Mannaza Korean BBQ, Newcastle

Hello, Hi, Welcome,

So this week on the blog I decided to try writing a little foodie post as I’m always looking for new and different eating experiences to test out. At the weekend, my friend and I decided we wanted to see if anywhere in the North-East offered a Korean BBQ dining experience as we had both  learned about Korean BBQ through tv shows and online videos.

If you don’t know what Korean BBQ is, it’s basically where you cook chosen meats on a grill which is placed on your table at the restaurant. It’s a little different than just sitting down for a regular meal and it’s a huge phenomenon in Korea for social meetings.

Upon our search, we found Mannaza, a Korean restaurant which provides the barbeque cooking style we so badly wanted to try. Located just next to Blackfriars, the restaurant is easy to find and as it’s close to The Gate, it’s only a short walk to bars and the cinema if you’re looking to add more to your night.

Inside, the restaurant is a nice size. Not too big, not too small and has a friendly, warming atmosphere. We booked our table because I was unsure just how popular a Saturday night could get at Mannaza and I’m glad we did as there was a handful of people waiting for a table and we walked straight in to our reserved table.

The menu is extensive! There’s pretty much something for everyone, from vegetarians to seafood-lovers (I even spied that they serve octopus). It’s pretty simple to decipher as they have a ‘Self-Grill’ column which lets you know what options you can choose for the Korean BBQ dining. If you fancy something from the menu but don’t feel like cooking it yourself, there is the choice to have it cooked by the chef so don’t fret if the idea of self-grill is a bit daunting!

We went for the set menu for 2, which included a starter of dumplings (which were already cooked for us and delicious), a tray of marinated raw chicken (Yangnyeomdak-Gui) and a tray of marinated raw beef slices (Bulgogi) to cook on the grill, a side of kimchi and a side of spinach alongside 2 portions of sticky rice. All together I think the food came to £28.00 which we thought was pretty reasonable for what you were given.

When it came to the time for us to grill our meats, we were a little hesitant on how long we had to cook the slices for and if there was a desired ‘look’ for the dish we were meant to be grilling without completely burning the living daylights out of it. The slices of meat are sliced thinly for quick cooking and I cook quite regularly so I shouldn’t have been so worried about poisoning the both of us but I really am not equipped with any BBQ knowledge.

We managed to get the hang of it after the first few tester bits of meat (we literally cooked on bit at a time just to see what would happen) and ended up throwing the remainder of the meat all on the grill. If not a tiny bit stressful, it provided a boat load of giggles and a lot of fun and the end food product was absolutely delicious and filling!

I noticed on the menu that they also serve Korean wines and Sake, but we just went for the typical Pinot Grigio and Merlot to calm our anxiety after the hilarious food encounter.

I would highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary to try out! The prices are reasonable, the staff were helpful and the experience was great. I’d like to take a bigger group of friends next time just to see how we all cope. We also didn’t give ourselves food poisoning, hurrah!

Have you tried Korean BBQ or had any other fun dining experiences?

I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you soon,

Chanel

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Anne-Marie: ‘Speak Your Mind’ Debut Album Review

Hello Friday!

It may only be a few hours into Friday but the new Anne-Marie album is out and so the weekend starts right now!

Once again, a disclaimer before I begin. I am no music expert nor do I know anything about the technicality of it. I am simply a music listener and lover and all of what you’re about to read is completely my own personal opinion.

Anne-Marie, British singer/songwriter first began gaining popularity in 2016 with the release of her single, ‘Alarm’, which received huge radioplay across the country only spurred on more by her collaboration with Clean Bandit and Sean Paul on ‘Rockabye’.  After the success of her first single, Anne-Marie continued to release ‘Ciao Adios’, ‘Heavy’ and most recently ‘2002’. ‘FRIENDS’ collaboration with Marshmallow also gained the singer her first top 5 hit featuring as main vocals.

With her raging success over the past year and a half, Anne-Marie’s debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’ has been highly anticipated until its final release date on 27th April 2018!

The standard album features 11 racks and the deluxe album has 17 tracks, taking the album to one hour long:

THE REVIEW:

Track One – ‘Cry’:

The first thing that struck me with this track is the interesting choice of instruments heard straight from the second the song starts. I can only describe it as a sort of ‘carousel’ fairground sound and when I’d seen that Jennifer Decilveo had produced and co-written the track, who also worked on ‘Cry Baby’ with Melanie Martinez then I instantly understood the carousel feels I was picking up. I really think this is a great track to open up the album with. It’s perfect pop and Anne-Marie already shows her vocal flexs.

Track Two – ‘Ciao Adios’

I won’t talk too much about the tracks which have already been released as singles but Ciao Adios has been my favourite so far from Anne-Marie. I think I speak for most of the British public when I say I’ve sang along aggressively with ‘Ciao Adios, I’m done!’ eventhough directed at nobody!

Track Three – ‘Alarm’

Anne-Marie’s first single which I remember hearing and loving the electric, almost static sound to the verses. I think Anne-Marie sounds great in this song and it’s no surprise it was such a hit for her. A Banger!

Track Four – ‘Trigger’

The first thing I wrote down in my notepad about this track was ‘Tropicano’. I can definitely hear the tropical influence on this song from the get go. The build up to the drop is so pleasant amongst the mellow house influence and there’s a good chance this could be a future single, especially for summer. This song in particular reminded me alot of the kind of sound Camila Cabello has gone for since leaving Fifth Harmony and it’s more than working for her!

Track Five – ‘Then’

Ok, on first impressions this track is my favourite on the entire album. Anne-Marie shows a softer vocal yet still keeps a tropical vibe. The lyrics are a bit on the sad side but it’s not a complete ballad eventhough it easily could have been. I feel like this song is super easy to listen to and the slight slow down of tempo is needed after the first five tracks. This track to me is the highlight of the album.

Track Six – ‘Perfect’

If this track isn’t the fan favourite, I’ll eat my own shoes!

The message on this song is the defining factor of the track. The track is not musically outstanding but as it is lyrically strong, I can image the fans screaming the words back to Anne-Marie at her live shows. Especially the nod to LGBTQ+ with the lyric ‘I’ll love who I want to love, ’cause this love is gender free’. This song is probably close to Anne-Marie’s heart and so it should be. A great song with an even better message!

Track Seven – ‘FRIENDS’ ft. Marshmellow

Another single from the album and her most popular in the charts so far. This track fits Anne-Marie’s vocals to a T and I’m not shocked at all it’s done so well and will probably continue to do so. Catchy and dancy.

Track Eight – ‘Bad Girlfriend’

Don’t laugh….but when I first heard this song the only thing I could think of was The Sugar Plum Fairy. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not but if it is then it’s absolutely genius juxtaposition of the lyrics and the sweetness of the beat. I think the broken vocals on the chorus are an interesting choice which I maybe wouldn’t have chosen for this particular song but I’m not a music producer so I can’t really comment. To be totally honest, when I saw that Nick Monson had worked on this track I thought I’d be obsessed because I’m a huge fan of his work with Gaga, but this time I’m not totally sold.

Track Nine – ‘Heavy’

Anne-Marie’s 3rd single from the album I believe (If I’m wrong please correct me). Although still using a tropicano beat which is extremely popular right now, Anne-Marie uses softer vocals and I the distinctive tones to her voice.

Track Ten – ‘2002’

The most recent single release from the album, 2002 is another easy listen to pop song which Anne-Marie is flawless at producing. Before I’d even gotten halfway through this track I could tell Ed Sheeran had written on it, it’s very Sheeran-esque. That man is a gold mine for pop smash hits. Can’t be forgetting Julia Michaels who also co-wrote the song and I think you can hear her backing vocals along with Sheeran in the chorus.

Track Eleven – ‘Can I Get You Number?’

The Reggae influence on this track hits you straight in the face as soon as the beat starts and it certifies the album as a summer must have! This song honestly makes me feel like I’m in Hawaii dancing with a pina colada in one hand and wearing a grass skirt. It also could easily be a Little Mix song but Anne-Marie does just as good a job!

Track Twelve – ‘Machine’

Another one of my favourite tracks on the album on first listen! More mellow house beats, this song brings interesting storytelling and talks about issues in society (‘If I was a machine, I wouldn’t be affected by violence on the television screen’). Anne-Marie’s vocals sound as sweet as a nut on this track and the robotic vocal touches at the end of the chorus tie in nicely to the title of the song.

Track Thirteen – ‘Breathing Fire’

Carrying on the mellow dancey vibe of the album onto the deluxe tracks, Breathing Fire is another one of my favourites and it makes me just a little bit upset that it missed out on making it to the standard album tracklist. The soft house influence on this track mixes so super nicely with Anne-Marie’s breathy vocals on the chorus which matches the title of the song. If any DJs get a hold of this track, which I’m sure they will, the remixes will be absolute FIRE!

Track Fourteen- ‘Some People’

By the fourteenth track, I’m desperate for a piano ballad. This isn’t it but it is the start of the softening of tempo on the album. The lyrics of this track really strike me as massively intimate and personal, like I almost shouldn’t be listening as if it’s a diary entry by Anne-Marie.

Track Fifteen – ‘Used to Love You’

Now we’ve hit the slower songs on the album, the lyrics are a lot more personal and Used to Love You presents the record as a tale of growing from heartbreak and learning self love once again and I’m all here for it. This is without a doubt a girl power anthem. But, who hurt you Anne-Marie, gal?

Track Sixteen – ‘Peak’

Stop the press! We have ourselves a piano ballad! Finally and it’s everything I hoped and wished for. Anne-Marie’s vocals are absolutely stunning, this girl has pipes! The lyrics on this song are heartbreaking, ‘I was in love, I thought you were too’, are stand out for me. I bet the fans will go crazy for this track and I once again wish it was in the standard album to show people exactly how emotionally raw Anne-Marie can get! Love, love, LOVE!

Track Seventeen – ‘Rockabye’ Clean Bandit (feat. Sean Paul + Anne-Marie)

Ok so do I need to even talk about this track because everyone and their mothers have heard this one. An absolute bop and pretty much all I listened to in 2016!

Final Thoughts:

For such a highly anticipated debut album…this is really as good as it gets. Anne-Marie and her co-writers and producers smashed it out the park with this record and it was 100% worth the wait. From production to lyrics, this is another solid debut from a female artist from the UK!

Anne-Marie is going to have huge success from this album and all of her other projects with DJs and producers for a long time I’m sure. This album is perfect for summer and I’m super impressed with how much involvement Anne-Marie has had in every album of the production of this record, I bet she’s insanely proud!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Pin Up, Gal! – Old English Company Pins + Competition

Hi!

If you’re like me and love customising the things you wear to show off your personality, then you’ve probably at one point used pins to do so. Whether that’s jazzing up an old denim jacket with band related merch or a backpack with cute badges that make life just a bit more interesting!

If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe then Old English Company have your back! The Stamford-based company specialise in unique hand lettered products, including the most gorgeous enamel pins.

These are just a few of my favourites from their collection:

Links:

‘Start Somewhere’ Enamel Pin

‘She Believed She Could So She Did’ Enamel Pin

Grow Through What You Go Through’ Enamel Pin

‘HeartBreaker’ Enamel Pin

Inspiring and motivational slogans are always eye catching to me and I love the vintage feel of the ‘heart breaker’ pin, its very reminiscent of all the 80s chick flicks I adore! Old English Company have a bunch of beautifully designed pins all made in England so each product has a place of pride.

Already stars in the stationary and accessory market, Old English Company are constantly growing in popularity and you might even spot their products in stores such as Waterstones and Paperchase!

Now for the part you’re all waiting for… the competition details!

*Competition*

Old English Company are giving away a set of their enamel pins to one lucky winner! All you have to do is click on this link ( https://oldenglishprints.com/pages/enamel-pin-competition-win-a-set-of-enamel-pins ) and follow the instructions to enter!  

Make sure you’re quick as the winner will be picked on the 30th May 2018!

If you want to have a peek on their store you can find their entire enamel pin collection here

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Chanel

x

 

Legally Blonde The Musical UK Review

Hello!

The sun was absolutely glorious in the UK this weekend and we got all of three days to enjoy it before the clouds have made their return. Typical.

This weekend I went to see Legally Blonde The Musical at Sunderland Empire on their UK Tour. I’ve been a fan of the musical for going on six years now and was massively excited when my friend bought me tickets for my birthday.

First of all, I’m a big fan of theatre. Musicals especially, so my expectations for this show were a little higher than it probably should have been after years of watching the poor quality video on Youtube and screeching along to the soundtrack.

One thing I must say about this show is that, for a travelling musical, the stage set up and quality of the performance was top notch. I’ve been to a few touring musicals and the show never has the same magic as a proper West End production but Legally Blonde blew me away!

Lucie Jones, who I saw many moons ago on the X Factor tour, played Elle Woods and she did an absolutely fantastic job! As well as insanely great vocals, Jones quirky approach to Elle’s character played out perfectly alongside the ups and downs of Little Miss Woods, Elle’s time at Harvard. Although, Laura Bell Bundy, the original Broadway Elle is a firm favourite, Lucie really lived up to the role and made the show very special.

My favourite character in the musical is Paulette, the beautician with dreams of finding the perfect Irish man. Played by Eastenders actress, Rita Simons, Paulette’s husky tones and loud personality were definitely recognised on stage, especially during the performance of Ireland which was one of my highlights of the entire show!

Of course, all of the cast were amazing and you can really tell they have a close bond not only as colleagues but as friends which comes across in making the performance the best they possibly can.

My highlight of the production, which I’m sure is loved by all audiences, has to be ‘There! Right There! which is both hilarious and wildly impressive. I also still can’t get over the Whipped into Shape routine, how on Earth Helen Petrovna skipped like that and still carried top vocals is beyond me!

Overall, if you’re going to see Legally Blonde in the next few months then you are in for a treat! I’d definitely go and see it for a second time!

If you’re interested in buying tickets then the link for the tour is here

My last blog post can be found here

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Chanel

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The Struggle of Losing Weight and Keeping Fit

Hello!

I’m back today with a more lifestyle/health based post, talking about how difficult I find it to lose weight and keep fit. Like many of us, I’ve been trying for years to get my body into shape, with every new year resolution being ‘lose weight’ or ‘go to the gym more regularly’. It goes well for all of a week before I find myself saying what the hell and eating my body weight in rubbish!

I’ve tried FAD diets such as ‘The Soup Diet’ where I ate soup, fruit and veg for almost a week straight in a hurry to drop a few pounds and although it did work and I felt great, it seemed even easier than ever before to put the weight straight back on and I’d be back to square one. I wouldn’t recommend FAD diets, they’re only good for quickly losing weight and there is no way it can be good for your body, in fact most FAD diets require a GP consultation before investing your time in the plan. Not only can it be a danger to your health but because you’ve eaten unrealistically for the week (it’s more a detox than a diet) then as soon as you’re back to introducing normal foods into your meals, the weight jumps back on.

Next thing is…exercise. Booo.

I used to be a huge fan of physical activities. Running, dancing, badminton, anything that would get my moving I enjoyed. However, as the responsibilities of life get in the way, I stopped exercising and instead would spend my time in front of the TV or my laptop and snacking!

The worst time for this was uni, I was eating unhealthy and the only exercise I would get would be walking to and from a lecture or busting all the moves on the dancefloor on a Wednesday night!

About a year ago, I vouched to myself that I’d lose weight to try and keep my mind and body healthy. I lost 8 pound within a few months and I’ve managed to stay the same weight ever since. I’m still not happy with my body and I want to try and lose another stone and a half to get down to what weight my BMI suggests is a healthy weight for my height and age.

I’ve started going to the gym twice a week with my friend to do some of the classes (legs, bums and tums is NOT an easy one). I’ve also started running once or twice a week too and hopefully I’ll start to feel a little better about my fitness and not get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs!

My goal at the end of all this is to ultimately be happy and feel like a 21 year old!

Fresh, fit and fabulous!

Another big goal for me is to wear shorts in the summer without tights as my legs are my main body hatred and I always try to hide them away.

If you have any tips for weight loss or fitness plans then please let me know.

Do you enjoy exercise? If so, did you have to learn to love it?

To read my previous post click here

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

BotF: My Perfect Colour – Primark Perfect Finish Foundation Review

Hi!

Happy Saturday, I hope you’re all well!

A month or two ago I started a series on my blog called Battle of the Foundations and since then I’ve sort of neglected the idea a tad because my skin has just had problem after problem and I’ve not really strayed away from my beloved Nars Sheer Glow.

However, Primark have been making a statement in the beauty community and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their foundations and try them out. I tried their foundation stick and their velvet finish foundation in the My Perfect Colour collection but I wasn’t overly keen on the formula so instead I went back and picked up the perfect finish foundation.

Primark? Who are they?

Primark are a retail store who opened up the doors to a store in Dublin in 1969 and have since became THE biggest name in UK and Ireland for affordable fashion, homeware and accessories.

PS… My Perfect Colour, Perfect Finish Foundation

The foundation claims to be medium coverage and have a semi-matte finish. It is also dermatologically tested and contains vitamin E, which gives the product anti-ageing properties. I also googled to see if Primark are cruelty free and they are! Yipee!

The Review

Make-up free!

As always, here is a photo of me without makeup on so you can see the current state of my skin before I applied the product. I moisturised with Nivea Visage Day Cream and then applied NYX Professional Makeup #NOFILTER Blurring Primer. I apply the foundation with my damp Real Techniques beauty sponge.

I picked up shade ‘Porcelain’ as I used the next shade down for the velvet finish foundation and it made me a little orange, which isn’t hard when you’re as pale as I am!

The foundation applied smoothly over my skin and a little goes quite a long way which is surprising considering the price of the product. I was frightened it was going to be too drying and stress out the drier areas on my face but it honestly applied like a treat.

Unlike most higher end foundations I’ve tested, the Primark formula really impressed me with how it didn’t really settle in the fine lines I have under my eyes and around my forehead. I also added the Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer onto my blemishes and then applied Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder and I didnt feel like the foundation moved at all or flaked off. I added the rest of my makeup to see how it dealt with the pressure of my terrible contouring skills.

DSC00738 1
After applying the rest of my makeup

Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend you go out and try one of the My Perfect Colour foundations from Primark because the quality of the product for the price is INSANE. This foundation is honestly better than some of the really established makeup brand’s foundation that I’ve tested! It lasts fantastically, isn’t too drying and applies beautifully.

The coverage is actually pretty full, I have quite a few spots of hyperpigment so I always want to make sure that they’re covered and this product is buildable so I was able to achieve that. The only downfall the foundation has is that I’m inbetween shades so the porcelain shade is a little too light but I can just use bronzer to darken it a smidge.

I’ve been looking for a foundation to wear when I’m not using my NARS and I genuinely will be reaching for this product! I can’t believe it’s only £2.50!

If you want to see my other posts in the Battle of the Foundations series just click on the product below:

Battle of the Foundations: The Ordinary Foundation Review

Battle of the Foundations: Dermacol Make-Up Cover Review

See you again soon,

Chanel

x

 

Month in Music: March

Happy Wednesday!

Only two more days until the weekend, hurray!

Although, we’re 11 days into April I want to go back a few weeks and talk about all of the great music I’ve been listening to throughout March. I’ve reduced the size of the playlist from 20 songs to 10, just to make it a little easier to narrow down my favourites.

March brought a lot of musical goodness! I went to see both Niall Horan and Sam Smith on their world tours and they were fantastic. I reviewed Sam’s tour on one of my latest blog posts which you can find here if you’re interested!

My picks this month are very male orientated and I’m desperately waiting for the females to snatch back the charts crown (Ariana, Rihanna, I’m look at you gals). Without further ado, here is my top five from March:

My top 5 songs of March are:

  • John Newman – Fire in Me

I’m a huge John Newman fan, his first album ‘Tribute’ was played to death in my house when it was released, so you can imagine my excitement when I seen he had a new single. Fire in Me does not disappoint! It’s a proper feel good song that you can shout out loud and has so much power behind the lyrics, especially following Newman’s hiatus to focus on his health. I’m very excited John is back and I can’t wait to hear more from him!

  • James Bay- Pink Lemonade

Although James Bay has changed his style of music slightly to a more edgy, indie rock influenced sound, I still am a huge fan, if not more than ever. Pink Lemonade is so easy to listen to and enjoy, I’ve been playing it constantly and the bridge really adds an extra element of drama to the song. It works so well and I’m obsessed.

  • Sam Smith – HIM

Since seeing Sam at the end of March, all I can do is listen to HIM. I liked it before tour but hearing it live and the crowd singing along had me immediately playing it the second I got home. The choir in the background of the track add a gospel feel to the song which mirrors the play on word with HIM in relation to both God and a homosexual relationship. It’s such a fantastic song and it might have made it to my favourite track on the album. Oh and of course Sam sounds insanely good as always.

  • Years & Years – Sanctify

THEY’RE FINALLY BACK! I’ve been waiting for new music from Years & Years since the release of Meteorite for Bridget Jones’ Baby and as soon as they dropped Sanctify, I picked up my phone and gave it a listen. I’m glad they’ve stuck to their electronic style music as I think it really suits Olly’s vocals. Waiting on more, boys!

  • Todrick Hall & Jade Novah – Play

Todrick’s last release ‘Straight Outta Oz’ blew me away. It was absolutely incredible, from the cinematography to the genius references to Oz in the lyrics, I couldn’t praise it highly enough. When I seen he was releasing another visual album, Forbidden, I was eagerly waiting for the upload. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you go and watch it here right away. It’s spectacular, Todrick and his crew are insanely talented. It was hard to whittle down my favourite from the album but Play features both Todrick and Jade and they sound great together.

If you want to listen, I’ve made up a playlist on my spotify which you can listen to here.

I also have a January and February music picks which you can view by clicking on the links.

Until next month, happy listening!

Chanel

x

 

 

Tomato Soup Cupcakes Recipe

Happy Easter!

Over the last few days my social media feeds have been brimming with baking goodies, from Easter mini egg cakes to Creme Egg brownies and I’ve definitely been bitten by the bake off bug.

Instead of going with the traditional recipes, I decided to try something a little bit different and I spotted this Tomato Soup Cupcake recipe in my The Hummingbird Bakery book and thought why not give it a go.

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in The Hummingbird Bakery ‘Life is Sweet’ book

I know what you’re all thinking…that is disgusting Chanel, why would you even want to eat such a monstrosity! However, the book describes the taste as a ‘kind of carrot-cake’ flavour and I completely agree, you can definitely taste the slightly spiced resemblance.

Here is what you’ll need:

Ingredients

Cupcakes: 

  • 115g (4oz) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 285g (10oz)  Caster Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 270g (9 1/2oz) Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 60ml (2oz) Water
  • 295g (10 1/2oz) Tin of Condensed Cream of Tomato Soup
  • 18 muffin cases

Frosting:

  • 100g (3 1/2oz) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 240g (8oz) Full-fat Cream Cheese, cold
  • 400g (14oz) Icing Sugar
  • Ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top!

The recipe says it makes 18 but I managed to get 21 out of the batch and was left over with loads of icing too!

STEP ONE:

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F)/ Gas mark 4

STEP TWO:

  • Line the muffin tin with the muffin cases

STEP THREE:

  • Use a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment or a hand held electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy (the recipe recommends mixing for 5 minutes on a medium-high speed)

STEP FOUR: 

  • Pop the eggs in one at a time, on a lower speed and making sure you have all the mix from the side of the bowl

STEP FIVE:

  • In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients (plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, allspice, cinnamon and cloves) and then mix into the wet ingredients. The recipe says to mix on a low speed but I thought my mixer’s lowest speed was still too fast so I just used a wooden spoon to mix.

STEP SIX:

  • Add the water and the condensed soup to form a batter (the smell is extremely strange and off putting so bare with it)

STEP SEVEN: 

  • Spoon the mixture into the cases until about 3/4’s full and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool when on a wire rack.

 

LEAVE TO COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE PUTTING ON THE FROSTING OTHERWISE IT’LL JUST SLIDE AND MELT OFF.

STEP EIGHT:

  • To make the frosting, beat the butter and then add the cream cheese and icing sugar. Mix slowly to begin with otherwise the sugar will spill everywhere. Then mix on high speed for three minutes to create a creamy texture.

STEP NINE:

  • Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon.
The final product

These cupcakes are delicious and not dry at all, I was worried when mixing in the soup that the consistency looked too thick but they baked beautifully and have been gobbled up by my family.

Special thanks to Tarek Malouf for making this inventive recipe which was definitely an experiment as well as a baking venture. You can check out his website here or you can purchase The Hummingbird Bakery, “Life is Sweet” recipe book here.

If you want to read my previous blog post you can find it here

Thanks for reading!

Chanel

x

Dealing with Trauma whilst at University

Hi!

I hope you have all been well and are looking forward to the warmer weather ahead which we have had a teaser of over the last few days!

As my post ‘The “C” Word: Talking about Cancer’ was received so well, I decided to write more about my experiences with the disease and hopefully help people who may be going through a similar situation.

My Experience:

When my Mam was first diagnosed with cancer, I was in Semester One of my final and most important year of university. I immediately moved back home to support my family and decided that I couldn’t continue living in a different city whilst my loved ones were going through the heartbreak. As I studied at Sheffield Hallam University which meant I lived a 2 hour train journey from my home in Newcastle, the idea of commuting was a) not affordable and b) inefficient.

At first I was ready to drop out, forget my education and focus on what was happening at home, but my parents wanted me to continue with my study and I also couldn’t let all my hard work in the last two years go to waste.

I emailed my tutor to explain how I was unsure of what to do and was passed onto the student advisors of my university department. The advisors were incredibly helpful and understanding of my decision to attempt studying from home, although I was warned the inability to attend lectures and seminars may affect my grade.

The extenuating circumstances benefits differ from university to university, some may get special consideration of grading and other offer extensions. I was hoping that my university may offer some sort of compassion consideration when grading my papers as I was not really in the right mindset to continue writing essays at the same standard as I was producing whilst studying in Sheffield. However, I was grateful for the extensions as it gave me more time to balance my time.

I continued writing and submitting essays which I hoped were to my best ability and was rewarded with great grades despite only having the support of the online powerpoints and the fantastic help of my coursemates who I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree without, as some of my lecturers were not exactly cooperative. One even went as far as to say I wouldn’t achieve my potential at home, which when I passed with the exact grade I wanted made me a very smug graduate.

Although I studied from home, I worked really hard and tried to be as involved as I possibly could to make sure I had an equal chance of achieving the best grade under the circumstances.

My Top Tips

University is an incredibly stressful time and the additional pressure of trauma or upset can cause an array of issues both mentally and educationally. I’ve compiled some tips of how to go about studying through difficult times:

  • Communicate: Talk! Talk to your tutor, talk to student advisors, talk to the support team, talk to anyone that will listen! Part of getting through the struggle is sharing your problems with people who can give you advice and understand just how hard it is. Most universities offer student wellbeing plans which allow you to meet with specialists and talking therapies who may be able to help find ways around obstructions in your study. If you have any issues with assignments or exams then talk to your tutors, they’re there to support you and in most cases will provide further explanations with anything you might find difficult.
  • Apply for study benefits: As discussed earlier, extenuating circumstances can give you more time with your assignments, easier examination environments and support with disability and welfare limitations. Applying for these benefits may lift some weight off your shoulders that could make your life just that little bit easier.
  • Find Resources: If you’re working from home it’s likely that you’ll become lazier with finding resources, mostly because you aren’t in short distance of the university library. However, resources and references are what makes essays reach the top grades as it proves that you’ve researched the subject and allows you to present a better understanding. If you are living away from your university but are in reach of another university, you can apply for day or visitor passes for most uni ran libraries. E-books are also a lifesaver, especially for dissertation work.
  • Work Hard: If you’re determined to get your degree then I’m sure this tip is a given. It is true that the more effort you put into your work, the more reward you will get out of it. Also, it’ll feel so good walking across the stage at graduation knowing you did you best.
  • Have breaks: Finally, don’t forget that you’re going through a rough time and you need time to relax, spend time with your mates and step out of the study circle for a few hours. It’ll not only keep you from bursting from stress but it’ll do you the world of good stepping away from the screen or the books for a little while and then reassessing everything through fresh eyes when you come back to it.

I hope this has been interesting and if you’re struggling through a hard time at the moment just remember that you’re only human and as long as you’re doing your best then you can be proud of what you achieve. Please remember to talk to who you need to to get the help which will provide you with the best chance of reaching your full potential. You can do this!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

Sam Smith: The Thrill of It All 2018 World Tour Review

Happy Friday!

On Wednesday night, my Mam got to cash in her Mother’s Day present of tickets to see Sam Smith on his latest world tour ‘The Thrill of It All’ (suitably named after his chart topping 2017 album) and of course I went along with her. We are both huge fans of Sam and were super excited that he had chosen to grace the North- East with his talent for one night only.

Unfortunately, due to traffic we missed the support act Bruno Major but I’ve read nothing but positive feedback on Twitter about his performance.

I originally missed the standard ticket sale and was absolutely gutted when I seen the event was sold out as I knew how special it would be for my Mam to see him sing live, but thanks to Twickets we managed to get fantastic seats at face value. A service I would highly recommend if you’re looking to purchase tickets and don’t want to get ripped off!

Firstly, I want to just take a minute to talk about how gorgeous Sam’s staging is. The triangular catwalk protrudes into the seated crowd which makes the concert seem more intimate and personal. Joined with a triangular shaped structure which moves and adapts to suit the mood of the music, the stage is simple but really captivating. Definitely a nod to ‘less is more’ and allows Sam’s talent to shine without any whimsical distractions. One more thing, I love how Sam has his band and backing singers with him on the forefront of the stage and doesn’t just shove them to the back with poor lighting.

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(including the very excited women in front)

Sam really allowed his personality to show during his time on stage, sharing snippets of personal stories about songwriting, talking about his family and all of the times he had spent in Newcastle (big up Powerhouse!) Me and my Mam both came to the conclusion that he’s a lovely lad who shows genuine passion for his art and who we want to have a glass of prosecco with!

As for Smiths’ vocal ability…it’s on another level. This man can SAAAANG. As Sam said himself, his music can be a little bit depressing but he definitely used the upbeat tracks to his advantage with the whole crowd on their feet dancing to Disclosure feature ‘Omen’ and In The Lonely Hour bop ‘Restart’.

When Sam chose to slow the pace down a bit with the dramatic ‘Writing on The Wall’, ‘Lay Me Down’ and the very heartfelt ‘Scars’, the audience respectfully sat and listened, singing along during the chorus’ or when prompted.

During the encore, Sam sang ‘Palace’, one of my favourite tracks from the album and was joined by his backing vocalist Lucy, turning the song into more of a beautiful duet which was without a doubt a highlight of the show for me.

Sam looked amazing and owned the stage creating a relaxed atmosphere which all ages enjoyed. If you’re going to the show you have so much to look forward to and also to help you out I’ve added stage times and the set list to the bottom of this post.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

If you’re going to the show here are the stage times (what we experienced) and set list (found on Setlist.FM)

Doors: 6pm (may change depending on venue so check on their website/ Twitter)

Bruno Major: 7:45pm

Sam Smith: 8:45pm

Show Ends: 10:30-45pm

Baring in mind these are all subject to change depending on the venue/the artist.

Setlist (may also change):

  1. Burning
  2. One Last Song
  3. I’m Not the Only One
  4. Lay Me Down
  5. The Best Things In Life Are Free (Cover)
  6. Omen
  7. Nirvana
  8. I’ve Told You Now
  9. Writing’s On The Wall
  10. Latch
  11. Money on My Mind
  12. Like I Can
  13. Restart
  14. Baby, You Make Me Crazy
  15. Say It First
  16. Scars
  17. Midnight Train
  18.  HIM
  19. Too Good at Goodbyes

Encore

  1. Palace
  2. Stay With Me
  3. Pray