Fancy a Cuppa?

I drink a lot of hot beverages; around 5 cups a day usually especially during the winter when it is freezing outside. Peppermint tea is my go to whenever I’m bored of breakfast tea or I just fancy a change. So, this week I thought I would attempt to make my own.

All you need is fresh mint leaves and Agave Nectar (or brown sugar/honey – I just prefer the taste of Agave).

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Method:

  1. Take a few mint leaves off the stem and put them into your favourite mug
  2. Pour boiling water into the mug
  3. Let the mint leaves brew for 5 minutes in the boiling water and stir
  4. Add a small amount of Agave Nectar (I added about a quarter of a teaspoon)
  5. Remove the mint leaves (optional)
  6. Enjoy!

And it’s as easy as that. I really enjoyed the flavour and freshness of the homemade mint tea, preferring it to the bought peppermint teabags. Definitely will keep my cupboards stocked with fresh mint leaves from now on.

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Winter Booklist

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.”    

George R Martin, A Dance with Dragons 

Book shopping is one of my favourite types of shopping. I can spend hours and hours choosing a book. I love the calm atmosphere and the smell of the books and how you can waste a whole day just browsing. Lucky for me, I was given a book token from my Grandparents so book shopping was a major priority for me post-Christmas.

Here are the books I have so far read:

  1. Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham. Late to the bandwagon with this one but it is amazing. It’s a memoir from Lena Dunham, the producer and actor in HBO’s Girls. This is such an easy book to read and if you take break from reading, it is easy to pick up from where you left off. It talks you through her life, her experiences and her successes. I think the reason that this books so widely read and enjoyed is the fact that her life seems so normal for such a successful person and people can relate to it, at least I could!
  2. Julie and Julia – Julie Powell. I got this book out of a charity shop. I had always want to watch the film and was curious about the storyline. It follows two true stories; one of Julia Child who moves to Paris and falls in love with the cuisine and then goes on the write a cookery book. Years later, Julie Powell is having a slight mid-life crisis and begins to write a food blog – cooking all of the 524 recipes in Julia Childs cookery book in a year. I actually found the film in a charity shop a couple of days ago and I really enjoyed watching the film as well.
  3. The End of Alice – A.M. Homes. I am half way through this book at the moment. I bought this book as it was recommended in Blackwells and it sounded strange. It follows the story of a convicted paedophile who received letters from a college student who has decided to seduce a young boy in her neighbourhood. This book cause major controversy on publication and I completely understand why. It is very graphic and disturbing at times. I am enjoying this book but I wouldn’t read it before bed as it’s very unsettling.

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The books which are next on my list are:

  1. Brooklyn – Colm Toibin. This is the book which the recent film was based upon. I haven’t seen the film but I did see the trailer which looked really good. It follows the story of Eilis Lacey, who travels from Ireland to New York, America. She has to leave everything she knows and travel alone. After she arrives in New York her journey of adjusting begins and she finally begins to feel happy. She then must face a choice between Ireland and America. When I was in New York last year I visited the Ellis Island museum and listening to the stories of those who emigrated was fascinating – another reason why I really want to read this book.
  2. The Little Paris Bookshop – Nina George. Following the story of Jean Perdu, a bookshop owner on a boat on the Seine, who has a knack for choosing books which will help his customers with their problems. He, himself has many problems which he cannot fix. A new neighbour helps him to realise he needs to move on with his future, not before facing the past.
  3. An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favourite authors and so I love every book I have read by him, especially Never Let Me Go. An Artist of the Floating World focuses on post-war Japan, where retired artist Masuji Ono is rebuilding his life. His peaceful retirement is disrupted by thoughts of his past life and career which was influenced by the rise of the Japanese military.

February

I have always thought of February as that crisp, cold month where the days appear slightly longer than in January and the sun peaks out from behind the clouds more often – making it the perfect month for long winter walks followed by sipping hot chocolate in front of the TV in cosy PJs.

Wearing – Still living in my Abercrombie & Fitch puffer jacket that Santa bought me for Christmas. I wear it everyday without fail to try to combat the cold.

Planning – A trip to Dundee, Scotland to visit old friends and I couldn’t be more excited!

Instagraming – A fashion show event in St Andrews, Scotland to see a friend strut his stuff down the catwalk.

Eating – Totally obsessed with HelloFresh boxes. If you want a dinner service like no other then look no further than this website. Fresh food delivered to your house once a week which provides everything you need to make a scrummy meal. it sounds like a dream and the food certainly tastes like it.

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Listening – A new artist called Jones. I have their song Hoops on repeat at the moment.

Lusting – The Joules Coast waterproof Jacket in Antique Gold. Its such a classic staple wardrobe piece and I LOVE the colour. Unfortunately though when it costs more than a kidney it means I definitely cannot afford it.

Enjoying – uni! This past week I have been really loving going to uni but going to uni does come with obscene amounts of work. I suppose the point of going is to learn so I can’t complain too much.

Watching – Making a Murderer. This is the most intense and frustrating TV show I have ever watched and just shows how unjust the American legal system can be. A definite must watch!

Using – Literally do not know how I got through life before I discovered the Daily Planner. It makes my life 1000 times easier to live.

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Weekend Away

“To travel is to Live.” – Hans Christian Andersen

Copenhagen was named the happiest city in the World by the UN’s Happiness Report in 2013 and it’s not difficult to see why.

From the beautiful architecture to the relaxed vibe the city radiates, it really does seem like one of the most wonderful places to live. Every corner that you take there are examples of the amazingly elegant minimalistic design that Scandinavians are so famous for.

One of things that hit me as soon as I stepped out of the train station was the volume of bikes. There were bikes everywhere and special two-story bike parks. However, a lot of these bikes had no locks on them conveying just how safe the city of Copenhagen is. There were bike lanes on every road, with their own traffic lights. Although many a time I almost collided with a cyclist by not looking whilst crossing their road!

Another thing which I really loved about Copenhagen was the lack of chain shops, restaurants and cafes. I didn’t see a single Starbucks the whole time I was there which was refreshing. The restaurants and cafes were always warm, cosy and full of people. The Danish have a word “hygge” which there is no word for in English. It is a sense of community and warmth. I think this was clear to see in Copenhagen especially whilst sitting in cafes or restaurants, with a glass of wine and candles on the table sheltering from the cold outside.

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We stayed in Vesterbro, the former red light district which we didn’t realise until we arrived.  Thankfully, this area has now become one of the more ‘cool’ areas of the city with new bars, restaurants and galleries poping up so actually it was a really nice part of the city. We didn’t spend much time here, mainly just as a base to come home to at the end of the day.

One of the best parts of the trip was getting the tour bus to Nyhavn, walking along the edge of the canal with the beautiful cobbled streets and colourful houses. Then eating the traditional danish ‘Smørrebrørd’ looking out over the canal in a lovely cosy restaurant. The sandwich-type dish tasted interesting, the toppings were rather strange combinations and they were very filling. I am still unsure whether I liked them or not.

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After this, we walked to Amalienborg Slot. This is the palace where Queen Margarethe II lives. Luckily, we managed to arrive just as the changing of the guard was done at noon. It was very impressive. At the end of the square was one of the most stunning churches I have ever seen – the Marmorkirken.

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We then walked to the Kastellet, a star-shaped fortress commissioned in 1662, but is currently still used as barracks for the Danish Defence military. It is surrounded by a grassy park and a moat and contains a large chapel in the middle. The buildings in the picture below were accommodation for the families of those in the military and it was beautiful.

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Next stop was The Little Mermaid statue. The Little Mermaid Statue is meant to symbolise  the Hans Christian Andersen story of a young girl who falls in love with a prince on land and frequently comes to the waters edge to look for him. Personally, I wasn’t very moved by it. It may have been the fact that the weather was horrific but it wasn’t brilliant.

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The most disappointing part of the trip was the fact that Tivoli Gardens had closed for the winter season just after Christmas. It was one of the things that I wanted to see the most, however the entrance was still all covered in lights. Yet again, the architecture of the entrance to the Gardens was so intricate.

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The roof of the entrance to Tivoli Gardens

People talk about how expensive Copenhagen is but really I found that it was similar to Britain. Maybe I didn’t notice because I wasn’t there for too long but I didn’t feel like it was particularly expensive.

All in all, Copenhagen is a great place to go for a weekend break. The flights are cheap and it is enough time to cover all of the main sights and explore the city. I think if I visit again I would want to visit Christiania, a commune owned by the people who live there. I would love to see the Tivoli Garden’s, the Nationalmuseet (National Museum) and the Louisiana (an art gallery) too.