2014 Reflections

At the start of 2014 I wrote this post. I wrote about how 2014 was going to be a huge year for me, yet at the time I didn't really appreciate how huge it would be.

I wrote about graduating university, running the London Marathon and having the opportunity to work at Disney again, although at the time I didn't realise how amazing all of these experiences would be. Not only did I graduate university, I graduated with a first class honours degree, gained an award from the university and achieved one of the highest percentages in the year for one of our modules. 
I didn't run the marathon in the time I was hoping for bloody knees but it was above and beyond everything I could have ever expected. Then my experience of Disney was much better than I could have imagined, not to mention the Trek America adventure which followed.

My 2014 resolutions were:

1. Always do my best.
2. Be more decisive.
3. Drink more water.
4. Focus on now, not the future.

I can't say I've excelled at these, but I've done pretty well! I think I can safely say I did my best during final year, which I what I was referring to when writing that. It was worth the tears and sleepless nights. However, I definitely still need to work on being more decisive. I still say "I don't mind" far too often, normally as I honestly don't mind in that situation, but I appreciate that must be infuriating for whoever I'm saying it to at times. I'll keep working on this. Same goes for drinking water. I did really well with this around the marathon and in Florida, but not so well the rest of the year. There's only so much time a girl can spend sat on the loo, right? I've also done quite well on the focus on now aspect. I've been focusing on what is good for me now, still thinking of how it'll work out in the future, but mainly trying to focus on now. 

Overall, 2014 has been amazing and I was right to say I had a good feeling about it. Some of my highlights being:

1. Running my first marathon,
2. Finishing university with a first
3. Getting my first 'real life' job
4. More firsts - first boris bike rides, first university varsity experience watching rugby and ice hockey
5. Lovely days out with friends
6. Realising who my best friends are (cheesy I know)
7. This advert that still makes me smile
8. Disney - new friends, great job and a trip down to Miami to see Beyonce!
9. Trek America - possibly the best week of the year.
10. An impromptu mother daughter trip to Disney for Food and Wine Festival
11. Graduation

I've had some of the most amazing experiences, visited some incredible places and admittedly had my fair share of tears, but I can't let those get in the way of the positives. I don't think I've been happier than I have been at times in 2014, so I'm really hoping 2015 follows suit. Fingers crossed.

Five Happy Things #17

A bit of a delayed 'Five Happy Things' this week as I haven't had five minutes to sit down so far! This is going to be an easy week to find five things to talk about. Christmas week is one of the best weeks of the year for me, right through until New Year is over and it's time to go back to reality and socially acceptable clothing. In between stressful trips down to Southampton, I've been getting extra festive, doing lots of baking and spending time with family. Here's a few things that have made me happy this week:

1. Christmas. This goes without saying, just everything about it makes me happy.

2. Food gets its own point this week. You can't beat a week where it's considered normal to eat so much cheese, chocolate, meat and vegetables that you need to wear loose fitted clothing and lie on the sofa with a food baby for several hours.

3. Time with my nieces. I don't get to see them anywhere near as often as I would like, so getting to spend some time with them is always a highlight of my week.

4. Looking back at photos from this summer. I've been trying to organise my photos from Disney and Trek America for my scrapbooks. Bitter sweet to look back on, but can't help but smile.

5. Spontaneous pub trips. Especially like the ones this week where you end up having a good chat and a laugh with people you haven't seen properly in years.

Also a special mention to Scenter Barks who get top marks for their business name. Made me giggle when I saw their van in the endless traffic jam of crazy people trying to get into West Quay to go sales shopping. 

Motivational Monday #7

Photo from Flickr

A good one for the last Monday of 2014 I think! I'm very much a person who believes in focusing on the positive. With all the rubbish stuff that's been happening in the world recently, maybe if we focused more on the good rather than the bad, life might be that bit better? Maybe that's just me being naive. Either way, if we all did our bit to do good in the world we can make the world a better place. There will always be more good than bad in the world, we just have to remind each other of that more often. 

Motivational Monday #6

Picture from Tumblr
This is another one where I feel the quote speaks for itself and there's not much I can really add.
We all have dreams, yet lots of us seem to get stuck in a job as we're settled there and it pays the bills. Why? It'll be much better to look back at your life and have done things you were passionate about, rather than just settling in a life that you might look back on and think "I wish I'd…".

Five Happy Things #16

1. I started off the week with a day trip to Guildford with Eppie, Emma and a quick appearance from Anna. We got extremely excited about our travels, Disney and lovely food.

2. The nativity on This Morning. Wednesday's performance was definitely a highlight of my week. Everyone lost their place, people said the wrong lines and chaos broke out. All topped off with an angel shouting across to Philip that she needed a photo with him for her Mum. Just amazing, I highly recommend catching up on ITV Player if you want a giggle.

3. I've been doing as much as I can this week to get into the Christmas spirit. It can lose it's magic a little bit when you don't have little ones around on the day, but I've been trying to combat this by watching The Polar Express, playing endless Christmas songs and finishing off bits and bobs of decorating.

4. I put on my Christmas bedding today, can't help but get excited about Christmas when you curl up in reindeer clad sheets.

5. Baking. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a whole bunch of Christmas baking. This week I've made an apple and marzipan tart, several mince pies and decorated a whole bunch of Christmas cakes. Tomorrow I'm having a baking day with Mum, with a very long list of things to make!

Bake Along with GBBO :: Apple and Marzipan Tart

We're big fans of marzipan in our house, so much so it inspired our dog's name! At this time of the year we have a lot around the kitchen, so I decided to make an apple tart a bit more exciting. It went down a treat and is super quick and easy to make too.


1 block of pastry
250g marzipan
2 dessert apples


1. Roll out your pastry and line your tart case. Poke the base with a fork to form holes.

2. Thinly slice some of the marzipan and scatter around the base.

3. Thinly slice your apples and layer over the pastry and marzipan. Add another layer of marzipan and then your final layer of apples.

4. Grate a layer of marzipan on the top as a final touch. Grating is best, larger chunks catch and darken more easily, as you can see in the photo!

5. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Guildford through my iPhone

I started off my week with a trip to Guildford with Eppie and Emma. I'd only ever been to Guildford once before and that was for a night out, so it was quite nice to see the town opposed to a Lloyds and some random club. I picked up Eppie on my way, then headed into town to meet Emma. Emma is lucky enough to be heading to Canada for six months this week, so this was our last chance to see her before she jetted off to the Great White North.

We met Emma and immediately headed to grab some food. Pasties were bought and demolished over conversations about Eppie's travels to Prague, Emma's lack of packing for her trip next week and our upcoming travels next summer. We then had a wander around Guildford high street, which reminded me a lot of Winchester from my visit to the Christmas market last week. We oo-ed and ahh-ed over all of the lovely shops they have there. We lusted over the ludicrously priced products in Space NK and stroked the super soft jumpers in Crew and White Stuff, vowing that one day we'd buy these things when we weren't poor graduates.
 Blurry photo fail - sorry!

Our friend Anna, who is another friend of ours from uni, then joined us and we headed to Costa. Several Christmassy drinks we purchased and we talked events, jobs, Christmas and expressed our jealously of Emma's travels. A good hour or so passed and it was time for Anna to head back to London. We walked her back to the station, said our goodbyes and then headed back to the car.

We decided that we'd head into Camberley to eat at Wildwood, which Eppie recommended. Safe to say we weren't disappointed. It must have taken us a good fifteen minutes to decide on whether to go starter, main course and no dessert or no starter, main course and dessert. We decided on all three, just we shared starters and desserts.  I shared an amazing baked brie with hazelnuts with Eppie, before moving onto a goats cheese and chorizo pizza. Finished off with a lemon meringue sundae with Emma. The fact that this meal was accompanied by still lemonade won me over.  The staff were lovely enough to take Emma's mussels off the bill as half of them were closed and therefore inedible, so it only cost us about £16 each, definitely good value. I'd 100% recommend it if you're near one of their restaurants.

We spent the entire meal getting extremely excited over our travel plans next summer. Expressing the excitement of a six year older over possibilities of visiting Disneyland, California and having Canadian adventures. For me, this excitement was multiplied by getting to meet Eppie's new puppy, Benny as we headed back to hers for the night. The next morning we said our goodbye's to Emma, which were made that bit easier by being able to say "See you in LA!".

Motivational Monday #5

Image from Free People

I think the vast majority of us like to plan out our lives, so we often get knocked for six when things end too soon or when we least expect. Whether thats the end of a relationship, having to leave our jobs or even something like leaving university, I think it's important to remember that although it's the end of one thing in your life, just around the corner is going to be the start of something else. It might be upsetting, confusing or scary to begin with, but don't give up. Keep going, work out what you can do to make this new beginning the best it can be and go make it better than what you had before.

Five Happy Things #15

Any week is bound to be good when it involves lots of Christmas prep. We got our Christmas tree, went to a Christmas market and decorated this week. It has literally taken all week to decorate as it's safe to say we go full on with the Christmas decorations. Then there were lots of little bits which just made my week that bit better. Here are the things which made me happy this week:

1. We bought our Christmas tree! It's literally the perfect shape, just like you see in books and on TV.

2. I ordered my Grandma's Christmas present off Photobox last week. It arrived earlier this week, along with 2 more boxes of the same order. I rang up and they said it was their fault, not to worry as they'd just charged me for the one and I was welcome to keep them. Photobox, I love you.

3. I had a day trip to Winchester Christmas market with Emily and Jane. Christmas markets in pretty places are a winner with me.

4. Watching the BBC Music Awards, so many good artists in one place. Working in music events is definitely the dream.

5. These photos of Prince George. You just can't help but smile at those photos! If I ever have a son, I shall be dressing him in little jumpers like that.

What's made you happy this week?

Christmas Outings

It's been a Christmassy week for me. The week started off with us going to get our Christmas trees from the farm. It was probably the easiest Christmas tree decision we've ever made, as the first tree we picked up was perfect. Although I did have to spend 5 minutes trying to persuade the others that 9ft wasn't too big -luckily my persuasion skills worked!

Then on Tuesday I headed to Winchester with Emily and Jane to visit the Christmas market, as it's meant to be the second best Christmas market in the UK. I loved the stand one of the churches in Winchester had set up, where you could write your wishes for Christmas and the New Year on polaroids. I had tears in my eyes reading some of them but then couldn't help but laugh at some of the children's polaroids. I was also a fan of the one asking for a husband for her and all her single friends!

We then headed through the town and went for a walk along the river. We just so happened to walk past the house where Jane Austen died. I love when you just come across little pieces of history like that. Also, is it just me or does that building look as though it could be The Burrow?! I had to take a photo. Everything in Winchester was so pretty, excited that I'm moving just down the road in a few weeks. It looked even more pretty as the sun began to set and the lights came on.

What have you been doing in the run up to Christmas?

Motivational Monday #4


I'm not really sure what to say about this one, but I really like it. Sometimes we get a bit preoccupied with needing a plan and structure to as much of our lives as possible. Perhaps if we slowed down and just relaxed a little, we'd stress less and enjoy life that little bit more.

What do you think?

Five Happy Things #14

It's been a good week overall. It's been one of those weeks where there's been the perfect mix of adventures and just being laid back with the fire on. So here's what's made me happy this week!

1. Having a mini adventure around the New Forest.

2. Everyone starting to put up their Christmas lights and decorations.

3. Mum baking a batch of Christmas shortbread. Best accompaniment to a cup of tea.

4. Opening my advent calendars. A Yankee Candle tealight and a chocolate every day makes me very happy.

5. Hot chocolates with cream, marshmallows and Christmas sprinkles.

What's made you happy this week?

This week I've been...

I've spent the past few days down in Hampshire for a job interview in the New Forest. After my interview I had a few hours to explore the area before meeting with friends. I drove down through the New Forest, which was just as pretty as I was expecting. If I take this job I don't think I'll ever get bored of seeing the horses, cows and donkeys lining the roads. I visited some of the New Forest's pretty villages and had a wander along the Dorset coast, before ending the few days away with a giant jaffa cake milkshake. Can't complain when you get offered a job, cross off a few places from your UK bucket list, meet up with friends who you don't see as often as you'd like and get a giant milkshake in just two days.

Pinned Recently

I'm always in such awe of Pinterest. It's amazing what talent and creativity some people have, which is a great inspiration to do things myself. Here are a few of my favourite pins recently.

You can follow me on Pinterest here!

Bake Along with GBBO: Sea salt water biscuits

I've rarely venture into the biscuits side of baking. My Mum makes the best shortbread ever, so I don't even attempt to make them. Aside from that, I've never really been unhappy with a good rich tea out of a packet to accompany my cup of tea.

It wasn't until watching The Great British Bake Off that it even occurred to me that I could venture into the savoury biscuit and cracker side of the equation. It's safe to say that I'm a big cheese fan, in fact anything dairy is good in my books and if I could live off cheese, ice cream and chocolate milkshake alone I'd be a very happy Bethan. If anyone ever wants to win me over, they should be your three weapons of choice. Anyway, I'm being sidetracked by my love of dairy here.

Back in September I attended Abergavenny Food Festival and purchased a truckle of Green Thunder cheese from the Snowdonia Cheese stall. We tried a sample and instantly fell in love with it. It's been sat in my fridge ever since, as I felt it was almost too good to eat. Alas, the best before date is looming and I've discovered they have an online store and I can buy it from the incredible cheese shop in town, so it's about time I ate it! Is it odd to ask for cheese for Christmas?

I decided to make it my quest to make a biscuit to accompany this lovely garlic mature cheddar. Turns out, I'm pretty sure everyone just buys their crackers as the only recipes I could find were for big chunky cheese flavoured savoury biscuits or thin but laden with all sorts of flavours.

I eventually found a recipe for water biscuits on the forever useful BBC Good Food website. They seemed the perfect vehicle for my cheese. Crispy for some added texture but plain enough to not overpower the cheddar and garlic flavours. Not going to win any awards from Paul and Mary, but just what I needed and super easy to make.

Taken from BBC Good Food

200g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
50g cold butter, cubed
Flaky sea salt


1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/ Gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with parchment. Add the flour, baking powder, butter and half the teaspoon of salt in a food processor and then whizz for one minute until the butter is completely mixed in with the flour. Add 4 tbsp of water and whizz until the dough comes together. If it still feels dry, add another teaspoon of water until you have a soft but not sticky dough.

2. Lightly flour the surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 50 x 25cm and as thin as possible. brush a little water over the dough and sprinkle with sea salt. Prick the dough all over and then cut into 18 squares. Place on the trays and don't worry if they stretch a little. Bake for 10-15mins until they're dry and sandy feeling but still pale. If they still feel a bit soft don't worry as they harden when cooled. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely. If you don't scoff the lot straight away, they'll keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container.