Cube Escape // AOTM

It feels like it's been forever since I last blogged. Probably because it has been. I looked up the date of my last post and it was 25.5.16. That's May! That post was scheduled too, so it really has been a while. As is virtually always my reason: school and various extra-curricular's are the justification for the absence of posts on this site.

Getting into what this post is actually about though, I've discovered a series of games which are highly addictive. To be honest, you've probably heard of them- they've gone through spells of popularity. If you haven't, the Cube Escape games are basically where you're trying to solve all these mysteries (mini-games) and get things to work. Don't think I really sold it there, but trust me when I say it's worth it!

The series has, I'm pretty sure, 8 games which are all available on iOS and Android. It's really interesting to see how the graphics have evolved. The games have been released over a number of years and the graphics on the latest ones are incredible! This might sound odd, and I think I've mentioned it about another app before, but one of my favourite things about the Cube Escape games are that they end. Your procrastinating is essentially set on a timer! Personally, I really loathe games which go on forever (think 1010) because they just seem so pointless and as if they're designed to waste your time. Games which end and can be deleted to free up space are definitely more my thing!

I've played/am in the process of playing all the free games (only a couple cost) and have found all the stories to be reasonably logical yet still challenging. Occasionally I'll get stuck and have to start randomly tapping on things or even Google the answer, but for the most part, the game seems to be pitched at a decent level of difficulty. Some of the mini-games take a while to figure out but personally I think that's where the fun is! My only criticism would be that some of the games end really abruptly which I find annoying. Some of them also don't seem to have an end goal which I think is the reason for this. That being said it isn't too hard to overlook this flaw due to the numerous puzzles hidden in each installment in the series.

As I mentioned before, a lot of the games are free, so you've really got nothing to lose by giving them a go. Personally, I haven't tried the paid games but given how much you get for free, I imagine they'd be pretty good value.

Let me know if you've played the cube escape games before, and if you have what you think of them!

Thanks for reading,

Overnight Oats

Hellooooo. For a while now I've been trying to make an infographic, something which, given my love for MS Paint, has been somewhat challenging. Today though, I decided to take the plunge and give it another shot. Realising that I'd be needing some slightly more... shall we say advanced software, I did a quick Google search, which brought me to Pixlr. When I first opened the app it struck me as something more user friendly than Inkscape but something that doesn't take nearly as long as Photoshop to get the hang of.

The app also has a bunch of video tutorials which were really handy. Back to the infographic. Using Pixlr it really didn't take me that long to make as the app made it really easy. Needless to say, it's definitely something I'll be trying out again!

So here it is, my amateurish infographic with a very poor choice of font colour at the bottom! Feel free to Pin it :)

With my excitement about the infographic I've gotten to the bottom of this post and realised I've forgotten to say anything about the oats! Overnight oats are something I've seen a lot all over Pinterest and Instagram and the idea of just having something to grab and go in the morning really appealed to me (sleep!). I was slightly hesitant about eating raw oats but now, after a few months of overnight oats a multiple times a week I'm hooked! Initially the taste was definitely something which took a bit of getting used to but I can now say, I think I prefer them to traditional porridge.

The great thing about these oats is that if it's a cold morning you can zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds and then they're even more delicious! 

You can also whip up a few jars of overnight oats at the start of the week, then have them throughout. Possibly even make some more for the second half of the week, it's a perfect time saver and way to get those extra five minutes of sleep!

A last quick note, you can use any kind of milk, I normally go for soy. You can also add to the mix you make up the night before. I usually go for chia 

So, if you haven't gathered, I'd highly recommend making yourself some overnight oats, at least try it!

I'd love to know what you think of the infographic and also if you'd like to see more of them?

Thanks for reading,
Katie XO

Baking I've Done Lately...

Hellooooo. Over the past couple of weeks I've found myself having a lot more time to bake. This has mainly been due to the school holidays, but is definitely time I've put to good use. Triple batch of chocolate chip cookies anyone?

As I was making a lot of these sweet treats, I found myself wasting a tonne of time searching for a recipe. Whether it be flicking through cook books, browsing Pinterest, or even Googling for a good 15 minutes each time I wanted to make something, it certainly reduced the efficiency of my baking time. Just think, it could have been a quadruple batch of cookies in the same amount of time, had I not been rummaging for a recipe.

Now, because I'm a fan of having cookie dough in the freezer at all times, I've decided to try and bake more efficiently. Since I singled out the problem- finding a recipe -I started thinking about how to fix it. The solution I came up with seems like it might be a little bit lot of extra work to start off with. However, it'll be an investment in time.

My solution, is that I test and refine recipes of things I want to make regularly. Then, and only then, I'll write them down in a notebook and put them on One Note for safe keeping (and possibly the blog :)). The note book part stems from me wanting to try and fill up a notebook :) but the idea of testing and refining the same recipes makes sense to me. Instead of constantly trying out new recipes which I'm highly unlikely to love, why not just perfect one?

So that's my quest for the rest of the year and beyond. To alter recipes so that I've got a collection of "go-to's". I want to make sure the recipes taste good and are as quick and easy as humanly possible to make (without sacrificing the taste). I'll let you know how I get on! But here's the first page-

Moving onto what I've actually made lately- scones, cookies, ice cream, muffins, granola and carrot cake.

Firstly, I know it all sounds sweet, but that's what I want my recipe collection to consist of. This is due to the fact that with savoury things, you can just kind of wing it and it normally works out. Baking however, wing it, and you've got a problem.

Secondly, not all this stuff has been eaten. Some of it's in the freezer cause that's the awesome thing about ice cream, cookie dough and carrot cake :)

The last thing- some of these photo's are really bad or not even of the batch I made recently. That's down to the fact that I changed my plan for this post. Hopefully you still get an idea of how good everything tasted though!

Scones, topped with jam and cream. These tasted delicious! The only thing I'd recommend would be adding a currents/raisins to the recipe. Taste: Plain Scones 

Carrot and orange juice that I got from making the carrot cake below.

Carrot cake from The Hummingbird's Cake Days book. I took out all the ginger, purely due to being a fussy eater :) but other than that this was a really nice recipe. It also made a tray of cupcakes plus a small loaf, so there's plenty to freeze. It's definitely one that's been tried and tested enough for it to be copied out into my notebook too! 

And now we get onto the horrible photography! So this is feijoa ice cream. If you're not familiar with what feijoa's are (I'm pretty sure they're a NZ thing!), they're green, about the size of a kiwifruit and the nicest things ever. Trust me. The only, and I mean only downside to feijoa's is that they all seem to come at once, thus the feijoa ice cream! I used *this* recipe, threw it in the ice cream maker, and it was delicious. The only thing I'd change would be the amount of sugar, it was ever so slightly too sweet for my liking. 

Chocolate chip muffins which I found on Pinterest. The recipe's *here*. Now these would have been really nice, except for the fact that they were slightly greasy. They also tasted slightly baking powder-y so I'd definitely reduce that next time too.

I think that's about it, all the baking I've done recently! Hopefully you enjoyed this post, or at least got some recipe recommendations (you NEED to try the carrot cake!).

I'd love to know if there's any recipe's that you'd recommend!

Thanks for reading,

Katie XO

Repetition. Routine.

Helloooooo. A while ago now I wrote a post called "Time" and in the post I mentioned how it was different and not something I was not 100% was worth worth posting. Anyway, despite that, I've decided to post something similar today. It actually started out as a piece of writing I was supposed to do for English, an autobiography task. I ended up kind of liking the way it was written and so I adapted it for this post. Here it is...

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Repetition. Routine. Repetition. Routine. Repetition. Routine.

It makes you efficient, right? It allows you to do more, to achieve more, all in the same amount of time. Theoretically speaking that is.

The art of repeating, drilling into yourself what you've always done and in turn improving, doesn't exactly sound bad. In fact, for some people, it's probably ideal.

Now, unless you're completely and utterly spontaneous, chances are you have a routine. For me, it consists of waking up, going to school, normally having something on after school, doing homework, followed by an hour of, well.. spontaneous time I guess. This is closely followed by an eight to nine hour time period spent doing the exact opposite of what an owl would be in those particular moments.

Of course, things happen in between all these activities, but to you, they're irrelevant. The tasks, the hours I spend could be swept away, forcefully sucked into a black hole, and you'd be none the wiser.

I guess that's the great thing about there being seven billion people scattered like seeds on the earth. We're all just a single pixel on a screen the size of Russia, a blade of grass, standing tall, yet surrounded by green.

You might want to be a different coloured pixel or see if you can avoid succumbing to the jaws of a black and white (maybe brown), four-legged mammal.

Maybe you can get there through repetition and routine or maybe, just maybe, it'll take a slither of spontaneity.

Maybe that's not what you want at all, but isn't it something we should all at least consider: the possibility of doing something different; the endless possibilities that could emerge, should you not practice repetition and routine?

In my mind, repetition and routine are the safety blanket, the fire extinguisher blasting the flames of the unknown, dousing them, drowning them.

Now, I'm not saying that repetition and routine are something I'd ever consider completely eliminating from my life, but at the same time, I'd hate for them to be my life.


I hope you found this somewhat inspiring, maybe motivational? Anyway, I'd love to know what you think of this post, and if it's a style you'd like to see more of, feel free to critique :)

Thanks for reading,

Katie XO

DIY Cactus Pots

Hellooooo, not sure if you've noticed, but lately there's been loads of wordy posts here. It's also been ages since I've posted something craft related, which is why today's post is going to be about these DIY cactus pots...

I've always loved the idea of cacti, a dessert plant which is renowned for being notoriously hard to kill, what's not love?  In fact, the way you could potentially bring an end to your cactus's need to be in a DIY pot, is by over watering it. AKA, being too attentive, something which isn't exactly possible for someone with as whatever is furtherest away from green on the colour wheel fingers (me). Cacti are also super spiky (as I found out when potting them!) which gives them a kind of stay-away vibe, again, why wouldn't you want a cactus? Oh, and did I mention that there's a tonne of health benefits associated with having plants around your living environment? 

So now that I've sold you on buying some cacti, you're going to need some pots, right? What I've got a picture of below is boring. There's no questioning that. It's just plain and dull and is practically screaming "DIY project, DIY project, DIY project", really hoping it's not just me... Anyway, fortunately I've got a suggestion for you but, before we get any further, I want to note that you can do anything. Literally, you could paint the alphabet on your pots, treat them like a colouring in book or even doodle on them with a permanent marker. In the words of Bill Moyers, "Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous." How's that for motivation? :)

For the pots I made, all you're going to need is:

  • Some awesome and interesting cacti
  • Plain, boring brown pots which you can get for about a dollar at just about anywhere that sells plants
  • White paint (I used acrylic but I feel like most types of paint would work!)
  • Paint brushes, a big one and a medium sized one is ideal
  • Paint in whatever colours you want  
First up, you want to paint the pots white (cue that Alice in Wonderland song- Painting the Roses Red!). This is so that your colour on top is true(er) to what it looks like in the container and also so you don't have to use loads and loads of your coloured paint. You don't need to paint until the white's opaque, but at the same time, you don't want to skip this step.

I'd also advise going slightly inside the pot, just in case you don't decide to full it completely. I probably went a little further than necessary, but for this step it's definitely better safe that sorry!

Before the next step you want to give the white paint a chance to dry. If you're doing multiple pots, paint them all white, then you should be good to go! So you want to get the colour of paint you'll be using, then add a lot of white. I say a lot because I wanted my pots a nice pastel shade but, if you've got something else in mind, go for it! Paint the pot, again, make sure to get a little bit of paint inside. Then repeat. This colour needs to be opaque and ideally as streak-less as possible! Repeat for all your pots.

Like before, you want to make sure that your pots are dry before progressing. For this step you want to take the original colour of paint (what it was before you added white) and, with hardly any paint on the brush, put it on. I'd recommend dipping your brush in a little bit of paint, painting the bottom, then working your way up and ending when there's absolutely no paint left on your brush. This way your pots will have a nicely distributed brushed effect.

Then you're done, well for the arty part of this. You could put some sort of glossy/paint sealing stuff on the pots at this stage but, to be honest, I didn't really see the point since it's not like you'll be handling the pots that much! You want to make sure that your paint is thoroughly dry and not sticky, but then pot your cacti! I think I used seedling mix but I heard somewhere that you could mix in some sand too. Also, note: cacti are spiky!! You've been warned!

You might like to add some pebbles to the base of your cacti for decorative purposes, but other than that, you've finished!

So that's it. Quick, easy and nice to look at cacti in aesthetically pleasing pots! 

Let me know if you try this DIY out, I'd love to see the result!

Thanks for reading,

Katie XO