Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015: A Reflection

I can't believe as I'm sitting here writing this, 2015 has come to an end. It's been honestly such a rollercoaster of a year. I graduated from school at the end of last year receiving a graduate diploma and decided it would be a year for me to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I feel like I've become so much older but also learnt how scary the real world is out there. I decided to recap and journal some moments from 2015. Firstly, let me look through all my social media to try and remember what I've done!

I started this year by heading off to Europe. First stop was Zürich, Switzerland a city I immediately fell in love with. The culture, the atmosphere everything about it was beautiful. I enjoyed watching the sunrise over the swiss alps and hearing the clocks chime on the hour. The people of this city were so friendly and always ready to point out directions to us tourists. Plus who doesn't want the smell of chocolate following you around?

After Zürich I headed to Oslo, Norway. Although it wasn't love at first sight, Oslo grew on me. I quickly discovered all the fortresses, castles and viking ships which excited me because I am utterly obsessed with anything medieval. I also got a chance to see The Scream painting by Edvard Munch in the National Gallery. While I was there, it began snowing and I built my first snowman, well snow cat! After Oslo, I headed to Warsaw, Poland. I was a little bit overwhelmed of being there. The language terrified me and I felt like such a foreigner. I learnt a bit about the history of Warsaw and thought it was pretty remarkable how they managed replicate the city after the war from a few photographs.

From Warsaw I returned to Toronto, Canada. I was so happy to see all my friends whom I'd met during my time on student exchange. Unfortunately, while I was in Canada my lung decided to collapse on me leaving me in hospital for a week and for my birthday too. The entire time I kept thinking to myself, thank goodness this happened in Canada where they speak English. The incident resulted in the rest of my travels being cancelled. I was so upset about this because I was suppose to meet up with my family in England for the first time in fourteen years. I decided to study in Toronto for six months and found myself in a student resident living away from home for the first time. It was such an experience and even though I got pretty homesick, I was so glad I did it.

On my return flight from Toronto to Melbourne I had a layover in Hong Kong, where my mothers side of the family are from. It was so lovely to see all my family after feeling so alone for six months. I stayed with them for two weeks and couldn't be happier. My older cousin is a photographer and took me to some of the best photo spots in Hong Kong giving me little tips here and there on how to improve my photography. Unfortunately, I discovered mosquitos love me got over thirty bites during my stay.

After that, I returned home for a couple of nights before I had to head off to Adelaide. I remember being really grumpy because all I wanted to do was sleep in my own bed and cuddle my cat but I had to do a dance audition which I actually got! I was so thrilled I couldn't sleep all night. I danced for a few months but realised the stress fractures in my tibias had retuned ultimately stopping my dancing career. I was pretty devastated and still am but trying to stay positive! While waiting for my tibia's to fully recover, I knew I had one last thing to do this year... to see my family.

I haven't actually seen or spoken to my UK family since I was four years old (family issues) but I knew the time was finally right! I literally went to the travel agent and said, 'I'm planning of going to England next week' to which he replied, 'well we had better get a move on then!'. I stayed a few nights in London and did all the tourist things (like seeing the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour) before heading to Edinburgh, Oxford, Hampshire, Cornwall and Bath. It has honestly been the best trip of my life and I won't be lying in saying I did shed a few happy tears.

Next year, I'm going to go back to school! I have no idea what I'm going to study yet but I've learnt that when one door closes another one opens. I actually really enjoyed school so I'm quite excited to put my thinking cap back on. I'm also pretty excited about meeting new people! For now, I'm absolutely broke but at least I got to live and see the world! Hopefully 2016 won't be so dramatic but I guess a little drama here and there doesn't hurt anyone, right?
Here are my top nine Instagram photos from 2015! If you're curious to know yours, you can click here.

Time to bring on 2016 - Happy New Year!

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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Christmas Star Cookies


Apparently today is National Cookie Day. I'm not entirely sure who makes up all these events but I just go with the flow because I enjoy cookies. Ever since the Christmas tree has gone up, I've been feeling so festive. Naturally, I put two and two together and bam, we've got Christmas Star Cookies. It's a simple egg-free recipe that make about 16 sugar cookies. I also added in a bit of cinnamon because I always feel like spices are a vital part of festive baking.

Ingredients
Dough
1 Tbs milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour (plus extra)
1/6 cup honey
1/4 cup icing sugar
100g soft butter

Icing
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
silver pearls

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
2. Line your baking tray.
3. Mix the milk, cinnamon, self-raising flour, plain flour, honey, icing sugar and butter.
3. You may need to add more plain flour if the dough is very sticky.
4. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
5. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it's 6mm thick.
6. Use a star cutter to cut the dough and carefully place it onto your baking tray.
7. Place the tray in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes until the cookies are golden.
8. Let the cookies sit on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
9. Beat the egg white with an electric whisk until it becomes stiff like a meringue.
10. Add in the icing sugar and lemon juice and continue whisking.
11. Put the icing in a piping bag and line the edge of the cookies placing a pearl on each point.

Hopefully this post has put you into a festive baking mood. Let me know if you end up making these cookies. They're really quick an easy to make and I think they look quite sweet. Most importantly, they taste delicious!
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