❅ Sugar Cookies (Vegan) ❅

Hello, and MERRRRRYYYYY CHRISTMAS! My favourite holiday ever is finally here (I’m writing this on Christmas day), and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been putting this Christmas baking post idea off for quite awhile since I’ve been overseas for a large part of December, hence the pretty last minute upload. But that’s alright, its here now hehe.

Today I made these (very) simple sugar cookies, and decorated them with some royal icing. I’ll list the exact ingredients I used below, and if you decide to follow them, this recipe will be diary, gluten, wheat, and egg-free. You can definitely substitute any of the ingredients if you wish or if you can’t get your hand on them, though. Also, the base recipe for these cookies (I’d say) are fit for any season. Obviously according to the time of year it is now, I made Christmassy themed ones!

They are so incredibly easy to make – trust me, if I made them and they actually look and taste half-decent, you can do it too. Here’s how:

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First, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • 3 tbs soyamilk
  • 2-4 tbs cocoa powder/matcha powder etc. (optional)

*Utensils used: mixing bowl, measuring tools, rolling pin, spatula, non-stick baking paper, mixing spoon, rolling pin cookie cutter (IKEA). Also didn’t end up using the cocoa powder, but you could if you wanted to 🙂

Make the dough!

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Add flour
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Add sugar
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Add bicarb soda + salt
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Mix!
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Add wet ingredients
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Mix!

Next, roll out your dough on the worktop and use the cookie cutters you have to cut out the shapes. If you feel like your dough mixture is too soft and difficult to handle, wrap it in clingfilm and place it in the fridge to chill for a couple of minutes before you roll it out.

Transfer your cutout cookies using a spatula to a baking tray/sheet, and put it in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke it in the middle of a cookie.

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You could very well leave them as is, but I used some icing to give them a nice finishing touch. Regular royal icing calls for eggs in the recipe, but since I’m trying to keep this vegan, I omitted eggs.

Eggless royal icing:

  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Mix these ingredients together and check the consistency – it shouldn’t be too runny. If you dip the tip of your finger into it and no icing drips off, you’re good to go! Add more icing sugar by the tablespoon if you find it too runny. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (I used a ziplock bag, because I was not made for the baking life and thus do not have any of the baking life necessities), and start icing!

You’re basically done – now its time to take pretty photographs. Here’s the finished product, a.k.a my first ever successful attempt at baking. Clap for me.

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Yep, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post, and that you try making these yourself! They literally take 1/2 an hour to do. Even if you are reading this now, it is not too late to get your baking game on before Christmas dinner. Else, you could always make them for New Years’ / whenever you feel like it. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about them! Happy Christmas, and God bless. 🙂

Remember to follow this blog if you want to (please do, it will make me very happy and it could be my Christmas present that you don’t even have to pay for) – open the sidebar and leave your email address.

Instagram & Twitter: naaatkoh

x, Nat.

❅ Christmas Wreaths ❅

Hello! Its the second week of December, which means its time for my second Christmassy post on this blog. I’m really excited for this one, so I hope you enjoy it!

Yesterday evening, I made a rather impromptu decision to join my Mum in making some Christmas wreaths (she makes good un’s, its a little intimidating). I remember making one last December, and to be very frank, it didn’t turn out very pretty. So, in hopes of my second try being much better, I snapped some photographs that captured the process of the wreath-making-evening. Here they are!

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Adding decorations!

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Decoration ideas: rattan balls, cinnamon sticks, pinecones, ribbon
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The candle to go in the middle!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetThey may look slightly complicated to do, but there really isn’t much technique put into making one of these! A lot of the positioning of leaves and decorating is up to your preference and artistic eye – you decide what works best where. As long as the final product results in some semblance of a circular shape, has leaves/cinnamon sticks/other Christmassy things on it, and smells like the freshness of pine, you’re fineeee.

I think wreaths do an amazing job of getting any space ready for the Christmas season. We made a few of these in varying sizes, and put them around the house (mostly for our viewing pleasure). Here are some photos of just how cozy of a vibe these lil’ things create.

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Yep, that was a quick sum-up of my Thursday evening. Definitely give making these a try, and leave a comment/email me if you’d like a tutorial type thing. Honestly though, I think figuring it out yourself just adds to the fun! 😛 Its a great activity to do with the family, or even by yourself with some good music on in the background. I’ll include a list of things you need to get started anyway. Hope you’ve enjoyed the second Christmassy post of the season!

Christmas Wreaths: Things you need (+where i got them)

❅ Candles – IKEA 

❅ Paper ribbon – IKEA

❅ Rattan balls – IKEA

❅ Ring foam – GG Flowers

❅ Pine leaves – GG Flowers

❅ Dried Pinecones – GG Flowers

❅ Cinnamon sticks – Cold Storage

Remember to follow this blog if you wanna! Open the sidebar and leave your email. 🙂

x, Nat.

❅ Christmas Card Makin’❅

Hello! Its the first week of December and I hope you’re feeling the Christmas spirit as much as I am (it is definitely not too early now). Whilst in the midst of enjoying the decorations going up all around me and watching a YouTube Vlogmas playlist that’s longer than my arm, I decided to write a blog post.

Starting late November, I began making Christmas cards to send out to my friends and family – the people who always have my back and whom I love and appreciate so, so much. The least I can do is thank them! I’ve been designing, hand-writing, and snail-mailing Christmas cards to friends for a good 3 years now, and personally I find it much better than a text message on Christmas morning. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (I do it too, although I’ve sent cards out already. People must hate me for my over-the-top Christmas vibes). Whenever I receive a letter in the mail, though, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I decided doing the same would make people happy, too. I love writing little notes to those I am grateful for, and sending them out oddly gives me some sense of satisfaction.

I snapped some photographs whilst making the cards, and decided to share them with you. They’re simple designs this year, but I thought they were still pretty cute (cute enough to share, that is). I included the materials I used too, so feel free to get inspired and do the same. Here they are!

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A tin set from Windsor & Newton
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This waterbrush will make your life so much easier, really
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Weapons of choice: white gel pen (artfriend), pencil (muji), permanent marker (artfriend), nt-cutter (artfriend)
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Some tiny designs do the trick!

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Paper tags set: Ikea

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Merry Christmas, pals

So yes, if this kind of thing is your cuppa’ tea or you just want to try it out anyway, then go put on some Christmas music, sit in a comfy spot with art supplies, and start making some cards to send out to people – its not too late yet! Even the littlest note can put a smile on someone’s face. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this post, and don’t forget to follow this blog (open the sidebar and submit your email address) to see what I get up to next week!

x, Nat.

Are These of Pin-terest to You?

Hello! The school holidays have come, and as I casually avoid the pile of work awaiting me that’s due the beginning of next year, I decided to make these lil’ pins.

These are hand-drawn and painted on shrink plastic, which I then cut and put in the toaster-oven to bake. (If you haven’t heard of shrink plastic – they are sheets of plastic that shrink to 1/2 their original size and thicken when heat is applied. ✧✧ magic ✧✧). There are many Etsy sellers and freelance artists who make these pins, and I drew my inspiration from them. The ones I made are faaaaar from professional or as good as theirs, but I thought I’d share them with you anyway. It was a fun little project to take my mind of stress and stuff. Here they are!

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“Do More of What Makes You Happy”

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“IB dead by the end of the week” = accurate representation of me

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A Beach Hut.

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Vincent Van Gogh

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Zoe Sugg
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Alfie Deyes

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If you noticed, the backgrounds a pretty Christmassy. Yes, my family is ready for Christmas and it is hardly December. No, it is not to early. Hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

p.s. if you like any of the pins and would like me to make one for you, or if you want me illustrate your portrait and transform that to pin-form, feel free to leave me a message! I’ll put them up for sale upon request. 🙂

Remember to follow this blog if you wanna! Open the sidebar and leave your email. 🙂

x, Nat.

 

How to Love Yourself More Today / How to be Happier (10 ways)

Now, I am no self-love specialist (in fact, I struggle thoroughly with self-love myself) but I’m here to help as much as I can. These are by no means expert tips or ones that I’ve gotten from a professional site or anything of the like. These are the things that I found helped to perk me up on some of my toughest days, and I sincerely hope that they will work for you too. Remember though, that difficult times are inevitable – necessary, in fact. Without obstacles to put you down, you will never learn to become stronger and be a fighter, and you will never get the ravishing sense of accomplishment upon overcoming those obstacles. So take tough days with a smile on your face and the confidence that you can get through them, because you damn well can. Loving yourself only becomes easier along the way. Enjoy! 🙂

Nat’s Top 10 Tips to Loving Yourself More

1. Wake up to love (not technology). Looking at your phone the first thing in the morning to check up on social media sites and updates from your favourite celebrities can be extremely tempting – trust me, I know. But why not start your day on a healthier, more refreshing note? It’ll only take a few minutes, then you can do all that technology stuff. Wake up, breathe in the fresh air of a brand new day, drink a glass of cold water to boost your metabolism, make yourself a delicious breakfast, and enjoy every single bite because you’re lucky enough to be able to. Appreciate the fact that you’ve been given one more day and therefore one more chance, and make the best out of the opportunity. Think of things that’ll make your day productive and worth living. Oh, and don’t forget to tell your parents a simple “good morning”, and slip in an “I love you” while you’re at it. Beats social media any day.

2. Take a break. If you’re a student like me, deep into the rather late years of your education and nearing final – dun dun dun-worthy – exams, or if you’re working, or in a lower year or are just living life as is, you may have experienced truckloads of work weighing down on your shoulders. And despite this you feel like you need to keep going; that if you stop now, you won’t get any work done and it’ll end being a couple hours of wasted time. But trust me when I say that breaks are so, so, SO important. They refresh you, regenerate your energy levels, and you will go back to your work with a revitalised mind all ready to conquer the next battle. As much as its important to learn your Math and Economics concepts for the next test, its just as important to learn how to breathe. Inhale, exhale, and relax for a bit. Your body will appreciate it.

Create. I study Visual Arts as one of my Higher Level subjects in the IB – of course I’ll add in something art-related somewhere. But really, anyone can make art. Pick up a pen or pencil and some scrap paper and write a poem, or draw a teeny doodle, or pen down your favourite quote. Creating things does not have to be an extravagant affair – all it is is putting your thoughts down on paper as a form of release. Your mind will be so much more relaxed.

Cry. There are many times I’ve been stressed with schoolwork to the point I break down, and this usually happens at home because I’d much prefer to hold the tears back while I’m at school. But gosh, when you finally let all the worries and stress out of your mind this way, the sense of relief is great. Its so important to train yourself to be strong, but letting go is very necessary sometimes. It does not make you weak, neither does it make you a crybaby. As one of my favourite lines of an Ed Sheeran song says: “It’s alright to cry, tears remind you you’re alive.” Learn to let go.

Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes – be it big or small – we all do things we end up hating ourselves for doing. It’s normal, we’re human, it’s not the end of the world. Each day you awake with a brand new chance to make things right staring at you in the face. Whether you want to take it is your choice, but the chance is there. If you’ve ever done something you weren’t happy with, start over, there is time. Forgive yourself, and use the time to let yourself grow.

Read a good book. I myself am not much of a reader – specifically because I read very slowly and it turns me off sometimes. But dang, a good book does wonders. Have trouble finding one? Ask your friends, family, search online for recommendations that fit your preferences (if you have any), or just go to the nearest bookstore or library and let yourself spend hours in the maze of incredibly comforting words. Finding the right book can be difficult, but once its done, the feeling is so satisfying. Then, sit down with some tea or snuggle up in your bed and enjoy. (My personal favourite book is “The Timekeeper” by Mitch Albom. Go give it a read if you wanna!)

Write it down. Remember when you were younger and all the “cool” TV shows had characters writing in their secret diaries, and that made you want to have a secret diary that you’d hide underneath your mattress or in some other hidden place, too? You should do it. Writing things down will help you relief stress, anger, happiness – any emotion, really. Its incredibly therapeutic and soothing and secret if you want it to be. Don’t be afraid of others reading your thoughts, they won’t. Grab a small notebook or journal and set aside 10 minutes a day before you go to bed to write down what you are grateful for that day. If you don’t want a physical book, create a blog like this one. If writing posts seems too time-consuming to you, create a Twitter account and spread positivity like I like to do.

Breathe. Give yourself time, give yourself space, and give yourself the freedom to grow. Don’t confine yourself in technology or schoolwork or stress or responsibilities. Yes, those things are important in life and you need them in one way or another. But don’t let them take over the way you want to live your life. If you want to go to the beach for a walk because the day is windy or the sunset is particularly beautiful, do that instead of cooping yourself at your study table over Chemistry notes. If you feel like lying on the couch and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, do that instead of reviewing thick stacks of essays. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Love someone else. Spreading love is the easiest way to love yourself back. This is by no means limited to the romantic kind of love, though inclusive of it. Love is ridiculously easy to find and give and spread if you put in the effort to do so. Love is as easy as saying goodbye to your parents before you leave for school. Love is as easy as deciding to have lunch with mum and dad instead of going shopping with friends on a Saturday afternoon because the weekends are very often the only time they get to have your company anyway. Love is looking at fresh flowers in the park, appreciating them, but not picking them up. Instead, you leave them be for others to enjoy.

Stop comparison. I saw a quote on Tumblr the other day that said “Comparison will kill you”, and albeit a lil’ morbid, I think that its completely – and unfortunately – true. In our world today, so. many. standards. are placed on humans from as young as pre-teen ages. We are told that only skinny is pretty, that distinction between races and religions is a sane action because, boy, we aren’t all human are we? Society is divided into thousands and thousands of sections and we find ourselves lost in them most of the time and it sucks. Don’t get sucked into it. Learn to separate yourselves form the opinions of others, because what matters is what you think, not what others think. Its far more easier said than done, I haven’t managed to accomplish this mindset myself, but we’re all learners, and we’re growing. We will grow stronger, and we will be successful one day. For now, all we can do is continue trying.

Remember to follow this blog if you wanna! Open the sidebar and leave your email. 🙂

x, Nat.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As I type this, I am still in the midst of my final exams and I really should be studying (but I’m running away from my responsibilities, again). So instead of trying to make these math equations stay in my head, I decided to go around my humble abode, snapping some pictures of things that I thought looked nice.

We’ve started to change up the decor a lil’ to suit the holiday season, and although the hardcore Christmas decorating has yet to begin, I thought I’d share some of the stuff that’s been hanging around. I absolutely love how such subtle changes can make all of the difference, serving for a homely atmosphere. A simple (but appropriately scented according to time of year) candle can pick up the mood, and a tiny tin jar of dried flowers on the coffee table can liven up the room with such ease. (Explains why these photos are so full of detail – the small things are the star of the show today!). I present to you, the bits-and-bobs of my household:

If you couldn’t already tell, there kinda are lots of flowers around the house. I am not complaining.

I realise that this post is very random, and also the first post ever on this blog. I do hope, though, that if this somehow manages to reach your computer screen, that it’d either 1. give you ideas and inspiration on making up your place to look mighty-fine, or 2. give you some sense of enjoyment. I really want to post more in the future, and share many many other things that I deem significant and worth sharing! I hope you enjoy, and defo leave me ideas on what my next post should be. 🙂

The Humble List Of Thingums That Can Make Any Space A Lovely Space

Dried flowers 

– Scented candles

– Lace tablecloth

– Wine crates

SUCCULENTS 

Glass jars 

– Tin containers 

Remember to follow this blog if you wanna! Open the sidebar and leave your email. 🙂

x, Nat.