Gran’s Rock Cakes

Gran’s Rock Cakes

Hey guys.

So on Saturday my beautiful and wonderful Gran passed away.

It’s all very raw still and it’s early days but I feel I need to keep busy and fill my time with small happy moments amongst all of the sadness.

I want to dedicate this post to one of her very favourite recipes The Rock Cake. My earliest memories are (I must have been about five years old) standing in her kitchen licking the spoon covered in rock cake mixture. I remember them being HUGE and can even imagine the smell now! She absolutely loved baking, and made the best cakes. So I feel like it is my job now to bake and preserve her memory.

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Ingredients

8oz Self raising flour
pinch of salt
4oz margarine/butter
3oz raisins or dried fruit
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
A little milk to mix
Demerara sugar to sprinkle

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Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C, grease/line two baking trays.
  2. Mix the flour and salt, rub in margarine,
  3. Stir in raisins/dried fruit.
  4. Stir in sugar.
  5. Mix to a stiff dough with the egg and a little milk.
  6. Roughly place on tray and sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the top of each cake.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes

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If you happen to make some rock cakes, I would love to see your links and photographs so feel free to paste them in the comments. Make some happy memories with your loved ones that you can always look back on.

Enjoy a cake with a lovely cup of tea, and think of all the great times you’ve had and have yet to come.

Love you Granny xx

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Ways to Manage Stress

Ways to Manage Stress

Hello everybody!

Firstly I must apologise for my loooong absence. I am so close to the end of my Postgrad and will soon be an Early Years Teacher! Juggling that and a full time job as well as a bloody long commute has absolutely fried me, and any spare time I have is used to sleep. Amongst the chaos and stress of this time in my life I was hugley privileged to watch one of my best friends marry the love of her life. So congrats to you two Beth and Kev, it was a truly amazing day and night 🙂 Here are a few lovely photos:

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So aside from a few wonderful moments in the last few months I have probably been the most stressed out I have ever been in my life. At times I have felt very overwhelmed and felt like I have been almost at breaking point over the amount of things I am juggling. And then it happened. The panic attack. Now there are people who may read this who have had panic attacks and know what I mean, or they may experience something different, but I’ll explain a little about my experience.

Driving to work I had managed to do the entire hour long journey, and when I was around the corner from work I started to feel dizzy, fuzzy headed. I have been known to faint in the past and it felt a little like that so I tried not to focus on it and sang very loudly to the radio. I managed to pull into the work carpark and run inside the building where I sat in the office. Suddenly my chest felt tight and I could’t get my breath. Panicking, I started to struggle to breathe, and in my head I kept thinking ‘I’m going to die.’ From talking to other people who have suffered from panic attacks, this seems quite common. I ran to get a colleague and shouted for help, all while sobbing uncontrollably. She said afterwards my face went blue, then red, then white as the blood drained from my face. I sat down and started to get my breath back as she talked to me and calmed me down. Then it was over.

I hope I never suffer from a panic attack ever again, but to me it was a much needed reality check that I was putting way too much pressure on myself, and I needed to do something to try and manage the stress I was under.

Rather than talk about my work load, I’ll tell you about some strategies I’ve been working on to help me manage the stressed out, overwhelmed feeling.

1. Get enough sleep.
I try to get between 7-9 hours sleep per night, exhaustion never works for anybody.

2. Exercise.
In my small amounts of spare time I go for walks with my sister in the countryside, as a way to clear my head. I force myself to switch off from work and enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of the beautiful landscape around me.
I also try to do yoga. Don’t take me for a yoga expert, I watch youtube videos, which are amazing. If you’re curious, try Yoga with Adrienne, she is so calming and really knows her stuff.

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3. Drink lots of water
Water detoxes the system, and when you’re stressed, you need a clear mind and body, free of toxins. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times, I like to put a bit of squash in mine, then I drink more!

4. Cut down on caffeine
I am a HUGE tea fan as you all know, and so now I switch to decaf tea when I’m at home. In our house the kettle is always boiled or boiling so I was drinking a lot of caffeine which sends the heart crazy and can cause palpitations!

5. Have a healthy diet
Eat lots of greens, and try to cut out high sugary fatty foods, as well as alcohol. I feel so much better when I’ve had lots of fruit and veg.

6. Do what makes you happy
I like to sing, it doesn’t mean I’m good at it, but a 75 mile commute means I have lots of time to belt out my favourite tunes. Just call me Beyonce 🙂

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7. Meditate
I downloaded an app called Calm, it’s a meditation app and has lots of natural sounds while a lovely lady helps you to relax and find your centre. Give it a go if you’re into that kind of thing!

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If you have any other strategies or ideas to manage stress and keep calm, I would love to hear from you! Just comment below or email me on sophie_deacon@hotmail.co.uk and I will make a compilation post with all of your contributions.

Stay happy,

Love Sophie xxx

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Healthy Flapjacks – Perfect For Lunchboxes

Healthy Flapjacks – Perfect For Lunchboxes

So when I lived in Australia, I used to make these flapjack bars ALL THE TIME. They’re such a good way of piling in fruits and seeds into a yummy bar. The kiddies I used to look after loved them and always wanted more! We’d have so much fun thinking about what ingredients to use and it’s so exciting experimenting with flavours together!

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You can use any array of dried fruits/nuts/seeds, whatever you fancy really, this time I opted for dried apricots, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, so lots of energy to get the brain and body warmed up!

The method is pretty simple, just remember you need to melt the butter, syrup and sugar on a low heat, you don’t want to burn it!

Have fun!

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Ingredients:

200g butter (I used dairy free butter but you can use either)
150g light muscovado sugar
100g golden syrup
350g oats
100-150g chopped dried fruits/nuts/seeds

Method:

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan (you could microwave it if you like, whatever suits!) slowly, stir as it melts.
Once it has all melted and dissolved, take it off the heat.
Pour in the oats and the dried fruits/nuts/seeds and mix well.
Make sure all the oats are covered and the syrup is mixed well throughout all the ingredients.
Press into a lined/greased tin (I used a 12 x 8” tin) and bake for about 25 minutes at 180°C.
Let it cool in the tin for about 10-15 minutes before cutting it into bars.

Some yummy ideas for other fillings:

Coconut and a sprinkling of dark chocolate
Dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks
Almonds and sunflower seeds
Banana chips, crumbled pecans and chopped fudge
Tropical mix – dried pineapple and coconut
Coconut and dried raspberries or cranberries
Glacé cherries and sliced almonds

So have lots of fun making these whether it be with your kiddies or just a treat for yourself or a treat for your lunchbox, and feel free to show me 😀

Love,

Sophie xx

What are you happy for?

What are you happy for?

Hey guys and happy Monday!

I hope you have all had as relaxing an Easter weekend as mine has been; I have barely moved!

So one of my fave bloggers Louise has written a lovely little post as part of her ‘Motivational Monday’ series, which you can find here. Here she lists some of the things that make her happy, so I thought I’d write a little list of my own, and encourage all of you to do the same 🙂

Sometimes it does us good to remind ourselves of the things that make us happy; big or small, and that sometimes, parts of life aren’t bad at all ❤

This Monday I am happy for –

Waking up to sunshine streaming through the window
Green tea
My newfound love for yoga and all the wonderful youtube videos out there
My lovely squishy doggy
Long phone calls with loved ones
Family time
Leggings with cats all over them
Reuniting with my university friends and nothing changes (they’re still crazy and wonderful as ever)
Ideal home magazine
Beautiful notebooks full of ideas and lists
Leave in conditioner
The smell of coconut. YUM.
The blogging community (especially on Twitter the little gems)
The rewarding feeling when you work with children and how magical the journey can be
Chocolate buttons and cup of tea

So let’s all make this Monday a truly happy one, list some of the things that make you happy on this lovely sunny Monday; it will perk you up and make you smile!

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Calling all Early Years Teachers, Childcare Practitioners and Nursery Nurses!

Calling all Early Years Teachers, Childcare Practitioners and Nursery Nurses!

I’ve never really written huge amounts about my job. It means a huge deal to me and I know there are so many of you out there that love working with children as much as I do! I’m an Early Years Teacher and Nursery Manager working in Nottingham and spend a lot of time working with the community, families and wider agencies. I always love going to conferences and training events as well as visiting other settings to build relationships and gain new ideas. Working in partnership is so important to me, and I love collaborating with practitioners.

My thoughts are maybe we could create a community where we can discuss ideas, issues and everything in between, giving advice and organising meetups where we as professionals can share ideas and websites; and meet new practitioners. I’m also thinking about hosting a Twitter discussion once a week where we can have topics to discuss?

We could share useful websites, links and events linked to Children’s education, share training opportunities and collaborate together!

If anybody would be up for that and would know others who might want to be a part of it, then let’s see what we can organise!

Share this post with your fellow Early Years Practitioners, let’s build a strong community.

If you want to be a part of this, comment below or send me an email on sophie_deacon@hotmail.co.uk with your name, job role and something you would like to discuss or share with other practitioners.

My twitter is sophie_d247

My Pinterest is sophietea24

So get in touch, I’m so looking forward to meeting lots of people with the same passion I have 😀

Love,

Sophie xxx

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Mini Haircare Haul!

Mini Haircare Haul!

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Hey guys! I hope you’re all having a relaxed and chocolatey Easter weekend 😀

I thought I’d share with you just a few haircare bits and bobs I got recently, let me know if you’ve tried any or you prefer something else, also if you’ve done a haircare review or haul, send me the link so I can read please 😀

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Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo – Uplifting Volume

Ooh this is a goodun, I (like most girls) am always looking for a good dry shampoo that not only works but smells nice. There are so many more to choose from nowadays and this is one I’ve had a couple of times. It has a citrus like smell, without smelling gross, and I always get whiffs of it throughout the day. It does what I expect it to; makes my hair look clean. Also, unlike some others I have tried; there isn’t huge amounts of white powder to brush out which means if you’re in a rush, this is a good one to consider.

 V05 Ultimate Hold Hairspray

Just because I’m not keen on the heat defence spray does not mean I don’t like any V05 products, because this hairspray is badass. I know a lot of people LOVE the Tresemmé hairspray which I agree is awesome; but I loooove this! Smells amazing, holds the hair for a very long time. I work very long days and it stays all day and for that I adore it. It also gives my hair a nice shine without making it lok greasy which always works for me.

Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Brightening Shampoo

So this product I bought as my hair is looking slightly brassy (perks of platinum highlights) and while I take care of my hair sometimes it needs a bit of a toner to bring out the ashy tones and eliminate the brassy ones. It is bright purple which is a bit scary, and you should only use it a couple of times a week to ensure your hair is protected. I will do a review on this product as I know a lot of bloggers looking for a good toner!

Tresemmé Care and Protect Heat Defence Styling Spray

This is my go to heat defence spray. The first time I used this was when my previous housemate used it and the bathroom smelled glorious. Since then, it has been my loyal friend. Relatively cheap the bottle lasts for ages and only needs a couple of sprays to protect your locks. I did dabble with the V05 version of this but no matter what I try, this one is always my fave. Stick to what suits you!

Boots Coconut and Almond Leave in Conditioner

Ok girls, if you are a sucker for that gorgeous coconut/almond smell; buy this product. I haven’t tried it yet so I will feedback in terms of results. But jeez; the smell is INCREDIBLE. It has that gorgeous beachy scent, takes me on holiday as soon as I smell it. And it is an absolute BARGAIN at under £1.50. Go buy it, go!

Let me know if you have any great haircare products you’ve always used or that you’ve newly discovered!
And also, any blondes out there that have any recommendations for toner shampoo/silver saver I would love to hear from you!

Lots of love,

Sophie xx

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Welcome To My Workspace.

Welcome To My Workspace.

I love my workspace.

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It’s completely personal to me, a bit quirky, full of little interesting artefacts that remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. Depending on my mood, I might sit at my desk and write up an essay for my postgrad degree, or if I’m feeling relaxed, I’ll sit on my bed and think up some blog ideas. Whatever it is I choose to do, I love that my room makes me feel comfortable and creative. It’s home.

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I love light, so my workspace is airy, bright and full of lighter colours such as creams and whites, and you can see there are little pops of colour here and there. I keep my deskspace fairly minimal, like they say; tidy desk, tidy mind. The books I keep on my desk include notebooks (love a notebook, who doesn’t?), my Filofax, and my happy book. I also have a few postcards from various people and places. Looking at them just makes me ooze with nostalgia, and a smile always pops up on my face. For that split second I can look back and reminisce on those happy memories, then focus back on my work.

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As I write about all kinds of stuff, I change up my space according to what I’m writing about. I have a lot of beauty and make up trinkets and treasures in my drawers, but the things I use most I keep out for ease of access. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a magpie, in that small sparkly things really attract my eye and I love to see them on display! One thing I’m definitely working on is how to create a bit more storage for my beauty products, so any suggestions feel free to send them my way! How do you store you makeup?

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I love that my bookshelf is overflowing with different recipe books, children’s books, romantic novels and photo albums. I love to look at things that bring back amazing memories and inspire me to make more. I’m so lucky to have travelled so far in my life so my little tourist books are always on display!

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Another thing in my space is a lot of interior design magazines. I am always dabbling with different ideas and themes to create my dream environment, especially innovative ways to use the tiny amount of space I have. Through my mini interior design journey I came across WeWork who are a coworking  company that specialise in creating shared workspaces. On their site you can see some of their amazing spaces, all designed for people like us bloggers and beyond! They really motivated me to have a think about my space, and how I can make it unique and personal to me, and get my creative juices flowing. Check out their Twitter page here.

Check my Pinterest to see some of the workspace ideas I’ve pinned, and feel free to send me any links to your Pinterest boards in the comments! Follow me on twitter, my name is @sophie_d247

I’d love to see some of your spaces, send me your blog links 😀

Love,

Sophie xx

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