December 27, 2016

End of 2016

I wanted to keep posting once a day till the end of the year, or at least till Christmas, but I failed, so here I am trying to sum up all I wanted to say in a few lines.

First of all, Christmas has been wonderful for me. Full of good and bad news, happy moments and low ones, but still magical just as I always hope it will be. I miss it already and I'd love to go back to Christmas Eve, but I'm happy anyway.

The present my boyfriend got me is some new headphones (mine were falling apart so I'm really thankful, he has saved my day and my binge-watching-YouTube moments) and a blog domain (we still need to pay for it actually). So, guess what Internet? We'll see each other again in 2017, with a brand new URL! Now I only need to find out how to make it work.

All the posts I had in mind for the next few days will be postponed so I'll know what to talk about in 2017, I guess.

That's it for now, have a nice week and see you next year! Let's hope it's a good one.

Marti xx

December 22, 2016

Really Random

Let me tell you a little secret.

You know videos like "Morning Routine", "My Everyday Makeup", "What I Eat in a Day" and so on? Well, I like to watch them when they're filmed by my favourite youtubers, but... I'd really like to see videos of that sort about housekeeping. Like "How I Clean My Bathroom", "Laundry Routine" and "What I Do in a Day to Keep My Flat Tidy". 

Sounds silly? Maybe. Most followers are underage and don't have to take care of that kind of boring stuff because their parents do that for them? True. I know this kind of stuff is only interesting for people like me, who like to keep their flat clean and that still don't have a routine to follow because they've just moved out. But I always end up looking for directions online and wish I had a nice video to watch instead.


Do you know some channels or blogs that focus on this sort of stuff? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear some names.

Marti xx

December 21, 2016

Winter is here!

Things I love about winter, in no particular order:

Decorations
Soft sweaters
Cinnamon everything
Fairy lights and city lights
Hot chocolate and hot drinks
Snow, snowflakes, snowy roofs
Everything about Christmas
Giving (and receiving) gifts
Heartwarming music
Snuggly blankets
Long scarves
All the food


The truth is, I am much more comfortable in cold weather. My philosophy is, you can always add a couple layers whenever it gets colder, while there's little you can do when the weather is too hot. I love winter, especially December, and there are only a few things I can't stand. The one thing that bothers me the most about this time of the year is that the days are super short, and I'm a daylight person, I'm not comfortable in the dark. Short days tend to put me in a bad mood, but luckily they also mean Christmas is approaching, and that's something that brings back all the happiness in me.

Marti xx


December 20, 2016

Butternut Squash & Courgettes Lasagne

Quick post because it's late and I have 178943 things to do tonight.

One day I was grocery shopping at Sainsbury's and I saw some butternut squash lasagne sheets. I didn't buy them straightaway but saved them in my mind-list (is that a thing?). I told my boyfriend about them and he sounded interested - he just found out he likes butternut squash so he was keen on trying some more recipes.

So, today I attempted to bake veggie lasagne for dinner, and I'm really happy with the result. They are quite easy to prepare and require just a few ingredients.


Ingredients:
One pack butternut squash lasagne sheets
Two courgettes
500ml oat milk
50g whole-wheat flour
A teaspoon of coconut spread
A pinch of salt
A spoonful of olive oil

I started with the white sauce. I follow the same white sauce recipe when I bake pesto lasagne or any other kind of lasagne. I mixed oat milk and flour in a saucepan and put it on the hob, mixing it from time to time and keeping it on the hob until it started to get creamy. Then I removed the saucepan from the hob and added a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of coconut spread (and a bit of parmesan cheese, which is totally unnecessary and turns the dish into a non-vegan friendly thing, which is not cool - but I had this leftover cheese and didn't want to throw it away so I put it in there).

I moved on to the courgettes. Washed them in the sink, cut them in small cubes without removing the skin or the inner part, put the cubes into a frying pan with a spoonful of olive oil and let them cook for five to eight minutes, just to make them softer. I put the courgettes into the white sauce and mixed them.

Then I took an oven tin for two and started layering the courgette+cream, then the butternut squash, then the cream and so on until I finished my ingredients (I tend to start with the cream and end with it, so the squash sheets end up in the middle of the lasagne).

I put the tin in the pre-heated oven (200°C) and let them cook for about 35 minutes. I was planning to leave them for 45 minutes but the top layer was starting to burn, so I had to take them out earlier, but they turned out just fine. Everything was soft and well baked and really really good, I think I'm going to repeat this recipe again soon.

Let me know what your favourite butternut squash dishes are, I'm eager to learn new recipes!

Marti xx

December 19, 2016

Tiny Collections

I'm not a hoarder. I like to tidy up, rearrange things, get rid of everything I don't like or need anymore. I like to keep my 'material possessions' to a minimum, not to the extent to call myself minimalist though - I only see myself as organised and I don't like to feel too attached to material stuff.

That said, I should admit I have my own collections and there are things I'm definitley way too attached to. I have an extensive collection of Harry Potter books, gadgets and memorabilia, some of which might make sense to me and myself only, because they belong to my childhood and just bring back the best memories. My Harry Potter collection is the only thing I don't keep all neat and tidy, because I like to go through it quite randomly. Everything, except for books, is kept in a green old wooden trunk my auntie got me ages ago.

Other than Harry Potter, the other thing I really have a hard time getting rid of is old toys. I'm really attached to my childhood, I was one of those kids who never wanted to grow up, and I have played with my toys so much they have almost become a part of me. My Barbies, my soft toys, my ponies. I'm a grown up but I still love toys, even modern ones, I always take a sneak peek at the toy section in stores and wonder what my seven year old self would buy. The thing I wanted to talk about in this post, though, is vintage toys.

I was born in 1994 so I don't have many memories from the past century (I do remember when my brother was born, in 1996 - I remember daddy took me to McDonald's for the first time that day) but I have older cousins and whenever I visited them when I was little I remember playing with some awesome toys that I never had the chance to get. One of the things that is stuck in my mind the most is a tiny Disney's Lion King box that contained the smallest Simba and Nala and had some kind of 3D landscapes to let you play within the box. I grew up kind of wanting those tiny Disney boxes but never got around to get one.


Before I go on you need to know that another thing that I absolutely love, apart from keeping things organised, is small things. I love anything tiny. And I love Disney, and I love toys. So it's no surprise that those toys are still in my mind now that I'm twenty-two years old.

After thinking about them multiple times and talking about them with my brother, I realised that I had never searched for them on Google, silly me. So today I did. And now I am in love with what I found out being called Disney Tiny Collection, some sort of collaboration between Disney and Polly Pocket/Bluebird. If you are not a child of the nineties and you don't remember them or have never seen them, just look them up online. 

There are Lion King sets, Cinderella, Snow White, Peter Pan, even a tiny Hercules box shaped like a cloud (it has always been a favourite of mine, Hercules). They even made a teeny tiny Disneyland set - how cool is that?

I know it's crazy and it makes no sense, but I'd like to start collecting them at some point. I'm not even sure it's possible to find all of them on sale, but I think I'll try to get at least a couple of them. I'll keep you updated if I do.

Now excuse me as I go check out eBay ;)

Marti xx

December 18, 2016

Sunday Pancake Brunch

My boyfriend had a rough, sleepless night and I woke up around 10 AM feeling meh, so after cleaning up the kitchen (don't judge) and having a shower I decided it was time for a nice meal. Lunch was approaching but none of us had had breakfast yet, so the idea of pancakes came to my mind. Pancakes are one of the best ways to merge breakfast and lunch, I believe.

I looked up recipes online and mixed some of them according to what I had in the cupboard. I tried to make honey pancakes topped with soft apple slices. The final result was better than I expected, but unfortunately I didn't take pictures so I had to make up a little design on Canva (I enjoy creating things on Canva, so I suggest you check it out too. It has lots of free designs and ideas).


Here's my recipe for the Apple & Honey Pancakes.

Ingredients for the batter:
2 eggs
90g self-rising flour
2 tbsp honey
A pinch of salt
120ml oat milk

Ingredients for the apples:
1 apple
A spoonful of coconut spread
3 tbsp agave syrup
A pinch of cinnamon

I started with the pancakes. I mixed all the ingredients together, heated up a pan, greased it a little with some coconut spread and proceeded with pouring a large spoonful of batter onto the pan, turning it when the batter started to look bubbly. I did so until the batter was finished, ending up with fourteen small pancakes.

At the same time (I tried to prepare both the pancakes and the apples together because I didn't want either of them to get cold) I peeled and sliced the apple. I warmed the slices up in a pan with the coconut spread and after a couple of minutes I added the agave syrup on top, let it all cook in the pan for another couple of minutes, then moved all of it into a small saucepan, added a glass of water and let it boil for a while. I was hoping the water-agave-coconut mix would turn into some sort of syrup, but it actually remained quite watery. I let it on the hob for a while anyway, then added in the cinnamon and removed the saucepan from the hob.

I split the pancakes in two stacks on two small dishes and poured apple slices and the sort-of-syrup on top.

My boyfriend really appreciated our brunch, so I'm quite proud of today's cooking session.

Marti xx

December 17, 2016

Vlogmas vs Dissertation

As I sat in front of my Costa Hot Spiced Apple typing down ideas for the third chapter of my dissertation, I thought "I wish I could catch up with vlogmas instead."


So here we go, as I spent my day between my dissertation and zero ideas for this blogpost, I decided I'd write down a list of the vlog channels I'm watching this December, in no particular order.

Rhiannon Ashlee - She's my latest YouTube crush, I have only started following her a couple of months ago (I was living under a rock, I know) but I've caught up quite quickly. I love her personality and her chilled vlogs, and I'm a huge fan of baby Delilah, she's adorable and it's nice to see her growing up a little bit video after video.

Katie Snooks - I've been following her for quite a while, I love the fact that she's always down to earth and relatable in her videos. I've often seen comments under her videos saying that she complains too much or that she never looks happy, but honestly I think she's just real, nobody really lives the perfect life and she has her ups and downs as well, but she's great at picturing both low moments and happy ones. She's just strong and mature, not everyone would allow the world to see them crying or open up about their problems.

Gabriella Lindley - I've been following her religiously for years, that's all you really need to know. Plus I love the fact that her videos are always super long, the longer the video the happier the Marti (?).

Niomi Smart - I love Niomi but I wasn't planning on following her vlogmas. She's one of those people that have so much going on with their lives, I don't really feel like I can relate, but I'm glad I decided to give her vlogs a go because I'm loving them (the Paris ones are so much fun and don't even get me started on the 33.41 minutes long 'Real Time Makeup Tutorial').

Samantha Maria - I'm a big fan of pregnancy and baby related stuff, so when I found out Sammi was pregnant I knew I would eventually end up watching her videos. I love that she seems so chatty and honest about what she's going through and I can't wait for her to meet the baby.

Giovannasworld - I really really wanted to watch Gi, Tom and Carrie's vlogmas videos but I still have to catch up, I'm halfway through Giovanna's and I guess I'll watch Tom and Carrie's after Christmas as I really have no time to fit all those videos into my day at the moment.

And you? Are you all caught up with any vlogmas? Let me know your favourites!
Marti xx

December 16, 2016

Time to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

This post is a little less deep and a bit more christmassy than the previous ones.

Today I finally got around writing my friends' Christmas cards. I put off this task for so long because I feel like I'm bad at writing them, I'm always either too cheesy or extremely cold, there's no in-between. This year I decided to go for the cheesy messages though, because I hope to make them smile and remind them that I care about our friendship even though I never text or call. I actually only wrote four, because I'm seeing most of my friends around Christmas so I'll tell them all the nice things when we meet in real life, but some of my friends live quite far and I don't even know if I'm going to see them next year, although I hope I do, so I went for the cards for them.

I think I'm much better at getting presents than I am at writing cards. I actually bought my friends' presents in October and have already wrapped them all up nicely. I bought my brother's and boyfriend's presents as well, the only one it's missing is my parents' because I wanted to do something handmade and I still haven't had the time.


While I was on my way to Starbucks this afternoon (#commonwhitegirl) I was thinking about what I would say if I were to film a Christmas Gift Guide (because I watch so many YouTube videos I end up planning things in my head pretending to be a youtuber, as you do) and I thought I might as well write those things down here, just as a sort of reminder.

First of all, I think handmade things make the best presents. I'm not talking about things that require crazy skills, just tiny projects that show how much personality you've put into making the present, like a giant gingerbread man or a painting or a personalised t-shirt or a themed box full of yellow items, and so on. A hand cream, a lipbalm and a face mask might not mean much on their own but if you put them together in a nice box they end up looking like a lush personalised present, no matter how little you've spent on them.

My second point is all about planning ahead. Christmas comes every year, so you can't really go wrong if you decide to buy your presents in advance, especially during mid-season sales or 3x2 discounts. This gives you plenty of time to plan and find the perfect presents and allows you to avoid the crazy messy winter crowds that invade every single shop around Christmastime.

Another thing I like to do to avoid the crowds is to check some shops online before actually visiting them, so I don't have to visit a hundred places but just those that sell whatever I'm looking for.

The last thing I'd like to add is, if you are running late and have no idea what to get to someone, visit a bookshop to find some inspiration. I always see plenty of things I'd like to buy for myself there, and I'm not just talking about books. I believe bookshops really have something for everyone, every price and something unusual for those friends who seem to have everything. For example, this year I've fallen in love with a journal I've seen in Waterstones called "99 Things That Bring Me Joy" and I'm sure that would make the perfect gift for many friends out there.

That's it for today, I feel like I haven't said much in this post but I'm sticking to my challenge of posting once a day so I'm quite happy with myself.

Marti xx

December 15, 2016

But Thoughts Are Always Travelling

My day started quite abruptly. I woke up and found out it was way later than I expected, I felt bloated and my joints were quite sore. I didn't do much in the morning except thinking (more on that later) but in the afternoon I went to Charing Cross Road with my boyfriend (he is called Lorenzo, by the way). We visited some places - Starbucks, music shops, Starbucks again, a book shop... The usual tour - and he took me to the House of Minalima, a truly wonderful place that I hadn't visited yet. I loved it, I wish it was a café or something like that, I would totally sit next to their potteresque christmas tree and illustrations and sip some tea.

Anyway. Back to the morning, today I realised two great things.

The first one was that yesterday, after I wrote my post, I felt better. Writing down my thoughts and reprocessing them helped me see the good sides of everything and made me feel so much better than I was feeling previously. That's one thing I love about writing.

The second thing was even deeper, hey. I thought of how much you can think of in a day, how fast thoughts travel, how you can be in the same room all day, not accomplish a single thing and yet your thoughts haven't stopped moving for a single second. Thoughts keep travelling. I think that's amazing, though it might not be a big revelation to any of you, but I had never seen it that way myself I guess and I don't know, it felt wise, it felt great. The human mind is unstoppable, it's so fascinating.




Today's quote is Mark Twain's, or so I heard. I found it while reading an interesting thread about Harry Potter

Marti xx

December 14, 2016

Experimental Risotto and Being Thankful

Today I felt a bit thoughtful and moody, but I can't exactly pinpoint why. I started the day by cleaning the flat and doing the laundry, then I showered and cooked lunch. I was on my own at midday because my boyfriend had some lessons, so I decided to prepare a risotto. I called it "experimental" because I put together random ingredients and hoped for the best, without following any recipe. I dressed it up with some leftover spinach and ricotta pesto. The final result didn't look too appetising but tasted great. Yay for me.

While I was having lunch I caught up with a couple of youtubers. I watched Katie Snooks' latest vlog and found out about her health issues, and I must admit that made me feel sad for her. I hope it's nothing major and she'll manage to keep the problem at bay. I wholeheartedly wish her all the best.

During lunch my mum texted me to tell me the blood tests I took last week came out unexpectedly fine, the only thing I'm lacking of is vitamin D. I was quite surprised because I expected to have iron deficiency and all that jazz, since I'm sort of anemic (I have vWD to be exact) and I stopped taking my iron tablets after summer. My mum said this might be the first time that all my iron related values were normal.

This couple of things made me think about how lucky I am. I usually try not to take things for granted anyway, but sometimes it's easy to only look at what you're striving for and not what you've already achieved. I am healthy, possibly more than I've been in the past few years; I have an incredible boyfriend, which is definitely something that's not easy to find; we are renting a flat in London, and moving to London has always been one of my biggest dreams. Last but not least, I have the option to choose whatever I want to do with my life, I don't have to rush into things because I have a supportive family and a helpful boyfriend.




I'm starting to believe I really couldn't ask for more right now.

Oh, and as I type this I'm waiting for a pizza delivery. Again, lucky.

Marti xx


PS. While designing the quote on Canva I realised the colours and graphic reminded me of The Little Book of Hygge, which by the way sounds really interesting. I think I'll check it out next time I'm in Waterstones. Also, I have no idea whose quote this is, but some attribute it to Walt Disney. 

December 13, 2016

When in Doubt, Write It Out

I'm at that stage of life when you have every single choice, every opportunity in front of you and you have no idea where to start. I'm about to graduate and move to London, I'll soon be supposed to find a job and sort of know what to do with my life (I know deep down nobody ever knows what they're doing with their lives but I hope you get my point). The problem is I have no idea. I've never really had a blue French horn (my boyfriend just sat next to me and typed that, don't ask) never really had a career in mind, there are many things that I like of course, and things that I'd rather not do as well, but I really don't know where to start.

My boyfriend told me that I've been neglecting my hobbies and passions way too much lately, and that even if most of my favourite things are not proper jobs (for example, I am obsessed with Harry Potter and I'd love to sit and read books all day - or watch YouTube videos) I could always turn them into careers of some sort. He challenged me to do one thing that I love for a week everyday and see how I feel afterwards. I decided to write blog posts, because writing has always been a way to sort out my thoughts and that's something that could definitely come in handy right now. I used to keep a diary and I've always wanted to write a book, maybe a children novel as children literature is one of my favourite genres, even though I worry I might not be good enough for that.

Anyway, I'm going nowhere with this post, I hope I'll make more sense tomorrow.


(Quote by A. A. Milne)

Before I leave, let me just tell you a couple of funny stories about my day:

This morning I travelled from Milan to London via Zurich. During the flights I read some chapters of "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, which is a book that is supposed to help but it's actually making me feel more anxious about my life than anything else, although I still like it and I think I'll try to memorise some of her tips.

I tried to cook potato wedges and cod in the oven for dinner and ended up burning my right index finger with oven steam. I don't even know, I can't really explain how it happened. Right now my finger looks normal but I can't use it to type as it kind of hurts and feels weird, super sensitive and tingly, I hope it wears off during the night.

I've just finished the apple juice I bought earlier at Starbucks and I've noticed that inside the label it says, "You've really nailed being a human. Good job." So yeah, thank you Apple, that's nice of you.

Going to bed now, see (?) you tomorrow.

Marti xx

November 17, 2016

Books I've Read Lately

Between August and today I started and finished some books, but I have only talked about one of them - Novecento - here on the blog. Since I don't post very often and I'm trying to keep my blog multifaceted and not turn it into a book blog (and I also don't have much to say about every single book I've read), I thought I might update you with one longish post instead.

I don't want to spoil anything for anyone therefore I'll keep my description short and I won't tell too much about the plot.


The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

I've been wanting to read this book for AGES and I honestly don't know why it took me so long to pick it up. It's one of the best books I've ever read, and there are many things I appreciate about it.

First of all, I like books that find a gentle way to talk about death, because that's a really relevant topic and way too often we're just exposed to the brutality of it and we get too scared to think about it, when in fact it's a really important thing to ponder, I believe. 

Secondly, I'm really into historical fiction, I love to learn things about the past while enjoying a good novel. I'm really into modern history, German history is one of the topics that interests me the most - of course I'm not at all glad about the horrible things that happened, but I'm really intrigued by the human mind and I like to learn how one thing lead to another and I try to document myself as much as I can. 

Lastly, the author writes just so well and makes you love his characters so much, after a while they begin to feel like real people you actually met in real life.

2016 Reading Challenge:
  • A book set in Europe

Lucchetti babbani e medaglioni magici (Muggle padlocks and magical lockets)
by Ilaria Katerinov

I guess this book is only interesting for people who A. understand Italian and B. are keen on translation. Translation is one of my favourite subjects and Harry Potter might be my most favourite thing ever, therefore I HAD to read this. It shows and explains what changes have been made by the official translators who worked to translate JK Rowling's novels into Italian. It explains why some names have been changed, how they made up words when the English ones that the author had made up would have been too hard for Italian readers to understand and it talks about the actual mistakes that were made while translating. The most famous mistake belongs to the Order of the Phoenix, where the translator turned the word 'locket' (RAB's locket) into 'lucchetto', which actually means 'padlock', without knowing that the little 'padlock' would become one of the most relevant objects of the following book. Hence the title of the book Ilaria Katerinov has written.

2016 Reading Challenge:
  • A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy



On the Other Side
by Carrie Hope Fletcher

As you might know already, I'm in love with Carrie. I really didn't know what to expect from this book as I'd tried to avoid any spoilers, and I was a bit worried I might end up being disappointed if I set my expectations too high, but I must say I really, really enjoyed the book and I'd definitely read it again soon. I liked to find many Carrie-esque details in the plot and characters, I could definitely see her footprints in the book, and I was really surprised by the ideas she came up with. She tackled many relevant topics - such as death and sexuality and relationships within the family - in a truly beautiful way. I'd 100% recommend this to anyone.

2016 Reading Challenge:
  • A book that is published in 2016

Christmas with Billy and Me
by Giovanna Fletcher

This teeny tiny short story by Giovanna Fletcher is just as beautiful and sweet as her other books and I believe it would make the perfect Christmas gift, maybe paired with some biscuits and tea. I managed to find this at Waterstones one of the last times I went there but I wasn't able to get her other Christmas short story, Dream a Little Christmas Dream, so I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled.

2016 Reading Challenge:
  • A book that's under 150 pages
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book with a blue cover 


The Mortal Instruments - The First Trilogy
by Cassandra Clare

I have a passion for brick-like books and I love to read them when I am on holiday. This Summer I read the first trilogy of The Mortal Instruments and I quite enjoyed that, but I must say that I'm not in love with the story and its characters all that much and I'm not sure I'll read the next dozen of books that Cassandra Clare has written and is going to write.

I don't think I'm too old for a plot like that, I've simply read plenty of fantasy/romance/fiction novels when I was younger and that might have influenced my appreciation of this saga, as I already have many other favourites of those genres.

Anyway, out of those three my favourite book was City of Glass, and my favourite character was Simon.

2016 Reading Challenge:
  • A YA bestseller
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A book recommended by someone you just met
  • A book that's more than 600 pages

These are the books I've finished lately. I'm currently reading other books and I think I'll write a similar post once I've finished them as well. Let me know what you think and leave me a comment telling me your favourite books, I'm always open to new authors and titles.

Marti xx

November 15, 2016

Cosy Season

Weeks ago I visited Primark with my mum and brother and picked up some soft pretty things to wear around the house. I opted for autumnal colours and patterns and soon realised that they all looked nice together, so I thought I'd experiment with my camera and try to take some good pictures.




I love Primark's nightwear because it's affordable, soft and comes in all shapes, patterns and sizes. I was looking for jammies made of cotton, because I like it way more than synthetic fabrics, but in the end I also picked up a mixed fabric pyjama bottom and a random synthetic tank top in a matching colour, because I wasn't too keen on the top that was supposed to be paired with those pants.


While looking for some soft socks to match my new jammies I noticed some super cute fluffy cat socks and thought, 'Hey, those look a lot like something from Gabbie's range, but I highly doubt they would sell her range in Italy' but then I looked closer and realised their tag actually mentioned velvetgh0st. I couldn't believe what I saw, especially because her newest range wasn't supposed to be on sale yet, so I bought two pairs and decided to wait for a while before publishing this post, because I didn't want Gabbie to find out that the Italian store had messed up, since she has many more important things to do and think about.



After wearing both jammies and both pairs of socks and having washed them up a few times, I can say they're really good quality for the price and I'll keep wearing them until they fall apart. Either that, or I'll go back to Primark and buy all of their nightwear products. Just kidding, now the only thing I might need it a soft dressing gown like Gabbie's new one - the one with cat ears that is part of the new range as well.


Where do you buy your nightwear? 
Have you ever bought anything from Gabbie's Primark range?
Also, do you like my pictures? I think I did quite a decent job this time, I'm pretty proud of myself.

Marti xx

October 26, 2016

The Quickest Cake

I made up this recipe in August, when I was at my boyfriend's place and we were both studying and on a budget, so we didn't want to spend much on desserts and ready-made treats and also didn't want to eat super fatty cakes. I tried and tried this recipe until I found the perfect combination of ingredients, and now this has turned into my go-to cake when I feel like eating something sweet and treating my family.

I'm no nutrition expert but I think this cake could easily be called guilt free, except for the fact that I usually add Nutella in the mix. But if I replaced Nutella with cocoa or vanilla extract and maybe jam, I'm pretty sure this recipe could be defined guilt free and vegan as well.

I usually bake mine in a round tin but this time I decided to be a little more creative and make it in the shape of a horse/unicorn, covering it in confetti and a heart made of sugar (I promise I'm not a six year old though).

Oh, quick irrelevant fact: my patronus is a bay stallion.


Here's the recipe:
130 gr fructose or brown sugar (you can add less if you don't want your cake to be too sweet)
250 ml almond milk (or any kind of milk you like)
230 gr flour (I tried with whole wheat flour and refined flour and I liked it both ways)
1 baking powder sachet (or any kind of leavening agent you generally use for your cakes)
90 gr Nutella (the cake will taste just as fine with less Nutella, but I prefer it when there's more for obvious reasons)
1 spoonful of vegetable oil (this is totally optional, I just add it to make sure the cake doesn't stick too much to the baking tin)


First of all, let's turn on the oven and set the temperature to 180°C.
Mix almond milk and fructose in a bowl with a whip until fructose looks a bit melted and creamy.
Add flour and baking powder to the mix and whip well until there's no lump left.
Add Nutella and oil and mix again.
Prepare the baking tin by lining it with baking paper or greasing its surface with oil.
Pour the batter in the tin and put it in the oven.
Leave it in the oven for 30 minutes, then take it out and ta-dah! Your cake is ready!


Hope you liked my quick recipe, might not be the most original thing but I promise it's good.

Let me know if you try it and if you have any guilt free dessert recipe to suggest.

Marti xx



October 21, 2016

I love IKEA and I'm weird

Some weeks ago mum took my brother and I to IKEA. We all bought something and ate there together. On my way home, thinking of how pretty the things I'd bought were, and how much I love IKEA, I came up with an idea for an unusual blog post - a blog post where I'll describe all the things that I've bought by telling you some weird facts about me.

Here they are.

While growing up my favourite colours changed many times, but I've never really been a pink girl. For the longest time I actually despised that colour and had nothing - and I mean nothing - pink. No t-shirts, no soft toys, no pillows. I had violet, purple and fuchsia sometimes, but zero pink. When I met my boyfriend, a little over three years ago, he started joking that one day I would become a pink girl, that I secretly loved pink but was too stubborn to admit that. I don't know how he did it, if he really changed my mind somehow, but in the past three years I've started liking pink more and more, and now I voluntarily buy pink stuff, although that's still not my favourite colour, and I love some shades more than others - I like dusty, blush, pastel and ballerina tones the most, I'd say.


I like most fruits, if not all of them, and I eat them gladly in every form they can take - straight from the tree, turned into jams, cakes, juice, salads and so on. I have some favourites of course, for example I prefer Summer to Winter fruits and I prefer to eat fruits that are easy and clean to handle (think easy-peel bananas versus juicy, sticky pears) or that have already been conveniently transformed into slices or bits. Some of my favourites include pineapple, peach, apricots and berries. I like all berries but the key to my heart are raspberries. My love for raspberries and raspberry-flavoured things is so strong that whenever I find something that has the word 'raspberry' written on it I just have to get it and try it. And whenever I have to pick from a variety of drinks or foods of any sort and one of them says 'raspberry', most of the times I'll reach for that first. The best thing is that I'm usually not disappointed by raspberry-flavoured things, so it's always a win.

IKEA meatballs might be my favourite meat-based meal. I'm not kidding. I'm not a big fan of meat in general, in fact I could probably live without it (though I'm not 100% sure because sometimes I crave certain foods like Nando's chicken or mortadella). I love to eat them at IKEA Restaurants and I usually get one of their frozen bags to take home as well. Sometimes I even happened to go to IKEA just for dinner, without even buying anything else.

When I was little my dad used to travel quite often around the world. Whenever he came home he brought back gifts of all sorts, and I remember that many times he gifted us some super cool american plasters that looked like temporary tattoos and one time he even managed to find some Harry Potter plasters and, guess what, I still have the box. Nowadays colourful plasters still make me happy like a baby because they remind me of my childhood and my dad, which is one of the people I love the most in the whole world.


You see that bag of MUNSBIT in the last picture? I didn't even know those existed until I saw them in one of Gabbie's vlogs (Gabbie = velvetgh0st = one of my favourite Youtubers ever ever) and I just had to get them. Not just because she had them, of course - that wouldn't make much sense I guess - but because I really really like weird fruity snacks and if they're sold at Ikea it's even better.

Hope you enjoyed my list of pointless facts about me. If you feel like sharing, just leave a comment with a weird fact about yourself.

Marti xx



September 30, 2016

My "preferite"

One day I was reorganising stuff around my room (as I always do) and I realised that some of the prettiest things I've bought in the past months - namely my new agenda, a tiny little Peter Pan themed tin and some makeup - were all made by Italian brands, and that hit me because I'm not the most patriotic person and I tend to buy international brands more than local ones.

As I said, all those things looked very pretty, so I felt inspired to take some pictures. Bear with me, I'm still experimenting with my camera so lighting, contrast and all the rest are not always on point, but I'm learning, right?



The first thing I'd like to say is my favourite Italian brands, makeup and beauty wise, are hands down Neve Cosmetics and Bottega Verde. 

I love Neve Cosmetics a lot, in the past year I've kept buying bits and bobs from them and I've never felt disappointed (except for the way Crema Eterea smells, but that's another story). The fact that its products are vegan and cruelty free is a bonus because, well, I don't buy cruelty free brands all the time but whenever I find a good one I stick to it because I love the idea of not covering my face in silicone and the likings.

I've known Bottega Verde for a long time, but I only became a loyal customer when I found out how good their Quillaia makeup remover was - it's still my holy grail remover, and I've tried many others in the past years. I like the fact that they have special offers all year long so whenever you visit their shop you can pick some new products without spending a fortune.


Now, let's talk about the super cute Peter Pan tin I bought in July - it's from a traditional brand that sells candies and sweets called Pastiglie Leone, and they are famous for their really pretty vintage-looking tins, but this year I think they have outdone themselves, because they launched a limited edition Once Upon a Time collection, with tins inspired by everyone's favourite tales, like Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella. When I saw them I felt the urge to buy them all, but since they're quite pricey - I think I spent about €4 on mine - I just picked Peter Pan, because I loved the mini London skyline, and it's one of the stories I loved the most when I was little, because I definitely didn't want to grow up too.


My latest and most loved purchase is my 2017 agenda. I've browsed through Legami's agendas for years, I love all of their products, but I had never bought one for myself before. This changed when I found out they had released a teeny tiny agenda with pugs on it. When I spotted it on their website I knew I had to get it. It was quite hard to find, I visited many bookstores (that's where this brand is usually sold) and in the end I found it in my hometown, how unexpected. Now, just take a good look at it and say you don't like it - I won't believe you.

I can say I'm pretty happy with all the pretty things I talked about. Pretty pretty pretty. I promise I know many other adjectives, hahah.



Had you ever heard of the brands I talked about?
Which brands are your favourites?

Thanks for stopping by!
Marti xx


September 21, 2016

Life Right Now || September

Here I am with my first post of a series about myself. Yay. How self-centered and uninteresting, Martina.

Okay, this post is sort of an update on my life at the moment, and I'm going to repeat it periodically so I can keep track of my ups and downs and you can be a bit nosey if you like. 

If you haven't already, check out this other post that explains why I've decided to start this series.


Money

Well, I'm pretty much broke at the moment but as long as I live with my parents that's fine, because they are nice people and they are always there if I need someone to lend me money or buy me something new. By that I don't mean that I'm forcing them to buy me expensive stuff, just that last week I noticed my mascara was running out and mum volunteered to get me a new one while we were out grocery shopping. 

I'm also proud of myself because this Summer I managed not to run out of money while I was on holiday in the UK and that was definitely unexpected, because I usually come home from holidays with about twenty pence in my wallet. So all in all I'm happy and proud.

Health

I can't really complain, this Summer I've never had any problem, not that I can remember at least. Except for allergies, those have been around all the time since May somehow. 

Okay, I've also had a weird accident some weeks ago but I wouldn't really consider that a health problem. Basically my left foot's big toe started feeling numb and tingly and went on like that for days, then it started to gradually (reeeally slowly) disappear and now I think it's either back to normal or I've gotten used to it. 

Career

I don't have a job so I don't really have much to say about my career, but university is going fine and I'm studying for my exams, I only have two left and that makes me really happy. Can't wait to graduate and move out and find a proper job.

Love

I can proudly say that everything is lovely and happy in this regard. My boyfriend just moved to London and I'm still in Milan, but our relationship is as strong as ever and I'm already planning to fly to the UK to see him. I'm really excited for him, he really has big plans and I'm sure he'll succeed in everything. Can't wait to be by his side and live with him in one of my favourite places in the world.

Hope you liked this post, my life is so very interesting right now (probably not). Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment! Those are always really appreciated.

Marti xx


September 16, 2016

Novecento

Those who are not avid readers are often put off by big books... To me that sort of happens with short books. It's almost as if a part of me thought that a short book is too small to contain a proper story, that it must be too brief and lack in descriptions or something else.

I think that's one of the reasons that, at first, made me feel like I didn't want to read Novecento.


One day my boyfriend bought this book while we were out grocery shopping. I remember him picking it up and being all curious about it, but when he passed it to me I noticed that it was a tiny book, that the author was Italian (I'm not a big fan of Italian contemporary literature, though I know it's wrong to have such prejudices) and that it wasn't even a novel, but a monologue. The only thing I liked from the start was the cover. I also remember feeling surprised when I found out that this book had been written in 1994, the year I was born. But that was pretty much it.

Later on I happened to read some paragraphs of that book at university, but the thing that made me fall in love with the plot - and therefore change my mind completely - was the film.

Last July I went on a short holiday with some of my best friends, and one of them brought some films to watch at night. Another friend suggested we watched this film called "The Legend of 1900" because she'd already seen it and found it truly beautiful. We trusted her opinion and went on watching it. It took me just a couple of scenes to realise it was inspired by Novecento.

I loved the film from the very first scene and I actually think it's one of my favourite films ever. There are many details that I loved, like the dreamy combination of colours in all the scenes, the characters, the talented actors, the unlikelihood of the events, the soundtrack and the deep meaning of the story itself. It's one of those films where you could easily write down every single line of the script and quote it in your journal or your blog or hang it on the wall.

Being a lover of travels, a wannabe migrant (if I can say so) and being really interested in all the stories documenting the European migrations to the US between the 18th and the 19th Century, one of the parts I loved the most is the following.

"It happened every time. Someone would look up, and see her. It's difficult to understand. There'd be more people than a thousand of us on that ship, travelling rich folks, immigrants, and strange people, and us; yet there was always one, one guy alone, who would see her first. Maybe he was just sitting there eating, or walking on the deck, maybe he was just fixing his pants. He'd look up for a second, a quick glance out to sea, and he'd see her. Then he'd just stand there, rooted to the spot, his heart racing. And every time, every damn time I swear, he'd turn to us, towards the ship, towards everybody, and scream: America!"
"The one who sees America first. There's one on every ship. And don't be thinking that's an accident, there's some optical illusion. It's destiny. Those are people who always had that precise instant stamped on their life. And when they were kids you could look into their eyes and, if you looked carefully enough, you'd already see her: America."

This film is so timeless that while you're watching it you barely notice how old it actually is (it's been released in 1998). It's also a good chance to appreciate some of the most famous Italians in the contemporary film industry - Giuseppe Tornatore and Ennio Morricone.

Some days ago I picked up Novecento from my boyfriend's bookshelf and read it, and I must say I loved it as well. Now I really wish I could see someone performing it as a monologue on a stage, because it's an impressive monologue and because I love theatre.

If you've never heard of this book or film I strongly recommend you read or watch it, I believe it's really worth it. And I think I'll watch it again soon.

Marti xx

2016 Reading Challenge:
  • A book that's under 150 pages
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book with a blue cover 

September 14, 2016

Cinnamon & Flamingoes

Summer is nearly over, but my passion for fruit juice lasts all year. That, and my love for cinnamon. Cinnamon is more of an autumnal spice, so we might say the recipe I'm about to write down is kind of transitional, perfect for this season.


My love for cinnamon sparked a couple of years ago, before that day I couldn't even stand the smell of it. I don't know what changed, but one day I started craving cinnamon rolls, and from then on I began to add cinnamon everywhere, while baking and in cappuccinos, but I never thought of adding it to my juices.

In June I went out for an aperitivo with friends and I tried a non-alcoholic drink I'd never seen before, called Cinnamon Tropical. The bartender told me she had just made up the recipe and wasn't even sure I would like it, but right after the first sip I knew it was love. I went back to the bartender to congratulate on her creativity, and jotted down the recipe on my phone. Her recipe was the following:

Cinnamon Tropical
  • Pineapple juice
  • Orange juice 
  • Grenadine 
  • Sweet & sour
  • Cinnamon

She topped my drink with a slice of orange, some edible flowers and a couple of marshmallows.

I've already tested the recipe at home and I made some changes to adapt it to what I already had in my kitchen cupboards. Since I still love this mix as much as the first day, I decided to share it on my blog.

My go-to ingredients are:
  • Pineapple juice 250ml
  • Orange juice 250ml
  • A spoonful of Raspberry syrup
  • Half a teaspoon of sugar 
  • A teaspoon of lemon juice
  • A pinch of cinnamon

I put them inside a plastic bottle and shake them well before serving, and when I'm in need of a fancy drink I also add a slice of lemon and a flamingo pick (how pretty is that?).



That's all for today, I hope you enjoyed this sort of random summery post.

Feel free to leave a comment if you know any good recipe with cinnamon, be it cake or another drink or anything sweet.

Marti xx


August 07, 2016

Concerts Wishlist


Some weeks ago I posted my Summer books wishlist. Thought it could be nice to post my concert wishlist as well.

There are four artists/bands I'd really love to see live, I've already seen two of them in the past, been to some of their gigs, but I would definitely see them twice, or more.

August 03, 2016

If you had one wish right now...

About a month ago I was browsing Twitter and I came across this poll that Jemma from Dorkface (founder of #TheGirlGang) had created. She asked "If you had one wish right now, which of these things would it be concerning?" and the four options were Money, Health, Career and Love.


It might look like a silly, innocent Twitter poll, but this "simple" question started a war in my head.

July 30, 2016

Finally Free

Seems about the right time to upload a post titled 'Finally Free'. One week ago I had my last uni exam of the so called 'Summer session'... Now I have some weeks of holidays before the next session of exams and then, if everything goes according to plan, I will be done with exams forever.

However, my post is not about university. I actually wanted to talk about a little happy product I purchased lately, my very first MAC lipstick. Hooray!


July 15, 2016

Summer Books Wishlist

Remember when I said I was going to upload six posts in June? I woke up today and it's July 15 already! I've spent the past month studying and doing exams and it has been boring and hard and I can't wait to be done with my exams and go out catching Pokémon go on holiday.


Today I'd like to share with you my Summer books wishlist.

May 28, 2016

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By the time this post goes up I'll be sitting in a room at uni, writing my first English exam of the year. But I've decided weeks ago that I wanted to upload four posts in May and possibly eight in June, so I have to write something even in between exams and revisions and everyday-life-tasks.

I've read two books between the end of April and the beginning of May but haven't posted about them yet. I'm going to start with the first one I picked up and save the second for another post, because it definitely deserves it.


Some weeks ago my mum went to the library, and she accidentally borrowed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy along with her other books. When she realised she had borrowed the wrong book, she was about to bring it back to the library, but I told her not to, because I wanted to read it.


May 24, 2016

My Revision Must-Haves

Hello! Last week was my (please excuse the redundancy) last week of lectures at university. I'm about to start my exams. I have eleven (!) exams to pass in order to move on to the next step, which is my dissertation.

I've never talked much about my university here on the blog but I'm thinking to write something more about my experience, since it's almost coming to an end. I might write something about the subjects that I've learned or my dissertation, I don't know just yet. If there's anything you'd like to know, please leave a comment below. 


Now let's go back to the main topic of this post. 


May 09, 2016

Lipstick Love

Hey there! I found this nice lipstick-related tag while browsing the web, and thought it could be a good starting point to talk about lip products. I found it on The Makeup Honey, feel free to check out Sian's answers and do the tag yourself.




  • What was the first lipstick you ever owned? 

May 01, 2016

Spring Stationery Haul at Tiger

There's a Tiger Store right next to the train station where I get off whenever I go to university. I pay a visit to that place way too often, but most of the times I manage to get out empty-handed (believe me, it's really hard). 

Last week I entered the place looking for some colourful gel pens and a ring binder. I wanted some glittery pens so I could make my notes and my agenda more colourful. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the pens, but I ended up buying other things. For once I allowed myself to splurge on stationery, and I didn't even spend that much, since Tiger has super competitive prices.


April 27, 2016

Benefit Cheekathon Palette

I love expensive makeup. I am addicted to any kind of makeup, actually. But I'm not one to splurge on makeup too often because I realise it's not the best option for me, as I'm a student and I don't have a job. I usually prefer to save up my money for holidays and gigs. This time, though, I really couldn't resist.



April 07, 2016

Homemade Tea Tree Deodorant

Last Summer I suddenly became allergic to commercial deodorants. One day I applied my usual deodorant and my underarm skin became itchy and developed some sort of huge pimples (TMI, sorry) that worried me a bit. I tried to use other deodorants but, apparently, they all had the same effect on me, and at some point I stopped applying deodorant altogether in order to let my skin heal. The itchiness stopped immediately, but those sort of pimples were still there. I asked Google, my mum and my pharmacist what to do and ended up using Tea Tree cream and essential oil on my bad spots. Tea Tree magically healed my armpits, and after reading Niomi Smart's blogpost about natural deodorants I ended up getting a crystal deodorant stick - which is actually not the healthiest option on the market, but didn't irritate my skin and did a pretty good job for the past six months.

This year, my friends got me an unexpected gift for my birthday - a customised starter kit to make homemade beauty products. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was that I had to put together the perfect deodorant for my sensitive skin. So... I'm here to show you the recipe I followed and let you know my opinions on the final product.