a night out in Weymouth

2017, travel, Uncategorized

Hello!

When I talk about travelling on this blog, I often talk about it not having to be a ‘big foreign’ trip to write about it – I went to Weymouth for the first time over New Years and it was a gorgeous sea side town so I wanted to write about it here.

Two of my friends and their bands were playing in Weymouth (where they’re from) for New Years and my boyfriend and I joked about going… and then we did.

We arrived in the afternoon and basically went straight to the sea and I loved it – it was full of little blue and white seaside benches and the pier is gorgeous and it was just so cutesy. I definitely need to go and spend more time at Weymouth beach.

After meeting my friends at the beach, we went for lunch at McDonalds (lol) and back to my friend’s house to chill out, watch Doctor Who and have dinner. It was such a lovely area – the house was on a big hill and you could see the sea from his drive and his garden and I just loved it, I just feel like I could live there – it was a big, seaside version of my home town.

In the evening we had sparklers and we let off a few fireworks and it was so much fun – I was so excited to have my first proper New Years that wasn’t sat in front of a TV watching fireworks in London and to bring the New Year in with such amazing friends I felt so privileged, so lucky and so grateful.

After the sparklers we went to our first venue for the evening – Finns, where my friend Dan’s band Coyote were playing and then went on to The Lazy Lizard to see my friend Pete’s band Under the Carousel. There was a nice break in the middle to sit on a bench and stare at the sea and talk about the New Year and how things change.

I mean, that was after I nearly got dragged into a fight and got kicked in the leg and had a minor panic attack about being in a new place and not knowing my surroundings – things like that happen, but I’m working on it and it didn’t ruin my night. Didn’t mean to include a ‘mental health’ update in those post but there it is!

Weymouth is a gorgeous place and I’d love to go back, maybe for a little weekend seaside holiday in the summer!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Books for 2017!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I’m trying my best to make it part of my routine that I read before I go to sleep at night (recently it’s been a lot of Pokemon, but that’s because it’s the Christmas holiday) but I really enjoyed the couple of book reviews I wrote last year, so I thought making a list of books I want to read next year will motivate me even more, so here are the books on my shelf that I got really excited to read and haven’t read yet!

I’m currently reading On The Other Side, by Carrie Hope Fletcher – I bought this book because it’s Carrie and I’ve been a fan of hers for so long and I love fiction, so I got really excited when a YouTuber was writing a fiction book (that wasn’t Girl Online). So far, On The Other Side is a bit more romantic and idealist than books I normally read but the concept is really exciting and I’m very intrigued as to where the story will go.

And then these are the books I really want to read next year:

Billy and Me: Giovanna Fletcher – similarly to Carrie, I watch Gi on YouTube and considering her main career is as a writer, I feel like I need to read one of her books! I’m not sure Billy and Me is for me but I need to read it to find out.

Where She Went: Gayle Forman – I read If I Stay in three days and absolutely adored it so I really want to reread the book and find out what Forman did with the sequel. I never saw this film either but it’s another one to add to the list!

Love, Rosie: Cecelia Ahern – this is another book which is a bit too ‘romantic drama’ for me and a little bit melodramatic I find but I do tend to really like the male characters, even if the female characters really irritate me. However, the film adaptation of this book is Sam Claflin and Lily Collins and I love Sam Claflin so I’ll use that as my reward system when I finish the book.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Jesse Andrews – I saw this book whenever I went into Waterstones and I wasn’t sure about it, then I saw the advert for the film and my mum asked if I’d read it and I thought I’d give it a chance – stories that cover more taboo topics, such as children dying of cancer, tend to intrigue me so I’m glad I’ve written this post to remind me why I bought these books!

We All Looked Up: Tommy Wallach – I’ll be honest, being back at home and this book is in Southampton, I can’t remember what it’s about but I remember the cover is really pretty and that’s enough for me.

Carry On: Rainbow Rowell – I loved Fangirl and it’s currently it’s got the glorified position of ‘My Favourite Book’ at the moment, so to read the fanfiction written by the protagonist Cath in a full book form based on a version of Harry Potter? Yes please!

All The Bright Places: Jennifer Niven – I saw this book around book shops and on the kindle store for ages and then I bit the bullet and actually bought it and now I need to actually read it.

I also want to read more nonfiction! This past year has really highlighted how much I used to love learning and how good (?) I was at it and how I’m really not using that now. I miss doing GCSE maths and that’s saying something, so I want to get books on aspects of history I’m interested in, space and maybe some science stuff? I don’t know, I miss learning.

I have goodreads, which is another nice motivator because it tells me what percentage through my book I am and that makes me feel accomplished. If you want to follow me there, you’re more than welcome – I’m not too sure how the website works so watch and learn with me? I don’t know, here’s my profile!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Christmas Photography!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I’m really excited about having this monthly photography series because I’ll learn more every time I take photos and post them and this post will hopefully make you all feel super festive, however I’ve not got the same amount of photos I had in my Autumn Photography post because December up to this point has been manic busy – with deadlines, travelling home and having a social life, getting into town to take pictures of the lights and festivities while the light was low was really difficult, so this is what I’ve captured this month!

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My nan really wanted me to get a picture of this Santa model ‘playing the piano’ – I didn’t realise there was a smudge on the right hand side of the lens but I told my nan I’d take the picture!

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There were lots of Christmassy colours and I got excited.

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I took most of these photos in the Christmas section of my local garden centre and I don’t think this was a bad decision.

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I like this photo a lot but the flare on the fairy lights is annoying, but I didn’t use my DSLR I just used my Canon M10, so the depth of field on these photos make me really happy.

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More photos of baubles with a very blurry background? My favourite kind of photo.

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This is my favourite photo – I love gingerbread men and this decoration is so cute, I nearly wish I’d bought it but I’m very pleased with this picture.

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I’ll be honest, this photo was just for reference because I really like this scent a lot.

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It’s not at the garden centre! I went to my local shopping centre today and they had some gorgeous lights and I really liked them and I knew I was writing this post. Conclusion: I like fairy lights.

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Not so obviously Christmassy (other than my dress!), but my friends and I had this Christmas party just over a week ago and I love them a lot and this party was so much fun so I thought I’d throw this photo in at the end.

I love Christmas and the Christmas season – I think it’s picturesque and cosy and comforting and that’s not something you can always catch on camera. I’m so excited for Christmas this year and I’m so excited to see what I can capture on Christmas Day itself (which I’ll definitely post here!).

January is a bit more difficult in terms of a standout theme to photograph but I think I might do a more location based shoot. I’d love to do a model based shoot but I don’t know how to find a model to work with me for free so we’ll see what happens!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Spotify vs Apple music?

2016, music, Uncategorized

Hello!

I love music and I love being subscribed to a streaming service because I get access to so much music – I’ve had a Spotify account for six or seven years but I’m considering moving to using Apple music, so I thought I’d make a pros and cons list of which service could be better for me. Thought it might be an interesting blog post!

I have many years of Spotify playlists and I don’t want to lose them and transferring them would take a very, very long time (the Jonas Brothers are on my Starred playlist, it’s been a very long time since I went through my Jonas Brothers phase). This is my main reason for wanting to stay with Spotify.

However, Apple is said to have better availability, choice, quality and radio capabilities (according to a few articles I’ve read anyways) and the ‘radio’ stuff on Spotify is brilliant because I just put a song in and it comes up with a bunch that are like it, but my flatmate has Apple music and he has some brilliant playlists.

But because I’ve had Spotify so long, consequently it knows me a little better so when it suggests music for me it usually gets it really right and Spotify is far more accessible over other devices than Apple Music is. However, I do mostly use my iPhone to listen to music where both Apple music and Spotify are very easily accessible.

I find in terms of the app Spotify is much easier to use than Apple Music but I’m sure anyone that uses Apple Music will tell me otherwise.

So anyone have any opinions on Spotify vs Apple Music?? I’m very interested to see what people think so please leave a comment!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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November Favourites

2016, lifestyle, music, Uncategorized

Hello!

Now that it’s December, it’s time again for another monthly favourites and these are the ten things I’ve been enjoying most this month. You’ll notice there’s no beauty, a lot of TV and entertainment and a camera which translates to: this month I am particularly poor and procrastinating.

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To do lists – I know, I mention to do lists basically all the time but they’ve saved my life this past month when I’ve been buried under deadlines and stressed and they’ve helped me stay on top of what I need to do for uni as well as not forgetting to blog, making YouTube videos or go to meetings or social events. If it’s not written down there is no way I’ll remember to do it.

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Panic! At The Disco Winter Tour – this is the second time I’ve seen Panic this year and the first time I’ve seen them since Death of a Bachelor was released fully and it was incredible. We happened to bump into Jack Howard and Hazel Hayes while we were there and it was amazing, it was an incredible concert. And I’m obsessed with this t-shirt, it’s so me.

And yes, I do have more stupid pictures of my boyfriend pratting around posing for this picture.

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Also, I have a plant now, his name’s David the Second, he’s a succulent. I picked him up from Ikea, I’m pretty sure I’ve watered him like four times total and he’s not dead. I love him because he’s not a cactus but he’s cute and when I get my own space I’m definitely filling it with plants and succulents.

And why is he called David the Second, I hear you ask?

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Because this is David.

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I know I already talked about Dodie Clark’s debut EP Intertwined (blog post here if you’re interested!) but I really love it – I’ve had it basically on repeat until today, when I finally broke out the Christmas tunes as I was decorating the flat with the guys I live with today but I’m still obsessed with Absolutely Smitten and I’m trying to learn it on my ukulele. One day I’ll do a cover, but I’m not very good at playing ukulele.

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Going to sound like an odd one, but cold and flu tablets really helped me get through this month – I just keep getting really bad colds and this one came around one of my assignment presentations which couldn’t have been more badly timed. I did manage to get a first on it though and if I didn’t have cold and flu tablets and infinite tissues I don’t think I would have.

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I thought I’d have to find a picture online for The Grand Tour but I got this Amazon parcel with Christmas presents in it today so it was perfect timing. The reboot from the Top Gear team is hilarious, everything Top Gear wasn’t with Chris Evans as host and the budget per episode is literally astonishing and it’s worth every penny. Not so impressed with episode 2 if I’m honest but I have high hopes for episode 3.

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I didn’t realise how much I loved Harry Potter and the magical universe until I saw this film because I adore it, I love finding out more about the world in which wizards live and seeing it all in 1926 was so much fun. The music is truly astonishing – when Scamander is being taking to the American Ministry MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America, yeah I’ve done my homework) and the string section really hits my heart melts and I want it on loop forever.

I wrote a full review for Solent Journalism and you can read that here if you like!

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Another TV favourite, a lot of good TV came out in November! I like David Attenborough documentaries but watching Planet Earth with my flatmates is insane because they’re TV tech students so they keep talking about the cameras that are being used and how they got the shots. It’s a beautiful, beautiful show and I’m glad that shows like this are still popular.

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I’m so lucky – my dad came down to visit last weekend and he bought and gave me my Christmas present early, a new vlogging camera. It’s beautiful, the depth of field is stunning and it takes incredible photos too, I’m so obsessed with it, I’ve vlogged so much more in the past week than I have in the past couple of months and it’s amazing, I love it so much. I have no words.

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Yes, I’ve talk about Pokemon a lot. I’ve blogged about it on multiple occasions but Pokemon Sun and Moon came out just over a week ago and I love it. I played it a lot on release day and the day after but I’ve had to restrain from playing any more because I’ve had a super busy week and deadlines and lots going on, but December 13th, the day after my last deadline before Christmas, I’m going to wake up, reach for my DS, maybe relocate to the living room and play all day long.

No regrets.

So those have been my favourites this month, let me know of anything I’ve missed or should look out for in December and here’s to getting excited about Christmas!

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Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Happy Birthday Dad!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

Today is my Dad’s birthday, he is turning an age today… He’s 69, he doesn’t use the internet so he probably won’t see that I’ve just written how old he is… Sorry anyway, Dad.

My dad has been through a lot in the past couple of years, my whole family have, but he’s such a strong, independent man and I am inspired by him every day.

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I’ve always been fairly close with my dad, I have vivid memories of picking tomatoes from his plants in the garden and him teaching me to ride a bike. He was so enthusiastic about me learning music and there was always music in my house – he used to play piano all the time and hearing all his stories about when he was in the police band are wonderful.

I didn’t realise what a big part of my life my dad was until I moved to uni – when getting to know people, film is a topic that crops up a lot so when making friends when I moved to uni there was a lot of talk about films and it really made me realise how many movies I share with my dad and I have such fond memories of us watching together.

12109145_10205056014980877_4744729196909737806_nSprit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Jungle Book, 39 Steps, even Shrek. And I can’t forget our shared distaste for Avatar after my sister made us all watch it seventeen times.

I’m not even exaggerating.

I love my dad unconditionally – he’s so clever and loving and, for me, as someone who takes a long time to be comfortable with people, he’s one of my favourite people to sit in complete silence with and it’s completely okay.

Spending time with him when he comes to visit makes me feel so much more relaxed, even when I’m super busy with uni and I’m behind and I feel like I’m going to fail.

(Six of nine assignments handed in, three to go in less than two weeks)

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Intertwined, dodie | Music Review

2016, music, Uncategorized

Hello!

I know I wrote about Sick of Losing Soulmates about two weeks ago but the whole EP is out now and I want to write about it because I love it so much!

Intertwined is a very pretty song – it’s very ‘dodie’ because it’s really meaningful lyrics and poignant melodies and enchanting harmonies and there’s a reason that it’s the title of the EP. It’s a really beautiful song, whether you’re already a fan of Dodie or not.

The second song is a 40 second track called ‘I’ve got a hole in my tooth’ and it’s the most satyrical, hilarious song that feels like a meme in itself.  It’s my boyfriends favourite song (not that I’ve listened to the EP enough that he has a favourite song… he knows most of the words I’m very proud) and I love the recorder. I’ve also seen this song live and, as expected, it’s as wonderful as the studio version.

Absolutely Smitten is my most favourite song on the EP – comparing it to the original song and how much it’s grown and Dodie’s vocals have matured is just incredible. It makes me feel so happy, it’s such a feel good and lighthearted song – I thoroughly recommend it in the shower or if you’ve had a bad day, definitely put it on repeat one because by the second listening you’ll definitely be smiling.

I need someone to help me cover this song because the glockenspiel is phenomenal.

Life Lesson confuses me a little bit – it sounds like it’s going to be motivational and inspiring but then it says what it says at the end (no spoilers, go listen for yourself!) and I’m like yes let yourself feel sad or upset and don’t suppress it but also I thought it would be about grabbing opportunities and taking on the world. Mixed opinions – good song but not sure how it makes me feel?

Sick of Losing Soulmates – normally when I listen to a song over and over, when the full album or EP comes out I skip it because I’ve had enough of it but I’m really not sick of this song (lol), it means a lot to me. For a full review, you can read it here!

When is such a beautiful song – when I wrote the first song review I hadn’t listened to it really properly and now I have and I can’t wait to learn all the words. The lyrics say that she still wishes she was 16 and I’ve felt really similarly nostalgic about things and people the way they were when I was 16 so I need to learn this song more, I adore it so I need to learn all the words.

Dodie has such a beautiful voice and this EP really does represent who she is as a musician and a person. I thoroughly recommend listening to it, if you can’t buy it on iTunes then have a listen on Spotify!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

download

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Bands I Need to Listen to More

2016, music, Uncategorized

Hello!

I love music but I’m really good at just listening to the same music I know and love over and over again, so I thought I’d make a list of a few bands that I’ve found individual songs that I love and I’d like to hear more of.

Mayday Parade: (Songs I already know: Miserable At Best)

I heard this song when someone on tumblr asked me to write something based on this song and I really love it, assuming the rest of the bands music is of a similar genre and has lots of guitars, I’d love to hear more of their lyrics because everything is about lyrics. Pretty lyrics make a happy Spoof.

We The Kings: (Songs I already know: Check Yes, Juliet, We’ll Be A Dream)

I follow a couple of members of We The Kings on YouTube so I feel like I’m up to date but having looked at their albums, I’ve really not listened to a lot of their music. I love their genre and Travis has such a unique voice and I already know I’m going to like the rest of their music (I just need to listen to it) (story of my life).

As It Is: (Songs I already know: Dial Tones)

I followed Patty Walters on YouTube when he was a YouTuber and I loved Dial Tones and I know As It Is are coming to Southampton on tour with States Champs and I really want to go but to do that I should definitely listen to both bands if I’m going to spend money to go see them. I like pop punk. I think.

Boys Like Girls: (Songs I already know: The Great Escape, Love Drunk)

I like guitar music and catchy songs and pretty lyrics. I’m literally just going to listen to their entire discography for a week or two then hopefully I’ll know all the words. I did not research this enough I don’t even know if they make music anymore. I feel like I could offend people.

Hey Monday: (Songs I already know: Josey, Home-Coming)

I don’t want to sound repetitive at this point. You get the gist at this point.

Cute Is What We Aim For: (Songs I already know: Doctor, Practice Makes Perfect)

I listened to their album a lot when I was writing when I was on holiday when I was about 15 and I really liked it, it was really motivational so I really want to listen again and see if they have anything else or anything new.

Every Avenue: (Songs I already know: Happy The Hard Way, Picture Perfect)

These are all the nostalgic songs I listened to in my early teen years.

Owl City: (Songs I already know: Fireflies)

My boyfriend loves Owl City and he has a real emotional connection to them so I want to listen to more of their songs to try and hear what he hears. He had a dream about us getting married to an Owl City song so it’s worth having a listen right?

All the music and bands I listened to in year 9. I’m going to spend an awful lot of time on Spotify!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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how my blogging habits have changed

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

When I started my blog, it was mostly because I was applying to Uni and everywhere I looked said I should have one. Between September and December of 2014 I blogged 8 times and that was about it. On the first of January, I decided that it wasn’t good enough and I decided to blog every single day in 2015. I soon regretted the decision but it did what I wanted – gave me the kick up the bum I needed to fall in love with blogging.

When 2015 ended, I wasn’t really sure what to do – I knew I couldn’t carry on for another year and I knew that I loved blogging enough that I would probably carry it on so I went back to just ‘as and when’ I felt inspired by something. But I fell off the wagon again and I blogged every day in June and now I have a really regimented schedule that I stick to every week and I’m running three blogs now and I still love it as much as I did a year ago.

My style has really settled – I feel really comfortable in my informal, chatty style and sitting down to write a blog post is often the easiest bit for me (having ideas and finding time in the day are often my biggest struggles!). I’ve always enjoyed writing and blogging is my outlet for that right now.

In terms of photography, the one resolution from New Years I’ve tried really hard to stick to! 95% of the pictures I upload to this blog I’ve taken myself, whether it be an iPhone picture or a DSLR picture, I don’t often source pictures from Google anymore.

I’ve even started going to blogging events! I started following a few blogging pages on twitter as a means of networking and connecting with more bloggers and there I found @SotonBloggers and they host a bunch of blogging events around Southampton that I’ve been to a couple of now and I’ve met other bloggers there and it’s just been really nice to connect with other people.

My blog and my style has changed a lot – having done a lot of research for writing a blogging related assignment project and looking into how bloggers make money, I’m thinking maybe I’m approaching it from the right angle.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the content of my blog and what I write on it. I realise that a lot of the things I write don’t fit into a category and don’t get all that much readership because they’re related to me, ‘Should I dye my hair’, ‘am I a lifestyle blogger’, ‘I’m trying to work out again!’ – none of that is relevant to anything or anyone. I’m treating my blog more like a diary than a blog and I don’t want it to be like that.

I would love it if my blog was successful – I’m not here for money otherwise I wouldn’t have been blogging for two years – I love blogging and I really care about the kind of content I make so I want it to be the best I can possibly make it.

Conclusion – those posts I’ve written saying I don’t need a niche might not be so true after all. I don’t think I could ever put myself into a niche but I think I need some sort of a focus – I need to write about things for other people, not just feeding back about my life and whether I’m going to the gym or not.

Right now, I’m not really a lifestyle blogger at all – this is just an online diary and that’s not what I want it to be.

At this very moment, this post that you’re reading is the last post I have planned. Normally I have posts planned a few weeks in advance and this is the end of my last brainstorming session. Having reached this realisation that my blog needs more of a focus, I’m thinking maybe I take a week off to reconsider, do some research and get some ideas together but I’m not sure how long that’ll last because I’ll miss it too much.

I’ll let you know on Monday.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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How to make brownies! | Recipe

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I love baking, but I don’t often get the chance to do it because ingredients are expensive or I’m trying to eat more healthily or I don’t have time. But I have, however, perfected how I make brownies and I love writing these recipe posts so I thought I’d share!

Ingredients!

  • 8 oz butter
  • 1 lb soft light brown sugar
  • 3 oz cocoa powder
  • 4 oz self raising flour
  • 4 oz plain chocolate
  • 4 eggs

The first step is to pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees. I always feel like I’m doing it too early but if I don’t do it now I forget to do it at all.

Next step is to measure out the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder and melt them all down. Don’t do this until all the ingredients are fully liquidised otherwise they’ll burn – do it in thirty second bursts until it’s just a few lumps that disappear when you stir them. I find two bursts of thirty seconds in the microwave is fine.

Whisk the eggs and the brown sugar in another bowl (yes, you do need that much brown sugar). Then add the previously melted chocolate and mix it all together. I find it works just as well with a wooden spoon than an electric hand whisk and it keeps it all light and fluffy and airy or something.

Measure out the self raising flour on top of all the other ingredients and mix it all together gently, making sure all of the flour is definitely mixed into the rest of the ingredients.

Line a rectangular tin with grease proof paper – personally I find it makes it a lot easier to remove the brownie in the end but that might just be me being very lazy. If you don’t use paper, grease your tin properly! It’s meant to be quite a gooey brownie.

Once you’ve transferred your mixture to your tray, put it in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes! I thoroughly recommend checking it at 30 minutes (if not earlier) then deciding how much longer you want to leave it in for, then if you want it particularly gooey in the middle, or any other feature to your preferences, you can monitor it more closely.

If not, cook it for around 35 minutes (it worked best for me!) and just poke a knife straight through the middle to make sure it’s cooking – if it comes out completely clean it’s done!

Remember to turn the oven off. That helps.

Leave the brownie in the tin for five minutes, then take it out the tin and leave it to cool for five more minutes than tuck in to your hearts content! I find between me and two hungry male flat mates, half the brownie is gone in one night.

Last tip! Whilst milk chocolate does make a nice brownie, to get that rich gooeyness that makes people pull really funny faces of pleasure when they take that first bite, plain or dark chocolate is the way forward.

In general, plain or dark chocolate is the way forward but particularly in brownie.

(Yes, I know I missed another Wednesday post – I’m going to make some mental changes to the diary to make sure Wednesday posts can continue to go up on time in the future!)

Thank you for reading and good luck with your brownie!

Sophie xx

 

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