Thursday, 3 December 2015

Homemade festive chocolates

Me and my Mum decided that we would make some festive chocolates, she loves baking and creating new things. Probably where I get it from, so tonight we took it upon ourselves to make some delicious delights.

We only used cheap chocolate, as we haven't done this with the different ingredients before, so we bought a fair few bars of tesco value chocolate. I am fully aware that these won't have the best flavour but as we were adding a number of various different flavours  so we didn't see the problem. 
Morello Cherries
White Chocolate
Milk Chocolate
You can add anything you want to your chocolate but this is just what we added.
Zest one orange
Zest one lemon
Dice cherries
I did all this at the beginning to be prepared.
Then over a pan of boiling water we placed a bowl and melted down the chocolate, when it was all melted we filled the moulds half way and added the desired ingredients, after adding this we would then fill the mould to the top with the rest of the chocolate and place into the freezer for a short time. 
We left ours in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes, but obviously you can adjust the time if needed. You can also place them into the fridge to set if preferred.
We removed them from the freezer and popped them out of their moulds, as we used silicon moulds this was very easy.
You can decorate the chocolates if desired or leave them as they are.

I couldn't believe how easy these were to make and such a beautiful homemade christmas gift to receive. It was also such a lovely thing to be able to do with my mum. My favourite were by far the chocolate orange they were amazing, as were the others.
Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

My top 5 make up brushes

I have been wanting to do this post for a while now, as I really wanted to share my thoughts with you all.
From left to right
one - realTECHniques Contour brush
Like all of these brushes I use this every day, I use this to apply my contour and highlight. I love the shape of this brush as it is small enough to fit in the groves of your face. But big enough to distribute the product evenly. This brush is a real winner for me, I bought this as part of the Core Collection. You can buy this at Boots by following this link.
two - realTECHniques Expert face brush
Obviously I love this also, however I can't find anything else that does the same job, I feel like this is so consistent in being excellent when blending and applying foundation. I don't feel like it hold onto too much product either which is brilliant. I feel like it will be very hard for me to find anything that matches the quality of finish this leaves me which every day. You can also pick this product up in boots, I will leave the link here for you to have a browse.
three - Sephora Classic crease shadow brush
I bought this brush when I was in Paris in January, every time I apply any type of eye shadow. I use this brush for blending as Its easy to get into my crease to distribute all the product. Although last time I washed it I didn't dry it properly so it looks a little bedraggled. You can buy this online from Sephora though this link.
four - realTECHniques blush brush
I think that this was one of the first make up brushes I ever bought It was a few years ago now, but I don't remember ever disliking this product. I used to use it for applying blusher for the past few months I have been using it to apply bronzer, as I feel it is the right size for my face. The bronzing brush I had before seemed stupidly large. This just allows me to focus on a certain area for application. You can pick this product up also on boots by following this link.
five - Avon
I'm not sure of the name of this brush as it has rubbed of the side of the brush, but I bought it from Avon, I believe it was to be used as a liner brush. But I love it for doing my brows, it is the perfect size and is flexible when using brow wax or powder. I love this brush, as you can imagine it was cheap from Avon but does a fantastic job. I can't find any links to this product online but if you have a Avon book you may be able to find it. 

Thank you so much for reading.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Gingerbread Men

My mum made some gingerbread men the other day, they were lovely. So I thought I would give the recipe a go and share my thoughts with you all. I love making gingerbread as they not only taste amazing, but they make the entire house smell like christmas!

125 grams butter
150 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 egg
4 tablespoons of golden syrup
175 grams of soft brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Sift together all the dry ingredients apart from the sugar, proceed to add the sugar and butter then blend until crumbed. You can use hands to do this, continue until it looks like breadcrumbs. Then stir in the sugar.
Beat the egg and golden syrup together in a separate bowl then add to the current mixture until all the mixture clumps together. Remove the mixture from the bowl onto a flat surface, knead for a short amount of time. Then wrap the dough in clingfilm or place into food bag, then pop it in the fridge for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from fridge, place on a floured surface and roll to desired thickness, the thiner the better as will rise slightly. Begin to cut out with desired cutter and place onto a baking tray (covered in baking paper)ensure you leave gaps in between your gingerbread as the do spread slightly during baking. 
Place into your preheated oven for around 8-12 minutes, just keep checking on them because they cooked in about 9 minutes in my oven. 
When cooked place on to wire cooling rack to cool completely then ice or serve as desired.


Sunday, 8 November 2015


Sooo on the fifth of October I flew to the USA to embark on what I thought was the biggest adventure of my life so far. I had a great first week in New York with all the girls who truly made it. I then arrived in New Jersey on Friday the ninth, for the first couple of days it was amazing. Then I began to realise that it wasn't what I signed up for. Im not going to go into too much detail about what happened because I don't think it is necessary. But I flew home (to England) on the eighteenth of october. I just wanted to write to ensure that I kept you In the loop also so you all knew what country I was in. I spent a week with my family in New Jersey, I spent a lot of time with Alana (my only friend) but I had a blast we didn't get to do all we wanted but we spent time drinking hot chocolate, watching movies and eating food. Basically Im back home in England, I have been here for a few weeks and I'm getting back into the swing of things. I was going to write this post earlier but to be honest I didn't feel ready, the whole thing was very emotional and I'm just getting used  to everything.
 I have no regrets.


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Taking a walk

I'd had quite a stressful day so I took a walk around Brightwood Park NJ, I took a few photos so I thought I would share them with you all. As my surroundings were beautiful.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

New York Orientation (interexchange)

Wow what a week, I jumped on the plane at Heathrow airport on Monday (5th) morning  and to be honest I don't think I fully prepared myself for the next week. I had done all the physical preparation, I just didn't mentally prepare myself for this whole thing. I think because it never felt like I was going anywhere it was hard to adjust. I would defiantly prepare more next time!
So I arrived in New York Monday afternoon, I luckily met another girl before hand so we traveled on the same flight and then collected our luggage together to proceeded towards the Exit of JFK. We pre booked a shuttle service (super shuttle) this was recommended by interexchange and to be honest it was the easiest and most cost effective route we found (not that we looked). If you're okay with the crazy driving.
Arriving at the hotel, well we was in the centre of Manhattan a couple of blocks from Times Square and you could see the Empire State from out front. When you have never been to New York before I'll tell you it is incredible at first I felt so small, as if the buildings were towering over me (well they were). It was so different to any other city I had been to before. We walked into the hotel and we were directed up to the 3rd floor to the interexchange check in desk. Here you are given your room key, information about the following day and a huge binder with more information, if you have got to this stage you will know you have so much paper work you don't even know what to do with it all! Be prepared when you get to your room you are probably sharing with someone maybe two people so don't be disappointed, I actually liked sharing because it gave you someone to talk to and distracted you from everything else that was going on in your head right now!
The Itinerary 
I'm not going to tell you every minute of everyday because we would be here a life time, there was so much packed into the 3 days of training.
Monday - Travel day, everyone travels from their home country to The New Yorker Hotel
Tuesday - American Culture, Culture shock and child development 0-3 years
Wednesday - Driving in America, Laws and children aged 3 - teens
Thursday - First Aid, CPR and Lots of paperwork. Some people also leave on this day
Friday - So some people will leave on Thursday depending on what the family have arranged with the agency and everyone else will leave to go to their host family on the Friday!
I found this weekend very tiring, I was a little ill as well so that didn't really help but the time just completely threw me off. I didn't even think about jet lag but being that tired and then having to sit in training for 7-9 hours a day really takes it out of you. 
Ensure you bring enough money for the first couple of weeks. I would recommend brining money anyway but interexchange recommended $150-$200 but I would probably double that because you don't get paid straight away obviously because you haven't even worked yet and when you get to your host family you want to be able to pick some bits up if needed like toiletries or clothes. Just ensure you have enough.
When you arrive you are given vouchers for free breakfast and lunch in the Tick-Tock Diner which is connected to the hotel. There is a set menu to order from so don't look at the menu because you WILL be disappointed. But for free breakfast and lunch you can't complain, the food was okay, although on the Thursday lunch me and some other girls went to a local salad bar to one get out of the hotel for an hour and to eat something relatively healthy and tasty. Being in that hotel for too long gets a little claustrophobic.
Free time
Each day training finishes at different times, Tuesday it finishes at 4pm and everyone has the opportunity to go on a 4 hr tour of the city with a tour guide this is $30 and I didn't go because I was ill, but some of the girls said it was amazing. On the Wednesday you are given an opportunity to buy a ticket to go up the Empire state, Me and another girl bought a ticket but didn't go up as we will both be living very close in New Jersey so we will go another time. As the tickets were $18 each. We finished at 5 pm Wednesday  Thursday we finished at 6pm some people left to go to their host family and the rest of us went out and did things, me and two other girls went for food and then to see Times Square.
I was then picked up by my host family Friday morning.
I am now with my Host family in New Jersey having a great time, I will keep you in the loop.
I had an amazing week in New York I learnt a lot and made some lovely friends.

Saving a chocking baby.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Preparing to be an Au Pair in America (interexchange)

So as many of you know I am going to New York next Monday for a week at orientation which is basically a week of training and talks. You learn basic first aid, CPR and have talks about driving, taxes and much more.
The start of my process
 First I researched which company I wanted to choose, I there are so many different agencies to go with from Au Pair in america, Au Pair world and GAP360. I didn't do a lot of research really I looked around a little bit but to be honest they all seemed to offer the same sort of thing. I went with GAP360 who work with a company called Interexchange. I had to pay a fee of £449 to apply and then you attend an interview. You only pay a deposit until you have had the interview I believe but obviously if you are not accepted you do get your money back. (don't quote me on that) All information is available on the website.
I applied then was given an interview date, the interview was in Tunbridge Wells, you have to attend the interview and the cost isn't covered by the company. They interview wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be she asked me about my experience with children, how I would deal with different situations and also questions about myself. My lifestyle, driving experience and much much more. It was really not as daunting as it sounds. I found out at the end I was successful and I then had to complete an online profile.
My online Au Pair profile
The online profile is basically a profile where families will be able to look over your childcare experience, your preferences to what you agree with, whether you are comfortable with working with a family of a different religion to you, same sex marriage and  single parents. Basically everything is covered, I then had to write a letter about myself, my family and my experience caring for children and driving. Upload photos of yourself and a 3-4 minute video of yourself doing different things such as driving caring for children and talking a little about yourself. It doesn't have to be to long I was really scared about this part but it wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be.
Your profile is then looked over by the interexchange team to ensure you have filled everything in correctly and to ensure that you haven't made any spelling mistakes. Then its made live to families. You are then put on-view with different families who are specifically matched with you based on the things you have said on your profile and then what they have said on their profile.

On-view with families
This is the scary part well I thought it was the scariest part because I didn't know what to expect. Basically every 3 or four days you are matched with different families they will look over your profile and you will be able to look at theirs. I spoke to my first family over skype and I was horrendously nervous. It is so simple though and now I look back its so much easier than an actual interview. You will then be able to speak to them for a few days and if you both like each other and begin to speak to each other a few times. I didn't match with my first family but I spoke to my family about 4 times and we matched.

Skype interviews with a host family
This was the thing I was most nervous about because when you apply you kind of give a date to when you expect to be going my date was the 21st September - 7th November  This is just space of time you specify for when you want to leave, to again make it easy for matching. I had quite a few interview and to be honest I did start to get frustrated because I was having some really good chats with families they would leave an impression on me. I spoke to one family which went really well I met the children, then they went on holiday for two weeks telling me they would speak to me soon. I was very excited to hear from them and didn't obviously at first i was very frustrated because I thought I would never find a family but, I'm glad it went that way now because I have found a great family and I can wait to arrive.
Make sure you are prepared thats all I can say, research a little on the family find out the ages of the children. Ensure you ask a lot of questions about the children and their likes and dislikes. What activities they like to do what they are into. Food preferences, special diets, the families religion. They will ask questions about you but ensure you have questions ready for them because it looks better when you are prepared.

This is when you have spoke to the family a number of time and you are happy with everything you have spoken to them about. Have asked all the questions you need and been given all the answers and have a good feeling about it! FOLLOW YOUR GUT! I knew my family would be a great match for me, I am so happy I have matched with them and can't wait to meet them. Just be patient something will come along I got to the point where I generally convinced myself that no family would choose me but it does happen. It just seems stressful but it will all work out in the end I wasn't very patient but as soon as I matched I felt stupid for even thinking that.

Whats next?
You will then be contact by interexchange they will help you a lot and give you a lot of information about a 1-2 weeks after you match you will receive a pack through the post with information about your host family, a childcare test and LOADS more information from your local co-ordinator in the area you will be staying, It starts to feel like its all happening (it is). Although now it still doesn't feel like i'm going anywhere!
You will then go online fill in a number of forms to do with your Visa, book a visa appointment attend the appointment hopefully be successful in getting a visa. Which you probably will be if you have passed all the checks you have already completed. Then you will have to worry about packing and fulling in your childcare test and reading up about the local area. Make sure you keep in contact with your host family.

Who supports me in the UK
Whilst I'm still here and from the very beginning I have been helped through this process by a lovely lady called Nicola. She is from GAP360 and has helped me every step of the way. Help with visa questions, actually she has helped me with loads of questions even the most stupidest questions you could have asked. Don't worry she's probably heard it all before. Honestly she has been a massive help to me and I know she has helped the other girls also.

So this is it the time next week I will be in New York, I have obviously written this post to help people not just for my original blog readers, because it may not interest everyone. I want to help people and give them an insight into what the process is really like. All flights are paid for and accommodation for a week in New York is also paid for.

If you have any questions at all email me or just comment below, I will be happy to answer any questions. Also this sounds like a sponsored post but it isn't, haha.

thanks for reading