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26 December 2016

Honeycomb and Salted Caramel Cheesecake Recipe



If you've been following me on my other social media over the Christmas period, you may have come across some photos of this years 'main' Christmas dessert. I created this delicious cheesecake from a recipe I found deep in the internet, however the original recipe was a little bit off with some of the measurements, and the salted caramel sauce was more caramel, less salted... so with a bit of editing and shifting around, I thought I'd post my own variation.

Disclaimer: Don't read this on an empty stomach, you will get hungry!



FOR THE BASE
1 pack of digestive biscuits (250g) 
150g 'real' butter, melted

FOR THE CHEESECAKE
600g of cream cheese
300ml of double cream
4 crunchie bars
100g of icing sugar

FOR THE TOPPING
200g of soft brown sugar
100g of 'real' butter
1 tsp salt
150ml of double cream 
3 crunchie bars

Firstly, line the bottom of a round cake tin with greaseproof/baking paper. If you have one, I strongly recommend a tin which has a removable bottom, as it can get a bit messy when removing the cheesecake! Pour the entire pack of biscuits into either a bowl, or tightly sealed sandwich bag, and a crush (I used a rolling pin- if you have one, you could use a blender). Add the melted butter to the mix and fold into the biscuits until they stick together, then pour the contents into the bottom of the cake tin, levelling off so the base is approx. half an inch thick. Put in the fridge to set whilst you make the rest of the cheesecake.

Using an electric whisk (or hand whisk if you have the patience/muscles!), whip all of the double cream in a mixing bowl until stiff. Add the cream cheese and sift 100g into the bowl, folding together until fully mixed. You can then either use the rolling pin again, or simply by hand, crush the crunchie bars and add to the mixture. This is often better if it's not completely crushed, so you have the odd one or two chunks of honeycomb within the cheesecake. Pour the mixture on to the biscuit base, and put in the fridge to set.

The cheesecake will need a couple of hours to set, I did the first part on Christmas Eve and the topping (to follow), on Christmas day.

Remove the cheesecake from the mould, and crush up the crunchie bars with the same method as before to sprinkle on top of the cake. To make the salted caramel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and when fully melted, add the soft brown sugar. When the sugar has melted, add the double cream and salt and slowly mix on the stove, being sure not to let it come to the boil. When it's ready, it should be a dark brown colour. Pour into a jug or bowl, and pop in the fridge for about an hour. When you want to serve the cheesecake, pour the salted caramel over the top- there should also be enough to serve it with alongside!


Let me know if you do decide to try this out! 

I hope you have all had a WONDERFUL Christmas and are bathing in food coma's and wine! 

Ciao for Now!
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24 December 2016

2016, The Year of Friendship

At the end of each year, I try to equate the year passed to something. 2013, was the year of Travel, 2014, the year of Growing Up, 2015, the year of Me and 2016, has without a doubt, been the year of Friends. 

I know Alice's Antics is read by friends and strangers alike, but I wanted to write this blog post to give any one and everyone an insight into my life. So whether you know me as a blogger, a student, or a friend, this blog post is a personal one which revolves around my year, rather than a general 'applies to all' style. Just a quick heads up. xoxoxo

 There are a number of reasons which has brought me to the 2016 conclusion, some of them are wonderful and some of them are sad stories of drifting away and growing up- 2016 marked the first time in four years my friendship group from school haven't had a giant Christmas soirĂ©e. When you've all got your own agendas and are in every corner of the world, it's hard to come together even when you really, really want to. 

**

2016 began with me falling down the stairs and breaking my foot. Not exactly how I wanted to start the 'new year, new me' phase, but none the less, I had to get on with it. 

The repercussions of being immobile meant I was at one of the lowest I've ever been. I went from playing football for the university, being the marketing director, achieving 2:1s and 1sts in my degree, to essentially not being able to leave the house without the aid of somebody. (This was proven by the many many times I slipped over whilst on crutches). But this phase in my life did also teach me a lot about the people I surrounded myself with. Which was, how incredibly lucky I am. 

From picking me up off the dance floor (woops) to picking me up off the pavement (double woops), my housemates are the first ones I'd like to mention. When I realised I couldn't afford to study in Washington DC, I spent weeks feeling like my heart had been ripped out. Studying in America was something I'd wanted to do since I was 12 and saved up my pocket money to buy an authentic Princeton Letterman jacket. But although I have no idea what Washington could have had in store for me, moving in with 5 of the most beautiful, strong, independent (sometimes lol) women I have ever met has made this year a far brighter place. Thank you for making my life 100x easier than it could have been, and for counteracting any of the hardships with laughter, love and a lot of tea. 
Following on from the disaster of Washington, I decided to find a job over the summer which would ease the pain. It may not be the White House, but instead I moved to France for nearly 4 months. And there, I found 3 extremely different soulmates, and a group of friends who know things about me no one else does. Living, working and socialising as a group of 8 is extremely intense. We were out clubbing at 3am and scrubbing floors together by 9am. Essentially, your whole experience is determined by the people who do your summer season alongside you. And although we had one 'bad' experience, it basically united us in our friendships with each other and by the end of the summer I felt like I'd made sisters rather than friends.

(apologies for the ultra HD photos to follow)
Returning to England in September, I was essentially, dreading it. I'd just had the summer of my life in France and the thought of 9am lectures, 7 hour library stints and the impending doom of my 10,000 word dissertation, I was dreading the thought of returning to Royal Holloway. 

But by December, I genuinely wasn't ready for this term to end. And I would say, amongst everything else, my housemates and the new radio show, the reason I had such a great term, was actually down to two people. Last (academic) year, I made friends with two needy first years, who started our friendship by liking every single one of my profile photos on Facebook. It's annoying when one person does it- and I had two. From being the person I call when I'm walking home scared or waking up at 6:30am and knowing the other is awake because of breathing (lol), to being coupled off by friends and family, having 7am Facetimes and introducing me to shinier, new friends... It's weird becoming friends with two people at exactly the same time, because for a long time I forgot about the two of them as individuals. And even though they're both extremely different, (and equally annoying), there's no doubt, a year on, I'm the most needy one in the relationship. 

Finally, are the friendships which are as strong now, as they were 5, 6 or 7 years ago when we met. I've written about all of the positive friendship experiences in the last year, but it's also the year of Friendship because of the ones I've drifted from or just mutually accepted the lack of common ground. So it's just as important to mention the friends I have who have stuck by my side through thick and thin, when I've been living in different countries or when they've been too busy to breathe but still call me up to wish me happy birthday. They're the best of my best friends and the people who have been by my side through it all, so it would be ridiculous to write a blog post about friendship and not include them. 
 It's all a part of growing up, but right now I feel like I'm surrounded by a group of people I can depend on. Whether it's calling them up drunkenly at 11pm saying I'm outside (sorry Alvaro) or crawling into bed with them at 3am because I think there's a murderer in the house (sorry Saffron). 2016 has been the year of Friendship, and I am so excited to find out what 2017 has in store. 

Ciao for Now!
x
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23 December 2016

10 Things We Can Learn Watching Love, Actually



Love Actually.

Is it the best Christmas film around???? Some would definitely argue yes. And although my heart leans towards Nativity, for me, the Christmas period doesn't really exist if you haven't watched Colin Firth speak terrible Portuguese.

But it's not all turtlenecks and low-key porn stars. Love Actually is also one of the most relatable films ever. Maybe we won't ever have a surprise brass band at our wedding, or run through security at an airport, but there are some things Love Actually just gets.


1. The airport is the ultimate people watching spot.

2. You are never too young or too old for love.


3. Colin Frissell's exist in real life. And we all know one.


4. Harbouring a love for 2 years, 7 months, 3 days and an hour is, like, totally normal. Ahem. 


5. There is a turtleneck for every occasion. 


6. Having Hugh Grant as a Prime Minister was laughable in 2003. Now here we are, 2016, and it's not looking all that laughable now.


7. Some people need us more than others.


8. All you need for your romantic gesture to go down in history, is some A1 Card and a black Sharpie.



9.  The nativity scene is the single most relatable throwback to growing up British in any film. (In my Nativity, I was a duck...)


10. Most of the time, love isn't grand gestures and walks in the rain. But it can be found anywhere.

....Literally.



Ciao for Now!
x


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21 December 2016

A Day in Bath

Of all the beautiful cities I've visited across the world, Bath remains one of my favourites. 

If you've never been fortunate enough to visit, the small city is centred around the beautiful Bath Abbey, but there's literally something for everyone... because opposite the Abbey, is Primark. 

This year, the Christmas spirit just hasn't hit me. I've been to Christmas parties, winter balls, I've had Christmas dinners and the house is fully decorated, but I can't seem to get into the festivities as a I normally would.

So as a last minute attempt to find the Christmas elf within, myself and the beautiful Lizzie decided to meet up in Bath for some all things Christmassy, christmas food, christmas shopping... and Christmas cocktails.
To break up our very hard, busy day of shopping (ahem) we decided to go for a walk alongside the river. 

In the summer of 2014, I actually did tours around Bath, so I treated Lizzie to some exciting facts which she absolutely loved...

Although it was quickly time to get back to the shopping.

Unfortunately, we had just missed the Christmas markets, which was wholly disappointing. 

Usually in the build up to Christmas, the streets are alive with the buzz of tourists seeking out homemade presents, and smell of mulled wine from pop up Apres Ski bars. 

We managed to console ourselves by going for some cocktails though... 

Due to being based in Oxford, Lizzie had to catch a train early-ish. So I decided to call upon my other favourite red headed beauty, to catch up in a rooftop bar overlooking the Christmas lights of Bath.
We ended up visiting 3 of the best Cocktail bars Bath had to offer... which left us in very very good moods to walk back to the station. 

But not before we had one last nose around the town.
It was EXACTLY what I needed to get into the Festive spirit. The combination of my favourite people, one too many cocktails, and getting some Christmas shopping done, made for the perfect day out.

If you're in the area, I 100% recommend Bath as the ideal out, it's absolutely beautiful.

Ciao for Now!
x

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18 December 2016

The Peaks and Pits of 2016


There are very few things I thought I'd ever learn from the Kardashians. How to take a great selfie, how to take a terrible selfie... it was always pretty limited. But in the Kardashian household, there is a family tradition of discussing the 'peak and pit' of each day. And here we are, with Alice's Antics writing a whole blog post based on this concept.

I love the whole 'out of the old, in with the new' idea. I'm definitely one of those people who would never start a diet on a Wednesday- in my opinion, that is literally what a Monday is for. And as much a I'd love to only reflect on the good bits of 2016 and gloss over the lows, I think the most important part of reflecting on the year is in talking about those bits you wish didn't happen, because *cliche coming up, soz* but how else can you learn??

So grab yourself a cuppa (or glass of mulled wine- tis the season), and settle down to read some of my 2016 life lessons.

1. Stop Comparing Yourself 
I would say this is the number one, biggest life lesson of 2016, because it's something I'm really really bad at. When everyone else around you has a plan, or a path, whether it's for 6 months or 6 years, and you're stuck in a limbo, life can seem really tough. I wrote a blog post on this, Stop Getting Your Shit Together, and it reflects every thought I have on the subject. Googling your heroes and comparing your life path to theirs, looking at friends lives, listening to how your parents got to their dream jobs, it's unhealthy. You are on your own path, so stop wasting time looking at everybody elses.

2. There's Nothing Tea Can't Solve
This summer, I moved to France for nearly 4 months. The people I worked with became my family. We lived together, worked together, socialised together and everything in between, but obviously not everything can go always smoothly... and for those times when we were missing home, or wanting to be anywhere else but on the West Coast of France, we made tea. So much tea. And I am a firm believer, those tea drinking bonding sessions pulled us through the ups and downs of working a season abroad, even more than the wine.

3. Red Wine is Great
It's taken me 21 years (about 6 years of drinking alcohol), but finally, finally I am a red wine drinker. I feel like I've gone from 0-100 with my love for red wine. This time a year ago, I had my first ever full glass.. and now here we are, and it's the only wine you will ever see me order. It may have more calories, but apparently it's not-that-bad for you, so you're doing yourself a favour really. Go and get another glass of Cab Sav.

4. Vodka Jelly is Not
I don't even want to think about the story which taught me this. Queue a night on the bathroom floor and a 6pm-next-day hangover.

5. Stop Being a Shit Friend and Ditch the Shit Friends
There are a lot of reasons we cling to people. Memories, 'what ifs', but sometimes it's just not enough. This year I've drifted from people who I would once have called my best friends. I just felt like we had outgrown each other, and there was too little in common left to salvage a friendship. If people aren't making an effort, or you find you're not making an effort with people, it's time to let go. You may have less 'best friends' than 10 year old you could ever imagine, but  you'll be left with those invaluable, bury-the-body friends.

6. Appreciate Things as They Come
I started the beginning of 2016 on crutches. In fact, I spent the first 5 months of 2016 unable to walk unaided, and let me tell you, that does something to a person. I've always been one of the most independent people I know, I'm not afraid to do anything alone, and yet suddenly I was dependent on other people for everything. But as awful as that time was, my appreciation and value for everything when I came out on the other side, sort of, kinda made it worth it. Okay, maybe not worth it. But I've spent the last 6 months appreciating the here and now, instead of wondering what will happen next, and to me, it's an invaluable lesson.

7. Friend Love is Real, and it's Fantastic
This year, I fell in love. Not in the traditional, omg when will he text me, type of love. But I fell in love in a way I never knew possible. With experiences. With people. With friends. It follows on from the last point, but my newfound appreciation for the small things, encompasses all of the individuals in my life too.I feel like my life has been a bit unsteady in terms of friendships, I had a horrible friendship group at school until I was 17, and then I fell into a group of lovely people but life has gotten in the way and those I wasn't that close to have slowly drifted off. But this year, I've felt more than ever before, how lucky I am. Last month, I cried to Saffron about how much I loved her (admittedly, hormones were flying), when I made my new profile photo of myself and Alvaro I was overwhelmed by how much I missed him (it had been a week) and last night, after skyping one of the soulmates I met in France, I wanted to get on a plane and fly to see her. And for me, knowing I have this incredible support system of friends around me, makes all of those failed Tinder dates worth it.

8. I Learnt to Poach an Egg
Without a poacher. This needs no explanation- this is just the stuff of dreams. And potentially my biggest achievement of 2016.

9. The World is Mad
This year, I feel like the world turned on its head. Brexit. Donald Trump. And the end of the ceasefire in Syria. Whilst everyone reading this is sat in bed at home, or on the sofa, there are places in the world living through a nightmare, and I would argue you should never just 'accept' this, because accepting it, is admitting defeat- but there are things you can do to help. 

10. There's Still A Lot to Learn
I make life lists every so often and I love it. But this is the first time I think I've realised, this list is one of many for a reason. Because we are all learning. However much 18 year old me thought she knew everything, the last 3 years have taught me more about myself than ever before. This year has proven to me, life will always have a slightly varied plan to the one you had in your head- so just go with it, learn from it, and know it'll get you where you should be.

So to end, I wanted to complete my list with my peak and my pit of 2016.

My Pit: Breaking my foot- that's a given. The whole healing process was horrific and made me so ensconced in my own self pity, I didn't know how to get out.

My Peak: I want to write about my nights out in France, or holidaying in Marbella. I'd love to talk about getting a 2:1 when I thought I'd fail my second year at university. But I think my real life peak was on December 9th. Myself and my housemates had a Christmas meal, we exchanged presents, ate our weight in food and drank our weight in Prosecco. And then, when they headed out into the night, I popped over to see my other favourite people, where we cried with laughter playing Harry Potter trivial pursuit and watching a film. It's the small things, and it was my favourite day of 2016.



Ciao for Now!
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10 December 2016

Switching Off


Alice's Antics has been a bit of a rollercoaster. It started off as a blog for my 'gap yaarh' documentary, so my friends and family knew I was alive and still eating gelato when I upped and moved to Italy. And then more people than just my friends started reading Alice's Antics, and now there's 4 figures and I have never felt more content or welcome in the blogging community than I do right now. But I also have never felt more pressure. 

This year is the first year I've absolutely, 100%, failed blogmas. I'm going to try and post more and more over the next month whilst I'm on my university Christmas holiday, but after three days of stressing out over my lack of content, my friends had to intervene and tell me to chill the f***k out. 

The thing is, Alice's Antics is my baby, I'm the first person I know personally to have started writing a blog, I have put money and time and joy and tears into creating it into a mini space of the internet that I'm proud of. But right now, it's not my full time job, and I'm competing in an industry of bloggers whose job is to write on their site. But Alice's Antics is not, and can't be, my only investment at the moment. Alongside maintaining my blog (and vlogging every single day at the moment) I'm a student in my final year of University, I'm the Head of Marketing for a radio station,  I'm running a charitable project on the side and have 2 part time jobs to help me out with my student loan. For the last couple of months I've been beating myself up over not putting enough content out on here. I've had emails from PR companies and even a few readers have been in touch via Twitter to make sure all is dandy, which makes me feel extremely lucky, if not very guilty. But I wanted to write this post to explain I'm not just lying around, wallowing the days away (although- right now, I kind of am). 

It took my friends to sit me down and explain I am not superwoman, and sometimes there really isn't enough hours in the day, my content on here doesn't define the lifestyle I lead. There is a little moral to take away from this though, in that sometimes it's important to switch off and concentrate on real life. Focus on what's going on around you and everything you're lucky for in person. It's important to give yourself a day off, especially at this time of year, because life piles up sand you can end up stressing out so much, you don't realise you've missed the bits you were most looking forward to.

Whether it's in a week, or a month, I will always come back to Alice's Antics. And as I said, I now have 4 weeks of eating, drinking and being an all around Christmas elf to have some time to write blog posts I'm proud of and which you'll enjoy reading. 

Ciao for Now!
x

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