Thursday, 27 August 2015

Why I love to walk

You may or may not have realised through photo diary posts and such that I am an avid walker (when this post goes up I'll 100% be out on an early morning walk). I generally walk somewhere between 60-90km a week at the moment and I really wouldn't have it any other way. There are quite a few reasons why I love to walk, and so I thought I'd share them.

1. I like it.

Probably the simplest reason to do something. I just enjoy it. I like walking around and seeing things, and it feels like a good way to spend my free time.

2. It makes me feel good.

Walking is a good form of exercise, and if you walk at a fast pace like I do it can be beneficial to your health. I'm not really big into sports, so this is a good alternative. It keeps me healthy and active.

3. Freeing my mind.

It's nice to get up and walk away from work for a while. During exam season especially, I'll go for at least one long walk every day. I feel like it really helps mentally; no longer looking at books or at a screen, and simply seeing the things around you and feeling the air helps to feel calmer and to spend a little time not focusing on anything but yourself.

4. It reduces stress.

I feel like walking for an hour or two relieves a lot of the tension in my head and helps give you a chance to just breathe. The moment you walk out the door, you leave the stress behind and take a little while to relax.

5. Fresh air is best felt walking through it.

Sure, sitting outside to get a bit of fresh air is a good idea, but walking along and absorbing (kind of) that air feels like a cleansing process. Even if you walk way too fast and end up super sweaty, it feels like your soul is cleaner (for me at least).

6. Nature.

I love nature (especially trees). It's such a big part of the world and yet so often overlooked. A walk through a park can change your perspective on a lot of things: seeing trees so much taller than you; realising that the simplest plants are far more complex than they seem.

7. The escape.

More than anything, for me walking is a way to literally walk away and escape reality for a while. I put my earphones in and I just pay attention to myself for an hour or so. 'Me' time is very important, and I don't think many of us get enough of it.

8. There's nothing like an early morning walk.

When the sun's just up and the rest of the world is still sleeping, it's the most peaceful time. Especially on a Sunday. There is nothing better.

Do you enjoy walking? What are your favourite things about it?

Until next time.

Contacts/social media links:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour

Friday, 14 August 2015

Simple cupcake recipe

Now that I have some free time over the summer, I've gotten back into baking a little bit. Ohhhhh how I love cake. And so I thought I would share a super simple recipe for 12 cupcakes, just how my (Great) Auntie Joan taught me to make them, as well as the recipe for buttercream icing.

Cake ingredients:
Caster sugar
Margarine/softened butter
2 eggs
Self-raising flour

Oven on 180 degrees celsius.

I haven't put the amounts for each ingredient, because the first step involves:

1. Weigh the eggs. Then weigh out the other ingredients so you have the same amount of each of them as the eggs (this gives more of an evenness to the mixture, rather than assuming the weight of the eggs (e.g. if the eggs weigh 120g, use 120g of all the other ingredients)).

2. Put the caster sugar and margarine into a large bowl and mix until creamy.

3. Crack one egg into a separate bowl and whisk, then adding it to the butter/margarine mix along with half of the self-raising flour; mix together until even. Repeat with the second egg.

4. Scoop an even amount of mix into 12 cupcake cases (ideally on a cupcake tray).

5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Then leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Buttercream ingredients:
100g softened butter
225g icing sugar
30ml milk
Vanilla essence

1. Beat the butter in a large bowl, until (super) soft.

2. Gradually sift the icing sugar into the bowl, adding a dash of milk and mixing it all together until the mix is fairly thick.

3. Add in a drop of vanilla essence and mix thoroughly until a little thicker.

4. Leave in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

5. Stir the mix again before icing the cakes.

Soooooooo yeah. Nice and simple; five steps for the cakes and five steps for the icing. So simple even I can do it. And they taste great.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media links:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour