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Where do I find the time?

Ah good question! If I had a shiny golden coin for every time someone asked me ‘Where do you find the time to do X!?’ I would be a very rich bunny.  For those of you who know me well, I most certainly do not have a problem filling my time. I like to discover new places, meet up with friends, stay active, make things, my mind runs at 100mph with ideas of new recipes I can try out. I am constantly in drive mode.

To add a bit of market colour I also have a full time job in financial services. I leave my home between 6:15-6:45 daily and return at 7:30-8pm. I also tutor part time to keep up my language skills and try to get to the gym/workout 5-6 times a week. I always cook and take in my own lunch everyday and don’t live with my parents anymore so have to do all the house chores as well – boo 🙁 And of course other hobbies include blogging, vlogging, baking and cooking!

So where do I find the time? Well, I think the better question should be where do I make the time? I love to use the analogy of juggling. If you want to learn to juggle you may start off with practicing throwing and catching one ball in the air to get the hang of the hand-eye coordination. That is great buuttt you aren’t really going to become a proficient juggler if you never move on to two balls. You then move on to two, get comfortable and want to add a third. This is where things get trickier. You have to focus your concentration of three balls at once and you don’t want to let one fall. During this moment in our lives we feel great, we feel like we have a challenge and it is something that is manageable. We can add more events/hobbies/commitments into our lives at this stage that will stretch us a little, like trying to throw the balls that tiny bit higher or we may even want to add a fourth ball. But, what we don’t want to do is end up adding a fourth, not being able to catch it and then subsequently letting all the other balls drop because our attention was distracted. This is me trying to be all airy fairy and say if you cram too much sh*t into your life you will burn out and then you won’t be able to do diddly squat!

You know you and so you do YOU. 

Everyone is different. I, for example, don’t sleep for as long as other people so I gain a lot of time there. I average about 6 hours per night during the week and perhaps 6 1/2 – 7 hours at the weekend. I don’t feel tired or grumpy, my body can just naturally cope with that amount of sleep. That having been said, I also don’t drink and never go ‘out out’ so I am in bed by 10:30-11pm every night. I also don’t watch muuuuch TV, I like to watch films but I am not one for reality TV (I did just finish Stranger Things though and oh my gosh that was worth it and I miss it already 🙁 ).

I am a firm believer in people being able to achieve anything they want, but really want. If we put our minds to it we can get/have what ever we want. Because we will either find a way or we’ll make our own way there. I know that if I want to get fit and stronger this year I need to make sure (and the key thing – I WANT to make sure) that I find time to do my HIIT sessions or get into the gym. This sometimes means waking up at 5am to get to the gym before I leave the house to go to work or means that I need to wake up at 7:30am on a Sunday to get to the gym and back before I start tutoring. These are all sacrifices I have to make.

There has to be a balance though. I know that at the moment I cannot juggle anymore balls and in fact I really need to consider at the moment the possibility of losing one before I drop them all.

Most importantly you need to think about what it is that is making you happy at this moment of time in your life. Or what isn’t making you happy that you need to change. If you feel a lack of achievement in your life, add in some goals to hit. If you feel exhausted take some time out and chuck away a few balls. If you really feel that you want to do something but ‘can’t find the time’ start prioritising your life. Keep a tracker diary for a week. Make note of how many hours you spend watching TV, or in the Pub or sleeping or cooking or out with friends instead of with your other-half (or vice versa!), find where you need to balance your time. Our lives can be thought of as trying to balance the books, our assets and liabilities need to be balanced. We can’t always give and not get anything back in return. The areas of life that drain us need to be balanced with those that fulfil us. I do feel physically exhausted sometimes at the end of a week but I make sure I have my moments of comfort. At the moment this is quite bizarrely a coronation chickpea sandwich smothered in chutney with a hot cup of tea followed by some dark chocolate! :L I know its weird but I have put the coronation chickpea recipe below in case you are also a weird specimen like me and view this as ‘comfort food’!

Recipe –> 1/2 can chickpeas washed and drained smashed with, 1 tbsp of raisins, 2 tsps of tumeric, 2 tsps of gram masala, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tbsp of coconut yogurt and 2 tbsps of almond milk. Put in between two slices of wholemeal seeded bread smothered in caramelised onion chutney!

So don’t worry no one is perfect. Yes I do a lot, but there is also a lot I don’t do. After all, I am the boring Vegan who doesn’t drink… well I like a mocktail or two 😉



Avo Lovely Day 27x27

Nat x

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Brownie Batter Oats 

Good Afternoon all and happy Sunday/Happy New Years Eve!

Has anyone else got that funny inbetween Christmas and New Year feeling – you don’t really know if you are coming or going, what day of the week it is, and what you want for breakfast! If you saw my Instagram post yesterday you would have seen that I opted for a 2 course extravaganza as I was feeling particularly indecisive 🙂


That’s right for first course I opted for Smashed Avocado on Toast with Marmite! I know it sounds weird but it really is a match made in heaven. To finish off I had banana and peanut butter with agave syrup. You know what the worst part was? I wasn’t even full up after this, I went back for another peanut butter slice :O

Since I started weight training I have definitely noticed my appetite increasing exponentially.

I was feeling super indulgent this morning and had to go for these Protein Brownie Batter Oats for brekkie 😍 I thought I would get in one more blog post and recipe before the New Year so here it is…


  • 80g Rolled Oats
  • 35g Vegan Chocolate Protein powder (I used Tropeaka Boost)
  • 1 Tbsp of Raw Cacao Powder
  • 300ml Of Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  1. Mix all the above and place in the microwave until done, about 2 mins
  2. Top with whatever you like!! I used raspberries, flaked almonds, cacao nibs, agave syrup and crunchy peanut butter!


Carbs: 96g

Fats: 34g

Protein: 38g

Calories: 862

If you haven’t already done so then please subscribe to my You Tube Channel where you can also see this recipe in live action here! Also check out my newly vamped Hopscoff Shop. That’s right, I am now selling Vegan products such as….


If you have any designs you would like to see then please let me know. The Hopscoff design studio consists of me, myself and I :L!!

Have a brownielicious day and Happy New Year to you all!

Nat x

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‘Broaties’ – Breakfast Oat Brownies! 

Long time no see my fellow Hopscoff Friends! 

So let’s just address the elephant in the room (or on the web) first… yes I am well aware that apologies are coming in thick and thin from Hopscoff at the moment :/ But rest assured that blog posts will be flying in from now on! 
Let’s just say that Hopscoff and I have been on a journey of self discovery for a little while. 

If you have been following my Instagram @hopscoff (or my newly launched youtube channel) you would have noticed that there is less icing sugar and Bespoke cakes flying around and now instead you will find more baked protein goods and vegan recipes – why the change!? Well for the last year or so I have been adopting a plant based diet with the definitive decision to cut out all animal products back in June. Yes that means I am, in layman’s terms, Vegan. 

This having been said, no I do not go on activist protests, no I do not try to make you feel uncomfortable if you eat meat and also for the record no I do not eat honey. 

I do largely try to avoid labels as with an increase in ‘Flexitarians’ these days, I believe that everyone should be free to eat what they want when they want without having to conform to a label or feel subject to scrutiny. In additon to a plantbased diet I also try to reduce refined sugars and preservatives where possible, but I do still rustle up the odd fluffy and cesty Vegan lemon loaf that is full of sugar. As I said, I do try where possible! (recipe coming soon!). 

Right now that’s over with, on to quick update number 2. I have a goal for 2018, to get lean! This means building muscle, toning up and following a weight training exercise regime which is completely different to my previous heavy cardio running lifestyle. I am 6 weeks in and am feeling stronger everyday. I am adopting a long-term training plan which I am hoping will give me the results I want in a year’s time 🙂 This has been a huge lifestyle shift for me and has mentally helped me overcome so much in the last few months. 

This is why Hopscoff has undergone a bit of a transformation recently. I am however feeling extremely positive about 2018 and Hopscoff’s new direction. You will shortly see some new Hopscoff products coming to Market soon which I am extremely excited about! Thank you all for your support thus far and in advance for all your continued support! 🙂 

Right enough of the boring explanations, now on to today’s Hopscoff recipe! The Sweet Potato Chocolate Oaty Breakfast ‘Brownie’! I have dubbed it the Broatie Bar 😉 meh it kinda works! These are packed full of fibre, healthy fats, protein and antioxidants – a perfect way to start the day! 

Here is the recipe, feel free to top with whatever takes your fancy! 


  • 500g Sweet Potato
  • 50g vanilla protein powder 
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsps coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsps chia seeds
  • 4 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180/gas mark 4
  2. Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. This will curdle instantly and will give you a ‘buttermilk’. Leave to one side.
  3. Peel and chop sweet potatos into chunks and either stem or boil until soft (about 40mins)
  4. Weigh out all your dry ingredients and place in a food processor.
  5. Once the sweet potatos are super soft drain the water (if you boiled them) and place them in the food processor along with the dry ingredients and ‘buttermilk’.
  6. Mix together until well combined.
  7. Place batter in a lined loaf tin and bake for about 1hour.
  8. Take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly. You can eat this straight away or leave to cool and then place in the fridge to enjoy later on 🙂
  9. I topped mine with raspberries, pecans and a dollop of peanut butter!

    This recipe makes enough for 3 servings. The macros for each serving (without toppings) are as follows: 

    Carbs: 107.2g 

    Fats: 8.6g

    Protein: 25.9g

    Cals: 583

    Have a Beau-TEA-ful day!


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    So how much thought do you put into making your cuppa in the morning?

    I presume for many of you this daily (or hourly!) ritual has become nothing but muscle memory.

    Grab kettle. Fill kettle. Flick switch on kettle. Get mug. Plonk in the teabag. Kettle goes ping. Fill mug with hot water. Grab teaspoon (or aspestose forefinger and thumb). Swirl tea bag around. Dunk a few times. Lift out. Grab milk. Drop milk in. Swirl around one last time. Drink. Smile.
    There are of course variations of the above for those who God forbid throw in sugar. Or for those who put milk in BEFORE the tea :O. But you get the gist.

    For those who have found themselves in this vicious cycle have obviously not discovered the world of loose leaf tea. For those who have been following Hopscoff for a while now will know I am a huge advocate of living loosely 😉

    I know I know, a lot of you may be thinking ‘yes I know that loose leaf tea is a lot better but I just can’t be bothered with the ag*!(*agrevation/effort). If this sounds like you then read on as I introduce you to the world of T2.


    I first discovered this Melbourne brand of tea whilst I was travelling around Australia and I am pleased to say that little over a year ago a store popped up at Bluewater.


    T2 takes loose leaf to whole new TEA-ir! The store is equiped with not only teas galore but also funky equipment to make your daily tea intake as smooth flowing as it can possibly be. I was fortunate enough to be given a master class by the extremely knowledgeable Tea Masters to show me the ropes and get my tea skills up to scratch.

    I was firstly introduced to THE MOST revolutionary piece of tea equipment I think you will ever come across in your life, the loose leaf maker.


    This is essentially a little contraption that allows you to put your loose leaf into the jug-like-teapot, pour your hot water straight into it and then allow to steep. Once the timer is up you place this over your mug and simply push down. The hot tea will filter through. No additional strainer is needed! You can then pop open the jugpot, as I call it, pour out the contents and then rinse out. There is even no need to wash it up thoroughly. I just allow it to soak every so often for an hour or so et voila!

    Now many people think of tea as your classic English Breakfast builders tea. But I will tell you something for nothing, this tea isn’t grown in England, it isn’t only drunk at Breakfast and it isn’t only drunk by builders! 😉 Time to open your eyes to the true world of tea. What about trying a tea that tastes of Bounty? or Ferrero Rocher?  Yup it is possible!

    T2’s ‘Bounty Bar’ Tea


    Next up is the Ice Tea Maker. Thought you could only have tea hot? *Buzzer sound* you would be wrong! There is nothing more refreshing than an ice cold tea to cool you down.

    This Ice Tea Maker is perfect for both steeping and storing. It has a removable filter that allows your tea to do its thing for the required amount of time. You then pop out the filter and pop the tea in the fridge to cool down. Add ice, garnish with some juicy fruits and enjoy! Who needs Love Island when you have paradise awaiting in your own back garden 😉

    Drinking tea is most certainly a mastery. Before being educated by the T2 MasTEAers themselves I had no idea that white tea actually has more antioxidants than any other type of tea and that matcha tea is actually ground tea leaves which is why it is a superfood with some many health benefits.

    I urge you to head on over to T2 and try out some of the teas on offer. In store they have a brewing station and will offer to brew up any tea you would like to try – they will even pop it into a take away cup for you!

    But if you don’t fancy having a drink then why don’t you just go and gorp over the stunning teaware on offer!

    Happy tea drinking all!


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    Officially warmed!

    So with a few weeks of  solid(ish) sunshine behind us we can safely say that summer is in full swing and the weather is officially warming. On the topic of new welcomings, it is about time I mention that Josh and I have moved in to our new happy little home! With our house warming party now taken place we can put the seal of approval on it!

    The last month has brought with it jam packed weekends and long evenings as we invest our time in wallpaper stripping and our money in endless amounts of teatowels, bin liners and those things that you put on the end of a washer-uperer that no one knows the name of! I never thought the day would come that I would get excited about things like orchid mist and a squirty mop that you don’t need a bucket for – revolutionary!

    Today’s post though isn’t just about sharing photos of newly found creeping magnolia covered love, but to also part some wisdom on some of the best desserts to make for a house full of 60 people that are not only scrummy crowd pleasers but also easy and economical to make!

    Unfortunately, this post also comes with a regrettable caveat. I haven’t got many photos to share with you of the desserts as they were eaten up too quickly! That is only a good sign though, right? 😉 Today I leave you with my go-to favourites – Terry’s Chocolate Orange no bake cheesecake and Banoffee Pie.

    Of course, no housewarming would be complete without some Hopscoff speciality made cakes! Hopscoff is now officially taking orders for bespoke celebration cakes. Please email me at for all enquiries or call 07411758729. My website will be revamped soon to include further details but until then please get in touch!



    2017-06-04 09.26.57

    In light of recent events our warmest love goes to those who have been impacted by the recent terror attacks. Stay safe, cherish your loved ones, live each day to the fullest, treat yourself, eat cake! London we stand together <3

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    Terry’s Chocolate Orange no-bake Cheesecake 


    100g butter

    300g crushed digestive biscuits

    300ml double cream

    80g icing sugar

    250g Terry’s Chocolate Orange

    Additional Terry’s Chocolate Orange for decoration


    1. Melt the butter and mix with the crushed digestive biscuits.
    2. Press the mixture into a lined 20cm/8inch push bottom tin making sure that you go up the sides slightly. Leave in the fridge to set for 30mins or so.
    3. Melt the Terry’s Chocolate Orange and leave to cool slightly.
    4. Whilst the chocolate is cooling, using an electrical whisk, whip together the double cream and icing sugar until soft peaks are formed.
    5. Once the chocolate is cool to touch fold into the cream mixture.
    6. Decorate the top how you wish. I often use segments of Terry’s Chocolate Orange and sprinkles and sometimes use leftover chocolate ganache for the border.
    7. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
    8. Push up the bottom of the tin and place onto a serving plate.
    9. Enjoy on its own or with ice cream or cream!

    2017-01-21 00.07.59

    Banoffee Pie


    100g butter

    300g crushed digestive biscuits

    1 tin of Carnation Caramel

    2 large bananas

    400ml double cream

    Grated Chocolate/chocolate sprinkles


    1. Melt the butter and mix with the crushed digestive biscuits.
    2. Press the mixture into a 20cm/8inch push bottom tin making sure that you go up with sides slightly. Leave in the fridge until just before you are about to serve.
    3. Push up the bottom of the tin and place onto a serving plate.
    4. Spread the carnation caramel onto the base leaving a border of biscuit around the edge.
    5. Chop the bananas into slices and lay on top of the caramel.
    6. Whip the double cream until thick and creamy.
    7. Spread over the banana and sprinkle with chocolate.


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    Bitter Sweet

    Lemons are one of those enigmas of the fruity world that send our taste buds into sensory polar extremes. They are renowned for their sour powers, inciting bitter and sharp tastes that make even a new born purse their lips. They ooze zesty and refreshing fragrances that make us think of homemade lemonade on a hot summer’s day or fresh fish and chips by the seaside. Their baked aroma reminds us of home cooked comfort foods ranging from lemon meringue pie to crispy lemon infused roast chicken. The opportunities to cook and bake with lemons are endless, and dare I say it quite overwhelming.


    Hopscoff has an enticing, aromatic, sensational, and irresistible collaboration to announce with JOYCE, an online magazine for curious people who have quite frankly seen enough photos of avocado toast. Today’s post celebrates life’s 5 greatest joys – our senses. Our taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing allow us to experience life to the max and JOYCE and Hopscoff hope to guide you and accompany you along your own sensational journeys.

    JOYCE is a happy space, but it was born from a place of sadness; the ideas forming in hot and hungry nightmares in which I wrestled with an eating disorder and a fear of food. Without sites like Hopscoff, and their unashamed commitment to appetite, indulgence, and a great slice of cake, JOYCE might not have happened. That’s why I’m so excited to be collaborating with Nat, and with Hopscoff, this month (Rachel, founder of JOYCE).

    Today, it is important to acknowledge that not everyone has a sweet tooth, not everyone likes cake, not everyone may even God forbid like tea. But, it doesn’t matter, we are all different and have different taste buds and different preferences. What does matter is that teatime is a time for all of us. That should be enjoyed together.

    Therefore, today Hopscoff leaves you a recipe that hones in on as many of the sensory adventures that our citrus friends give us. This zesty-refreshing-sharp-creamy-comfort cake gives you the perfect excuse to take a trip down memory lane, to bake with or for your loved ones. This recipe is simple and easy to follow and is great for everyone – even baking novices, those with little’uns and for those whose spare time is a luxury rather than a given. Therefore whether your in it to bake it, in it to eat it or in it just to lick the bowl – everyone can get stuck in!

    These days I have fewer nightmares and eat more cake; I lick the crumbs from my fingers and dream of sponge and sugar. Hopscoff and JOYCE suggest you do the same. You might like to start with this lemon cake, and a cup of hot hot tea (Rachel, founder of JOYCE).

    So, take the recipe and make it your own creation. Have no boundaries. Have no fears. Add poppy seeds for added textures, swap the lemon curd for orange curd, throw in some blueberries for additional fruity flavours, swap lemons for limes – whatever you wish!

    …there are only two conditions 1) serve your finished masterpiece with a hot beverage of your choice and 2) never leave a crumb!


    Let us know how your baking experiences turn out by commenting below, sharing your photos on Instagram @hopscoff or by saying hello at  Make sure you don’t miss a post by subscribing below and to JOYCE.

    Happy Baking!



    Lemon Curd Cream Cake



    250g butter

    250g golden caster sugar

    250g self-raising flour

    1tsp baking powder

    4 large eggs

    zest of 3 lemons

    juice of 1 lemon

    1tbsp of milk

    Filling and Icing

    1/2 jar lemon curd

    zest of 3 lemons

    juice of 1 lemon

    250g butter

    500g icing sugar


    1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line 2 8inch/20cm sandwich tins.
    2. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
    3. Add in the eggs one at a time whilst continuing to beat the mixture.
    4. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
    5. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold until well combined.
    6. Add a tbsp of milk and stir the mixture one last time.
    7. Divide the mixture into the two prepared tins and bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
    8. Whilst the cakes are cooling make the icing by beating together the butter, icing sugar, lemon zest and juice until light and fluffy.
    9. Once the cakes have cooled remove them from the tins and place 3-4 heaped tbsps of lemon curd on top of one of the cakes. Spread the curd out evenly.
    10. Then pipe or place the lemon icing on top of the lemon curd.
    11. Place the second cake on top and repeat (I would advise to only put a thin layer of lemon curd on the top cake).
    12. Decorate the top how you wish!
    13. Enjoy with a nice hot cuppa 🙂


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    The DeChox Challenge

    Ever heard of the DeChox Challenge? If you haven’t then you are probably in safe territory and will never have to come across it! If you have, then you probably know where today’s post is going…

    The DeChox challenge is the painstaking process of agreeing to give up chocolate for the whole month of March – that’s right anything that contains cocoa is a no no! Chocolate cake, chocolate biscuits even the chocolate sprinkles on your cappuccino!

    My colleagues and I thought it would be a good idea to accept this seemingly impossible challenge and endeavor to say a BIG fat sugary goodbye to chocolate in order to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (

    Now, many people’s first reaction when they find out about the challenge quite undoubtedly places them within one of two categories: 1) the ‘there is noooo way I could ever do that’ type of people or 2) the ‘why would you want to do that?’ kind of people.

    The first set will either embark on the challenge anyway thinking they won’t be able to have the will power to resist the temptation to eat chocolate and essentially have given up before they even started. Or, alternatively, initially think they won’t be able to and what makes them accept the challenge is the inner curiosity and determination to trial their inner strength.

    The second category of people simply do not care. Either they are just not fussed about chocolate (I know these weirdos do exist in the world- shock horror :O ) or 2) they live everyday to the full and cannot see why they would deprive themselves of something they love and enjoy! Probably a sensible viewpoint to have.

    I, unfortunately, have always been doomed to test and trial myself, I have always tortured myself with the ‘save the best till last‘ mantra and this time is no exception. My theory is that come the day I can eat chocolate again, it will taste so good in that moment that it would have been worth waiting a whole month for it – kind of like Christmas day 🙂 … Yet, isn’t the best thing about Christmas the build up and the festive period as a whole, and not the actual day?

    Before I find myself sliding down the slippery slope into category two, I do think that testing our inner strength, integrity, will power and determination is important, every now and again. OK, so it may not have to be as extreme as giving up chocolate but I do encourage you to think of something that you enjoy and could perhaps do without for a little while. This will force you to not only open your mind to the wider options that are available to you but also increase your notion of gratitude, which is absolutely fundamental.

    During the DeChox challenge I have been taking advantage of the lack of chocolate in the house to find other ingredients to inspire my baking. With spring now officially upon us I have turned to fruity alternatives that are not only a healthier option but are also naturally sweet…to help satisfy those cravings 🙂 If you are after a chocolate free dessert this weekend try my Lemon, Blueberry and Raspberry Meringue cake. Or, if you want something completely refined sugar free and also gluten free try Deliciously Ella’s Orange and Polenta cake.

    Lemon, Blueberry and Raspberry Meringue Cake
    Deliciously Ella’s Orange and Polenta Cake

    So have a go at trying some new today – go on test yourself 🙂

    Let me know how you get on by commenting below or saying hello at 🙂


    Lemon, Blueberry and Raspberry Meringue Cake


    100g butter
    300g Golden Caster Sugar
    5 eggs
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste
    2 tbsp milk
    150g self-raising flour
    juice and zest of 1 lemon1 punnet of blueberries
    50g flaked almonds
    300ml whipping cream
    1 punnet of fresh raspberries
    Icing sugar, for dusting
    1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and  line 2 x 8″ cake tins
    2. Beat the butter and 100g of the sugar together in a bowl until pale and creamy
    3. Add in the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 egg, vanilla and milk and mix until well combined
    4. Sift over the flour and add the punnet of blueberries and gently fold in
    5. Divide equally between the prepared tins
    6. Place the cakes in the oven for 10 minutes
    7. In the meantime, whisk 4 egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks
    8. Gradually beat in the remaining 200g sugar to make a glossy meringue
    9. Remove the cakes from the oven and gently spread the meringue over the sponge mixture. Bake for approx 10-15 minutes until the meringue has turned golden
    10. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins and in the meantime whisk the cream to form soft peaks
    11. Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the tins. Place the cream over one of the cakes, top with raspberries and place the second cake on top
    12. Scatter over the flaked almonds and dust with icing sugar
    13. Enjoy with a hot cuppa!

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    Go Bananas!

    So today’s post takes me back to my Australian East Coast travels and more specifically to Coff’s Harbour, aka the Big Banana. Heading to this part of the coast only really means one thing – surf camp.

    I had only been surfing once before this – in Devon on New Years day. Let’s just say it wasn’t a truly positive experience. I am not sure what was worse, the panic attack of hitting the ice cold water or being hit in the head with the board on numerous occasions!

    Therefore, rocking up at a SURF camp was not my idea of fun! That having been said,  I did really enjoy my time there and I even managed to stand up on the board 🙂

    Now being the true Girl Guide trooper that I am, no camp would be complete with out a fire and no fire would be complete without marshmallows and digestive biscuits to make makeshift smores and no makeshift smores would be complete without tea! Unfortunately, Aussie marshmallows are not nice at all so thank goodness we had some Yorkshire tea to save the day!

    Now, although Aussie marshmallows don’t quite cut it, Banana Bread is a big hit Down Under and what better place to grab a slice than from the Big Banana city itself!? Famously called so for the Big Banana amusement park that is based there. I didn’t actually get a chance to go but I am sure it would have been a whole bunch of fun ;).

    I am a hugeee banana fan and it therefore came as a pleasant surprise that banana bread is extremely big in Oz and is served in most cafés. It is standard practice out there to have a big chunky slab for breakfast – a custom that I could most certainly get used to!


    Have you ever tried it toasted!? It is amazing! Just quite literally grab a piece of banana bread/cake (does anyone actually known the difference between the two!?) and put it in a toastie machine or under the grill! I had never heard of this concept before and it was really delicious.

    I reckon banana bread toasties could be the next craze – The banoastie? Okay so the branding needs a bit of work but the concept is golden right? 😉


    Banana cake is one of my favourite types of cakes (following ever so closely behind my all time favourites – carrot cake and lemon cake!). I have a ‘go-to’ recipe which never fails and to jazz it up, from time to time, I throw in some chocolate chips. Or when I’m feeling adventurous I whip up some Oreo buttercream and make a banana and Oreo sandwich cake.

    Now, throughout my experiments with a more wholesome lifestyle I have also developed a gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free alternative to my classic favourite. Admittedly, it is less fluffy, buttery and sweet than my original recipe BUT it is not compromised on flavour and is perfect for breakfast or a post-workout fueling.


    You can choose to mix it up however you wish. I actually found it quite hard to pin down an exact recipe as I change it every time. I am a huge pecan fan so lately I have been putting pecans in. But, you can throw in just about anything – raw cocoa nibs for a chocolatey taste, flaxseeds for added omega-3, adjust the amount of maple syrup for more or less sweetness, any nuts or additional fruit would also go perfectly.

    This banana bread recipe is also gorgeous toasted – drizzle with maple syrup and add pecans for a real treat! 🙂

    Have a bonkers day, make a banoastie!


    Traditional Banana Cake 


    8 oz Plain Flour

    6 oz Golden Caster Sugar

    4 oz Butter

    1 tsp Baking Powder

    1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

    1 Egg

    3 Mashed Bananas

    A little milk (if needed!)

    Chocolate chips (optional)


    1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
    2. Cream together the butter and sugar
    3. Add in the egg and mix until well combined
    4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix until well combined
    5. Pour in a little milk if you wish and then stir in the mashed bananas
    6. Throw in some chocolate chips for a chocolate banana cake.
    7. Pour into a loaf tin and bake for at least 45 minutes. Depending on the tin this cake could take up to an hour to cook so keep checking after this time.
    8. For an oreo banana cake line an 8inch cake tin with Oreos, pour the mixture over and bake. To make the Oreo buttercream, cream together 125g of butter and 250g of icing sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste. Then stir in half a pack of crushed Oreos.


    Wholesome Banana Cake 


    4 mashed bananas

    4 eggs

    140g of almond butter

    4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

    75g of coconut flour

    1 tsp of cinnamon

    1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda

    1 tsp of baking powder

    2 tbsp of flaxseed meal

    1 tbsp of maple syrup

    1 1/2 tbsp of raw cocoa nibs

    2 tbsp chopped pecans


    1. Grease one loaf pan with coconut oil and preheat the oven to gas mark 3
    2. Combine the mashed bananas, eggs, coconut oil, almond butter and maple syrup until well mixed
    3. Add the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and flaxseed meal and stir until all is mixed.
    4. Stir in the raw cocoa nibs (if you would like a chocoately taste!) and pecans (if you wish!)
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    Back to Basics

    At the prime old of age of 22 it did come as a shock to find out that my cholesterol levels are booming off the richter scale. When I smugly strolled into my health check-up, with two marathons behind me and what I would class as a good general level of fitness, I wasn’t expecting to be told to change my diet and cut back on the amount of sugary processed foods that I eat. Now, I would like to think of myself as a healthy person. I exercise regularly, I don’t drink alcohol or fizzy drinks, I love my salads and greens and generally try to be ‘good’ when it comes to food choices. BUT…I have three downfalls: CAKE, CHOCOLATE and BISCUITS. I LOVE them… in any combination! My problem is (or was) that I would replace meals with mega slabs of cake and yes my other meals would be ‘healthy’ but my whole daily intake of nutrients and vitamins was miniscule. So, I decided to drastically change my lifestyle (I don’t do things by half!) in order to clean up my insides.

    I have always been intrigued by the different diets that people follow and quite frankly there is so much contradictory information out there that it is hard to decipher whats right. One minute eggs are bad, next salt is all over the news – Atkins, cabbage soup, 5-2 and many other fads flock the papers. Yet, everything in moderation is surely the best option!? The only problem with me is that I don’t know how to moderate and I really needed a lifestyle change.

    So I came across the Paleo lifestyle. Paleo? What’s Paleo? The Paleo diet is often dubbed the ‘caveman’ diet since it brings things back to basics. Modern day diets are full of processed sugary foods rich in trans fats which are the root causes of many chronic diseases. The Paleo diet encourages you to avoid all processed foods and focus on consuming more protein, minerals, vitamins and healthy fats. So what is and isn’t allowed then? The Paleo diet is gluten, dairy, grain and refined sugar free. In more understandable terms this means (prepare for the freakout) no cake, biscuits, bread, pasta, rice, oats, potatoes, milk, yogurt, butter and just anything processed. So what is OK to eat? All fruits, vegetables, lean meats (grass fed), seafood, nuts and healthy fats.

    So, I know what you are thinking how on earth was I going to manage this!? Well, believe it or not, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it was going to be and there are so many alternatives out there that are also very delicious. But, how does this affect my baking? Well, it actually forces me (as if I need an excuse!?) to bake more, since I can’t just buy goodies since everything shop-bought is pumped with gluten, dairy and refined added sugar.

    So what have I been eating? Breakfast was a big challenge since toast, porridge, and cereal are all out the question. Paleo banana bread has been my saviour, packed with bananas, healthy fats, nuts and omega 3 it will keep you pumped with energy throughout the morning. You can even throw in some raw cocoa nibs for a bit of a chocolatey taste. Pancakes have also been on the menu, topped with maple syrup and pecans for an extra sweet flavour.

    Smoothies have also been a big winner – blend up bananas, almond milk, flax seeds and a bit of maple syrup for a sweet morning winner.

    For a leaner breakfast eggs, eggs and more eggs are your way forward – poached with spinach and grilled tomatoes is scrummy (and yes you can have bacon as well if you like yippee!). A few weeks ago Josh and I went to the Good Life Eatery in London, notorious for gluten free and dairy free options and they did a lovely vegetable frittata.

    Lunches and dinners are by far the easiest meals, pick your meat or fish and choose your complementary vegetables or salad and BOOM bob’s your uncle:

    On the snack side I have made all sorts: sweet potato brownies, pecan pie squares, mince pies, chocolate shortbread… all gluten, dairy, grain and refined sugar free!

    Now there have of course been times when it hasn’t been easy to follow and at the end of the day life is there to be enjoyed. I have had great fun experimenting with different recipes and food groups and I will continue to do so. This is a lifestyle I would like to adopt long term BUT there are always going to be times when you need that buttery slab of cake, that creamy bowl of ice cream, that crumbly morning pastry and that big bar of chocolate by the fire:


    So give some paleo recipes a go… Make healthy choices, drink tea and eat cake!


    Happy paleo prepping!


    P.s. all my paleo recipes are to come but for now I will leave you with Sweet Potato Brownies, an adapted Deliciously Ella recipe:


    For the brownies…

    500g of sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)

    16 dates

    6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

    200g of ground almonds (or almond flour)

    2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

    6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

    For the icing:

    2 tablespoons of coconut oil

    2 tablespoons of almond butter

    1 tablespoon of maple syrup

    2 tablespoons of cacao powder


    1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan), peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into chunks and boil them for about twenty minutes, until they become really soft.
    2. Once they are perfectly soft strain out the water and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates.
    3. Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.
    4. Place into a lined baking dish and cook for about fifty minutes, until you can pierce the brownie with a fork and bring it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes.
    5. While the brownies are cooking make the icing by simply melting all the ingredients together and stirring well, then place in the freezer for 15 minutes and then the fridge for 15 to firm up a bit.
    6. Remove the brownies from the tray and leave to cool completely before icing otherwise your icing will melt! Spread the icing on top, cut into squares, dig in and enjoy!
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    Baking from the heart…

    So as the weeks go by the blogging is getting sparser and sparser 🙁 Early mornings and late nights have left me with very little time to type away. But for those keeping up to date with my Instagram posts and stories (@hopscoff) you will have noticed that my weeks have still been filled with baking, drinking tea and eating cake – hoorah! I have so many tea rooms to tell you about, new cake flavours to try, new recipe combinations I’m working on and of course I still have to reveal all my travel tips from Australia – there has been a lot of scoffing recently and not much hopping! But stay tuned and get the cuppas at the ready as from now the posts will come pouring in 🙂

    For the next few posts I want to focus on some of my recent cakes I have been baking and I suppose the thought process behind them. I have definitely come to realise that my passion is baking. I don’t have an inkling of a doubt about it. Why not? Because it is starting to take over my life! To fulfil my obsession I have recently had to bake late in the evening after a day’s work or early in the morning at the weekend before meeting for family affairs.


    Standing by my KitchenAid with my eyes half shut my Mum normally squeals ‘What are you baking NOW!?’ ‘Do you HAVE to bake!?’ My answer? In a calm and collective manner is ‘I don’t have to, I want to’. I am always looking for an excuse to bake and family occasions and birthdays are the perfect opportunity.

    The Oreo or caramel chocolate drip cake is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and is a go-to cake for any gathering. But, there are sometimes special occasions that require a bit more thought and care into the flavour selection.

    A few weeks ago was my Nouna’s (Godmother’s) four year memorial. To mark the occasion we traditionally go to the Greek church service, visit the cemetery and then back to my Aunty Donna’s for a souvla (BBQ). I of course wanted to bake for the occasion but this definitely was not a drip cake affair. My cake had to mean more than your bog standard pudding fix. But I found myself struggling for inspiration. I spent days doodling in my notebook, scribbling memories and stories that I could try to pull through in a cake.


    One of my fondest memories is drinking my very first cup of coffee, that she made me. My Nouna was a fond coffee drinker and I must have been about 6 when she handed me a coffee in a diddly kiddies cup. ‘I have made it without sugar. With sugar it tastes like caramel and you will be hooked on it forever!’ Till this day I have never had sugar in my coffee. Yet she did! I thought about baking a Coffee Caramel cake. But for some reason after recipe drafting and sketch making this didn’t seem good enough. I could picture her taking one bite and not liking it so I decided to go back to basics – what was her favourite cake? …Carrot Cake! So Carrot Cake I baked…


    But… this cake kept me up all night. It was an extremely warm weekend and I had nightmares about the cream cheese frosting melting away from the sides by the time it got to pudding time. I mean get a grip! Who has nightmares about cakes?! So, I was up at 6am the next morning baking again.

    My Nouna was quite a no nonsense get straight to the point kind of woman and she was never afraid to tell you what she thought. She also had the biggest heart known to man and would do anything for anyone.


    I therefore thought that a Jammy Dodger Cake would sum her up perfectly. The bottom layer made of shortbread giving the cake that crunchy bite, representing her fiery personality. Topped with a layer of vanilla buttercream and fresh strawberries resembling her summer fresh glow that she always had in her perfectly structured cheekbones and voluptuous lips. Topped with a layer of vanilla sponge sandwiched in between a layer of jam for her cheeky jammy side, for when she got away with her loose tongue. Finished with another layer of shortbread with a big heart for the love that will never fade. Overall making four layers – one for every year since she passed away.


    So that weekend a lot of icing sugar, butter and flour was flung around the kitchen, but I got there in the end. Sometimes baking from the heart can be a long process, other times quite blissfully spontaneous! But, be warned, if you dare to breathe the expression ‘It’s just a cake’ you will probably end up with butter up your nostrils. Cakes can and do mean a lot more than what first meets the eye…


    Happy heartfelt baking all,


    Carrot Cake

    Recipe adapted from Jaime Oliver


    For the cake

    50g light soft brown sugar

    3 large eggs

    350ml sunflower oil

    350g plain flour

    2tsp baking powder

    1tsp bicarbonate of soda

    3tsp ground cinnamon

    2tsp ground ginger

    2tsp vanilla essence

    350g peeled and grated carrots

    90g finely chopped walnuts

    For the icing

    350g icing sugar

    50g soft butter

    2tsp vanilla bean paste

    150g cold cream cheese

    Walnut halves to decorate


    1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Prepare 3 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins and lining with baking paper.
    2. Place the sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl and beat together. Sift over the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger then fold in until well mixed. Fold in the carrots and walnuts (you can optionally add in raisins as well if you wish)
    3. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins. Bake for 30-35mins or until golden. Leave to cool.
    4. For the cream cheese icing sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the soft butter and vanilla essence. Whisk until well combined. Add the cream cheese and briefly beat together again until well mixed in.
    5. When the cakes are cold, pipe the icing between the three cakes. Stack the cakes one on top of the other. Top with the walnut halves and store in a cool place.
    6. Enjoy with a cuppa!



    Jammy Dodger Cake 

    Adapted from the BBC


    For the shortbread 

    400g slightly salted butter softened

    200g golden caster sugar

    2 tsp vanilla extract

    600g plain flour

    For the cake 

    140g slightly salted butter

    140g golden caster sugar

    3 medium eggs

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    140g self-raising flour

    For the buttercream

    140g slightly salted butter

    300g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

    1 tbsp vanilla extract

    1 Punnet of strawberries, washed and halved

    1 jar of seedless strawberry jam


    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. To make the shortbread, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add the flour and stir until the mixture starts to form a dough. Use your hands to bring it together and shape into a ball. Cut off approx 100g of the dough, wrap in cling film and chill. Weigh the remaining dough and divide into 2 equal pieces.
    2. Using your hands press one  two equal pieces of shortbread mixture into the base of a 8in/20cm loose-bottomed tin Smooth the surface with the back of the spoon to create an even layer, then chill for 15 mins.
    3. Remove the tins from the fridge and prick the bases of the shortbread all over with a fork, place on a baking tray and bake for roughly 25 mins or until lightly golden and firm. Remove from the oven and, while the shortbread is still hot, cut a heart into the centre of one of the tins. Leave to cool in the tins.
    4. For the cake,  line a 20cm/8in cake tin. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then fold in the flour. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 20-25 mins until lightly golden. Leave to cool.
    5. Meanwhile, roll out the 100g piece of reserved shortbread dough on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a heart shape cutter cut out mini hearts onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and chill for 15 mins. While the cake is cooling, bake the hearts 5-10 mins until lightly golden. Leave to cool.
    6. To make the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft and pale. Sift over half the icing sugar and beat until combined. Sift over the remaining icing sugar, add the vanilla extract, then beat until smooth and creamy.
    7. To start assembling the shortcake place the shortbread biscuit without the heart cut-out on a plate or cake stand. Spread a thin layer of jam over the shortbread followed by a layer of buttercream. Place the strawberries on top and then spread some more buttercream over them to lock them in place. Lay the cake on top of the buttercream, then spoon the jam on top of the cake and carefully spread out over the surface.
    8. Remove the heart from the second shortbread biscuit and set aside. Slide the shortbread on top of the jam layer and sprinkle sugar allover the biscuit. Fill in the heart with more jam. Place the little hearts around the edge, fixing them with buttercream.
    9. Enjoy with a cuppa!
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    Do you know the Muffin Man?

    …The Muffin Man? Who lives on Dury Lane? …so for those who commute up to London you will probably never meet the Muffin Man. Why? Because you can’t face the thought of travelling to the busy capital at the weekend when you don’t have to! Yes, I have to admit it is quite soul destroying to board that South Eastern service when it’s not a weekday. The carridges are packed with kids and non-commuters who are clueless about train etiquette. To top it off, you aren’t being paid to do it. But, I love it!! Why!? Because my trips to London at the weekend mean I get to actually see beyond the highly airconditioned enclosures that stand in Canary Wharf. They also include some sort of combination of tea, cake, friends and chats – ideal!

    Last weekend the London Caffeine Crawl began and I’m going to make it my personal aim to visit a new coffee shop or tearoom in London every week! The #LondonCaffeineCrawl kicked off at the London Grind. The London Grind is now renowned in the capital as serving the best coffee so Mum and I went to check it out. I have to say I wasn’t veryyyy impressed with the coffee. It was extremely yummy but I think it had been hyped up so much that I was literally expecting melted gold in a cup. I think that a bit of latte and cappuccino art action would have impressed me a bit more.

    On a different note, I loved the food!!! We arrived at about 11:40 and didn’t get seated till just gone midday so do expect a bit of a wait if you don’t book. They also stop serving the breakfast options past noon so if you want this yummy health plate, smoothie bowls, granola bowls or porridge then get there for mid morning. If you want a typical full English brunch or smashed avotoast and eggs you are all good to have a lazy morning and have brunch at your leisure 🙂

    When you are commuting or even living and working in London full time it is worth taking time out to go and enjoy what the city has to offer! For those who find themselves a bit low on energy first thing in the morning why not try out some hearty breakfast muffins you can grab and munch on to give you a boost to your day.

    My new favourite berry is the blueberry and I have had a bit of experimenting going on over the last few weeks. Blueberry and lime, blueberry and lemon, blueberry and white chocolate, blueberry and coconut all go so well together as flavour combinations and there are many other pairings I would like to try out.

    I am going to share with you two of my recipes so far, the weekend blueberry and white chocolate fluffy muffin and the commuter coconut and blueberry booster muffin.

    The Blueberry and White Chocolate Weekender


    375g self-raising flour

    110g caster sugar

    3 eggs

    180ml vegetable oil

    140g natural yogurt

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    50g oats

    200g fresh blueberries

    150g white chocolate chips


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4.
    2. Mix together the flour, sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt and vanilla in a bowl or mixer.
    3. Gently fold in the oats, blueberries and chocolate chips.
    4. Divide the mixture into a muffin tray lined with cases. With this mixture you can make 6 extra large muffins or 12 smaller ones.
    5. Top the muffins with a sprinkle of oats and sugar and place into the oven for 25-30mins or until golden brown.
    6. Take out of the oven, leave to cool and enjoy them fresh with a cuppa!




    The Blueberry and Coconut Commuter 


    375g self-raising flour

    110g caster sugar

    3 eggs

    180ml coconut oil

    140g natural yogurt

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    80g oats

    30g desiccated coconut

    200g fresh blueberries

    20160821_174526.jpgSo the method is exactly the same as above! The difference between the two are that these muffins are a bit ‘healthier’ packed with more oats. The use of the coconut oil will change the consistency of the muffins. They will be less fluffy but a bit heartier – perfect for that weekday grab-and-go commute!

    Have a berry-tastic day!


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    No plan survives contact with the enemy…

    Nothing ever really goes to plan, right? Well, thats what German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke also thought when he quite bluntly put it that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Translated into simpler terms for us lesser beings, everything we try hard to plan quite generally always goes to pot! This is something I learnt during my 48 hours at Sandhurst, oh yes the initial officer training grounds for the British Army. What was I doing there? Learning all about teamwork and leadership as part of my induction week for my new job. So what has the British Army and Banking got to do with Travel, Tea and Cake? Good question! And I think I will have to get back to you with an answer in about 5 years time…

    Since being back from Australia my plan was to have plenty of time to blog loads and tell you all about my travels. The reality turned into quite the opposite and within four weeks I have only managed to churn out two posts. So what have I been up to? Well, the more suitable question would be what haven’t I been up to! Well in a nutshell…

    Week 1: Salisbury, Bath and Oxford

    Less than 24hours after I landed back into England from Australia I made my way down to Salisbury to visit my Argentinian family who were staying there for a few weeks. Within one week I hopped over to Southampton, Bath and Oxford. Spending time in Salisbury involved eating a lot of Cinnamon Swirls, my all time fav, and that spurred me on to try out my own recipe once I was back in Kent!

    Week 2: The Emma Bridgewater Factory, family, friends and tearoom visits

    The highlight of my second week back in the UK was of course a trip to the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke with the bestie Miriam! We made a complete day of it, mug painting, factory touring and of course tea drinking and cake eating!

    The week also consisted of many family BBQs and birthdays, more baking and oh yeah playing netball! So I have now joined a netball team after 10 years of not having played! My first game involved a lot of fouls and footwork mistakes – whoooppsss! 😀

    I of course managed to squeeze in a few tearoom visits. Josh and I went to The Tiny Teapot in Biddenden which lived up to all expectations and was indeed tiny! I then found myself BACK to Oxford to say farewell to my dear friend Florrie who has now moved to Mexico 🙁 We went to the recently opened Barefoot Cafe which was fab!

    Week 3: an intense Cake Decorating Course in Greenwich

    So what is the done thing to do before you start a two year graduate scheme with a bank? Go on an intense 7 day course in cake decorating and techniques – of course! 😉 All jokes aside, this is something that I had been thinking about doing for a long time and I am *so* glad I did. It really allowed me to be uber creative and fuelled my passion for cake making. Now I am very eager to take it to that next level. So if you are after a celebration cake or cupcakes, give me a call! 😀

    Week 4: started my full time job in Landaaannn

    My first week at work has consisted of a variety of different activities the biggest surprise being a trip to Sandhurst training camp! I am now left with a few scratches on my elbows and knees from the assault courses but the 48 hours there were fab! My average wakeup time over the last week has been 5:45am, but I think/hope that things will be a bit less intense this week…

    …I have been squeezing in teas and sleeps when I can…

    (would you believe that today was the first day in one month that I was able to wake up without an alarm which is quite insane!)

    … and the odd bit of baking!

    I think it will always baffle me how I am able to cram so much random stuff into my life in such a short space of time. The amount I have done in one month kinda scares me and makes me think what I could do in a year… If I had a bit of money 😉 The reality is that I now have to work! But who knows what I will be doing in a few years time… The key is, there is no point planning that out. All plans change. Yet, I do know one thing is for sure, I will always need an element of tea, travel and cake in my life!! 😀

    Have an unplanned and spontaneous day!


    All recipes (cinnamon swirls, cupcakes, caramel drip cake, blueberry muffins) will go up shortly!! …When I get a moment :D!