Lemon Zest Cake

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

I'm an absolute sucker for baking whenever I possibly can. There's something so fun about baking a cake or a batch of brownies whilst listening to your favourite playlist on Spotify. I love listening to country music, so when I'm baking I'm usually jamming out to some Jon Pardi or Brothers Osborne.... it's a necessity.

Over the sunny Saturday that the UK experienced last weekend I decided to make a Lemon cake. There's something about lemons and lemon cake that screams Spring to me, so I grabbed my Betty Crocker cake mix and spent a good 2 hours making, what I think, a pretty good looking cake if I do say so myself.

I love purchasing cake mixes because we can't always make something from scratch, but, the Betty Crocker cake mixes actually feels and tastes like you spent way longer making the cake than you did. They're so easy, a turn out amazing, so I decided to share this recipe with y'all so you can have some fun in the kitchen!

Grab your apron and mixing bowl and set your oven to 180°C (160°C for fan assisted ovens) / Gas Mark 4. For cupcakes bake in a fan assisted oven at 160°C.
Preparation 10 mins
Baking time 23-28 mins
Serves 12

180ml water
2 medium sized lemons
3 medium free range eggs
90ml vegetable oil (6 tbsp)
1 box of Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix
1 tub of Betty Crocker Zesty Lemon Icing
2 x 8" well-greased cake tins (or 2 x regular size muffin trays & cupcake cases)

1: Mix the eggs, oil, water and cake mix gently together and whisk (by hand or electric mixer) for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
2: Pour the cake mixture evenly into your two greased cake tins. For cupcakes pour mix evenly into the cupcake cases.
3: Bake in the centre of the oven for 23-28 minutes or until a rounded knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. For cupcakes bake both trays together for 18-22 minutes. Then cool on a wire rack. Sandwich your cakes together and cover with the Betty Crocker Zesty Lemon Icing.

If you make this cake make sure to tweet me a picture at @aspoonfulofhope - I'd love to see! 

Crying Over Eggs In The Supermarket... Satan's Power + God's Love

Saturday, 1 April 2017

I have just started to read "Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst and it's amazing. It's funny, profound, uplifting and inspiring. It's just a great book, and I'm telling you this from just 32 pages in. Y'all I got a good feeling about this, you need to read it with me. My favourite piece in the book so far is this (apart from the awkward hugging situation):

"I'm not who that guy says I am. I'm not who that girl says I am. I'm not who social media likes and comments say I am. I am not who the grades, to-do lists, messes, and mess up's say I am. I'm not who the scale says I am or the sum total of what my flaws say I am. I'm going to stop flirting with the unstable things of this world so I can fall completely in love with You. I am loved. I am held. I am Yours. I am forever Yours. The more intimacy like this that I have with God, the more secure my true identity is". - Page 18 of "Uninvited"

Y'all this got me GOOD. I love this. Sometimes life is SO HARD. Like, so hard. Whether it be you failed a test or you're just having 'one of those days', life can suck. Today, I have felt so uninspired, so unconfident, and so impatient with myself and the people around me. Why? I don't know. I'm just having 'one of those days'. 

Me and my beautiful momma were driving in the car today and I was just telling her how I was feeling emotional for no reason, but how I was feeling un-confident, and how these boys in college who I don't even know called me a "fat *insert rude word here*", and I asked her, "Why do people dislike me when I smile at everybody I walk past, and try to be as nice as I can to everybody?".

She told me she doesn't understand why people are and can be mean and treat people badly, but as long as I continue to be a nice person that's all that matters. She told me that the feelings I'm feeling today and the things I'm picking myself on over are not my thoughts but that it's Satan's horrible, hateful, mean words influencing my thoughts over Christ's loving, kind and caring words. She told me that it's easy to think that we're thinking those things, but it's Satans influence that gets tied up in there. She told me I was beautiful, that I was kind, that those words weren't true and to remember who's words I should really be listening to... AKA JESUS'! 

Now I'm going to be honest, as I'm writing this blog post to you all I'm still kinda feeling a little bit low, a little bit lost, and still un-confident, BUT, I feel better than I did earlier on when I thought I was going to start to cry in the supermarket because we forgot to pick up eggs. 

So, why I am telling you all of this? I'm telling you all of this because even though I am feeling like this today, I know that the creator of all things, myself included, is so much more powerful than Satan if we push the jerk away. The Lord and his son Jesus are so kind, so loving, so powerful, so amazing, so loving, so overwhelmed with love for us. Guy's THEY LOVE US TIMES ETERNITY! Satan works so hard to get us to not listen to the loving words of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus, but we've got to say to the dude "Hell no! I'm not listening to you today, NO SIR!". 

The Lord works in mysterious ways y'all. As I was feeling all of these emotions and horrible thoughts the Lord prompted me to read Page 18 of "Uninvited" again. Guys, we are not what social media tells us, or what girls + boys tell us, or what the scale tells us, or what our grades, to-do lists or messes tell's us. We are not our flaws. 

We were made by the one true King who in his perfect hands made our imperfect selves. We are not perfect, we will never be perfect, we will stumble and fall, but if we remember who made us with His perfect hands, and care, and love, and remember who DIED for us, Satan can't touch us. He can't tell us who we are or who we're not. I like to remind myself that "When In Doubt, Pray It Out!".

I found a quote on good old Pinterest that stated that when we doubt ourselves, and when we hate how we look and wish we weren't 'ugly' or wanted to change so many pieces of ourselves, Heavenly Father gets sad because He worked so hard on us. I don't know about you, but when I think of the Lord getting sad, it makes me sad. The Lord worked so hard on us, and he has so much love for us, we shouldn't hate ourselves. Of course, it's ok to feel down sometimes and feel like when we've had too much to eat we feel like we look 9 months pregnant, but we should love ourselves. I need to love myself more, and so to you. Because do you know what? You are beautiful. You are. Look in the mirror, and tell yourself that, because I think you're a great human being.

I urge you to combat Satan’s unkind being and remember how much The Lord + Jesus loves us.... SO incredibly loves us. That's so cool. When you wake up in the morning, make Satan think GOTTA BLAST, because Satan is nothing compared to the love we receive from those two cool dudes up in Heaven. 

The Lord loves you.
Jesus loves you.
I love you.
My cat loves you.
Hey, even my cereal in the morning loves you.
No matter who you are, who you love, what you do, what you believe in (as long as you haven't killed somebody) I love ya.

My Absence From YouTube + Blogging

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The last blog post I wrote was in December 2016. Before that, August 2016.
The last time I posted a YouTube video was December 2016. Before that, October 2016.
For the past four months, I have been incredibly distant from my blog, YouTube, and social media altogether. Why? Simply because I just needed. a. break. And, I was completely entitled to it.

Social media can become tiresome. It can become a soul destroying, negative, horrible space that can really affect you. But, in some ways, social media can be an uplifting, amazing, and positive place. Sometimes social media makes you cry, in good and bad ways. It can uplift you, it can put you down, it could motivate you, it could tear you down. Sometimes, how you've been affected by social media changes day to day.

2016 was a rocky year. I made big changes in my life. I experienced new things in my new life - both through people and places. I cut people out of my life, and well, no I actually didn't meet anyone new. I made changes to benefit my happiness and health. But, most of all, looking back on 2016, I grew, but I didn't really blossom that much.

Sure I turned 18 in 2016. The big ONE EIGHT. 18 is meant to be the year of adventuring, growing, fully deciding on what you want to do with your life, meeting 'The One', going to university or getting that job, moving to the land of Oz.... okay, well maybe not the last one, but, I was SO wrong. I mean, this may have happened for you when you turned 18, again, maybe not the Oz part, but none of that happened for me. And, honestly, now at 19 years old, that is completely fine.

Each year isn't a storybook where during the beginning, middle and end, everything that you wrote down on the to-do list on January 1st that you wanted to happen, do or achieve happened on this date, or this date, or this date. That's just not how it works. Sometimes, things go completely in a different direction. You know when people say "When things don't go right, go left!"? Well, my steering wheel locked and I kept going right when really, I wanted to be going left.

Like I said last year was rocky. There were amazing moments, for example, I went to London to see a ton of my favourite country artists at a music festival, and I started watching Grey's Anatomy and Gilmore Girls and That 70's Show... best. decision. ever. Oh, and let's not forget I welcomed my now 9-month old kitten, Mabel into my life, and so many other things happened that made me happy.

There was a lot of good in 2016, but, there definitely were hard moments and I wasn't really expecting it, but you never do. I went through self-confidence issues. I disliked how I looked and how I felt and no matter how many times people called me pretty or smart or amazing I didn't believe them and didn't apply it to myself because I didn't believe it. And, if you don't believe those things about yourself, how can you believe it when people say it to you?

I went through self-doubt. I hated everything I created, and made, and produced, and I didn't believe I was good enough, or talented enough at what I did when really, I am good at what I do and create, and no I'm not the best there is, but I'm good. I know that I'm good, and there's always going to be someone better than you, always, but if you know and believe in yourself and your talents, other people's talents won't bother or knock you down because you know that you're good and that you're doing your best.

For a short period of time, I wasn't as strong in my faith as I have been in my whole life. I didn't feel like God was in me, for me or with me. But in fact, God is in me, God is for me, and God is with me. He's everything I need to be completely myself. No matter how many times people knock you down, or make you feel like you're not doing your best or not doing enough they don't have final judgement over you because they don't know you like God knows you or knows me.

The last half of 2016 is when I started to become distant from YouTube and my blog. I'd upload, but not regularly. I'd write on my blog, but wouldn't really know what to say so I'd delete the post and leave the page blank. I'd make videos that I wasn't strictly passionate in. I'd write a blog post just to 'advertise' my new video. In one video I would have bright colours in the background, and another video just a plain white background because I thought audiences couldn't get enough of the colour teal, fairy lights and high saturation.

My heart was not in this for the past few months. Not because I didn't want it to be, or because I didn't have this many views or followers, or because I'm only earning a penny a month. Views, followers and money mean NOTHING in this or to me. My heart wasn't in it because of the self-doubt and the self-confidence issues I was facing. I'd wake up in the morning ready to film and after breakfast, I'd just say "I'll film tomorrow" because I guess I was scared to sit in front of the camera again. I was itching to get in front of the camera and edit and be a #creativewierdo (Thanks, Mr. Kate), but I was holding myself back. And why? Well, now I can honestly say that 2016 was a pain in the butt and it definitely isn't my lucky number.

Over the past year, and especially in the past four months I have realised that sometimes you have to keep going down the dreaded drop on the roller coaster to learn and grow even when you're not realising it. So, you can then eventually go back up and reach the end of the ride, sing your praises and go either eat a burger or ride on the tea cups.

I've decided that my freeze frame is coming to an end now, this stereotypical teenage rom-com monologue is about to unpause and continue on with the rest of the story. Sometimes it's okay to have a freeze frame moment. Even if you don't think you're growing or blossoming. Slowly you are, and you'll come to realise it when you freeze frame has unpaused. And, once it's unpaused you're going to blossom and grow a whole lot more... unless you're like me and guessed that 5' 7" is going to be the height you stay at for the rest of your life.

In my new favourite film, Miracles From Heaven the character stated that there is a "Miracle in every day". I honestly believe that. There is something good and a miracle in every day! Whether it's that your cat took a poop for the first time in 2 days or you just loved the fact that it was a sunny day because it's been raining for a week, there's always something good, and half the time we don't even notice it! You need the rain for your flower to fully blossom. You may need a watering can amount, or a storm amount of water to get you there, but you'll get there.

I'm extremely excited to release more videos and blog posts and content throughout 2017. I'm excited to see how much more I'll blossom through all aspects of my life. Never give up on your day dream because someday it'll become real. You've just got to work really hard for it and then once you get there you will be so proud of yourself.

Thank you for reading this post. It's the most open I've ever been on the internet. I'm still trying to figure out what days I will post my blog posts (recommendations are welcome!), but I hope you are all having a happy and blessed day!

"A New Year. A New Me." Hello, 2017.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

2O17. Holy cow. 2O16 has gone fast. I hope everyone has a fun, safe, exciting and memorable New Year's Eve/Day! 2O16 has been such a whirlwind of a year for me. I've been on what seems a non-stop rollercoaster this year and let me tell you, I can't wait to get off. It's not so fun after a while. Maybe in 2O17 I'll take the Tea Cups. 

There's been so much loss and hurt in the world this year and I hope 2O17 will bring less of that for people. I've had some amazing experiences and memories in 2O16, but I've also had many times where I have lost myself but picked myself back I up again. This year I learnt a lot about myself and what I love to do, and what I want to do in life. From going to a country music festival and seeing so many people in a time span of 3 days who inspire me, to taking time off from social media to clear my thoughts, but to also come back with a new outlook, and new ideas to put on the table (aka YouTube). 

Not spending most of my time on social media allowed me to spend more time with my family, visit new places, and fall in love with new things. The times this year I wouldn't go out with my family so I could film weren't fun. I wasn't loving what I was filming, and I didn't love that I was missing out on experiences either. Memories are more important than how many GB are being used on SD card. I'm so excited to come back to social media with a new outlook, and content to show y'all. I'm never leaving my channel, but this break from it really helped.

I'm so thankful for my family and the memories we have made this year. From watching countless amounts of Gilmore Girls and taking trips to Tesco with my mum, to finding new TV shows with my dad and helping him when he needs it 2O16 has been fun. 2O16 has taught me that strangers can become friends, and friends can become strangers, and that some people aren't what they seem, and it's okay to let go. Doing what's best for you and your family is more rewarding, and quite frankly happier than staying in the cart when the roller coaster breaks down. Get out, fix the error, grab some ice cream and jump back on. Or maybe eat ice cream after the ride ends. Your preference. 

I'm so excited to see what 2O17 brings, and what I'll encounter, but I'm bittersweet about the closing of 2O16. Life is about living in your Prime. So if you didn't fully live in you Prime this year, you've got a whole other year and a lot more to do so.

Peace out kiddos. See you next year. Wow, I haven't seen you in a year? Crazy. Wait? You're telling me you haven't had a bath in a year? Jump in the deep end, here's some soap.
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