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Making The Most Of Your Year Abroad: My Top Tips

31 Aug 2015


Around this time last year, I moved to France to begin my year abroad. This year abroad just so happened to be the best year of my life, but although it was fantastic, there are a few things that I wish I'd done and a few attitudes that I wish I'd made an effort to change whilst being abroad. It's so important to find a balance between having fun and learning, but it's also so easy to get lost in the excitement of your new country. So, I've thought of a few things that I wish someone had told me before I embarked on my adventure and have listed them down below.

10 Reasons Why I Couldn't Possibly Go To The Gym Today

28 Aug 2015

"I have never made up an excuse for not going to the gym" - said no one ever.

If at any point in your life you've joined a gym, then you'll probably know what I'm talking about when I say gym excuses. We've all been there; maybe it's raining, maybe it's not; maybe the sun is shining, it's a lovely day and you just can't be bothered. Well, I joined my local gym slightly over a month ago and I can safely say that I have probably used each and every one of these excuses at least once. Sometimes I've managed to convince myself out of it, but other times my darling mum has had to step in with a brutally honest comeback (she's good at those). Today I'm going to share with you my (sometimes very blunt) comebacks to the most classic gym excuses. You never know, it might even motivate you.

So, without further ado, I couldn't possibly go to the gym today because...:

Recipe: Viennese Fingers

26 Aug 2015


Wednesday is baking day, I have decided. When I'm back at university I am going to dedicate the day solely to baking (and my morning classes of course), and I am going to shower my housemates with freshly baked wonders as a congratulations for getting halfway through the week. Lucky them.

This Wednesday, I have a little biscuit recipe for you, which is adapted from the good old BBC. Viennese biscuits are some of my absolute favourites, because they are incredibly light and moreish and they're so blooming easy to make. Trust me. 

50 THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY // TAG

22 Aug 2015
Firstly, thank you to one of my absolute favourite bloggers Beth, for tagging me in the ultra positive, sweet 50 Things That Make Me Happy tag. It's always especially lovely to have someone mention you in their blog unexpectedly and I've realised that I should probably do it a lot more. It's pretty easy to forget how far a little appreciation can go, and it will quite often make someone's day. Now that I've finished this little introduction, I'm off on a commenting/expressing my undying love for other bloggers spree...

I've tagged a few people at the bottom as well!


1. Smiles from strangers.
2. Long coffee catch ups.
3. Cold evenings on the beach.
4. Rollercoasters.
5. Heights.
6. Fizzy strawberry laces.
7. Studio Ghibli Films.
8. Starry nights.
9. Molten Chocolate Puddings.
10. My good day playlist.

COUNTRY WALKS & ROWING BOATS IN WALES

18 Aug 2015

When I was very little, my uncle bought a holiday house in Pembrokeshire, Wales. We spent a week there most summers for what was probably about ten years of my life until my teenage years came about and I began making other plans. One year it was Reading Festival, next it was driving lessons, next it was work. The main thing was that I simply wasn't bothered by it anymore. I think a lot of people go through stages early on in their lives where they just lack the appreciation for simple, beautiful things that we should be incredibly grateful more. I wish I'd made more use of the house, but perhaps because I didn't for the past four years, it's made me appreciate it so much more this time round.

Fortunately, my lack of full-time job meant that I was able to venture up there last weekend with my family (minus the big brother who is far too busy working away). I'm pretty sure my parents were surprised when I said I'd come and when I actually committed to it and stuck to my word.

How would I describe the area that we stay in? Well, it is without a doubt incredibly rural Wales and I'm not just talking no wifi hotspots, I'm talking no 3G (let alone 4G). Admittedly it was kind of nice, because although I'd find it ridiculously impractical to be living there, it was lovely to be able to switch off when I was out and about. Having said that, I did find myself taking snapchats and then sending them properly when I was back in the blessed with wifi house, but I just wanted to share my experience with my friends so I am definitely completely excused from that.

Our first full day consisted of a walk along the moors with a beautiful coastal view and a lot of rocks to climb on. My parents still act annoyingly surprised when I volunteer to go on a walk with them, but I guess the last time I was in Wales was when I was 16 and in that annoying phase where walks are just boring and tiring. I must be getting old now, or just wiser. We'll go with wiser.




There's a big pond at the bottom of the garden where I decided to attempt to row a boat with my dog in it. She did want to join me I promise, despite the worried expression she seems to have on her face! I love anything that's on water and I love canoeing, so I always wondered whether or not I'd be good at rowing. In fact, I like to think that I'm fantastic at ever single water sport there is despite never even having done most of them. I pretty much led myself to believe that I'd have a natural talent and would find my calling and have to join the Rowing Club in Leeds and become an absolutely blooming fantastic rower, but surprise surprise, that was very ambitious thinking. I definitely got the hang of it though, considering I've never rowed before!



And this was the glorious view from the house. You can just about make out the sea in this photo, along with a not so picturesque digger at the bottom of the garden... nothing's ever perfect is it. I'll be posting pictures from my coastal walk in a few days so look out for that!

THE SKY GARDEN

15 Aug 2015

Remember that London Bucket List of mine? Remember how The Sky Garden was right up at number one? Well, I've finally managed to tick it off my list and it was just as lovely as I had expected it to be.

There are two tips that I will give you, should you wish to visit The Sky Garden in the future:

1. Once you leave Monument tube station you will literally be able to see the building because it's the tallest building in sight. Don't ask someone for directions and definitely don't trust their google mapping skills because they will be wrong, and you will end up in completely the wrong direction. Trust me. 

2. Book weeks in advance. Seriously, leave like a month in peak times like August because it will undoubtedly be sold out.

Now for some pretty pretty views of London and the inside of The Sky Garden...






100 OF YOU

12 Aug 2015

100 Followers
100 thank yous to the 100(+ 6) of you who are now following me on Bloglovin'

I started this blog in my second year of University because I wanted my own platform to write on. As much as I enjoy writing academic essays (no genuinely, I do) I never really had anywhere to write more relaxed, chilled out pieces. I've always been a digital kind of gal and blogging seemed like the perfect way to express myself. I've struggled to fully throw myself into imogenscribbles in the past year and admittedly I'm still not 100% happy with it, but the blogging community has helped a lot. Any comment at all puts a smile on my face, because it reminds me that there are readers out there who have taken the time out of their days to read what I've written and to look at the photos that I've taken. I honestly thought I'd never get to 100 so this is a great day! I might even bake a cake to celebrate...

Defeating My Worst Enemy
I am my own worst enemy with regards to most aspects of my life, my blog included. Sometimes, as with all things we feel unconfident about, it's incredibly easy to take the avoidance route. Sometimes, I felt like I had no readers and no followers. I felt like no one cared and probably just thought my writing was boring. Sometimes I genuinely felt like I didn't even want anyone reading my content because I was embarrassed by it. Then I thought - hey, you know what? If you don't like it, don't read it. You can go on with your lives never having to read my blog again and good for you. Not everyone cares about where I went last weekend, or what I've been baking recently, and that's okay. It doesn't have to be liked by everybody, just like I myself don't have to be liked by everybody. Recently, I had a realisation; I knew I need to do one of two things - either close down the blog completely or examine it bit by bit, find the key areas that I wanted to improve upon and do something about it. Become proactive.

Being Proactive
As of this week, I have organised a blog plan so that I have more structure to imogenscribbles. There's a lot I want to change; but first, I'm going to start with my post organisation and scheduling, which is something I've wanted to rectify for a long time. I was surprised at the number of post ideas that filled my brain when I just sat down with a calendar and brainstormed. It is in my nature to be organised; if I'm not and if I lack structure, then I can easily lose my way. That's just me. Some people go with the flow all the time, and that's just them. This new plan has already helped me massively and I feel a lot more positive and content! Yay me.

So, you know. I just wanted to say thank you. You are all little stars, without whom this blog might have died a long time ago.

Lots of Love,
Imogen x


SPONTANEITY IN LONDON: BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM & NEAL'S YARD

9 Aug 2015

Don't you just love it when you have no real set plan, you just go with the flow and even though the day's not perfect, it's kind of special? Sometimes spontaneity is the best, and in Wednesday's case, it definitely was. 

We all know I love London. Blah blah blah. You can see how much I love London in my London 2015 Bucket List which I am ever so gradually getting through with the help of my ever-obliging family and friends. I think my mum probably decided I might shut up about my obsession with the city if we went on a girly day out there, and she even agreed that we could attempt to get last minute tickets to a musical. This was probably one of the most expensive ideas on my list and it was also one of the most unrealistic, as we had left it till the actual day to get tickets. Luckily for us, I spend far too much of my spare time googling musicals and theatre productions and ways to get tickets, and I was already familiar with this Theatre Monkey article on how to get theatre tickets for less. And so, we hopped on a train on Wednesday and ventured over to Waterloo, with a lot of ideas, but not much expectation. 

The bad news was that it was absolutely prime tourist time and South Bank/Westminster was full of little kiddies and various large international groups. No No No. Not my cup of tea. People were moving at the pace of snails I swear, and we really needed to get to the theatre to see what tickets they had on offer! In future I must try not to be a London newbie and always choose the less touristy route instead (Embankment bridge!) when walking from Waterloo. 

Anyway, forty-five minutes later, after what should have been a twenty-minute walk we managed to nab ourselves some tickets for Bend It Like Beckham from the Phoenix Theatre Box Office. They didn't have quite the savings I was expecting, but we did get some pretty decent seats for £39 as opposed to £49. We also passed by Leicester Square TKTS which I've never used before but seemed to have quite a lot of tickets for shows on offer. I should also mention the new site seatplan.com, which is great for anyone who wants to know more about what the different seats are like, and is a site that I will definitely be checking next time I go to the theatre. Now, I'm not going to sit here and lie about it being my all time favourite musical. That trophy would have to go to The Lion King, which I saw in January for a whopping great £72.50 and which I would pay a whopping great £72.50 for again. I would however highly recommend Bend It Like Beckham to anyone and everyone. It was fun, exciting, uplifting and the dancing was fantastic. The actors were all fantastic, and the script was perfect. The director is actually the same Gurinder Chadha who directed the film, so the musical was incredibly faithful to the film itself. Admittedly, this stole away from the story ever so slightly, because I knew exactly what was going to be said and what was going to happen. Having said this, I don't know whether it could've been pulled off as well if they hadn't stuck so well to the film!

We had lunch at Muriel's Kitchen and then popped on over to Covent Garden, which seems to be our point of call whenever we visit London. Just around the corner, we actually stumbled upon Neal's Yard, which is a place I've wanted to see ever since I saw it pinned on Pinterest a while back! It was so pretty and colourful, even in the rain, so I would definitely recommend anyone popping down there for a quick visit if you have the chance!




Imogen x


MY TOP 10 GENERAL BAKING TIPS

7 Aug 2015
In an unprecedented turn of events, I have actually been quite busy lately and I haven't had much time to bake anything. Yes, I am aware that The Great British Bake Off has just begun and yes, I am a big fan of Mezza Bezza and Paul Hollywood, but sometimes my priorities lie elsewhere.

Although I do have a few recipes in mind for this weekend, I'm paying homage to the start of GBBO this week by sharing with you some of my essential baking tips. These are probably suited mainly for beginners, but some of them are very general, and things I've only learnt the importance of quite recently.


1. SOFTEN THAT BUTTER.

Always soften the butter if you're using a wooden spoon to mix. Even cubing it will help, but leaving it out at room temperature or microwaving it (carefully) for a few seconds will do the trick.

2. AND PLEASE CHILL THAT COOKIE DOUGH.

When you have time to chill your dough, even if only for a few hours, then please do. Of course, it depends on what cookies you're making, but if you rush them into the oven immediately then they may turn out more cakey than expected. 

3. SALTED BUTTER COULD BE WHAT YOU'RE MISSING.

If you are like me and don't like the taste of the standard vanilla buttercream used on cupcakes, then try using slightly salted butter. Yummy.

4. INSTAGRAM WORTHY BAKES ARE FAB, BUT NOT ESSENTIAL.

I've literally spent hours (honestly, just ask my family) trying to decide what to bake based on what I'm in the mood for and what will look the best. I quite often end up being so tired out from the decision process that I don't even make anything in the end. Just relax! Bake what you want. Instagram should not control your life and the taste is far more important.

5. READ THOSE REVIEWS.

When finding recipes online on sites like BBC GoodFood, try to read the poor reviews and note down changes the reviewers have made to the recipe. This will save you from making common mistakes.

6. PRETTY RECIPES BOXES/BOOKS ARE YOUR FRIENDS.

Get a pretty book to put your favourite recipes in, because if you just try to bookmark and save everything you find online then you will end up forgetting to print them out. It just makes finding recipes so much simpler and it's also great for adding notes when you want to change up a recipe.

7. ROOM TEMPERATURE BUTTER = ROOM TEMPERATURE EGGS.

Another little thing which admittedly, is not essential. Look at the recipe and if it says room temperature ingredients, use room temperature ingredients.

8. BAKING TIME VARIES DEPENDING ON YOUR OVEN.

I barely ever actually stick to the baking time as stated on the recipe, because my oven seems to be slower than the majority. Familiarise yourself with your oven and find out what works for you. If the recipe says remove the cake after 30 minutes, you don't have to stick to that.

9. DON'T TRY TO OUTSMART THE RECIPE UNTIL YOU ARE EXPERIENCED ENOUGH.

A lot of my friends and family lose patience and don't bother following the recipe properly. This can work with simpler baked goods like cakes, but even then it's little details like missing out the baking powder that can ruin the end product. Stick to the instructions until you feel confident enough to experiment.

10. FANCY EQUIPMENT = FANCY PRODUCTS

Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do by hand. Invest in a piping bag and some nozzles, cookie cutters, a pastry brush, a sugar shaker etc. etc. If you don't care all that much about perfect appearance (which is completely fair enough, it won't be on that plate looking pretty forever), then you can save your pennies and completely ignore this.

What's your top baking tip? That one thing you continuously couldn't be bothered to do until one day you were feeling experimental, and now you swear by it? Let me know!

Imogen x


MORE OF KEW GARDENS

3 Aug 2015
Good morning all!

I am hoping that this week is going to be an ultra productive one, as I plan on being proactive with everything I want to get done before my summer holidays are over. So what better way to begin a proactive mentality than with a blog post at the very start of the week? Not Tuesday morning, not even Monday evening. Monday morning. 

So, in the voice of an over aggressive fitness instructor: LET'S GET THIS CAN DO ATTITUDE GOING, GUYS. With some more pretty pictures from Kew Gardens. 

You can see more pictures from this year here, and those from last year here, here and here.





I am still chuckling away and these two photos as we speak. 




Kew Gardens is looking very pretty this year, so absolutely pay it a visit if you're nearby!

Imogen x