Be Brave.

It’s one hardest things you can do, to look your fears right in the face and say, ‘You will not overcome me.’ But I feel like it’s been a recurring theme this past weekend with different situations and people I’ve been around.

I don’t know if we will ever be able to completely avoid fear, it’s comes at us in all sorts of ways – but I know now that this is ok.

It’s ok to be afraid! It’s not ok when we let that fear make our decisions for us.

Fears are made to be overcome. How? In the simple choices we make every day. Choosing to be generous when we have little to give, choosing to talk to that person that’s sat on their own, choosing to be kind to someone who repeatedly offends you in every way possible!!

Most of all choosing to see ourselves for who we really are – BRAVE.
Bravery is a choice worth making every day. And I believe that bravery walks hand in hand with love, forgiveness, honour, kindness and self control.

You have the power to be BRAVE – it’s time to be brave now and be who we really are!

Art College Adventures

It’s been around a month since I posted last, and so much has happened in that time!

First things first. Thought I’d give you the chance to see my new tote! My pal Mr Darcy, I actually bought it from Waterstones probably two weeks ago now due to being overloaded with books! Me and Hannah went a bit wild on old art books and magazines that were selling for 20p, how can you resist that kind of bargain madness?!! Needless to say, we couldn’t.

Mr Darcy


One of the biggest changes being that I started art college 3 weeks ago – this was my DREAM btw!! This story is living proof that you should go after your dreams, because when the time is right, you will see it fulfilled! And most likely you won’t see it coming… 

And let me tell you it wasn’t easy to get here, it’s been 2 long years in retail with no idea of where I would go or what I would do next – ever since I applied the first time and didn’t get in I’ve still secretly kept dreaming of maybe one day going, but it never seemed logical. “I’ve had my chance, I didn’t get in, I failed…” 
But that was never true! 
God knew it wasn’t the right time and so incredibly overwhelmed at the thought that this was his plan the whole time – he’s brought me this far and he certainly won’t fail me now!

He won’t fail you either, whatever you’re doing, if you want a change, don’t be afraid to go after your dream! 
Don’t let people tell you that your life’s over, don’t believe it’s too late – there’s always a chance!

This is me-

With my, “I CANT BELIEVE I GOT IN TO ART COLLEGE?!” face

But whatever it feels like is in your way, let your faith and perseverance be bigger, stronger & bolder than anything that’s thrown at you!

Just before you go, these are my clearly neglected pencils from way back when I used to go to “school”… I whapped them out the week before I started college, thought I’d better get back into things! It felt so good getting those pencils back out the draw and cleaning off the dust, it just feels right!

My ULTRA dusty pencils

Kill the Fear

Fear. What does that word relate to in your life? Think about it for a moment.

It seems to me that it’s easy to let it fear in, but it’s pretty difficult to get rid of it!

Ever seen the film After Earth? Awesome action film, lots of suspense, Will Smith (+ son, Jaden). I won’t give much away but there’s one scene that’s stuck with me since I first watched it about a year ago now. When separated from his son, Will, in his calm and assuring, fatherly voice, speaks to his terrified son of how he overcame fear completely.

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present, and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real but fear is a choice. We are telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.”

Sci-fi films always have those deep quotes about life that somehow relate to you… Love it!

But this line really spoke to me. We often let fear invalidate our reason for trying in the first place, we let it cloud our passion and steal our determination. What we sometimes fail to see is that we have the power the change that! Because courage isn’t doing something with the absence of fear, instead it’s accomplishing what you set out to do despite fear and all other emotions that try to trip you.

We are more than what our fears make us – don’t allow them to define you any longer!

The Bible says that ‘no weapon formed against you will prosper,’ that means nothing that has been made to harm, destroy or trip you will win! Believe that truth and don’t be discouraged when tough situations come up – believe in God because he has a plan and its always good for you!

Ask yourself;
– Why do I entertain fear?
– Why do I let it stick around in my mind and affect the way I live?

Today I’m challenging you to challenge your fears head on and begin to see clearly; who you are, who God really is, how much you can achieve when you dare to let go of your fear and trust God!

Raspberries..

are one of my most favourite fruits! When beautifully ripe they fill your mouth with a joyously sweet taste that can only originate from heaven itself. Even the colour draws me in, I can’t not LOVE raspberries, so many combinations that make them, in my opinion, one of the most versatile not to mention beautiful fruits out there.

I understand, although I find it sad, that the whole world doesn’t share my opinion on the beauty and just pure YUM of the raspberry but I just wanted to voice how much I love them!!

It all started with a recent trip to my awesome friend, Hannahs, house. Who just happens to have the smallest but most efficiently run garden I have ever seen! Not long before I had arrived that day she did a little ‘harvesting’ so this is what I arrived to…

Hannah's Raspberries

Aren’t they prettyyy!!

And yes, they tasted just as delicious as they looked!

photo (2)

Hannah was making a raspberry cheesecake!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay long enough to see (or taste) the cheesecake but I trust is was mouth-wateringly yum yum yum!


You know when I started this blog, I not only had no idea what I would write about I also had no idea how to write a blog. I mean how do you write to people you’ve never met or know, I sometimes struggle to talk to my friends never mind strangers! But I decided to put faith above my fear of failure and write, just because (as I recently discovered) I love to write!

Sometimes you just have to step outside of what you already know and go for something a little crazy – because a little crazy is good for you, and also because it’s time to give up making excuses and go for the dream.

If it’s you thinking you can’t, guess what.. we’ve all been there, in fact I quite often still visit there, but it gets less and less every week. It’s all about starting!

For me it all started with a dream, a pen and a pretty notebook; throw in some raspberries and this is me – a girl pursuing her dream.

Do something today to change your tomorrow.

Revelation From a Cushion!

Had to share this with you!

Cushion - Available to buy from BHS
Cushion – Available to buy from BHS stores

 

Found it walking through BHS, a store I; (a) rarely walk through, (b) even more rarely find anything I want to buy – but I guess that teaches me for giving up on a shop just because my Nanna uses it!

More than the cushion I love the quote; made me seriously question what I do with my time. As the famous saying goes,

“If you’re not working towards your dreams, you’re working towards someone else’s!”

Err reality check, what am I doing towards my dreams, because working in retail isn’t exactly what I’d call ‘DREAM JOB!’ And since I have to be there, what can I do towards my dreams on a day-to-day basis? Now am I doing it?

If you don’t know what you want to do, pray! If you do, that’s great – pray harder that you’ll be able to do it! If you’re already doing it, that’s awesome – pray for someone else!

I don’t know about you but whilst I’m here, on this Earth, I want to do everything I can to lead as many people as I can to the one who saved me and who loves me – Jesus!
There’s so much that we don’t know, and I guess that’s the point – but one thing I do know is that love is the reason why we can know God and the reason that we can free, so it must be pretty important.

In view of that, I’m deciding to live my life differently. From love, in love and through love. Might sound kinda cheesy but basically full of God – He is Love, what better way than through Love itself!

So I’m challenging you:
– If you love God, search for Him more!
– Even if you don’t search for Him (because I guarantee you’ll find Him.)
– Live your life with a little more love in it!

 

Hope

What would you do if you found something worth giving your life to/for? Maybe you’ve found that thing already? What’s that thing for you? Are you living for it every day? Are you living in pursuit to make that one thing known more every single day?

Such deep questions for a blog named Baked Beth right?! Ha I know; but I feel compelled to urge you to live a life that means something!

Most of my life I’ve struggled with not knowing my purpose, having something to live for that’s bigger than myself. At some point in their life everyone has asked themself; Isn’t there more to life than this, why am I alive, what am I doing? If there is only one person without hope that reads this and relates to being hopeless, without purpose, not knowing who they are then this for you. There’s one reason for living and one purpose I hold in my heart – without this one person I would be nothing!

Jesus.

He gives hope when there is none. He gives life when you feel dead. He gives purpose when you feel useless. He gives identity when you don’t know who you are. He is the ONLY way to life.

You can try the world, everything it has to offer but still end up feeling like an old rusty bucket – old, used, useless, ugly, empty, hopeless, with nothing left to give.

Ask him to show you who He is or ask someone who knows Him; and find out about the one person who gave their life so you could live! He wants to show you His love – that you would KNOW Him.

Coeliac Awareness Week

Last week was Coeliac Awareness Week!

Now Coeliac disease isn’t something I know much about, in fact I have no-one that I directly know who has it – which is good! But for those who do, let’s raise awareness of a disease which affects 1 in 100 people, because let’s face it – that’s a lot of people!

So since Coeliac disease is caused by a gluten intolerance, let’s do something crazy and make gluten-free goodies all week!! Ok, take a step back, all week is a little dramatic considering my low budget.. But I decided to make one thing which would be great for all those gluten-free people out there!

 Brownies..
Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Paleo Brownies

Let’s face it – the biggest challenges bring the biggest rewards!

So here I was, a challenge of huge propertion…
To create the ultimate indulgent gluten-free, sugar-free paleo brownie, and all I could think about is the fact that weren’t going to include an ounce of chocolate (the usual processed, supermarket bought chocolate that is!).

Since it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted something like this I tried my very best not to give myself too much of a hard time about how they turned out slightly…. erm… different to how I expected.

But nevertheless I present before you my gluten-free, sugar-free and paleo brownie creations… take 1!

Brownies!
Brownies!

I got the recipe from this pretty cool blog and adapted it slightly (literally changed one thing), and that was the amount of rice malt syrup, from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup. Here’s the link;

http://www.thewhimsicalwife.com/2013/04/the-ultimate-chocolate-brownie-version.html

Notes for next time;
– Don’t overcook the sweet potato
– Only keep for 3 days, TOPS!!
– Make the delicious looking mousse to accompany
– Eat only when cool
– Stick to the recommended amount of sweetener

If you don’t want to use the measurements in cups then you can convert them easily into grams or whatever you typically use, I use the website calculator-convertor.com – doesn’t take long, I just like to keep it accurate and quick by using the same measurements that the recipe asks for.

Stay tuned for more unusually unique brownies as other awesome stuff!

Ps. It took me almost 2 hours to get this posted… in between peeling freshly cooked beetroots, another trick I found on IQS! Par-cooking veggies and freezing them, what a genius idea – saves so much time when you want to add veggies to your meal in a hurry, whap it out the freezer throw it in your curry, hash, omelette etc. the options are endless!

I Quit Sugar!

A dramatic statement I know. Something which, for most of my (short) life has played over and over in my mind as crazy and more importantly impossible! I remember seeing in a newspaper article not too long ago about a book called I Quit Sugar and thought, ‘Yeah right, I’d never be able to do that – surely that can’t even be good for you?!’ But my curiosity grew, and more than anything, so did my desire to change my current lifestyle and make it into a lifestyle that would benefit my health and wellbeing as well as being something I keep for the rest of my life! After all, you can’t eat cake daily and not exercise forever, am I right? ;-D

But what started as an impossible and out right stupid thought has turned into a liberating experiment! I assure you that this blog will be lecture free from the outset, but have you actually taken time to think about the amount of sugar you consume even daily? I did. I thought hard and decided the reasons why I turned to sugar meant that I wanted to make a change. Maybe not forever, I’m not saying I’ll never eat fruit again, or worse, I’ll never eat cake?! That would be ridiculous! But I’m experimenting with foods that are good for me and creating a way of life that is enjoyable, doable and good for me!

Incredibly I’ve somehow survived to week 3, I don’t know how but this is week 3 day 3!

Today's Lunch!
Today’s Lunch – Beef, Mushroom, Spinach and Spring Onion Omelette

IT IS POSSIBLE!

I started on 25th April by deciding I would try one whole day without sugar and then just kept going, I found it easier to cut it out completely from the beginning; but if you do read the book and follow what Sarah (the author) recommends then you only fully quit sugar from week 3 onward. It’s an 8-week programme and basically detoxes sugar from your system, so as you can imagine it was hard to start with, when you bake at least once a week, to suddenly cut out all sugar!

Whatever the outcome, I’ve set out to accomplish something which, mentally, was impossible for me, so there will be no bad outcome – there’s no going back to the lifestyle before. No more sugar bingeing and crash diets, it’s all about looking after myself!

Two of my favourite recipes were;

– Bacon & Egg cupcakes;
Such a simple technique of lining your muffin tin with coconut oil/butter then a strip of bacon (I used turkey bacon) following by breaking your egg straight in – perfect for no fuss breakfasts, even adaptable to take-away!
– ‘Salted Caramel’ Haloumi and Apple;
Using the natural juices that come from the haloumi during frying it caramelises the green apple (maybe the only fruit I’ve eaten the whole 3 weeks, and I’ve only had it twice!)

I have yet to try most of the recipes in the book as I’m still awaiting my rice malt syrup (sugar alternative recommended), buckwheat flour, and I’ve missed out a lot of the savoury recipes at the moment simply for lack of preparation on my part! All the ingredients I ordered online are from: http://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/ it has pretty much everything that your regular supermarket doesn’t have, that Sarah uses throughout the book!

Hats off to you Sarah Wilson, this is definitely something I’m excited to be a part of!

If you want to know anything more about I Quit Sugar or about Sarah Wilson, go to her blog;

www.sarahwilson.com or www.iquitsugar.com

One last IMPORTANT note;

Look after yourself! If I’ve realised anything from the last 3 weeks it’s how much you need to realise that you are worth looking after. Your are important, you are needed, there is no-one exactly like you, and the world needs what’s inside of you! When you know God, you begin to realise your potential, your gifts, your purpose, who you are and all of that means you begin to value not only yourself but everyone around you!

So look after yourself, make the changes that you’ve always believed were impossible but secretly longed to make! It’s not too late; decide today that you’ll see one impossible dream fulfilled in the next 10 years, set a time frame to see it in and then make at least one step every day towards it! Believe that you were made for more than what you do right now!

Weddings and Cake – A Match Made in Heaven

This last weekend was so special – two of my dearest friends got to make their beautiful vows to one another as they were lawfully married! I love weddings, although you rarely find those who don’t. It was such an honour to be a bridesmaid, to be a part of their special day and honestly this incredible couple were made to be together. They left for their honeymoon this afternoon to Paris then Rome – Alan booked it as a surprise for his bride.. I’m such a romantic!

Here’s my favourite picture of the day;

The Bride & Groom
The Bride & Groom


I love this couple – Alan & Molly; it is an honour to know you both and be in God’s family with you! Have a wonderful honeymoon and a life of getting to know and love each other more and more, with God at the very centre!

As a tribute to my friends here is a picture of their cake, it tasted divine!

Wedding & Cake
Wedding & Cake

MORE CAKE-

To add to the weekend of cake I made some cutest and yummy vanilla cupcakes for my friend visiting from Redding, London! The recipe is adapted from Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth; this book is incredible, it has become one of my favourite baking books, simply because Lily’s story inspires me and in her book she has put something of everything in there, things you can make quickly, things you have to practice, things you can make in 30 mins – it’s perfect for any occasion to plan for and so inventive!

Although the pink outside of the pages stain your fingers it is well worth ordering a copy! 😀

Vanilli's Vanilla Cupcakes
Vanilli’s Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes;

330g plain flour
320g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, room temp
3 eggs
190ml double cream
1 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract

Usually makes 24, but I split it in half to make half a sponge cake which I used for the base of a cherry brandy trifle.

Visit http://www.lilyvanilli.com/menu7/sweet-tooth/ to check it out!

Life on Pancake Day..

This was officially the longest and most pancakey of all pancake days.

So .. many.. pancakes…
And all of them whole-wheat!

I don’t know how I survived all that carb action! But I’m here, one filled-in-gym-signup-form later and still baking, although I don’t know if pancakes can really class as baking without the oven cooking part. But I can say that next year holds the promise of  an oven-baked pancake, I’ve already found my recipe!

Here it is – Life on Pancake Day, links for all recipes found at the bottom of the page;

Breakfast – American-Style Blueberry Pancakes

 

American-Stlye Blueberry Pancakes

I searched high and low for a relatively healthy recipe to make my beautiful blueberry breakfast pancakes.  I wanted a recipe so so bad that had the blueberries, whole-wheat flour, buttermilk, with minimal sugar (because of course you’re only going to drown in maple syrup anyway?!).

When I found the recipe I had longed for, I compromised on the blueberries deciding that I would add them in whether the recipe included them or not! And they were ultimately yummy, the buttermilk makes them so light, it wouldn’t be an american pancake recipe without the beautiful buttermilk. From the time I first made and ate american pancakes, or as we English call them ‘the thick ones’, I’ve never gone back to the traditional pancake day option of crêpes. I like to think that we’ve taken the opportunity to adopt a new culture.

 

Lunch – Chinese Beef Crêpes

Chinese Beef Crêpes

Normally the thought of eating anything involving the word ‘beef’ and ‘crepe’ in one sentence would disgust repel me; but these were unbelievably delish!

The original recipe uses chicken but I substituted for slices of roast beef, so I basted with the hoisin sauce and grilled for 1 minute to make it good and crispy – YUM! I even added a sneeky sprinkle of chopped nuts toasted for about 30 seconds in a hot pan, this works a treat, really brings out the nutty flavour. Nuts are obviously not advised if you have allergies :/

So if, by this point I hadn’t already eaten enough carbs for the week! We then followed for dinner with Homemade Pizza; in hind sight this could have been better planned – but don’t panic your pancakes, it doesn’t end here!

 

Dessert – Cherry Crêpes with Whipped Cream

We had decided, by this point, it was time to keep it simple so I stuck with a simple crepe recipe, adaptable for savoury or sweets. Laden with cherries cooked in a pan, with a cheeky drop of cherry brandy, and coated with some double cream, whipped to a soft peak.

My advice for next year;
– Have ONE recipe for the day,
– Prepare ahead
– Start exercising now in advance!!
– Blog the same day… (My apologies)

So to take my own advice, as I mentioned earlier, I even have my ONE recipe ready for pancake day next year.

What did you get up to pancake day?

 

 

Here are those recipes;

*Homemade buttermilk – I use a simple recipe found on; http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-a-quick-easy-buttermilk-substitute-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-185757

American-Style Blueberry Pancakes; adapted from – http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/whole_wheat_buttermilk_pancakes.html

Chinese Chicken Crêpes; adapted from – http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/19379/crepes+with+chinese+chicken

Cherry Crêpes with Whipped Cream; simple crepe recipe only – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1135634/the-classic-pancake

A girl pursuing her dream-