Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Fluffiest Scones You'll Ever Make

I love scones. As a young child I used to bake them with my grandma almost every weekend so my grandad could have fresh scones with a cup of tea in the afternoons. As I've grown up, I bake them less and less, but I still enjoy making them now and then. I've been experimenting with a couple of different recipes over the last couple of years, changing quantities and adding different ingredients, and I've finally found one that gives me perfect scones every time. The secret is to add extra baking powder into the flour, as it makes them extra fluffy and delicious. 

Start off by preheating your oven to 200C. Tip the self-raising flour into a large mixing bowl (no need to sieve), and mix in the salt and the baking powder. Make sure your teaspoon is level when measuring out the baking powder as you can taste it if you use too much, but you want enough of it because this makes the scones nice and fluffy.

Cut the butter into small chunks and rub in until the mix looks like fine bread crumbs. Top tip - shake the bowl to see if all the butter has been rubbed in as the larger crumbs rise to the top of the bowl. Stir in the sugar.

Measure the milk into a jug, and add bit by bit into the dry mixture. Part way through, add in the vanilla extract and stir into the mixture. Carry on adding in the milk until the mixture is quite wet (but not sloppy). Use your hands to 'knead' the dough until all the liquid is absorbed and it is no longer wet - the dough should be smooth. If you have added too much milk, mix in a little more flour - but not too much. 

Tip onto a clean work surface and use your hands to pat the dough until it's just over an inch thick. Take a smooth cutter (they give a better rise), roughly 5cm in diameter, and cut out your scone. Repeat until you have 12 scones. Place the scones onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, and use a pastry brush (or your finger) to brush milk over the tops of the scones. Be careful not to let it run down the side of the scones as it can burn when in the oven. 

Place on the middle shelf of your preheated oven, and after 15-17 minutes they will be nice and golden! I usually find that most of them are done after 15, but one or two need an extra couple of minutes to finish off! If you can wait long enough, allow them to cool and enjoy with clotted cream and jam. If you don't manage to eat them all within 10 minutes of them coming out of the oven, you can freeze any leftover scones. When defrosting, allow to thaw thoroughly and pop in a low oven (approx 150C) for a couple of minutes to warm through.  

As always, I love it when you send me photos of your baking on Twitter - so if you make these please send me a snap!

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Basics: Google Analytics

Oh Google Analytics you confusing little thing you. When I first discovered it I was so hopelessly lost, with all the numbers and graphs, I had no idea what I was looking at. So instead I stuck to the stats provided by my old friend Blogger, and ignored those provided to me by Google Analytics. After years of trying to get on with it, I finally feel like I understand the sheer basics. So I thought I'd write this post especially for those of you that are in the same boat I was, in the sheer hope that it gives you even the slightest clue to what you're looking at. 

Audience Overview // When you first open up Google Analytics this is the first page that loads up. You can recognise which page this is by the fact that it has a big graph and lots of smaller boxes. The smaller boxes tell you various things and you can select a period (and even compare it to a previous one), and it will show you several figures such as the number of users, sessions, page views, and page views per session:  

Sessions // If you don't understand what sessions are, think of them as visits. One session is where one person has visited your blog without closing the tab. If they happen to close your website and then reopen it, you class that as another session, so you would have two (and so on).  

Users // Google Analytics tracks each individual user by their IP address. So each user is a different individual. So if 100 people read your blog, you will have 100 users. 

Page views // This is the total number of pages visited on your website. 

Pages per session // I feel as though this one is pretty self-explanatory. It is the average number of pages someone views when they click onto your website.

Average session duration // Again pretty self-explanatory, but the amount of time someone spends on your blog per visit.

Bounce rate // The rate at which someone clicks on your blog and then 'bounces' back onto the page they were previously viewing. 

New session percentage // The percentage of new visits compared to returning visits. 

Acquisition // Acquisition is basically where all your traffic comes from, or how you 'acquire' it. I find this really useful as it allows you to see which social media platforms you should concentrate on. For example, if you get most of your traffic from Twitter but only tweet once a week, you should start upping your Twitter game. 

All traffic > Source/Medium // This handy little page gives you a list of all that websites that have directed traffic to your blog. It will most likely mention the likes of Bloglovin, organic Google searches, and direct traffic.

Behaviour // Behaviour is useful for getting to know what people are doing whilst they visit your blog. 

Site content > All Pages // This is where you can see what is most popular on your blog. This page displays the most viewed pages on your blog. Usually the homepage (e.g. is displayed first followed by a forward slash ('/').  

Behaviour > Site Speed // Allow not as important as some of the other statistics available on Google Analytics, site speed allows you to see how long it takes to load your website on someone's device. Ideally you are supposed to make sure that your website loads in under 6 seconds. Any slower than this an you may want to consider reducing your image file sizes and getting rid of any unnecessary widgets. 

How do you get on with Google Analytics?

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Meet My Plants

If I am completely honest, I thought I'd be slightly lazy with today's post and stick to pictures as the theme of the post is quite self explanatory (and because I'm one busy lady this week). It's probably quite well known that I LOVE plants. I have quite a few, and I thought I would be completely different and 'alternative' and do a little post introducing my favourites to you! I have others that aren't in proper pots which I may introduce at a later date, but these are my named plants. I even have each of their names written on the bottom of their pots!
First up are my miniature cacti and succulents from Ikea. This are quite a cult favourite as they are pretty cheap and come ready to go in cute little pots. After painstaking hours of research, I have come up with names for most of them, but I am not 100% as I have just been going off photos from cacti identification websites - so if you know the actual species plz help a girl out. 

To the left there is Cornelius, which I believe to be a 'Cereus Jamacaru Monstrosus'. Then in the middle there is Clive, which I can't even guess a species because I have never seen anything like him since, and the turned up no results. And finally there is Oswald, who could either be a 'Discocactus zehntneri' or a 'Eriosyce engleri' - but I have no idea because Oswald looks like pretty much every single cacti species ever. #typical 
On the left is Eugene, which I believe is an 'Austrocylindropuntia vestita' (bit of a mouthful lol). Then there is Sigmund (named after Freud bc of his shape obv) which I think is a 'Stenocereus stellatus'. And finally there's Lorelai, a potential 'Micropuntia tuberculosis rhopalic' which is my favourite of the lot!
Onto plants that I actually know the names of, I have a gorgeous spider plant that I named Sid. Specifically Sid is a 'Chlorophytum comosum' which is a good variety, as the colour of the leaves fade when it needs watering. My mum has one of the same variety in the kitchen, but she used to have another one that looked really weedy and pale, so she got rid of it and bought one like Sid. 
Finally we have Esther, a 'succulent crassula' which was originally three times the size of what she is now, but she developed some kind of fungus, and I was only able to rescue and treat this much of her so the pot looks a little empty now. Then there's the geniously named Spike which is a 'succulent haworthia'. My mum actually named Spike, but I liked it so it stuck! And thats it for now!

Do you have any plants?

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Eye Edit

I think it's safe to say that I have a slight addiction to eye makeup. Approximately half of my makeup collection is made up  of various eye products, and it's crazy how just a quick swipe of eyeliner or a neutral eyeshadow can change your appearance completely. One of my favourite ways to switch up my everyday makeup is to mix and match with different eyeshadows (all neutral of course), and if I'm having a bad skin day I even throw on some winged eyeliner to detract from my skin crisis. 
Eyeshadow // I never really used to wear eyeshadow because I never understood what you could really do with it. But then entering the world of beauty I learnt all about cut creases, inner corners, and blending out. Throwback to five or six years ago and ask me about eyeshadow, I'd probably have no idea about the words that were coming out of your mouth. All I needed back then was a liquid eyeliner (and lots of it), but now... eyeshadow has taken over and its all I ever really wear. My usual go-tos are the Charlotte Tilbury quads (particularly Dolce Vita and Vintage Vamp), and the Maybelline The Nudes Palette. 

Eyeliner // I've had a love affair with eyeliner for the last nine years or so. It all began with a brown eyeliner pencil from Claire's, and I gradually moved onto liquid eyeliner. I've tried a fair few over the years, but my current go-to is the Soap & Glory Supercat Eyeliner. I really didn't think I'd like it when I got it as I've never really got on with felt tip style eyeliners, but shockingly I fell in love with it!

Mascara // Again I've been using mascara for the best part of 10 years. It began by being clear, then I switched to brown, then electric blue (circa 2008), and then black in the latter years. I had a longstanding obsession with the Soap and Glory Thick and Fast Mascara, and although I still use it occasionally, I discovered ones I enjoyed using more. On a more day-to-day basis I use the Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara, and for more special occasions I use the Max Factor 2000 Calorie Waterproof Mascara as it helps hold more of a curl.

Tools // I've been using an eyelash curler ever since I heisted my mum's aged 12. And although that one is long gone, I've only ever owned two since. I bought a No7 one from Boots when I was about 15, but when that broke I upgraded to a NARS one that is now my holy grail. I've had it for three years now(??), and it still looks (and feels) as good as it did when I first purchased it. In the last five years or so I've also gotten really into makeup brushes, and I swear by the Real Techniques collection. They sell every brush you could ever need, and I own very few from other brands.

What is your favourite eye product?

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Making The Most Of Your Time

With the start of the academic year looming, and the horror of being in my third (and final) year of university well on it's way, I thought I better take a look at my schedule to see if I am making the most of my time. Although I am quite good at procrastinating, I try to make sure that I make the best use of my time - creating schedules that allow for plenty of time to binge watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. 

To do lists // To do lists are one of my favourite ways to make sure I'm being productive enough. I tend to make them most days, but if I have a strict deadline I step them up a notch by adding time limits for each task on the list. By doing this, it helps stop you running behind schedule, so you can move on and come back to less important tasks when you have a bit more time. Adding time guidelines enables you to make full use of your day, so when you have a spare moment you can see whether or not you have the time to complete something of your list. 

Diary // Although not everyone likes to use a physical diary, I couldn't live without mine! I've tried using iCal and Google calendar, but I always end up reverting to my trusty planner. I use the Busy B academic diary (which I have spoken about here), and I wouldn't be without it! 

Set aside time to plan your week // I like to spend my Sunday mornings laying out and planning the upcoming week. It helps me remember appointments and deadlines so I don't end up missing things. As this post goes up, I will most likely be sat in bed with my week planner, my calendar, and my diary seeing what I have to do up to next Sunday! 

Prioritise // There are only 1440 minutes in each day, so make sure you prioritise the most time sensitive tasks to make sure you get them done. Take blogging for example, don't write a blog post due next months, when you haven't finished tomorrow's - it's just common sense isn't it really!  

Stay focused // The second you get distracted it the second your day's work will probably grind to a hault. So make an effort to move any unnecessary items out of the way so you aren't tempted to give them your undivided attention. My personal distraction are my phone and the internet. Although some tasks require the use of the internet, I try and make sure that I don't end up scrolling through ASOS for 3 hours at a time by adding internet filters - blocking me from mindlessly checking Facebook and the likes until I turn them off. 

Slow down // Although this may seem counter-intuitive, it is extremely important when doing a major task like an assignment, or an application etc. By slowing down and not rushing, you minimise the chances of making silly little mistakes - which in the grand scheme of things makes tasks quicker as you don't have to spend time correcting a tonne of mistakes!

How do you make the most of your time?

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Workouts For Complete Beginners

I haven't always been that into exercise, and even after a year of pretty regular exercise I'd still consider myself a beginner (maybe intermediate if I was wearing the rose-tinted glasses). I'm sure there are many of you out there who would like to create some sort of routine, but have no idea where to start, or what kind of exercise to do. So I thought I'd share some of my favourite beginner level workouts with you, so you can reap the multitude of benefits that regular exercise brings!

Yoga // I've always been interested in Yoga, but it's something I've never really done until recently. After messing up my ankle, I've been trying to incorporate more low impact workouts into my routine and Yoga was one of the first things that sprung to mind. After a long search for online Yoga classes that are for complete beginners, I found Yoga With Adriene on YouTube - and she has a lot of videos that are suitable for all levels. Plus she uploads a new routine every Wednesday, so there are plenty of different routines!

Swimming // Swimming is one of my preferred methods for getting some exercise as I don't really see swimming as a workout as such - but it definitely is! Swimming works almost every single muscle group in your body, so is perfect for toning up any problem areas. You don't have to mega fit to reap the benefits of a couple of laps in your local pool, plus it does wonders for those with stress and anxiety issues as the water provides a really calming environment. 

DVDs // If you don't fancy being watched by other humans, it is perfectly acceptable to workout in the comfort of your own home. DVDs are an excellent way to squeeze in a workout wherever you can, as you don't have to take time out of your day to travel to the local gym. On a morning before university, I like to get up 20 minutes earlier than I need to and fit in a quick cardio workout before going on to get ready for the day. I highly recommend Davina Mccall's DVDs as they are tailored to work different areas of the body, and she has the exact same reactions to her personal trainers as you do watching from home. My current favourite is '5 Week Fit', which comes with a 5 week training schedule packed with different workouts for different days!

Running // Probably not one of the most exciting workouts, but one that requires no equipment or an expensive membership fee. There are dozens of different 'couch to 5k' apps that help you gradually build up your stamina until you are able to run 5 kilometers. You can make running more exciting by picking different routes - you could run through fields, or next to a river, or even through the centre of town. Whatever floats your boat!

Cycling // When I say cycling, I don't necessarily mean a hardcore spin class - unless you want to partake in that sort of thing (good luck to you). A little cycle around your neighbourhood, or the local park can be enough to work up a sweat! 

Online fitness classes // If you're a beginner because the thought of a gym makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry, why not try a fun fitness class? In today's world you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home to get a good workout! I've tried a few online boxercise and Zumba classes and loved them! I quite like the Popsugar fitness videos - and if you don't fancy boxercise of Zumba, they have plenty of other fitness videos on their channel. 

What do you like to do to keep fit?

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest
© Charlotte Sophia Roberts. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig