To be honest with you, my memory is really, really, really bad. But from what I can remember, this year has been quite a roller coaster.

I quit the pharmacy assistant job I had at the end of the previous year and it was really though for me. There have been weeks where I only lived on cornflakes and sometimes days when I didn’t eat at all and just lived on water. I’ve never felt so poor and lost. I have never felt so emotionally unstable before. I’ve had second thoughts about the course I am currently doing, and even was on the verge of changing it.

The first half of the year was very stressful. I even went to get myself checked out, because I really wasn’t myself. Lots of sleepless nights, days that I pretty much just wasted by not doing anything and most of the time just spent within four walls.

The stress did have an advantage…For a bit anyway. I went to the gym, in the hope of a distraction, but even that didn’t work out along the line. I came across people that weren’t supportive, and instead decided to make me feel worse about myself, stating the obvious and making me feel like I have no hope.

During the summer holidays, I had to find myself a job so I could pay my rent for my student house in third year. My job was at a customer service centre, taking calls from customers who were mostly expecting a parcel. As you could imagine, the job was horrible. Most of the customers on the line were just complaining and even verbally abusing me through the phone. Most of the time it wasn’t anything personal and I knew that. But it really does get to you eventually. Constantly listening to people yell at you from 8 in the morning till 8 in the afternoon is not really ideal. I’ve had moments when I just went on a break, went to the toilets just to cry my eyes out. Eventually I ended up quitting the job. I didn’t earn enough and was unable to pay the first rent payment.

A lot more went on this year. But there were some amazing memories I will cherish, too. For example, my week in London. The London trip was amazing. To think I have lived in England for about ten years and I only really got to see London properly this year is kind of bad. I have been to London before, but my week there has really made me wonder why I haven’t explored it like this before. London truly is an amazing city. The one week I spent there was not enough! But that’s good, because now I have a reason to go to London more often!

While I was in London, I had the pleasure of meeting four amazing people Kavino (MYA Photography), Vithya (Hair and Make up Artist), Koby (founder of Tamil Hindu Weddings) and a member of the Vivaha Magazine, whose name  I unfortunately can’t remember (I’m sorry if you ever read this!). I won a competition around that time for a photo shoot run by Tamil Hindu Weddings. The photo shoot didn’t carry on as planned, because I ended up backing out due to personal reasons. Nevertheless, meeting them was an absolute pleasure. A special shout out to Kavino who I’ve talked to more than the others. She truly is an amazing and kind person. Beautiful inside and out!

There were other special moments, like actually somehow passing my second year (thank god), my 21st birthday, my dad’s 50th birthday, the Christmas Eve Party recently and of course starting this blog!!!

This year has taught me a lot of lessons, given me a lot of good memories and made me meet a lot of new kind souls who I’m looking forward to sharing more memories with in the coming years.

I’m not going to lie and say that I have already corrected the mistakes I have made in 2014. I still don’t have a proper job and I’m still struggling a bit financially, but I’m not going to let that ruin me. Instead, I’m just going to make sure I make good use of every second of the coming years.

Hopefully 2015 will be much better than 2014. Make every second of the coming years count!

I wish you all an amazing New Year!!!

Aja x

P.S. Sorry about the really long post!!!

My list of top 10 films to watch this Christmas

In no particular order, here’s my list of films to watch this Christmas. Enjoy!!!

N.B. A few films listed are not Christmas films, but I feel like they are still nice to watch during this time ;)

  1. Home Alone (1990) SVOD-L-Home-Alone Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), an eight year old boy is left home alone by accident. While his family is away on a holiday to France and Kevin fights of two burglars during Christmas. -This movie is hilarious!

  2. Bad Santa (2003)881_2_1214924569 Conman Willie (Billy Bob Thornton), and his Little Helper Marcus (Tony Cox), rob department stores dressed up as Santa and an elf. The story is basically about how Willie’s life changes after he meets Thermus (Bret Kelly). -Not suitable for kids but so funny!

  3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)LWW1 If you know me really well, then you know that I am obsessed with Narnia, which meant this had to be in my list of top 10 films to watch this Christmas. For those of you who haven’t seen this movie yet…This movie is about the adventure of four siblings, Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), who travel to the magical land of Narnia, through a wardrobe.

  4. Elf (2003)enhanced-buzz-29345-1371499641-3 Raised in the North Pole by elves, Buddy (Will Ferrell) is sent by Santa himself to the U.S. to find his real dad.- A good natured holiday film.

  5. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)Miracle-on-34th-Street-remake This movie is one of those typical Christmas movies. I’m pretty sure they always put this on TV around this time. It’s about a little girl called Susan (Mara Wilson), who doesn’t believe in Santa and when she meets a department store Santa it all changes.

  6. Mary Poppins (1964)4cae41d6cc0d8a4fcb0fff9da25f12b64903afb1 This one is old but definitely a classic. It’s not a Christmas movie but I just love Mary Poppins. For those of you who have never heard of Mary Poppins, the movie is about a magic nanny who comes to look after two kids.

  7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)kinopoisk.ru I love this film mainly because of Jim Carrey who plays the Grinch.  The film is based on Dr. Seuss’ book. As the title gives away, this movie is basically about how the Grinch stole Christmas. The Grinch hates Christmas and a little girl tries to figure out why and that’s how the story goes on. To be honest the Grinch did scare me a bit (even at this age), but later on you start to fall in love with him. So it’s all good.

  8. Arthur Christmas (2011)arthur_christmas_006 Christmas mission impossible. Definitely a film kids would love! Arthur Christmas, Santa’s youngest and clumsy son and Grandsanta are on a mission to deliver a little girl’s present in less than two hours, which got misplaced during the initial Christmas delivery.

  9. Great Gatsby (2013)kpbs.org Oh Leonardo Dicaprio… Again, not a Christmas film, but when I watch this movie, it gives me the same feeling a Christmas film gives me. It will be a treat to your eyes. No… I’m not just talking about Leonardo Dicaprio… But seriously, this movie is amazing! If you haven’t seen it yet…then for the love of Leonardo! Please watch it now!!!

  10. The Santa Clause (1994)Movies_TheSantaClause This one is a typical modern Christmas movie. This film is about a divorced man (Tim Allen), who accidentally kills Santa and ends up magically turning into the new Santa.

And that’s it!

Hope you enjoyed my list.

If I have missed your favourite Christmas movies out, comment below!!!

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)

This was my first attempt at making Zimtsterne and I have to admit, they do taste great! Unfortunately, this will be my last Christmas Cookie Recipe for this year! :(

To make your own Cinnamon Star Cookies (about 40), you’ll need:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 225g sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 100g icing sugar

Other stuff you will need:

  • rolling pin
  • flour
  • IMG_1409[1]cookie cutters (star shaped)
  1. Beat the egg whites
  2. Add sugar, vanilla sugar, and icing sugar to the mixture and beat for 10 minutes. This hurts like hell!
  3. Add lemon juice to the mixture
  4. Leave 6 tbsp of the mixture aside
  5. Add cinnamon and almonds
  6. Fold the ingredients carefully. Folding is basically combining delicate mixture into a heavier textured mixture. This will make sure that both the mixtures are mixed properly.
  7. IMG_1422[1]Sprinkle the worktop with a bit of flour and roll out the dough
  8. Cut out star shapes using your cookie cutter
  9. Place them on a baking tray with baking paper
  10. Preheat the oven to 150°C
  11. Brush on the mixture you left aside earlier on the cookies (4.)
  12. Put the cookies in the oven for 25 minutes
  13. Leave to cool for a few minutes

And that’s it!

Haselnussmakronen (Hazelnut Macaroons)

It’s another German Christmas Cookie Recipe time!!!

To make about 40 Haselnussmakronen, you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 250g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 300g ground hazelnut
  • 100g flour
  • about 40 whole hazelnuts

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  1. Mix the eggs, sugar, salt, ground hazelnut and flour together
  2. Put baking paper on a baking tray
  3. Use a teaspoon to form a walnut sized ball and place it on the baking tray
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  5. Place a whole hazelnut on top the cookies10822239_332604090279816_972635932_n
  6. Put the cookies in the oven for 10-15 minutes
  7. Make sure the cookies don’t get burned!
  8. Once done, let it cool for a few minutes

 

And that’s it!

If your cookies get stuck to the baking paper like a few of mine did, pick up the baking paper and place it on a hot,damp, clean towel. Leave it on the towel for a few minutes and gently remove the cookies of the baking paper.

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

I used to love Christmas when I was a kid. Especially when I went to Kindergarten back in Germany.

We used to do a lot of fun activities during December and baking Christmas cookies was one of them.

Through out this month, I am going to make a few of my favourite German Christmas cookies and first up is Vanillekipferl.

To make about 40 Vanillekipferl, you will need the following:

  • 250g flour 
  • 210g butter
  • 100g ground almonds 
  • 80g sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar*
  • 1/2 tbsp icing sugar 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  1. IMG_5514Put all the ingredients in a bowl and knead them together with your hands. (Make sure you knead the dough thoroughly)
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Once the 30 minutes are over, roll out the dough and make tiny dough balls
  4. Preheat the oven to 175°C
  5. Make moon crescent shapes out of the dough ballsIMG_5527
  6. Arrange the Vanillekipferl on a baking tray with baking paper
  7. Bake for 20 minutes
  8. While the cookies are baking in the oven, sieve the icing sugar and vanilla sugar together
  9. Once the cookies are baked, cool the cookies for 3 minutes
  10. Once cooled properly, coat the cookies with the sugar mix

Try this recipe out yourself, and let me know what you think!

*I couldn’t find any vanilla sugar in any of my local stores, so had to make my own. Click here to make your own Vanilla Sugar!

The Light Bulb Project

Light bulb project

And that’s it!

Personally I loved this project. It took a lot more effort than I expected, but I am pleased with the end results!

If you haven’t read the post on How to Hollow Out a Light Bulb, click here.

 * I got mine as a package from DingaDing Terrariums! They delivered the package within two days and I was really pleased with their service!