- Fine liners
- Universal charging cables
- Sitting outdoors under a warm blanket
- Warming your feet on a radiator
- Donating books to charity
See the whole list here
I’m a good cook, but a lousy baker. I can just about manage cakes and cupcakes but biscuits and cookies have always alluded me. Since going gluten-free I’ve found it even harder – the science of baking is even more difficult to tame when you’re dealing with tapioca starch and xanthan gum!
Last time I made cookies, this is how they turned out. Not great. I mean, they actually tasted okay but they looked like an absolute mess, ha.
My friend/boss Rob decided to help me out of my biscuit dilemma, and taught me how to make delicious cookies last month. I’ve made them twice now and both times they’ve been great so I’m counting this as a skill learnt! :) Thanks Rob!
(adapted from David Lebovitz)
1. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy
2. Add in the egg and the vanilla
3. Stir the flour and salt into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chopped chocolate
4. Cover and chill the batter until firm. It’s preferable to let it rest overnight, apparently, if you can wait that long for delicious cookies. Give it at least 4 hours in the fridge or freezer if you can fit the bowl in
5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
6. Form the cookie dough into balls about the size of a large walnut. Place the balls evenly spaced on the baking sheet, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed
7. Bake the cookies for ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until they look about set, but are not brown
8. Remove from oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then remove them with a spatula to a cooling rack
The only thing left to do after that is eat the delicious cookies. Om nom nom!
2014 was my first proper year of freelancing. Booking clients, invoicing people, submitting a tax return – all fun stuff. I thought it’d be a fun exercise to share a little bit about what I learnt in my first year as a freelancer, in case any of you are considering taking the plunge! First up, some background.
I actually fell into it by accident, to be honest. A combination of being unable to find a permanent contract anywhere and a couple of friend’s with small businesses offering me some contract work and boom, there you go, I’m suddenly a freelancer. I’m pretty outgoing so I talk to people a lot, which is also handy for a freelance career. Most of my work comes through word of mouth!
I’ve been dabbling with coding for about 15 years now, and I’ve been online for a loooong time (I am 31, it happens), so even tho my general job skills were based in administration it didn’t feel like too much to transition what I was doing in my spare time (chatting on Twitter and building websites) to my actual job.
I mostly do marketing and social media, and WordPress dev altho I also create content and provide customer service support. Multi-faceted! I’ve always been interested in the internet and building websites, and I’m supremely chatty and people based, so they seemed like a good fit for me.
I don’t have a set in stone routine, but I usually start work at around 10 (altho I do wake up earlier than that, I swear! Ha). I usually work with certain clients on certain days, so I’ll either be doing some marketing stuff or I’ll be working on a website design depending on where in the week I am. I’m a completely paperless operation so everything is done via my laptop, which is pretty sweeet. It means I can work from anywhere in the world, essentially, which is a pretty nice feeling.
I normally stop for lunch at around 1pm and try to take a 45 minute break away from my laptop and my phone. Then it’s back to work until 5 or 6, depending on when Q gets home / how much work I have left.
Sometimes I work in the evenings, but I try not to because it doesn’t feel like a great use of my time and my brain is definitely more tired then.
I am good at talking to people and self-motivating but I’m bad at time-management and sticking to one task at a time. 2014 was an interesting year – I definitely made some mistakes (make backups, kids. Seriously), but overall it went well. I built a small core of happy clients who like to tell other people to hire me. They’re really the best.
Pros of being a freelancer
Cons of being a freelancer
I really want to move more towards WordPress dev (themes and bespoke stuff next!) and maybe an app or two? Who knows. The world is my proverbial oyster, really.
If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer, these are some of the tools that I use on a daily basis that you might find useful.
They’re all free tools (some have premium options), which is nice if you’re just starting out as you can see what works for you before you commit to anything.
I also use Treehouse to learn new coding languages and skills, and while it’s not free I do think it’s worth it!
Honestly, I would recommend freelancing if you’re sick of your job and want to try working for yourself. It’s an interesting process and it won’t suit everyone, but I really think that it suits me well :) Here’s to 2015!
One of my 31 for 31 goals was to make my own jam.This was actually the first goal I ticked off the list, waaaay back in July, ha. I just forgot to, um, blog about it for a while. Oops?
I’ve always loved the idea of bottling and preserving my own foods, but wimped out every time the recipe got to the ‘now sterilise the jars’ bit. I’m not even sure why, really, it’s not like sterilising jars is at all difficult – I think I just got snagged on it and convinced myself it was way more difficult than it was!
My mum had some rhubarb in her garden, so rhubarb jam it was. It’s ridiculously simple really – boil up a load of fruit and sugar and shove it in a jar. Jam tarts optional, but delicious. Still, knowing how easy it is has boosted my confidence with preserves. Next stop, marmalade…
I thought I’d do the final roundup of my colour 365 posts, since I did all the rest! :)
October was purple, which was a bit of a challenging month. For some reason we just don’t have a huge amount of purple in the house, so some of my photos are….kind of crap. I think the lint roller is probably the worst one, ha!
Gold! Finale month! Christmas! Thank goodness for Christmas, so many of these photos are of Christmas decoration and gifts which made it a hell of a lot easier to complete, ha. I particular liked my final shot, which was ‘2015’ spelled out in Ferrero Rochers.
My absolute favourite photo of the year was this one tho, perhaps unsurprisingly:
Annnnnd here they all are together. (I know I posted this on my resolutions post, but look, it’s really pretty.) I was so happy that a) I managed to complete the year and b) that they looked so awesome when i put them all together!
I think that might be my 365 pot spent tho. Two is enough for anyone in one lifetime, this shit is exhausting.