Sunday, 27 March 2016

My Campus Colour Dash.

Last Sunday I took part in Plymouth University's RAG Campus Colour Dash in aid of Brain Tumour Research.

Brain Tumour Research is an amazing charity that helps raise awareness, whilst ultimately finding a cure for brain tumours.

I have always wanted to take part in a colour run so this seemed like the perfect opportunity, especially as it was for such a good cause. Sign up cost £10 with those who raised over £30 entered into a competition to win the new Fitbit - both Adam and myself managed to raise over £30 and Adam actually was lucky enough to to win the Fitbit! 

The colour dash was 1 mile long and consisted of mainly a run, however had a few obstacle sections as well e.g. dodging cones and doing the limbo. 

Included with our sign up fee was a colour dash white t-shirt which was perfect for the dash as it meant the paint powder would show really well. However unfortunately, Adam and I were in one of the first running groups therefore RAG was quite cautious with the amount of paint thrown - the picture above is actually us after we've finished the run!

Despite the lack of paint, for anyone considering doing a sponsored run or colour/paint run, I would definitely recommend it - not only is it a great way of raising money for amazing charities, it is lots of fun too!

Although the run was last week, I know late sponsors would still be greatly received so if you're feeling generous, please visit my Just Giving page :) Thank you xx

https://www.justgiving.com/LauraFayeHooper
http://www.braintumourresearch.org/


JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
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Happy Easter: Recipe for Tea-Infused Easter Biscuits.

Happy Easter everyone! To celebrate the day, I have been baking Lady Grey tea and Chai tea infused biscuits - perfect for those who want to indulge without consuming tonnes of chocolate! These Spring inspired biscuits are absolutely delicious to eat and are perfect for Easter because the icing looks like speckled mini eggs!

Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Serves: approximately 24 cookies.

You will need: 

1 egg 
275g Plain flour 
100g Caster sugar
Vanilla essence 
100g Butter 
Icing sugar 
1 Lady Grey teabag
1 Chai teabag
1 lemon 
1 orange 
Ground cinnamon


1. Make a basic biscuit dough by creaming your sugar and butter together. Once this has become smooth, add in a teaspoon of vanilla essence, beat in your egg and then slowly sift in your flour - combing with your sugar and butter until a dough is formed. 


2. Place your dough onto a floured chopping board and roll it until the dough is about 1cm thick. After you have rolled your dough, use a cookie cutter (or I just used a small, curricular dish) to cut your dough into cookie shapes. 


3. Place your cookies onto a lightly greased baking tray and bake in a 200 degree fan oven for around 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Once they have turned golden, take the cookies out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or chopping board for 5 minutes. 


4. Whilst your biscuits are cooling, whip up some thick icing using water and icing sugar. Once you have made a batch of icing, split it into two bowls - one for your Chai flavouring, and one for your Lady Grey. In order to flavour each of your different batches of icing, split one Chai teabag and one Lady Grey teabag and stir a few pinches of each tea into their separate bowls - adding more as needed to taste. Once you are happy with your tea infusion, stir some lemon and orange zest into your Lady Grey batch, and add a few sprinkles of cinnamon to your Chai batch. Split your biscuits in half; spreading your Chai icing across one half, and your Lady Grey icing across the other.


Delicious - cue one very happy bunny.


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Friday, 18 March 2016

When In Rome: Tips and Tricks from my Valentines Weekend Away.

* I realise I am a month behind schedule, but I have been crazy busy recently and so have only just found the time to write this :) I hope you enjoy, please comment / like and share if you do! x


For my Boyfriend's 21st birthday, I decided to pull out all the stops and book us a long weekend away in Rome to watch the Six Nations game, Italy vs England. The game happened to fall on Valentine's Day so all in all I felt it was a good excuse to spend some money.

Our flights were booked so that we could make a long weekend out of the trip; with our outbound flight leaving Heathrow in the early hours of the morning on Friday 12th February and our return flight leaving Fuicimo Airport late Monday night (15th) - admittedly, we did both have to miss some of university to fly either side of the weekend but it was definitely worth it!

Before flying out to Rome, we had researched the main tourist attractions and the best ways to get around, which resulted in us each pre-booking an Omnia Vatican travel pass. Although £80 (which did seem very expensive!), the pass promised to allow us free entry and queue jumps to main tourist attractions such as The Vatican and Colosseum, which would have normally been 30 euros each. It also gave us free access to all transport links such as the metro and tramlines, in addition to unlimited use of the hop-on, hop-off travel bus, which would also have been around 30 euros had we booked it separately. Overall I am undecided as to whether the Omnia pass was good value for money or not: the Omnia pass collection point itself took us what felt like a lifetime to find, as did the hop-on, hop-off bus stop; however the pass did allow us free entry to main attractions and let us queue jump extremely long lines of people and free transport access - all of which were extremely useful!

On day one (Friday 12th), unfortunately we arrived to rain and therefore having checked into our hotel around lunchtime, we decided to promptly head towards the nearest pizzeria (food being a main event on our weekend agenda). After experiencing our first genuine Italian pizza and pasta dish, we decided to take a trip around Rome on the hop-on, hop-off bus in order to get our bearings of the city. This was a really good way to map out the city whilst seeing a few sights! Unfortunately it was fairly chilly on the top deck as it was open cover, however it did allow for great visibility and photo opportunities. We didn't hop on and off, deciding to journey the whole trip on the bus as we knew we would be walking to the main attractions by foot over the coming days - all in all, the journey took us around an hour and a half. In the evening we chose to stay close to our hotel and went for dinner in a lovely restaurant nearby.

On day two (Saturday 13th), we decided to visit the Vatican and the Vatican museum. Although we thought that this would only take a couple of hours, these activities actually ended up taking us the whole day due to the sheer scale of both, not to mention the endless queues (although the Omnia Vatican pass did help significantly with this!) Despite not being everyone's cup of tea, I would definitely advise you to visit the Vatican as the architecture and design genuinely is really amazing - the cafe sells huge slices of pizza, too. The day we went to the Vatican was actually a really bright, sunny day so it was a bit of a shame as we were inside for most of the time; therefore if you can, I would definitely try and plan your visit to the Vatican for when the weather isn't meant to be as good.

On day three (Valentines Day), we decided to visit the Colosseum in the morning as the rugby started in the afternoon. The queues for the Colosseum were extensive, therefore it was nice having our Omnia pass as we had pre-paid and therefore were allowed queue jump. The Colosseum was probably the attraction that  I most wanted o see; and it definitely did not disappoint. Audio guides were available for those who wanted to learn about its' history, but as we found out, there were plenty of information boards dotted around and I personally think these were plenty. After we had finished taking photos, we used our Omnia pass to grab the metro to the Olimpia Stadium. The Six Nations was the first live sporting match had ever watched; so this was pretty exciting - made even better by the fact that we had surprisingly good seats, there was cheap alcohol and England won. After the game we went out for dinner and drinks (pomegranate mojitos are the bomb) at a really nice restaurant.

On our last day (Monday 15th), we decided to get our shop on as the previous days had been focused on sightseeing and buying the odd souvenir magnet. Turns out, Rome's shopping district is great; although pretty expensive too... at first, all we could seem to find were the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton; but eventually we found a few more student-budget shops like Zara and Mango (both of which I purchased coats from, oops). After we were shopped out, we took the metro to the main train station and from there, took a train directly back to Fiumicino airport (unlike a lot of European airports, this airport was actually very nice and well equipped with a range of shops and restaurants), ready for our flight home.

Top Tips:
  • Make sure to pre-plan the attractions you want to see - especially if you are only visiting for a short stay as there are so many amazing things to look at! I would definitely say that the Vatican and Colosseum should be on your main agenda. 
  • Invest in a decent travel guide - unfortunately, Adam forgot our travel guide which made it extremely difficult to navigate around the city! I would recommend the Lonely Planet Pocket-Guide to Rome. 
  • Take your time finding the perfect restaurant - one of the best things about Italy is the food so make sure you scout out the best - and only the best, restaurant or cafe to wine and dine in. 
  • Purchase an Omnia Vatican pass / metro pass -overall I would recommend an Omnia pass as it gives you access to so many things, and it's nice having pre-paid for all of your attractions and transport. However if you don't want to purchase an Omnia pass, I would 100% recommend buying a metro pass as this is the easiest and fastest way to travel across the city; and it's not very expensive either.
  • Don't waste money on taxis - Apart from buying a metro pass, definitely do not pay for a taxi - especially when traveling to and from the airport. Inside of the airport is a direct link to the railway which operates an express train to and from the city center - this is definitely the cheapest option and is honestly a lot easier than you may expect.
  • Remember your camera! - there are so many great attractions, you will be kicking yourself if you can't take any photos. I would also say that a selfie stick is useful for photos in front of large attractions like the Vatican and Colosseum as it can be quite hard to get both yourself and the building in, otherwise. 







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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Make Your Own Bircher Muesli - a Healthy and Delicious Breakfast.


Due to my recent placement at Cosmopolitan Magazine UK  (eeek - can't believe I can say that) being in London; I unfortunately had to experience the working commute - waking at 6am every day and getting home at 7:30pm puts university's 6 hours a week contact time into a rather lovely perspective. 
Unable to eat breakfast with the birds at 6am, I ended up buying (and discovering) Pret A Manger's Bircher Muesli pots - although the taste was absolutely delicious, this choice of breakfast did end up racking up a fair bit of expense; especially when coupled with my morning latte. 

Therefore in order to enjoy the same yummy breakfast, but at a far cheaper price; I decided to create my own Bircher recipe. This is a great way to enjoy a scrumptious, healthy breakfast and no joke, I can't even notice the difference to Pret's, (and I have had  a lot of taste-testing experience). 


Prep Time: 5 Minutes (The Night Before). 
Serves: Roughly 3 Portions.

You Will Need: 
  • Low-fat Greek Yoghurt.
  • Plain Oats. 
  • Apple Juice.
  • A Mixture of Dried Fruit.
  • 1 Apple. 
  • Pomegranate Seeds.
  • Pistachio Nuts.
  • Cinnamon. 
  • Honey.
  • A large container. 
  1. Measure out a cup - cup and a half of plain oats and add them to your container. 
  2. Measure out  a cup of apple juice and add it to your oats, trying to submerge all of them where possible. 
  3. Take a handful of dried fruit and add this to your oats and juice; stir them in slightly. 
  4. Grate approximately half of your apple and add the shavings to your mixture.
  5. Measure out a cup - cup and a half (depending on the quantity your oats) of Greek yoghurt and add dollop on top of your existing mixture.
  6. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey to taste. 
  7. Fix a lid onto your container and place in the fridge overnight. 
  8. In the morning, stir your mixture together (a creamy muesli / porridge-type consistency should have formed). 
  9. Spoon a generous-sized portion into your breakfast bowl and top with pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachio nuts. 

*For more healthy recipes and/or ideas, check out my foodie Instagram: healthylifestyle_happylife_

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