Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fota Wildlife Park

 Last summer my eldest sister took me to fota wildlife park, which is situated in Cork in Ireland. It's a very interesting little place, and according to Wikipedia, "Some of the animals roam freely with the visitors, such as the ring-tailed lemurs and squirrel monkeys, while larger animals, including the giraffe and bison, live in paddocks with unobtrusive barriers to allow viewing the animals in a more natural environment." I can confirm this is true. It's weird, suddenly there's a lemur beside you. I liked being there very much, and I trust that they have given the more 'large' animals enough space! 

 I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, envolving monkeys (both toy and real), train rides, taking photos with my sister's boyfriend and the obligitary treats. The day was ended with a movie -which caused my sister to prematurely fall asleep- and a pizza. One of my favourite days of last year for sure. 

 Regrettably, I only brought my older camera with me, because I didn't want to heave my big camera around. Still, I think these photos turned out reasonably well, and it shows you that having a fancy camera is far from everything!

 Keep in mind the zoom was pretty wide! Have you ever visited fota, or any place like it?

Anna x

All photos taken with the Nikon L110

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Summer Crumble in a Mug

 I'm quite excited for this post because here's a mini recipe that I actually came up with myself! A trend in recent times has been the 'mug cake' which, if you're not already aware, is a super quick and easy cake batter which you make in a mug, then microwave for a couple of minutes. Quick and easy is right, but I've tried a few different recipes including ones for chocolate cake, vanilla cake, brownies and chocolate chip cookies, and I'm never satisfied with the results. I've decided that it's pointless, and if you want a piece of cake you're better off making a whole one to share with your family.

 Having said that, last summer I got into making crumbles. I love every kind of fruit crumble out there. I'm not sure what exactly it is about them. Maybe their sweet juicy fruits, or maybe the gooey bit of the actual crumble topping that's been saturated with fruit juices. Either way, they're such a summer food that I just think about all the time (okay maybe not all the time but I do love them). So, when you love a food dearly, what should you do? I'd say be selfish and keep it all for yourself. Not going to lie, there's a 'secret' location in my room where I like to store chocolate and any other treats that I happen upon.

 So, I've come up with a really simple recipe for summer berry crumble in a mug! Yay! I could seriously let myself go and just make like four of these all for myself. When I say simple I really do mean it. It's not like 'hey! Try our delicious cake recipe! All you'll need are these special flavoured sugars from Bremen and special Guatemalan chrysophyllum tree butter!' Literally. You'll be able to find these ingredients pretty easily. The one downside to the recipe is that you're just simply not going to get a crispy top on it. The fault of microwaves! Anyway, here she is;

About a handful of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 extremely heaped tablespoon all purpose/plain flour
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter (cold)

1. Put your berries in a mug or microwaveable glass and stir in the 1 teaspoon of sugar.
2. In a separate mug or bowl, stir together the flour and sugar.
3. Add in the butter to the dry ingredients, making sure to either rub in with your fingers or mash in with a metal spoon. The idea here is to make the crumble layer as powdery looking as possible. Rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Pour this mixture over the berries and flatten out.
5. Microwave on high for 45 seconds until the crumbly top has pulled away from the sides.

Tadah! Sorry about the slightly weird measurements but whatever; it's tasty! Add more sugar to the fruit if it's naturally sour. Oh yeah and you should probably leave it to cool for a minute so you don't burn your tongue. I hope you try it out and enjoy it! If you do, tell me how it turned out.

What's your favourite summer treat?

Anna x

Saturday, 12 July 2014

My Question

 I have one question for you; what wakes you up in the morning?

 I don't mean the magpies attending their 5am meeting outside your window, or the builders as they drill and dig at far too early an hour. I'm not talking about your mother as her voice calls you in your dreams and then again in your darkened room, or that blasted alarm which sings out a chirpy, and quite frankly horrendous rendition of a wake up call.

 I'm talking about the grogginess you feel in your eyes and throat that travels into your chest and becomes a pleasant little flutter. The smile which wrestles with the muscles in your cheeks. The cool floor below you which tickles your toes when you finally kick your feet out of bed. I'm thinking of the grin which seems to fill each part of your brain, and tells you over and over about the fun you're going to have, what you're going to do for yourself, and indeed for others. The "this is going to be the day!" mentality which has you writing an abundance of to-do lists and goals, and gives you the motivation to complete everything on them.

 What does it for you? Duty, necessity, love, excitement? What pulls you from sleep and drags you out of bed in the mornings?

Anna x

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Berlin in Black & White

 When I was twelve years old, my family and I went to Berlin, the capital of Germany for a few nights. I had only had my brand new camera for about a month, so I was eager to get snapping. Anything looked interesting, I would turn on my camera. I'd take off the lens cap, let it hang by the cord and point my camera, click the button. Done. That was kind of the beginning of my photographic interest. My camera was crammed with photos of things in my bedroom, in the garden, in Berlin and in our hotel. That was a good summer.

If you like photography, what got you started? I'd love to know!

Anna x

P.S my sister has just opened up a new blog dedicated to recipes, so we'd love it if you checked it out! 

All photos taken on Nikon Coolpix L110

Saturday, 28 June 2014

TBR: July 2014

 Reading is something I've always always enjoyed. Each summer I make it a goal to read as much as possible. I think it's simply amazing that at 12:03 you're in your bedroom with a book in hand and then by 13:05 you've visited a different world and are only drawn out of it by a rumbling tummy. I find myself awoken from a book, not knowing the time. Reading relaxes the mind and body and can be done practically anywhere. And who doesn't like the miniature achievement grasped once you've finished a book?
 Not to drone on, but as I'm sure you all know by now, I just finished my junior cert around a week ago, and prior to its completion, I hadn't read a book since animal farm in December. To push myself once more into the world of reading, I read 'the House of Hades' by Rick Riordan, which took me about five days. Now, I think I'm ready to drift through this summer with the aid of one of my favourite pastimes.
 My sister helped me pick out three books which were on her shelf, and I added the solitary book left unread on my own one - unless you count my book of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, which you probably should. These four books are on my 'to be read' pile for the next few weeks! After that, I think a trip to the bookshop is in order.

The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak 
The Razor's Edge - W. Somerset Maugham
The Edge of Falling - Rebecca Serle
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I'm quite excited for each novel. I've already begun The Book Thief, after years of avoiding it in case it was too scary, but the fact that each of my friends on goodreads who has read has given it five stars won me over. I hope it will be as good as promised! The Razor's Edge has been read and loved my each of the members of my household, so again, I decided to read it. I don't really know what it's about but I'm hoping I'll be up for it. The Edge of Falling is a YA contemporary book, which to be honest doesn't seem to have great reviews, but I received it as part of the prize for a school writing competition, so I want to give it a go. Hopefully I'll like it better than the majority of its readers! Lastly, Fahrenheit 451, a much discussed novel on the Internet. Again I don't know much about it, but I'd say I won't be disappointed.
 Have you read any of these books? I'd love to know your thoughts! Do you have any summer reading in mind?

 Anna x
P.S I'd love it if you'd add me as a friend on goodreads!

Saturday, 21 June 2014


 I'm writing a blog post. I'm actually writing one. Okay. Long story short I've just finished my Junior Cert exams and just got my iPad back, seeing as from the 1st of May, I 'surrendered' it so I wouldn't get distracted. Anyway, I was determined to get a post up today as one of my summer goals is to get back into posting! Today, I'm just going to let you in on a recent obsession of mine; smoothies.
 I'm sure you can all guess how to make a smoothie. In fact I never measure ingredients, but what I love is how sweet and tasty and healthy they are. I usually freeze fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and keep some in the freezer at all times. Then, when I want a smoothie, I can just take out roughly a handful of frozen fruit, pop it in the smoothie maker (which is literally just a blender with a spout thing that lets you poor your creation easily into a glass), along with one big banana - I used two fairly small ones above and a dash of fruit juice. That's it. 3 ingredients are all that's needed. It makes over 1 tall glass of smoothie. Although if the fruit you use is a little bit on the sour side, using a teaspoon of honey is a great sweetener. Trust me, I hate the taste of honey, but when I add it to a smoothie all I can taste is how sweet it is!
 Smoothies are definitely my 'to-go' drink of the past 3 months and will be for the summer. You really can add any kind of fruit, or even some kale and avacado, but I'm more of a berry fan myself! What's your stance on the smoothie situation?

Anna x

Updated to add: totally forget about the honey and use agave nectar for a fully vegan smoothie which tastes just as fantastic!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

New York

 When I was thirteen, my dad surprised me. He came into my bedroom and sat down on my bed. "You know you have Easter holidays for two weeks in April, don't you?" he said. Shakily, I said yes. My mind raced. "Well I'm going to get you to New York or Chicago." Not going to lie, I might have burst into tears. My poor dad probably didn't know what to do with me! I had always wanted to go America, and to visit the American Girl Store as I may or may not have been obsessed. Three days later he booked our flights. It would be just me and him. I was so excited! In my homework journal I made a countdown of the number of days and checked them off as they passed by.
Dear Diary,
Aah! Going to bed... see you in New York.
xxx Anna (4 April 2012)

 The flight wasn't fun. Seven hours is not fun. The cushions they give you just get super uncomfortable the more you sit there. The movies are what keep you going. I think I watched two or three each way! I read a bit too. We arrived and it was great. I had a fantastic time. I had never been to America before and honestly New York just the same as in the movies and magazines. There really isn't too much to say, I enjoyed it very much. We ate out in various places including the American Girl Store itself. Nice.
 We visited a fair few of the attractions in our three days there. As you can see we visited Central Park and the Top of the Rock. Not pictured are Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station and Times Square. I don't think I stopped grinning once on that trip!

Have you ever visited New York? What did you think?

Anna x

P.S horrifyingly, I'm in the middle of my Junior Cert exams at the moment! Agh! Wish me luck in my second week! Thank goodness for being able to schedule posts months in advance (seriously it's February...)

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Bordeaux, France

 Nearly two years ago, my family and I went to Bordeaux, France. The amount of times I've written 'my family and I went to' is crazy. I can't believe how incredibly generous my parents are to bring me to all these stunning places. Editing all these travel photos just fills me with joy! I'm a lucky girl.
 Anyway, Bordeaux is probably most famous for its vineyards, which naturally, we visited. We went on a guided tour of two of them. Chateau Giscours being one. We had an enthusiastic tour guide, who made all the machinery seem very interesting and he fluently told us about all aspects of the wine making life. Very entertaining.
 I had a very nice time there. So far as I remember, the temperatures were on the hot side of things. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels around too. There's a great big park, with a fountain of horses which amused my family and I greatly. Bordeaux is a good place for tourists. It's a nice place.

Have you ever visited anywhere in France?

Anna x

All photos taken with a Nikon Coolpix L110
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