Iced Blueberry & Green Tea

A refreshing iced tea that is packed with tons of antioxidants. Blueberries and Green tea are scientifically know to be great for skin and the whole body. This drink can also be drank hot during the winter months.

Ingredients
5 green tea bags

1 litre of water

3 tablespoons of clear honey 

200g of fresh or frozen blueberries. 

Method
Boil the water, place the teabags into a bowl or saucepan and add the boiling water. Steep for 4 to 5 mins and remove. Add the blueberries and crush with a potato masher. You can crush them with a fork before you add them to the water if you prefer. Add the honey and stir. Sieve into a container allow to cool then put in the fridge. When cold, pour over ice and enjoy. 

Bruschetta of tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto and basil recipe.

A fantastic meal for when the sun is shining and is a true feel good dish. This dish is ideal for when your focaccia is going a little stale and makes a perfect starter or light snack. Ciabatta bread also works well with this dish. Any tomatoes can be used but I prefer sweet cherry tomatoes, you could use sun dried tomatoes too if you prefer. The proscuitto can also be left of of course for vegetarians. Serves 2.

Ingredients

Focaccia bread (Click to link)

1 ball of mozzarella

150g of cherry tomatoes 

1/2 red onion 

Basil 

2 slices proscuitto ham

Olive oil. 

Method

Cut a square of focaccia roughly 6cmx6cm but the shape doesn’t matter too much.
Next cut this in half like you would a burger bun to make 2 squares. 
Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl with finely chopped red onions, ripped basil leaves salt pepper and a little olive oil and mix together. 
Toast the bread until golden. 
Put onto 2 plates and top with the tomato mixture, now add ripped mozzarella and finish off with the slice of prosciutto and a basil leaf.
Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired and a splash of balsamic vinegar. 
It’s that simple and delicious. 

Spiced CAMOMILE & LEMON Cooler

A simple tea that is a great hot drink if you are ill or under the weather because of the antioxidants found in the cinnamon sticks, honey and cloves along with lots of other health benefits. The iced version is a refreshing feel good drink that keeps the health benefits while adding more lemon and lots of ice. The main recipe is for the iced version.

Ingredients

750 ml (1 & half pints) of water

4 camomile tea bags

3 cinnamon sticks

15 Whole cloves

100ml of fresh lemon juice

100 ml of honey

Cold version

1 leamon

Ice cubes

Method

Get a saucepan and bring all of the water to the boil. Next add all of the camomile tea bags, cinnamon sticks and cloves then let it simmer for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the tea bags, cinnamon sticks and cloves and then stir in the lemon juice and the honey. If having the tea cold as a cooler your next step is to chill the tea, pour the tea over the ice and add lemon slices and any other topping/garnish.

The tea is slightly sour initially and then the sweetness of the honey kicks in followed by the spice of the cinnamon and cloves making this a refreshing cold drink and one I would recommend for the warmer weather.

7 reasons why Animal Crossing New Horizons is great for your mental wellbeing.

Animal crossing is a magical and calming game that has been around for many years. It has a huge fan following and is loved by the younger and older generation. But I will be focusing on why Animal Crossing New Horizons is so great for your mental wellbeing and what’s include in this beautiful game.

Living on a tropical Island

As a young kid or even an adult have you not just wanted to start a new life on a tropical island, leaving the rest of the world behind you? Well Animal Crossing New Horizons allows you to do just that. Make the island your own personal paradise as you can build the island of your dreams. Picking the location of resident’s houses and decorating their gardens as well as the surrounding area, the player has full control. Having Full control over an island can be useful for players that sense that they have little control in the world around them outside the game. The islands weather changes with the real-life seasons and can add that extra special touch to the game.

Soundtrack

The soothing music that accompanies you while playing animal crossing has to be considered one of the most relaxing soundtracks in video game history. The simple tunes which mainly consists of light guitar, adds to the relaxing nature of the game and helps create a chilled vibe that helps you enjoy the simple activities more.   

Simple tasks and activities

Fishing, furniture building, bug catching, fossil finding and creating the perfect island are some of the calming activities that you participate in. Each activity can be done for a few minutes or a few hours and it will still be relaxing and fun as each second ticks by. On some occasions you can spend 2 hours fishing and others just 10 minutes bug catching, both having the same relaxing impact on the player.      

The islanders that you coexist with  

The islanders that share the experience of the journey with you make this game special. I started sharing an island with a frog named Scooter who is a gym freak and will always talk about exercise. I also shared the island with Bianca the tiger who wants to be a pop star. These residents explore the island going about their life throughout the day and even send you mail from time to time. These animals can help people of all ages that struggle with isolation and social anxiety, celebrating key events like Halloween, Christmas and the players birthday can help a person feel less alone on these dates.

The Museum    

Run by an owl called Blathers, the museum offers a space to show off your collection of fish, bugs and fossils. It is also one of the most calming and relaxing places in the game. The soft piano that accompanies you while exploring the museum is super relaxing. The museum is huge, and you can easily get lost exploring your fish and bugs for hours. My favourite place is the butterfly house shown in the picture above which I sometimes leave on the screen if I have work to do because of its relaxing nature.

Environment sounds

The sound of leaves rustling under the feet of the player, waves crashing against the sand, the wind whooshing the leaves on the trees. These sounds along with music adds to the calming nature of the game. My family love to sit, watch and listen to me play animal crossing as it relaxes them, the environment sounds play a massive part in this.

Something to wake up to and get you through the day

Waking up in the morning never got better, as the island always has something waiting for you. Have you payed off your mortgage with Tom Nook? The following day will have a nice house conversion waiting. Maybe you planted some flowers or trees. Logging back in after a hard day at work or university and tending to your flowers for 5 minutes can be a nice way to relieve stress and get you back into the room. Maybe mystery animals will appear, in the above image this dragon will buy bugs for a larger price than the local shop for one day only and was a nice surprise when starting up the game.

Conclusion

This game helps the writer to relax and unwind after a stressful day’s work. I know a lot of people that have played an animal crossing game and have said that it has helped with their anxiety and depression. I can also vouch for this and is why the game is priceless for many people. Sometimes 10 minutes of fishing makes all the difference or building a new home for a recently arrived resident can allow you to relax your mind. If you have not got this game, then what are you waiting for?

Simple and easy Focaccia bread Recipe.

Ingredients

750g Strong white bread flour

100ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling.

30g fresh yeast

400ml of warm water 

1 tsp of sugar 

1 Table spoon of sea salt preferably maldon.

Rosemary fresh or dried.

This recipe makes two small or one large Focaccia bread.


Method 
Put the full 750g of flour into a large mixing bowl. Next mix the water, oil, yeast, sugar and salt together until all has dissolved(separately from the flour). 
Make a well/dip in middle of flour and pour the liquid in, now mix with a spoon until dough comes together. Don’t knead the dough if you want a soft focaccia.
Cover with cling film and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size. 

Next, Knock the dough back from the bowl and cut in half. Now Oil one large or two small baking trays with olive oil. You can be quite generous. Take the dough and just flatten and pull it out over the whole tray. Make some indentations with your fingertips on the top, sprinkle more olive oil on top and add chopped rosemary & seasalt. Leave in a warm place to prove again until doubled in size.

Tip. If you only have dried rosemary, microwave it with a little water. This softens it up and brings out the flavour. 


After it has proved again place into a preheated oven at gas mark 6/200c for about 12-15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and turn upside down so bottom doesn’t go soggy.

Making Focaccia Bread is a relaxing way to get in the kitchen. Quick and simple to make, causing minimal stress and delicious to eat.

clifton suspension bridge, Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge is a masterful piece of engineering, that spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon. It is located in the quaint clifton village which has countless independent shops and cafes. Parking can be an issue but buses are always running from Bristol city centre or a short but steep walk through clifton village allows you to relax and enjoy the views this location has to offer.

Countless benches surround the bridge at all angles allowing you to sit and take in the views, listen to music or read a book in a stunning location. It can be a very popular tourist location in the summer but getting here early in the morning or evening allows you to witness the sun rising or setting. This is also an amazing spot to do some outdoor Yoga so why not make the most of your time in bristol, bring a yoga mat and do some early morning outdoor yoga.

Clifton observatory enables people to go down a 130 step tunnel which allows you to look out over the Avon Gorge. The price stands at £2.50 per person and can be very claustrophobic so be warned. If you can go down then it is fully worth the money for another perspective of clifton suspension bridge you won’t find anywhere else.

A visitor centre is situated across the bridge which is free to visit. Inside you will find information regarding the history of the bridge allowing you to take some time out of your busy day and learn how this 140 year bridge came to exist. A tour is available 3pm every Saturday and Sunday from the clifton toll booth. more info can be found here. https://www.cliftonbridge.org.uk/visit/visitor-centre

The best time to visit is in summer to have the sun perched over the bridge or in autumn where the surrounding forest will be multiple colours of orange. I normally purchase a bubble tea from the shop Cupp, located in the city centre which helps me relax and refreshes me after making the 30 minute walk from the city centre. If you are in Bristol this is an absolute must to visit especially in the morning to relax in the morning sun.

Victoria Summer Sandwich

Ingredients

6 oz of caster sugar

6 oz of self raising flour

6 oz of soft margarine

3 eggs

Vanilla Extract

1 Punnet of Strawberries

1 Medium double cream

Icing Sugar

Strawberry Jam

Yellow Food coloring

Step 1: Turn the oven on gas mark 5 / 190c

Step 2: Grease 2 x 7 inch sandwich tins or use grease proof paper

Step 3 ; Sift the sugar into a bowl and add the soft margarine and cream together

Step 4: Add 2 ounces of flour into the mix at a time along with 1 egg and mix cream together each time until all the eggs and flour has been used.

Step 5: Stir in 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

Sep 6: Cook for about 20 mins until it is golden brown and springs back to the touch.

Step 7: Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack

Step 8 : Whilst the cake cools, wash the strawberries, put 3 or 4 to the side.

Step 9: Whisk the double cream until thick and fold in sifted icing sugar to sweeten. Then stir in 1 tablespoon essence.

Step 10: Once the cake has cooled, spread a layer of strawberry jam on one sponge and spoon the cream on top. Once the cream is in cut and add halves of strawberries on top of the cream. Then add the other sponge gently on top.

Step 11: Make icing using icing sugar and water. Add vanilla essence and yellow food colouring to the icing. Pour the icing over the top of the cake, once slightly set place your whole strawberries on top of the cake.

This cake is worth the work and is an absolute joy to have in the summer. If you dont find it relaxing making, then you certainly will eating a slice in the summer heat.

Wells-Next-The SEa, Best Beach In The East OF ENGLAND.

Wells-next-the-sea is a stunning seaside town in North Norfolk. The beach that is located 1 mile from the town is considered one of the nicest beaches in the east of england. The beach itself is an expanse of beautiful sand that stretches for what seems like miles at low tide. There is a selected area of the beach that allows dogs onto it and is why the beach is a popular place for dog walkers and lovers,

There is a large car park (around £9 a day) next to the beach which can get very busy, so it is suggested to get there early, an option to travel by the Wells Harbour Railway, a 10¼” gauge miniature railway is also available. A cafe is situated on the edge of the car park which has accessible toilets located inside. Once off the beach it is also possible to walk into wells along a calm pathway. A small forest surrounds the beach which can be explored and can be a good break from the sun.

The beach is visited by lots of families where crabbing is a popular activity. Reading a book by the line of beach huts, having a picnic, tucking into wonderful and delicious fish and chips are all activities that can be enjoyed in the roaring sun. The sea in the summer is always nice and warm allowing you to enjoy a swim all paddle all throughout the day.

During the summer wells-next-the-sea gets extremely busy so it is suggested to get there early in the morning or on non peak days. The beach can be a very mindful experience which can last hours. This is not a place to be missed and if I have not convinced you then hopefully the pictures will.

https://www.visitnorthnorfolk.com/places/wells-next-the-sea-holkham.aspx

Bath City skyline walk

The historic city of bath is based in the county of Somerset and is home to the roman baths, making this city a popular tourist attraction. But the city has a very overlooked gem of an activity, The bath city skyline walk. A 6-mile circular walk around the outskirts of bath leading the participant through a range of places including a field that overlooks the city of bath, Sham castle and multiple woodland areas that have multiple views from a range of angles of bath and the surrounding area. I have done this walk twice and both times myself and friends have got lost as it is poorly signposted, a phone with a good 4g reception is recommended. But one of the best parts of this walk is the fact you don’t know where you are going to end up, resulting in discovering and exploring places that are not even listed on the walk.

Bathwick Fields is where the walk commences, even if on the day you want to stay and explore the city I would recommend walking to the top of the field and getting a look at these stunning views of Bath. A bench is situated at the top of field and makes for a great place to sit and relax while taking in the view. This part of the walk takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes from behind bath train station, where I suggest starting your walk and following the canal upwards towards the fields. The field is popular with dog walkers, making this part of the walk more enjoyable for dog lovers as the furry K9s are constantly stopping to say hi.

The best part of the walk is without a doubt Sham Castle, this detailed castle wall does take effort and time to track down, particularly if you are not following an online guide. But on a nice summer day the bench situated in front of the castle is one of my favourite spots to sit and relax, reading a book or just taking in the view of bath and the forest surrounding it. This can be a peaceful experience depending on how busy the spot is. If you are a fan of golf, behind sham castle is a golf course, so why not take a seat against the castle wall and watch some people enjoy their Saturday afternoon on the golf course.

Woods and secluded fields are mainly the rest of this walk, cows roaming the woodland area can be fun to watch as they attempt to navigate the steep terrain and find their way back to the fields. On my second walk, a group of men and women dressed as knights and fantasy characters battling in the woods was a pleasant sight, even though my mate found it absolutely hilarious. The thick green trees, blossoming of flowers and the signing of birds from the first walk in the summer turned to trees shedding their leaves and flowers slowly dying on our November walk.     

On both occasions we set off early in the morning allowing us to complete our walk after around 4 hours, which concluded three quarters of the way round. This gave us ample amounts of time to explore the wonderful city of bath which is worth a visit in itself. The roman baths, bath abbey, Pulteney bridge, and countless museums are some of the many places to visit in the city itself.  After a long day of exploring and getting in touch with nature, bath is host to a range of eateries and pubs, stopping off to reward yourself with a pint or a meal is a must in the writers’ eyes. I would highly recommend this walk even if you don’t finish it which I have failed to do so on all 2 occasions.  

The national trust website below has the full details of the walk and is a handy companion during the walk. Our journey ended at number 8 on the map but the Balcony and Rainbow Wood Fields looks tranquil and is a planned location on our next exploration of bath. Note: Bring wellies or mountain boots if the floor is going to be muddy.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-skyline/trails/bath-skyline-walk

Recipe: Sweet CHORIZO & Pepper Jam

A sweet chorizo & pepper jam that is perfect for the warmer weather.

Ingredients

1 medium onion

1 red & 1 yellow pepper

A little vegetable oil

1 clove of crushed garlic.

50 ml of vinegar (red wine, white wine or balsamic)

tablespoon of smoked paprika

100g sugar

120g pack of sliced chorizo diced. 


Dice the onion and peppers. Add a splash of oil to a thick bottomed pan and cook until the onions and peppers have soften, Add the crushed garlic and fry for an additional 1 min longer. Add the diced chorizo and cook for 2 minutes, add the smoked paprika and fry for a few seconds. Add the sugar and vinegar and bring to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes or until you have a jam like consistency. Let it cool down and spoon into a  container. It should keep for up to 4 weeks in the fridge. Its a very versatile condiment and can go well with cheese, on toast, in a burger, through pasta for example.