Pear and Chocolate Muffins


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Who doesn’t love a good muffin? They are so simple to make and are so delicious warm or cold! They are sweet and gooey and packed full of pear chunks. They’re incredibly easy because of the secret to a light, moist muffin is to keep the batter lumpy – unlike cupcakes or fairy cakes.

Ingredients:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 150g plain chocolate
  • 3 Pears
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • A Pinch of Salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  3. Break the chocolate into large chunks.
  4. Cut up the pear into small chunks.
  5. Place the milk, eggs and melted butter in a bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  7. Add the sugar and chocolate to the flour mixture and start to combine it.
  8. Slowly stir in the milk mixture, but don’t beat it.
  9. Fold in the chopped pear.
  10. Line a muffin tin with as many paper cases as you need.
  11. Spoon the mixture into them.
  12. Bake in the oven for twenty minutes or until golden brown.

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These were honestly so delicious! They keep together well when they are cut and are perfect as a snack or even breakfast!

100 Followers


100 Followers

Really? Really? OMG, we hit one hundred followers! I cannot describe how happy I am to have reached that milestone! For some people, it may not seem like a lot, but for me, it is just so exciting!

When I started this blog, I never dreamed of hitting that milestone. As support for my blog has grown it seemed more like a reality. And now it has happened, I feel like this blog can just grow and grow.

I love reading all your comments and responding to them. I love receiving notifications someone has liked one of my posts or followed me. I simply love blogging!

I am so grateful for all my followers, especially those who continue to regularly like and comment.

I am not sure really what to do to celebrate this milestone, but if you have any ideas let me know below.

Oh, and also I created a GoodReads account! I’m quite new to it but I am really enjoying logging and tracking all the books I read.

Once again, thank you so so much for one hundred followers. Next target: two hundred!

-Wild Sign Off

My Tips for New Bloggers


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When you start blogging, it can be a bit daunting on knowing what to do. It can honestly feel like you are a lonely fish in a huge ocean. So, in order to help you, I decided for this post share some of my tips for new bloggers.

Before I continue, I want to share my story of being a blogger. I started this blog in 2012 and kind of treated it as a joke posting less than regularly. After about six months, I kind of left it and forgot about it. I only began to take it seriously in Autumn of 2016. Previously, I had got close to zero views and likes. Now, this is when I saw a huge increase in views and likes.

I thought I’d never share my stats, but to demonstrate my point of how your stats can increase dramatically I wanted to share them.

Wild's Life Blog Stats

Note how far my views went down and then how fast they went back up again. Oh, and don’t bother to try and read some of my old posts, most of them have been deleted.

As well as this, in 2012, I only had six visitors if you were wondering.

Now, here are my tips!

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When you publish posts you can tag them. By tagging them, you add keywords to the post allowing it to be sorted into a relevant topic. This allows more tailored traffic to reach your content.

My advice for tagging is to add general and specific tags; for example for a Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffin post, add the tags recipe as well as chocolate.

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I cannot stress this enough but make your posts shareable. To make your posts shareable, have good looking graphics and make sure to add social media icons and links. This will expose your content and site to a whole new audience.

You also want to make sure to be active on social media. I am not say in any way you should get all of them and go crazy, a few is fine. I personally don’t have Instagram or Twitter, Pinterest is the one I have and I love it!

Tip #3- Schedule

When blogging, scheduling is your best friend! This allows you to write posts in advance and not worry about writing your next post.

This makes sure you consistently share content and continue to build an audience instead of staying inactive for a long period of time whilst you think of ideas or are not able to post.

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When starting your blog, you need to decide on a theme. Not just for your site, for your posts as well.

For your site, it’s simple enough but for your posts, it could be having a certain font size or colour, have a certain image at the start or end of each post or having a certain layout for certain topics.

This makes sure your posts look aesthetically pleasing on your homepage and online.

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I cannot stress this highly enough, make sure you have good quality photographs! You have a better chance of someone following you if you have good photographs.

No one likes blurry or pixelated photographs, but we can’t all afford a good camera or phone.  In some of my posts, I use stock photos. Now, for this photos I don’t pay for them and you may be asking, how?

There are a few sites that offer free, yes free stock photos. Here’s some I’d recommend:

  • Pixabay
  • Pexels
  • StockSnap
  • FreePhotos
  • Gratisography

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Continuing on from my last tip, if you have taken good quality photographs, how do you prevent people stealing them? This is where watermarking comes into play.

No one likes a huge dirty watermark across the entire photograph to put them off looking at it. That is why I like to put my blog name in the top right-hand corner. This not only means someone can’t take it as there on so easily, it also means if it shared on social media your site name is on it.

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The best posts and blogs have good graphics. This can please the eye if you are looking at long pieces of text and some graphics divide each paragraph.

Software to create these can get pricey, though luckily there are some amazing websites out there where you can make your own for free! Here is some I’d recommend:

  • Canva
  • PicMonkey
  • Snappa
  • Pixlr

Out of all of them, I’d definitely recommend Canva as that is one I use most often.

Tip #8- Navigation.jpg

Making your site easy to navigate can help in getting more traffic to all parts of your site not just the front page.

Having a few key elements can aid in this, which are:

  • Display shortened versions of your posts on the front page, so if your audience like the post, they can continue reading it and you can more views.
  • Have an About page so your audience can read all about you. It doesn’t have to be too personal, just a little story.
  • Have a Contact page so people can contact you and have more than one way for people to contact you also.
  • Keep your site navigation simple, don’t have two front pages for example.

Tip #9- Individuality.jpg

Individuality is probably the most important tip I can give you. Don’t get caught up in trends and do your own thing. People prefer to read about something they have never heard about than read about something they have heard about a million times (not literally though).

Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and don’t worry about followers, likes, views or comments you’ll get on that post. Be yourself and don’t let stats stop you.

Tip #10- Grammar and Spelling.jpg

Seriously, no one likes spelling or grammar mistakes. Read through your posts before publishing them!

Spelling is easy to fix but what about grammar, web browsers don’t do it automatically. To help me, I use Grammarly which is free and can be downloaded as a browser extension. It is like a pair of eyes and reacts whilst you are typing!

And those were my tips for new bloggers! I hope you found them useful and if you feel I have missed any, let me know below. I apologise also for this post being so long, I had a lot to say.

And OMG, we are so close to one hundred followers! Thank you for your continued support, it means a lot.

-Wild Sign Off

Short Story: The Cure


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Upon the forest floor lie trees of yesteryear, tangled in a twisted mess. The trees above lash and crash against each other like a giant controlling a drum kit. The leaves spread their canopy of green across the sky, protecting with loving arms the fiery blazing ball above. Streams of light streak occasionally through the leaves, illuminating the luscious nature.

This picturesque heaven was not the reason Julia moved to Strongfair; it was for the flowers. She was a fervent collector of them and had an extensive miscellany of the plant, spanning from around the globe. Today, Julia had decided to go on a saunter to find a new flower. On the way, she dreamed of finding a scarce flower, one she could call her own, the one she discovered.

Half occupied by this daydream, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted something. It was certainly a flower, Julia was sure of that. It seemed to be dispersing a noise, almost covered by the kiss of falling leaves. As well as this, it was off the beaten track, kept a secret by the finger-like knobby roots underneath.

The flower had an amethyst purple stem with coral salmon pink petals and harmonious orange pollen. Picking it, she placed it in her basket with dignity and a little pinch of care. For an unnecessary reason, Julia felt like a ticking time bomb with the flower. Her grasp on the basket was loosened from the sweat starting to gather underneath the handle. Rushing home, Julia busied herself with housework. Despite the distraction, the flower stayed in her mind throughout the day.

The next day, Julia’s head was a dustbin, cluttered with worries. She needed a brisk walk to clear her head. Stepping outside, she noticed an abnormally large amount of police cars. Her suspicions were confirmed when she saw police tape guarding the forest. What was going on?

“Good evening and welcome to BBC South Today. The time is now six o’ clock. Our first headline: a flower which has been sought after due to its genetic purpose in curing an inconceivably rare cancer has been taken. Police are now searching the scene for forensic evidence. The flower is said to be purple, orange and pink. If you have evidence or information, please come forward and contact your local police station without hesitation…”

Julia eventually shredded the flower. No one needed to know.

~

I hope you enjoyed this story and if you did make sure to let me know below. This story was written to spread the message that you really don’t know the true purpose in objects until it is too late. Beauty is one thing but the purpose is another.

Creative Comissons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

-Wild Sign Off

DIY Doughnut Plushie


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Who doesn’t love doughnuts? There are so many different types! Ones with filling and ones without. Ones with sprinkles and ones without. Ok, I’d better stop before I get carried away! And in honour of that, in this post, I am going to teach you how to make your very own doughnut plushie. It is so simple and easy to make and you don’t need to sew! You can use it to rest your phone on, put loose bits and bobs in the middle, pin reminders to it; the possibilities are endless.

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To make this, you will need: pink and white fabric, permanent markers, pins, a glue gun, scissors, a pen and circular objects to trace around.stuffing-material.jpg

You will also need some stuffing to go inside your doughnut which can be bought at toy shops or craft shops.

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Step 1: Cut two circles out of the pink and white fabric. The pink needs to be smaller than the white, but not by much.

Step 2 (1)

Step 2: Place a circular object in the middle of the pink circle and trace around it.

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Step 3: Cut out the circle you just drew making sure you only cut the pink fabric.

Step 4 (1)

Step 4: Glue gun down the sides leaving enough room to stuff the doughnut. Remember to glue the middle as well.

Step 5 (1)

Step 5: Stuff the doughnut. To help make it more even, I used a pen to get the stuffing right into the corners.

Step 6 (1)

Step 6: Glue down the sides that you used to help you stuff the doughnut.

Step 7 (1)

Step 7: Draw using your permanent markers, the sprinkles on the top. I used a picture to help me as I wasn’t sure how many I need to draw.

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Step 8: All Done!

I love how it is so easy to just change the instructions ever so slightly to make your doughnut of choice. Perhaps next time, I am going to use fabric as well for the sprinkles to make it even more realistic.

I know I say this at the end of every single post, however, I am so grateful for all your incredible support. Every day I just see my stats go up and up. I really believe we can get to one hundred followers by the end of summer.

-Wild Sign Off

 

 

My Carry-On Essentials


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Summer is upon us once again and as we are all probably travelling what do you bring? There are of course a few obvious items of course but some you wouldn’t even have considered bringing that you may have needed. So for this post, I decided to share some of my personal favourite things to bring.

1) Reading Book

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Sometimes you just need to switch off and enjoy the pleasures of reading. Being engrossed in a book will help pass the tedious hours of travelling and stretch your mind also!

2) Colouring Book and Pencils

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I don’t know about you but I find personally find colouring very relaxing.  Having a good one to hand might help you relax a bit and forget about the pressures of travelling by being engrossed in a pattern or drawing.

3) Phone or Tablet

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If you find reading boring or colouring unenjoyable then perhaps an electronic device might please your boredom. Before you go, download some TV programmes or audio programmes and watch or listen to them. It will you to become distracted and give you a chance to catch up on those programmes you may have missed!

4) Snacks

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As service stations and in flight trolleys can get a little pricey, there is no harm in bringing a few snacks. Things like granola bars and crisps work really well as they are not messy and fill you up nicely. This can allow you to save a bit of money so you can actually spend it when you arrive at your destination.

5) Hand Gel

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Going to the bathroom every five minutes to wash your hands isn’t something that could easily be a possibility on a road trip or a plane. So bring some Hand Gel to keep your hands clean and it acts like washing your hands until you can stop and wash them properly.

6) Travel Pillow

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On long trips, your head may start to feel uncomfortable and you may get pains in your neck. For trips when I will be leaning back for a long amount of time, why not bring a travel pillow. For extra compactness, buy an inflatable one and save room in your bag!

7) Mints

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Your mouth after eating certain foods may taste funny and to sort that bring some mints! Boiled sweets, in general, are good because they stop headaches. They also help your ears not pop when taking off on a plane!

8) Powerbank

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Most cars nor planes have plugs or USB points so it is a good idea to bring a power bank. You can get them really cheaply online and they are a life saver especially in an emergency if your phone is out of charge.

9) Lip Balm

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I don’t know about you, but my lips get really dry and chapped when I travel. I like to bring a lip balm with me and it stops your lips getting chapped and keeps them moisturised.

I absolutely love travelling and I especially love planes. Before I end this post, I just want to share a photograph I took when coming back from Belfast.

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I think this photograph represents happiness and freedom.

Anyway, thanks for reading this post. What are your travelling essentials or are there any I have missed? Let me know below.

-Wild Sign Off

Giants Causeway


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Last week I travelled to Northern Ireland to stay for a few days and during my time spent there, I went on a coach trip for a day seeing some of the sights close to the coast.

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The day started by visiting the Dark Hedges which some Game of Thrones fans might recognise as the Kingsroad. You may see glorious pictures online of stunning sunshine and towering beech trees but not for us, unfortunately.

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The previous days it had been raining and therefore it was very muddy and difficult to walk with getting dirty.

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The Dark Hedges is basically a long road with beech trees either side which interlock overhead of you which creates an amazing atmosphere.

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After travelling for a short while we reached the Bushmills Distillery for a pit stop.

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I had a bit of a Carrot Cake and a bit of a Chocolate Brownie. They were very delicious!

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Setting off once more it took a while before we arrived at our next destination: Dunluce Castle.

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I say visit, we did not have time to actually go to the castle so these photographs are literally by the side of the road.

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I would definitely like to go and explore the ruins another day but you know, time constraints!

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And now, the highlight of the tour: Giants Causeway. The Causeway did cost money if you wanted to go to the cafe, have an audio guide or visit the exhibition but we decided we didn’t need that so we got in for free!

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Also, I forgot to mention it is also a World Heritage site as well.

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Whilst walking down to the rocks, there is a beautiful view of the sea and we were very lucky with the weather as it was very sunny!

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You could clamber about the rocks all you liked and there were some really interestingly shaped rocks.

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Though, if you visit be careful of rock pools! You really do not want wet feet and shoes for the rest of your journey.

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After eating our lunch and getting back on the coach, it started to rain. And I mean rain as the heavens were practically pouring buckets on us it was that bad.

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Our next stop was the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. At this point, the weather started acting rather peculiar and was very stop then start.

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That is why we didn’t cross the bridge and there was also an extremely long queue!

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Setting off once more it didn’t take long until we reached our final stop: Ballintoy Harbour. Again this is another filming location for Game of Thrones.

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The harbour was absolutely adorable and the weather had actually cheered up which made it pleasant to watch the boats come in and out from the harbour.

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Once we had finished there, we headed back to Belfast City Centre.

The coach journey took the entire day and it was well spent as well. I had been to Giants Causeway when I was younger but I don’t remember it very well. The other places I had never been before.

If you are going to Northern Ireland or in fact any other country and have limited time, hop on a bus tour. Usually, the tour guides are really good and tell you every thing you need to know.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my travels in Northern Ireland. I am going to France for a week very soon and I am going to post about that so keep an eye out.

-Jacob (3)

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble


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Who agrees with me that crumble can be enjoyed at any time of year not just in winter? Sour and tart, yet sweet and smooth at the same time, rhubarb and strawberries are real treats for the taste buds. Crumble is so easy to make and this one lets the rosy colour of rhubarb shine through. It can also be enjoyed hot or cold, unlike most crumbles which is a huge bonus. This recipe will take you to good food heaven and here’s how to make it.

Ingredients:

The Topping:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g cold butter
  • 85g soft brown sugar
  • 25g rolled oats
  • 50g ground almonds
  • Generous pinch of salt

The Filling:

  • 350g rhubarb
  • 200g strawberries
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 25g ground almonds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Cut the rhubarb into 1cm chunks and the strawberries in half.
  3. For the topping, mix the flour with the salt and the butter.
  4. Then, rub the flour and butter together until you have a breadcrumb like texture.
  5. Afterwards, add the sugar, oats and ground almonds.
  6. In another bowl, mix the rhubarb and strawberries with sugar.
  7. Sprinkle the base of a round Pyrex dish with almonds.
  8. Add the fruit to the dish and spread it out evenly.
  9. Sprinkle on top the filling and spread that around also.
  10. Once you are happy that the filling and topping is evenly dispersed, place in the oven until is baked through and golden brown.

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There you have it, a delicious pudding to be enjoyed in any season, in any weather! If you don’t like strawberries or rhubarb, why not switch it out to something different? Let me know in the comments some other fruit combinations.

Have you noticed the slight revamp of my blog? If you are reading this on my blog then you may have noticed the blog dividers on the sidebar as well as at the bottom of the site. I really like them and I hope you do too.

Thanks once again for all the love and support we are each day creeping closer to one hundred followers! That day will definitely come soon, don’t worry….

-Jacob (3)

5 Reasons why I hate Summer


A while ago, I posted a 5 Reasons why the Pressure of Exams Get to Me and it was really well received so I have decided to a similar kind of post with that format instead it is summer themed! We all know we have a secret hatred for summer and in this post, I would like to share why I hate summer (don’t worry I do like it as well!)

1: Heat

Too Hot

In the Summer, it is always unbearably hot. To some people, this is a blessing, but not for me. I have to constantly fan myself and drink copious amounts of water to stay cool and hydrated. My face also gets really sweaty and red and my nose gets slippy and I have to keep pushing my glasses further up my nose.

2: Hayfever

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Having Hayfever is just the worst. When I have Hayfever, my eyes get really itchy and the tablets I have sometimes do not do much about it. So, I have to resort to eye drops which I hate. Trying to squeeze the bottle into your eye without your eyelid closing it just such a challenge.

3: Wasps

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Summer might be famous for being luxuriously sunny all the time but people forgot the annoyance of wasps. I respect they are doing their job, however whenever you hear that buzz you immediately want to die. Why will they not just leave us alone, please I beg of you. Even if that does not annoy you, if you get stung by those creatures; good luck holding in the pain.

4: Ice Creams Melting

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Who doesn’t like a cold, refreshing ice cream when the sun is out and you are sweating to death? How delicious. Wait, before you’ve finished it, it has started to melt! Your fingers get all sticky and horrible and the lovely ice cream you’re eating has dissolved into a creamy mess. Why couldn’t there be an easy solution apart from eating it really quickly? Then we encounter another problem; brain freeze!

5: Boredom

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Don’t we all have expectations that this summer will be the best one yet and we will not get bored at all? Well, we do and then disaster strikes! We are bored! Honestly, I am the worst at finding things to do so what I’d recommend is making a bucket list. Last Monday, I posted my Summer Bucket List so perhaps that will give you some inspiration.

And that’s it for this post. Thank you for reading and thank you all the support recently on all my posts, I really do appreciate it.

-Jacob (3)

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