list but if it is then be sure that it's not just filling up space.

The best way to start the actual list is with pen and paper. Write them all down. One per line. It's  your first draft. Then when you have them finalised you can write them on a big A3 paper and nicely decorate it. Perhaps hang it on the wall in a frame, that way you're less likely to forget about it.

And remember: Do Your Bucket List!


A few things from my Bucket List:

- Learn to drive
- Get a Facial Piercing
- Get a Tattoo
- Visit the Harry Potter Studios(London)
- Travel to every country in the world
- Write a Book
- Become a Vegetarian
- Take part in a protest/march for something I believe in
- Get a PhD

Even though I am starting a new bucket list, I'm keeping things I've already crossed off. These are important accomplishments to me. At 17 I got a nose piercing. At 19 I passed my driving test. At 20 I got my first tattoo ( that was only a couple of weeks ago, it hurt .... a lot). So I'm not finished my bucket list but I am certainly getting through it!

What is on your Bucket List?

Always, M 

Sunday, March 12

Female Role Models


Last Wednesday was International Women's day. Women, Men and Children marched on the streets all over the world. It was a day where many women striked in protest to the economic inequality, prejudice and insecurity faced by women in the workplace. In Ireland there was also a focus on striking to repeal the 8th ( if you want to know more about that total injustice to women I already wrote a post on that HERE). While I myself wasn't able to take part in the march because I'm fortunate enough to have a right to education but unfortunate to have an exam and team project deadline that same day. But I felt very proud to see the turn out of people in support of these basic human rights. Now that International Women's Day is gone, I think it is important to remember that the inequality that was here a week ago hasn't disappeared with one march. We must still  protest inequality and support human rights for men AND women!

There are many people out there who inspire me to do better. I guess you could call them role models. I know there are a lot of pros and cons to having role models and I myself agree with both sides of the argument. These role models that I have aren't people I worship like a God but they are just people who I admire and do things that I agree with. When I hear a speech from Emma Watson campaigning for equality I am reminded of the social injustice in the world and she inspires me to do more, to be grateful for what I have and to want a change in the world. Likewise when I see a post on instagram from Sarah Tyrell about body shaming and loving who you are, I feel more comfortable in my own skin and it makes me stop and think about judging people for how the look and what they wear. These women are people I want in my world. I think if everyone was a bit more like them then it would be a happier place.

Emma Watson


Emma has been a role model of mine ever since I was 7 and started watching Harry Potter. Even though it was Hermione who I was looking up to back then, Emma isn't all that different from her character.

She shows me you can be whoever and whatever you want to be. She shows me that being smart is a good thing and to never dumb yourself down for anyone. She fights for equality and gives hugely inspiring speeches. She accepts not being perfect and doesn't follow the crowd. She is strong and fierce.

She is someone I greatly admire.

"It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals"




Louise O'Neill


Louise O'Neill is the author of Only Ever Yours and Asking For It. I first heard of her when she came to one of those festivals in Cork, it was probably the world book one. So I picked up a copy of Asking For It and was absolutely blown away by the book. I had never read a more relevant or horrible story. It sparked a rage within me to take more notice, to stand up for what I believe in, to fight against this rape culture. Because no one is EVER asking for it.

While her book had such an impact on me, I took an interest in Louise herself by following her on twitter and instagram and reading her articles in the paper. While I find her writings inspiring, it is the trolling comments on her pieces that ignite my anger at civilisation. How can people be so bloody ignorant? But none of this hate stops her and she continues to fight for justice and equality.
I'm very much looking forward to her new book.


Scarlett Curtis

The first time I heard of Scarlett Curtis was during English Class in 2012. My teacher Ms. Foley was talking about blogs and specifically Scarlett's blog Teen Granny. She suggested blogging as a way to improve essay writing and practise for the Leaving Cert exams. I wasn't a great English Student, much preferring maths and art, so I decided I better look into it for the sake of my future.

Surprisingly I was enthralled with Scarlett's blog because of my love for baking, knitting and crafting. Now it's 5 years on and I'm still blogging! So Scarlett is one of my role models because she inspired me to pursue something I love. She made baking, reading and knitting seem cool when at a time I was easily persuaded by peers and social media. Today she is still an inspiration as a blogger, activist, feminist, writer and girl. I follow her on twitter and instagram where she promotes equality, fashion and basically all things pink.

Just a couple  of weeks ago I tweeted a blog post as I sometimes do when I'm being organised. Not long after, Scarlett actually replied and followed me on twitter!! *dances around room* I was absolutely  thrilled. It means so much when one of your role models acknowledges your existence.

Sarah Tyrell

It was only a couple of weeks ago when I accidentally stumbled across Sarah Tyrell's instagram. I think Sarah is a hugely inspiring woman and so so brave.

For a girl whose struggled with body image and confidence all of my life, I felt very compelled by Sarah's blog. She posts pictures of herself on instagram and shows others that we shouldn't be ashamed of our own bodies because of how we look. Most people don't have that "perfect body" that is thrown in our faces by photoshopped magazines and advertising.

In her blog she talks about positivity and overcoming the pressure put on us by peers, social media and even ourselves. I think her message is so important and every person should hear what she has to say. It comes from her own experience so she knows exactly what she is talking about it. I wish I was as brave as her.

"One thing I've learned is that beauty isn't really visual. It's not something we can see. It's not something that can be bought, or applied, or created using products. It's also not really something we can strive for either. It's something that's already there, hidden, hurried deep down inside of each of us under a pile of bullshit expectations, rules, false beliefs, and fear. It's in there, desperately struggling to get out. And the thing is, even when you understand this and make the choice to let it out, you can't simply reach in and drag it out, through all of the clutter that's piled up and around it. It's not that easy"

*Disclaimer: none of these pictures are mine. If you are unhappy with me using them and want me to remove them then contact me and I will do so.

What is your opinion of Role Models? Who do you look up to?
Always, M






SaveSave

Wednesday, March 1

Red Velvet Heart Cake


I know what you're thinking. Yes, it is March. And yes, I know that Valentine's was in February.But even though this cake is a Valentine's themed cake, it is still cake! And it is ALWAYS time for cake.

I actually made this and had a little photoshoot a year ago. But I didn't post it because 14th February had come and gone so instead decided to wait till 2017. And then I also missed that deadline.... What can I say? I am a terribly unorganised person.


Anyhoo, this cake is a three tiered red-velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting. The recipe belongs to the brilliant cake artist ( that's right, there's a profession called a cake artist, I think I've found my true calling in life)  Peggy Porschen.

Ingredients:


Red velvet sponge: 
105g butter
275g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of extra-red food colour
250g buttermilk
2 medium-sized eggs
235g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
2 pinches of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1⁄4 tsp white wine vinegar

Vanilla frosting:
250g full-fat cream cheese, softened slightly
250g unsalted butter, softened
625g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Decoration: 
Red velvet cake crumbs


Method

1. Make this one day ahead of when needed. Start by preheating the oven to 170°C.
2. Line three 15cm sandwich tins with oil spray and greaseproof paper. Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and, using the paddle, beat at medium-high speed until fluffy.
3. Mix the red food colour with the buttermilk, checking for lumps.
4. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl or jug and, with the mixer set at medium speed, slowly pour into the butter mixture. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour to bring it back together.
5. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together and, once the butter, sugar and eggs are combined, add to the mixer with the coloured buttermilk and beat at low speed until just incorporated.
6. Whisk together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and quickly add to the cake batter.
7. Using a rubber spatula, fold through the batter to make sure everything is well combined.
8. Transfer the batter to the lined tins and gently spread it towards the edges with a step palette knife.
9. Bake for 20–25 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it springs back to the touch and the sides are coming away from the edges of the tin. You could also insert a clean knife into the middle of the sponge; if it is cooked, the knife will come out clean.
10. Once the sponges are baked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. When the sponges are just warm, run a knife all the way round the sides of the tins, transfer to a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely. Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and leave them to rest overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed and the sponges firm up to the ideal texture for trimming and layering.


11. Make a cream-cheese frosting then flavour with the vanilla extract. Chill for at least two hours, or until set.
12. Trim the sponges (reserving the trimmings for decoration) and sandwich the layers together using the vanilla frosting. Mask the top and sides of the cake using the remaining vanilla frosting.

Red-Velvet is one of my favourite cakes. It is so delicious! What are your favourite types of cake?

Happy Baking!
Always, M