Welcome!

Talking is hard, so instead I write.

Welcome to my blog. My name is Catherine, and I’m a UK based teen blogger. Through my platforms, I aim to spread positivity. My blogs focus primarily on books, lifestyle and climate change.

When my head is not stuck in a book, you’ll find me playing my cello, baking or bullet journaling.

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5 Things I’m Grateful For This Summer | Collaboration With Daisy’s Corner

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the blog. This Friday’s post is in collaboration with my online bestie Daisy, from Daisy’s Corner. Organised girl boss Daisy had this collab planned far in advance, and finally it is time to share it with you! In this post I will be sharing 5 things I’m grateful for this summer. Daisy is doing the same, so after reading this post you must click here to view her half. This is going to be a very happy, wholesome post! I hope you enjoy.

Early Summer Mornings

I don’t get up early every day, although I am making an effort to. I just love the golden glow in the morning! Sitting in the garden with my journal, or a good book, in the early hours is an unbeatable feeling. Plus, with the weather being so hot in the UK at the moment, it’s about the only time I can go outside without roasting to bits.

Frozen Fruit (Blueberries In Particular)

This time last year I had not yet discovered the joy of eating fruits frozen. Berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, are super yummy when frozen. They’re are comparable to sweets, except better in my opinion! All fruit is a blessing, and I could not live without it. Lockdown has made so many of us more grateful for the little things. I try to believe that I was expressing gratitude before lockdown, but never like this.

My Garden

All throughout lockdown I have been especially grateful for my garden. In the beginning stages when only 1 hour of exercise daily was allowed, I felt so grateful to have my outdoor space. We’ve started inviting a few people round for barbecues and it’s been an awesome family space. On top of that, it’s served as our own ‘camping’ park. Since we can’t go on holiday this year, I have been camping in the garden for a breath of fresh air – literally.

That I Can Go For Long Walks

As we are no longer restricted to one hour of exercise per day, I can now get out on long walks. I live semi-rurally, where there are many amazing walks nearby. I am extremely grateful for that opportunity. The countryside, and the beautiful hills, are where I belong. If I could walk up and down a mountain every day, I would. It gives me such a buzz (much more satisfying than post-workout adrenaline!)

Audiobooks

Lockdown forced me to start using a library app, rather than the in-person experience. That led to my discovery of audiobooks! I’ve always wanted to try out this way of reading before, but I thought I needed to spend money. Turns out, the library has them there for me! Without coronavirus I would have never discovered this feature. Although it is a dreadful virus, the consequential lockdown it caused has brought many a realisation. Audiobooks are such a convenient way to get through books while completing other activities. My favourite is colouring and listening, or even when I’m editing photos for Instagram.

I have a childish obsession with rainbows…

We are missing out on so much opportunity this summer. My family didn’t book anything, but planned to go inter railing around Italy. In the past year I have also raised £1800 to go on a Guides camp, which was inevitably cancelled. Despite the drastic change of plans, I’ve still had an awesome summer thus far. Counting my blessings has kept me positive and inspired! I do encourage any of you feeling a tad low to write down 5 things you’re grateful for either in the comment section or on paper. Really reflect on what you have written down. I promise you, it’s the best habit to get into a routine of.

Many thanks to Daisy for offering me the chance to do a 3rd collab together! You have no idea just how much I love chatting with you, and that Zoom call once was the most fun. Daisy just completed her first year of blogging! It’s been a wild ride, and she has grown so much in this short space of time. Please go over and support her blog, YouTube and Instagram. So much hard work goes into maintaining content like this so even the smallest support means a lot. 

What are you especially grateful for this summer?

catherine x

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How To Make Instagram Perfect Meringues Without Fuss

Welcome back! Hope you’re having a lovely week so far. Today I’m going to be sharing my full-proof meringue recipe. With a bit of creativity, you can make them look Pinterest perfect! They’re basic meringues, shaped like macaroons to make them cute and tiny 🙂 But I find macaroons have so much space to fail whereas meringues work perfectly every time. Now, let’s get into it!

I bought my meringues pre-made, I know that’s cheating. But here is a recipe I took from BBC GoodFood, our trusted friend. A few comments said they burnt but most were positive reviews. Just be careful! 

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • margarine
  • more icing sugar for buttercream
  • food colouring! I used blue, red and pink.

Method

  • Heat the oven to 110C/ 100C fan/gas ¼.
  • Line two baking trays with non-stick liner or parchment paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil).
  • Tip 4 large egg whites with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.
  • Now turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. It’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.
  • Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy.
  • Divide the mixture into three bowls. Add a tiny, tiny drop of liquid food colouring in to each bowl. Gently (super gently) fold in until they look a light pastel colour.
  • Scoop up a dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another spoon, ease it on to the baking sheet to make a circular shape. Or just drop them in rough rounds, if you prefer.
  • Bake for 1 ½-1 ¾ hours in a fan oven, 1 ¼ hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour.
  • Leave to cool on the trays. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.)

Now to the part of the recipe I invented:

  • Once completely cooled, you can start decorating. Whip up some buttercream and divide into three bowls, as before. Add in a drop of food colouring into each bowl. You can make them darker than the original meringue, or the same colour (although that does take a lot of precision).
Tablecloth goals, am I right or am I right?
  • Grab two meringues and sandwich them together, with the buttercream centre.
  • Allow the buttercream to harden before serving.

That’s it! Your mock macaroons are now made to share on Instagram and go completely viral. Do send me you photos if you decide to recreate 🙂

Want to see my Instagram perfect meringues on Instagram? Just click here, I posted a new photo this evening.

What’s your favourite flavour macaroon?

Mine is by far pistachio!

catherine x

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5 Advantages of Blogging Over Social Media | How To Grow Your Brand

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog. You all know I love adding a question to the end of my blog posts. On last Friday’s post I posed the question, ‘which do you prefer: blogging or social media?’. The response I had was pro-blogging. That’s how the idea to write this post came about! I don’t want to appear biased, because I myself use Instagram and Pinterest a lot. I will make a part two to this 5 Advantages Of Social Media Over Blogging. Let me know if you’d like to see that!

Without further ado, let’s get into it. 

The Blogging Algorithm Works

First and foremost, with blogging the algorithm works. Any of you who use Instagram will know it takes a lot of trial and error to finally have a post ‘blow up’. With blogging, as long as you are equipped with the right tools, your blog post can easily blow up. If it is good content it will be pushed to the top of search results, be over everyone’s Pinterest feed, and get good response. My yoga post, that I made at the start of the year, astonished me by getting over a 100 likes (when I usually get 20). It took off because I added the right tags, quality photos and conveyed a positive message. Unlike with Instagram, where a post can have all the correct criteria, yet still flop.

There’s More Diversity 

There is more diversity in the blogosphere! I am using Instagram as my main social media to compare to, here. Instagram finely tunes what posts you like to display more posts like that. Okay, that made no sense. Even I had to read it twice. For example, if you like a cat photo, you will be shown more cat photos. However in blogging you are displayed many different types of material. Your feed is only full of things you follow – so you are in control of what it looks like.

You Can Make Strong Bonds Faster

Now this is a controversial one: you can build stronger bonds through blogging than you can on social media. Please don’t come for me on this. I have made the best, kindest, most amazing Internet best friend through social media and emails. Her name is Florence, and we’ve been friends for more than 3 years. It’s not impossible to build close friends through social media. However, in a short time frame, clients can communicate better with you through a blog post than an Instagram caption. If you want to start a business, creating a blog is the easiest way to make reliable, honest customers. Social media, on the other hand, is a bit hit or miss. A Tweet is so short, how can you convey your business’ message in 180 characters?

You Don’t ‘Scroll’ Through Blog Posts

Tying in with the previous statement, people don’t skip over blog posts. You don’t just scroll through. Once you’ve read the first paragraph, you stay until the end. Unlike with Twitter or Instagram, you can’t keep flicking past until you find something intriguing. Honestly, I don’t read every Instagram caption I see. With blog posts I do. Now that might just be a me thing, but after consulting a few people on Instagram I’ve learned that I’m not alone. If you’re wanting to really make an impact with your writings, a blog is the route to go down. I know lots of people make a success from Instagram, I’m not denying that, but I think an accompanying blog does no harm. I have an Instagram with almost 1.5k followers (thank you so, so much for that) but what is the main focus? My blog!

Blogs. Retain. Audiences. 

It’s much easier to retain an audience with blogging. With Instagram people come and go: my core Instagram supporters are all those who also read my blog. Some blog readers have been here since the beginning (I see you Maryam and Caz) but I could scroll back to an old Instagram post and see a commenter that I’ve not heard from in ages. There’s none of that ‘follow for follow’ culture in blogging, which I’m super thankful for.

I loved writing this post so much, so I hope you also loved reading it! Don’t forget I will be doing a part two, so you better stay tuned for that. In relation to today’s post, I’m going to link my social medias here:

What is your favourite social media platform?

Hope you all have an awesome Wednesday, packed full of positivity. In response to this posts question, I think I’m going to have to say Pinterest is my favourite social media. If you do have a Pinterest, feel free to follow me then I can follow you back! I only started it up last week but I’m loving it so far. 

catherine x

Chit Chat Life Update

This post will naturally not perform as well. That’s because I won’t be using social media to promote it, for the first time in two years? You’re probably wondering ‘why not use social media to promote it if it gets better results that way?’. The reason is… I’m taking a social media detox. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but out of fear of losing engagement, I stuck with it until I completely burnt out. It’s a much needed break, I assure you. I was feeling anxious, physically, and my whole mind felt cluttered. Here I am. Still blogging, of course. Even if Instagram and Pinterest slip through my fingers, I will always keep blogging. Nothing can stop me. Nothing has stopped me for 3 years!

This post goes live in a few hours, so I haven’t taken any photos either. It’s strange not living up to my high standards. There’ll be no Pinterest thumbnail… no stress of filtering through photos last minute and editing them minutes before the upload deadline. Just me. Pure me. 

No Electricity 😥

Today the electricians are doing work on the power line, so no electricity from 9-5. No music, no kettle, no hot water. That’s why I decided to sort out my room today. We recently bought some Ikea boxes so I can organise my over-bed shelves. At the moment everything is up there, collecting dust, so I wanted to put them in boxes to a) not have to clean them all the time and b) make my room look neat. I have an audiobook lined up on my iPad (The Selection, might I add) so I can keep my mind occupied while sorting. I do love sorting, but without food for thought, I would go crackers. 

Live In The Moment

My plan through this detox is to take life as it comes. Although it would be amazing to go out for frequent walks, practise my cello a lot and wake up earlier – that’s not the main aim. I just wish to live more presently. 

Plans For Content Going Forward

You thought you could get rid of me that easily? No way Hosé. I’ll still be uploading three times a week on here. I don’t expect numbers to excel with the absence of Instagram, but blogging is about enjoyment. The numbers do matter somewhat, I would love for lots of people to read my message, but my main aim with blogging is to progress my writing and find other likeminded people. I have very successfully achieved that. Hmm, maybe my English teacher has something to say about the first one but slow progress is still progress. And writing three posts a week has got to be more than some people do, eh? 

Thank You!

Thank you for the support over the last three years. It means more to me than you will ever know. Thank you for your patience with me, and to those who have stuck with this blog through thick and thin. It’s been a wild ride and I am gladly awaiting the future. 

Have you done anything cool in the last week? Or even something small that made you feel happy?

I love chatting with you, so please leave a conversation starter in the comments. Sending love,

catherine x

My inactive but still awesome Instagram

Check out what I’m reading…

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My Pinterest (I’ll still be immersing myself in cute cat photos, and aesthetic book pics)

How To Be Productive After A Long Day | Never Heard Before Tips That Will ALWAYS Keep You On Track

For most of us, evenings are the only time we can commit to our side hustle. During the day time we might have work, school or other activities that make it impossible to find time for our blogs, Instagrams and YouTube channels. I know that for me, after a long day of school and homework, I don’t have the energy to invest into my blog. Sometimes I just flop on the sofa and sleep. Although that’s totally okay, and the education system puts too much pressure on young people, you still sometimes need to get stuff done. It’s not that I don’t have the motivation to blog, it’s that I don’t feel prepared to take on the mammoth task of writing a post or responding to emails. In those cases, I use these five tips to keep me on track.

Turn Off Your Phone!

Usually my phone will be powered off as I complete homework, but in the odd case that it isn’t, I will always turn it off before doing some blogging. In conjunction with this, I will also close down all of my Safari tabs. If you have an iPad – or any other device connected to social media – turn that off as well. In some cases you will need your device to complete blogging tasks (replying to comments, writing Instagram captions) but where you can, do it from the laptop. It makes you approach every task with a more professional outlook, which I find very helpful.

Write A To-Do List

Hear me out here, because you’ve probably heard this one countless times. Sometimes a list in my bullet journal feels overwhelming, so I like to break it down into manageable parts on a sticky note or alternative piece of paper. A task on my to-do list may be ‘write a blog post’, but on the sticky note I will make a detailed plan so I have a structure to the post. This usually consists of five points – which I then adapt on. Write yourself a mini to-do list, breaking down a bulkier task. I promise you it works every time!

Get Some Fresh Air

For some of you, this may not be possible. In that case, just open your window and let the air circulate through. Unless, of course, you’re living in a toxic air space. Then don’t listen to a word I say!

After writing a to-do list, I like to go for a short 30 minute walk. No music, no podcasts, just thinking through and action plan for the task I need to complete. You could call this procrastination, but it helps bring a new perspective to my work. I might have sat through 2 hours of homework, and I just need to stretch my legs. I can’t be sat at the same desk all evening. In winter it gets dark super fast, therefore this idea is impractical. In that case I’ll do a short yoga or meditation. It sounds so fancy to say that – but yes I regularly do yoga!

Perform A Ritual

Don’t get hasty, I don’t mean magic spells! Before I get started on blog work, I always perform a ritual to get me in the mood. For me this is opening my window, cleaning my room and getting a glass of water. It’s nothing special, but after completing that series of events I feel ready to take on my previously thought out to-do list. It will differ from person to person but here are some ideas: make a cup of tea, read a chapter of your book, tidy away your school things, complete a meditation. My school work ritual is making a cup of tea and obtaining a snack of two crackers. Try it!

Just Do It

I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s the only way you’ll ever complete something. Just do it; get started on the task! I will always need to have a few energising moments after school, before I start blogging. Everyone needs a break, that’s a given. You can’t expect yourself to sit at a desk for 5 hours without once getting up. But your creative outlet is your passion. If you need motivation to do it, it’s probably not the right thing for you.

These self-help posts are some of my favourites to plan and write out. Do you enjoy them? Most importantly, are they helpful? I know productivity is a bit of taboo topic. You cannot be productive all the time, and you need breaks to keep your mind creative. However, during lockdown, I found myself giving up too soon. My evenings were spent watching hours of Doctor Who, not moving much and resulting in feeling just a bit ugh. Therefore I started implementing tips like these to keep me on track. Self-worth should not be measured by productivity. But then again, you only live once and you must make the most of your time on this earth. Key word: balance. Your definition of balance is in constant flux, which makes it hard to define. But effort is never wasted when it comes to self-care. 

Which of these tips are you going to use? Do you have any tips to be productive after a long and tiring day?

Let’s make the comment section a bubble of advice, so we can help those who are finding it difficult to find time post-work for their hustles. And as always, let me know what’s occurring in your life at the moment. You have no idea how much I love chatting with you all.

catherine x

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We’re almost at 200 on my bookstagram!

My fun and fresh Pinterest 😉