Citrus cakes are my absolute favourite in summer, lemon & poppyseed loaf is one of my favourites, but orange is definitely my most favourite citrus flavour, and I rarely see orange flavoured cakes on instagram or pinterest, so I adapted my favourite lemon and poppyseed recipe! I've been vegan for over a year, and I still find it difficult to find recipes that are simple and straight forward and don't require hard to source and expensive ingredients. This one uses things that are always found in your cupboard, and should be fairly easy and cheap to get hold of if not!


INGREDIENTS
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp poppyseeds 
  • 120ml oil (vegetable is best, but any type will do)
  • 230ml vegan milk (I use soy, but almond would be fine too)
  • juice of 3 large oranges
  • zest of 4 large oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F. Line and grease a loaf tin.
  2. Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and poppy seeds and mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the oil, soy milk, vanilla extract, orange juice and orange zest. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. As with most vegan cakes, the mixture will be thinner than 'normal' cake batter, so don't be worried if it comes out thinner than you'd expect.
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for around an hour. Test with a skewer or a toothpick to make sure the loaf is cooked all the way through. 
  6. If you wish, leave the cake to cool and ice using icing sugar mixed with tsp of juice from the orange. 
  7. Top with orange zest and poppy seeds. The cake should last around 3 days in an airtight container.

And there you have it! Honestly one of the easiest no-nonsense vegan cake recipes I've followed, and the results come out perfectly! Let me know how it goes if you try it! What are your favourite vegan cake recipes?

All my love,

Em x

  • May 17, 2020

The Easiest Vegan Orange & Poppyseed Loaf


Citrus cakes are my absolute favourite in summer, lemon & poppyseed loaf is one of my favourites, but orange is definitely my most favourite citrus flavour, and I rarely see orange flavoured cakes on instagram or pinterest, so I adapted my favourite lemon and poppyseed recipe! I've been vegan for over a year, and I still find it difficult to find recipes that are simple and straight forward and don't require hard to source and expensive ingredients. This one uses things that are always found in your cupboard, and should be fairly easy and cheap to get hold of if not!


INGREDIENTS
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp poppyseeds 
  • 120ml oil (vegetable is best, but any type will do)
  • 230ml vegan milk (I use soy, but almond would be fine too)
  • juice of 3 large oranges
  • zest of 4 large oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F. Line and grease a loaf tin.
  2. Sift the self-raising flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and poppy seeds and mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the oil, soy milk, vanilla extract, orange juice and orange zest. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. As with most vegan cakes, the mixture will be thinner than 'normal' cake batter, so don't be worried if it comes out thinner than you'd expect.
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for around an hour. Test with a skewer or a toothpick to make sure the loaf is cooked all the way through. 
  6. If you wish, leave the cake to cool and ice using icing sugar mixed with tsp of juice from the orange. 
  7. Top with orange zest and poppy seeds. The cake should last around 3 days in an airtight container.

And there you have it! Honestly one of the easiest no-nonsense vegan cake recipes I've followed, and the results come out perfectly! Let me know how it goes if you try it! What are your favourite vegan cake recipes?

All my love,

Em x


Tuesday 12th May is M.E. awareness day, and so I thought I'd do my bit for awareness by writing a blog post about the chronic illnesses I have and answer any questions about chronic illness. For those of you who don't know, I have M.E. (chronic fatigue syndrome), anxiety, chronic headaches and suspected endometriosis (undiagnosed). I first experienced my symptoms of M.E, anxiety and endo at age 14, so have been dealing with this a while, as I'm now 21. Most of the questions I got asked on my Q&A on instagram was about my personal experience with my chronic illness and the symptoms and details, so I thought I'd do a small introduction about each chronic illness for those who don't know what they are/ what they involve.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated illness, but is categorised by general exhaustion, amongst other symptoms such as constant pain, headaches, cognitive confusion, and various others. For me, M.E. means that I live in a constant state of exhaustion, despite sleeping for 11+ hours every night, and I never manage to find a way to find relief from this exhaustion, and I get confused very easily during 'brain fog' moments. M.E. usually happens when an 'activating event' triggers the onset of the illness. The M.E. association has more information on symptoms, management and useful resources. There currently is no cure for M.E., but research is progressing, the main way for those who have it at the moment are good lifestyle habits and a consistent routine.

Anxiety is sort of an umbrella term to generally describe a number of conditions defined by a general feeling of unease or worry, that does not go away, and is difficult to control. I am lucky that my anxiety is mild, and is mostly stress and work related. I do struggle with pressure, specifically for university work, which normally causes me to throw up repeatedly or have panic attacks during exams. I manage my anxiety through medication during exam times, and effective lifestyle habits the rest of the year. My chronic headaches also result from stress. I suffer from constant tension headaches at the back of the head, and have done for over a year. As someone who is allergic to ibuprofen and co-codamol, I find pain relief from these headaches difficult. I am thankful that I have a really great GP, who prescribed me propranolol, and these not only stop my headaches and occasional migraines, but relieve my anxiety symptoms too.

Endometriosis is a condition which involves the build up cells that should be found in the womb (uterus) in other parts of the body, when the blood that should be released every month cannot be from these other parts of the body, it can cause inflammation, resulting in a lot of pain and the formation of scar tissue. The classic symptoms of endo are painful and heavy periods, pain during or after sex, and painful bowel movements. Endometriosis UK is a good resource for more information. As I mentioned above, I do not have a diagnosis with endo, but have suffered from extremely painful periods, along other symptoms, since the age of 12. I have discussed my symptoms with a GP, who agreed I have the classic symptoms and that further investigation needs to be carried out, but that has obviously come to a halt in the current situation.



What were your early symptoms?
For my M.E., my early symptoms were mostly complete exhaustion no matter how much I slept, and a lot of brain fog and confusion, especially when I was more tired than usual. M.E. My symptoms were initially dismissed as teenage growing and work level tiredness, and it took a long time for it to be taken seriously, by which point I'd also started experiencing the joint pains and headaches that also come with the illness.

For endo, my early symptoms were excruciating period pains, bad enough to make me throw up, whilst on my period, and all through the month. I've taken some form of contraception for my periods since I was 13, and all of them worked to some extent, but I still dealt with the pains despite having no periods at all. It took me a good number of years to realise these weren't just bad period pains, but that something was wrong.

Anything for knee pains and body aches?
For me, heat works best, and a hot water bottle is my best friend for my aches and pains!

How to deal with suspected endo when you feel like you're just waiting around?
I honestly can't help with this that much, because I'm stuck in the waiting around stage. But, I think my tips would be to have faith in yourself and your knowledge of your own body when things take a long time and you're questioned by doctor after doctor. Educating yourself, and keeping track of your symptoms is a great way to make sure you know what you need to, and have the information you need when you see doctors.

Do you find yourself constantly thinking about your illness out of fear?
I find that I do think about it a lot, but more out of annoyance and inconvenience than anything. It does impact my day-to-day life unfortunately, and it's hard not to get annoyed about not being able to do all the things your friends do.

How do you cure your anxiety? Do you get professional help?
As I mentioned above, my anxiety is mostly work and academic related, and so I take prescribed tablets when I feel particularly stressed, and I'm looking into getting therapy to try and develop my coping tactics for day-to-day stresses.

How does this affect your social life?
The main way it affects my social life is that I don't cope very well with changes to my routine, including early mornings or late nights. I don't go out clubbing very often (despite my love for a boogie!), or stay out late at the cinema or eating very often either. I also find social interactions with new people exhausting, so things like meeting new flatmates or new course-mates or being around extended family can be extremely tiring. I'm really thankful that my family, my boyfriend and his family, and my friends are all really understanding and accommodating.

Do you struggle to attend class sometimes?
Yes, definitely. I find that my routine works best when I sleep until around 10 o'clock, and that I struggle changing my routine to get up much earlier, mainly because I'm more of a night time person generally. I unfortunately often miss my 9am lectures, which is annoying, but I'm thankful that all of my lectures are recorded, and I don't have many contact hours, so I can catch up on any lectures I miss quite easily.

Have you read any books that have helped in general/ helped explore your chronic illness?
I haven't! 'Self-help' books have never really been my thing, but I'd definitely be open to reading some now, if anyone has any recommendations!

How can I support my friend with a chronic illness?
The main thing I would say, is to check in on them and ask how they're really doing, especially at the moment. Other than that, just being there for them is really important, and making them feel like they have someone to talk to when things aren't great. Being accommodating of their chronic illness is also important, and obviously it's perfectly okay for you to still go out and do what you like, but making someone feel included in your plans, or doing things that are more suitable for them always goes a long way.


And that's a chronic illness round up. I hope to those of you who asked questions, these responses answer them adequately. To anyone who has any remains questions or concerns about your own chronic illness, please do not be afraid to message me, I'm here for anyone who wants more information or just someone to talk to.

All my love,

Em x
  • May 10, 2020

M.E. Awareness Day | Living With a Chronic Illness Q&A


Tuesday 12th May is M.E. awareness day, and so I thought I'd do my bit for awareness by writing a blog post about the chronic illnesses I have and answer any questions about chronic illness. For those of you who don't know, I have M.E. (chronic fatigue syndrome), anxiety, chronic headaches and suspected endometriosis (undiagnosed). I first experienced my symptoms of M.E, anxiety and endo at age 14, so have been dealing with this a while, as I'm now 21. Most of the questions I got asked on my Q&A on instagram was about my personal experience with my chronic illness and the symptoms and details, so I thought I'd do a small introduction about each chronic illness for those who don't know what they are/ what they involve.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated illness, but is categorised by general exhaustion, amongst other symptoms such as constant pain, headaches, cognitive confusion, and various others. For me, M.E. means that I live in a constant state of exhaustion, despite sleeping for 11+ hours every night, and I never manage to find a way to find relief from this exhaustion, and I get confused very easily during 'brain fog' moments. M.E. usually happens when an 'activating event' triggers the onset of the illness. The M.E. association has more information on symptoms, management and useful resources. There currently is no cure for M.E., but research is progressing, the main way for those who have it at the moment are good lifestyle habits and a consistent routine.

Anxiety is sort of an umbrella term to generally describe a number of conditions defined by a general feeling of unease or worry, that does not go away, and is difficult to control. I am lucky that my anxiety is mild, and is mostly stress and work related. I do struggle with pressure, specifically for university work, which normally causes me to throw up repeatedly or have panic attacks during exams. I manage my anxiety through medication during exam times, and effective lifestyle habits the rest of the year. My chronic headaches also result from stress. I suffer from constant tension headaches at the back of the head, and have done for over a year. As someone who is allergic to ibuprofen and co-codamol, I find pain relief from these headaches difficult. I am thankful that I have a really great GP, who prescribed me propranolol, and these not only stop my headaches and occasional migraines, but relieve my anxiety symptoms too.

Endometriosis is a condition which involves the build up cells that should be found in the womb (uterus) in other parts of the body, when the blood that should be released every month cannot be from these other parts of the body, it can cause inflammation, resulting in a lot of pain and the formation of scar tissue. The classic symptoms of endo are painful and heavy periods, pain during or after sex, and painful bowel movements. Endometriosis UK is a good resource for more information. As I mentioned above, I do not have a diagnosis with endo, but have suffered from extremely painful periods, along other symptoms, since the age of 12. I have discussed my symptoms with a GP, who agreed I have the classic symptoms and that further investigation needs to be carried out, but that has obviously come to a halt in the current situation.



What were your early symptoms?
For my M.E., my early symptoms were mostly complete exhaustion no matter how much I slept, and a lot of brain fog and confusion, especially when I was more tired than usual. M.E. My symptoms were initially dismissed as teenage growing and work level tiredness, and it took a long time for it to be taken seriously, by which point I'd also started experiencing the joint pains and headaches that also come with the illness.

For endo, my early symptoms were excruciating period pains, bad enough to make me throw up, whilst on my period, and all through the month. I've taken some form of contraception for my periods since I was 13, and all of them worked to some extent, but I still dealt with the pains despite having no periods at all. It took me a good number of years to realise these weren't just bad period pains, but that something was wrong.

Anything for knee pains and body aches?
For me, heat works best, and a hot water bottle is my best friend for my aches and pains!

How to deal with suspected endo when you feel like you're just waiting around?
I honestly can't help with this that much, because I'm stuck in the waiting around stage. But, I think my tips would be to have faith in yourself and your knowledge of your own body when things take a long time and you're questioned by doctor after doctor. Educating yourself, and keeping track of your symptoms is a great way to make sure you know what you need to, and have the information you need when you see doctors.

Do you find yourself constantly thinking about your illness out of fear?
I find that I do think about it a lot, but more out of annoyance and inconvenience than anything. It does impact my day-to-day life unfortunately, and it's hard not to get annoyed about not being able to do all the things your friends do.

How do you cure your anxiety? Do you get professional help?
As I mentioned above, my anxiety is mostly work and academic related, and so I take prescribed tablets when I feel particularly stressed, and I'm looking into getting therapy to try and develop my coping tactics for day-to-day stresses.

How does this affect your social life?
The main way it affects my social life is that I don't cope very well with changes to my routine, including early mornings or late nights. I don't go out clubbing very often (despite my love for a boogie!), or stay out late at the cinema or eating very often either. I also find social interactions with new people exhausting, so things like meeting new flatmates or new course-mates or being around extended family can be extremely tiring. I'm really thankful that my family, my boyfriend and his family, and my friends are all really understanding and accommodating.

Do you struggle to attend class sometimes?
Yes, definitely. I find that my routine works best when I sleep until around 10 o'clock, and that I struggle changing my routine to get up much earlier, mainly because I'm more of a night time person generally. I unfortunately often miss my 9am lectures, which is annoying, but I'm thankful that all of my lectures are recorded, and I don't have many contact hours, so I can catch up on any lectures I miss quite easily.

Have you read any books that have helped in general/ helped explore your chronic illness?
I haven't! 'Self-help' books have never really been my thing, but I'd definitely be open to reading some now, if anyone has any recommendations!

How can I support my friend with a chronic illness?
The main thing I would say, is to check in on them and ask how they're really doing, especially at the moment. Other than that, just being there for them is really important, and making them feel like they have someone to talk to when things aren't great. Being accommodating of their chronic illness is also important, and obviously it's perfectly okay for you to still go out and do what you like, but making someone feel included in your plans, or doing things that are more suitable for them always goes a long way.


And that's a chronic illness round up. I hope to those of you who asked questions, these responses answer them adequately. To anyone who has any remains questions or concerns about your own chronic illness, please do not be afraid to message me, I'm here for anyone who wants more information or just someone to talk to.

All my love,

Em x
Hello hello, and welcome to this month's favourites round up! This has definitely been the weirdest month I've ever experienced, and I think it's this way for most people, and that we're definitely in need of book, music, TV and film recommendations more than ever right now!

WHAT I'VE READ

For me, this has been a mammoth month of reading because I've had possibly the most free time I've ever had, because of uni being closed and being furloughed by my job! I've really enjoyed being able to get lost in a book again, and for me it's the perfect distraction from everything that's going on at the moment.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus 🌟🌟🌟
I enjoyed the story of this a lot, a murder based in a high school of the boy who shared had the secrets of everyone who was in the room when he was murdered ready to share on a gossip blog. It had a really great twist and the plot was well-crafted and interesting, but I hated the way it was written. I think it's more of a young-adult book, and it felt very high-schooly and immature, but I would recommend it as something that's an easy read and probably unlike anything you've read before.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This book was so heartbreaking and sad and lovely all at the same time. I'd never seen it or heard of it before, but my mum bought it for my birthday because she thought I'd enjoy it, and I'm so glad she did, and I'm so glad I read this. It's the story of Augusta Hope, her family and her beloved twin sister, as she grows up, with a fascination for words, and the story Parfait, a young boy growing up in war-torn Burundi. I really felt like the story resonated with me, and the characters were relatable and just the school experience in general felt so real. I really loved the ending of the book, the travelling, and that it was a happy ending but not ignoring the realities of life.


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I saw this book everywhere on instagram and twitter about 6 months ago, and I recently found it in a charity shop, so thought I'd give it a read. This is about a couple who go for dinner at their neighbours house, and return to find their baby gone in the middle of the night. It was full of twists and turns in a way that I haven't read in another book, and the ending was really shocking. I couldn't tell you what it was missing, but I just felt like something was missing, but a really great read nonetheless!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Again, another book that I've seen everywhere on the internet, and a recommendation from my best friend (hi Jas) that I've finally got round to reading. This was such a lovely, but sad story, although I'm glad it wasn't as sad as I thought it would be. I've read reviews that talked about the unreliable narration of it, and I do agree with that, it is quite unreliable, but as a personal story about a traumatic event, I think the narration was always going to be unreliable.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 🌟🌟🌟
Honestly half the books I read I've found via instagram. I have seen so many people rave about this book because they didn't see the ending coming. I did really like the book, and it was well written, but I think it was over hyped, and it ruined it a little for me. I do think the twist was good, but I was expecting so much more from the hype. A good read, but don't expect the twist to be amazing if you're not a young adult.


If you like to see what I'm up to reading wise, you can follow me on goodreads here.

WHAT I'VE LISTENED TO

This month's listened to section is a little chaotic because you know, lockdown. There's some new songs on here, some songs I found from spending time with my brother, and some throwback tunes that have been keeping me going during lockdown. This also includes Think About Things by Daoi Freyr, which is one of my favourite songs so far this year (you've probably also seen this all over instagram because it's an absolute bop). You can follow me on spotify here if you want to see more of what I listen to (it's extremely chaotic, as a warning!).



WHAT I'VE WATCHED



I've spent so much time reading this month that I've watched hardly anything! I also took my TV out of my room because I felt like I was spending a lot of time just mindlessly watching it, instead of reading or doing art or something actually good for my brain. 

Normal People (BBC iplayer) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This was one of my favourite books I read last year, and I was so excited to see it had been into a TV series, and honestly, didn't have high expectations for it as a precaution more than anything, because I didn't want it to ruin the book for me. However, this is one of the best adaptations I've seen of a book I love!! I thought the casting was brilliant (anyone else absolutely in love with Paul Mescal?), and I absolutely loved every single episode, even though I cried my way through at least half of them. I would be, and have been, recommending this everybody I know (although maybe don't watch it with your parents!)

And that's it for this months round-up! I hope everyone has managed to have a lovely month, even with everything that's going on at the moment. Let me know your book, music and film and tv recommendations!!

All my love,

Em x
  • May 03, 2020

April Round Up: what i've read, listened to & watched

Hello hello, and welcome to this month's favourites round up! This has definitely been the weirdest month I've ever experienced, and I think it's this way for most people, and that we're definitely in need of book, music, TV and film recommendations more than ever right now!

WHAT I'VE READ

For me, this has been a mammoth month of reading because I've had possibly the most free time I've ever had, because of uni being closed and being furloughed by my job! I've really enjoyed being able to get lost in a book again, and for me it's the perfect distraction from everything that's going on at the moment.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus 🌟🌟🌟
I enjoyed the story of this a lot, a murder based in a high school of the boy who shared had the secrets of everyone who was in the room when he was murdered ready to share on a gossip blog. It had a really great twist and the plot was well-crafted and interesting, but I hated the way it was written. I think it's more of a young-adult book, and it felt very high-schooly and immature, but I would recommend it as something that's an easy read and probably unlike anything you've read before.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This book was so heartbreaking and sad and lovely all at the same time. I'd never seen it or heard of it before, but my mum bought it for my birthday because she thought I'd enjoy it, and I'm so glad she did, and I'm so glad I read this. It's the story of Augusta Hope, her family and her beloved twin sister, as she grows up, with a fascination for words, and the story Parfait, a young boy growing up in war-torn Burundi. I really felt like the story resonated with me, and the characters were relatable and just the school experience in general felt so real. I really loved the ending of the book, the travelling, and that it was a happy ending but not ignoring the realities of life.


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I saw this book everywhere on instagram and twitter about 6 months ago, and I recently found it in a charity shop, so thought I'd give it a read. This is about a couple who go for dinner at their neighbours house, and return to find their baby gone in the middle of the night. It was full of twists and turns in a way that I haven't read in another book, and the ending was really shocking. I couldn't tell you what it was missing, but I just felt like something was missing, but a really great read nonetheless!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Again, another book that I've seen everywhere on the internet, and a recommendation from my best friend (hi Jas) that I've finally got round to reading. This was such a lovely, but sad story, although I'm glad it wasn't as sad as I thought it would be. I've read reviews that talked about the unreliable narration of it, and I do agree with that, it is quite unreliable, but as a personal story about a traumatic event, I think the narration was always going to be unreliable.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 🌟🌟🌟
Honestly half the books I read I've found via instagram. I have seen so many people rave about this book because they didn't see the ending coming. I did really like the book, and it was well written, but I think it was over hyped, and it ruined it a little for me. I do think the twist was good, but I was expecting so much more from the hype. A good read, but don't expect the twist to be amazing if you're not a young adult.


If you like to see what I'm up to reading wise, you can follow me on goodreads here.

WHAT I'VE LISTENED TO

This month's listened to section is a little chaotic because you know, lockdown. There's some new songs on here, some songs I found from spending time with my brother, and some throwback tunes that have been keeping me going during lockdown. This also includes Think About Things by Daoi Freyr, which is one of my favourite songs so far this year (you've probably also seen this all over instagram because it's an absolute bop). You can follow me on spotify here if you want to see more of what I listen to (it's extremely chaotic, as a warning!).



WHAT I'VE WATCHED



I've spent so much time reading this month that I've watched hardly anything! I also took my TV out of my room because I felt like I was spending a lot of time just mindlessly watching it, instead of reading or doing art or something actually good for my brain. 

Normal People (BBC iplayer) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This was one of my favourite books I read last year, and I was so excited to see it had been into a TV series, and honestly, didn't have high expectations for it as a precaution more than anything, because I didn't want it to ruin the book for me. However, this is one of the best adaptations I've seen of a book I love!! I thought the casting was brilliant (anyone else absolutely in love with Paul Mescal?), and I absolutely loved every single episode, even though I cried my way through at least half of them. I would be, and have been, recommending this everybody I know (although maybe don't watch it with your parents!)

And that's it for this months round-up! I hope everyone has managed to have a lovely month, even with everything that's going on at the moment. Let me know your book, music and film and tv recommendations!!

All my love,

Em x
hello hello and welcome to my blog! I'm Emily, a twenty-something year old blogger based in Lincolnshire, and a psychology student at the University of Durham. I blog about almost everything, including student life, books, my favourite music & living with a chronic illness.

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