Introducing…

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Hey everyone! I hope you’re all well! I’m so excited to share this post with everyone!

I’ve been thinking about this project for a while now, and I’m so excited to finally launch it! So here it is.

Introducing…

ELLE’S ÉCRIT, ILS PARLENT

I’m going to be interviewing YOU for a series of special features on my blog! The posts will be written in the form of either profiles or Q&A format. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to meet new bloggers and let your followers learn more about you.

There’s no requirement other than you have to have some form of social media or blog. I’d like to feature a wide range of niches. You don’t have to be following me to take part either!

There are a few different ways we can do this. I can either interview you through DMs on social media. This is likely to occur over the course of a few days. I can also email you a list of questions and you can get back to me when you have time, or we can arrange a voice or video call that would last for no longer than 30 minutes.

I’m going to trial this between January and March, but if it’s successful I’ll definitely make it a permanent feature. I’m aiming for two posts a month, so I’m looking for at least six people to participate.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form. I’ll have a look at your social media and blog, and get back to you! I hope you’re all just as excited as me about this!

The Saltire Scholars Internship Programme

Hi everyone! I hope you’re well!

It feels like so long since I’ve written a blog post, but I’ve just been so busy settling back into university. My last year is set to be tough but I know it will be worth it in the end!

I realised that I haven’t talked too much about my internship on my blog. Aside from mentioning I was doing one in a life update, it hasn’t cropped up again just since I’ve been so busy.

I had an amazing summer, and I really enjoyed my internship! I gained so many skills, and really increased my confidence. Having experience of blogging and social media really helped me, and I left feeling so inspired to improve my blog. I definitely want to talk about what I gained from my internship at a later stage, but for today I want to talk about the company who organised my internship. Their applications have recently opened this year, and I thought it would be worth posting about it in case someone reading is eligible.

My internship was arranged through the Saltire Scholars Internship Programme, which is run by Entrepreneurial Scotland. They provide fully funded internships to third year undergraduate students at Scottish Universities. There are global opportunities available, and this year the company sent 181 students on internships in 60 locations.

The internships provide a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of the working world, as well as letting you increase your transferable skills. My internship greatly improved my confidence. Since finishing, I’ve been able to stand up in front of lecture theatres and talk to students. Considering I’ve always been incredibly shy, this is a massive achievement!

There are four stages to the application process. First is a written application form that asks competency based questions, then candidates who pass this stage are invited to two speed interviews, one with a previous scholar and one with a member of Entrepreneurial Scotland. After this, successful candidates can make separate applications to the internships that interest them. Each application requires a CV and cover letter that is tailored to the role. Saltire then select three or four applicants to progress to an interview stage with the host company. It’s a bit of a long process but it’s really beneficial because it helps you to develop your CV writing skills as well as giving you experience in preparing for interviews and answering tricky questions.

To apply, you can visit their website. I also wrote a little bit about my experiences here, which I shared on Twitter during the week.

Thanks for reading!

The Climate Change Protests

Following the climate change marches, I was inspired to write about my feelings about climate change. This short feature post is a mixture of my thoughts and opinions, as well as a call to action. I hope you enjoy reading.

Heatwaves. Droughts. Floods. Melting icecaps. Rising sea levels. Animal extinction. These are just some of the effects of climate change that are constantly in the media. It seems like there are stories about climate change everyday, and I’d even go as far as saying that if the current situation continues, our future is looking increasingly bleak.

This is why people across the world are taking part in a series of marches to protest against climate change. Inspired by Swedish student and climate activist Greta Thunberg, people of all ages are marching in countries from the U.K. to Africa to call for action to take place.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to reverse the damage done to the planet. But it’s not too late to make changes to stop the problem worsening, and we as citizens have a pivotal role to play in this. Although one voice may not make a difference, we have the power to band together and make our voices heard. Attending a protest is a great first step, but we should contact those in power and put pressure on them to make changes that will have a large effect on the environment. We can boycott companies that refuse to make changes, and really show them how serious we are about protecting the future of our planet.

Of course, the daily choices we make have a large impact. A small choice can make a huge difference if we all do them for a short period of time. Choosing a meat free option, avoiding fast fashion and recycling when we can are all easy changes that we can make that will add up and have a large impact over time.

Looking up at the cloudless blue sky, it seems like the perfect day for a protest to occur. It’s especially fitting that it’s a climate change protest. Although we do sometimes have spells of warm weather at this time of year in Scotland, it’s usually much colder, and the temperature has been chillier all week. Within five minutes of being outside I’m a sweaty mess, having opted to wear my winter coat after being so cold walking home last night. In fact, I’ve been thinking about when I’ll whip out my gloves. The weather changes may seem like a simple inconvenience, but it shows the real effects that climate change has on the planet.

Thank you for reading this post. I’d love to start a conversation about climate change and how we can stop it in the comments below.

Testing Ted Baker Makeup!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well. Today I’m reviewing makeup, which I’ve not done in ages!

I received this Ted Baker gift set at Christmas, but since similar ones tend to pop up every year in the winter months, I thought it would still be worth posting my review. Makeup gift sets can be a little bit hit or miss, so I was interested to see how Ted Baker’s would work.

Let’s start with the packaging. It comes in a box with the classic bow on the front. The makeup was held together in plastic packaging, which is unnecessary in my opinion. The box itself is really pretty though. It’s a nice twist on the classic Ted Baker style!

The contents are just as pretty! The set comes with two nail polishes, an eyeshadow trio, a bronzer and highlighter compact, a mascara, an eyebrow pencil, three lipsticks, a fan brush, an eyeshadow brush and a set of eyelash curlers. It’s all rose gold, which I really like!

Here are some swatches of the eyeshadows, the bronzer and highlighter, and the lipsticks.

The packaging may be super pretty and perfect for those aesthetic Instagram shots, but how does the makeup actually perform?

My favourite item from this set has to be the eyebrow pencil! It was really easy to use and a good shade for my eyebrows. I can easily see this becoming a staple: I’m looking for something to replace the L’Oréal one I use. The downside to this is it won’t work for everyone. When I learned to fill in my eyebrows, my hair was blonde, and I’ve been too scared to use a darker colour in case I look ridiculous! It would work well if your hair was blonde or light brown, but probably not any darker.

Next is the eyeshadow. The pink and brown shades aren’t very pigmented, and need to be built up. The white is fairly pigmented though. All of the shades are shimmery, and it would be useful to have a matte brown to put in the crease. I would use these again, but I’d probably either put another shade in the crease or just put it on my lids.

I wasn’t a big fan of the bronzer. It wasn’t very pigmented and it was too shimmery for my liking. I might use it for an eyeshadow in the future. I did like the highlighter though. When I applied it in my bedroom, I thought it had a subtle glow. It wasn’t until I was outside in the sun that I noticed how glittery it was! I probably would use it again, but it won’t become a regular. That’s reserved for my sophdoesnails palette!

The mascara is very lengthening and separating. I struggled to get volume from it. I think I will use this again for natural days though. I usually like lots of volume, but it’s nice to have a change during the day.

The tinted balms smell amazing! Usually you can buy these in a separate set, although they are different shades. The crimson shade looks quite intimidating, but is more sheer when applied. I would probably end up with this all over my face because it’s so creamy though!

The lipstick also smells good. It has shimmery particles in it, but it’s not too pigmented.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the set. Although some of the shades aren’t as pigmented as my normal makeup, they’re still nice and work well to create a more natural look. The only thing I probably won’t use again is the bronzer, but it will definitely be in an Instagram post or two!

Have you ever tried Ted Baker makeup? Send me your recommendations!

S’mores!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re well! This is probably the easiest recipe ever, but it’s so delicious I had to post it!

S’mores are very American, and they’re not as popular in the U.K., although people do still eat them when they’re camping or at barbecues. I’d never had them up until a few months ago though. Luckily, I’ve found a way to make them indoors, and I’ve been obsessed ever since!

There’s three ingredients: marshmallow, biscuit and chocolate. All of these ingredients are really cheap and available from a wide range of shops. Most newsagents will sell them, which makes them perfect to make in a pinch!

The ingredients can be easily customised to fit different diets. Although I’ve never tried, I’m sure they would taste amazing with dark chocolate and vegetarian marshmallows too. I’ve seen lots of variations on Sweetest Menu’s blog. My personal favourite is putting cookie dough in the middle. I think that would taste like heaven!

We use gas in our kitchen, so I simply put a marshmallow on a wooden skewer and hold it over the flame until it’s toasted. Just be very careful doing it, and make sure that children are closely supervised. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you could use the flame from a candle or blowtorch the marshmallow. I’ve also seen a Buzzfeed version that they make in the oven, but I don’t think you’d get the proper flavour of a toasted marshmallow if you used that method.

By the way, if you’ve never had a toasted marshmallow you’re missing out! They’re so yummy! I could probably eat a whole bag!

Honestly, the best thing to do with these are to experiment! Try melting the chocolate completely, using more chocolate, or trying a different type of biscuit! There’s so many possibilities.

I don’t have a picture because they’re a bit messy, but once I figure out how to make a decent one I’ll add them!

S’mores.

Ingredients (for 1 S’more):

2 digestive biscuits

4 squares of Cadbury’s chocolate or 1 square of Lindt chocolate

1 marshmallow

Method:

1) Soften the chocolate in the microwave. You don’t want it to be completely melted, just a little bit soft so it’s really melty when you bite into it!

2) Put the chocolate on the digestive biscuits

3) Stick the skewer through the marshmallow and put it over the flame, turning frequently. Remove when it reaches your desired level of toastiness.

4) Put the marshmallow on the biscuits, sandwich together and eat!

Tips

Again, be very careful when you toast the marshmallow!

Cheddar, Ham and Spinach Muffins

Hi everyone! I’m sharing another recipe post today!

My mum bought The Tin and Traybake Cookbook by Sam Gates a few weeks ago. At first, I didn’t think there would be anything I wanted to make in it, but a quick leaf through soon showed me that I was wrong!

Most of the recipes in the book are savoury, but there are lots of sweet ones too. I haven’t tried any yet, but I have my eye on a few, specifically the rose pink lemonade scones and the banana bread with hidden fudge pieces. And how good do the salted caramel and pecan blondies sound?

I could go on about the recipes in this book for hours! One of the best things about them is that they use very little specialist kitchen equipment. In the introduction, Gates explains that she wanted to create a book that used very basic equipment that most of us will have in our kitchens already. For example, this recipe uses a muffin tin, a few bowls, a chopping board, a knife, a cheese grater and a spoon. It also comes together very easily, meaning you’re not beating for ages with your arm falling off!

The first thing I tried was the Cheddar, Ham and Spinach Muffins. The mixture came together in less than twenty minutes and then took another twenty to bake. The recipe also says you can freeze them, so you could easily make a batch to last you through the week. We ate them for breakfast, but they’d be great at any time of the day!

Please excuse the terrible photo: I forgot to take a proper one! I’m sure I’ll make these again sometime soon though!

Honestly, please go and buy this book! The recipes are easy to follow and there’s so many brilliant ideas. I can’t wait to make more!

Cheddar, Ham and Spinach Muffins (adapted from Sam Gates’s The Tin and Traybake Cookbook)

Ingredients:

250g plain flour

3tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

½ tsp paprika

Black pepper

130g mature cheddar, grated

50g ham, torn into small pieces

2 large eggs

240ml whole milk

3tbsp vegetable oil

80g spinach, finely chopped

1tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c fan and line a muffin tin with cases.

2) Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and paprika into a large bowl and season with pepper. Stir in 100g of cheese and the chopped ham.

3) In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, spinach and chives together. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

4) Spoon the mixture into the cases and add the cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are a light golden colour and bounce back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before placing on a wire rack.

The Cake Flavoured Book Tag!

Hey everyone! I’d just made a resolution to myself to do less tag posts, but then I saw this one on Got Meghan’s Blog. It’s called the Cake Flavoured Book Tag, and considering how much I love baking, I had to do this one! Anyway, let’s jump into the tag!

Chocolate- A dark book that you loved

Dark books really aren’t my style, so I don’t have many to choose from. One of the darkest that I’ve read is The Madman’s Daughter by Meghan Shepard. I absolutely loved this book as my glowing review shows!

Vanilla- a light read

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims. It’s quite funny, and it’s a good little book to read when you’re looking for escapism!

Red Velvet- A book that gave you mixed emotions

One that I’ve read recently is Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t get behind it. I felt like it glamourised illness, although it was interesting reading more about Cystic Fibrosis.

Strawberry- A sweet book

This question had me stumped for a while! I personally think Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman is really sweet. The book covers themes such as sexuality, teenage pregnancy and acceptance. By the end, you really feel as if the characters have grown.

Cheesecake- A book that you would recommend to anyone

I’d recommend This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay because it provides a really interesting insight into the work of the NHS. Reading the book was an emotional rollercoaster. Some parts were tragic, but others had me laughing out loud.

Coffee Cake- A book that you started but never finished

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chambers. I couldn’t get into it properly. I found it really sexist and I just decided not to continue with it.

Carrot Cake- A book with great writing

I know I go on about it all the time but Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is so well written. I really love her style.

I hope you enjoyed reading this tag! If you decide to do it, please let me know. I’d love to read your responses!

Life Update: Where I’ve Been and my Future Plans!

My little blog has been put on the back burner recently and it’s looking a bit neglected! Since it’s been so long since I’ve written a post, I wanted to do a quick update on what I’ve been up to and my plans for the future.

I’ve been very busy with university this semester, and obviously this was my priority. I’m very pleased to say that I managed to pass the year with a merit! I honestly didn’t think I’d manage it since I had a few low grades earlier in the year but I’m so proud that I managed to pull it off. After summer I’ll be going into my final year, which is a very scary thought!

As most of you will know, the final year of a university degree involves writing a dissertation. The thought of this is so overwhelming! I’m planning to write some posts about my experiences of it, and how I chose my topic. I’d love to read other student’s experiences, so if you know of any student bloggers, please let me know!

I have also been very lucky to get an internship over the summer, and the past month has been a whirlwind of preparing for the interview and then sorting the final arrangements. It’s all happened so fast! I’m extremely nervous about it, but I’m excited to document the process on my blog.

Aside from gaining some practical experience, I’ve also been trying to build my journalism portfolio. I wrote a piece for my student accommodation’s website which you can find here, and also an article for a student magazine on campus. As part of my internship, I have to guest blog about my experiences with the company and I will share all of these posts after summer. I’ve also pitched a few ideas to other publications, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

I definitely lost some motivation for my blog, but I’m back now and I have so many ideas! I’m starting up my ‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’ series again. I have lots of exciting interviews planned and I’m always looking for new bloggers to take part! Aside from this, I have a short story and hopefully some recipe posts. I’m very excited to be writing again!

Thanks for reading this post! Let me know in the comments about your future plans, and link your latest post so I can have a nosey!