Twenty Writing tips

I’m no expert, but one of my favourite things is to write stories and create my own little worlds!

But, alas, like everyone, I suffer from writers block. It can last days… months… Sometimes, I just feel too busy to be inspired, and other times, I sit down and just can’t put anything to paper. But I’ve found ways to beat it. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered on my journey as a writer, and hopefully, they can help you write the story you always wanted too:

  1. Make sure you do your research! For example, if your story is set in Tudor times; look up the clothing; what they ate; what roles they had. If a character is ill or murdered, research the symptoms, the causes; the way someone would die if they had their heart ripped our by a werewolf! Research, research, research! It may make your history look terrible, even questionable, but as a writer, you need to know what your writing about before you can write it! It can make a story more believable if you know how much blood your hero can lose before dying!
  2. Try and write everyday! It doesn’t need to be a story. It could be a blog post, an essay, an idea; even writing about your day in a journal will help.
  3. Use prompts! You can find numerous challenges on the internet, and you can even use prompts to help you complete the piece your working on. Just relate the prompt to your story and you may come up with a new scene all together!
  4. Write first, edit later! Remember that you can’t edit a blank page! (I am the worse for this, especially if there’s a complicated scene). If you write something your not happy with, use the highlighter tool so you can go back to it later. Usually, when I go back this way, the stories more developed and I have a better idea of how I want it to read.
  5. When writing, use what’s best for you! Some people prefer the old pen and paper, and some prefer to sit at their laptop. Some may even use a typewriter! It’s all about what makes you comfortable.
  6. Have a little notebook where you can jot down all your ideas! Some may find that a jotter pad or a reporters notebook is good enough for them, but don’t be afraid to get something a little more expensive! I found that after going to WHSmiths and getting an A5 moderno notebook, I’ve been inspired to write more! It gives you a space to create characters, scenes and brain storm to your hearts content!
  7. Said! Laura said, Robert said, I said! It may sound repetitive at first, but it makes a story flow so much easier if you write Aran said instead of Aran questioned, asked, replied, etc! When you think about it, it makes so much more sense!
  8. Let others read it! You may think that your story has lost that excitement and feeling it had in the beginning, but remember that you’ve looked over it hundreds of times and know every spoiler, every loop hole! Having another set of eyes on your work could inspire you to write more, to write better! It doesn’t need to be an agent, or a publisher, it could be a friend, a parent! Just ask them to be honest!
  9. Have an app on your phone or your notebook handy at all times! You’ll never know when inspiration will strike! I find that whenever I have a spare moment, whether I’m sat on the train or waiting for something, I’ll sit on my phone and write a scene for something that hasn’t even been mentioned yet!
  10. Have somewhere to write! It could be your bedroom, your office, your front room, maybe even a coffee shop! Just have somewhere you feel you can concentrate! It won’t be the same place for everyone. Some people need quiet, others might like a bit of background noise.
  11. When writing, you don’t have to start at the beginning. If a scene or an idea strikes you that would be better suited to the middle or end of your story, just write it! You can put it all together later! Sometimes, people find it easier to start writing from the middle and going outwards.
  12. Join writing communities! It could just be a page on Facebook that gives out some helpful tips and tricks, or maybe a forum where you can ask questions! Even following other writers and publishers on twitter can help inspire you! For me, I liked ‘The Writers Circle’ on Facebook and enjoy seeing the handy tips and prompts that they put up every once in a while.
  13. Have a thesaurus handy! Some say its better to have a hard copy next to you, but thesaurus.com is just as good and will help you block out all those repetitive words you see sprawled across your text!
  14. Read books! I think this is the most obvious! Reading, whether its the same genre that your working on or a completely different one will help to inspire you! It can give you different outlooks on how to write, and make your writing better in the long run! I’ve found that being a reader also helps you spell so much better!
  15. Explore! It doesn’t need to be a mysterious path in a forest, or a climb up a mountain! It could just be a stroll down the street, up the park or maybe a road trip! Just open yourself up to your surroundings. The world is full of inspiration in every single nuke and cranny, it’s just waiting to be discovered by you!
  16. Read it out loud! This will help with anything you write! It’ll let you know how well it all flows and whether or not your dialogues make sense.
  17. Make sure that when you do sit down to write that you keep yourself hydrated! Whether it’s a coffee (yuck), a tea or a bottle of water, staying hydrated will keep your mind more focused.
  18. Open yourself up to other types of inspirations! Watch a movie, a TV show, play a videogame, listen to some music, go to a museum! Just because it’s already been done doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Nowadays, every idea has been explored by one person or another, but it’s not been done by you!
  19. Be passionate about what your writing! Don’t write because you want to become a famous author, write because you want to know what happens in your story from the beginning to the end! If your passionate about what you write, the people who read it will be too!
  20. Believe in yourself! That’s the best advice that anyone could give you.

Homemade Jammie Dodger Recipe

These are the best!

You will need:

  • 150g Icing Sugar
  • 225g Softened Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 300g Flour
  • Pot of jam! (I used strawberry, but its up to you)

Firstly, cream the icing sugar and butter together before adding in the eggs one at a time.

Next, fold in the flour a bit at a time and then separate the dough in to two.

Wrap them up with clingfilm and put them in the fridge for about two hours.

Right, next, preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190.

Roll out your dough to a £1 thickness and then using a cookie cutter, cut out your biscuits! Now, if you want to, take half and cut out a smaller hole in the middle. I used a little flower fondant tool!

Place baking paper on a tray and lay down your biscuits. Bake them in the oven for 12 minutes and then cool them on a wire rack. One of mine was too close to the flame and burnt a bit!

Once cooled, get your jam and sandwich it between two biscuits! Its up to you how much you want to put between them! They taste amazing!

You can make them as big or as small as you want and as long as you keep to the £1 thickness, the baking time shouldn’t change.

A Tribute to 2016

So the year is officially over and for some people, it’s been the worse year of their lives and for others, it’s been one of the best!

Like every year, its been a rollercoaster of a ride, but if the last hundred years have been anything to go by, we shouldn’t be that surprised.

2016 saw Britain leave the EU and Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States. I guess The Simpsons were right again!

the-simpsons-prediction-donald-trump-president

We have lost countless innocent people to terrorist attacks all over the world, with even more being lost to war! You’d think we would have learned by now that fighting fire with fire only indulges the inferno!

We also lost a number of childhood heroes and role-models to 2016. Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and David Bowie are just a fraction of the people who left us this year! But instead of festering over what we lost, we have to celebrate what they gave us!

I’m sure you may have lost someone this year aswell, but you have to celebrate the life they lived, which is what a tribute is really about!

So now lets look back at all the awesome things that 2016 held, and remember it for all the good things that it gave us!

  • For starters, that Ice Bucket Challenge that took the world by storm – and probably gave a few people pneumonia – has actually brought us one step closer to beating ALS!
  • We have a Ebola vaccine now! I’m surprised the whole world hasn’t been hailing this year as a success just based off of that!
  • More people are kicking cancers butt!
  • Child mortality is decreasing all over the world!
  • You can control robotic arms with your mind now too!
  • Even teens in the UK and USA are finally getting their shit together with teen pregnancy currently at a record low!
  • India managed to plant 50 million tress in one day!
  • And, even our dear friend, the Ozone layer is repairing itself! Thats a breakthrough and a half!

To add even more, the animals are hitting back too!

  • Tiger populations are up!
  • Panda’s are no longer endangered!
  • The Manatee is making a come back!
  • And there’s even wild Wolves in Europe now!

All of this just proves that we’re capable of looking out for each other and the world around us. It’s not the answer to all our problems, but its a start!

So, aswell as our breakthroughs in science and the natural world, there were a number of other great things to happen in the life of 2016!

First, just some of the movies that made 2016 a kick-ass year for cinema goers!

fantastic-beasts

  • The magical world of J.K. Rowling brought us Fantastic Beasts and an adorable Newt Scamander, and even came to our stages with a Cursed Child. The magic isn’t over yet!
  • Marvel finally gave us Deadpool and more Chris Evans!
  • DC’s up’d their game with a Suicide Squad and a battle between Gods and Men!
  • Ellen Degeneres brought back our favourite forgetful fish!
  • The bear necessities of life finally hit the big screens with The Jungle Book!

d45cdb755aba-original

On the small screen, the man, David Attenborough, returned with Planet Earth 2! He showed us Tom Daly in sloth form and the Mo Farah of iguanas! What more could you want out of a tv show?

In the gaming industry, we had Far Cry, Doom, Uncharted, Dark Souls and Fallout all make an appearance. We were even able to become Pokémon trainers!! Also, the much anticipated ‘The Last Guardian’ was released after ten years of development!

Trico is adorable though, right?

Leo finally won his Oscar!

Aswell as a ton of other stuff that made 2016 pretty awesome!

All this may seem trivial, but for part of it, these things made someone somewhere feel happy! Even if it was just watching Deadpool give an etiquette lesson.

For me, 2016 has been a mix of emotions. Theres a few things I”ll leave unwritten, but theres stuff that needs to be. The stuff that made it great!

My best achievement was finally finishing my dissertation and graduating with my best friends!

fb_img_1478112365691.jpg

I had to say goodbye to a little fluffball called Pepper, but also gained a couple in the form of Rami and Mouse! I wouldn’t change the sassy Syrian for anyone, and the little Mouse can continue to scream and hiss at me – for no real reason – all he likes.

I got to help a load of greyhounds and lurchers get the best start in their search for a forever home! An experience I’ll never forget!

wp-image-1754432446jpg.jpg

However, I think the best thing about this year is that I came out of it alive, and so did you!

You can just brush this year off, try and forget it and hope 2017 will be better, but really, it won’t. Bad things are always gonna happen and the news is always gonna show it! You just have to look around for those little peices of happiness!

Which brings me on to my next point! I see them around social media every year, but this year I’m going to make it happen!

‘The Happiness Jar’

Whenever something makes you happy, you right it down and put in a jar. Then, on the last day of the year, you open your jar and look back at all the things that made the year great! It’ll remind you that amongst the carnage and the devastation that will likely grace us with it’s presence, there were moments of happiness in amongst the mess!

Here’s to the next year, hopefully full of more unforgettable memories, achievements and more blog posts!

  • Light can be found even in the darkest of times as long as one remembers to turn on the lights – Albus Dumbledore

Merry Christmas from Jades 101

I hope you spend this day and every other day surrounded by love, kindness and most importantly food!

Heres a little photo of my little dwarf Mouse enjoying his homemade christmas treat! My syrian Rami took hers straight to bed without as much as a thankyou. I think she’s the grinch in furrie form!

Remember that today is all about giving! I promise that the feeling of watching someone opening a present from you is much better than getting one yourself!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Homemade Super Chocolate Brownies Recipe

I love chocolate! So brownies are one of my favorite things!

This is a recipe tried and perfected:

  • 200g Melted Milk Chocolate
  • 100g  Melted Butter
  • 250g Caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 60g Plain flour
  • 60g Cocoa powder

Firstly, mix the melted chocolate and butter together and then add in the caster sugar and your four eggs, mixing well. This should be followed by the vanilla essence, and then the folding in of your flour and cocoa powder. You should end up with a lovely liquidly mixture. Next, line an 8 inch baking tray with bake paper and pour the mixture in! Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180° for 25 minutes.

 Leave it to cool and slice them in to pieces! (Or just eat as one huge brownie!)

You can decorate with buttercream or eat warm with ice cream.

Ours were decorated for a bake sale with chocolate buttercream and mini marshmallows!

These are beautiful, I hope you enjoy and love them as much as I do!

Terry Chocolate Orange No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe!

I always thought that my mum didn’t like cheese cake because she didn’t like cream cheese! Turns out she’s never even tried it, so we decided to make our own!

Your ingredients are as follows!

  • 50g melted butter,
  • 14 crushed digestive biscuits,
  • 200g soft cream cheese,
  • 280ml double cream (you can use whipped but I prefer double),
  • 2tsp vanilla extract,
  • 150g of melted Terry Chocolate Orange (Or any chocolate you like),
  • Extra chocolate peices to decorate!

So first, combine your butter and digestive biscuits! Making sure its well mixed before adding it to your cake tin and patting it down! (I used a potatoe masher).

For this recipe, its best to have a cake tin in which the bottom comes out for easier cutting!

Freeze this for thirty minutes!

Next, pour your cream in to a bowl and the two tea spoons of vanilla extract before whipping it in to a peak! Then fold in your cream cheese and melted chocolate (make sure its cooled a bit or the cream may curdle). Now, add your cream mixture to the top of the biscuit base and decorate how you want.

Leave it in the fridge for 2-3 hours until it sets (I made mine quite late and left it in the fridge overnight).

Take it out of the fridge and cut!

This was my mums first delve in to the Cheesecake world and she thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Right Decision..

So, this is something I felt like I had to write. More because I think writing has always made me feel better, and I’m able to explain myself better and come to terms with things. This is a long post, and I think I may have rambled a bit, but I wrote this in the moment.

Maybe it can help someone else. You just gotta remember that not all people will think the decision your making is important, whilst to you it could be the most important.

For me, I’ve always had a problem making decisions. I’m so indecisive. I can go shopping, telling myself that I’m going to buy new clothes and come back with nothing ninety percent of the time. Or I can spend more time looking for a movie to watch than actually watching it. Little things like that just seem to scare me a little.

I think the problem is taking responsibility for the consequences or being judged for my tastes, even if it is just deciding on what to eat or what to watch. However, I think after living in halls and in my own house, I’ve got better at it. I’m not so sensitive anymore.

Very recently, I’ve had to make a really big decision. A decision I may not have been able to make three years ago. One that I honestly thought I couldn’t make, but if I hadn’t, I think I would have fallen in to a pit of despair. It is going to completely change my way of life, but I think it might be for the best.

So, I’ve been working and living in my job for the last three months. Before then, it was perfect. I had it all planned. A masters, driving, saving! As well as a few other things that never came to light, maybe things that could have made it easier.

But, alas, it didn’t go that way. Something happened and I think it just threw me off my track, even if I didn’t realise it at first. I’m not in the right frame of mind to carry on with my plans, I’m not ready to do that masters.

So, despite loving my job, the people and the dogs. I decided that it was time for me to go home. Things had changed and I feel like I needed to be there now more than ever. I haven’t lived at home for the last three years and I miss my family. My mum, dad, brother. It wasn’t easy to just jump in a car or on a train to go see them. I had to plan it in advance, the four hour journey isn’t always a pleasant one.

It wasn’t a rash decision. I bottled all of my emotions up because I thought things would get better, that somehow, magically, they’d change. I shouldn’t have. When I first talked about the opportunity of living and working in the same place, my life was so different to what it is now.

I got so caught up in everything that I didn’t think about me. I was honestly scared of letting others down. My friends, my family, my boss. I was given something that most people wouldn’t get, and I feel like crap throwing it all away, but I’m not in the right mind set anymore. It sounds so selfish, but sometimes, you can’t help but feel a certain way.

The most important thing to do in life is not lose sight of yourself, and I did, and hopefully, by going home, I’ll be able to find myself again and just be happy.

At the end of the day, you have to make the right choice for yourself. Even if you do hurt others because of it.

And I think that’s the worst bit. I never want anyone to feel used, because despite everything that happened, those sorts of things never even went through my mind. One night I just snapped, I just couldn’t stop crying. I feel terrible about it all, I feel like a horrible person, but what would I have gained by not saying anything? It would never have got better, the situation couldn’t. It would of only got worse, even with stolen moments of happiness.

So, when you do have to make that horrible decision in your life, whether it be about a partner, a job, a house, something that’s significant to you, you’ll know you made the right decision because you’ll feel happy, you’ll smile more; and the heaviness on your heart will go.

Even if you feel sad about it, about the people, or the place you might be leaving behind. You’ll just know in the bottom of your heart that you made the right decision. The right decision for you!

I’m expecting to make a load more decisions for myself, especially in the next couple of years, maybe months, but I think that now I’ll be ready for it. Life never seems to go to plan, but just take it on the chin and carry on…

The following is one of my favourite photos ever. This is little Tilly-mint on her walk in to the near-by village. She’s a lurcher puppy that stole my heart the day I saw her walk down the path. She found her home in six weeks on a red leather couch surrounded by love and most importantly for her, patience! She filled my heart with those little moments of happiness that I needed in my worse times! I’m happy she was homed with such lovely new parents and in a wonderful home!

wp_20160922_16_06_04_pro
If your shadow stands tall, then so should you!

Homemade Wagon Wheel Recipe

After buying a packet of wagon wheels from B&M one day, only then realising that I hadn’t had one for years, I couldn’t believe how small they’d got! (Either that or my hands had got bigger).

My mum was on a baking spree at the time so I gave her the challenge of making one or too and she actually came up with a recipe!

The biscuit used for these is a butter biscuit. The ingredients you need for this is:

  • 250g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 375g Plain flour

For the middle, you’ll need a bag of marshmallows and to cover them, about 400g of chocolate! You can use any sort of chocolate you want for this, Cadburys is extra nice, but some cheap milk chocolate gives you the proper taste of a wagon wheel.

Mix the butter, caster and eggs together, followed by folding in the flour to create a smooth paste. Next, you have to wrap it in some clingfilm and chill it for a good hour in the fridge (This is the worst part!).

 Next, roll out the dough, with the use of some flour and rolling pin,  so it is of one pound coin thickness and cut out circles (or frankly any shape you like), ensuring you have a equal number.

Next, put the circles on to baking trays and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes at 170°. They should be a lovely golden to dark brown color when they come out.

Once out of the oven, the biscuits should be left to cool and then marshmallows placed on half of them (you can use any color of flavored marshmallow you want for this!).

These will go back in to the oven for about five minutes so that the marshmallows melt.

Once out, the other half of your biscuits can be placed on top, which will give you some naked wagon wheels!

Next, heat up some chocolate, either in the microwave or on the stove (time will vary depending on what chocolate you choose). Its always best to use a glass bowl whilst melting the chocolate, it will ensure that the chocolate doesn’t set too quickly and you have time to cover all of your wagon wheels!

Once melted, I just dropped the first of my naked wagon wheels in and using a spoon, covered it in chocolate!

I used a cake slice to pick up my wagon wheel from the bowl, but you can easily use a fork or spatula if you have one of those handy!  

Let the chocolate drip for a moment so there is not a lot of excess! Next, put the wagon wheel down on some baking paper and leave it to set in the fridge.

 They taste amazing and I promise, store bought wagon wheels will never compare! To keep them nice and fresh, store them in an air tight container!

That’s a Samsung Galaxy S4 (5′) and a homemade wagon wheel with pink marshmallow inside!

You can literally make them any size or shape you want, but the butter biscuit can be quite crumbly so make sure its not to elaborate!

Cookie Muffin Recipe

I saw this recipe online (Tasty) which showed a cookie style muffin with kinder chocolate oozing out the center of it!

I don’t have a love for kinder chocolate, so I swapped it for ‘Yorkie’ chunks and ‘Terry Chocolate Orange’ slices.

The recipe needs:

  • 125g Soft Butter
  • 150g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 200g Plain Flour

Mix all this together until you get a smooth consistency. 

My mixture was still a bet wet after I’d mixed it all, so I wrapped it in the cling film and chilled it in the fridge for half hour.

 Once chilled, my mixture still felt a tad wet but with the use of flour, I rolled out the mixture and cut out six circles. I put them in the bottom of the cupcake tin so they were like small bowls and to ensure they didn’t stick, I sprinkled flour in the bottom of the tins.

Next, I used two chunks of Yorkie chocolate and one and a half slices of Terry chocolate orange to fill three of each. Once baked, I realised that I could have put slightly more chocolate in the Terry chocolate orange one, but it is up to personal preference! Lastly, I cut out another six circles and layered them on the top, as follows:

 You could probably get another out of the leftover dough, but raw cookie dough is a lovely snack in itself!

They should then go in to a pre-heated oven at 180° for 15 minutes. Once cooked, they should easily pop out of the tins, thanks to the flour that was sprinkled earlier.

 You should end up with a cookie like muffin with a lovely gooey chocolaty center!

You can enjoy these warm or cooled down. You could probably use a range of different chocolate aswell, such as cadburys, milky bar or milkyway stars! Experiment with it!

Graduation Day

So, obviously, I was late to my salon appointment, and then there was no one in to do my hair (typical).

But, alas, the makeup was done and the hair was sorted. Shout out to the girls at ‘Hair Parade, Chester’ for what they did!

All-in-all, the day seemed to happen quite quick. We all got our gowns quickly, got our seats quickly (I was in the front row :/ out of all the places I could have sat) and despite having an achy backside after sitting on horrible seats for about two hours, it felt like it was over a lot sooner than you’d think.

I honestly thought it would drag, but for once, everything seemed to go quite smoothly. No one fell over, which I think was quite an accomplishment and despite me – apparently – trying to stifle a yawn as the video camera pointed straight at me, everything was almost perfect. Even if for the first twenty minutes or so the guy next to me was sitting on my cloak and dragging me sideways!

Before going on stage, I had to quickly refit my hat after being told it was the wrong way around. My mum and friends family had convinced me it had been on the right way (But I’m sure they were using a teddy as a comparison!).

On stage, all I can remember is how cold and sweaty my hands were and worrying about which hand I had to shake with. I was so nervous, but it was over so quickly that I sat back down and wondered what I’d been so worried about.

The rest of the day went quite smoothly. We threw our hats in the air, but only one out of the five of us caught it, and that one definitely wasn’t me!

I think the most important thing about the day was that I realised that I didn’t regret any of the decisions made or the opportunities missed that lead up to this one day. I was so proud of all of my friends, of everything they had achieved. All the highs and lows (and there had been some low lows) had led us to the end of our university story, and we’d all got there together.